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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke



Part the Second Of the Sermon

By John Albert Broadus

Co-Founder of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Reader's Note: This sermon is a chapter in my Book, John Albert Broadus:

Prince of the Southern Baptist Pulpit.

Bible Passage:

"And of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." Acts 25:19

Part the Second

Men rise up in every successive age and say science has at last discovered—they seem to imagine that science will never make any discoveries after their age—science has at last discovered certain facts which are incompatible with the Old Testament. Jesus declares the Scriptures cannot be broken, and I believe that whenever physical science has truly interpreted the works of God, which is only partially done as yet as every thoughtful man knows, and philological science has rightly interpreted the Word of God, that people who are prepared for it will see that there is no conflict. In the meantime, the conflict we hear so much about grows out of the hasty conclusions of those who but partially understand God's workings, and still more partially understand God's providence. Jesus says that the Scripture is God's Word and cannot be broken and I am content. I am dependent upon no man's knowledge. Let knowledge come and welcome, only when it comes to be knowledge then we will turn to God's Word and study the passages and we will see about the so-called conflict.

So trusting [this] Jesus, we make sure concerning the miracles he wrought. People say, and it is not an unnatural question, how do you know but that the persons who witnessed the miracles of Christ were deluded, not to say deceivers? Well, much might be said about their character, and about the fact that both friend and foe united in bearing witness to these things, but apart from all these Jesus himself declared, over and again, that he did work these miracles by the favor of God, and who is going to say that he was deluded and who is going to say that he was a deceiver? His character bears testimony to the reality of his miracles, and his character and his miracles like two sides of an arch holding each other up, support the whole fabric of Christianity. Against his character, all human opposition breaks and is shattered like surf against a rock. The few men that have ventured to try to say something against the character of Jesus, their tongues have not been palsied but their words have been manifestly weak and vain.

It is not strange that the history of Jesus himself, the center of Scripture, has come to be the great subject of inquiry among the friends and foes of the Christian religion. In our time you have all noticed how many books have been written in the last generation on the life of Christ—the like of it never seen before—in Germany and France, in England and America. There is a work about to be published now in this city about the life of Christ, more elaborate in some respects than any before published. And why so much of this [is written]? Because the world is beginning to feel that Jesus is the center of Scripture; that Christianity is in the world and the character and the work of Jesus himself. The men who question its power and who deny its authority are coming to see that Christianity is in the world though, and has been a mighty power in the world, and though often grievously perverted and misdirected, is on the whole a beneficent and blessed power, and they have got to account for it. That means study the history of Jesus.

Yea, Jesus is the whole fact. The proud young French king said, you remember, when someone spoke of the State, "I am the State," but, not with arrogance, not with egotism, in simplicity and truth, Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the life." Jesus is the gospel. The gospel is not a creed simply, is not a society of priests, the gospel comes to us embodied in a person. Jesus is himself the gospel; receiving him we receive the power of God unto salvation. Have we a right to think lightly of Jesus who is the most important personage of the world's history, who is the center of the Scriptures?

And thirdly, Jesus is a being unique in the universe. God the pure spirit, is only God, and man, strange being that he is, is only man; but Jesus—the Scriptures require us to believe it—Jesus is both, truly God and truly man. I do not wonder that persons shrink away from that fact, it is stupendous, it is inconceivable in one sense, yet it is the plain teaching of God's Word. He is not simply a man; he has risen from us to divinity. He is not simply God taking upon him some outward semblance of humanity. He is truly God and truly man - truly each. His divinity: why friends, it lies plain on the surface of God's Word. Plain people, unsophisticated, who just read it right along and take it as it is, cannot well help seeing that I pray you remember, God's word was not written for learned divines, for skillful commentators, for skeptical inquirers, God's word was written for the people. It is a handbook for practical guidance.

Therefore, whatever lies plain on the surface of God's Word, not in one phrase alone but in many places, that is exceedingly apt to be what is meant. Bible learning is all a good thing in its place, but after all if we want to get practical truth for our own guidance out of God's Word we shall be most likely to get its meaning more clearly and truly if we take the plain meaning of the passage that lies on the surface to any unsophisticated observer. You might as well pluck the throbbing heart out of this bosom and call what is left a living man as to take the divinity of Jesus Christ out of this book and call the rest God's Word. It is set forth in a thousand ways in all parts of the Scriptures and if anyone should ask me to mention three or four passages why here they are: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us . . . [He was] full of grace and truth" [Gospel of John 1:1; 14, KJV]. And when Thomas after his long doubting was convinced, he cried, "My Lord and my God" [Gospel of John 20:28, KJV]. If he to whom he said it had been a mere man, he would have shrunk from such an idolatrous utterance, but he commended him for saying it.

Part the Third to follow in a few days.

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