Calvary Road Baptist Church

“JOURNEY TO CALVARY” Part 1

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.   This evening I begin a series of sermons, actually one extended sermon, that will take us down a path over the next five services to a place called Calvary.

2.   It is fitting that our church is named Calvary Road Baptist Church, for it is the Calvary road that every soul must travel who would not walk the path to destruction.

3.   I make no claim of originality. You will notice that the style of this sermon is quite different from my own. This is because I am essentially presenting a sermon that was prepared and delivered by Dr. Bernie Smith more than three hundred times before it appeared in book form.

4.   The title of the book, as was the title of the original sermon that gave way to the book, that now gives way to this series of messages, is “Journey To Calvary.”

 

1A.    THE JOURNEY TO CALVARY BEGINS

Come with me to the altar of God on a hill far away called Calvary. Step softly now, for we approach holy ground. Yonder in the distance stands the cross—the “moral magnet of the universe.”

O Calvary! Scene of suffering—hill of horror—delight of demons.

O Calvary! Pinnacle of divine love standing at the crossroads of time and eternity.

O Calvary! God’s mountain of mercy and altar of atonement.

O Calvary! Man’s demonstration of degradation—for the cross reveals how far man had fallen. It portrays the determination of a holy God to save hostile man.

But we must begin at the beginning—and “In the beginning God.” So your journey to Calvary must begin in the counsel chambers of eternity, long before the foundations of the world were laid.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love,” Ephesians 1.4.

The shadow of the cross fell upon the earth while it was yet without form and void. For, you see, Calvary was in the mind of God and the heart of Jesus before light ever streamed across the earth, or sin plunged it into darkness once again.

Now, Calvary was not an emergency measure thrust upon the triune God to save man. This was God’s decision for man’s dilemma—God’s answer to man’s problem—given and sealed by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit before the dilemma arose or the problem was born. Before Adam was, God had provided a way of escape for His creation.

We journey across the unsealed heights and through the unfathomed depths of eternity—and a dawn breaks in upon us—the dawn of Time! Behold God’s creative genius! Behold the beauty of Eden and our first parents! What a blissful scene! What a blessed fellowship they have as they walk with God.

When silent shadows gently fall,

They hear His voice so sweetly call,

And they commune as Friend with friend,

Such fellowship must never end!

 

But can it be that our eyes deceive us? No! Our race’s first mother is approaching forbidden territory and discussing forbidden fruit with forbidden company! Oh, how the deceiver delights to deceive and destroy!

Don’t touch that tree! If you touch that tree, another tree must rise on a distant hill called Golgotha.

And if you touch that tree, another Adam must die upon another tree to satisfy justice in the court of Heaven.

Don’t touch it! Do not yield to the temptation! Have you no idea the beautiful and subtle creature who flatters you has poison in his fangs! Let not the tempter bring you down to defeat.

Run from the tree! Desert the devil!

But—alas! They failed—and creation wailed.

Yes, they did yield—and the universe reeled under the impact of such disobedience. One moment of ecstasy by the federal head of the race, and his posterity would be polluted, a curtain of separation was drawn—the dew of death would dampen every brow, the curse of sin—the guilt of sin—the condemnation of sin was upon the world!

We pause on our journey and our heart is crushed. Broken ties in Paradise! Driven from Eden! Man caught in the vortex of sin and shame!

Oh—is there hope or help? Yes! He is Hope and Help! The first sin of the first man brought God’s first act of mercy. Against the dismal picture, in the third chapter of Genesis shines one shaft of golden light—the Messianic prophecy!

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel,” Genesis 3.15.

Yes, the shadow of the cross can be seen from Eden. At the very place where man fell, God gave hope that he would rise again! For the cross would bridge that yawning chasm that separated man from his God. Those lines of Messianic prophecy were wrapped in the blood that would flow from Immanuel’s veins! That red line of blood—that promise made in the Garden of Eden—that Messianic prophecy runs through the Old Testament like a river that seeks to overflow its banks—and in the New Testament it finds its source at Calvary!

O hallowed stream! O blessed Christ! Hallelujah for the cross!

‘Ere since by faith I saw the stream,

Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has, been my theme,

And shall be till I die!

 

 

2A.    THIS WAY TO CALVARY

Alongside the prophetic Calvary road that winds through the Old Testament are bold signs that read, “This way to Calvary.” The fingers of the prophets point toward Christ and the cross. With God-given detail, they spell out coming events. With Spirit-guided hearts and hands, they record the Davidic descent of Calvary’s King as God reveals for the record the positive proof of the Messianic line.

What began as a ray of light in Eden is seen to grow and glow in intensity as the divine plan continues to unfold.

For a thousand roads of prophecy converge at Calvary. As the sunflower, through the phenomenon called heliotropism, lifts its face toward the morning sun, and follows it across the heavens, until it absorbs the last rays of light at eventide, even so did the blessed prophets lift their faces toward the Sun of Righteousness and speak freely of Him and the redemption of man.

Yes, the early prophets speak with the certainty of Sinai about the Messiah. They knew that God’s message without Calvary was a temple without a roof—a house without a door—a foundation without a superstructure. They knew the sacred significance of that coming hour when God would meet the sinner at Calvary with His arms outstretched to welcome all who would come.

