A SINNER IN GOD'S COURTROOM

(ZECHARIAH 3:1-7)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

               

1.      (Hebrews 9:27) states, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."  Every person who walks the face of the earth has two dates with destiny.  First, we have a DATE WITH DEATH, "Man is destined to die once," (v.27).  We are going to keep this date with our body.

2.      But we also have an APPOINTMENT WITH THE ALMIGHTY, "after that to face judgment" (v.27). We are going to keep this appointment with our soul.

 

3.      One of these days we are going to be standing in the supreme court of God.  Have you ever wondered what it will be like to stand in God's courtroom…

 

THIS MORNING, WE HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF ACTUALLY GOING INTO GOD'S COURTROOM (KINDA LIKE COURT TV) AND SEEING HOW AT LEAST ONE SINNER FARED IN HIS TRIAL.  PLEASE TURN WITH ME TO (ZECHARIAH 3:1-7).

 

I.  IN (ZECHARIAH 3), WE WILL FIRST LOOK AT THE GUILT OF THE SINNER.

 

1.      This drama is in the setting of a courtroom.  It is in the Supreme Court of the Universe.  God is the Judge, Joshua, the High Priest, is the defendant, and Satan is the prosecuting attorney. 

 

2.      Satan is bringing his case against Joshua before the Lord.  We are told in (Zechariah 3:1) that Satan is standing at Joshua's right hand opposing Joshua. 

 

3.      Now notice that Satan has an air-tight case against Joshua.  He has the goods on Joshua.  He is accusing him fairly. For we are told in (v.3) that Joshua was indeed clothed with filthy garments.  Now, why wasn't Joshua giving a defense?  Why wasn't he saying something in his own behalf?  Well the reason was because he had no defense.  Satan said to the Lord, "He's dirty."  Well, he was dirty.  Satan said to the Lord, "He is guilty."  He was guilty.

 

4.      Even today, Satan is still an accuser.

 

The Bible says in (Rev. 12:10), "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ have come: for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."  

 

5.      Satan, day and night, is standing before God accusing God's children.  Satan not only loves to get us to sin, he loves to point out our sin. 

 

6.      When Satan talks about God, he lies.  But when he talks to God about us he doesn't have to lie.  He may oftentimes be telling the truth. 

 

7.      Well in this story, Satan was right.  Joshua was dirty, sinful and guilty.  Satan knew it, God knew it, and Joshua knew it.

 

8.      Many of us today experience guilt…the piercing understanding that we are at times dirty, sinful and guilty.  We deal with Satan's piercing accusations!

 

9.      So we first see in the supreme court of God Satan standing around accusing God's people of their sins.

 

II.  SECOND, IN GOD'S COURTROOM, WE SEE THE GRACE OF THE SAVIOR.

 

1.      Notice that Joshua didn't say anything when Satan was accusing him…but the judge comes to the rescue.  It was the Lord who came and rebuked the devil.  "And the Lord said to Satan,'The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'" (v.2)  You see, it was not Joshua's battle to fight.  The battle belonged to the Lord.  Now we are in a war with Satan, but the battle and the victory belongs to the Lord.

 

2.      There is a wonderful lesson we need to learn here and it is this: God will never defend His children's sins, but He will defend His children.

 

3.      If you have ever read this story in Zechariah, have you ever wondered who is the defense attorney in v.2 who comes to the aid of Joshua?  Well, this is simply an Old Testament picture of what we're taught in the New Testament.  In I John 2:2 we are told, "My little children, these things I write to you that you may not sin, and if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous."  The word advocate means "lawyer."  Do you know who this defense attorney was who came to Joshua's rescue, to plead his case?  None other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

4.      I want to tell you something about our advocate.  He has never lost a case.  Friend, even Perry Mason can't say that.  The Bible says that "Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us."  That is, Jesus, day and night, pleads our case.  

 

5.      But notice very carefully, it was the Lord who defended Joshua.  Joshua did not defend himself.  Joshua did not rebuke the Devil.  The Lord rebuked the Devil.  I get amused at these so-called super saints who talk as if Satan is a wimp or pushover.  They make it sound as if Satan has no power.  Well, I want to say to you that we should never overestimate the power of the Devil, nor should we ever underestimate the power of the Devil.  I would rather overestimate the power of my enemy, than underestimate the power of my enemy.

