THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
PROGRAM AIR DATE - 11-24-02
LESSON TITLE: THE CROSS OF JESUS: "THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BLOOD"
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our Creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in his sight and according to his will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. How encouraging it is to have this avenue of worship to our Creator! So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning. The name of the song "The Lily Of The Valley!"
(SONG # 1)
I read a story the other day about several mountain climbers who were climbing in the Swiss Alps. The lead climber, as he was descending from the mountain, lost his footing and fell. His momentum dragged the next two climbers after him. Seeing the catastrophe, the other climbers braced themselves for the jolt. As the three went over the cliff the rope pulled tighter and tighter and eventually snapped under the tremendous force. The others watched in horror as their three friends fell to their death four thousand feet below on a glacier. Once the others were safely back they examined the broken rope in disbelief. What they discovered was that there was no red strand in the middle of it. The special type of rope they are suppose to use has a special type of red strand running through it, and was for special strength to withstand extreme tension similar to the accident of the day. The rope they had been using was a cheap imitation, not the real thing. The substitute was weak and cost three men their lives.
This story should touch each of us to the heart as we thing about the loss of life over such an avoidable mistake. However, how many go through life every day making the same type of choices in their own lives. They choose the easy way, cheaper way, or way of least involvement. But why would people make such a choice? Most likely because they are caught up in self, what's in it for me, or how can I best get by attitudes.
Now apply these thoughts and principles to those things of a religious nature. As those created by God and living on this earth, we likewise need a red strand running through our lifeline. Sure we have family, friends and acquaintances in this life, but without Jesus Christ life just wouldn't be worth living. More specifically, without His blood that was shed on the cross for our sake, we could not know the true joys of this life or the life to come. We could not have forgiveness of sins. We, as well as all on this earth would be eternally lost.
Oh, how precious the blood of Christ is and should be to all of us today. Why? Because, as Paul said to the Ephesian brethren, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ," Ephesians 2:13.
Have you been brought nearer to God through the blood of His Son Jesus? Have you responded to the greatest gift ever offered to all mankind, in this life? Have you been cleansed through the power of Jesus blood?
Today we will begin a new series of study focusing on the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Together, we will consider the most important and wondrous event in the history of the world, "The Cross Of Jesus." Our specific topic this morning will deal with, "The Significance of the Blood." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "He Loves Me."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning. We now have a great opportunity to go to the pages of God's Word and I'm very excited about our new series together. As I was trying to consider and think of what might be a very worthwhile topic, I couldn't think of really a greater thing than to look at the cross of Jesus. Since I've been with the program now for a little over three and a half years, we have not looked at specifically a series on this and so I'm excited to get down into the details of this great and wondrous event that really means so much to each and every one of us as followers of God, because none of us would be Christians without this great sacrifice that Jesus had made.
Our purpose of the lesson this morning is really to look at the significance of the blood. Now if I were to first of all ask many individuals such as my wife or others that I know, blood kind of makes them queasy. It's something that they don't like to talk about. They don't like meat that is bloody. When you think about that, there's probably a great amount of people today that are affected by that. They really don't want to see meat even sometimes before it is cooked. But when we talk about blood in relationship to religious things, really we find that it was something that was very, very special in relationship to God, who was the Creator, the giver of life, the one who not only made our bodies, but made everything inside of our bodies and actually gave us blood in order to keep us alive as we will see a bit further in just a moment.
Really from the very beginning the plan of God seems to have been centered around this concept of blood. We see that after the very beginning, after God had made all of His creation, which by the way included animals and such that have blood in their bodies, He also created man, Adam and Eve, and placed them in the garden, and they were made of flesh, which is the dust of the ground and blood, that life-giving substance that is able to do so much for our physical bodies. But on from there, we find that early on, even their son Abel in Genesis chapter 4 was one who brought of the first fruits of the flock. In other words, he was a shepherd and he brought there an animal of his herd and he sacrificed that animal, spilling the blood, shedding the blood and burning the animal on the altar. Of course, we remember the story of how that Cain had also brought an offering of the ground and it was not as acceptable. The Hebrew writer says because of his faith. His faith was improper. We're not for sure whether it is the exact item or whether it may have even been more specific of his heart not being right. We see his heart and the reaction of his heart when he actually killed his brother. Don't we? But if you'll look there again at the significance of the blood.
From there, we find Noah, a man of God, a man who heard the cry of God that he might build an ark and build an ark so that he might destroy the whole world, that is God, because of the great wickedness. It actually sorrowed God that He had made man because man had become so wicked in his day and time. It was such a perverse generation. But as we move from there, we find that after the flood had come and the ark had rested on the water many, many days and the water receded and it finally rested on Mount Ararat, that he came forth from the ark, that is Noah and his family and all of the creations that had been saved through it. Notice what Noah did. He built an altar and he made sacrifice to God. A sacrifice of what? Animal sacrifices of all those great animals that had been saved. He made sacrifices to praise God and to give Him the glory through the shedding once again of the blood.
