DECLARED THE SON OF GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-7-92 8:15 a.m.
And welcome, the throngs of you who share this hour on radio and on television. You are now part of our wonderful First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the senior pastor, W. A. Criswell, bringing the message. It is entitled Marked Out, Declared to Be the Son of God. In our preaching in the Book of Romans, the text, it is a textual sermon, it’s in chapter 1, verse 4. And the context reads:
Paul, a doulos, a slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God,
a gospel which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
And horizō, marked out, to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
And that text, "born of the seed of David, of his flesh" [Romans 1:3], translated here "declared," horizō. Where the line of the earth is marked out against the blue of the sky, you call it the horizon. That is that word, horizō, horizon, "marked out to be the Son of God by power, by holiness, and by resurrection" [Romans 1:4]. "Marked out, declared, presented, pointed out to be the Son of God by power." And the text does not refer to His omnipotence in heaven: the King of glory, the Captain and Lord of the hosts of angels. But the passage refers to His being marked out, pointed out, declared to be the Son of God in the days of His flesh, the power of the Lord God upon Him in His earthly life and ministry.
And that is so conclusive in the life of our blessed Lord Jesus: pointed out, marked out as the Son of God. So in His birth, the stars of the heavens moved and especially one star [Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11]. "Marked out as the Son of God" [Romans 1:4], the glory of the presence of the choirs of angels [Luke 2:13-14], and especially one angel, Gabriel [Luke 1:26-38]. "Marked out as the Son of God," the worship of the humble, such as the shepherds [Luke 2:8-16], and of the rich and learned, such as the wise men [Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11]. And even as a child, twelve years of age, they were astonished at His response to the revelations in Holy Scriptures [Luke 2:46-47]. "Marked out to be the Son of God" in His incomparable introduction, heralding His presence and His power by John the Baptist [Matthew 3:1-12], and throughout His ministry a representative and an emissary of God Himself.
In His words and in His deeds, "No man spake like that Man" [John 7:46]. Do you remember who said that? When the Sanhedrin were sent to the office of the temple to arrest Him, they came back without Him. And when the angry high priest and his cohorts said, "Why have you not brought Him?" [John 7:45]. That was their answer. "No man spake like that Man"; they were awed in His presence, "nor was it ever seen in Israel like this," seventh chapter of John avows [John 7:46]. At His command, all the forces of God in heaven and earth – wind and wave and water, the powers of nature, disease, blindness, leprosy – all at His command. And even in His death, do you remember what He said, "If I asked, twelve legions of angels would be here to defend Me and to spare Me and to save Me?" [Matthew 26:53]. When I read about Sennacherib in the days of King Hezekiah, do you remember one angel – one angel, slew one hundred eighty-five thousand of those Assyrians? [2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36]. Do you remember that? And He says, "At My command, seventy-two thousand, six legions of angels" [Matthew 26:53],marked out with power."
And no less today. Pointedly do I remember, invited to hold a revival meeting in a Western state, in a small place where there was no church, and the power of God, working with us in that revival meeting, though I was a teenager. And so great was the moving of the Holy Spirit of God, the announcement was made throughout the community and throughout all that part of that Western state, they were going to build a dance pavilion right there, right across the street from where I was preaching. Right there, going to hire a loud band, and they were going to have the band to play and the people to dance while I was trying to preach on the other side of the street. I went to one of the praying women in that part of the earth, lamenting, "O God, what would I do? What would I do?" How could I compete, preaching the gospel with a dance pavilion right there, and a loud band playing? She said to me, "God, God, don’t you tremble. Don’t you be afraid. Don’t you hesitate. God!"
How in the earth was it the thing was never built? They couldn’t build it! It never came to pass. God, the power of God! And when the two-week revival meeting was over, we had the biggest baptismal service in a pond in that dry country; and I organized a Baptist church, and it flourishes today. "Marked out as the Son of God," by the power of the Lord Himself.
"Marked out, pointed out, declared to be the Son of God by the Spirit of holiness" [Romans 1:4]. Holiness? Dear me! I believe in the doctrine of total depravity. I don’t see how one can deny it. The doctrine of total depravity is not that we are as vile as we can be, but the doctrine of total depravity is this, that sin, weakness, fault, failure enters into all of our faculties and emotions, in all of our deeds and work. There’s no thing we can do that is perfectly perfect. Imperfection characterizes all of our efforts. Even when the high priest appeared before the veil of the Holy of Holies, he had to sprinkle blood upon the altar of incense [Leviticus 16:18-19]. Even our prayers are not perfect.
