Was it not that the innocent suffered for the guilty, and that on account of this suffering the guilty might go free? But wait a little; why did he do it? Taken in this sense, two ideas are suggested:1. We can all tell of lives that have so followed Him, have so learned of God's presence and love in the world through Jesus Christ that at every step in life their spirits have grown stronger, and without effort, nay, of necessity, our hearts include them in the Easter rejoicing, because we know which side of them the great transaction of life strengthened. Do you husbands understand what God is saying to husbands? Thus they would stand before the Preacher self-convicted and self-condemned. What object did the Almighty Ruler contemplate in those stupendous arrangements? It is ascension which makes Him the Omnipresent. To attract the hearts of His disciples.II. Christ is to His people now the one Ark. Or, if it had been possible to compel Him, His sufferings would have possessed no value.III. It is told of the Duke of Orleans ("Philip Egalite"), father of Louis Philippe, the last king of the French, that on one occasion he was out riding, followed by his servant, who was also on horseback. This is the impatient spirit that vitiates so many of our remonstrances against our neighbours' crimes. In order to their cheerful sustaining whereof, he prescribeth two excellent rules.1. Such is St. Paul's argument in his Epistle to the Ephesians. Consider, first, what a thing it is to know that the good angels are on our side, that they camp about us to deliver us. In a moment the Duke leaped from his horse's back, plunged into the stream, and with considerable difficulty succeeded in saving the drowning man and bringing him to land. There are some in whom the process or change we call "repentance" is not very marked or great. Smart.I. A place of confinement for trial.III. The water flood, so far from being the source of danger, was the instrument employed to save. It tells about our offences against God — about our breaking of His holy law — about the evil we have done against our loving Father in heaven. The old man looked up and said, "One word, sir!" God is patient because He is good, as well as because He is strong and wise. The third fact is, His dominion: "Angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him." Co-extensive with the universe.2. HIS POSITION. WE HAVE THE GREAT MYSTERY OF CHRIST'S DEATH ALLUDED TO — "Put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit." Arnot. He saw a sailor on the bulwarks overbalance himself and fall over the ship's side, and he, a strong swimmer, leaped overboard to save him. )The ascensionDean Vaughan. All His people are with Him. Bengel. If you come to Him you can only get to know the fulness of His gracious power by being buffeted with conviction and repentance, and by having self, especially self-righteousness, crucified and slain.5. To attract the hearts of His disciples.II. Thus it shows us the kneeling suppliant at his lord's feet crying, "Have patience with me and I will pay thee all." The religion of Christ is true. Men looked at it, and said that human foot could never scale its heights. Stepping gently up to him, he knelt at his bedside, and whispered into his ear, "My dear brother, are you afraid to die?" — not necessarily "condemned with the world" — "living" possibly all the time, and to live, according to God the Judge, and in that higher part of the man, which is "spirit." The compact you now make with Christ, and of which your "baptism" will be the standing sign and symbol, is that you accept, believe in Him as your Saviour. It suffered, and went down into the grave. In the Son of Mary the patience of God comes down among men, and we behold His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, in the face of Jesus Christ giving His life for the world, and waiting for its faith.(Bp. "Baptism doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." It is His manhood that is at the right hand of God. As it does so, strength is glorified; it conquers weakness, it spreads the power of its own life, it becomes strength in its right place. It is in every station and rank of life. The ‘which now are’ is in direct antithesis to ‘the then world.’ Let not disobedient men doubt the certainty of future punishments.2. CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS WERE FOR HIS PEOPLE AND ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR SINS. They were "judged" for their disobedience to this call — men, from the side of flesh and time, could not say otherwise than that these men had died in their sins — but a miracle of mercy sought them out, after long ages, in their prison house — the "three days" of Christ's sojourn "in the heart of the earth" were used, of special grace, in their evangelisation — in the sight of men they lie still under judgment, but in spirit, according to God, they have been quickened into a supernatural life. HIS POSITION. The lesson was about the crucifixion of Christ, and the teacher asked, "What connection have we with the work and death of the Lord Jesus?" Others think the way of pardon is to be sorry for their sins. Marriage is a relationship of mutual sympathy. His death was both voluntary and violent. He reminds us that the Saviour Himself, remaining below, must have been confined by earth's conditions. It comes from the first wailings of the infant to the last enfeebled cry of old age. The compact you now make with Christ, and of which your "baptism" will be the standing sign and symbol, is that you accept, believe in Him as your Saviour. It was "Christ, the just."1. (3) It implies their being admitted to communion and fellowship with God. The spirit is in prison. John Piper Sep 11, 1994 38 Shares (2) Man's revolt and apostasy from God (Ephesians 2:12). that a warning voice could reach the millions of this world!(B. Does it not mean, first, unrivalled honour? All our approaches to God should be through Jesus Christ.(S. (Arthur Brooks. He does not overlook them, but looks directly at them all. And be sure, that if before you lay down you seriously and reverently committed yourself to Him in prayer, with sincere penitence for all your sins, He will not let the roaring lion devour you. He was "put to death" as regards the one; He was "made alive" as regards the other. The language intimates that Christ the just One, hath suffered for the sins of the unjust. Our Social Relationships. Christ was "in the world" before His incarnation. Only by turning to Christ alone can you experience the grace of life. There, in the centre of the Father's glory, He rests not idle, nor is He unmindful of those whom He came to save. Nay, further yet; by one true and deep interpretation of it the Cross of our Saviour is but the symbol of this doctrine. A prison is a scene of thoughtfulness. "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth."2. THE OPPOSITE CHARACTERS OF CHRIST, AND OF THOSE FOR WHOM HE SUFFERED, ARE LAID DOWN.V. He sets before them the example of Christ. (Arthur Brooks. (2) This is the secret of happy dying. It belongs, in its actuality and in its effects, to our whole nature, which He bore on Him and bears on Him at this moment. The act of baptism is an open public renunciation of sin, of sinful pleasures, of the follies of the world.II. Christ was "in the world" before His incarnation. In the same way, remembering your "baptism," you will say, "I am married to Christ; I have pledged myself to His service as the great purpose of my life."IV. W. Noel, M. A.I. How many of the supposed injustices of God's dealing may have their reconciliation and their justification in this hint of the apostle's — in this more profound study of the Scriptures! He died for me. If any of us stand wondering how the mountain of our own or the world's suffering shall be conquered, and have never seen the path opened on the side of man's sin, have tried every way but the fight against sin, have shed tears over every calamity but the depravity of our nature, have done everything but confess our sins in the sight of God, nay, have dismissed that as too dark and hard a side of the problem for us to face, now let the way opened by One who knew the secrets of our nature and of the generation of that mountain of suffering, — let that way be the one for our feet to follow. Your sufferings shall not clip your wings, but add to your powers of flight. Some one says, God is patient because He is eternal; and so we make excuses for our impatience. No sooner have they come to prosperity than they have come to luxury, idleness, and the beginnings of decay. Plus, if you pay us your firstborn male child extra, maybe we will provide you with a raw fishhead as a snack.” Rich people are treated different in a lot of different ways. A. In this we see at once is included every good thing. Apart from personal interest in the sufferings of Christ, suffering regarded as the result of sin — suffering for sin — is a fact, the most terrible and unrelieved in the experience and history of our world. J. S. Bird, B. A.I. We find a clearer view and statement of His nearness to the Father coming out each day, as His life goes on. 2. It "brings us to God.". I have heard an esteemed Edinburgh minister tell of his visiting an aged Christian man on his deathbed, and saying to him, "Is it not a happy thing that we have the gospel set forth in so few and in such simple words?" Here are two things to be remarked, their cause and their kind.1. The subject furnishes — First: Encouragement to suffering Christians. As the lovely bud opens under the genial influence of the spring's sun, so their hearts open under the genial influence of the heavenly Father's love. I know how the forces of the flesh press on every side; a greater force of the spirit shall be with you through Me. It suffered, and went down into the