When two brothers get into a scuffle, it's often a mom or dad that steps in to mediate their slugfest.
And when adult business partners are embroiled in a battle, it's no different. The two warring parties need an arbitrator to help them settle their conflict. Today, on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll describes the one who settles our spiritual battles. This is message number 11 in a teaching series that we'll conclude next week about the names of God.
It's called, His Name is Wonderful. Chuck titled today's message, Christ Our Mediator. There are certain times in all of our lives when we simply cannot do the job alone.
And some of those occasions require the presence of a mediator. Back after I finished high school and made plans to go to school, my father convinced me that I needed to learn a trade. And so I worked my way through school by serving as an apprentice machinist for four and a half years before I became a journeyman machinist in that particular trade. I worked for a shop that was a union shop as a machinist and it was almost mandatory for those who were employed there to become members of the machinist union, which I did.
During those four and a half years, I am pleased to say life was fairly simple and we did not have too many difficulties. Both between management and labor, we seem to work out our disagreements in an acceptable manner so that we could live together rather peacefully. But there was one occasion when an argument intensified between management and labor and rather than it lessening as time passed, it intensified. So much so that the talk of a strike was in the air and then it turned from the talk of a strike to the threat of such. And labor was putting its forces together on one side and management of course on the other was making plans in another direction and a strike deadline was declared. I remember being a young man and a little bit frightened with all of that. My father had been a machinist and I had heard some rather severe war stories from his own lips. Times when he crossed the picket line to provide for his family and I was married at the time and felt perhaps that might be my need as well.
There is no way to make those things easy and simple. However the strike was averted, diverted because of the presence of a man who was called in to settle the disagreement between the two sides. Labor sat on one side and management on another and a man who was known as an arbitrator. The biblical word for his position is mediator.
Came to the rescue of our particular company and because of the skills he had in negotiation, he was able to settle enough of the management's demands and able to solve and settle enough of unions demands, labor's demands for there to be an amenable agreement between the two forces and we were brought back together and in a period of time we were able to continue our work without a strike. An arbitrator is a go between or to use a common term, he is a middle man. As I said in biblical terms, he is a mediator. One who objectively represents both sides and is qualified to understand the demands and the responsibilities of both sides and to bring them together in harmony and reconciliation. An arbitrator or a mediator is a master at negotiations.
His whole goal is to bring about a reconciliation between two warring parties. When I look at the meaning of the word mediator, I am driven back to one of my favorite volumes. It was given to me by our staff for my 50th birthday. Perhaps they took pity on me at the time and gave me this two volume set.
The problem is this massive Oxford English dictionary has print so tiny no 50 year old on earth can read it. And so it's one of the few volumes you get, believe it or not, with a magnifying glass. So this week I have pulled out my magnifying glass and I have looked under the letter M and I have found mediator and I have come to this definition based on that dictionary. A mediator is one who intervenes between two parties, especially for the purpose of effecting reconciliation. And then a second rendering, one who brings about a peace, a treaty, or settles a dispute by mediation. One who mediates is one who intercedes on behalf of both sides, one who intervenes on behalf of both sides for the purpose of bringing about an acceptable peaceful agreement. The Greek term for mediator is Mesitis, which means being in the middle of something.
So that fits. A person who is a mediator is in the middle of something. For a quick pastime this afternoon after a wonderful meal Cynthia fixed and a brief nap, I was walking through the family room and my younger son and a friend of his happened to be watching a boxing match between the up and coming potential Olympic athletes who will represent our country. Maybe some of you fellas, well maybe not fellas, maybe some of you ladies are avid boxing fans. You noticed in the ring there weren't two people, there were three. Two had on gloves and they were beating the stuffing out of each other but there was one in there to keep them from killing each other. And he is called a Mesitis, to use the Greek word. He is called a referee. He is the one who decides if the punch is too low or if it's a rabbit chop rather than a punch in the kisser. He's the one who determines if it is a fair fight or if the individual is down for the count or if something illegal or inappropriate is going on. He represents both sides and he supposedly is absolutely neutral. He understands both sides.
He often is a former boxer and he's been there before. In the game of baseball the word is umpire. You know the umpire. He's the one you yell at and throw things at and say all kinds of things about but if it weren't for the umpire every game would end in chaos.
You have to have them. You may be surprised to know that in scripture the word umpire appears in Job chapter 9. So turn over there into the Old Testament, locate Job 9 and you will see a place where for the only time in the Greek Old Testament, Mesites appears. One who is in the midst of, one who is in the middle of.
