EASTER SERMON - SACRIFICE - What is the most blood you have ever seen at one time? What is the most blood you bled at one time? Why is God so hung up on blood? Why did the death of Jesus need to be so bloody? This lesson gives an amazing understanding about blood and truly does answer many of the questions we have about God and blood.
EASTER SACRIFICE by Delbert Young (Sermon notes) (Listen sermon audio mp3)
Leviticus 4:34, Leviticus 17:11, Exodus 29:38-39, Leviticus 4:32-35, Hebrews 10:4, Hebrews 7:22, John 1:29, Luke 22:19-20, Luke 23:34, John 19:34, Matthew 27:50-51, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Leviticus 4:34 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:
When you read the Bible, you become amazed at how "bloody" a book it is. I'm going to talk about that, so I want to ask you what's the most blood you've ever seen? I grew up on a farm where we butchered our own pork, beef, and chicken, even lamb, so I saw a lot of blood. I asked my wife Judy this question and she said it was deer hunting with me. The most human blood I ever saw at one time was when my daughter allowed me to be in the delivery room. Jody, her husband, didn't want to watch Bonnie have a "C section." They were behind a "tent" and Bonnie had drugs. I was watching with neither a tent nor drugs as they cut Bonnie's tummy with a scalpel. She bled. Then they pulled Jack out covered in blood. Interestingly, we are born covered in blood.
What's the most of your own blood you've ever bled? I was about ten years old at a birthday party one night on a farm. I was familiar with the home, but didn't know a new barbed wire fence had been installed. We were outside playing hide and seek. I ran as hard as I could down a slight downhill angle into that barbed wire fence. The top strand of barbed wire slashed open my neck only inches from my jugular. Blood gushed out. With blood covered hands and blood drenched shirt, I ran to my parents who about passed out. Grabbing a towel soon blood soaked, a hundred mile an hour trip to the emergency room and forty stitches followed.
When we think of blood, it is always disturbing and troubling. It brings up images of pain, suffering, and death. Blood reminds us of our mortality and frailty. We don't want to see blood. We don't want to touch blood. We don't want to think about blood. It's horrifying and uncomfortable. However, the Bible won't stop talking about it. Even the last book of the Bible, The Revelation, talks about blood so deep it's to the horse's bridles. There are around four hundred uses of the word blood in the Bible. Most often, those refer to blood sacrifices or violent bloody deaths.
Interestingly, the Bible keeps talking about this thing so tremendously disturbing to us. The reason is, the Bible directly associates the shedding of blood with sin. AS WE ARE HORRIFIED AT THE THOUGHT OF BLOOD, GOD WANTS US TO BE EQUALLY HORRIFIED AT THE THOUGHT OF SIN. It's because of sin we all die (Rom 5:17) not only physically, but spiritually. Sin separates people from God. So, God tells us the one and only thing that will cover over sin.
Leviticus 17:11 for the life of any creature is in its BLOOD. I have given you the blood SO you can make ATONEMENT for your sins. IT IS THE BLOOD, REPRESENTING LIFE, THAT BRINGS YOU ATONEMENT.
The only thing having power to deal with sin is blood. The Hebrew word translated atonement is kaphar meaning to cover. God covered sin with blood making it possible for him to connect again with man. Blood is the only immunization for sin. Blood is the only anti-venom, if you will - not for you, for him! Blood makes it possible for God to get to and bless you.
Explaining this way may help. Is there anything you are allergic to or can't tolerate? For example, some people are allergic to peanuts. It puts them into Anaphylaxis Shock, which can be deadly. My mother was allergic to milk. It's called "lactose intolerance." Our son was that way when born and had to drink a soybean substitute. I love people, but I have an allergic reaction to cologne and perfume. Do you know how many of you use cologne and perfume? I'm cologne/perfume intolerant. So, every Sunday after church, I go through my reaction. Sometimes, it's fairly serious. My sinuses become infected and for weeks my throat is scratchy. I'll run a low-grade fever and cough all day and night. I hate it, but I can't help it.
If you can understand not being able to tolerate something no matter how you wished you could, perhaps it will help you understand God and his reaction to sin. God suffers from "sin intolerance." Sin ruins, destroys, and kills. God is holy, pure and perfect, so he can't tolerate sin, but desperately loves people. God wants to be with us, but our cologne and our peanuts...! He wants to hug us and give us wisdom and bless us, but he has "sin intolerance." So, he "atoned" it - covered it - so he could.
God created man to love and for fellowship. God enjoyed coming into the Garden of Eden and talking with Adam and Eve every day. That was until Adam and Eve allowed sin to destroy that relationship. So, God himself made the first sacrifice giving bloody skins to Adam and Eve to cover them.
We see this all the way through scriptures. Able brought blood sacrifices to the Lord and the Lord accepted Abel's blood sacrifices, but couldn't accept Cain's. So, Cain and his generations were separated from God. Noah offered blood sacrifices, not only for himself, but for the earth (rainbow). From that blood God said he would never again curse the earth. God wants relationships with people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob all shed the blood of animals making it possible for God to have a relationship with them. God's people were in bondage to the Egyptians. God's solution for relationship and to save them was blood. His instruction was take the blood of an animal, paint it upon the doorpost of their home, and the angel of death would Passover them. Blood would be the immunization. That night, the death angel spared only those family's first born who realized the power of the blood. There is power in the blood. It's blood that makes it possible for God to bless us and protect us.
In the Old Covenant, God appointed priests to be at the tabernacle/temple. This was so important to God that he assigned specific people to make certain he could enjoy relationship with people. Blood sacrifices were done every single morning and every single evening without exception.
