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(Solus Christus) Christ Alone: Jesus' exclusive identity and all sufficient work

Five Solas of the Reformation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:53
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Jesus' exclusive identity and all sufficient work.

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We welcome you to CrossWay and if have just joined us, that is you arrived at 11:00 or a little before, we want to invite you to join at 9:30 the next time you come. Each Sunday we celebrate the Lord’s Supper or Communion as it’s also known. We begin with a Call to Worship scripture reading and we may have other readings, we sing a few songs that specifically point to the person and work of Christ and at around 10:00 or so every believer present is invited to share in the bread and cup of communion were we keep the command to remember Jesus’ body that was broken for us and His blood that was shed for us. After that we have the opportunity to support the ministry of CrossWay monetarily by way of tithes and offerings and finally we have a time of corporate intercessory prayer. After that, which brings us to around 10:30 or a little after we enjoy a time for fellowship around some “heavy” snacks until 11:00. If you have any questions about any of that, please feel free ask me or one of the other pastors, Paul and Dennis.

Introduction

Today will be the fourth sermon in a five-part sermon series titled the Five Solas of the Reformation. Sola is Latin for “alone.” October 31 of this year marked the 500th year since the Protestant Reformation is said to have begun, when in 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic monk posted 95 theses or arguments, against the practices of the Catholic church of his day. What Luther and other reformers like John Calvin, John Knox, and Zwingli protested was the church’s, that is the Catholic church’s, teachings and practices pertaining to the authority of scripture and how people are forgiven of sin and reconciled to God. The Reformation sought to bring Christianity back in line with biblical teaching by recovering a distorted gospel.
Five teachings that summarize the Reformer’s theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity are known as the Five Solas.
1. Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
2. Sola Fide – Faith Alone
3. Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
4. Solus Christus – Christ Alone
5. Soli Deo Gloria – The Glory of God Alone
Communicating the truth that salvation is by grace alone, on the basis of Christ alone, through faith alone, all for the glory of God alone, because God spoke in scripture alone.
As I mentioned earlier today’s sermon is the fourth in our series. We have heard about Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, and Grace Alone. Today I have the joy of preaching on Solus Christus, Christ Alone.
Pray!
Open your bibles to 1 Timothy 2:5 and then flip to Acts 4:12 and hold your finger there. These two passages will guide us today as we explore who the bible says Jesus is and what He has done.
Here’s how the sermon will flow. First, I will present the biblical basis for Christ Alone by allowing the bible to identify who Christ is (which from here on I will refer to this aspect as the Person of Christ) and what he has done as it relates to the salvation of people (which we will refer to as the work of Christ). Now, in no way will this be exhaustive but I trust it will be comprehensive. Next, we will examine how this doctrine was and, I must add, still is perverted today in Catholic doctrine. While we are observing the error of Catholic doctrine as it pertains to Christ Alone, we will also make note of the various ways we as evangelical Protestant Christians still stumble at times in these heresies ourselves. Allow me to say at this point that I/we do not condone bashing other people for there personal preferences, beliefs or life-styles. However, as an ambassador of Christ in this world it is the Christian’s obligation, according to 1 Peter 3:15, to be “…prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,...” Also, Ephesians 4:12 commands me as an under-shepherd of Christ "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” In the due course of this sermon along with Catholic doctrinal error I will also mention other world religions. Some claim to be Christian, but I will point out that it is impossible, based upon what scripture say about the Person and Work of Christ, for these groups to be considered orthodox Christianity. I have Catholic associates that I respect, Mormons that I consider friends, Jehovah Witnesses that are family and I love them and certainly do not intend harm or disrespect to them or anyone else. But beloved, if we are going to stand with the reformers, no, the Apostles and the Lord Jesus Himself in the defense of the gospel, and as ambassadors of the kingdom, then we are not only going to have understand and defend these Five Solas. Our worship must be enriched by them. Our gospel proclamation guarded by them. And our love for people deepened by them. This cannot become an intellectual exercise in apologetics. Having a firm grasp on Christian doctrine will not cause one to retreat, and disengage the culture in which we live. No, quite the opposite. It creates confidence in the only one who can save man’s soul. The only one who can make all things new. In guess all I’m saying is, study the bible. Learn how to care for the weary souls all around you. We have hope and His name is Jesus.
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Ephesians 4:12 ESV
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

The Person and Work of Christ

READ
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
AND
Acts 4:12 ESV
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Solus Christus expresses the biblical teaching that is “...one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, and that therefore “...there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Christ’s identity is absolutely exclusive and his work entirely sufficient.
Why do we need a mediator you may ask? Genesis 3 describes what we call the Fall of Man whereby Adam and Eve fell, or went from, a state of grace or special favor with God, to a place of radical corruption because they sinned by disobeying God's command. The judgement for sin is death. Both physical and spiritual death. Spiritual death is what the Apostle Paul is referring to in Eph. 2 when he says, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” We along with all humanity stand condemned with Adam because Adam represented all humanity as our federal head, that is Adam represented all of his descendants. When he fell, we fell “in him.” Paul teaches this in Romans 5:12. This being true, Romans 3:9-20 depicts our mortal state because of the Fall.
Turn to Romans 3:9-20
Romans 3:9–20 ESV
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
As you call tell this sounds pretty bad. And we are helpless to do anything about it. No human being will be justified by works.

