A Sermon Preached by Mr. Hazelton, At Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell Street, Clerkenwell, On Lord’s-Day Evening, 23rd July, 1876.
There are two things in these words which should have our attention for a few minutes this morning. First, two great leading doctrines of the Gospel—the in carnation and the resurrection of our Lord: “Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel.” Then, secondly (and, perhaps, I shall not say much on that point), the Apostle’s advice or exhortation: “Remember this.”
In the first place we have to look at the two cardinal doctrines of the Gospel, the incarnation of Christ and His resurrection. I have called these the two principal doctrines of the Gospel, because I think if you put them together, you will see that they include or involve all that is vital to our salvation. The incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, includes the whole of His life here on the earth and His resurrection, of course, includes the facts that He suffered and died; for had He not suffered and died, and been buried, we should have heard nothing about His resurrection from the dead. And, therefore, we have here in the text before us this morning, the great fundamentals of our religion, or the foundation on which the church of the living God is built. I do not intend to tarry long on the first point, and for this reason, I am frequently bringing before you the incarnation of our Lord, and I do so because it is a theme I dearly and deeply love.
“Till God in human flesh I see,
My thoughts no comfort find;
The holy, just, and sacred Three,
Are terrors to my mind.”
I cannot bear the thought of approaching abstract Deity, and I never sit down to puzzle and perplex myself by trying to think about a God out Christ. It is our mercy that Jehovah is in Jesus, and that Jesus is Jehovah; that the infinite and everlasting God is in the man Christ Jesus, and that we shall see Him in that glorious Man in heaven, for ever and ever. I will, however say one or two words on this point. ‘‘The Lord Jesus, of the seed of David!” We will not trouble ourselves with any thoughts on the point, that the Apostles did not say of the seed of Adam, nor on the fact that Christ is called elsewhere, the seed of Abraham, or of Isaac, and Jacob—he here speaks of Jesus Christ as the seed of David. Now, of course, this means his humanity. It means that Jesus Christ was, as pertaining to His human body, the Son of David. This indicates the humanity of our Lord, and this is that blessed doctrine which we call the incarnation of Jehovah. The incarnation of Jehovah! Those words are very weighty and comprehensive. Jehovah incarnated, or in the flesh! “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh.” Taking two or three simple thoughts which appear to be upon the surface of this subject, we will then pass on to His resurrection. Our great Lord is represented as of the seed of David, to indicate the fact that He is one of the people, or that He is one of us. Oh, is it not a blessed fact, that He that sits upon the throne, at the right hand of His Father, is one of ourselves; that we are his flesh, connected with him by ties which, though close and tender, are divinely and omnipotently strong! I have said, God anointed one chosen out of the people. In what respects is Jesus Christ one of the people? He is our brother, and we do not speak metaphorically, for the Word of God uses not figurative language when it represents Jesus Christ as the elder brother of the family of Divine grace. He is our brother, and is not ashamed to call us brethren; and the period is coming when He will say, “Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me.” Our glorious Christ is the keeper of God’s children. Cain said to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Jesus Christ is the keeper of all that family of which He is firstborn. He saved them, bled for them, and died for them. He is responsible for all the seed of David: for their life, their safe arrival in heaven, their coronation, and their glory in that better world. He is one with us as to relationship, then; for I do not know how Jehovah could be related to us as a Father, without the complexity of His Son, Jesus Christ, or how the great God could be in covenant with us without the humanity of our Lord. The distance between the human and angelic natures is very great, but that between the Divine and human, or between Deity and man, is greater still. But this distance is all filled up satisfactorily and eternally, by the complex person of the great and blessed Son of God. And, therefore, He is one of us, because He is our brother. But we go, if possible, a little farther than this. He is one of us as to curse and condemnation. I fancy some one saying, Are you not going too far when you represent Christ as one with us in sin, in curse, and in condemnation? He knew no sin, and was utterly incapable of committing it, and his spotless and pure humanity was all that the strictestjustice and the purest holiness could possibly require. But the Lord “made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him and, therefore, this Son of David, this glorious Brother of the family of grace was one with us in relation to sin. He took our place and our sin and received the punishment that was due to us; and being identified with us as our brother, he made himself responsible for the presentation of a spotless, and pure, and perfectly justified family. One with us in condemnation too; for the condemnation that follows sin, that is the result thereof, reached, surrounded, and overwhelmed Him. He was baptized therein, and swallowed it all up for ever and thus He was one with us as to condemnation. And blessed be His name He is one with us as to justification and salvation. This doctrine of union to the Christ of God, is one of the greatest and most glorious facts contained in the Word of God. All our comfort, our hopes, and the certainty of our salvation flow therefrom. Christ Jesus, the seed of David, is one of the people and will be identified with them for ever. He is one with us in eternal salvation through suffering.