We move on from Noah to the great man, Abraham, another man as we find in Genesis 22 that clearly was one who understood what it was to build an altar and to burn a sacrifice to God. In fact, you might remember that Abraham was the man who was told to give his only begotten son, the son that He had been blessed with to carry on His descendants that would number the stars of the heavens and the sands of the seashore. The promises of God were through Isaac. But wasn't it Abraham who took him there and built the altar? The son even asking his father, "Where is the sacrifice that we are to do?" Even the son understood that there was to be a sacrifice of blood, something to be killed and offered to God. But then we see further that as they were there that Abraham said that God would provide the sacrifice and He well did. As he placed his own son on the altar and drew the knife, it was the angel of the Lord it seems that stopped him and then a ram was provided there in a thicket or in the side or just near and he collected the animal and again spilled the blood and killed the animal in order that he might sacrifice the animal.
The point is that we could go on and on. We must see the pattern even in the Patriarchal Period before the giving of the Law of Moses, there was significance in the blood. Blood was shed of animals for a purpose of redemption and cleansing and somehow causing God to be pleased with the sacrifice that was being made.
Now we see this coming further to fruition as the Israelites were affected in the very same way. We know that Jacob, a man of God, who later was known as Israel, there a man who had many children that now were able to carry on the great will of God. We see that in their day and in their time, they were given a law. But even before the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, we see the Israelites even in Egypt were told of the significance of the blood. Do you remember the different plagues on Egypt? DO you remember the tenth plague? Do you remember when there the Lord came and passed over all the homes and the homes that had killed an animal and placed the blood on the door post as well as above the door post, that the Lord would pass over and not kill the child but spare the firstborn child in that home? Again, significance in the blood. And again, if you'll remember, those animals were not only killed and the blood taken for that purpose, they were cooked and eaten by the families. So again, significance in the blood. But there at Mount Sinai, we find clarified amply through Exodus and Leviticus and Numbers and Deuteronomy over and over and over again the Law being given and how that the priests and others were to take animals and lay their hands on them and pass in a sense the sins of these animals and then the animal bearing that sin would be killed and the blood would be spilled on the altar and actually sprinkled in many places throughout the tabernacle or the temple at a later date and then that sacrifice would be made. The shedding of blood, the spilling of blood for the sake of a cleansing, for the sake of redemption.
I really like the way that the Hebrew writer put it because he was making reference actually to the Old Law and in fact if you ever have time or haven't already, please take time in your life to read the book of Hebrews over and over and over again so that you might really draw out all of these Old Testament concepts and ideas that really were transformed into new ideas under Jesus Christ.
Well there if we go to the Hebrew writer and we look actually in Hebrews chapter 9 and we look at verse 22, we find here a good example about those things that were passed, but now those things that had come to fruition under Jesus Christ. Notice there again in verse 22 again of Hebrews chapter 9. It says, "And according to the law, almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no remission." There is no forgiveness. Think about that for a moment. It says according to the law. It's talking about the Old Law, the Law of Moses. According to the Law, He says, "There had to be blood that was spilled." There had to be blood that was purified. There had to be a shedding of blood. Under the Old Law, as we have well clarified up to this point, that certainly was the case. Animals were sacrificed and they were killed and they were killed because it was significant that a life would be offered on behalf of another, a life would be given in exchange for maybe sins or maybe bad things that I had done. Something had been given worthwhile in exchange that I might be somehow forgiven under the Old Law
I might remind you that forgiveness under the Old Law was a bit different. Forgiveness was a yearly thing as we'll see in just a moment, that they could push their sins forward to the next year when they had to make sacrifice once again. Under Jesus Christ, we have a much greater forgiveness. We'll hit that again a bit later in our discussion.
Turn with me if you will in the book of Leviticus, chapter 17. I think there are several verses that show us the significance of blood. What is it that makes blood so special or so precious? What is it that really causes us to somehow honor what God has said in relationship to the blood? Look with me in Leviticus chapter 17 and verse 11 and notice here what Moses was saying in this book to the people of God on the behalf of God. He said there in verse 11, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for your souls." What is it about the blood? What it is is that life is in it. Let me encourage you or not encourage you, but ask you the question at least, if you were to remove the blood from your body, would you continue to live? Certainly not. The life is in the blood. Without blood in your body, then you would not be able to survive. That is very much evident of the facts seen in the fact that we have blood banks around here in Springfield that people might be able to put blood back in their bodies when they lose a lot of blood. Why? Because without blood, you will die. Blood is really where the life is. You must have blood. Your body must have that blood to survive. In fact, verse 11 says, "It's an atonement for me." That's what we've already talked about. That atonement. That blood means to atone, to forgive - the concept there. To allow God to acknowledge that something has been paid. A price that has somehow maybe equal in some sense and has been paid to accomplish a forgiveness. Well that's the reason that the blood is so significant. That's the reason that we really should consider the blood significant in our lives today. You might say, "How do we bring it from the Old to the New?" What is it that really helps us to understand that these two were tied so closely together and if we can understand that the blood of the Old now is a bit different in the Old Testament? What really can it mean to us?
