Text: Hebrews 9:11-27
A story is told of a drunk man coming home late at night after one of those drinking sprees, he stumbles and falls into an open grave. After trying with all his might and stagger, he gives up and decides to nap in the grave. Another drunk man also on his way home on this same path, he also stumbles and falls into the same grave, He too tries with all his might to get out. But just at the point of giving up, he hears a sound behind, then hears a cranky voice saying- I also tried but gave up. What seemed impossible suddenly was done- He got out of the grave at record speed.
Let’s talk about death so that we can learn how to live. We don’t need to fall into a grave like the old man, but Death has a way of sobering us back to life. The reality and sting of death can leave us paralyzed with mystery and fear.
We begin this new month on a series we have entitled: The Cross over- The Church next door and the Cross of Jesus. Easter is nothing near ‘eggs and bunnies’ but a time for sober insight and reflections about Christ’s Death and Resurrection on the Cross. The reality is that despite life’s momentary bliss, We all are on the journey to our graves- faced with pain suffering and tribulations, How can we draw victory from the one who died our death? How does the Cross of Christ teach us to LIVE among the Dead? It’s time to Cross Over from Death to LIFE.
We invite you to a time of deep reflection on the meaning and power of the Cross of Christ in this LIFE changing Easter series “The Cross – Over. We will be looking at various Elements of Christ Death on the Cross and their significance to us as today. We will look at
The Blood of Jesus, The Cross and Persecution, The Resurrection and The Living Sacrifice. I must warn this can get too doctrinal and sometimes too theological, but that’s not the aim, but the Lord would reveal Himself to us through the lenses of Death – through this series and like the Drunkard, If we have been messing around and taking things casually- after the grave encounter we bolt back to Life, God’s LIFE.
Today we begin by looking at: The Blood, Nothing but the blood.
One of the sure symptoms of Death is the Blood. Biologically- Blood is said to be the life line of a living being. The blood carries in itself all the necessary ingredients for life to happen. The blood carries the food nutrients for our bodies, takes oxygen to our brains, is the cleansing agent for our kidneys, it’s the agility in our muscles.
But as Africans, Blood means the place of preservation- Our cultures are preserved in our blood, we identify ourselves as Africans to the blood- Mimi ni mwafrika damu, We preserve brotherhood and community in our blood.
But – The sight of blood also brings a chill in our lives, for blood to come out usually some pain would be involved. A blood stained garment, sight is not one we like, For this reason some people cannot even slaughter a Chicken.
Blood whichever way you look at it is a significant part of our living, so we give it, we need it, we pass it- we revere it? Everyone needs blood- The sick people need it, the Witch doctors and mediators require it and evil seems not to be satisfied until blood is shed.
So today we ask, what is so special about the blood of Christ? How do we appreciate the value of the Blood of Jesus in our lives? What is the significance of the blood shed?
Have you ever been in that place where you are caught pants down in something so wrong? When you know you deserve whatever treatment- When others tell you – How could you do such a thing, When you tell yourself- How can I do such a thing and most of all when you feel God telling you How could you do such a thing? It feels all round and in you there is harsh condemnation.
It’s not a lie that many of us, have found ourselves in these extremely shameful and condemning situations. While some of these things are obvious and visible, All of us- know that if our lives were to be scrutinized- we all find ourselves in that place of guilt.
Guilt drives us to Isolation- a sense of alienation, unworthiness, failure, being irreparable, can sometimes lead to death. So what do we do with Guilt- We hide from others, we hide from ourselves and we think like Adam and Eve we can hide from God. Ask the Samaritan woman, ask me.
Although we know all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God- Guilt can make us feel more Sinful than others, and make others feel holier than us. In a big sense, you don’t have to be dead physically but Guilt is the beginning of Death- Our souls die. We die because we are disconnected alienated from what we feel gives our souls life- we die because we are alienated from laughter, Esteem, Respect, we die because we lack fellowship.
But perhaps nothing describes us all explicitly than scripture when it comes to Sin. We may think differently of ourselves, we may compare ourselves…But Scripture is clear
Rom 3:23- For All have Sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…..I am looking at a bunch of sinners today- oh that’s you and me.
There is no one who is righteous, none who seeks God, The heart of man is desperately wicked- God is not shocked at our sins, because it is our nature to sin.
Listen to this Important Truth- We are sinners not because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners. We all deserve God’s judgment.
Only God is holy, everyone else falls short- Every one of us is Guilty before God and not only so every one of us deserves condemnation. Let alone the sins passed on to you, but even those you have committed this very day….is enough to count you guilty before God.
The result is we deserve it- We deserve the condemnation- God says we are guilty, we admit we are guilty and guess what even Satan says you are guilty.
If we do not appreciate how Sin-full and Guilty we are we will not appreciate the Value of Forgiveness and Grace. We will not appreciate what it takes to fellowship with God?
Worship in scripture has always been a bloody affair. Because Worship is God’s process of restoring this fellowship of sinful people like us with Holy self.
What can wash away our sins? God has said we have sinned.
What can take away our self- consciousness- of our own guilt?
What can silence the enemy also joining in the accusation?
What can restore us back to fellowship with God?
Nothing, Nothing but the Blood of Jesus
Worship has always been a bloody affair.
In the OT calendar, in the book of Lev 16- There is one great day called the Atonement day. On the Day of Atonement blood was taken from a live animal and brought to the most holy place and there sprinkled to the Lord seven times. This was a public display. Only the High Priest could do this, yet he also had to offer a sacrifice for himself.
