The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 3/23

Posted on | March 23, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 3/23

Scripture reading: John 1:14–18

The Excellency of Christ1

Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah . . . and I saw a Lamb standing,

as though it had been slain. (Revelation 5:5–6)

 

In this text Christ is called both a lion and a lamb. How can one man have at the same time the character of two animals so different? In answering this question, we begin to see the majesty and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. In him is found an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies. A lion excels in strength and power. A lamb excels in meekness, often becoming food for the lion that devours it. But in Christ these two realities co-mingle so that both are present in infinite degree. On numerous occasions in the New Testament we discover this glorious conjunction of furious opposites in the one man Jesus Christ.

,. On the one hand he is infinite in divine majesty, enthroned above the highest heavens. His sovereignty is absolute. But on the other hand he is infinite in condescension and humility. Though existing in the form of God he did not grasp or cling to what was his by right. Rather he emptied himself of all but love and came to serve and give his life for others.

,. He is infinite in justice. No sin escapes his all-seeing eye, and no transgression will be left unpunished. And yet at the same time he is infinite in grace. His deepest joy comes when he forgives sin and welcomes lost sinners into his arms of love.

,. On the one hand he was totally self-sufficient. Being fully God he needed nothing. And yet he was entirely dependent upon his heavenly Father. “I can do nothing on my own,” he said.

,. Jesus was perfect in holiness. He lived a sinless life. And yet in his death he took the sins of the whole world on himself. He became a curse for us.

1 In 1738 Jonathan Edwards preached “The Excellency of Christ” to his congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts. I have taken generous literary license to massively edit and drastically abridge Edward’s masterpiece to fit on this sheet of paper. (The original is 35 pages long!) Hopefully my attempt to repackage Edwards will motivate you to get personally acquainted with one of the greatest preachers in American history. Though he died over 250 years ago, Edward’s sermons still have power to inform the head, warm the heart, and transform the will.

,. No one in history has won a greater victory than Christ Jesus when he conquered sin, death and hell by rising from the dead on Easter morning. And yet no one tasted a more bitter defeat when he bore the wrath and punishment for sin.

What should we learn from this study of Christ and his diverse excellencies? The first and most obvious application is to ask you, my friend, the question: Where will you find a Savior more excellent than this? Jesus Christ alone is worthy of your undivided love and your undying trust! What reason can you possibly give for not putting your faith in him today?

A second application is the startling discovery that Christ wants to reproduce the “excellency” of his character in you! You too can be lion-like and a lamb-like . . . at the same time! If you are his child, then Christ himself lives in you making this genuinely possible. Just as these furious opposites were real in his life, so he wants them to be real in yours! Only when both are present in their passionate intensity will your life have the redemptive impact God intends.

 

Countless mistakes in marriage, parenting, ministry,

and other relationships are failures to balance grace and truth.

Sometimes we neglect both. Often we choose one over the other.

—Randy Alcorn

 

point to ponder Jesus is lamb-like and lion-like at the same time! And he wants you to imitate his example.

prayer focus Strength to be more like Jesus.

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