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  • This is for everyone here today.

  • I was going to preach on one thing and when I walked in, I kind of just

  • realized I needed to preach on something else, something that's very dear to me.

  • We may be here for a while,

  • but this is so necessary.

  • If you want to know what this congregation is about,

  • this is what you're going to learn today.

  • It's about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you say:

  • ?Oh, I know that!?

  • No, you don't and neither do I.

  • I know something about it; you know something about it,

  • but you do not know all that is to know.

  • Today in America, we're basically told that the Gospel is kind of the first thing you

  • learn and then you go on to something much greater. No.

  • As I said the other night,

  • the moment Jesus returns, you'll know all about the second coming

  • but you'll be an eternity of eternities in heaven and you still will not comprehend

  • all the glory of God revealed in His Gospel.

  • I'm going to talk about the Gospel and I'm going to share some things that maybe

  • you have never heard before.

  • I want us to begin actually in 2nd Corinthians.

  • Let's go there, 2nd Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 20 and 21.

  • "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us;

  • we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

  • That's my plea to you today, to be reconciled to God,

  • to be Christian, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

  • Now, here's the problem: there's so many people who say that today but then they begin

  • to lead you maybe through a little program,

  • a few questions, and if you say yes to every one of those questions, in the end they'll ask you

  • if you want to repeat a prayer after them. And if you do that, they'll say:

  • "You're saved! Welcome to the family of God!" And, I'm sorry, I'm not going to do that.

  • I will tell you about the Gospel

  • and I will plead with you to turn from your sin and to believe in Jesus Christ.

  • I will tell you how a person may have assurance; how they may know that they are saved,

  • but I cannot tell you: "you are saved", it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

  • And I will warn you with many Gospel warnings that no matter how often you cry out to God

  • to be saved or how much faith you think you have, if your life does not begin to change,

  • there is little evidence that you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation.

  • This is the old way and as an ambassador I have to make that clear.

  • But also I have to make clear to you what is the Gospel and we're going to do that today.

  • Now, in verse 21 Paul is writing, speaking of God in Christ, it says that "He made Him,"

  • God made Jesus, "who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,

  • so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

  • I know that you've heard this verse before, but do you understand it?

  • Let's look at the first part: He, God, made Him, Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.

  • You know, there are many things that Jesus did, that were quite amazing, weren?t they?

  • I mean absolutely astounding: He cast out demons, He walked across the water,

  • He calmed the seas, He the raised the dead.

  • He did so many things, but, you know, what I believe is the most astounding thing about Christ:

  • He was without sin.

  • I want you to think about that. You say, oh yes, He never violated the law of God.

  • That is true, but let's go deeper than that, I want you to think.

  • In all your life, in all your entire life and mind,

  • there has never been one moment, one moment

  • that you loved God as God deserves to be loved.

  • Do you realize that?

  • There's not one moment in your entire life that you have loved God as God deserves to be loved.

  • And yet, Christ loved the Father every moment of every day of His life exactly as the Father deserved to be loved.

  • There's never been one moment in your life or mine, when we have done what we've done

  • perfectly for the glory of God.

  • Not one time, but every action, every word, every thought that Christ ever did, that He ever

  • had, every one of those, He did them perfectly for the glory of God.

  • Do you want to be saved by your own good works? Then this is what you have to do:

  • you have to replicate, imitate

  • Jesus Christ in every way from the moment of birth to the moment of death.

  • I think you can see: you failed.

  • Think about that.

  • Someone asked me one time: "brother Paul, what's the greatest sin?"

  • and just kind of joking around with them, I said: "well, I suppose the greatest sin would be to

  • break the greatest command."

  • The greatest command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

  • You've never done that, and neither have I. But Christ always did that, think about that.

  • What a person He was, what a magnificent person that walked upon this earth.

  • But it says here: "He made Him, who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf."

  • Now, what does that mean?

  • If you know anything about

  • theology, you know this: we're getting into a very dangerous place right now.

  • What does it mean that the Father made Him to be sin on our behalf?

  • Some of the greatest theologians in the world have said: "be very, very careful

  • what you say now, don't say too much, don't say too little.

  • This is a very difficult text." See, you've read it many times but have you ever sat down and said:

  • "what is He saying?"

