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The Validity of the Gospel Message and Jesus Christ

And this is the gospel that we declare. He says,"this gospel," verse 2, "which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning his Son, who was born of a descendant of David, according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead according to His Spirit of Holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord." So he says, "Hey, I'm preaching a message, you want to know how you can validate the message of Christitianity?" [And here pastor Mark goes on to validate Christianity, just as Paul would, for both Jew and Gentile alike. Verse 2 of Romans 1 is important, for you can validate all these details in the Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in the New Testament.] You'd only have your head buried in the sand if you just believe me because I said, "Believe this." Why should you believe what I'm telling you is the truth? Maybe you're here like for the first time today, and you're not used to being around a bunch of Christians. Maybe some of the lingo for sure [you're] understanding. But you're sitting there, saying, "Well, this sounds good, but how do I know this is true?" Let me tell ya, you see Paul started out this way. He said, 'Look, the gospel that I'm bringing you, this message that I'm declaring, this Good News has been verified by what the ancient prophets said in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. You want to know if this is authentic gospel? Look! Look at what the Old Testament prophets promised. And look at how this man Jesus Christ fulfills it.' That's all you gotta do today, to know whether Christianity is the truth or not. You see, Christianity wasn't something that some guy came up with one day. Jesus didn't appear on the scene and say, "Mmm, I'm going to start a new movement, and they can call it--I'll take the name Jesus, and my last name will be Christ. And people will call themselves Christians, and I'm going to die, and you know,'--that's not the way it happened. A whole bunch of guys didn't get together one day and decide to write this 'book.' This is 66 different books, written over a period of thousands of years--by dozens of authors! And those prophets predicted this must be true of the Messiah. He will do this, he'll do this, he'll do this, he'll do this, he'll do this, he'll do this! Over 300 predictions they made, and the true Messiah must fulfill all 300 of them. If he misses one, he couldn't be the true Messiah. And see, the awesome thing is, gang, how many of you know how to show or why you are a Christian from the Old Testament? We don't. But, you know, the early Church, the first place they went, to preach the gospel in a new town, was to the synagogue, and they went to the Jewish synagogue. Why? Because they had the Old Testament, and they're saying, 'Fantastic, If we've got the Old Testament, we can prove Jesus is the Messiah!' But how many of us can do that, Huh? 'Oooh, the Old Testament, I've….' Hey, Paul says, 'This is the gospel, that the Old Testament prophets predicted--Jesus Christ--and we proclaim him!' Well, what did the Old Testament prophets say about the Messiah? Well, first of all they said that he'd be a real man, not a 'Christ-consciousness' from Bell Rock, but he'd be a real man. You don't need peanuts to find him. You can just know him through his Word--a real man. They predicted that he would be a Son of David. It says right here, "concerning his son who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh." Why is that important? Because the Old Testament prophets said he had to be able to trace his genealogy back to David. The Bible said he would come as a baby, Isaiah 9:6, that he'd be born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2, that he would somehow get to Egypt, Hosea 11:1, and that he would spend his time ministering in Galilee by the Jordan, Isaiah 9:1.

