December 7, 2008
The Christ We Know
Pastor Wade Burleson
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Cameron Moles reminded me this week that in the Old Testament names were given by
parents as an expression of hope regarding the future character of their children. God would also
change the names of people to identify who they were to become by God's grace. In other words,
names carried meaning: the name represented the essence of one's character. So it is with the
names given to Jesus in our text. His name shall be called wonderful Counselor.
- When Jesus is my Counselor, He is my Advisor.
The word Counselor is the Hebrew word ya'ats which means to "advise or
"I may have doubts and fears, my eyes be filled with tears,
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we
have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin. Let us then
approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to
help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).
But Jesus is a friend who watches day and night;
I go to Him in prayer, He knows my every care,
And just a little talk with Jesus makes it right.
Now let us have a little talk with Jesus . . ."
- When Jesus is my Counselor, He is my Advocate.
"My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may sin not. And if anyone does
sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1). From this
verse, how shall we understand Christ's present work for us in heaven? He stands before His
Father in heaven, and every time we sin, he doesn't make a new propitiation. He doesn't die
again and again. Instead he opens his portfolio and lays the exhibits of Good Friday on the bench
before the Judge. Photographs of the crown of thorns, the lashing, the mocking soldiers, the
agonies of the cross, and the final cry of victory: It is finished. This is the great work of Christ as
- When Jesus is my Counselor, He is my Attendant.
"I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the
Spirit of truth. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:15,18).
Sometimes what is needed is just the knowledge of his abiding presence in our lives. The writer
of Hebrews tells us there is no need to fear what man can do to us, for we have our Counselor's
promise, "I will never leave you or forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
- When Jesus is my Counselor, He is my All in all.
"God loves you just the way you are" (that's the work of grace), "but God refuses to
leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus" (that's the work of truth). The best
test of a good counselor is whether the people who go to that counselor are helped. If you know
anything about the Bible, you know that Jesus was the most effective counselor that has ever
lived. When you come to Him by faith and get to know Him in terms of His character, you will
find that He transforms you completely.
- Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2) who was delivered from seven demons.
- The Gadarene Demoniacs (Matthew 8:28ff) who were so violent everyone was
scared of them. Jesus delivered them and they were made normal.
- The Samaritan woman (John 4) who had been married and divorced five times
and was currently living with a man -- Jesus turned her into a missionary.
- The woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8) was saved from death and sent
on her way transformed.
- Zaccheus was a despised tax-collector (Luke 19) and after meeting with Jesus
vowed to repay anyone he cheated, with interest.
- The fishermen were turned into missionaries.
- The religious leader, Nicodemus, became a Christian even though it was very
unpopular to do so.
And it is not just those who were in the Bible. Jesus is still changing lives. Consider the
following people from history.
- St. Augustine was a womanizing man who ran with the wild crowd before
becoming one of the greatest leaders of the church.
- John Newton was a drunken slave trader before he wrote Amazing Grace.
- Johnny Cash was a hard-living country singer before coming to Christ.
- Chuck Colson was a convicted Watergate conspirator before he met Christ. The
Lord led him to begin Prison Fellowship and he has become on of the prophetic voices of our
- Alice Cooper was a wild and drug-crazed rock singer before coming to Christ
where he sits under the teaching of R.C. Sproul and others.
- George W. Bush was known for his parties before He met Christ.
If you look around there are many other names of people here at Emmanuel Baptist Church that
we could add to the list. Some of you have stories that would surprise the people sitting around
you. Jesus Christ has made an impact on all of us and millions of lives around the world and
throughout the years. For some, the progress has been slow and steady. For others it was a
dramatic turnaround. But anyone who has come to the Savior willing to submit to His leadership
in his or her life has found Him to be sufficient for every need. When you come to Jesus, you
receive a person of extraordinary character.
Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor.
The Christ We Know Series Index