So the prophets preached in those days when there was an erosion of faith. They proclaimed that the road to Heaven was not a superhighway. It was to be a narrow way, and Calvary road would be paved with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Speak on, prophets! Lift up your voices you holy men of God. Speak unto us of the Savior and His suffering. Is there word from the Lord?

Yes. “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord” (Psalm 118.22, 23, 26).

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” Isaiah 7.14.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9.6.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots,” Isaiah 11.1.

“I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house,” Isaiah 42.6-7.

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting,” Isaiah 50.6.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

“He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the

transgressors,” Isaiah 53.4-12.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth,” Jeremiah 23.5.

“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts,” Haggai 2.7.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn,” Zechariah 12.10.

“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness,” Zechariah 12.1.

“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends,” Zechariah 13.6.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts,” Malachi 3.1.

As we travel the road of prophecy on our journey to Calvary, we see sin in all its blackness. We have caught but a glimpse of prophecy—just a glimpse of the heart of a great God who seems to be bending the clouds, as it were, in love’s great determination to save fallen man. Every altar we have seen erected along the way speaks to us of Messiah. All the animals slain on Jewish altars speak of the coming Sacrifice.

The old tide is rolling out, and a new tide of hope is rolling in. And as we hear the prophets speak to us, we realize that the cross was neither accident nor incident—it was God’s event! And the prophets we have met along this road on which we journey have given us the good news that when man’s back is against the wall, his face is toward God—and there is hope!

 

3A.    WE PAUSE AT BETHLEHEM

Ah, Bethlehem, what a bright jewel you are in Judea’s crown.

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” Micah 5.2.

Yes, Bethlehem. Out of you shall spring forth the eternal Word—and because of Him a ruined race shall become a ransomed race. Oh, Bethlehem—the first thought of you makes the mind leap across a chasm of thirty-three years, and we see a cross rise on the wrinkled brow of an ancient skull-shaped hill. And we stand in awe and together say, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Yes, Bethlehem, the shadow of the cross falls upon you.

Think of it! It was the night of nights. As darkness covered the Judean hills, the Christ Child was to be born of a virgin. It was the turning point of history as they laid Him in the manger.

That Babe in the manger was our Savior, Who was present at the summit conference of eternity when the cross fell upon His heart. For Jesus Christ carried the cross in His heart long before He carried it on His shoulders.

That Babe in the manger was the One who allowed the sun and moon and stars to lean upon His arm. In that manger was the brightest Jewel of Heaven, the eternal Son of the infinite God. There lay Deity clothed with humanity. More beautiful than the brilliance of a golden dawn, lovelier than the rising sun or the falling stars, fairer than the moon! As tender as the white bosom of the lily, yet stronger than rugged Gibraltar!

In that manger was the Friend of the friendless, the Great Physician who Himself took our

infirmities, the Savior who suffered for our salvation and was crucified for our crown, the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep, the Teacher who taught as one having authority, the Essence of that love that will not let us go, the Source of all power, the Treasurer of wisdom and knowledge, the Perfect Example of mercy, justice, and truth, the Faithful One who shattered the hopes of the devil and fulfilled the promises of the prophets, the Victorious One who robbed death of its sting and the grave of its victory, the Great Redeemer who has given us the glorious prospect of eternity with Him!

The ages bow before that manger and reckon time from that epochal moment. For in that manger was the highest Hope of fallen man.

God had come down to dwell among men!

That Babe in the manger would some day pray in Gethsemane—where each drop of perspiration was a diamond from the Father’s hand.

That Babe came to the manger that He might go to the cross—where each drop of blood was a ruby from the treasure chest of Heaven.

That Babe in the manger was Jesus—and the day would come when He would be fastened to a cross, and each blow of the hammer would be music to the laughing demons of hell.

O Bethlehem—this Christ Child—this tiny Babe born in lowly surroundings—this eternal Son of the everlasting God must move with determined steps toward Calvary. Yes, evil men will bruise Bethlehem’s Babe—molest the Master—strike the Savior—hurt the Harmless—crucify the Christ!

As we pause in our journey, we realize that Bethlehem and the cross are inseparable.

 

Cradle of Christ

 

No cradle of pearl—no floor of gold—

No robe of splendor to enfold—

No tapestry—no palace walls,

When Jesus came from Heaven’s halls.

 

But in the cold of one bleak night,

Came Heaven’s Jewel—Brightest Light,

How far He came from God’s own Throne,

To call us—claim us as His own.

 

“Come back, come back”—the Angels cried,

But as he stepped through space so wide,

Each plea from them He now must spurn—

With nail scarred hands He would return.

 

‘Twas but a barn in Bethlehem—

And only oxen greeting Him—

His cradle a pallet made of straw—

What condescension Angels saw!

 

But Heaven’s Star of Stars did shine,

And guided Wise Men to His Shrine;

His birth the Angels did proclaim,

And shepherds joyfully called His Name.

 

That cradle held Eternity—

The “Rock of Ages cleft for me”;

That cradle held God’s only plan,

To rescue sinful, fallen man.

 

O Christ of Christmas, King of Kings,

My soul with holy joy now sings;

To think that cradle held for me

The Christ Child—Heaven’s only Key.

 

—Bernie Smith

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org