Our current teaching series with Chuck Swindoll has been about the biblical names for Jesus. And along the way, we've talked about Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We've studied the word Messiah and the Alpha and Omega. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck presents the 12th study in the series called His Name is Wonderful. In this final presentation, we'll explore the deep significance of Christ's role as our advocate as He represents us before the Father in Heaven. Chuck titled his message, We Have an Advocate. It's easy to forget that when John wrote this letter, he was up in years.
He was old enough to be perhaps a great grandfather. And he begins, My little children, I'm writing these things to you that you may not sin. If anyone sins, maybe you will, maybe you won't on a given occasion.
But if you do, we have a parakletos. This is the only time in all the Bible that Christ is referred to as our advocate. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. Our major concern in life is how will I be represented before the eternal God of Heaven?
And as a child of God, you can relax. We have an advocate, even if we sin. Jesus Christ is qualified to enter the eternal throne room of God the Father and represent the child of God. In fact, He is seated in that throne room at the very right hand of the Father.
How is He qualified? Verse two, because He Himself is the satisfaction. The word propitiation could be rendered satisfaction. He is the satisfaction for our sins and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. When He paid the payment for sin, He paid the payment in full, not for a few, but for the whole world, says in verse two. So our Savior speaks on our behalf. Kenneth Wiest writes, Our advocate does not plead that we are innocent or adduce extenuating circumstances. He acknowledges our guilt and He presents His vicarious work as the ground of our acquittal.
Now get this. He stands in the court of heaven, a lamb as it had been slain. Revelation 5, 6.
And the marks of his sore passion are a mute but eloquent appeal. I suffered all this for sinners and shall it go for naught. You remember singing that grand hymn, My Hope is in the Lord? Remember singing the second stanza? That, by the way, is a hymn worth memorizing. It should memorize all the stanzas in My Hope is in the Lord. That ought to keep you busy for a day or two of this week.
Just commit it to memory. My hope is in the Lord. In the second stanza we read, And now for Me He stands before the Father's throne. He shows His wounded hands and names Me as His own.
Isn't that great theology? He is with the Father in the throne room and when sin occurs and there would otherwise be an accusation of guilt against us, He shows His wounded hands to the Father and He names Me as His own, written on the scars of His hands. He's the satisfaction. Why is it that God listens? Because verse 1, He is the righteous one. He is our mediator.
We learned about that last time. He has satisfied all the righteous demands of God against sin. That's why He is called our propitiation. And therefore He is able to represent us.
Just a little tidbit here you'd miss if you weren't looking real closely. Look at this verse that says He is with the Father. We have an advocate with, verse 1, the Father. That little word with means face to face.
Isn't that neat? He isn't in a distant relationship, calling out to God, hoping to reach us. He is face to face with the Father.
And in a face to face relationship, He is the ultimate point of accountability and there He pleads our case. You know what this reminds me of also? Reminds me of the grief it brings Him. We read in the scripture that the Holy Spirit is grieved on occasion. Quenched when we walk against God's will, but grieved when we sin.
It is easy to over learn sound theology. By that I mean to so learn your rights as a child of God that you begin to live a presumptuous life without concern for holiness. To be so secure in your salvation that you have lost the sense of responsibility of walking with the Lord in the light of His word. Never forget that every sin that comes to the attention of the Father is a grief to Him. Is a grief to the Holy Spirit.
He takes His wounded hands and names me as His own. He represents me, but with the representation there comes the pang of sorrow. Why is all of this so essential?
Well I think of three reasons it's essential. First of all it's essential that we have an advocate because we continue to sin. See up in chapter 1 of 1 John here. Look at verse 5.
There's a series of conditions in verses 5 through 10. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you that God is light. And in God there is no darkness at all. Now look at the conditions. If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness we lie.
And we don't practice the truth. Here's another condition. If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light we have fellowship with one another. And the blood of Jesus His son cleanses us from all sin. Here's a third condition. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Here's another condition. If we confess our sins, ah now we're getting down to it. If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You know that's one of the first verses I learned as a young Christian. The man who taught me the verse said think of this verse as a Christian's bar of soap.
Isn't that a good tip? Think of it as a bar of soap. Just like every day you step into the shower and you grab that bar of soap to bring cleansing to your body. So when sin enters your life you grab that bar of soap.
