A Sermon preached by Dr. Ian Paisley at the 1999 World Congress of Fundamentalists held at Bob Jones University.
Dr. Ian Paisley
O the welcome I have found there,
The picture here is the Christian engaged in the great race. He is on the stretch, and he is stretched. Every iota of strength, stamina, and strain are combined into the effort he is making.
Many dangers and obstacles block his pathway. He could turn back and, alas! forsake his holy calling, and join the vast array of "also rans," if eternal grace prevents him not.
He could be so hampered with weights that all his efforts are already aborted.
He could be tripped up and fall and forever miss the prize of his high calling in Christ Jesus.
Many a servant of God has run well, and suddenly he has been overcome. His energies have been sapped away, his swiftness quickly evaporated and sudden faintness overcomes his frame.
Is there a sure and abiding protection from all these constant impediments to our running so that we might obtain?
Yes, there is!
By fixing our eyes upon the only One Who endured it all and conquered gloriously, we can find the invisible strength which can keep us from fainting.
This is the only strength in weakness, the only burning flame when all furnaces go out, the only restorer in weakness, and the only enabler in the day of weariness.
Hebrews 12:3: "For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners, against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
The contradiction of sinners against our Lord consisted, one—in the charges of blasphemy—imagine thus accusing the Holy One of God, Son of God and God the Son; two; the accusation of treachery—imagine charging Christ the true King of Israel of such a crime; three; the insinuation of speech against Truth and righteousness. Just think of it! Truth incarnate and righteousness untarnished blackened by such spleen; four, gross charges which indicted those who uttered them; five, and malice which was the offscouring of hell—gross, wanton and wicked; and six, hauled before the court and treated like a felon of the lowest order.
Such was the contradiction of sinners against the Son of God.
When it becomes our lot to share ever so little in the reproaches of our dear Master, let us fasten our eye upon Him; and then instead of fainting, we will become stronger than ever in our race for the Kingdom of God. Hear the exhortation. Hebrews 12:3.
If our gaze is in the wrong place, our feet will be in the wrong place.
When I was in the hospital recently and faced what was going to be a long, painful and sleepless night, I thought of this service, and I cried to God for a word for this Congress.
My mind was directed to this text as the remedy for the fainting Fundamentalists of today and the coming days of the new millennium.
I was struck by the use of the name of Jesus in the text—Looking unto Jesus—Consider Him.
Then I asked myself, how many times in this Hebrew letter does Paul use this name when he mentions the person of Christ—not things about Christ but the Person of Christ Himself.
Now I had no concordance available so I had to read again the whole epistle, and I discovered that there are seven such references. They cover the whole mediatorial work of the new covenant of grace, and we are called in each incident to Consider Him.
Let me run through these occurrences.
One: Hebrews chapter 2:9 & 10 Consider Him—Jesus Crucified
Two: Hebrews chapter 4:14 Consider Him—Jesus Identified
Three: Hebrews chapter 6:20 Consider Him—Jesus Qualified
Four: Hebrews chapter 7:22 Consider Him—Jesus Verified
Five: Hebrews 12:2 Consider Him—Jesus Magnified
Six: Hebrews 12:24 Consider Him—Jesus Glorified
Seven: Hebrews 13:12 Consider Him—Jesus Sanctified
ONE: HEBREWS 2:9 & 10--CONSIDER HIM, JESUS CRUCIFIED
"But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
The intimate detail of Holy Scripture is all important. The order of the Holy Spirit in the inscripturation of His Holy Word has within it deep truths which we dare not miss.
Oftentimes because of our knowledge we mistake that a like reference to a certain truth is indeed that truth when it is a truth entirely different.
This is true in my text. Now we are already well acquainted with the exaltation of Christ after the death of the cross. This is set out in Philippians chapter two.
But this reference is to the coronation of Christ by the Father in order to the doing of the Cross.
For the doing of the cross, sinful man crowned Him with thorns, but the Father crowned Him with glory and honour. After the doing of the cross, the Father crowned Him again and highly exalted Him.
