Reading Sermons

Who Is Jesus?

THE REFORMED WITNESS HOUR

Message title: Who Is Jesus?
Broadcast date: September 27, 2015 (No. 3795)
Radio pastor: Rev. Carl Haak

Dear Radio Friends,

Most people in the world do not know what the name Jesus means. Do you? In our society, the name Jesus is most often a swear-word. That blessed name, that name that is above all names, is thought to be something you say when you are angry, when you are excited, or when you want to be emphatic. Do you use His name that way?

Many children in this world do not know that Jesus is a person, a living person, God’s own Son. No one uses the name of Mohammad, Allah, Charles Darwin, or Buddha that way. Their names are not swear-words. But that name, which alone can soothe our soul, Jesus, that is the name that people use for a swear-word.

The church-world is hardly any better. The church does not know what the name Jesus means today, either. It has something to do with…salvation? From…injustice? From…poverty? From…a wheelchair? Or that name means that He wants to save, Jesus wants to save, but He cannot unless man lets Him do so. Or He begins salvation, and you finish it up by the works of your merit or the merits of the church.

Does anyone know what the name Jesus means? We ask, does anyone, in all the world made by Jesus and made for Jesus, know what the name Jesus means?

It is by grace that, today, we say, “Yes, I know what that name means. I not only know what His name means, but I know Him personally.” Jesus means “Savior.” Jesus is my Savior from my sin, my evil rebellion against the holy God, my depraved and ruined sin-nature that deserves God’s eternal wrath. We sing, “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; for Thee all the folly of sin I resign.” Jesus saved me. He saved me completely from sin, from the punishment that my sin deserves, from the guilt of my sin. He died for that guilt upon a cross. He saves me from the power of sin, from the dominion, the rule, of sin. For I was sold unto sin, but He has set me free unto repentance. Jesus saves me from the presence of sin.

Imagine that! Soon He will take me to a world, to Beulah-land, to the heavenly Canaan, where I will not have one stain of iniquity. And I will never sin again.

Is Jesus your Savior? Do you believe that all salvation is of Him? Do you want to be holy? Do you want to be like Him?

What do you want from Jesus? In Luke 12:13 a man came and said, “Master, Jesus, speak to my brother that he may divide the inheritance with me.” Is that what you want from Jesus—social justice? Maybe you say, “Make my child better, change things that I cannot handle, bring me a better job.” Maybe you want deliverance from troubles, sorrows, and burdens.

Jesus is a Savior from sin.

First we must know our great and desperate need. Then we will know who Jesus is. For Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief (I Tim. 1:15). Jesus is my Savior.

The name Jesus means, literally, “Jehovah salvation.” Now, children, if you are listening, here is something for you to remember and tell Mom and Dad tonight when they put you in bed: “Jesus—J E S U S. The JE=Jehovah. It means Jehovah. Jesus, therefore, is God. SUS means SAVES or delivers from all my sin. So JESUS means JEHOVAH SAVES.”

And there is a verse to go with that: Matthew 1:21, “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” And here is another one: Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Jesus, then, is a Savior from sin. He is the only one. There is no one else who can save from sin. So no one else can ever bear His name. He is unique.

Jesus saved us by His sinless life. We, of ourselves, could never stand before a holy God. But Jesus gave Himself over to the cross to wash away the sins in which we were conceived and born. He wove a robe of righteousness for us to wear to all eternity. Jesus arose from the dead. He opens dead hearts and He plants His life into those hearts, into all the hearts of the elect of God. Acts 16:14 tells of Lydia, “whose heart the Lord opened.”

Now Jesus is ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God with power from God to rule over all. We need Him to do that. Christ must rule the universe if He is to save us because we are sinful and the world is evil. But all things, we read in the Bible, are placed under Jesus’ feet, so that they serve our salvation. Hebrews 7:25: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.”