Don't wait. Don't let them stack up over the weeks and then go back and try to filter through them. Address them as they occur. It's called keeping short accounts with God. Something tragic occurs and I want to speak especially to you who are engaged in ministry professionally. Something tragic occurs when you begin to traffic in unlived truth.
The Bible is our textbook and biblical truths are our fodder for growth. We speak on behalf of the Savior. We represent spiritual things.
We marry and bury. We sing and we preach and we pray and that's expected of us. Before long it can become a perfunctory exercise that increases the callous of our souls. How beautiful it is to be with people who are exceedingly professional in their work. Exceedingly skilled in their ministry but sensitive to the things of God. Sensitive to sins when they occur. Quick to acknowledge wrong. To own up to the fact that they are at fault. To make amends.
To ask forgiveness of one another and to claim forgiveness with God. We have an advocate and we need one because we keep on sinning. Here's a second thought.
We need an advocate because we are weak and we need extra strength to press on. Hold your place here and go back to the book of Hebrews chapter 7. Maybe you haven't thought about this for a while and I'm going to bring it back to your remembrance. Hebrews 7 25 and Hebrews 9 24 make similar statements. 7 25 Hence also he is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him. Since he, this is Jesus, always lives to make intercession for them. That's Hebrews 7 25. He lives to make intercession for them.
Chapter 9 verse 24 is another. Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands a mere copy of the true one. That's what the earthly priests did.
But into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us. Imagine this divine courtroom. Imagine this absolutely holy judge.
Imagine what it would be like for you and me to come with the trappings of our lives and stumble into that courtroom to represent ourselves. Why he couldn't even acknowledge our presence. He cannot fellowship with sin. There is the Lord Jesus our advocate with scarred hands and feet representing us and interceding on our behalf. When we are weak he intercedes for our strength. When we came by faith to the Lord Jesus he interceded on our behalf and he underscored our names in the book of life.
He wrote them in permanent ink. He did it for us. No one else qualified. It's essential that we have an advocate because we continue to sin. It's essential that we have an advocate because we are weak needing extra strength. It's essential that we have an advocate thirdly because we are continually being accused.
Perhaps you never knew that. We are continually being accused by our adversary. From 1 John go to the book of Revelation chapter 12 verse 10. We're slipping toward the end times as we get to Revelation 12.
I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come. For the accuser of our brethren, mark that, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down. He is the one who accuses them before our God day and night. When I think of the basketball season, I often think of a scene that's very familiar nowadays.
When one of the players commits a foul, the opposing side will go you, you, you, you, you, you, you, and it just gets louder and louder and the dear God on the court feels like it's going to cave in on it. The accuser, you, you, you, you, you, you, but Christ comes, me, me, my blood, my blood, my, mine, mine, mine, and he cancels out the accusation. If he weren't there, God would have to listen to the accuser. Jesus stands in our stead and backs him off as our advocate. He nullifies the accusations of the adversary. Praise his name. That is a magnificent work that hardly any Christian knows. The accusations that we deserve to have announced across heaven, he silences with his presence.
Listen to these words. A special object of thanksgiving is the fact that Satan no longer will have personal access to God, which privilege he has abused for ages by continual accusations against the redeemed. Of course, when such accusations are made, no doubt often justified in part, though probably also distorted and magnified, the Lord Jesus is our intercessor and advocate, and his blood is a perpetual offering and cleansing agent for our sins. Nevertheless, Satan's repeated presence and disturbing charges against fellow believers still on earth constitute an intensive irritant in heaven, and great will be the exultation when he is finally deposed completely.
I can't imagine the final scene when the adversary of our souls is cast into the abyss, forever silenced. It will be our moment to shout, You! You! You! You! You!
for the last time, and it will be sealed. We have an advocate, and it is Jesus Christ the righteous. There are lasting benefits.
Are you ready for them? I've written down four of them. First, we have been justified before God because we have an advocate. Fellow sinners, listen to this, we have been justified before God.
You know what that means? Justification is the sovereign act of God whereby he declares righteous the believing sinner while we are still in a sinning state. He declares righteous the believing sinner though we are still in a sinning state. That, my friend, is the grace of God.
Our advocate does that for us. Second lasting benefit, we can continually claim forgiveness from our sins. You see, this is what turned the corner for Martin Luther. He, the reformer, had learned his theology at the feet of the prelates of the church and wound up as a monk in a cell wallowing in his guilt and in his sin.