I think in Isaiah chapter 53, we have it clearly given to us the significance of this blood that would be shed. A different kind of shedding of blood in a future date as Isaiah prophesied about in Isaiah 53. And if you'll notice there in verse 7, you might remember this as this was where the eunuch in Acts chapter 8 was reading from and he said as he read, "He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before his shears and was silent, and he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment. And who will declare his generation for he was cut off from the land of living for the transgressors of my people and they made his grave wicked there with the wicked, but with the rich at his death because he had done no violence nor was there any deceit in his mouth. Yet, it pleased the Lord to bruise him. He has put him to grief when you make his soul an offering for sin. There we have it really a prophecy about the coming of the Savior, the coming of a lamb, the coming of a perfect one that would die and become a perfect individual, a perfect sacrifice, a perfect atonement. Why? Because no longer are we basing atonement or forgiveness on an animal or something that really is unable to think or feel as a man, but now we are willing and able to base it on specifically a living, breathing soul, a man, and not only just any man, but the son of God, Jesus Christ Himself.
The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus was not an ordinary man. He was a man that was special. A man that was different. He was a man as God said there in John 3:16 that was given, "His only begotten son so that all men might be saved." He was a man that was in the beginning with God who was actually the creator with God, and not only was with God, John 1:1, "but He was God," Jesus Christ in the flesh. Verse 14 says, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among men." Jesus Christ. You see, that sacrifice that we have, not only a man, but God in the flesh came and died for us, the perfect atonement. So there is no doubt as to why today we have a greater sacrifice that has been made as the Hebrew writer tells us. There is no doubt today why that we as followers of Christ surely understand that we have something that has been done for us that doesn't have to be done on a daily basis or a regular basis. Why? Because the blood of Christ was perfect, unlike again in Hebrews 10:1 where we see that under the Old Law they had to do it every year, but like in Hebrews 9, verse 25 and 26 where Christ once came before the throne of God and died there and was sacrificed. He lived and died and shed His blood once. Once for all men. He made that redeeming sacrifice. And it was worthy because He being the son of God in the flesh and giving His life, His blood was strong enough, powerful enough, significant enough to really be a worthwhile and a strong sacrifice.
Isn't that why in Romans chapter 15, verse 4 that it talks about how that those things of old, the Old Law, the old writings were really bringing us up to a greater and better time? Certainly that better time is in Jesus Christ. Isn't that why in Galatians chapter 3, verse 22 through 25 talks about how that there was a tutor at one point, the Old Law, something that was a schoolmaster that brings us up to that which we need to know, that is Jesus Christ. And once we know Jesus Christ and we know faith as He talks about there, we no longer have a need for the old things, the old sacrifices, the old animal gifts because we have something far greater, far more wondrous and that again is Jesus Christ. And see that's why we must ask the question to ourselves today, "Do we know about that blood?" Have we acknowledged it? Have we responded to it? The question must be.
Paul understood it clearly in several places. In fact, if you have time, write these verses down and look at them later. In 1 Corinthians chapter1 and verse 23, we find there again where he talks about the great significance of the blood. There the death of Jesus Christ, the shedding for you and me.
The next chapter, chapter 2, 1 Corinthians 2 and verse 2, again he reiterates the same concept that we must be willing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ not only lived but He died and was buried and He was resurrected and in that process He shed blood. Why? For the forgiveness of sins.
In 1 Corinthians 15, verse 3 again, Paul stating the same thing that the same people that they needed to get back to understanding and following Jesus Christ because He was the perfect sacrifice. He was the one who shed blood. He was the one that gave Himself so that all mankind might truly live and no longer be kept away from sin.
You know it is sin that separates us from God, Isaiah said. But isn't it wonderful to know that as we read in Acts 2:38 that when we respond to the gospel of Christ and we repent and are baptized, that we not only receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, but we receive remission of sins. How do we do that? We do that through the blood of Christ. The shedding of that perfect sacrifice. The shedding there on the cross. The shedding that we'll talk about next week as we look at the cross of Jesus and we go through all these events that led up to the cross as He hung there on Calvary. The shedding that presents us today as pure and holy and perfect because the blood cleanses us and as John says, "It continually cleanses us from all unrighteousness if we are living as God has asked us to."
Please continue to examine yourselves today and consider whether you are in the faith and consider whether you have responded to the blood of Christ through obedience to Jesus Christ. If not, correct that. Follow God. Do what He has asked you to do so that in the end you will be found faithful in His sight.
SONG # 3 - "No Tears In Heaven!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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Oh, how richly blessed we are to have a savior who was willing to die for us, that through His blood we might be made clean.