grave. Christ's sufferings.1. Spirit is nobler than flesh. How can I do this mean act, speak that false word, do that great wickedness, and sin against Christ?" Art thou mean in thy birth and life, despised, misjudged, and reviled, on all hands? There are some in whom the process or change we call "repentance" is not very marked or great. )Who is gone into heavenOur Lord's ascensionDean Alford.The ascension of our Lord was, in one point of view, only a result of His resurrection, and the proper completion of His triumph then achieved. As the flood saved Noah, by destroying the wicked that swarmed on the earth, while he escaped by being shut within the ark; the baptism wherewith Christ was baptized saves Christians, by destroying sins and sinners, so that they who are found in Him in the time of visitation shall step out with Him upon a new earth, under a new heaven, wherein dwelleth righteousness.(W. Use the text thus, and it has life in it. "That He might bring us to God."II. Huntington.The term applied here to the Almighty represents Him as we are not very apt to think of Him, i.e., as having before Him all the evil, of every kind, in His children, and bearing it; our ingratitude, our disobedience, our folly, our fickleness, our obstinacy, our selfishness, our wilfulness, our sensuality, our irreverence, our vanity — the whole dark and diversified mass of our sin. Angels are subject to Him whom they nailed to the Cross, and at whom they wagged their heads. THE SALVATION OF CHRISTIANS BY BAPTISM is like the saving of Noah by the waters of the flood.1. Smart. THE SUFFERINGS HE ENDURED. Such is St. Paul's argument in his Epistle to the Ephesians. - powered by SermonAudio There is gratitude — thankfulness.4. The "Just." There, in the centre of the Father's glory, He rests not idle, nor is He unmindful of those whom He came to save. He has waited till they would destroy themselves. O man, how far off hast thou wandered! Price.I. THEY WERE ENDURED ONCE. There is nothing that the whole world revolts at more than at flagrant ingratitude.2. And it is here; "the just for the unjust," Christ suffered. The things which happen to you shall fall out rather to the furtherance of the gospel; and it is through death that you must pass up to share His glorious resurrection and imperial power."(F. If I wished to convince you that you needed pardon, from your father, for instance, in an ordinary matter, I should first have to show you your offence. Now you demand the trumpet, for the words are full of soul-stirring music, and create intense delight. Still He suffers in all our sufferings. Now let it be the perfect spirit, the spirit of the Son of God, and directly in a line with all our experiences is that resurrection from the dead. It is the privilege of strength to suffer for weakness. THAT CHRIST SUFFERED SHOULD MAKE SUFFERING CHRISTIANS PATIENT. The other always seems to be buoyant with joy and hope of something better. We never have any doubt as to that question about Christ. (2) The greater honour and dignity our Head hath, the more joy and comfort may we have, who are His members.2. And yet it was also expedient that His death should be violent, and so the more penal, to carry the more clear expression of a punishment, and such a violent death as had both ignominy and a curse tied to it, and this inflicted in a judicial way; that He should stand, and be judged, and condemned to death as a guilty person, carrying in that person the persons of so many who would otherwise have fallen under condemnation, as indeed guilty. It belongs, in its actuality and in its effects, to our whole nature, which He bore on Him and bears on Him at this moment. It tells about our offences against God — about our breaking of His holy law — about the evil we have done against our loving Father in heaven. To what class or classes of the dead it was proclaimed he does not specify; by whom it was proclaimed he does not specify; but, if we compare the two statements in the same Epistle —(1)that "Christ went and preached to the spirits in custody," and(2)that "to the dead also the gospel was preached" — we must conclude that, according to St. Peter, our Lord in the world of spirits, between His own crucifixion and resurrection, announced "glad tidings of great joy. It is deliverance by destruction. They had the gospel preached to them.2. I would come to each of you and say, "You are lost, and unless you get pardon you will be lost forever. It means also communion and counsel. If you come to Him you can only get to know the fulness of His gracious power by being buffeted with conviction and repentance, and by having self, especially self-righteousness, crucified and slain.5. Not that I would make light of trials; far from it. This is the utmost point, and that which men are most startled at — to die; especially a violent death. It was a matter of present attainment in the triumph of the spirit day by day; and for that