How can we escape punishment and be brought back into God’s favor?

To satisfy his justice, God himself, out of mere mercy, reconciles us to himself and delivers us from sin and from the punishment for sin, by a Redeemer.
Isaiah 53:10–11 ESV
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Who is the Redeemer?

The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, in whom God became man and bore the penalty for sin himself.
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Why must the Redeemer be truly human?

That in human nature he might on our behalf perfectly obey the whole law and suffer the punishment for human sin; and also that he might sympathize with our weaknesses.
Hebrews 2:17 ESV
17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Why must the Redeemer be truly God?

That because of his divine nature his obedience and suffering would be perfect and effective; and also that he would be able to bear the righteous anger of God against sin and yet overcome death.
Acts 2:24 ESV
24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?

Since death is the punishment for sin, Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God. By his substitutionary atoning death, he alone redeems us from hell and gains for us forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and everlasting life.
Colossians 1:21–22 ESV
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

Does Christ’s death mean all our sins can be forgiven?

Yes, because Christ’s death on the cross fully paid the penalty for our sin, God graciously imputes Christ’s righteousness to us as if it were our own and will remember our sins no more
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ?

No, only those who are elected by God and united to Christ by faith. Nevertheless God in his mercy demonstrates common grace even to those who are not elect, by restraining the effects of sin and enabling works of culture for human well-being.
Romans 5:17 ESV
17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?

At the day of judgment they will receive the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them. They will be cast out from the favorable presence of God, into hell, to be justly and grievously punished, forever.
John 3:16–18 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:36 ESV
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

How can we be saved?

Only by faith in Jesus Christ and in his substitutionary atoning death on the cross; so even though we are guilty of having disobeyed God and are still inclined to all evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of our own but only by pure grace, imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ when we repent and believe in him.
But before we here from God’s word let’s go back 500 years to the early 1500’s and get a grasp what was going on in the church that ultimately led to the formation of the Protestant Christianity which we believe is orthodox or biblical Christianity. In order to examine the Catholic church we will need to spend some time considering the places of
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

What is faith in Jesus Christ?

Faith in Jesus Christ is acknowledging the truth of everything that God has revealed in his Word, trusting in him, and also receiving and resting on him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?

No, they should not, as everything necessary to salvation is found in Christ. To seek salvation through good works is a denial that Christ is the only Redeemer and Savior.
Galatians 2:16 ESV
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?

Yes, because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Spirit; so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; so that we may be assured of our faith by the fruits; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.
1 Peter 2:9–12 ESV
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

What do justification and sanctification mean?

Justification means our declared righteousness before God, made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection for us. Sanctification means our gradual, growing righteousness, made possible by the Spirit’s work in us.

What was the Reformer’s disagreement with Rome as it relates to Christ Alone?

The question that is being asked is, “Is Christ alone sufficient for the forgiveness of sin and the reconciliation of the believer back to God?”

Primarily the Reformer’s main disagreement with Rome was their rejection of its sacramental theology. This practice, according to the Reformer’s, undermined the Sufficiency of Christ.

Indulgences

Indulgence - An indulgence is a means by which the Catholic church takes away some or all of the punishment due the Christian in this life and/or purgatory because of his sin even though that sin has been forgiven.  This punishment is most often in purgatory but can also be suffered in this life.  Therefore, indulgences remove time needed to be spent in purgatory.  See also partial indulgence and plenary indulgence.

Penance

"Penance is a sacrament by which sins committed after baptism are forgiven."
The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, Vol. 2, 1969, p. 199 says,
"The priest gives us a penance after confession that we may make some atonement to God for our sins, receive help to avoid them in the future, and make some satisfaction for the temporal punishment due to them."
... in order to receive the sacrament of penance worthily the Roman Catholic must, first, examine his conscience; second, be sorry for his sins; third, make up his mind not to sin again; fourth, confess his sins to the priest; and fifth, be willing to do the penance the priest gives them to do.  Thus, we see that this so-called sacrament is a works based means of gaining forgiveness of sins from God.  This is in contradiction to scripture.  A right relationship with God is achieved through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and not by our works, or combination of our works and God's grace, because our works are nothing more than filthy rags.
Romans 3:24 ESV
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Romans 5:9 ESV
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

Limbo - In the afterlife, it is the place of existence for those who deserve neither heaven nor hell.

Temporal Punishment - Suffering that occurs either in this life or in purgatory that removes the punishment of sins already forgiven.

Problems with the Doctrine of Purgatory

As a Christian who bases spiritual truth on the Bible alone, I see problems with the doctrine of purgatory. For example:
It is not explicitly found in the Bible.
It implies that the righteousness of Christ does not cleanse from all sin.
It implies that justification is not by faith alone.
It implies that there is something we must do in order to be cleansed of sin.
Beloved at the end to the day we must confess that
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Acts 4:12 ESV
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Martin Luther’s heart ached for the poor people of the world who had been duped by the misguided teachings at best of the Catholic church. The average people could not read well and they certainly did not have a bible. So you can hardly blame for buying into this error.
But what about us. Do we live in light of this glorious good news? Are resting in Christ Alone?
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