Text: 1 John 2:1-2
Title: "Where God Meets Man: At The Cross"

Subj: Christ's work of propitiating God on the cross.

Introd: The Bible says, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor. 1:18)

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness..." I believe that we, as born again believers, have done a great disservice to our God, and to our fellow man. I believe that we have over emphasized the love of God to such a degree that the lost cannot conceive of the wrath of God. I believe that we have so presented God's love, that sinful man cannot believe or accept that that same God who is said to love them will punish them with an eternal, unbearable hell. Therefore, "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness..." Why worry about what happened on a cross 2,000 years ago if God loves everyone? Why worry about judgment and hell if God loves all sinners?

There is only one verse in the New Testament, that I know of, that directly says that God loves the lost world. It is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world...". (The other 6 N.T. verses that speak of God's love for man all refer to those already saved, though they do have some application to the lost.) The word "world" in Jn 3:16, means "the order of God's created universe, which includes the living place of man, and finally man himself as he operates in God's orderly creation." God loves what God created despite mans' sin! Further, this love that God has for His creation, including man, is not some sentimental, emotional attachment. It is God's attribute of self-sacrifice (so God gave His only begotten Son) to those in need, without regard to their response. So God does not simply "love" sinners, but loves that which He created and that which He desires to redeem.

Truly, "God is love" (1 Jn. 4:16), but God is also a jealous God Who is angry at sin. And because only sinners sin, God is angry at sinners! "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men..." (Rms. 1:18). God hates sin! "The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Ps. 5:5) Eph. 2:3-4 "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Though God is love, love does not and cannot forgive sin. Though God is love, love does not and cannot overcome wrath. God's justice and holiness demands punishment for sin, and God's wrath must be satisfied!

Sinful man can never satisfy a holy God, Who, by His nature is separate from sinners. Only God can satisfy God, and that in the Person of Jesus Christ. Here is the central message of the cross, God satisfying God in Jesus Christ. And if God can be satisfied in Christ, the deepest longings of your heart can be satisfied in Christ.

1 Jn. 2:1-2 -- "Where God Meets Man--At The Cross" -- prayer

I. JESUS CHRIST, OUR PROVISION AT THE CROSS (v1a)

Note: Sin is our problem and Christ is our provision There is no other answer for the sin question.

A. Saved Us From the Penalty of Sin
Ez. 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die..."
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Cor 15:3 "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;"

B. Saved Us From the Power of Sin
Rom 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Romans 6:14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."

C. Saved Us From the Presence of Sin
Rom. 7:24 "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

1. At the catching away
1 Thess 4:16-17 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

2. At death
1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

D. But He Did Not Save Us From Our Ability to Sin
1 Jn. 1:8,10, 2:1a

1. Commanded us not to sin ("that ye sin not") 2:3
2. Provided for us when we sin ("if any man sin" = a single act)
a. Cleansing blood (1 Jn. 1:7)
b. Advocate (see below)

Note: Just because we sin does not mean we should give up attempting not to sin. Just because there is cleansing in the blood does not mean we should sin lightly. Don't give up trying to live holy and don't give up if you sin! Not only has Christ made provision for our sin problem at the cross, but His work on our behalf continues.

II. JESUS CHRIST, OUR ADVOCATE AFTER THE CROSS (v1b)

A. "Advocate" = He who has been or may be called to help; a representative of another, especially in a court of justice, a legal assistant. This term is used of both the 2nd and 3rd Persons of the Trinity, here of Jesus Christ, and in Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 of the Holy Spirit, where it is the Comforter. There is one advocate (paraclete) with us that we may not sin (2:1a), and another with the Father if we do sin (2:1b)!