But, "There was no fault in Him," isn’t that what Pilate said? "I find in Him no fault at all" [John 18:38]. Our Lord walked through the slime, and the sewage, and the gutter, and the dirt of this world and was perfectly pure. The power marked out, the power of holiness, and that same marvelous power of holiness is upon us today.
There’s not a more moving story in the Bible than those three – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – walking in the furnace. And as Nebuchadnezzar looked, he said, "There is a fourth, and the fourth is liken unto the Son of God" [Daniel 3:20-25]. And when they invited out, took out, those three Hebrew children, there was not even the smell of smoke or fire upon them [Daniel 3:26-27].
The power of the Son of God given to us today: as you know, I was born in Oklahoma, came down here from Oklahoma. And a long time ago it was called Indian Territory. Into that unsettled part of the earth and part of America, there moved a Caucasian, an Anglo family, a white family. And the husband built a little cottage of a thing, and in it his wife and his little children had a garden. They settled there in that Indian Territory. And upon a day, upon a day there were four savages, four Indians that appeared at her door and knocked at the door. When she looked out the little window, there were those four savages in her yard and one of them knocking at the door. She was terrified, paralyzed with fear. If she didn’t answer, they could burn down the house and she and her little children in it. If she took a gun and opened the door she could kill one of them, but what of the other three? She was simply terrified!
Nothing of choice but to open the door. She did, and the Indian who was knocking at the door smiled and said, "We’ve come to welcome you in our midst." And he gave her his name and introduced the other three savages, and then added, "We have come to invite you and your children to attend our little Baptist church." They were Cherokees; and as you know, when the United States government moved them from North Carolina to what they called Indian Territory, they brought with them their Baptist Association, one hundred twenty-five years old at that time. I preached to those Cherokees time and again – the largest association I know in the world is the Cherokee Baptist Association. They’ll have three thousand in attendance.
If I could just take one aside; I took up money, I raised money and built a three thousand-seat tabernacle four miles east of Tahlequah in which they could have their tremendous October associational meeting. When the Southern Baptist Convention met in Oklahoma City in about 1943, why, the WMU came out from Virginia and nothing would do but that I preach. "Well," I said, "Jim Pickup ought to preach." No, I am to preach and Jim Pickup translate into Cherokee. So, I’ve been all over this world, as you have, preaching, and never in my life, I mean, never in my long life, have I ever preached anywhere in the world but that I would say a sentence or two or three and then wait for the translator to translate it. So when I stood up to preach there in Cherokee country, why, I said two or three sentences and stopped for Jim Pickup to translate it into Cherokee.
And he turned to me and said, "What’s the matter with you?"
"Well," I said, "Jim Pickup, I’m waiting for you to translate it."
He said, "You don’t have to wait for me to translate it. You preach your whole sermon, and when you get through, I’ll translate the whole sermon into Cherokee." I never heard such a thing in my life! So I stood there and preached that whole sermon, and when I got through, Jim Pickup preached that same sermon in Cherokee. I couldn’t understand a word that he said, but I knew he was preaching my sermon, because there was a time in it when I was hammering on the pulpit. At that time, he hammered on the pulpit. When I got quiet, he got quiet. When I got loud, he got loud; never saw anything in your life like that!
And that is the power of God; the power of God marked out as the Son of God, by power and by holiness, by the change of life.
And a third: marked out, horizō, to be the Son of God by power, by holiness, and by the resurrection from the dead [Romans 1:4]. The one common denominator of all mankind is the presence of death, universal. You young people – I have buried world without end, young people – the youth, in his strength, faces death. The rich man, in his wealth, faces death. The king and the queen, in their glory, face death. The pomp of power, and all that human wealth could ever give, await alike the inevitable hour; the paths of glory lead but unto death.
But our Lord marked out, declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead, He just arose [Matthew 28:5-6]. It was as nothing; He just stood in the glory and the power of God. And an angel came down and rolled the stone away, and in contempt sat upon it [Matthew 28:2], as though the grave and a stone could overcome the glory and the power and the life of the Son of God, marked out by the resurrection from the dead [Romans 1:4].