Oh my sin, my sin, my sin, by the hours! He could never get beyond his sins until the light of Romans broke upon him and he saw Christ's intercessory power. He saw the priesthood of the believer. He saw justification by faith and he saw his sins forgiven. And his cries of guilt turned into songs of praise.
Christ, Christ. We have a continual basis of forgiveness because of Christ's advocacy. The third lasting benefit, we gain strength in the midst of our own weakness. The next time you feel a sense of fading strength, focus on your advocate in heaven and call on him for strength. He'll give it. We have, we gain strength in the midst of our weaknesses.
Knowing our own frailty, he intercedes for us. There were a couple of mornings recently where I felt like, the weight is too heavy, the pressure is too great. There is no way I can do today what's expected of me.
I happened to be away at ministry at, one time it was at Forest Home and another time it was up at Mount Hermon near Santa Cruz. And I was on that day and I had to be one of the speakers that day. I didn't feel like speaking. I long to have had something to change the schedule. Even a little earthquake wouldn't have bothered me.
Just something to make somebody say, we won't have a speaker this morning. But it didn't happen. And I distinctly remember getting out of the shower and getting dressed for the morning. I skipped breakfast that morning, it was my discouragement and depression was so great. And I just asked for strength. I told the Lord I have it in myself, I absolutely have run out of answers. I feel like my vitality is drained away like the psalmist writes.
I feel like I am spent. And you know by the time the hour came for us to have worship and instruction together, it was like I was a new man that had been placed inside me. It's the work of the Holy Spirit.
It's the work of the Advocate. He came to my need. He strengthened me.
He'll do that for you. The fourth benefit that's lasting is that we live confidently in spite of an adversary's accusations. We live confidently in spite of an adversary's accusations. It does a number on you when you know that somebody's accusing you, doesn't it? Especially when you know you have to look them face to face or look them in the eye or run across them or you may see them.
And it's just the presence does a psychological number on you. And there is a confidence that comes in a wonderful way from the work of Christ, our Advocate. He isn't just busily engaged as important as it is in the throne room with the Father, but he is continually moved with the feelings of our infirmities.
Do you know that? The psalmist writes, This shall everyone that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found. Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
You are my hiding place. You shall preserve me from trouble. You shall compass me about with songs of deliverance.
That's the psalmist's words. And then the Lord answers, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go. I will guide you with my eye.
Think about that. Someone who guides you with their eye, they're silent. There's just the movement of the eye.
And you go in that direction. I will guide you with my eye. That means we need to be very, very sensitive when we walk with Christ. He doesn't shout from heaven, ring bells and blow whistles.
He moves his eyes. And in a very sensitive manner we move quietly with him just like the movement of the cloud or the fire in the days of Moses. Let me lead us in a moment of prayer.
Would you bow with me please? Some of these truths may be new to you and you may be hearing them for the very, very first time. Or maybe it's been a long time since you've had this brief lesson or deep lesson in theology. You have an advocate. You have the righteous one who pleads your case. There is no sin that will blot you out of God's love or presence. Though it grieves him, he doesn't cancel his relationship with you because of it, if you have Christ. If you haven't the Savior, of course, all of this is theoretical knowledge.
You must come first to Christ to claim these benefits. Lord, teach us again the joy of walking with you in a sensitive way. May the truth of your word bring light and encouragement to hearts that would otherwise be heavy, dark, and confused. Thank you, dear Father, for giving us peace through music, through quiet meditation, through teaching, through deep stormy experiences that we weather, through surprises, and through your still, small voice that speaks to this day, often in the middle of the night. Thank you in Jesus' name.
Amen. Now, taking the time to study the names the Bible has ascribed to God is a beautiful way to study his word. If you'd like to learn more on your own, or if you'd like an interactive document for your small group Bible study, you'll find the Searching the Scriptures study notes for this series online when you go to insightworld.org slash studies.
Just look for the series called His Name is Wonderful. Now, on the next program, we're going to step into a celebration of Christmas. Chuck has set aside the entire program to worship our God in sacred music.
You'll thoroughly enjoy hearing these Christmas performances by the Stonebriar Community Church and Orchestra. And right 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. Gratefully, 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. And here's how you can respond to Chuck Swindoll right now. 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. Or again, you can give a donation online by going 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. Tomorrow, our entire program is devoted to celebrating Christmas through majestic music.
Join us Wednesday here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, We Have an Advocate, 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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