We are all plagued by terrible things we’ve done. This week, Kent unpacks how God intends to fix those things with an odd solution… blood. Tune in to learn how. Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
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—————————–OPENING ILLUSTRATION: I’ll never forget inviting a friend to a special Easter service we were having at our church. There was this powerful worship and this moment where the cross was described in detail with all the blood and gore of it.
It was powerful. Moving. You ever been to one of those? Where it almost burns itself into your memory.
I remember asking my friend after it was all over what he thought about it. I was really hoping he’d be ready to give his life to Jesus afterwards. He said, “it was really weird, what was with all the blood and gore?”
Man, what I had thought was powerful seemed weird and gory to him.
Have you ever wondered “what’s with all the blood talk in Christianity?”
If you’ve haven’t had much experience outside of the bubble of Christianity, it might not be weird to you
We will sing things like, Nothing but the blood… Imagine how that sounds to a non-Christian. There’s power in the blood… “Vampires much?” Covered by the blood… “Do you need medical attention?”
ILLUSTRATION: Did you know because of Christianity’s focus on blood, there were actually people in the early days of Christianity who thought Christians were eating babies. Because the Romans would “expose” babies they didn’t want to keep – take them to the wilderness and leave them to die. Christians would take these babies in and raise them. But because we talked about eating someone’s flesh and drinking their blood at our gatherings, people thought we were eating the babies.
So, what’s with the blood? because I’ve met good, God loving Christians who can’t really explain “why” blood matters… They just know it does.
THE JOURNEY:As with most good things, we have to start with a journey across thousands of years of history, hopefully I can make it interesting for those of you who hate history.
We are going to start with an interaction with God and Moses… Moses, you know him from the burning bush and leading God’s people out of slavery… This is nearly 1400 years before Jesus…
Moses asks God to allow him to see God’s glory. God says he will do this for Moses, but that Moses can’t see his face, because if no man can see God’s face and live…
So, God puts Moses in a cave, and covers it with his hand and allows Moses to see his backside…
And when Moses comes off the mountain, his face is glowing and people can’t stand to look at him, he has to wear a veil to hide the glory…
700 years later, Isaiah the prophet had a similar experience where God showed him a vision of the spiritual realm-Isaiah is in the temple and there is an earthquake shaking even the doorposts-these terrifying angels are calling to each other “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Isaiah’s response to all of this terrifying scene is interesting – it’s not of physical fear and danger –Isaiah all of a sudden realizes his complete and utter inability to be in God’s presence. b Because what is unholy cannot exist in the presence of the truly holy. b Isaiah 6:55 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
I’ve heard people say all my life. God can’t be in the presence of sin
but I don’t think that’s right. I think the real truth is that sin can’t be in the presence of God
ILLUSTRATION: It’s like trying to imagine water on the surface of the sun. It’s just simply incompatible. God is literally what defines truth and holiness – He is holy, holy, holy.
So, what’s the problem… How does this have to do with blood? b The problem is that I am utterly sinful in my natural human state. b I am not just sinful, but it is a part of my nature b but why is this a problem? Why doesn’t God just forgive me when I ask him and bada boom bada bing, I’m forgiven? b Why the need for shedding blood?
ILLUSTRATION: Let me just give you one example. And to be honest, I’m giving you an example from when I’m younger because it’s easier to talk about from stage, but trust me, there are PLENTY of shameful incidents from my life to share. When I was a teenager, there was this kid that had some mental disabilities. I wasn’t a Christian and I would make fun of this kid mercilessly. I made up funny songs and would get other kids mocking him and making fun of him.
Now here’s the issue, most of us want a God that is loving, one that forgives us of our past failures. b But don’t you also want a God that is just? What I mean is, don’t you also want me to pay for what I did? I’m pretty sure that I caused that kid to cry into his pillow, to feel completely alone, to possibly even contemplate suicide.
And this is kid level sin-what about that employee who stole from your business and nearly destroyed your life??-What about your ex husband who hurt you so badly that you still can’t sleep at night thinking about it?-what about the things your parents did to you?-what about… what about… what about?
This is the reason you are ok with movies killing off bad guys. Because deep inside of you, you want justice.bWhat we really want is a God who will forgive ME for my wrong doings but deliver justice to everyone else.
It’s a conundrum for God, because He wants you too… But if He doesn’t deliver justice, He is ultimately being unloving to the object of your sinful actions.
in other words, if God just forgives me, He is saying it was acceptable for me to do what I did to that kid – because His silence is acceptance.
So, what does God do? When the object of His love, us, is unable to exist in His presence.
if you go back to where this all started with Adam and Eve you’ll find that God’s solution was death.
Sin = death
The answer was in an ancient word Atonement
Atonement was a word that meant to cover something with pitch (think tar). It is a means to repair or unify a structure so that it is sound and doesn’t have holes in anymore – doesn’t leak.
You’ve probably actually heard about atonement and didn’t even know it.
Ever heard of Yom Kippur? This is the Jewish day of Atonement
What would happen is the priest would take animals, a bull, and a couple goats. One of the goats he would lay his hands on and pronounce the sins of the people over it and he would send it out into the wilderness to die. The other he would sacrifice, slit it’s throat and drain out it’s blood and bring the blood before God as a sacrifice of atonement. The blood of the animal taking the place of the blood of the people. He did this because God had said:
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.
The blood of the animal was given as a sacrifice and a substitution for the life of the person. b Life for life b The blood satisfied the need for justice.
but the author of Hebrews says this speaking of this system: Hebrews 10:3-43 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
With all of this in mind, listen to what Paul says in Romans 3Romans 3:23-2623 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, We are all in this same boat, we are all sinful and would be destroyed by God’s glory
Paul is going to take everything I just taught you and sum it up in a paragraph24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
CLOSING: Christians talk about blood, because without it, we are stuck…
God’s plan of redemption was absolutely beautiful and elegant. He Himself would come to earth, live as you and I live. He would be perfect in every way. And then He would offer not an animal, but Himself as a substitute. He would take every nasty, horrific moment in all of history the mundane and the monstrous and He would bear it in His death. This time it was not a priest offering the blood, but it was God Himself, patching things up with His own blood.
In this way, God is both Just – He has ensured that there was a price paid for sin b and He also justifies by repairing our ability to be in His presence and restoring us from the curse of law
This is powerful.
This is why blood matters so much to us. Because it was the power of God to repair our relationship with Him
ILLUSTRATION: When I was a youth pastor, I used to ask my kids how someone dying on a cross 2,000 years ago does anything for you. It does it because just like sin entered through one man, so does the solution come through one person. Jesus. His blood matters – His death on the cross was an elegant solution to an unfathomable problem. Why are you not giving your life to Him?