Jesus Is …!
August 20, 2017
Right now I think it’s pretty obvious our world is in a world of hurt. Between the riots over the past week in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one and injuring others, a van running into a crowd in Barcelona and killing 13 people, another car running into people in Spain, killing one person, a stabbing in Finland – and the list goes on.
As we look at the world around us, we see total hate around us. We read we are to love our neighbors, who supposedly are our friends, but not only our neighbors.
Jesus tells us to do what we really don’t want to do.
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, – Matthew 5:44
We are to love and pray for our enemies. That’s not always easy to do . . . is it? Sin is rampant! What are we to do? And more than that, what does God think when people are off creating their own style of justice?
The Bible tells us we’re stained with sin. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 ~
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
That statement is true for all of us, nobody is exempt. We’ve all sinned and we’ve all fallen short of God’s glory. We can’t meet His standards. And we learn this about God and His purity, because Habakkuk 1:13 tells us ~
13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, – Habakkuk 1:13
In other words, God cannot look upon evil, because He is pure. He cannot tolerate wrong. Yet, at the very same time, the Bible tells us – – God loved us so much, He offered us a way to “wash away” our sins. A way to cleanse our souls so that we might be able to have a relationship with Him in which He can view us as righteous.
What’s unusual and kind of intriguing in this process – – – – is that God has chosen an interesting way to cleanse us. Look at Hebrews 9:22 ~
22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. – Hebrews 9:22
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness!! That’s a huge statement! Here in Hebrews, we find that the blood of Jesus is what purifies us. What is there about blood that would make it a “cleansing agent?” I think blood is one of the most difficult stains to get out of your clothes. Nobody wants to get someone else’s blood on them.
And if you think about it, how could the blood of another person remove the sin and dirt from our souls, especially when blood itself is a stain producing agent and can ruin many of the things it comes in contact with?
Think about the soaps we use . . . most are mild and we use them for dishes, showers, clothes, and more. But there are stains that are more difficult, which require stronger detergents and abrasives. Think about bleach and the more corrosive cleaning agents.
The stronger the cleanser, the more damage it will do to materials it wasn’t meant to clean.
And interestingly, the Bible tells us the most powerful cleansing agent in the world is blood. Remember that song . . . What can wash away my sins . . . nothing but the blood of Jesus. Is there a better cleansing agent in the world than that? We need our heart, soul, minds, and bodies cleansed. You can wash yourself over and over again. You can scrub until you are a bloody mess, but you still can’t reach into your inner being. You can’t touch your heart, your soul, your mind . . . except with the cleansing agent called Jesus, the Christ.
Remember, life is in the blood. In Leviticus 17:11, we read ~
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
In other words, God intended for blood to take away our sins because life is in the blood. And if we don’t take sin away, if it is not removed and cleansed, then that sin will lead to death. It’s what Paul said in Romans 6:23 ~
23 for the wages of sin is death.
But God’s desire for you and I is to give us life! And since blood was identified with life, blood is the most natural substance for God to use. During the Passover, an innocent lamb was slaughtered and its blood smeared on the doorposts of the entrance of every Israelites home to remember when death “passed over” as the people were led out of Egypt.
Blood also indicated that a price had been paid.
In order for a blood sacrifice to be given to God something had to be sacrificed – – and it came through the shedding of blood. God meant for His people to know how terrible their sins were. Every time they sinned, they were required to offer up a blood sacrifice. In the Old Testament, every day at the temple you’d see people lined up at the Temple gate with their sacrifices being offered for their sinfulness.
Day after day after day – – sacrifices were offered to God. And these sacrifices cost the life and the blood of an innocent animal to pay for their sins. Remember the animal had to be free from spots or blemishes.
The reason Jesus’ blood had the power to remove sins was because it was His blood. He was the One . . . and the only one who was free from sin and stain and blemishes. Jesus was God’s Son, so this sacrifice had great significance and there was loss involved. It wasn’t the arbitrary blood of some animal which meant nothing.
Hebrews 9:12 tells us ~
12 He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. – Hebrews 9:12
Now, why is it important that it was Jesus’ blood? It was important because all our sins are committed against God. If I sin against any of you, I have not only sinned against you, but also against God. Any sin we commit is not only against one another, but also against God. In offending other people, I have offend God. And only God can grant ultimate forgiveness.
