Sermons

What If Jesus Had Never Come?

Sun, Mar 01, 2020
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:26 mins 25 secs

Message text

What If Jesus Had Never Come?
1 John 5: 11 – 12 & Colossians 1: 15 – 16

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who shared a passion for art with his son. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet & many others adorned the walls of the family estate.
The widowed father looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. But the day came when war engulfed the nation, & the young man left to serve his country. After only a few months, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to safety.
One morning a knock came at the door of the old man’s home, & when he opened it, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package. The soldier introduced himself by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.”
“I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “& I want to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, it revealed a portrait of his son.
Though the art critics would never consider it a masterpiece, the painting did feature his son's face in striking detail, & seemed to capture his personality. And because of that it became more precious to the old man than any of the others in his collection.
A few years later the old man became ill & passed away. The art world was in anticipation! According to his will, all of his art works would be auctioned. The day arrived, & art collectors gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings.
The auction began with a painting that was not on any art collector’s wish list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Time passed with not a sound from those who came to buy.
From the back of the room someone called out, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a portrait of his son. Let’s get on to the important paintings.” There were other voices which echoed in agreement. But the auctioneer replied, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?”
Finally, the old gardener of the estate said, “I knew the boy, & I’d like to have it, but I can only bid $50.” “I have a bid for $50,” called the auctioneer. “Will anyone go higher?” After a long silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once. Going twice. Gone.” The gavel fell.
Cheers filled the room & someone was heard to say, “Now we can get on with the auction!” But the auctioneer looked at the audience & announced that the auction was over.
Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone demanded, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of the old guy’s son. What about all the other paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! What’s going on?”
The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to his will, the father stipulated that whoever gets the son gets it all.”
In essence, this story reminds us of God’s greatest gift – Jesus, His Son. And the message that this story proclaims is still true - whoever has the Son gets it all. Well, listen to what the Bible says:
“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12)
Yes, if we have God’s Son, Jesus, we have life – eternal life! But this evening I want to say that through Jesus God has given us even more - so much more!

I. The Life of Jesus LEADS US TO KNOW WHAT GOD IS LIKE

A. First of all, The Life of Jesus gave us a living picture of who God is. Christ’s coming put a face on God so that we can know what God is like.
The Bible says, “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven & on earth, visible & invisible...” (Colossians 1:15-16)
God came to earth wrapped in a human body. God came to live among us so that we might know what He is truly like. He came to teach us. He came to die for us that we might be forgiven.
He rose from the dead to help us know that we too will be raised. He ascended to the Father to intercede for us. He promised to return so that eternal hope would burn in our hearts. He opened the doors of heaven.

B. Imagine what the world would be like if God, as Jesus, had never come to earth. We would not have the music that speaks of the love of God and our praise to God.
Harvard & Yale & many other colleges would not exist, because they were started as Christian institutions of higher learning.
Most of our hospitals would not exist, because they were begun by people who had hearts full of compassion for those who were ill, due to their personal experience with Jesus Christ & being transformed by His love.
Our way of dating historical events would be completely different, since all of history is divided into the things which occurred before Christ came & the things which occurred after Christ came.
We would have only a partial Bible, & we would have no hope. There would be no churches.

C. Without Jesus, Mary Magdalene would have died in her sin. Matthew, the tax collector, would still have been considered a traitor by his countrymen. Peter, James & John would have done nothing more with their lives than fish for a living.
The people who needed healing during that time would still have been broken in body & spirit. The lame would still have been lame; the blind would have remained in darkness; the deaf would have lived in silence.

D. We would never have heard the words: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Or, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) And “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
This is why we sing about Emmanuel - “God with us”. He was with us over 2000 years ago, & He is with us now. We have a God who cared enough to come. As far as I know, No other religion in the world can make that claim.
He showed us what God was like. His nature is love. He was a friend of sinners. He showed love & compassion to the outcasts of the world. He healed the sick & raised the dead.
He taught us not to use the values of this world to determine our worth, for He said, “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16)
ILL. Some of you have seen “The Antique Road Show” on television. Often people who have paid a few dollars for an item at a garage sale come asking for an evaluation of its worth.
Then we see the look of shock & joyful surprise when they learn the item is worth much, much more than they paid.
When I see that happen, I think of how God takes people who are not seen as valuable by the world & places a very high value on them, because that is the kind of God He is.
The outcasts of society seemed to be His specialty. The sinful & sick, the poor & weak were the people He pulled out of the trash & transformed into a treasure.
SUM. And because Christ showed us what God was like, we want to be like Him.

