For the sake of illustration, let’s step back to where we are, not where we could be if we wanted to be. When I speak, there is a tiny microphone receiver which takes my words to a little box on my hip. Inside that box there is a transmitter which then sends my voice to a receiver, which then sends it to an amplifier and on to our dual deck cassette recorder. In other words, that transmitter takes what I give to it and sends it on to its designated recipient.
As I was slowly reading Romans 1:8 the other day, it occurred to me that I often skip over three words here. Those three words, as common and simple as they might be, are actually quite significant. But I skip over them, just as most of us do when we read them – and also when we pray. But, in some ways, everything that we have, or hope to have as Christians, are dependent on what those words are describing.
Paul was telling the church in Rome that he was praying for them. Throughout all of his letters he expressed that same thought. He was constantly thanking and praising God for those to whom He was writing. And there were dozens of specific things for which he was thankful to God when he thought about it. He also told his readers that he prayed for many things on their behalf. For example, he requested that the Ephesians’ knowledge of the Lord would continue to grow. He prayed that the Colossians would walk worthy of the Lord, with patience and longsuffering. He prayed that the Thessalonians would grow in brotherly love, sanctification, comfort and stability. He besought the Lord with specific and important requests for the readers of every one of his epistles. And all those prayers were in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” as this one is. The Lord Jesus has taught us: “Whatsoever ye shall ask IN MY NAME, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing IN MY NAME, I will do it.” So as Christians we quickly learn to conclude our prayers with a reference to the Name of the Lord Jesus. Whether we actually think about the meaning and implication, we use that formula in some fashion or other.
But I’d like to submit to you this morning that when Paul said, “I thank my God THROUGH Jesus Christ for you all” that he was thinking of something much more than just invoking a right or privilege in Christ. As we make a survey of the scriptures, we find that “through Jesus Christ” is not just like sticking a stamp on an envelope addressed to heaven. It is through Christ that our prayers are spiritually transmitted – sent, carried and conveyed – to God. “Through Jesus Christ” is much more than just using the Lord’s authority or permission. It is more accurately, the actual transmission of that prayer or the blessing. These words are used in a dozen other contexts and they sometimes mean much more in those cases.
For example, Christ Jesus is the transmitter of divine grace towards man.
Okay, we are all sinners and worthy of eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire. That is a doctrine so rudimentary and fundamental, that it is mentioned here almost every Sunday. What the average man, doesn’t understand are the depths and extent of that sinfulness. We are dead in trespasses and sins, making us completely incapable of doing anything pleasing to God. Despite what proud sinners might think, there is absolutely nothing that can reconcile us to God. There is no gift that any man can give; there is no deed that he can perform. He can’t even properly repent of his sin before God, because spiritually he is so far gone – dead. Even his faith, enabling him to trust in Christ, is a gift of God’s grace.
But in the eternal plan of God, Jehovah Himself took the steps necessary to save a handful of us sinners. “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Every professing Christian knows, and believes, that Jesus is the Saviour. It was His sacrifice, and His blood, which covered the sins of the believer. In His death, when His life was given up, that life was given over as eternal life to the Lord’s elected souls.
Leviticus 16 describes the Jewish Day of Atonement. A great many details are given to us there about the ceremony and ritual of that great day. For example, we are told that the High Priest, who was usually attired in the magnificent clothes of his office, on that day had to put on the white linen apparel of the common priest. And despite the fact that what he would do that day would be for the entire nation of Israel, first he had to approach the Lord as the sinner he was. There was a number of sacrifices made on that day, some of which were for the High Priest personally. And in Paul’s analysis of the Day of Atonement, he pointed out that the High Priest wouldn’t dare approach the throne of God without the proper sacrificial blood.
And this is my point: Every God-proscribed sacrifice in the Old Testament was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every sin-offering, trespass-offering, Passover lamb & Atonement Day bullock or goat represented Christ. And through those sacrifices atonement was made for man before God. Ultimately it was God Himself who was making that atonement for us – through Christ Jesus.
Titus 3:4-7 is a nice, neat, concise statement of our salvation – listen carefully: “After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly THROUGH JESUS CHRIST; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” “Through Jesus Christ” in Titus 3 are exactly the same words as those in Romans 1:8. Jesus is not only the sacrifice necessary to save our souls, He is the means by which it is transmitted.