I think about Jesus Christ, I think, 'Well, could he have controlled where he was born? No. You can't control where you are born. But where was he born? In Bethlehem. Can you control who your relatives are? No. (Someone telling me they were doing genealogical work on their family, and they were looking for some famous relative, and they found one. A real crook! They stopped doing any genealogical work after that!) But I mean, you can't control who your relatives are. Jesus couldn't have controlled who his relatives were unless he was the true Messiah. And yes, you can trace his lineage through Mom or Dad [his step-father] back to David, and back to Abraham, which was important. And yes, he was in Egypt for awhile, and they had to flee to Egypt when Herod was going to kill all the baby boys. And then he came back, and lived in the area of Galilee, and that's where Jesus' major ministry was found. The Old Testament also promised that the Messiah would die. Isaiah 53 declares that the Messiah would suffer for our sins, he would be bruised, he would be crushed, he'd be pierced through for our iniquities. The chastisement of our well being would fall upon him, that he would be scourged, whipped. The Bible predicted the Messiah would die. Look at Psalm 22, verses 1-18. Psalm 22:1-18 is a fantastic prophecy. It's sort of neglected. It is awesome, because it is the experience of the Messiah on the cross! It is awesome. Let me tell ya, crucifixion wasn't even invented at the time David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote Psalm 22--crucifixion had not yet even been invented. But here is a graphic description of crucifixion. What did Jesus cry on the cross? "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Why does he say that? Well, for one thing, because your sins were put on him. But secondly, so that you would stop and think, "Oh, wait a minute, he's claiming to be the Messiah, the Messiah who dies." Psalm 22:1 says, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Verse 6 says, "But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised of the people. All who see me sneer at me, they separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 'Commit yourself to the Lord, let him deliver him, let him rescue him because he delights in him.'" Very sarcastic things would be said when this Messiah dies. People would stand around him wagging their heads, sneering at him, saying, 'If God delights in you, if you're the Messiah, let God deliver you!' What was said at the cross?--those very words. What did the mob around him do? They sneered at him, they mocked him, they made fun of him. Read on in verses 14 and onward. "I am poured out like water, all my bones are out of joint. My heart is melted like wax, it is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd." You water a plant in real pottery and it [the clay pottery] sucks up the water and your plant can still die…He says, 'I'm so thirsty it's like a clay pot that's sucking all the water out of me.' He says, "and my tongue cleaves to my jaws, and now they slay me in the dust of the earth, for dogs have surrounded me. A band of evildoers has encompassed me. They pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones, they look at me, they stare at me. They divide my garments among them. And for my clothing [cloak, a fine garment he had] they cast lots." Interesting isn't it? The Old Testament prophets predicted the Messiah would die. How? He would die with a mob around him sneering at him, making fun of him. Somehow his hands and feet would be pierced. Interesting thing, that when you crucify someone, and after somebody's been whipped and beaten like Jesus was, fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy, you go into shock. He'd lost so much bodily fluid, so much blood that he was totally dehydrated. His mouth and tongue were dry. He cried out, "I thirst." When you're crucified your shoulders go out of the sockets, they go out of joint. When you're crucified you're hanging there, everybody can wag their tongue at you. There's nothing you can do. It's interesting that you count all your bones, you know, when you're hanging like that. It says they would gamble for his clothing. What happened to Jesus' seamless garment [cloak]? The soldiers gambled for it, didn't they? All this is coincidence??? Not on your life!!! Jesus is the Messiah!!! He is the Christ [Greek: "anointed one"]! It said that his heart would be poured out like water. To make sure he was dead, what did they do? They pierced him with a spear through his heart and his heart poured out water and blood. [Medically, it is known that crucifixion will cause the chest cavity to fill with water-like fluid from the body.] I mean, can you get more of a fulfillment of this prophecy than that? No! But that's not all. The Old Testament prophets also predicted that the Messiah would rise from the dead. Look at Isaiah 53, he wouldn't just come as a baby, born of a virgin in Bethlehem, live in Galilee. But he also would die. He would not just die being pierced through, being crucified, having his clothing gambled for, but he also would rise from the dead. It's right in the Old Testament Scriptures. All you have to do is see it. Verse 8 of Isaiah 53, "By oppression and judgment he the Messiah was taken away, and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off, out of the living…" That means he died, right? "…For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due." In other words, he died, [and] when he died, he died in the place of somebody who deserved that death. He wasn't dying for anything he deserved, he died for you and me.

Then he would be buried, verse 9. "His grave was assinged to be with wicked men, yet with a rich man in his death." Where was Jesus buried? In a rich man's tomb. "Although he had done no violence, nor was any deceit found in his mouth." But, O.K., he died, was buried, "But the Lord was pleased to crush him, putting him to grief, if he would render himself as a guilt offering," which he did, "if he would do that, he, the Messiah, will see his offspring, he will prolong his days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper his hand." Wait a minute! In verse 8 he died, in verse 9 he was buried, but in verse 10 he's living again!?! Yes!!! The Bible teaches in the Old Testament the Messiah would die, he would be buried, but he would rise from the dead! David said it in Psalm 16:10, "For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol," the grave, "neither wilt thou allow thy Holy One to undergo decay." In other words, when the Messiah, the Holy One died, he wouldn't be dead long enough to even begin to decay!

What is the gospel? That Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, that he was buried--that he rose the third day according to the Scriptures. According to what Scriptures?--the Old Testament prophets. So the promise was that the Messiah would come. He'd be a real living Messiah, not a Christ-consciousness, not some weird thing of people bumping into everybody--a real person, the Messiah, a real man. He'd come, he'd be a baby you could hold. He'd grow up to be a man you could touch! He would be put to death, not for his own sins, but for the sins of those who believed in him. He would rise from the dead, and then very significantly the Bible teaches in the Old Testament prophecies, that this Messiah was none other than God himself! He wasn't just a godly man, he was the God-man. They promised that the Messiah was the Son of God. The Son of God!?! God has a Son? Yeah! Look at Proverbs 30, verse 4. God has a Son. The Old Testament says he does. Proverbs 30:4. "Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has wrapped the waters in his garment? Who has established the ends of the earth?" Well, who has, guys? God! Right? "What is his name, or his Son's name? Surely you know?" Ooh! I love it, don't you?! Well what's his name? It's God! What's his Son's name? It must be the Son of God!