Atonement simply meant- For us to fellowship/because you are so Sin-full, you cannot stand alive before God, You must die and in God’s wisdom let some other living thing die in your place. The blood then symbolized a taking away of life. First they would place their hands on the heads of the sacrificial animal- this was to transfer their sins to the animal and then slaughter the animal and shed blood on the altar.
But perhaps this is often where we miss the point- Jesus did not shed his blood for us. We are not the primary beneficiaries of the blood of Jesus.
The Blood shed was something for God, something to appease God, something he could find satisfaction. The Lord required that.
Earlier on in Exodus- remember the Passover- the blood was applied on the lintel of the houses and on the door posts away from the people, while meat was eaten inside the house- When I see the blood- I will pass over you. The blood was not presented to man, but to God.
In Christ- God in his Holiness and righteousness demands that a sinless life should be given for a man. There is life in the blood and that blood has to be poured out for me, for my sins. God is the One who requires it to be so. God is the one who demands that the blood be presented to satisfy his own righteousness and it is He who says ‘when I see the blood, I will pass over you’ Nee..
Yes, sometimes our sins can seem so real and so big and so weighty- But sometimes guilt can cause us not to see the meaning and effectiveness of the Blood of Christ. Our sins can loom larger than the Blood of Christ. This is where we go wrong when we try to feel the Value of Christ’s blood and estimate what it means for us. We forget the Blood is not for us but for God. God is the one who has valued it.
We have to believe that the blood is precious to God, because He says so, not because we feel it. If God has accepted the blood as payment for our sins and as the price he set for our redemption, then we can be rest assured that the debt has been paid fully. He who is Holy and Righteous has the right to say that the Blood is acceptable in His eyes and has fully been satisfied with Him.
What does this mean for us- In the book of Rom 8, If the one who was to condemn us has said we are accepted/forgiven and loved through His blood- then who can accuse us, we cannot even accuse ourselves. This is for us who have appropriated the blood of Jesus.
No hole is too dark, no Sin is too dark for God to save us. We can surely not miss this blessing.
Now that the blood has satisfied God, How do we satisfy our self accusation- Vs 14 “ Christ Blood has sprinkled our consciences…now we can worship and fellowship with God.
Note here that it cleanses our consciences not our hearts. The heart is desperately sick, it does not need cleansing but replacement. We do not wash and iron clothes we are going to throw away. We need a new heart. And that comes through the work of the Cross, which is the subject matter of next week?
The blood of Christ does not cleanse our hearts, because we do not need a cleansing we need a new heart, but it Cleanses our Conscience. That self-condemnation of our unworthiness before God. That thing that constantly reminded me that I am a sinner, I am unworthy.
Because when our conscience is uneasy, we loose faith, so while God says I have forgiven you, we feel we have not forgiven ourselves. In other words we have forgotten the up to date value of the Blood.
We feel I was forgiven last time, so I have messed again and again.
What we forget is that The Blood was not shed just once, but once and for all, for daily cleansing. His mercies are new every morning. Every time He forgives us, it’s like we never did it before. His blood has not lost its efficacy. We can plead this atonement everyday.
The mistake is to think, yesterday I approached God by his mercy, today I must approach him by merit- what have I done right to come before God. This is a lie. We never come to God because of what I have done right, but only by what He has done. A clear conscience is never based on the fact that we have done right, but again and again it’s because of the Blood?
Our coming to God is therefore always in Boldness and Confidence through the finished work of the blood and never because of what good we feel we have done.
Whether you have a good day or a bad day, whether you have consciously sinned or not, your basis of approach is always the same- The blood of Christ. God’s acceptance of the blood is the only basis we enter, no other.
In view of Satan our accuser- Satan’s most strategic activity today is what Scripture calls “ The accuser of Brethren” He likes to go about and remind us that look at you- you are unworthy like me, There is no hope like me, all counts show it, you are guilty of breaking all the commandments. He does that as he looks for company because His judgment has already been passed. He likes to meet us like cain and Abel and tell us, that we are outside God’s reach since we were kicked out of the garden.
But I like what Scriptures teach us, The blood of Christ cleanses us from Every Sin, not just all sin but all sin. God is light and he sees every sin in our life and yet the blood is able to cleanse us from every sin. It is not because we try to hide something, or God overlooks something but that the precious blood of Jesus….cleanses me from every sin.
There is no sins that is unforgivable, no sin too new, too dark- even those that I think are unforgivable- The blood of Jesus Cleanses us from every sin. Note verse.. How much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse us from every sin.
When Satan comes to us, He likes to say – You are weak, and God can have nothing more to do with you, you have sinned and you keep on sinning- Our temptation is to look within for self defense, but that where we go wrong, we try to look for something in us to prove him wrong, but there is nothing. So we become weak and believe we can never approach God. And When we accept his accusations we go down.
But as paul says- We have learnt not to put confidence in our flesh, for every nature about the flesh is sin. God cannot deal with a man under accusation, because such a man does not trust in the Blood. The Blood speaks in our favor, but we instead listen to the accuser.
It is only God who can answer the accuser, we cant and that In the Precious Blood of Jesus He has already done so. We are never to answer satan with our good conduct but always with the Blood.
Yes, Satan we are sinfull, But praise God, The blood Cleanses us from every Sin. God looks upon the blood whereby Jesus met the Charge and Satan has no more ground to attack. Our faith in the precious blood and our refusal to be moved from that position can alone silence his charges and put him to flight and it will be so until judgment day. (They overcame him, by the blood of the lamb and their testimony)
Oh the Precious Blood of Jesus.
1. What new appreciation comes with the understanding of God’s Sufficiency in the Blood of Christ?
2. What does this mean for our Sin and approach to God?