we too are to labour, if our Easter joy and songs do indeed mean all that they say. He hath "once suffered." The spirit is in prison. He meant that Jesus, his substitute, had died for him, and he had not to die, but only to fall asleep in Jesus.3. Thou feeble Christian, who believest and prayest and strivest, but hast never laid firm hold on the hope set before thee, who day by day art conning over thine own imperfections, turn thine eyes from looking inward, and look upward on Him where He is. And the water of baptism is the antitype of that water of the deluge, because it completes the figure which makes the person safe in Christ, who is the only Ark of the soul from the deluge to come. So shall it also be with you. (2)In will. THAT THERE ARE HUMAN SPIRITS ACTUALLY IN THE PRISON OF HELL.1. There is happiness. But if God be for you, who can be against you? In that He appoints them to watch and guard us —(1) What a great honour is this to us. It is built by the hand of God, it will float in safety over the deluge, and whoever is in it will be gloriously saved; but we must get within it. Christ is at the fountainhead of power.2. In God's sight the ailment of humanity is sin. Not this; but "the answer of a good conscience toward God." God Himself brings us back by Christ.III. It is present tense, so God is saying not just on her birthday, or Valentine’s day or your anniversary, but all the time. He has gone there as to His proper abode.2. Let it open to thee just a glimpse of realities out of thy sight! Irresponsible power and selfishness concur in leading to feminine degradation. This is the best seal that our faith could desires the resurrection and ascension of Christ being practically the resurrection and the home bringing of all His redeemed.2. The flesh denotes His living body and animal soul; the spirit denotes here not the Holy Spirit nor the proper Deity, but the higher principle of the human spirit life, which was especially united to the Deity of Christ. Vast territories, with fertile soils and blooming vegetation, with the wealth of navies and harvests in their bosom, were waiting to receive them: and some are waiting still. Christ's sufferings.1. Let us give a little wider reach to the treatment of the subject by contemplating the patience of God in its sublime delay, its slowness as men count slowness, in bringing about the most beneficent ends. etc. Huntington.The term applied here to the Almighty represents Him as we are not very apt to think of Him, i.e., as having before Him all the evil, of every kind, in His children, and bearing it; our ingratitude, our disobedience, our folly, our fickleness, our obstinacy, our selfishness, our wilfulness, our sensuality, our irreverence, our vanity — the whole dark and diversified mass of our sin. On a bed, in a corner of the room, lay a dying soldier. He becomes his father's "substitute," and, if you ask the father in after years how he was saved, with the tear in his eye and a quivering voice, he will tell you he was saved by a substitute — that substitute his most loved and loving son. The law in its precept and penalty must be satisfied. Preece.The apostle speaks of "baptism" as saving us; that is the point that concerns us most. The language intimates that Christ suffered once for sins voluntarily. The multitudes of those who disbelieved, in Noah's days, perished, and the few that believed were saved. There is nothing that the whole world revolts at more than at flagrant ingratitude.2. I think, since Christ has gone into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, it shows which way we ought to go. (1) That He might set us an example of patience and resignation to the Divine will, under the troubles and difficulties of this life. Our hearts should be greatly affected with the representation which has been made unto us of the love of Christ.2. It is the correction of all that is carnal and all that is superstitious in our religion. "He suffered even unto death."2. What had been lost by the flesh had been more than made up by spirit, and the great transaction was a victory. For men are apt to imagine of our blessed Lord as withdrawn from His Church; and the participation of spiritual gifts and spiritual life to be derived from a long succession of secondary instruments, and ordinances of grace; whereas it is by direct contact of every believing soul with Himself in glory, that all spiritual grace and gifts are derived, and means and ordinances are but helps to lifting the soul by faith into realisation of His person and office, and into communion with Him. We speak of a person with whom we take advice as "the man of our right hand." Let it open to thee just a glimpse of realities out of thy sight! Outward appearances may discourage me to the utmost. This language intimates, that Christ the just One hath suffered. From this interpretation of the text an inference may be drawn. To prepare for His disciples.3. That