Exodus 29:38-39 "This is what you are to offer on the altar. Offer two one-year-old lambs each day, one in the morning and the other in the evening.
Every day began and concluded with bloodshed. God desired to be with his people every day. All during the day was more bloodshed. The priests spent the day covered in blood overseeing and participating in the blood/sin offerings.
Leviticus 4:32-35 "'If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he is to bring a female without defect. HE IS TO LAY HIS HAND ON ITS HEAD AND SLAUGHTER IT FOR A SIN OFFERING at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered. Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar... In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.
We speed read through these type passages. They seem so heartless and cruel. We miss the experience the person literally had. What I want to do in an attempt to get maximum truth about this is place ourselves into the experience. Imagine this person is you. You sinned and wanted forgiveness to get back into the blessings and relationship of God. You brought your lamb to the priest. Your lamb was much like a pet you raised from birth. Your children named it and played with it. The animal cost you money to raise and, if sold, would bring you income. It's a real sacrifice. The animal was perfect. It must be to be a sin offering. It was young, about a year old. It was small, cute, and innocent. Then, in the presence of the priests, you laid your hand on the animal's head and confessed your sins transferring your sins to the animal. After total confession, you must slaughter your innocent lamb. You and the priest forced the animal to the ground holding it down. You, with a container close to catch the blood and a sharp knife in your hand, slit the animal's throat. The animal bellows and kicks and gasps for breath. You position the container to catch the blood as it pumps out. You hold the lamb down as it bleeds out, twitching, gasping, and dying. How do you feel? Do you cry? Do you gag? Are you sad? Are you sick? That's exactly how God wants us to feel about sin. How do you feel right now only imagining the experience? How do you feel knowing your sin caused pain, suffering, and a horrific death? How would you feel if you actually saw life leave the animal's eyes, heard its last weak bleat, and felt it stop struggling to live. It's all because you sinned?
The caught blood is taken to the brazen altar by the priest. You stay on your knees looking at the dead animal perhaps trying to apologize. The priest smears blood on the four horns of the altar and pours the remaining blood at the foot of the altar. IT IS FINISHED. You walk away forgiven and God gets to have a relationship with you and you with God, but do you ever get what just happened out of your head? Do you avoid sin so that will never have to happen again? NO!
I know that was intense. That is exactly what God wanted it to be. However, there is a tremendous problem with that sacrificial system.
Hebrews 10:4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to TAKE AWAY SINS.
At best, that system covered sin. There was no way the substitute animal REMOVED THE SIN DESIRE. It cannot TAKE AWAY SINS. Sin is so deeply woven/embedded into our hearts, even the horrific bloody experience of sacrificing that lamb did not, could not, take away sins.
So, what is God's solution? Is there one? Is there a better way?
Hebrews 7:22 ...Jesus has become the guarantee of a BETTER COVENANT.
God did something way better. God desires a relationship with you so desperately that will take away sin, but that would require "better" blood. In fact, it would require the blood of God himself.
Jesus Christ is God who became a man. I will quickly explain. God is a trinity - God the Father; God the Son (Jesus Christ); and God the Holy Spirit. It was not God who sinned and became lost from us. We are not looking for God. Man sinned and became lost from - separated from - God. So, God the Son became man to seek and save those who are lost. It's all about God finding you to take away your sin, not cover sin.
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who TAKES AWAY the sin of the world!
Jesus was that perfect sacrifice with not one blemish, who could TAKE AWAY the sin of the world.
Jesus and his disciples were having Passover only hours before Jesus would be sacrificed.
Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant IN MY BLOOD, WHICH IS POURED OUT FOR YOU.
Notice the wording of Jesus. He said "POURED OUT." Within a matter of minutes Jesus began pouring out his own blood. He went to the Garden of Gethsemane. There he prayed in anguish literally sweating blood. They arrested Jesus and in a mock trial, beat him in the face and pulled out his beard. Jesus is bleeding from his face, mouth, nose and cuts. Jesus is turned over to Pilate who had him scourged with a whip consisting of leather straps and metal and sharp bone fastened to the ends intended to cut the skin causing bleeding. Jesus bled down his shoulders, back, and thighs. At that point, Jesus was covered in blood and bleeding out with every heart beat. They shoved a crown of thorns into his head bringing more blood running down his face, into his eyes, beard, hair and down his chest. They nailed him to the cross with nails through his hands and feet. Blood covered from head to foot. They lifted him attached to the cross. Blood was on the horns of his altar - the cross - and pouring out at the base.
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Jesus was actually dying to forgive sin. Jesus died. Yet, to emphasize the necessity of blood...
John 19:34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out.
Jesus bled out. Blood was everywhere. The images we see are probably not close to how Jesus actually looked. It was awful. It was horrifying. It was cruel. You say, "That's sickening." NO! That's the cost and the price God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - paid to have a relationship with you.
There was a thick veil in the Tabernacle of Moses and the Jewish Temple. Behind that veil sat the Ark of the Covenant covered with a blood splattered Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat had two Cherubim and between the Cherubim is where God would meet with man once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
Matthew 27:50-51 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RENT IN TWAIN FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM
The very moment Jesus died as the Sacrifice, that veil was torn from top to bottom. We usually hear and think that happened so we can now GET IN and have access to God and that's true. However, I believe the primary truth is it happened so God could GET OUT. God doesn't want to live behind a veil in a box captured as it were because of sin. He wants to live in and with you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
God either lives in you or wants to live in you by his Spirit. He wants a relationship with you. If he hasn't yet, he wants to take away your sins. There truly is Power In The Blood. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can do that. Resurrection day made all that possible. It proved there is a way to overcome death, hell and the grave. Jesus is God and his blood made a way for you and me to have an eternal relationship with God.