Alright, let's move on. Isaiah 9:6. A lot of you have got this memorized. A lot of you who aren't even Christians, you know what this is because you hear it around Christmas time. It says, "For unto us a Child will be born, unto us a Son will be given. The government will be upon his shoulders..." And it goes on to say, "His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Jesus' name everybody agrees that this baby who comes is Jesus the Messiah. His title is Mighty God. I got this bone to pick with those [who] go door to door, you know, they got to tell you that Jesus isn't God! The Old Testament in Isaiah 9:6 says he is Mighty God! Aww, they say that means he's 'a mighty god, you know, he's not really God! He's mighty.' Have you ever seen these people? They could get out of anything--Houdini's scripturally. Look at Isaiah 10. Isaiah 10 verses 20 and 21--)Ooh! Thank you, Lord for giving us Isaiah 10! O.K., we know the Mighty God is Jesus, right, Isaiah 9:6? We know that's Jesus, everybody agrees there. Now verse 20 [of Isaiah 10]. Let's see who the Mighty God is. "Now it will come about that in that day that the remnant of Israel, and those of the House of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord,…" That's YHVH! That's Jehovah! That's what that word is in Hebrew. YHVH, Jehovah, "The Holy One of Israel. The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God." Who's the Mighty God? Jehovah, the Mighty One of Israel. Who's Jesus? Jehovah, Jesus is Jehovah. You cannot get around it. Jesus thought it was important enough to just tell you in John chapter 8, that "unless you believe that I AM", and he meant 'that I am God, "you shall die in your sins." [Also the Lord, YHVH, gave one of his names to Moses as "I AM."]

I'm not going to cut you any slack on this point, because I care about you. Like the doctor said, 'Unless you stop doing this, you're going to die.' You say, "I don't believe you." O.K., go get a second opinion, that's fine. Unless you stop doing what you're doing you're going to die. The Bible says that unless you believe that Jesus is God, you will die in your sins. You cannot be saved unless you believe that he is God. You've got great evidence in the Old Testament Scriptures. It's not just something the New Testament Church came up with. It's not something Paul came up with. It's something that has its' roots in the Old Testament. It is there because God predicted the Messiah would come, he would die, he would be buried, he would rise again, and he would be God the Son. Hallelujah! What a neat gospel we've got gang! Paul tells us that gospel is all about who? It's concerning his Son. Back to Romans 1, verse 3. This gospel which Jesus fulfills, this gospel which the Old Testament Scriptures says has to be this, this and this--he says this gospel Jesus meets the requirements of--the Old Testament Scriptures--this gospel is concerning his Son. The message we preach as Christians, listen, is "Jesus Christ," not ourselves--but Jesus Christ. The world is looking, longing for Jesus Christ. They could care less about us. They want to hear about him. When Christ is presented they will be drawn to him. We need to get back to being a Jesus people as Christians. We need to be a Jesus Church, where who we know, who we love, what we're all about is Jesus Christ. Amen. People ask you, "Well, what are you?" "I'm a Jesus person." "No, I mean are you a Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Church of Nazarene, Church of Christ, Church of God, no what are you!?" "I'm a Jesus person." "No, you don't understand what I mean. I mean, what are you, you know?" You say, "I'm a Jesus person." "What kind of Church do you go to?" "A Jesus Church." "Must be some kind of cult, must be a cult."

The gospel we proclaim, the gospel that you're going to find in the book of Romans, meets the Old Testament requirements for the truth. It is the truth. Jesus said, 'You'll know the truth, the truth will set you free.'

…This morning [or day] maybe you've heard the truth [or read it here] for the first time. You feel the Spirit of God drawing you to Jesus Christ…That's just another evidence that what I'm saying is true--because he is alive. Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he's alive. Because he's God he can be everywhere at one time, and yet with you right now like you're the only person in this room…This is the truth. You need Christ, he can change your life. I already recounted to you all the people who've been changed by the gospel proclaimed in this book. You can be added to the list today. Today you can have your sins forgiven, today you can have peace with God. Today you can cease trying to climb up those stairs on your knees. And you can believe the Word of God that says, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." If you cry out to Jesus Christ right now, if you're ready to admit a couple of things, #1, that you're a sinner, you've missed the mark, you're not perfect, you're not holy and you know God is. #2, If you're ready now to admit that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, you've seen the evidence, you see it fulfilled from the Old Testament predictions, then thirdly (#3), you need to give your life to Christ, you need to say, "Hey look, I need that Saviour, I need him. I need the way of God's salvation. 'God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that whoever, that's you, whoever would believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.' [John 3:16] The Bible says that 'whoever has the Son has the life, and whoever does not have the Son does not have the life.' "These things I write unto you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you might know that you have eternal life." You can know today, that you have eternal life in Jesus Christ. How? Very simply by opening up your life and asking Jesus to come in. Jesus said at the end of the Bible, 'Behold I stand at the door and I knock. And if anyone hear my voice and will open door, I'll come in.' I'll come into your life and I'll be your friend for life."

[This is a word-for-word transcript of a sermon given by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church, P.O. Box 39607, Phoenix, Arizona 85069. I have used this sermon transcript as an introduction to the expository studies based on sermon notes on the book of Romans, chapters 1-8.]



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