Once in a while, I’ll read of an infidel writing about the resurrection of our Lord, saying that He swooned and the disciples resuscitated Him, or He was just somewhat wounded and was healed by those who ministered to Him. Man, that Roman soldier thrust a spear into His heart, and the lifeblood flowed out. He died [John 19:30-34]. And what a glory, marked out by the resurrection from the dead.
That’s what He said. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" [John 2:19], speaking of the temple of His body [John 2:21]. That’s what He said. "You have before you the sign of the prophet Jonah, in the belly of the whale three days and three nights. The Son of Man, three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and then raised from the dead" [Matthew 12:40], marked out, horizō, as the Son of God by His resurrection from among the dead [Romans 1:4]. And that is the power and the glory and the resurrection bestowed upon us.
Dear me! How could such a thing be? You know, reading last night, the sixth chapter of the Book of John, four times, one, two, three, four, four times in that one chapter, Jesus speaks of us, "I will raise them from the dead," raise us from the dead. "He that believeth in Me shall have everlasting life, and I will raise him from the dead" [John 6:40]. "He that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out" [John 6:37], and I will raise him from the dead. Four times in that one chapter, "I’ll raise him from the dead" [John 6:39, 40, 44, 54]. And what a glory and what a triumph and what a promise that is to us!
In about two weeks, I’ll be standing in Westminster Abbey. And when I stand there, I will relive once again, Edward the Confessor; a godly man, a godly king – King Edward, whom they call "the Confessor," whom the Roman church canonized. He is St. King Edward; He built Westminster Abbey. He did it in about 1000 AD, and was buried there in Westminster Abbey. You can just stand there and look at his grave. But the thing that impresses me is, by his side, buried there in Westminster Abbey, are those who marched and lived by his side in life. And they are buried there as close to him as could be possible. They are buried there. And do you know the reason why? They said, they said, "When he is raised from the dead, we want to be by his side. And when he stands before God, resurrected, we want to stand by his side, resurrected." That’s the greatest hope and faith in the human heart and in the human spirit, "I’ll be raised from the dead."
Going all over this world, as I say, looking at those missionaries’ graves, I’ve never seen one yet that around them weren’t graves of God’s saints, God’s children. Precious souls they won to Jesus, wanted to be buried close by the missionary; and in the great resurrection day, standing by that one who led them to Jesus. Marked out, pointed out as the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead [Romans 1:4].
Oh, what a faith and what a glory and what a promise, to give your heart and your life to the Lord Jesus. And that’s our appeal to you this solemn precious hour, to open your heart to Him, to accept Him as your Lord and Savior; walking in the way of our wonderful, gracious, glorious King; and someday resurrected, standing in His presence.
And in this moment, when we sing our hymn of appeal, to give your heart to the Lord Jesus, to answer the call of the Spirit in your life, to come into the fellowship of the church, to be with us in that great resurrection day, come, and welcome, while we stand and while we sing. "This is God’s day for me, and I’m coming," while we sing our song.
DECLARED THE SON OF GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
A. Horizo, translated "declared" – "marked out"
1. The line of the earth that is marked out against the sky is the horizon
B. Jesus Christ is marked out as the Son of God in power, holiness and resurrection(Romans 1:4)
A. Passage refers to the powerful, wondrous way in which the life of Christ was marked out among men
B. Historical life of Jesus gloriously presented
1. His birth, childhood
2. The introduction of His messianic ministry
3. His deeds and words(John 7:46, Matthew 9:33)
4. His death on the cross(Matthew 26:53)
C. Powerful effect upon the world today
1. Revival meeting I led as a teenager – dance pavilion to be built across the street
A. Doctrine of total depravity – imperfection characterizes all of our efforts
1. Blood sprinkled upon the golden altar of incense – even our prayers, intercessions, repentance and faith are not without fault
B. The purity and perfection of Christ(John 18:38)
C. Effect of His holiness on people
1. Three Hebrew children in the furnace, Jesus the fourth – smell of fire was not on them (Daniel 3:20-27)
D. Effect of the blessed Lord upon the cruel, violent lives of human race
1. Oklahoma immigrant family encountered Cherokee Indians who invited them to their Baptist church
2. Preaching in Oklahoma City, Jim Pickup translated entire sermon into Cherokee
A. Death has a universal grip – we are helpless before it
C. Which sign does He give us?(John 2:18-19, 6:39-40, 44, 54, Matthew 12:38-40)
1. Edward the Confessor and the beginnings of Westminster Abbey