Still more, Jesus must come again or the work of His salvation is not complete. He will appear one more time upon the clouds of glory to bring salvation to its conclusion. Hebrews 9:28: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

Now, we have seen that Jesus saves us from our sin. But we must also see that He saves us to someone else. Salvation is not simply deliverance from something—sin. But it is deliverance unto something—to the highest good, which is God. Jesus saves us to covenant fellowship with God. Or, put it this way: Jesus takes us from the depths of iniquity into the bosom of God; out of sin’s chains to the service of God; out of sin’s grip to God’s arms; out of the miry clay (Ps. 40) to set our feet upon a rock. And all of this is of God, of God’s grace alone. So that we must add one more preposition that the Bible uses: Jesus saves us from sin; Jesus saves us to God, because God has put us (and here is the third preposition) in Christ. I Corinthians 1:30: “But of [God] are ye in Christ Jesus.”

God, of mere mercy, places us in Christ. Colossians 2:10: “ye are complete in him.” We are placed in Christ eternally, before we were born, by a decree, a choice, a sovereign good pleasure of God—even before the heavens were made (Eph. 1:4). We were in Christ at the cross. We belonged to Him there. And we were in Christ when the Holy Spirit made us alive. We are in Christ now, so that we can say, I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. Christ is in us, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). The blessed name of Jesus means: This is the One who is Jehovah Salvation, who delivers us from sin, to God, because God has put us in Him.

This truth of Jesus is vital for you and for me. It is vital because, first of all, there are times when we are plagued with guilt. Psalm 51: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness. Blot out my transgressions; wash me thoroughly from my sin.” We have committed grievous and foolish and repeated sins. Our wickedness has ruined things and brought reproach upon Christ’s name and His church. And the awfulness of our sin is before us day and night. We say with the psalmist: “So foolish was I” (Ps. 73).

Now, it can never be the same. Someone, perhaps, has caught you, seen you. It is so horrible, you do not want anyone to know. But now you must say, “Jesus saves me from awful guilt. Jesus washes me and He imputes to me His perfect righteousness.” And we fall at His feet and say, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”

We must know the name Jesus, secondly, because we have struggles against indwelling sins. We have sinful lusts and evil thoughts. They burst out sometimes, and they boil within. We can be cruel, or we have some other besetting sin. And the Holy Spirit shines within us and we see the depth of evil within our own hearts. There is no sin that we cannot imagine. There is no sin to which we cannot sink. “I am evil, born in sin; Thou desirest truth within.” And when we see that, that evil nature, that sin against which we struggle, then we must say, “Jesus. He will save me from the power of sin.” Sin shall not have dominion over me (Rom. 6:14). Jesus saves so that I hate, fight, resist evil within me. I will not criticize my Savior. But I will flee to Him.

Still more. There are times when we fear that we will fall away. Maybe you fear that today. Will I survive the temptation that is before me? Will sin, Satan, the world prove to be too much to handle? Maybe some hardships, some evil in my life, will come and it will be just too much and I’ll renounce Him. Then, too, you must say Jesus. You must remember the blessed name. He will not turn back. He cannot deny Himself. He abides faithful (II Tim. 2:13).

And then, maybe, you wonder about heaven and glory. And you say, “Will I actually go there? The moment of death will be a reality check. I’m a sinner. Can God love me? Will God take me?” Then you must say one name, just one name: Jesus. Having begun His work, He will give you the whole lot. Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Be it in a hospital, be it at home, be it a sudden death: Jesus saves.

You can almost say that all of our theology and all of our faith is one word: Jesus. When you have searched the depths of the Scriptures, when you have gazed at the wonders of God, when you have gone through a whole life of living by faith, you can really say that it comes down to one word: Jesus. That is it. Give me Jesus. You can have all the world, but give me Jesus. It is just that simple.

And yet, it is that profound—so profound that God uses sixty-six books in the Bible to explain one name: Jesus. And in that name is all the wonder of the glory of God’s grace. In Acts 7:55, we read of Stephen: “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” He did not see two things: the glory of God and then Jesus. No. He saw the glory of God in Jesus. And it has taken the church two thousand years since Jesus ascended up into heaven to come to a little understanding of the wonderful name of Jesus.

That is what we are doing in this program. And that is why you ought to go, and are called to go, to church every Sunday. That is why God puts us through trials and difficulties in life. When things do not go our way, God is teaching us. He teaches us what the name Jesus means. That is why we must have sound, biblical preaching in the church: because we want to know Jesus. Jesus tells us who God is, who man is, what our problem is, and the end of all things. And then, think of this, the entire body of the church triumphant, to all eternity, will still not fathom Jesus because He is the marvel of God’s grace. He shall save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).