B. Why We Need an Advocate in Heaven
1. We are sinners by (sin-) nature choice.
2. Our adversary the Devil accuses us in heaven
Rev. 12:10 "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

C. What Kind of Advocate Do We Have?
1. General advocate ("any man")
a. Will intercede for any lost man desiring to believe on Christ
b. Will intercede for any believer in general
2. Personal advocate ("we have" [a present reality])
a. Will intercede for you
3. Powerful advocate ("with the Father")
a. Because of His Sonship
John 1:18 "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
b. Because God loves Him
John 10:17 "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."
c. Because of Christ's sacrificial death and shed blood
Hebrews 9:22 "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (setting free)."
Hebrews 9:14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God..."

Note: "With [facing] the Father" = When we sin, we break our fellowship with the Father. Christ has perfect fellowship with the Father. Therefore, He pleads our case based on His precious blood to bring us back into fellowship. When we sin, "the Lord Jesus must "face" the Father with us and our sin. Don't sin!

4. Righteous advocate (v1c)
a. "Righteous" = one who thinks right and acts right according to God's standard. For Christ, it is perfect agreement between His nature and His acts, something man does not have.
Hab. 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity..."
Heb 7:26 "For such an high priest (Christ) became [fit for] us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens"

III. JESUS CHRIST, THE PROPITIATION ON THE CROSS (v2)
A. "Propitiation" = the turning away wrath by an offering, satisfaction

Note: Christ's death has two aspects. First and foremost, it was God-ward, second, it was man-ward. The death was toward God, but the benefits were for man. God was angry at sin, and could not look with favor upon man the sinner. God's wrath had to be satisfied before any man could even have the opportunity to be saved. In the O.T. God's wrath was temporarily satisfied, and mans' sins were temporarily covered by the sacrifice of an innocent animal. Thus the yearly Day of Atonement. Do you remember the 2 men in the Temple (Lk. 18:11-13)? The self-righteous Pharisee giving God a run down of his religious activities, and the publican crying, "God be merciful (propitiated) to me a sinner." But by the sacrifice of the spotless "Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world" God's wrath was permanently satisfied to the degree that God could now look with favor upon man's cry of repentance and faith in Christ, because His justice was propitiated. That is why "no man cometh to the Father but by Me."

The first aspect of Christ's death on Calvary did not "atone" (cover) man's sin, it did not "expiate" (cancel) man's sin, it "propitiated" (satisfied/appeased) the wrath of God in regards to man's sin-nature. Christ's death first satisfied the wrath of God in regard's to man's sin, as God's wrath was poured out upon Christ. All the benefits of that sacrificial, substitutionary death then accrue to man when by "repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ," man comes to trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ for salvation.

B. The Propitiation
1. "He [himself] is" = Jesus Christ
Rom 3:24-25 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood..."
Heb 2:17 "Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (propitiation) for the sins of the people."
a. A continuing propitiation ("is")
b. A personal propitiation
1) For our sins
1 John 4:10 "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

Note: Do you appreciate the work of Jesus Christ on the cross on your behalf? Are you living and serving Him and Him alone? Backsliding is nothing more than a fading of Christ's work on the cross in your heart!

2) For the sins of the whole world
1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
a) "The propitiation is as wide as the sin" (Bengel)

Note: Satisfaction of God's wrath is found in Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness of your sins is found in Jesus Christ. You cannot satisfy God by anything you do, for you are the reason for God's wrath! You cannot find forgiveness of your sins anywhere but in Jesus Christ, for "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," (Acts 4:12) "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth" (Philip. 2:10).

Concl: The work of Christ made it possible for God to meet man at the cross. God's wrath is directed toward sin and sinners, but Christ's work met each and every requirement of a holy God. He was our provision against our sin. He is our advocate before the face of the Father. He is our continuing propitiation/satisfaction before the Father, Who has and continues to turn the wrath of God from before us.

We all deserve God's wrath, but many of us here have received God's mercy and forgiveness. Have you? Are you sick and tired of your sin? Are you willing to repent, confess and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Do it today, do it now!

Christian, what sin will cause Christ to have to face the Father, again, on your behalf? How much longer will you live in disobedience to Christ? Many of you need to repent of your sins today. Many of you need to restore that sweet fellowship you once enjoyed with the Father? You come in obedience.

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