In the old Tourney Day when the champions battled, before the fight their lovers alone honored them and gave them their gage--their token, their mark, their colour to wear. Only one person honored them then. But when they became the victor, all arose to hail their prowess and skill and celebrate the victory.
God the Father, the lover of His Son, honoured Him with a special coronation before the cross.
He crowned Him to go forth and perform His Cross-work.
What a scene was that in the heaven of heavens!
The Holy Father crowning His Holy Son for the doing of dark
At that coronation Heaven was silent. Angels were bewildered, not knowing what the Divine wisdom had in store; but, notwithstanding, the Father crowned His well-Beloved Son.
How different the coronation after the Cross. Then uncountable angel throats made the columns of God’s celestial habitation ring with their praises, but sweeter far there follows the blood-washed ones’ redeemed song, the Everlasting Hallelujah Chorus of Praise, "Worthy the Lamb."
TWO: HEBREWS 4:14--CONSIDER HIM, JESUS IDENTIFIED
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."
Jesus—the Son of God. What an identification of Jesus—He is the Son of God. What an identification of the Son of God. He is Jesus.
This surely brought Paul back to the Damascus Road.
What does the infallible record say?
Acts 26: 13-16: "At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;"
The identity of Jesus as the Son of God and this description of Him as such puts beyond doubt the essential Deity of our Great High Priest.
Aaron, the first High Priest, turned from the true faith when he received contradiction of sinners against himself—He made the golden calves and lied about them as if they were miraculously produced. See Exodus 32, verses 22-24.
But our Great High Priest, spotless and unstained, passed into the heavens, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, but identified as The Son of God.
Consider Him. Consider Him. Consider Him, and then you will not apostatize like Aaron but continually and steadfastly, like your Lord, holding fast your profession.
In comparing chapter 3, verse 1, with II Corinthians 9:13, you will discover that your obedience, as a result of your confession, becomes your profession. It is your life conforming to what your lips confess that is your real profession.
Now here we have the grand procession of Jesus passing through the heavens. Just as the High Priest on the great day of atonement passed by those things which represented the heavenly things themselves in order that he might enter within the veil, so our Lord Jesus, having done the work represented by the brazen altar, having established the purity of the laver for His people, having laid the table for His elect, having initiated the burning candlestick, the church, having offered the sweet smelling odour on the altar of incense, passed them all and entered the holiest of all. He passed through to pass in.
Consider Him, my beloved, He is greater than the heavens and exalted far above them.
Hebrews 7:26: "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens."
In the day of darkness, testing and trial, look beyond the veil—it is rent asunder so that you can look in as well as enter in.
God in all His love made known;
O the glories that surround there
Those accepted in His Son!
Who can tell the depths of bliss
Spoken by the Father’s kiss.
Hebrews 4, verses 15 & 16: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities: but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
THREE: HEBREWS 6:20--CONSIDER HIM, JESUS QUALIFIED
"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
What a glorious qualifier the Lord Jesus is, qualified to dispel all fears and give us eternal hope.
He is called here by a special name, a word which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament—the Forerunner.
What an expression! He is a runner. Nothing could stop Him. No obstacle could impede His progress. He carries all before Him. He bringeth good tidings.
He is a Forerunner, a representative of a great number who are coming after Him. He announces their names and guarantees by His person in Heaven already that each one of them shall be there forever.
Then suddenly a name is called into the story—that of Melchisedec.
Who is He? He is a high priest without an altar, offering, sacrifice or successor.
The Cross is over, the sacrifice is offered and accepted, the work of redemption is complete, Jesus is called of God a High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec—the High Priest with no successor.
This creates a hope which is as an anchor of the soul entering into that within the veil.
Consider Him, the Blessed Forerunner, when the hour is overshadowed with evil and no man cares for your soul.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark,
With nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades
Into deep night shades
Does He care enough to be near?
Oh yes He cares; I know He cares;
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long night dreary,
I know my Saviour cares.