 

6.      I'm afraid many of us have been a poor judge of our enemy.  We are never told in the Word of God to fight the Devil.  We're told to resist the Devil, but never to fight him.  The way you resist the Devil is to let Jesus do the fighting.  Even Michael, the Archangel, wouldn't go against Satan one on one.  We are told in Jude, v.9, "Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the Devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, 'The Lord rebuke.'"

 

7.      We can't fight Satan in our own power and we don't have to.  We need to let our advocate do our talking and do our fighting for us.

 

8.      Whenever Satan wants to take your case to court you just let your advocate do all of the talking.  Your lawyer is plenty able to close the case and to shut the mouth of your prosecutor.  When Satan rebuked Joshua, Joshua had nothing to say.  But when God rebuked Satan, Satan had nothing to say.

 

9.      Now you would have expected a guilty sentence.  The evidence is there.  Joshua is Exhibit A.  Yet, God says, "Not guilty."  His sentence was commuted.  Oh, he was guilty, but when his defense attorney raised those nail-pierced hands to the judge and said, "In the name of my wounds, I command you as a righteous judge, to set him free," three wonderful things happened:

        

A.  He Was Cleansed

        

1.      In v.3 we are told that Joshua was clothed with filthy garments.  "Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel." (v.3)  Now that word filthy is a very poignant word in the Hebrew language.  It literally means "to be covered with human excrement."  That is, these garments were not only dirty, they were smelly.  Sin is repulsive.  It is obnoxious to a Holy God.

 

2.      Yet we are told that the judge ordered these filthy garments removed.  "Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, 'Take away the filthy garments from him.'" (v.4a)  Now why?  Was there new evidence?  No.  Had the law been changed? No.  Well, perhaps the judge was crooked and had accepted a bribe.  But that is not true because the judge is none other than God.  Well then, why was Joshua stripped freely of his filthy garments?  There's only one explanation:  the wonderful grace of God.

 

3.      It was by God's marvelous grace, and God's sovereign choice, that Joshua was cleansed.  He said in v.2 that Joshua was a "brand plucked from the fire."  Joshua was burning up.  His faith was sealed, and yet God in his grace plucked him out of the fire.  You are not saved because you first chose God. You are saved because God first chose you.  If you have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb this morning, it is because of the grace of God.

                 

B.  He Was Clothed

            

1.      "And to him He said, 'See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.'" (v.4b) These filthy garments not only needed to be removed, they needed to be replaced.  It is one thing to be dirty; it's another thing to be naked.  Dirty garments are better than no garments at all.  God reaches into his own closet and pulls out one of his finest robes.  Joshua went from wearing his filthy garments to God's Sunday best.

 

2.      When the Prodigal Son finally came to his senses and came home, he had been eating with the pigs, living with the pigs, sleeping with the pigs; he looked like a pig and he smelled like a pig.  He was ragged.  He was dirty.  He had become a bum and he looked like a bum.  But when he came trudging up his father's driveway, and that father saw him, if you remember, the first words the father said were, "Bring out the best robe."

 

3.      Joshua had been clothed in the robe of God's righteousness.  The Bible says in Isa. 61:10, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.  My soul shall be joyful in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation.  He has covered me with the robe of righteousness."

 

4.      Joshua's filthy rags represented his righteousness.  For the very best righteousness you have to offer God is filthy.  Our righteousness is like filthy rags before the Lord.  God cannot accept your filthy righteousness.  He has to remove your righteous rags and put on his righteous robe before He can accept you.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

        

Dr. Harry Ironside told one time of a sheep ranch that he visited down in Texas.  He saw something  he couldn't figure out.  It looked like a sheep with four front legs, four back legs, and two heads.  It looked like a deformity.

        

He asked the sheep rancher, "What in the world is this?"  The rancher smiled and said, "Preacher, we had a little lamb to die and a mother sheep died.  The lamb left a mother without a baby and the mother died, which left the lamb without a mother.  Well, we took the little lamb without a mother and put it in the pen of the mother without the baby.  But the mother didn't want this baby.  She didn't want any part of it.  She would lower her head and push it away.

