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6. His miracles most powerfully sanctioned his mission; and hence his authority as a divine teacher, and the weight of his words, when he said, “But I say unto you,” etc.
He said, “Ye sent unto John, and he bear witness unto the truth : But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me.” And,
7. He pre-eminently spake by the Holy Ghost, and hence his speech was without a parallel. When he had read in the synagogue at Nazareth, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” He closed the book; and when the eyes of all were fastened on him, he began to say unto them, “ This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” And as a proof that it was so, it is added,
And all bear him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.”
1. Though in some respects you have not equal advantages with those who literaliy heard Christ, yet in others you are more highly favoured than they ; you can read his discourses, and can refer to them, even if your memory should fail
you. But,2. Look at the end or design of his teaching, and take care that it be answered in you.
“ It is finished.” (John xix. 30.)
So thought the Jews. They had watchfully and unweariedly sought for an opportunity of accusing Jesus
to the rulers and the people, of such things as should rouse the populace to clamour for his blood, and the rulers with courage to shed it. They had now gained their object, and concluded that all their liability to mortification, vexation, and troubles of every sort, was now at end ; but in this they were much deceived, as its accumulated and continued growth was but now commencing.
But to other and more important topics these words are truly applicable. As,
1. Jesus had finished his career of obedience to the law, as man; having fulfilled all righteousness. He had practised every virtue to the uttermost: and this was necessary, or his life had been forfeited for his own personal offences. (Matt. iii. 15.) For,1. As he was man,
he was under law, and obligated to keep it perfectly: and from this obligation he could not have been released, until, as our substitute, he had fulfilled all righteousness, nor have borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
2. As he was to be a perfect pattern to his people, it was necessary that he should fulfil all righteousness, which included both his doing and his suffering the will of God; and in both he fully obeyed. He did his will; he was never idle: “ Wist ye not that I must be about
Father's business ?” “He went about doing good.” “My meat and my drink is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” And he suffered his will: he never shrunk from duty through fear of suffering. “The
Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?” Had he not drunk it, how could he have said, “ If any man will come after me, that is, become my disciple and imitator, let him deny himself, and take
and follow me.” Observe, however, his object was not to provide a finished obedience for his people, such as should supersede all personal obedience on their part; with reverence be it spoken, such a provision he could not make. He
II. Had finished his important ministry to man ;
Having taught as much of christian doctrine as the world could, for the present, bear, or as it could understand, in the present stage of his mediatorial work, it became necessary for him to complete it by offering up himself as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. And having done this, he,
III. Had finished, that is, had accomplished, all that the types and shadows of the levitical economy had indicated, and had, therefore, superseded that economy altogether.
That economy had served many important purposes during its existence. It had been a schoolniaster to bring men to Christ; it had kept alive in the minds of men an idea and an expectation of the great atoning sacrifice; and now that that sacrifice was offered, it was meet that the hand which had pointed to it should disappear; and all in that economy of ordinances which was against us,
“ He took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. (Col. ii. 14.) Let not any suppose, however, that he came to destroy or to undermine the authority of moral law. He came to free it from the false glosses put upon it, fully to explain it, and to give it all possible authority. And having done all this, he had
IV. Finished transgression.
For a moment, when in the garden, he sorrowed even unto death; he anticipated this great deed; and now, bowing his head on the cross, and yielding up the ghost, he finished it. Before this hour, no atonement had ever been made, except in figure ; but now a perfect sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, was presented to God; for all sin, sins past and future. But mark it well, that,
1. He has not finished our salvation, nor will he do it until the morning of the resurrection.
2. He has not finished and so superseded our work. We must hear, read, examine, repent, believe, and obey.
3. He will help us in and through our work if we look to and wait on him for help. "He will strengthen
you with might by his Spirit,” etc. “I can do all things through Christ," etc.
4. Many of you have not begun this work; and my fear is, you will have it to begin when it should be finished, and when it will be found too late to finish it,
5. Remember every man's work shall be tried as by fire. (1. Cor. iii. 13.)
6. How dignified to die with such a work in hand, and in such a state of perfection ?
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. iii. 16.)
It is said that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands. “How should he ? for however excellent they may be in their design, however exquisite in workmanship, or splendid in their decorations, they are far too mean to be the palaces of a Being so glorious in holiness and so great in majesty.
Solomon seemed to doubt if God would dwell on carth, asking, “ Will God indeed dwell on the earth ?” In reply we may in the language of inspiration say,
Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,” and not only with but in them by his Spirit. “ For,” saith the text, “Know ye not,” etc. Here observe,
I. That the Spirit of God is a person,
He has understanding. “He searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Cor. ii. 10.)
He has will. “But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally,” etc. (1 Cor. xii. 11.)
His care for the church shows his personality. “Over which the Holy Ghost hath made you,” etc. (Acts xx. 28.)
His personality appears from the form of baptism in
which the subject is set apart to him as well as to the Father and the Son.
The benediction, (2 Cor. xiii. 14,) shows this matter clearly. But observe
II. This Spirit is a divine person.
He is styled “ Jehovah.” (Heb. x. 15 - 17.) is called “God.” (Acts v. 3, 4.) He is said to be “ eternal.” (Heb. ix. 14.) He is uncreated, the fountain of being, self-existent, independent, etc. : is spoken of as “ omnipresent.” (Psalm cxxxix. 7 -- 12.) As "omniscient." (1 Cor. ii. 11.) As“ omnipotent,' being man's Creator, (Psalm cxxxix. 13 - 16; Job xxxiii. 4,) and the Creator of all creatures and things. (Psalm civ. 30.)
He is man’s regenerator. · Born again of the Spirit.” “Born of God."
From the foregoing remarks we learn what the Spirit of God is; but
III. Where is he? “ Know ye not that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
us, but we cannot know it. What!
1. May he not be known by his work? When we see a palace, do we not know that some architect reared it, and not a brute? And what comparison is there betwixt the Spirit's work and ours ? Ours all bad, and his all good. Every good thought, every gracious inclination, every godly purpose, and every holy action, is from him; how easily then may we know if he dwelleth in us !
2. How can we be ignorant whether he dwelleth in us or not?
Have we ever prayed sincerely and heartily to him that he would come and make his abode with us? We know he does not so come to stay with us without his being invited; he is indeed said to be found of those who sought him not; but this is in special cases only, to furnish peculiar specimens of grace, and is rather to be interpreted as a figure of speech, than as an ordinary