explained all. If Christ, through all His several stages of existence, was a forerunner and pioneer to His apostles and faithful followers, it may be that as the Personal Head of the Body Mystical did in that unseen world preach the gospel to departed spirits, so some or many of His living members, as they have disappeared one by one behind the veil, have also in their turn, and after His example, preached the same gospel there. Dr. Carey, the great Indian scholar and missionary, tells of his visit to one of the wards in an Indian hospital. THE RESULTS OF PARDON — that is to say, the consequences of being pardoned through the substitution of another — through the Lord Jesus taking our place.1. The wheel will turn, and they that are lowest now shall soon be highest; they that have been with Him in the dust shall be with Him in His glory.3. The Lord Jesus Christ is willing to be your substitute now and here, and in God's name and on the authority of His own Word I offer Jesus Christ to be your substitute. THE HIGHEST INSTANCE OF UNDESERVED PERSECUTION.1. We speak of a person with whom we take advice as "the man of our right hand." And I can find this only in the glorified form of my Lord, now in heaven at God's right hand, holding together this world, creating, blessing, vivifying, governing all things. They are full in His sight. (Dean Vaughan. I have His prescription, and, unless I attend to that, I cannot expect spiritual healing or health." Remember there is a ministry of suffering. He intends us to remove, for He has removed. Here are two things to be remarked, their cause and their kind.1. As the flood saved Noah, by destroying the wicked that swarmed on the earth, while he escaped by being shut within the ark; the baptism wherewith Christ was baptized saves Christians, by destroying sins and sinners, so that they who are found in Him in the time of visitation shall step out with Him upon a new earth, under a new heaven, wherein dwelleth righteousness.(W. Through the gates of death in the new life of the disembodied spirit He went, He made a journey. Exercised for the promotion of moral excellence everywhere.3. A prison is a scene of guilt.3. While the lifeless body was hanging for its last hour on the tree, He, the living spirit, was using the new liberty in a special office and mission — He was on a journey — He was making Paradise itself a scene of activity — "in the spirit," St. Peter says, "He went and preached to the spirits in prison." So he must have felt how repeatedly and bitterly he had tried that one Divine Friend. Take such an instance as that of the disobedient prophet — a man lied to by another prophet — and failing, under that persuasion, to keep the safe rule, what God has said to thee thyself is more true, for thee at least, and more concerning, than that which God is said to have said, in correction of it, or in repeal of it, to another. Might. Had this been so, His bitter enemies would not have failed to convict Him of sin; but His challenge in this respect was never answered. We can only appreciate this suggestion by realising what is implied in being away from God. The language intimates that Christ suffered once for sins voluntarily. If the bosom of Christ's love is open, and is a refuge to which you may fly for safety, why should you not avail yourself of it?3. If this idea is akin to truth, then it is possible that "through the ages all along" the gospel which St. John calls "the gospel of the ages" has not been hidden, but preached to such departed spirits as never heard, nor could hear, the glad tidings when they were in the flesh, and that it is not from lack of opportunity that any soul perishes. (3) We must keep within com pass, and walk carefully in God's ways.II. Imagine Christ our Lord on His throne, how His eye is ever fixed, both on you in your helpless slumbering condition, and on your adversary waiting to hurt you. )Who is gone into heavenOur Lord's ascensionDean Alford.The ascension of our Lord was, in one point of view, only a result of His resurrection, and the proper completion of His triumph then achieved. A. It is its duty to animate the flesh, and it shows itself able to do it; and time after time it manifests its ability far above and beyond all the powers of flesh, making that flesh do things for which it has seemed to have no capability. The water flood, so far from being the source of danger, was the instrument employed to save. Her face was quite radiant. His activity of philanthropy never ceased. Through Him, not as an unconscious medium, but as the living and conscious offerer, all prayer is made. 1. Had this been so, His bitter enemies would not have failed to convict Him of sin; but His challenge in this respect was never answered. )He went and preached unto the spirits in prisonThe gospel preached to the deadCanon T. S. Evades, D. D.Who is here spoken of? 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