        

Well, some of the men here got the idea that if the mother thought that the little lamb was really hers, she would adopt it and make it as her own.  She would nurse it and raise it and solve the whole problem.

        

So they took the skin off of the little dead lamb and they put it around that little orphan lamb.  We tied it on and that 's why you see four front feet, four back feet, and what looks like two heads.  When it was covered up with the skin of that dead lamb we put it in the pen with the mother and she loved it and cared for it.  She accepted it because it was clothed in the garments of her own."

        

5.      Ladies and gentlemen, before you were saved you were an orphan sinner with no father and no Savior, but robed in the righteousness of God, you have become accepted in the beloved.  That is why we can sing: "Dressed in his righteousness alone Faultless to stand before the throne."

                 

C.  He Was Crowned

        

1.      They put on him a turban.  "And I said, 'Let them put a clean turban on his head.' So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him.  And the Angel of the Lord stood by." (v.5)  That was the headpiece of the high priest.  We are told in Ex. 38:26 that written on the front of that headpiece were these words, "Holy to the Lord."  Joshua was back in fellowship with God.

2.      Now here is the point of the entire passage.  If God is for you, it does not matter who is against you.  Rom. 8:33 says, "Who shall bring a charge against God's elect.  It is God who justifies."  When God brings his gavel down and says, "Not guilty," it does not matter who says you are.

       

III.  THIRD, IN GOD’S COURTROOM, WE SEE THE GLORY OF THE SAINT.

        

1.      Joshua was not put on probation.  He was put back to work, put back to serving God.  Thank the Lord God does not hold a grudge.  Joshua was received, reclaimed and restored.  Once again he enjoyed two things he had lost through his sin:

        

A.  Authority With God

        

1.      Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts;'" (vv.6-7) Joshua was told that if he would stay pure and holy he could judge God's house and have charge of his courts.  Now that is the job of the priest.  That is his reason for being.  That's what he is to do.  You see, when Joshua was dirty he was not only defiled, he was defused.  He had lost all authority.  He had lost his authority with God.  When he lost authority he lost his usefulness.

 

2.      You are of no use to God unless you are exercising His divine authority in your life.  Many Christians are of no use to God whatsoever because of sin in their life; they have lost their authority.  We are not to live in the authority of the flesh, we are to live in the authority of the Holy Spirit.  Far too many Christians are trying to function without unction.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

         

I heard of a family that bought a little puppy and brought it home, and their six year old son was so excited, he said, "I want to paint a sign and put it in the yard so our neighborhood will know we have a dog."  After he finished the sign he asked his mother and father to come look at it, and the walked out into the yard.   The dad looked at the sign and said to the mother, "Somehow, beware of doggie, lacks authority." 

 

3.      Well that's what is wrong with many Christians today.  They lack authority because they are laboring under guilt, under sin, rather than under the forgiveness of God.

        

B.  Access To God

        

1.      "I will give you places to walk among these who stand here." (v.7b)  He had been given once again, access to the throne room of heaven.  He had lost that access because of sin and guilt.  "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Psa. 66:18)

 

2.      The heavens had turned to brass, the door of God's chambers had been closed shut and locked.  But when Joshua had received God's forgiveness, the heavens became highways and God's door had swung open to receive his prayer.

 

3.      You may be a guilty sinner or a backslidden saint.  Either way you have an advocate in Heaven.  This advocate will take any case.  There is no case He will not take and no case He cannot win.

 

4.      No matter what you've done, whether you are saved or lost, if you will bring your guilt and your sin to this great advocate, He will take your case, plead your case, win your case, and commute  your sentence from death to life.

 

5.      This court is different than any other court in history.  Because in this court there are really no attorneys.  There is no jury.  There is no case, and there is no debate.  There is simply a Judge and a defendant.  That is, unless you qualify for a defense attorney.  You see, not everyone in this courtroom is guaranteed the right to legal counsel.

 

6.      But there is something even stranger.  If we do qualify for a defense attorney, the defense attorney is none other than the judge himself!  Now that raises the question, Will we qualify?  Will the judge serve as our defense attorney?  Well, that all depends on who we are and where we stand with the judge before we enter the courtroom. 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      I hope and pray that this lesson has been beneficial to you.  If you have any needs, please come now as we stand and sing.