By the way, while you're locating Job 9, let me clarify something. A mediator is not the same as an advocate. We're going to think about an advocate next time we study the name of Christ as we bring our series to a conclusion. Because an advocate takes the side of one of the parties. For example, when you go to law you need an advocate to represent your case. He is called in today's terms a defense attorney. He is biased.
He is prejudiced or she is. The defense attorney represents one side. One side, the person that he or she represents is always on the mind of that attorney and his case is continually going over so that he can present the best side or what he believes to be the right of this person. Now, a mediator is not an advocate.
They're not the same. A mediator steps into the two and represents both sides and brings about reconciliation. Now, you'll see Job in chapter 9. Let's begin about verse 25.
Job referring to an umpire. Remember now, Job is covered with boils from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet, says in the King James Bible. He is in a miserable state of affairs. He's lost everything including his children. The only one left is his dear wife who is mourning with him and having to take care of the sick. And he's on top of that having to face so-called counselors who came not to comfort but to accuse. And in the midst of all of this, he must have held his hands up, looked heavenward and written, now my days are swifter than a runner. They flee away. They see no good.
They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey. Though I say I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my sad countenance and be cheerful. I am afraid of all my pains. I know that thou wilt not acquit me. I am accounted wicked. Why then should I toil in vain if I should wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye? Yet thou wouldst plunge me into the pit and my own clothes would abhor me. For he, that is God the Father, is not a man as I am that I may answer him, that we may go to court together. There is no messy taste between us. There is no umpire between us who may lay his hand upon us both.
Look at that. I don't have anybody who will be my mediator who will put his hand on heaven and put his hand on earth and touch the two of us and bring us together to reconcile this difference. Let him remove his rod from me and let not dread of him terrify me.
Then I would speak and not fear him, but I am not like that in myself. Look back at verse 33. There is our word.
There is no mediator. The King James Bible once rendered that days man. There is no days man betwixt us. Remember those words?
Some of you may still be using that version. There is no days man between the two of us. The Hebrew word is Yaakak. Yaakak. It means to decide, to prove, to reason, to convince, to argue. All of those things happen on the part of a mediator. Those of us who are sports fans sort of hold our breath every so often as the football or baseball season comes around because the talk of a strike is in the air.
And we hope for someone with enough level headed sense to argue the case of both sides and to prove what is reasonable for both sides so that someone can put his hand on both sides and the games can go on and be played. Sometime there isn't an agreement and there is a strike that happens and the season is interrupted or maybe isn't even begun because there is no days man. There is no Yaakak.
There is no messy taste to bring the two sides together. Now this is much deeper than sports. In fact he says there is no umpire between us who may lay his hand upon us both and the amplified Bible says would that there were.
Would that there were. I don't know if you've suffered enough to say words like this to the Lord. I don't know how distant you have felt in your own struggles but I don't speak of Job with a harsh feeling. I don't blame Job for saying that.
And I don't think you do either. There are times when the future seems so bleak and the situation so impossible you just long for someone to push a door up in heaven open and to reveal for you the ache of soul that somehow there might be relief brought and a soothing change in your life. Physical pain does it like few other things. Some of you are waiting upon the sick right now.
You can't see any end in view. It's getting worse. Maybe you are indeed the patient. Maybe the victim of the disease.
And you've tried this and that and this and that and nothing has worked and in fact the fever is increasing or the pain is intensifying and you long for a change. You may have a wayward child and you've worked and worked to bring that reconciliation back and you can't do it and you long for this invisible messy taste. This middle man to step in and plead both sides so that there can be harmony like there once was. That's the passion of this passage. The same term appears over in Galatians chapter 3 while we're looking at references of the mediator in the Bible. Galatians 3. Look at verses 19 and 20 of that third chapter. Galatians 3 19.
Why the law then? It was added because of transgressions having been ordained through angels by the agency of there's our word of a mediator until the seed should come to whom the promise has been made. That is a reference to the Savior himself. Now a mediator is not for one party only whereas God is only one. The point is the mediator is for both sides and to see that even more clearly just a quick glance at 1 Timothy chapter 2 and we'll come back to it for a or we'll stay with it a little later for a little more in-depth discussion.
Look at 1 Timothy 2 5. For there is one God, that's one side, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. See the two sides? On the one side there is God.
On the other side there is mankind. And between the two if there ever is going to be a reconciliation there must be the presence of a mediator. The term mediator appears again in the book of Hebrews three other times which we will look at in a few moments. But let me say a word about the theological and practical significance of mediator.
First of all let me say this. On our side of the ledger is nothing but sinfulness, depravity, rebellion, disobedience, unrighteousness. There is an eternal chasm between mankind on earth and the holy God of heaven. On God's side there is nothing but perfection, holiness, purity, righteousness. In fact Jesus Christ when he came to this earth was virgin born for the purpose of being free from contamination. Doctrinally this is called the impeccability of Christ. Impeccability is a term that means sinlessness.