Dear Christian brethren and sisters, what was there in the life of Christ here on the earth that was not connected with your salvation and mine. He was born to suffer and to save. He lived to suffer and save. He was a man of sorrows to save. He went about doing good to save.
“Cold mountains and the midnight air,
Witnessed the fervour of His prayer;
The desert His temptation knew,
His conflict and His victory too.”
As soon as he breathed in this world, He breathed as a Saviour. “Unto you is born, in the city of David—the seed of David—“a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” And therefore our salvation, actively considered, commenced in the manger, and the Babe that lay therein proceeded to save until He reached Calvary, when He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost, and said, “It is finished.” Hence, Remember Timothy, that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead, according to my gospel. We are saved by his birth, saved by His life, saved by His sufferings—saved by His obedience—saved by His death—saved by his burial—saved by His resurrection—and saved by His enthronement in Heaven. Jesus Christ is one of the people, and he appeared in human nature for the purpose of revealing His Father to the family of heaven. He is the great teaching Prophet of the church,—the great Zaphnath-paaneah, or the revealer of God, the revealer of heaven, the revealer of eternity, and the revealer of heaven’s great and gracious secrets. Drop the humanity of Christ out of your faith, and have nothing but man here on the earth, and an abstract Deity everywhere, and you will not be able to form one satisfactory idea of God—one satisfactory conception of Jehovah. God, the high, the mighty, the lofty, the majestic, the infinitely great and glorious must be brought down to us, and one Being only can bring Him down. Angels could not come low enough, and if they could, they could not have brought God down to man, for saving and sanctifying purposes. We must have the mediatorial Revealer of God, who is Himself God, and in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Jehovah, therefore, is brought down to the limited and shallow powers and capacities of human creatures like ourselves, and when we embrace the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of sinners, the Christ of God, we embrace all in all. I cannot explain it, but we do embrace the everlasting ALL. We cannot enter into this mystery, for His name involves all, and his person includes all,—all that I must know, all that God requires me to know, and all that He requires me to possess for ever. We do not know much, our knowledge is very limited and shallow; but if it is the result of Divine teaching, it is good as far as it goes, and is sufficient to accomplish the intentions and designs of Jehovah. Christ is the seed of David for the purpose of revealing the great God to man. On this point—just one thought more—our Christ has assumed our nature, which He loves so well, and taken it into everlasting union to Himself, because it is His intention to elevate, to purify, to perfect, and to glorify it in an other state and world. What are we to be? We are to be like Him. And what is He?
“All over glorious is my Lord,
Must be beloved and yet adored.”
He is the wonder of heaven, the everlasting astonishment of angels, and the masterpiece of all the works of God. All the wisdom and knowledge and power and love, and inexhaustible resources of God, were employed in the constitution of the complex person of the great and blessed Redeemer. And we are to be like him not as to His Deity, not as to His complexity—but like Him as to His spiritualized and glorified humanity; as to the fact that he is a man. Our souls like His—not as to capacity, greatness, and power; but we shall know as He knows, have the grace that he possesses, and roll in the love (if I may so speak) in which he lives. “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” And our bodies shall be like his by-and-bye. We may, however, have a word to offer on that point presently, or perhaps again in the evening of this day. Well, friends, that is our prospect; and
“I would not change my blest estate,
For all that earth calls good or great;
And while my faith can keep her hold,
I envy not the sinner’s gold.”
This is our prospect—and what a prospect it is, in such a world as this, where sickness abounds, and death is cutting down its thousands every day and almost every hour, and everything is humanly uncertain! There is a better world: we are going thither. The great Christ of God is them—the glory of the place, and the sun that lights up all eternity itself he is ours, and we are going to be like Him and with Him for ever, to see His dear face without a veil between; that face that wept—that face that was smitten—that face down which meritorious tears trickled in the garden and on the cross—that face down which blood flowed from the wounds made by the thorny crown; that face we shall see shining brighter than ten thousand suns, and lighting up the hearts and minds of countless millions for ever and ever. Remember, Timothy, that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel. That is all I will say on the incarnation. When the text occurred to my mind whilst reading these Epistles to Timothy, the resurrection of Christ then appeared the most prominent part thereof. I have, therefore, trespassed a little on my own time this morning by dwelling so long on the first part of the subject.
