- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 20, 2005

The following are excerpts from a sermon based on 1 John 2:1-2 preached Saturday by pastor Michael Oxentenko at Reaching Hearts International, in Spencerville.

Who is Jesus Christ if He is just a good moral teacher? If there is no miracle in the birth and life of Jesus Christ, then what authority does a dead man have to address your life today with all its problems?

If Jesus died and did not rise from the dead, then what good is His teaching when you die and your life comes to the end like His? To follow Jesus, Jesus has to be a living Savior in your life, who guides you. At the heart of the Christian faith is the truth of a living Savior who offers more than advice.

If all you find in life is yourself and a world of things, then life is empty and there is no meaning. You may use your wits to cope, but in the end, life doesn’t matter unless life finds you and gives you a future.

Jesus taught His disciples that life has meaning because He died and rose again. And because He lives, Jesus says, you can live. At the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the teaching that we serve a risen Savior who is our advocate in life.

The English word “advocate” is taken from the Latin advocatus, which was derived from a participle that means, “to call to one’s aid.” A good advocate is a good lawyer who will fight to win your case, even when the odds are stacked against you, and it looks like you will lose.

Because He rose from the dead, and because He lives, Jesus is your advocate. Most people today do not know that there is a human being who stands for them in the presence of God.

The Bible teaches that behind every evil idea, and every evil person, is the evil one. And Jesus is an advocate with the Father because there is an evil one loose in the universe hurting people.

Evil exists as a personal being bent on destroying you and your life. He appeared in the Garden of Eden with the claim that human beings can live without God.

It is a fact of Scripture that Jesus never denied the clear fact that Satan was the prince of this world before the cross. In Eden, Satan is a serpent, but by the time the book of Job was written, Satan was the “president” of planet Earth. Satan took Adam’s place in the heavenly council as one of the sons of God.

So what was he doing up there for over 4,000 years of human existence?

In Job, Chapter 1, he used his influence to bring disease and disrespect on a righteous man who lost his family in a storm. For thousands of years, we had the opposite of an advocate with the Father. And he was the prosecuting attorney, the devil, the evil one, Satan that ancient serpent.

Satan used every bit of his evil influence and authority in the heavenly realm to keep this planet away from a relationship with God. He was our “high priest” on the Holy mountain of God in heaven for over 4,000 years of human history.

But at the cross, the universe looked down, and they saw their beloved commander bleeding for us and gasping for breath on a Roman cross. They saw their heavenly prince beat up and dying in the wind, naked and forsaken in the cold.

They saw the creator dying like His fallen creatures but with the full sense of the guilt of the whole world on Him.

At the cross, they had enough of the devil and his so-called rights as the ruler of this world. They called an election up there. They stripped him of his terrestrial authority, and they removed his high-priestly vestments. And they threw [him] like a rotten apple to the earth for the last time.

Since the cross, Satan is no longer the high priest for planet Earth. Something has changed in the present because of the victory of Jesus Christ at the cross. When the evil one ruled, condemnation ruled. Christ rules today, and mercy wins in the end.

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