Jesus didn’t enter the Holy of Holies by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered by His own blood, which obtained eternal redemption for us.
Jesus didn’t slip into the Holy of Holies with a protective cloud of angels and incense and then exit until the next year. Instead – – He sat down at the right hand of the Father never to leave. He is always interceding for us. When He died on the cross that thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies was torn in two —
— so that all people who put their faith in Jesus’ sacrifice have unlimited access to God. We can trust that we will always be in the presence of God, wherever we go, anywhere and anytime.
The Blood of God can cleanse away my sins, because in every sin I might commit, it is God that I have offended. Unlike the blood of bulls and goats that had nothing to do with the sin of the offerer. The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us because He can forgive us . . . the bull and goats had no ability to forgive us.
The sins of the past, present and future have been paid for. There is no other way to get forgiveness, there is no need for any other type of sacrifice. You cannot pay for your sins, you cannot pay God, you cannot work for your forgiveness, you cannot serve more to be forgiven, you cannot give more money to be forgiven . . . you must believe and it’s only through the blood of Jesus can you find forgiveness.
Jesus did this so that we could be free to experience the fullness of God. Without the blood of Jesus being shed for us, we wouldn’t be able to have a relationship with God.
Verse 14 tells us ~
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. – Hebrews 9:14
When you embrace God’s grace, you’re conscience is clean. When you accept God’s forgiveness, you’re set free from guilt. Sometimes – – – have you ever held onto all of your own guilt, all of the sins you’ve committed. Or you held onto that one big humungous sin that you committed.
Maybe you’ve thought you committed some pretty bad sins against other people. You regret what you did. But, even as you come into a relationship with Christ . . . you’re still holding onto the sins. God says – – you are forgiven.
Remember last week? Remember Hebrews 8:12 when God says these great words-
12 I will remember your sins no more. – Hebrews 8:12
Those are great words from God . . . But . . . you say NO WAY! No way can anyone, let alone God forgive me and free me from what I’ve done!
Yet, this is exactly what God does for us. It’s the most amazing gift we can receive.
The writer leads us to this point where he is giving us a partial conclusion. In verse 15, he said ~
15 Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance,
since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. – Hebrews 9:15
Jesus Christ came into this world to set you free from the power of guilt and from the power of sin. He came to set you free to live your life, day-in and day-out, in the presence of God and in the fullness of His blessings.
Jesus paid the full price for your sins, once and for all, so that you could be free to enjoy a relationship with God. He did this so that you would never, never have to fear God’s judgment.
He wrote ~
27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:27-28
The judgment part has been taken care of. You’ve been acquitted, declared not guilty. You are forgiven.
You don’t have to fear the judgment of God because you’ve experienced the grace and mercy of God. That will never change. It’s not because you deserve it; it’s because of His goodness, His compassion, His grace.
It may be difficult for us to fully understand the concept of sacrifice, but it isn’t difficult to understand the concept of guilt. Many of us are all too familiar with it. I want you to know that Jesus Christ came into this world to remove guilt. He came to give you a clean conscience, so that you can be free to worship the living God.
We started off with lots of bad things, lots of sinfulness happening all over the world. Yet, lots of bad things are happening in our own back yard! Our sheriff Scott Mellinger said the drug problem in Madison County is the worst he’s seen in 35 years of being a police officer.
We have so many issues right in our own corner of the world. Sin is all around us. And that includes the church. There is sin, I’m not condemning anyone, yet I’m condemning all of us. We’re all guilty. We do it in subtle ways.
But . . . and I don’t want to end on the bad news . . . I want to end with the good news of Jesus the Christ! Jesus the One who came into this world. The One who left the power and perfection of heaven. The One who left perfect love for you and I.
Why did He do it! There needed to be a blood sacrifice.
His death on the cross paid the price for your sins. This will never change; His sacrifice will never lose its power.
Jesus had to die because we deserved to die. God doesn’t want us to live isolated from Him and isolated from one another.
His death redeems us.
His death reconciles us.
His death saves us — from our past, from our sins, from ourselves.