We’re going to start in Ezra 3. Some of you may know that Ezra was written when the Jews were rebuilding the temple so it’s kind of important for us to study. What happened was that they had a temple that was destroyed and now they’re rebuilding it. Well, does anyone remember what the temple is called in the New Testament? Who is the temple? Answer: Jesus. Jesus is, he says he will destroy the temple in 3 days. It also says his body’s a temple. Guess what, who’s Jesus’ body? Who is the temple also? Answer: Us, the church. The church as well. In the New Testament it uses this temple metaphor to explain how the church is coming together and how it’s working. So I think it’s really instructive for us to look, for instance, at the book of Ezra and look at how the temple was rebuilt to understand God’s heart for building us up and for building up the temple. So let’s read Ezra 3: 10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For he is good, For his mercy endures forever toward Israel”. Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praise the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Ok, they’re so excited, they’re singing- why? Answer: The foundation is laid. The foundation of the temple was laid. It’s important I think for our studies because we’ve been talking about the foundations for Christians. In Hebrews 6 it actually says these are the foundations; repentance, faith, and we’ve been working our way through this. I want to show you that there should be rejoicing if we have been truly laying the foundation here. Believe me, a lot of people maybe only think they’re laying the foundation and I hope and pray that it’s not true of me. If we’ve truly been laying down the foundation, there should be rejoicing, I think the Lord rejoices.
However, if you go over to Ezra 4: 1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the LORD God of Israel, 2 they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses, and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” 3 But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel said to them, “You may do nothing with us to build a house for our God; but we alone will build to the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.” 4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ok, they hired counselors to frustrate their purpose. What was their purpose? Answer: To build the temple. To build the temple and specifically to lay the foundations and they wanted to keep moving on from the foundations. What happened was all of a sudden the adversaries arose and they wanted to do anything they could to frustrate the purpose. Why do I say this here? If we are truly building the temple, according to God’s dimensions and God’s heart, the scriptures are very clear that we should expect attacks. I’m not saying this in a fearful way. I’m not afraid of the enemy because the Lord’s hand is so much stronger than him. I’m saying just so you are aware and you know what to expect. You have all these different things that the enemy will try to do if the temple is truly being built. I’m showing this because it is a principle in Ezra that happened and I believe it’s true today too. So if you’re having certain things happening in your life, understand that that should be expected, that there will be opposition. I will say that always, if we are truly pleasing in the sight of the Lord, it will get the attention of the enemy and you should expect that. That’s what I’m saying. I wanted to bring that up for prayer purposes. We were talking earlier that it’s been on our hearts to pray. As we’re praying for the study tonight, and for other nights, and just in general, let’s recognize this. It says the Lord’s hand is mighty; so much more might than the enemies. Sometimes he just wants us to ask, like we were talking about in Zechariah 10:1. He says, “Isn’t it the time? It’s in the spring, the time of rain, so ask of me for rain”. The Lord’s hand is stronger than the enemy right? Yes. The Lord wants his purpose to prevail, right? Yeah. But he says, for whatever reason, “Ask of me”. He will wait until we ask. Someone said this; the Lord’s will is like a mighty train but he needs the tracks sometimes that are our prayers. For whatever reason, he decides to wait sometimes on our prayers. I want to bring that up so that we can go into a time of prayer for tonight, for other things, for whatever the Spirit speaks to you. Maybe it will just be a time of the Spirit kind of stirring silently, I don’t know, but I want to open it up to just pray in this regard if we are building the temple. Let’s pray about that.
Brian: Lord, you are the wisest builder. It says you are the wisest builder, Lord God. You are the one who lays the foundations. I know the Proverbs do say that there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death, so I ask that if we are just going in a way that seems right to us but is not leading to life, may you convince and convict our hearts, Lord God, that we would go and truly please you. And if we are pleasing you, I ask of the God who is mighty and loving towards his people, that your hand would stretch down, by your mercy, that you would humble yourself in such a way by your mercy from heaven, that you would stretch forth your hand to remove any attacks of the enemy in the individual lives here and corporately in this bible study and other things. Please, may your hand be manifest and may your face be manifest to us tonight. You give such a blessing to Aaron that you say, “speak to the Israelites and say that my face would shine upon you as the blessing to give them”. I ask now, oh God of heaven, may that same blessing be ours tonight, that we could say that we have seen more of your face, that we’ve understood more of your face, that we’ve understood more, Lord God, of your blood, of your sacrifice, and that we’ve grown in your life. Please hear our prayers God.
