Doctrine of Christ - Why We Need a Mediator
August 8, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: Isaiah 6
Scripture: Isaiah 06:1-5
We are beginning a new section today...The Doctrine of Christ.
We’ll begin first by looking at the first Article of the Confession Chapter 8, Article 1
We see Christ described as the only Mediator between God and man.
Lest we move too fast, I want to slow down and take some time and explore what is meant when we speak of Christ as our mediator.
We’ve covered a lot of ground – 7 chapters in our confession – 20% through.
Having just completed Chapter 7 on God’s covenant with man, Chapter 8 is a most logical next step to discuss the Mediator of that covenant.
Sometimes, we go to church
- we sit under teaching
- we study and learn our catechisms
- we are accepted into the church (some would say confirmed)
- we learn all the right terms and phrases
- we know the correct responses to every question
- we know our history
- we know our theology
But what we miss, is that in all this acquired knowledge, we miss the part where it is supposed to effect a change in our lives.
Where is the life-change that we should see in our hearts?
Today, I want to try and help us move our head knowledge into heart knowledge.
Certainly, this can only be done through the Holy Spirit – but we know that God uses means and one of those means is the preaching of the Word.
Therefore, if God may so bless us, I pray that we will hear this message today.
My fervent prayer is that by the end of today, we may with Job say,
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
That we might forsake those things which we place our faith in
- our confirmation, our baptism, our church attendance, our piety, our self-respect, our self-wisdom, our will-worship
and instead, take a moment to reflect upon the holiness of God (and not ours)
God is Holy
There we have it...we’ve been speaking a lot about covenants and mediators.
I think the biggest problem with most typical, professing Christians:
- there is a lack in their understanding
- the lack is that with all of the head knowledge...it is not of faith
- Rather, bare-bones, stripped down, it is sin. (Romans 14:23)
- head knowledge, alone, cannot be of faith
- simply possessing knowledge is not the same as faith
- head knowledge leads to reason and logic and self-justified behavior
- the key here is self-justified behavior
- it is not the behavior of faith based on the command of God but rather based upon the approval/ justification of man
Perhaps, we don’t quite understand, why, we need a mediator.
Hold on---before you start quoting everything you’ve learned in your years and years of catechism and “churching” and reading...
Take a breath...
And let’s try to answer the question: Why do we need a mediator?
We’ll start by first addressing this: “God is Holy.”
- We all agree with that statement.
But...what does that mean?
We learn by contrast
Part of the way we learn is contrast, by comparing one thing to another
Sometimes the way we learn about God is by speaking about what He is not.
- God is immutable. - He does not change.
- God is impassable - He does not have passions
We might be tempted to ask what does he have? What is He like?
- Man does not have an analogy to use.
- There are clues in Scripture that speak about God's holiness.
- But there isn't anything that would teach us about the holiness of God by way of analogy.
- Nothing is analogous to the holiness of God.
Scripture Reveals the Holiness of God
First: Seraphim - Isaiah 6
- Notice the Seraphim, the ones that are in constant flame, being purified as it were, by fire
- they never touch down
- they don't look at God
- They don't even speak directly to him.
In that scene, they are hiding their face, and they're hiding their feet, and they're refusing to land on that platform, where His train is filled the temple floor.
They speak to one another, they wouldn't even address the throne.
These angels are greater in might and glory and power than the best of humanity.
When Isaiah begins to contemplate this scene, says,
- Woe is me, I'm undone. I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.
Second: Mount Sinai - Exodus 19
The people were told not to approach the mountain nor touch it. (animals too)
Then God Himself in some fiery presences, descends upon the top of Sinai and he himself, trumpets or shouts or speaks the 10 commandments from the top of the mountain and the people say, we can't hear anymore.
Think on the Holiness of God
What are we to think of these two examples?
- These things are designed to teach us something about the holiness of God
The difficulty is not with the text but rather with the human condition
The human condition is that it has certain tendencies
- to bring God down to our level
- to create a god after our own image
Rather than recognizing that we are created in His image, for service to Him.
And so we don't think of God as holy
- We think of him more as our constant companion
- As sometimes in contemporary Christian music, we think of him as our friend or buddy
- We think of Him as
- being willing to bend and adjust His expectation
- being willing to bend and adjust His commands of obedience for us
- being willing to acquiesce to our desires, thoughts, feelings, etc...
However, if we thought of God, more according to who He is, as holy
- we would be more inclined to recognize our need for a mediator.
What happened at the base of Sinai with the people?
- they heard the voice of God
- they saw the fire and the lightning
- they heard the explosions
- They said, "Moses, you go up there instead of us"
The people understood the mediation of Moses
They understood the need for a mediator
- someone to approach the throne of God for them.
Once we get a glimpse of the holiness of God
- we will stop trying to ascend
- we will beg for a mediator to ascend for us.
Job recognized his need for a mediator Job-09
- daysman -> negotiator that acts a link between two parties, to be in front, to go before
- because he has begun to see his own wretchedness.
Our Need for a Mediator
We also should recognize our absolute need for a mediator
- But, sometimes when it comes to our own sins
- We don’t recognize how sinful they really are
- Often, we are likely to imbibe ourselves in some cowardice
- We don't face our sins honestly and objectively.
When we start to recognize our sins
- And the feelings come in
- And we begin to sense that kind of abject sinfulness
- And we begin to perceive in ourselves our true nature
- We're more inclined to run
- It seems too difficult for us
There are times when we will say, let me not see my wretchedness. Num-11:15
When we are confronted with our own wretchedness
- It is a natural result of understanding more and more the holiness of God
- Is a natural result of understanding our need for a mediator.
Warning: This will be uncomfortable and possibly overwhelming
- You will begin to feel as if you detest your own self
- You will begin to feel as if you deserve everlasting punishment
- You will begin to feel as if you can't see any reason how you would ever approach God
- You will begin to feel as if you can't see any reason why God would ever choose you to live eternally in His presence
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