Now a word or two, in the second place, on His resurrection. “He was raised from the dead.” Sin was the procuring cause of the Saviour’s death, and therefore his way to the grave. He went through all our demerit, and having completed salvation he merited his release from the tomb. He went through all that was between himself and death, and having saved His people by dying, he was raised from the dead according to the gospel. My dear friends, let us tarry here just a minute, to say that the death of the Lord Jesus would have been a terrible, an awful, an infinite loss, without His resurrection. The fall of Adam was an awful loss. He fell, and carried a world down with him. All was wrecked and ruined in an hour, and that for all the ages of time, and in relation to millions for all eternity; but that calamity was not so great as the death of Christ would have been without His resurrection. Oh, if Christ had not risen from the dead all in all worlds would have been lost. Adam lost all in this world, but there were boundless resources in heaven untouched, unshaken, and uninjured. Those boundless resources, even all of them, were in the seed of David when He was here on the earth; and if He had not risen from the dead, if He were in the grave now, if that Holy One, like His brethren, had seen corruption, then the resources of heaven would have been exhausted, and God himself—I hope I am speaking reverently—could not have saved sinners equitably and honourably; but by dying Jesus did what He intended to do, and what God required Him to do, and all that our state required to be done, all was perfectly done. Remember, Timothy, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and remember what all that implies—that His work was done, done well, done in a God-like manner, and that sinners, therefore, are absolutely and eternally saved. But let us look at the resurrection of Christ in three or four relations. I hardly know where or how to begin on so boundless and all-important a theme.
Look at the resurrection of the seed of David, Jesus Christ, in relation, first of all, to his humiliation. He made the world, and lived in it thirty-three years, and it hated Him. He came to His own, and His own received Him not; and whilst He lived therein He upheld and sustained it. It was by the will of Jesus of Nazareth, the seed of David, who was here on earth, that the sun rose every morning, that the moon shone every night, and the stars gave their light. The world in which He lived and walked and suffered was in His hand.
“His shoulders held up heaven and earth,
Whilst Mary held up him.”
Did He look like the Maker, the Sustainer, the Governor, and the Proprietor of the world? “All things were made by Him and for Him, and without Him was nothing made that was made.” Did He look like the Proprietor and the Ruler of the Universe? No; but how did He appear when He was raised from the dead, and stood as a conqueror on the other side of the grave? The obscuration of His majesty had ceased. The cloud that enveloped Him had disappeared. His poverty and privation were past and gone. The veil under which He had lived had been wholly removed, and He appeared then as Jehovah-Jesus, the Mighty God, and the everlasting Father. The humiliation of Christ. First look at its depth. You can never measure the distance between the bosom of the Father and the grave where the Son of God lay. Oh, you do not know how far it was from the glory that He left to the degradation and humiliation into which He went. He humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross. Will you look at this for a minute, while I try to direct your thoughts to the fact that He was the only being that could go so far or sink so low. No other being ever stood so high; therefore no other being could sink so low. You and I sink low, do we not? But where was our Lord? What depths did He go into? How low did He sink? Oh, the distance was infinite, or at least immeasurable, between the glory that He left and the humiliation into which he sank. Well, it is all over. Remember His resurrection, Timothy. His humiliation was lifelong, also. Poor in birth, poor in youth, poor in manhood, poor in suffering, poor in death, not having a pillow for His head, nor a bed for His heavenly person; and poorer than you will be, I suppose, in His burial; for He had not a grave of His own to lie in. Joseph of Arimathea had made one for himself, and there they laid the Lord of life and glory. It is all over. Remember the resurrection of the seed of David. And then, again, His humiliation was meritorious. As He proceeded lower, and lower, and lower, he produced and procured salvation and brought new forms of love into existence, or if not into existence, into visibility. He left behind himself a shining path of obedience and every step He took and act He performed was meritorious, and contributed to the great redemption which he came to achieve. Well, as we have said two or three times, all that ceased when He was raised from the dead. He came up out of it all; emerged from the grave and from under all the clouds and darkness that had covered Him, not a poor man, not a man of sorrows shedding tears and blood, not to be buffeted and spat upon again, not to meet Herod nor Pontius Pilate, but as the Monarch of the Universe; and as the Sun of Righteousness, which, having set in blood three days before, rose, not in suffering, but in righteousness. “Unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings, and ye shall grow up as calves of the stall.” The humiliation of Christ is for ever ended.