  • Does it mean that when Jesus Christ was on the cross, somehow

  • His perfect nature became defiled and corrupted, became sinful? That He somehow devolved from this magnificent being

  • that He was into something morally grotesque and defiled, like sin? Is that what it means?

  • Absolutely not!

  • There was never a moment on that cross when He was anything other than the spotless Lamb of God.

  • Absolutely perfect.

  • Then what does it mean that He was made sin?

  • Well, the answer is in the second part of this verse.

  • It says: "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,

  • that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

  • Now, all we have to do is ask ourselves: How does a believer become righteous?

  • What does it mean that a believer becomes righteous? Well, this is what it means: the moment

  • that a person believes in Jesus Christ, it does not mean that at that moment they become

  • perfectly righteous and never sin again,

  • it doesn't mean they become a perfectly righteous creature incapable of sinning.

  • The term is a legal term, a forensic term. It means this:

  • that the moment you believe in Jesus Christ, before the Throne of God

  • you are legally declared to be right with Him.

  • And not only are you legally declared to be right with God now,

  • but God treats you as one who is right with Him. Isn't that a magnificent truth?

  • He's declared you right with Him legally, because of what Christ did for you.

  • And then He treats you as someone right with Him not based on how you lived

  • that particular day, but based upon the perfect finished work of Christ.

  • Let's take that over to what it means that God "made Him who knew no sin to be sin

  • on our behalf."

  • It does not mean that on the cross Christ became corrupted

  • or defiled in any way as to His person or His nature. It means this:

  • that the sin of God's people was imputed to Christ.

  • Our sin was put on Him.

  • When a believer believes in Jesus, not only are they pardoned,

  • but the righteousness of Christ is given to them. It's as though they're dressed in Christ?s righteousness.

  • On that tree our sin was put upon Christ. Do you see that?

  • It was imputed to Him, considered to be His. Even though He was the spotless,

  • undefiled, impeccable Lamb of God,

  • our sin was placed upon Him,

  • our guilt was placed upon Him and the Father treated Him as He should have treated us.

  • Do you see that? How should He have treated us?

  • The wrath of God,

  • the righteous anger of God should have been poured out on all humanity because of our

  • crimes, but our guilt was placed upon Christ and what we deserved was placed upon Him.

  • The guilt He bore was our guilt, it was an imputed guilt, but that does not lessen the pain of it.

  • It was real guilt.

  • Imagine a man who is born in sin, who lives in sin all of his life.

  • He is a man of unclean lips and he dwells among the people of unclean lips. He's accustomed

  • to sin and he's accustomed to judgment. He's accustomed to God's frown and yet the

  • bible says: when he dies and stands before God, it will be horrifying

  • for that sinful creature to stand before a holy God. The shame!

  • Even though this man's heart is as heart as stone, he will bear an unbelievable shame

  • because of his sin. Now imagine this:

  • the holy undefiled Son of God who knew nothing of sin, had never offended His Father, only

  • knew His Father smile and that is all. On that tree in one moment

  • He bore all your sin and all your guilt and He felt the Father's frown.

  • There's no way to describe what that is like.

  • Imagine for a moment that some of you ladies, who have never, never even hardly touched your toe to the pavement,

  • you've lived a sheltered life of all cleanliness and goodness.

  • And you go up, let's say to Chicago and you're witnessing on the streets

  • and you come amongst a group of prostitutes, hardened and defiled, corrupted.

  • And you begin to witness to them and all of a sudden the police show up and grab all

  • of you and throw you in the paddy wagon.

  • Now, the prostitutes have been through this a million times haven't they?

  • They're laughing, joking and cussing at the policemen

  • but you, you can hardly breath. Your shame is so great, you feel so soiled.

  • You've never experienced anything like that in your life. And then they take you down to

  • the precinct and they handle you roughly

  • and they fingerprint you and they make fun of you and they take your picture and then throw

  • you in jail. And while you're sitting there in that cell, all the other prostitutes are

  • just talking about who's going to come and bail them out and they're

  • filing their nails and telling jokes and having a good time and it doesn't bother them at all.

  • But you, you are eaten up inside, the shame of it...

  • Do you see? You're not accustomed to such things and you feel soiled.