Marcus: Father, I ask that we would not be afraid Lord, because we know that these things come and these attacks come, Lord. But Father I pray that we would not be deceived, that you would not let us be deceived, God, but that we would know the assurance that we have in Christ Jesus and that we know, Lord, what you have given us in Christ Jesus. Lord I pray, please do not let me, or anyone else here, walk forward deceived and in fear of the enemy, Lord. Please just let us see what you have mercifully given to us in Christ Jesus and what we have in the name of Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray against this deception. I’m reminded of your verse that says that when anyone turns to Christ, the veil is taken away. And Lord I ask that by your grace, we may turn to you with all our hearts Lord and that as you’ve said in your Word, so it will be, that you will take the veil away. So Lord, I pray that you would take any veil away and any deception.
Chris: God, I pray tonight that all the seeds would go into good soil, in Jesus name, that none would be scattered on the road for the enemy to pick off and take away. I pray they would all fall on good soil, and in Jesus name, that you would prepare our hearts and till the ground in each of us to be ready to receive the seed, which is the Word of God. God, you say that we can overcome the Devil by the blood of the lamb. So God, may we know the power of your blood and if we don’t know it, may you reveal it to us in Jesus’ name. May we continue to testify to your wonders and your works and your power and your grace and may we continue to resist the devil. You say to resist the devil and he will flee.
Ok, with these studies, as you guys know, we’ve been looking over the foundational teachings of Hebrews 6. Understand that this is very much on my heart and Neal, who some of you met last week, he’s teaching this to 3 different bible studies during the week and has been looking at it and praying about it. Other times this teaching is going forth at Hope but it’s really been on my heart that it is a teaching that helps you guys to walk on your own and not become more dependent, in any way, on me. Does that make sense? It’s something that will hopefully help you guys get your own legs to stand firm in Christ and that you would look to him always as your head and definitely not me. So I hope and I pray, and if you guys think about it, pray for this too, that we’re leaning more on the Lord through these studies. The first week, which was 2 weeks ago, we studied the doctrine of repentance. The second foundation was faith. Third foundation? Answer: Doctrine of baptisms. Fourth one? Answer: Laying on hands. Yes, and then it goes on to resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2 talks about that. So, we’ve done repentance, we’ve done faith, it would seem like tonight we’d go on to baptisms. Not quite actually. I’ll tell you why. Go to Exodus 26. On Saturday this just compelled me in such a way, it was like the Lord spoke it, and so I want to be faithful to it. In Exodus 26 it’s talking about building up the tabernacle. Remember the tabernacle is what they had in the wilderness. It’s built with the cedars but they had to make sure it was strong enough that it wouldn’t collapse and that it would be able to be sustained in the wilderness. So here’s what God says. God himself, in his wisdom, speaks this about building the tabernacle. 23 And you shall make two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear; 24 they shall be separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring. Thus shall it be with both of them; they shall form the two corners. Ok, we won’t read through this but he just got done saying “Build this wall this way and this wall this way”. But do you see what he said here now, in God’s wisdom? Did you guys catch what he’s teaching now after building all those walls? Ted, you’re a builder, it basically means that there are certain reinforcements you have to make sometimes. That’s exactly what the Lord is teaching here. He says, “We need to make sure there’s a reinforcement on those corners because those corners especially can get unstable”. So God, in his wisdom, said, “we need to make sure that this is a stable building”. In such a way, I really feel compelled that God was putting this on my heart and saying you need to make sure of repentance and faith. We’re going to look at a little different and a more mature faith this week. We’re going to build on last week; it’s going to be new stuff. Repentance and faith are like the corners, they are so necessary and if we don’t have a firm understanding of these doctrines then the temple will be built incorrectly.