But passing away from that, look secondly at His resurrection in relation to His suretyship. If you say I am in the old road this morning, I reply, There is only one way to heaven, and I do not want a second: this is enough for me. It has been sufficient to lead millions to the throne of God, and I hope I am walking therein. I do not want another Gospel. If you can find me something better than, the suretyship engagements of Jesus Christ, I was going to say I will preach it. I am sure I will preach the best I know; but let us return to the subject, the suretyship engagements of our Lord. Charged with the debts of all God’s people, never before did a being so indebted to Divine justice stand before the throne of God. You say-indebted to justice? Yes, he was. He did not contract the debts; but you and I did. He did not commit the sin or contract the guilt; but we did: and he said to His Father, charge it all on me; make it mine; put it all beneath my name; hold me responsible for it all for I will Pay; for they may not and shall not be lost, I can pay, and I will do so, and, therefore, put all beneath my name and account me the debtor and the sinner. Well, the place of payment was appointed—Calvary. The time was appointed, too—“Father, the hour is come”—and the hour having arrived the Surety was on the spot—at Calvary. Justice and Truth met Him with the debt book; the bond His own bond, His own word, bearing His own signature, was presented and He paid the whole, as he was bound to do. I speak softly and reverently, for the theme is a mighty one, and the fact is truly deep and solemn. Yes, He was bound to pay the whole, for having sovereignly engaged to discharge the debt, and signed the bond, he was bound to fulfil His engagements, and having done so, in due time, He rose from the dead and was discharged and we sing—
“In His release our own we see,
And shout to view Jehovah pleased.”
Brother (and I speak to the doubter and trembler), if you are trusting in the dear name of Jesus, and I am going to say what may seem to be a very hard thing—you do not owe any measure of justifying obedience to God’s law now. Justifying obedience. Ah! that qualifies it. Yes, I know what I said. In the court of equity and law you are clear, and there is nothing to pay; but there is another court in which you now appear. You owe a debt of grateful and loving obedience and praise to Him that died for you and rose again; but justifying obedience is all brought in by your great Surety, Christ, else He had not been raised from the dead. Remember that He was raised from the dead according to my gospel.
Thirdly, look at His resurrection in connection with His federal Headship. When Adam fell, he carried all his seed with him; and when Jesus, the second Adam, and Lord of all, rose from the dead he brought all his seed with him out of the grave. We see a fallen church in the garden of Eden; but in the garden where the sepulchre was we see in the person that said, “Mary! Mary!” to the woman, a saved, a risen and justified church, and as the risen Head of His people He says,—“Because I live, ye shall live also;” the life therefore which He possesses His people possess also, and they must retain it as long as their reigning Lord lives. Christian brethren, there are three important places in the government of God—Eden, Calvary, and Zion. In Eden, the curse was kindled; on Calvary the kindled curse was quenched; on Zion the happy saved sinner sits and sings the well-earned praises of his great delivering Lord. The resurrection of Christ in connection with His Headship.
Then, in the next place, in connection with His sufferings. Have they not been included before? If so, just one word more in connection therewith. Where there is sin there must be suffering. God cannot pardon sin without an atonement; and atonement for sin involves penal suffering. It is all over. There is no more to be endured; no more suffering for sin. There is much suffering on account of it; and in the very depths of my spirit I believe that if God’s children walk contrary to Him, He will walk contrary to them. There is a very heavy rod sometimes in God’s hand. I have been found fault with for preaching this; but I have a right to expect to be found fault with for preaching the gospel. Yes, a heavy rod is sometimes in our Fathers hand, and there are such facts as tokens of displeasure on the part of God at the conduct of His children. Nevertheless, all the penal fires have been put out. All the punishment which was due to sin in the court of justice and equity has been inflicted upon the Lord. If the sword of justice were not wholly in its sheath, if there were a fiery curse—only one—remaining, Jesus Christ would not be preached as having risen from the dead. But he is out of the grave, and the language of that fact is—the fires are quenched, the gates of hell are closed, God is satisfied, and penal suffering is for ever over. Remember that you preach the resurrection of Jesus.
