The Present Ministry of Christ
Heb. 7:25 Wherefore 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.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
I read a story about a boy who once asked his father about what is Christ doing up there in heaven. Such an innocent question but the answer would be a little bit complicated. Is the Lord busy up there? What is He doing? Is He still busy preparing mansions for all the saved people? In our text today, I would like tell you about two important terms, the word intercession and advocate. Actually these two words for me are synonyms that is it means the same thing.
A. Intercession means prayer; petitioning; entreating; mediation.
B. In the Bible, It is used to describe Christ’s intercession to God the Father on behalf of man (Isa. 53:12; Heb. 7:25).
C. Advocate is the one who acts in behalf of another. It was used in a court of justice to denote a counsel for the defence, a lawyer. The Lord Jesus Christ is the believer’s Advocate.
Christians are being accused in heaven by our enemy, the devil. Job 1:6-12. However, we have an advocate or a lawyer, our Lord Jesus Christ. When we sin He pleads for us on the ground of His finished work in Calvary. The Christian then receives the Father’s forgiveness for the sake of the Saviour 1 Jn. 1:9. As a lawyer, He never lost a case and will never lose one. In the end He will also be our judge. Our defender will also be our judge. In Christ we are always safe. Our dead loved ones, saints, and Mary cannot be our advocates.
D. It is a name given by Christ three times to the Holy Ghost (Joh 14:16; 15:26; 16:7, where the Greek word is rendered “Comforter”. I would exclude the Holy Spirit today and talk about His ministry exclusively later this year (if the Lord wills).
I. Christ’s priestly office
A. Christ’s priestly office consists of these two parts,
(1) The offering up of himself as a sacrifice, and
(2) Making continual intercession for us.
B. When on earth he made intercession for his people (Lk. 23:34; Jn. 17:20; Heb. 5:7); but now He exercises this function of his priesthood in heaven, where he is said to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:12, 24).
II. Old Testament shadow
A. A priest is a mediator, one who intercedes with a just God on behalf of guilty sinners.
B. Leviticus 4:16-18, the priest bears a bloody sacrifice or a sin offering to the Lord.
III. The Present Ministry of Christ
After His resurrection Christ ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11) where He was exalted once again (Eph.1:20-23; Heb.1:3). He now has numerous functions relating to believers.
A. Christ is building His church (Matt.16:18). He adds souls to the local church and gives spiritual gifts for the edification of its members.
B. Christ is leading His body the Church (Eph.1:22,23; Col.1:18).
Believers in Christ have God as a shield between them and the world’s threatening dangers. No harm can come to them unless the Lord permits it for their own good or the good of others. Many Christians testify that they have been providentially protected in unusual ways
Paul Lee Tan, in his Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, says that on the evening of March 1, 1950, choir practice was scheduled in a local church in Beatrice, Nebraska. When the pastor and his wife and daughter were ready to leave for the 7:30 meeting, they discovered that the little girl had soiled her dress and needed to be changed. So they had to come late. A high school sophomore named Ladona had trouble with her geometry problems and stayed to finish her work, even though she usually got there early. Two sisters were delayed because their car wouldn’t start. Mrs. Schuster normally arrived at 7:20, but that night her mother needed her, so she had to stop there first. One man took a nap and overslept. And so, one after another, the members were detained for various reasons. At 7:25, due to leaking gas, the church blew up! When everyone arrived a short time later, they were amazed to see how their lives had been spared. The fact that all of them failed to come on time—something that had never happened before—had to be more than coincidence. As far as they were concerned, the Lord had been their shield and protector.
Admittedly, this was an unusual occurrence. But it does comfort us to know that whatever happens, we are secure in the protective arms of God’s providence
C. Christ is praying for believers –
1. He prays for our protection from Satan and sin (John 17:15).
2. He prays for our unity (John 17:20-23).
3. He prays for help in our times of need (Heb.4:16).
4. He prays for our recovery from sin and continues fellowship (1 John 2:1).
D. Christ is involved in answering our prayers (John 14:13, 14).
The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn’t know what to do. Napoleon’s massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. The pastor rose and said, “Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord’s resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us.” The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.
E. Christ gives us strength in difficult circumstances (Phil.4:13).
F. Christ is enabling us to be fruitful in ministry (John 15:1-16).
John Wesley’s father, Samuel, was a dedicated pastor, but there were those in his parish who did not like him. On February 9, 1709, a fire broke out in the rectory at Epworth, possibly set by one of the rector’s enemies. Young John, not yet six years old, was stranded on an upper floor of the building. Two neighbours rescued the lad just seconds before the roof crashed in. One neighbour stood on the other’s shoulders and pulled young John through the window. Samuel Wesley said, “Come, neighbours, let us kneel down. Let us give thanks to God. He has given me all my eight children. Let the house go. I am rich enough.” John Wesley often referred to himself as a “brand plucked out of the fire” (Zech. 3:2; Amos 4:11). In later years he often noted February 9 in his journal and gave thanks to God for His mercy. Samuel Wesley laboured for 40 years at Epworth and saw very little fruit; but consider what his family accomplished!
G. Christ is preparing a place for us in heaven (John 14:3).
Christ is offering Himself to be your intercessor and advocate today. Will you refuse Him? Will you place your future into His divine helping hand? If you haven’t received Christ as your personal Saviour now is the time. Tomorrow maybe too late.