Before the angel Gabriel spoke to Joseph, Joseph had concluded that Mary, his espoused wife, had been unfaithful to him and was pregnant. But then the angel told him, “No, the child is of the Holy Spirit. And when you come to name this baby, the right of naming this baby goes to the Father, not to you. It goes to His Father, God. And God has picked the name for this baby: Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” That is a promise. He shall. We are dealing with the promise of God. That is what God said Jesus will do.

Do you believe that promise? That is our calling when God gives us a promise. And when God gives us a promise through an angel, you had better believe the promise. If you have any questions about that, ask Zacharias, who did not believe a promise given to him through an angel and did not talk for nine months. Do you believe? God’s promises are to be believed. All the promises of God are Yea and Amen in Jesus Christ. He shall save you.

He shall save His people. So it is a particular promise. He does not come to save all people, head for head. He does not come to offer or to attempt to save. But He will save His people. That is exactly what He does. That is exactly what He will do. That is exactly what He always has done. And that is what He is doing now. Do you believe that? Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure (II Tim. 2:19), having this seal: the Lord knows those that are His. And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from evil. His people are the “ones whom the Father hath given to me” (John 6:37). They are the elect from all eternity. Romans 8:29, 30: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son [which is Jesus].” Now, another way of saying that is: Jesus, He shall save His people from their sins. He will save.

That is a powerful, particular promise. No one will have any success in stopping Him. He will save even the weakest and most fearful believer. And He will do it. No helpers, no auxiliaries, no hangers on, not, “Well, He will want to but He can’t unless you cooperate and open the door of your heart to let Him in.” No, He will save His people.

God does not say, “Jesus and a legion of angels.” He does not say, “Jesus, plus His mother Mary.” He does not say, “Jesus, plus a lot of dead people from the Middle Ages—St. Christopher and Patrick.” He does not say, “Jesus and holy water,” or “Jesus and sacraments.” No. He does not say, “He and the will of the sinner if the sinner will please wake up.” No. Just Him. He does it all, without any helpers. Because He is powerful. He will save His people from their sins.

He will come, by His Holy Spirit, to work in the hearts of each one of His children, to release them from the debt, the awful debt of sin, and to release them from the power, the horrible power, of sin and make them free. He is a precious Savior.

And so we go in confidence today. The powerful, particular promise of salvation is for the whole church—ten thousand times ten thousand, a multitude no man can number, gathered out of the most unlikely places, gathered in mercy alone, saved by Jesus.

God calls us to trust Jesus, to honor Jesus, to glorify Him. Perhaps we are not so much in danger today of trusting in idols, or of trusting in relics. Perhaps today, by wonderful grace, you see that the doctrine of free-will is a false doctrine. Perhaps you confess that Jesus is a complete Savior, by His mighty grace; and you find all things necessary for your salvation in Him. Then you must not look for your salvation also in yourself. You must resist every ounce of pride. You must trust Jesus alone. We confess Jesus alone. All our salvation is in Jesus. He is the only deliverer. To believe in Jesus means that you trust Him alone, or you do not believe in Him at all. That is the gospel. Jesus only.

We have to look within ourselves today. Do you trust in anyone or anything other than Jesus for acceptance with God and for salvation? It is very easy to sing, “Nothing in my hands I bring; only to Thy cross I cling.” But where do you go for comfort and for assurance? Do you say, “But I’m not as bad as…. But I did....” Do you say, “At least I didn’t do what he did.” Where do you look? Where do you look when your sins appear? Where do you go? Look to Jesus.

Like little boys and little girls tonight, we lay down our heads to sleep. We remember the name of Jesus. And what does that name mean? It means Jehovah Salvation. He is my Savior. He alone is my Savior. I will lay me down in peace and sleep, for Jesus is my Savior.

Let us pray.

Father, we thank Thee for the precious Word of God. We pray that the Holy Spirit may seal that Word of God within our hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Haak, Carl

Rev. Carl Haak: (Wife: Mary)

Ordained: September 1979

Pastorates: Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI - 1979; Lynden, WA - 1986; Bethel, Roselle, IL - 1994; Georgetown, Hudsonville, MI - 2004

Website: georgetownprc.org/

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