Ephesians 2 has another summary of the gospel: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 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. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places IN CHRIST JESUS.” The word translated “IN” Christ Jesus, is the same which is translated “through” in Romans and Titus. We have been made to sit together in Heavenly places through Christ Jesus. Then two more times here we are told about the transmission of the Lord’s blessing to us through Christ. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace IN his kindness toward us THROUGH Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
There are a multitude of other essential gracious gifts that God has bestowed upon us through Christ Jesus. Listen to Galatians 3 – “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles THROUGH Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” In the next chapter of Galatians we have an extremely wonderful statement: “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, tTo redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God THROUGH Christ.” The saints of the Lord are joint-heirs of Christ’s blessings and glory. And it’s not just because of Christ; it is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Every Christian should have memorized Romans 6:23 whether he wanted to or not, because he has heard it so many times: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord.” The gift of eternal life is transmitted to the sinner through Jesus Christ our Lord. It’s not “simply” (if that is the right word) it’s not simply that Jesus gave His life that we might live. It is through Him that life is communicated to us.
We could certainly go on and on talking about various aspects of salvation which have been given to the saint of God through Christ, but the Bible also talks about a great many other rich and fabulous blessings which are ours – communicated to us through Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds THROUGH Christ Jesus.” Later in that same chapter Paul said, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory BY Christ Jesus.” The tiny word “by” is the same Greek word as in Hebrews 13:20 and all the rest of the verses to which we have referred. Hebrews 13:20-22 – “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, THROUGH Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
There is a word which I haven’t used this morning, because, although close, it is not exactly the same thing. But Christ Jesus is our “mediator.” A mediator is another kind of transmitter, but with a specific scope and mission. A mediator is someone who brings conflicting parties together – He brings about a reconciliation. Strong defines the Greek meditor as “one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant; A MEDIUM OF COMMUNICATION, arbitrator.” In Hebrews Paul spends considerable time describing Christ as the mediator between God and men. Without Him we have no access to the Holy God, but with Him we do. In Romans he said, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
What I am trying to do this morning is bring your attention to our absolute dependence upon the Lord Jesus. We need the Lord for the biggest things in our lives – such as eternal life and salvation from sin. “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” But we also need Him for the tiniest things. “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Hopefully, I’m not telling you anything that you haven’t learned before. Hopefully, you often worship the Lord in the light of these things. But now let’s turn our transmitter around.
Christ Jesus is the Christian’s means of transmitting back to the Lord.
I have already referred to the fact that Paul was full of prayer to God for others. Roman 1:8 is not the only place where he tells us that his prayer and praise was transmitted to the Father through Christ the Son. “First, I thank my God THROUGH Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 7:25 – “I thank God THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 15:17 – “I have therefore whereof I may glory THROUGH Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.”
Not only does the Lord Jesus communicate God’s grace and salvation to us, He is the means by which WE communicate with Jehovah. Both Christ and the Holy Spirit are intercessors working on our behalf. In a sense they are working for us in prayer as we pray.
Not only is our access to the Lord in prayer made through the Saviour, everything that we do in worship and service is transmitted to God through Christ. Let’s say that you ladies decide that the quilt that you are making, should be sent to the President of the United States. You cover it with emblems of your faith in Christ, and you embroider it with some scriptures. You may think that it is the finest quilt that you have ever made. When it is finished you box it up, write a nice card to put in with it, you address it to the White House, and you take it to the post office for delivery to Washington, DC. I just about guarantee that the President will never see it. There is so much fear in our world today, that the more powerful a person is, the more fear there is that surrounds him. That box of yours will be intercepted by the secret service; sniffed by dogs and machines, x-rayed, and cat-scanned. Then if the experts deem that it is not a threat to the President, it might be thrown into a storage vault and kept safe until the opening of the eventual Presidential library. However, if while on a trip to Spokane, the First Lady should stop, and some of you ladies are given the opportunity to meet her. If you already have that quilt made, and you put it into her hand as she gets back on the plane…. If you have a special means of conveying that gift back to the President, it just might reach him. It’s not about the gift or service itself. It’s all about who you know and how you are connected.
That access is precisely what the Christian possesses in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you want to worship God in singing or playing a spiritual song? Then give it to the Lord Jesus. Send it to the father, through the Lord Jesus Christ, just as Paul did this prayer. Do you want to honor the Lord with your tithes and offerings – then give them in the Name of Christ. It’s not the size of the check that makes it valuable; it’s how it is conveyed to God. “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all IN the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” There’s that word again – “in” – “through the name of the Lord Jesus.” Do you wish to bear fruit that will please God? Then listen to the Lord Jesus in John 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Let me give you one more verse with that same word in it. Paul said that he wouldn’t talk about want or needs in his life, “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things THROUGH Christ which strengtheneth me.” There is only one way to do the things which please the Lord, and that is through the Lord Jesus. There is only one way to be delivered from your sins – through the Lord Jesus Christ. As far as Spiritual things and eternal things are concerned – it’s all about Christ.
In that light, are you absolutely sure that you are a saint of God through the death, burial and resurrections of the Lord Jesus Christ? Isn’t it time that you threw yourself at the foot of His cross in repentance and faith? “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”