II. CHRIST REVEALS THAT OUR SINS CAN BE FORGIVEN
Secondly, Christ reveals that our sins can be forgiven.

A. Think for a moment of the worst thing you have ever done. And then think of what it would be like if Jesus had not come. We would have no relief from guilt. It would always be hanging over our heads.
But since Jesus came, we know the freedom that forgiveness brings. We can forgive ourselves & others because we have experienced the forgiveness that Jesus Christ came to give us.

B. But if Jesus had never come, we would have only commandments to follow, & we would never hear these great words of the New Testament:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
We would be missing a Savior. There would be no talk of reconciliation with God, only laws to be obeyed. “Grace” would not be a word in our vocabulary.
We would talk about “justice,” & people “getting what they deserve,” rather than finding mercy & forgiveness with God.
If Jesus had not come, the woman caught in adultery would never have heard the words: “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)

C. But it is about more than just forgiveness, it is also about transformation. Christ came not only to cleanse us, but to change our hearts & our lives.
The Bible says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord . . .” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
It is God’s desire that we are being transformed into His character, His likeness, more & more with each passing day. His Holy Spirit is working in us to reproduce His image in us.

III. CHRIST GIVES US THE HOPE OF HEAVEN
All of this is for one grand purpose, which leads to the third & final point - Christ gives us the hope of heaven.

A. Heaven was made possible by Jesus. Think what the world would be like if there was no hope of heaven. What would you say at the funeral of a loved one if Jesus had not come?
The Bible says, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
There would be no hope of hearing the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)
There would be no hope of a resurrection. There would be no eternal life. Nothing to anticipate - except the closing of the casket & the coldness of the grave.

B. But because Jesus came, all that has changed. We live in joyful anticipation of what is yet to come.
Christ has given us the gift of heaven. At this point it is still wrapped. But the package has our name on it. And we wait longingly for the day when we will enjoy the gift of heaven in all its unwrapped wonder, & when we will hear the words:
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
ILL. About 100 years ago, someone published a remarkable story entitled “If Christ Had Not Come.” The story told of a minister falling asleep in his study and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.
He walked outside & saw no church building.
When he came back into the house & sat down in his library, he realized that every book about our Savior had disappeared.
Then the doorbell rang & a messenger asked him to visit a friend’s dying mother. When he entered their home, he saw his friend sitting & weeping, & he said to him, “I have something here that will comfort you.”
He opened his Bible to look for a familiar passage from the Gospel of John, but was shocked to see that his Bible ended with the book of Malachi.
There were no Gospels & no promises of salvation, hope, or the resurrection. All he could do was bow his head & weep with his friend in bitter despair.
Two days later he stood beside her coffin & conducted her funeral service, but there was no message of comfort, no words of a glorious Resurrection, no promise of a home awaiting her in heaven. There were only the words: “ashes to ashes & dust to dust”, & one long, sad, eternal goodbye.
Finally he realized, in his dream, that Christ had never come, & he burst into tears, weeping bitterly.
Then suddenly he awoke, & a shout of joy & praise burst from his lips as he heard the following words being sung:
"I’d rather have Jesus than Silver or Gold, I’d rather be His than have riches untold...
I’d rather have Jesus than have houses or lands, I’d rather be lead by His nail-pierced hands...
Than to be the king of a vast domain, or be held in sin’s dread sway...
I’d rather have Jesus than anything, this world affords today!
Yes, because Jesus came, we can know what God is like. We can experience the forgiveness of our sins & the transformation of our hearts & lives. And we can have the hope & confidence of eternal life & a heavenly home. What better gifts could we ever imagine than that which God has given?
INVITATION

Based on a sermon given by
Melvin Newland

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