FOUR: HEBREWS 7:22—CONSIDER HIM, JESUS VERIFIED
"By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament."
We come now into the Covenant teaching of the Hebrew letter. This word, translated testament, occurs 17 times in this book of Hebrews. Each reference demands careful study. See Matthew 26: 28.
The Old Covenant was not able to accomplish redemption.
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh." Romans 1:3.
The surety of the Old Covenant was ourselves. We were responsible to meet its demands and reach its standard of righteousness. But by the deeds of the law no flesh could be justified in God’s sight. We have all come short of its requirement. "There is none righteous, no not one."
But the Old Covenant has been removed. The message of this book is this: ‘He taketh away the first that He might establish the second’ (Hebrews 10:9).
But, Who will go surety for us to meet all the obligations and requirements of the first violated covenant, to endure the torments of the damned and pay the full price of sins and so secure our escape from all our debts.
Ah! Here we have the answer: ‘By so much was Jesus made the surety of a better testament.’
‘By so much’—what was the price to be paid—what were the steps to be taken—how were the legal obligations to be discharged—how can God remain a just God and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus?
By so much—the priesthood had to be changed, the Aaronic priesthood of Levi’s tribe ended forever.
By so much—the law must be upheld. The sinner must have recourse to a substitute, its debtor to a surety.
‘For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law’ (Hebrews 7:12).
By so much—there must be a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, for the law made nothing perfect! (Hebrews 7, verses 18 & 19).
By so much—an oath made and the eternally continued priesthood must be established. This man Jesus has an unchangeable priesthood. He continueth forever for He is made with the Oath of God.
By so much—in order that there can be no failure, there must be a surety who stands in to fulfill all the obligations required and the sacrifice demanded. Jesus made a Surety. Here is another title which only occurs in Hebrews.
When I was a boy in Sunday School, I was taught an old Gospel hymn:
My God I have found the thrice blessed ground,
Where life and where joy and true comfort abound.
‘Tis found in the blood of Him Who once stood
My refuge, my safety, my Surety with God.
He bore on the tree the sentence for me
And now both the Surety and sinner are free.
Accepted am I in the once-offered Lamb.
It was God Who Himself had devisèd the plan.
And this I shall find, for such is His mind,
He’ll not be in glory and leave me behind.
Hallelujah! Thine the Glory!
Hallelujah! Thine the Glory!
Revive us again.
Consider Him—Jesus Verified--as your Surety. He takes full responsibility.
He discharges His task. He’ll not be in Glory and leave you behind.
FIVE: HEBREWS 12:2—CONSIDER HIM, JESUS MAGNIFIED
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
We come now to the fifth reference which prefaces the great exhortation,
In chapter eleven we have the great cloud of witnesses. We are not exhorted to look to any one of them. They can bring us no real strength in the hour of temptation. All of them had their weaknesses as well as their strengths. They are commended here but in other parts they could equally well be condemned.
No, in the testing hour we are to look away from them.
Christ stands alone as the sole head of the train of faith and heroes.
Note carefully the titles ascribed to Him. We have seen already, He is the Forerunner, the Surety now, He is the Author and then the Finisher of our Faith.
Before Him was set the joy; before us is set the Blessed Jesus Himself.
He is the Author—the Beginner. He takes the first place. Hence He is the Captain of our Salvation. First in rank, first in place. Hebrews 2:10. Finisher—Perfecter. Again, this is the only place where this title occurs in the New Testament.
All will work out exactly as the Lord decrees it. The Author is the Perfecter and the Perfecter is the Author. He occupies the throne. He is Sovereign.
Remember the thrust of the chapter is chastening. The way is not easy. The path is not smooth. To partake of His holiness necessitates the rod. ‘He to our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness’ (Hebrews 12:10).
Consider Him—let your eye see His patience and passion and follow Him to the Mount Zion, for there the peaceable fruit of righteousness will be
eternally manifested. He is your magnified Lord.