Then, in the next place, the resurrection of Christ in relation to himself as conqueror. There was a conflict between Christ and death, and remember, my brethren that Christ met death with its ten thousand times ten thousand stings, for he by the grace of God has tasted death for every man—that is for every one of the men mentioned in that chapter, “the many sons that are to be brought to glory,” “he by the grace of God has tasted death for every one of them.” And what was the result? Did he go successfully through His work and conquer the enemy? Yes; He pursued death into his own territories or the grave, and, therefore, he was buried; otherwise we might well wonder that Jesus, having died on the cross, did not come to life again in a few moments. Was anything more than His sufferings and death required? When he bowed His head and died and gave up the ghost, why did He not return to life without burial? The grave was a part of the evil consequences of sin. “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return;” and our dear Lord having determined to go to the end of the curse, it was necessary that he should pursue death into his deep dominions, grapple with and overcome him therein, and then come forth leaving behind him death conquered and the grave overcome. Why did not He annihilate death? Ah! that will have to be done by and bye. He has not yet annihilated death, but conquered him. He has not annihilated the grave, but He has taken it for a time into His own dominions, and there stands a solemn promise of His in the Word—“O death, I will be thy plague, O grave, I will be thy destruction. Repentance shall be hid from my eyes.” Death is not God’s creature, and He will destroy him utterly by and bye. The grave is not God’s creature, and that, too, shall be destroyed. Bear in mind that they are both conquered; and will you fear a conquered foe? Why shrink from death? His eternal conqueror is your Brother and your Saviour. Do you fear it as an enemy? Do not forget that death and the grave are overcome. Remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.
In the next place, look at His resurrection in relation to his forerunnership. “Whither the forerunner has for us entered.” He ran unto death, he ran into it, for the dear Mediator’s life was a race. He ran up to heaven, he ran through it, he ran into the grave and through it, and then ran up to heaven; and the gates were opened and fastened back, if I may so speak, and left
“A way so broad and unconfined,
That all His church shall march behind.”
Having thus entered the heavenly world, He went up to His throne, took possession of it, and was crowned Lord of all. He then took possession of all the mansions in that better land, and thus prepared His people’s places for them. Jesus says, I have done my work, and, Father, they are coming. “I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory”—They are coming—some young, some old, some through deep trial and trouble; but they are all coming, and they shall all arrive; and he has taken heaven for them; remember that he was raised from the dead and went to glory as the Forerunner of His people.
Lastly, as to his Lordship. He died, and was raised again that he might be the Lord of the dead and also of the living. There are some travelling towards the grave. He is their Lord. There are, perhaps hundreds, of bodies in heaven, I do not know how many but Enoch’s body is there, so is Elijah’s, and the bodies of those saints also who were raised from the dead when our Lord left the tomb—they are there. He is their Lord. He is the Lord of all that are morally dead and that are spiritually alive. He is the Lord of living and dead. He has inaugurated a new life, a new state of things; for if any man be in Christ Jesus he is in a new creature. We are not in Eden nor in heaven yet; but we are in a heavenly place, and are going to a heavenly world. Old things are passed away and all things are become new.
John Hazelton (1822-1888) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He served for thirty-six years as the Pastor for Chadwell Street Chapel, Clerkenwell. His sermons were printed monthly and gathered into a five volume set. William Styles wrote of him:
"When fairly underway there was a dignity in his carriage, a grandeur in his steady flow of appropriate language, and a majesty in his thoughts that commanded close attention. At times his heart caught fire and he rose to flights of eloquence of no common order. We never knew him embarrassed for want of a thought, or at a loss for the very word he required. In a sermon delivered at the settlement of a minister he said: 'Preach a four-square Gospel, in which election, redemption and regeneration are co-extensive. Preach salvation by mercy, by merit, and by might; by love, by blood, by power. The Father's love, the moving cause; the Saviour's blood, the meritorious cause; and the Spirit's power, the efficient cause—to the praise of the glory of free and sovereign grace.' His ministry was heartily received by all who loved distinctive truth. The writer remembers the late Mr. John Gadsby once speaking of it to him in affectionate terms. Part of the inscription on the memorial tablet in the chapel contains all that is necessary to sum up this reference: ‘Called by sovereign grace in early life, and qualified by the Holy Spirit for the work of the Christian ministry, he was enabled to proclaim the truth as it is in Jesus, in all its fulness and sufficiency. Bold in the advocacy of those doctrines which the Holy Spirit had revealed to him, it was his delight to set forth the love of a Triune Jehovah in the salvation of His Church; the Cross of Christ and His righteousness were to him a glorious reality, and "Jesus only " was ever the theme of his ministry.'"