He came to this earth precisely as he left heaven free of sin. The only way it could have happened is through being born of a virgin. The spirit of God implanted within the womb of Mary the very sperm of impeccability from heaven. Nine months later she delivered a child through the natural birth process and a human being was born.
Genius plan. It had to be of a virgin because there could not be contamination. Because this mediator had to be a perfect representation of heaven and yet absolute humanity. So he had human blood, human flesh, human bone structure, human muscles, a human nature, eyes like we, a facial makeup like humanity. In other words he looked like any other Jewish man. No glow over him, no halo, none of that. We artists help us with that by, or they do that to help us understand he was not like all other men.
But you wouldn't know it if you had lived in that day. Part of the reason his enemies hated him so is because he just looked like everybody else. To them he was just another son of a carpenter. Though Joseph had nothing to do with this man's birth.
Nothing. Born of a virgin so that he might represent God to man. And born of a woman so that he might represent man to God. The practical side of all of this is as follows. In order for sinful mankind to know what it is to have peace with perfect holy God, there must be a go between. An acceptable umpire who says, if I may press the point when we slide into home safe. He must be there to say he's safe.
He is accepted. I think of it as a bridge. Our Lord Jesus in his death at Calvary and in his resurrection from the tomb spanned the chasm between God and man. And if you can think of a hill on one side and a hill on the other side representing the perfection of God and the sinfulness of man just in your mind, bridge it with a cross. Bridge the chasm with a cross. And in order for mankind to know and fellowship with holy God, we must cross the bridge. We must come through the mediator.
See the verse? There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. In terms of this mediator concept, there are three essential qualities.
Okay? Number one, the mediator must perfectly represent both parties that are in dispute. Second, the first duty of the mediator is to establish communication between the two sides. And the third thing I would say is that the task of the mediator is to cultivate a new relationship between the two. Instead of suspicion, there is now trust. Instead of alienation, there is now friendship.
Rather than hatred, there is love and understanding. There's much more that Chuck wants to say about this particular name for God. He's talking about Christ our mediator. Please stay with us because Chuck is in the studio with a comment that he's prepared exclusively for our radio family.
It's not an accident that Chuck is presenting this series on Insight for Living right now. Taking time to study the names the Bible has ascribed to Jesus is a beautiful way to prepare our hearts for worship. Who knew that the baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem, would be given regal names like the Alpha and the Omega, the Lamb of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords? And for the next several programs, Chuck will continue this biblical tour on the names for Jesus. Each one provides another reason to lift him up in praise and worship. If you'd like to learn more about this ministry, we'd encourage you to visit us online at InsideWorld.org.
And now here's a quick ministry update from Chuck. Winston Churchill, the venerable Prime Minister of Great Britain, was known to say this about the powerful Soviets to the north. He said, their strategies are like a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Over the last few days, I've been reflecting on Churchill's masterful turn of a phrase. It reminds me of the way some in our generation view the living God. While longing to know Him, they are confounded by His ways. Yes, God's methods are sometimes mysterious. And there are times when we can't seem to figure Him out at all.
But let's be very clear. Our God is not deliberately hiding behind a barrier of mystery. Greatfully, God has made Himself known through His Word, the Bible, and through His Son, Jesus Christ. And at Insight for Living Ministries, we take great delight in revealing the character of our loving God, who came in human flesh to live right here on this earth among us.
We are living in chaotic times these days. Our world is filled with brokenhearted people who are burdened by guilt, confusion, and of course, shame. And I can't think of a better way to celebrate our Savior's birth than to give generously so that others might learn about God's amazing grace and run into His compassionate arms, which are always open and ready to receive Him. Would you join Cynthia and me in giving generously to Insight for Living Ministries? Your personal investment will be deployed to take the good news of Jesus Christ far and wide. Together, through our collective gifts, let's declare its joyful news to the world.
Remember the words? For a child is born to us, a son is given, the government will rest on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Well here's how you can respond to Chuck Swindoll right now. Perhaps the quickest and most efficient way to give is by going to insight.org slash donate. And we're always grateful for those who prefer to call us. If you're in the United States, you can reach out right now and speak to one of our friendly ministry reps by calling 800-772-8888.
That's 800-772-8888. Once again, to give a donation online, go to insight.org slash donate. Thanks so much for remembering that you play an essential role in making this ministry possible. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again tomorrow when Chuck Swindoll describes Christ Our Mediator, right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Christ Our Mediator, was copyrighted in 1988, 1992, and 1998. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 1998 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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