SIX: HEBREWS 12:24—CONSIDER HIM, JESUS GLORIFIED
"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
To understand the sequence of the glories of Heaven and their number, you must keep your eyes on the "ands." They are the number markers.
Let me show you.
"But ye are come unto Mount Zion
and (1) unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem
and (2) to an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly
and (3) church of the first born which are written in heaven
and (4) to God, the judge of all
and (5) to the spirits of just men made perfect
and (6) to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant
and (7) to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel
Have you noticed the double description in each separate glory?
- the city of the living God the heavenly Jerusalem
- the innumerable company of angels the general assembly
- the church of the first born whose names are written in heaven
- to God the judge of all
- to the spirits of just men made perfect
- to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant
- to the blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things than that of Abel
Each two-fold description is vital to the understanding of the glories of the city of God.
In any seven the fourth stands central.
The fourth here is God the judge of all
It is the city of the living God.
Only those judged of God are worthy to enter in.
Notice the first three:
In the city of the living God we come first to the angels, then to the
church, then to God.
Notice the last three:
We come first to the spirits of just men, then to Jesus, and then to the
Jesus associated with His precious, precious blood, the blood shed in order to be the blood of sprinkling, the blood shed in order to be the blood of speaking.
No wonder Dr. Bob said in one of those bursts of eloquence so natural to him: "The blood fuels the glory of Heaven."
The apex of Heaven is Jesus and His blood.
Note the human name which concludes the description—Abel—the first redeemed one to enter Heaven, a martyr to the Faith of the Blood Religion.
O, my Beloved, consider Him in the darkest hour of earth’s testings. O
blessed Jesus, Thy blood, thy blood alone, brings this sinner to Heaven.
SEVEN: HEBREWS 13:12--CONSIDER HIM, JESUS SANCTIFIED
"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."
We have not yet arrived in the glory. We still have to walk in the wilderness of sin and territory occupied by the great enemy of our souls.
Where is Jesus in relationship to organized religion in this world of ours?
He is not within the camp of the world religion. He is an outsider by will and by intention. He is not a stay-inner. He is the great come-outer.
He is the great anti-type, the fulfiller of the Mosaic type.
"For the bodies of those beasts whose blood was brought into the sanctuary by the High Priest, for sin, was burned without the camp. See Leviticus 4:1-21; Leviticus 16:27.
Wherefore Jesus also that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.
Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp bearing His reproach."
If we are going to Consider Him, we must be where He is.
Where is Jesus? He is Jesus Sanctified—Separated—Apart—on His own.
Go back to His High Priestly prayer in John’s Gospel chapter seventeen: "Sanctify them through Thy Truth, Thy Word is Truth—
"And for their sakes I sanctify Myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth."
Would we set ourselves apart for God and Truth as we enter the new millennium? Then let us go unto Him without the camp—without
the camp of the world’s religion, without the camp of the world’s theology, without the camp of the world’s philosophies, without the camp of the world’s fellowship, without the camp of the world’s politics, without the camp of the world’s scholarship, and without the camp of the world’s applause.
Outside the camp unto Thy great Name
Draw me O Lamb of God.
Far from the world with its sin and its shame
Hallowed is every sod.
Outside the camp ‘tis a lonely place,
Outside the city wall.
There on Thy breast let my soul ever rest
Outside the camp with Thee.
There is a battle to be fought—we must battle our way outside the camp (verse 13)
There is a burden to be borne—"bearing His reproach" (verse 13)
There is a bond to be broken—"Here we have no continuing city" (verse 14)
There is a beyond to be achieved—"We seek one to come" (verse 14)
There is a blessing to be enjoyed—"by Him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (verse 15)
The beckoning hands of the world, the honeyed words of the flesh and the prompting of the Devil all unite to keep us from the contemplation of Jesus Sanctified.
Let us turn from them and Considering Him be drawn under His arm for protection and close to His breast for affection.
Let the millennium find us—
‘With open face beholding in a glass the glory of God—changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of God’ (II Corinthians 3:18).
‘Walking in the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’
(II Corinthians 4:6).