  • Now, imagine the Christ, who knew no sin and yet on that tree

  • your guilt, your sin was imputed to Him and the Father treated the Son

  • as He should have treated you. Now that's an amazing, an amazing thing.

  • There's a text of Scripture, in the book of Galatians, chapter 3, that says this,

  • verse 10: "cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in

  • the book of the law, to perform them."

  • Now I want to talk about you and I prior to Christ and I'm going to say some very

  • very hard things but the reason I'm going to say them

  • is, so that in the end you get an idea of what Jesus did for you.

  • "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the book of the law, so as to perform them."

  • That's you and I under a curse. One who has broken one commandment of the Law is guilty as though he has broken all of them.

  • And indeed we have broken all of the Law.

  • There isn't a commandment you can find that you and I have not violated in some way.

  • And the Bible says that because of that we are under a curse. Prior to Christ we are under a curse.

  • Now, to be under a curse is to be under the band, it's to be cut off from God and cut off from His people.

  • But I like to? I feel most effective when I describe it in this way:

  • to be under a curse means that before all of the holy heavens,

  • all those blessed creatures that dwell in the presence of God,

  • you and I, were so defiled, so dark, so disgusting,

  • so twisted, so loathsome before all of them,

  • that the last thing we would have heard when we took our first step into hell,

  • would have been all of Creation standing to its feet

  • and applauding and praising God because He has rid the earth of us.

  • That's how bad man is.

  • And if you don't like that then you can't like the Gospel.

  • This is the reality of our sin.

  • You say: "brother Paul, why do you say this?"

  • Because I want you to love God, I want you to appreciate the Gospel.

  • You see, a rich man would care nothing if I offered him a baloney sandwich.

  • A starving man would kiss my hand if I gave him such a meal.

  • You see, the more we realize how truly dark and twisted and bent and dislocated

  • and defiled and loathsome that we were prior to coming to Christ,

  • then we can rejoice in what Jesus has done for us,

  • especially because we know that He had to bear that in our place.

  • Christ bore the curse, He bore the curse.

  • He suffered the curse that was mine, He suffered the curse that was yours, do you see that?

  • What a price He paid! Once you understand that, then you never question again whether or not

  • He loves you.

  • If you'll do that, He'll do anything.

  • Now, in order to give you an idea of what it's like, what it was like for Christ to suffer under our curse,

  • I want us just to turn for a moment to Matthew 5 and the Beatitudes.

  • Let's take the Beatitudes and turn them around. Because the Beatitudes are all about God's blessings.

  • Let's turn them around a bit and see what we can learn about the cross from the Beatitudes.

  • It says the blessed are granted the kingdom of heaven.

  • "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

  • The blessed are granted the kingdom of heaven, but the cursed are refused entrance.

  • You see, yours is the kingdom of heaven because Christ bore the curse and was refused entrance

  • when He cried out: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"

  • You see, every time someone asks you: "How are you doing?" and you go: "I'm blessed",

  • just realize this: the only reason you're blessed is because He was cursed.

  • It adds all new meaning to it, doesn't it? It cuts out all the superficiality.

  • The blessed are recipients of divine comfort; the cursed are objects of divine wrath.

  • Paul talks about the comfort that is given to him and with that comfort he can comfort others.

  • The book of Psalms chapter 103 tells us about God's comfort to the believer.

  • The only reason there is that comfort to the believer is because Christ was cursed on that tree.

  • The blessed are satisfied, the cursed are miserable and wretched.

  • The blessed receive mercy, the cursed are condemned without pity.

  • Just today, between getting up and coming to the church, I sinned enough to die.

  • The mercy that I received! And it's only because He was cut off on that tree.

  • The blessed shall see God; the cursed are cut off from His presence.

  • The blessed are sons and daughters of God; the cursed are disowned in disgrace.

  • "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

  • Because on that tree the holy Son of God bore our sin and bore our curse. He was treated

  • by his Father as you and I should be treated before God. Now, let's go on.

  • I want to give you a little bit of just a kind of Old Testament lesson, just a history

  • lesson for just a moment. In the twenty-seventh

  • and twenty-eighth chapters of the book of Deuteronomy God divided the nation of Israel into two groups.

  • One group was on Mount Gerizim and the other was on Mount Ebal.

  • Now, the ones that were on Mount Ebal had the