That’s enough intro. So, God commanded reinforcements, right? So to be a wise, responsible builder, Paul says we must reinforce critical foundations such as repentance and faith. As a builder, you would not be wise and responsible if you didn’t reinforce certain things. We have to, to make sure it’s going to be sturdy and that it’s going to endure the seasons that are going to come. Like we just read in Ezra, you are going to have times of very difficult trials and we have to make sure that what we’re building is solid enough to withstand those different trials. So, to briefly recap, I want to show a verse here. Everybody go to Luke 15. This is probably familiar to everyone here: the prodigal son story. We looked at it a couple weeks ago. Really, if you want to just see what repentance is, you’ll find it if you look at verses 18-20. It gives the best picture that I think you’re ever going to find on what repentance is. This is the prodigal son speaking: 18 “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’”20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Ok, great. So we recognize that the father is back here and the son is walking away from the father. The first thing he does is make a decision in his mind and say, “This is not right, I have to turn around”. But that’s not enough. I can say, “I have to turn around” and then just keep walking. He makes the decision and then he turns around after he’s walked far enough. Then look, he doesn’t have to retrace all his steps; what does the father do? Answer: Runs after him. The father goes running after him. What a picture of our God! In heaven he sees that we have walked away from him. When we decide that we have to go back to him, we turn around and God meets us! No god is like that. Every religion except for Christianity says how you can work your way up to heaven. Christianity says how heaven came down here to us. It’s a huge difference, all the difference in the world. So we have this picture of repentance; we come, change our mind, change our action, and the Father comes and runs to meet us.
I wrote here that repentance is a change of our mind and action. It’s an exchange of lords. I think that’s an accurate way to say it. We reject us being the lord of our life and we turn and say God is now our Lord. Another thing about repentance; John 6: 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. Jesus is speaking this and look at what it says; repentance is initiated by God. God is the one who grants and draws repentance. And we saw in Luke 15:20 where he initiates it and he also aids it. We make the initial turn and he says “Ok I’ll help you out here”. We talked about the bride in the Song of Songs; she said “Draw me away” and then the husband came and drew her away. Not only that, let’s look at something else about repentance Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” It’s the first thing recorded of Jesus’ words in the gospel of Mark. His very first command is “Repent and Believe”. Notice what I say here, repentance and faith must work in cooperation. Here’s what I say; you cannot know Jesus as Savior unless you know him as Lord. We talked about this a couple weeks ago. People always say, “Do you know Jesus as Savior?” No, he has to be Lord and Savior. We’ll talk about that a little more later. And here, out of Jesus’ own mouth, I want you to hear these words carefully; John 14: 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. So, “if anyone loves me, he’ll have these nice, good feelings toward me”? No, that’s not what he says. What does he say? He says, “If anyone loves me…” and he doesn’t even talk about feelings. Jesus here, this is your Lord, what does he say? If anyone loves me? Answer: they will keep my word. There will be an obedience. Do you see that? To love God, to serve him, to know him as savior, there is also a lordship that happens, according to Jesus’ own testimony. So repentance demands that we change from us being the lord, or maybe it’s not us, maybe our parents or our friends are the lord of our life. Whatever is the Lord of your life, it’s changing it over to say, now God is the Lord, which means what he says goes. So this is a picture of repentance.
Now, repentance, as we saw, is when the son walks away from the father over here and he decides to turn around. That’s repentance, the turning around, but there’s something else that happens here. We’re moving on to faith. If you’re still in the story here of the prodigal son read verses 21-23. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. Ok, “bring out the best robe, a ring, sandals, a fattened calf.” The father had all these things to give. Look at here, repentance put the son in a position to face the father but he still had to receive his father. There still had to be an embrace and he had to receive the abundant life, he had to put on the robe, he had to receive the sandals, he had to receive all of this stuff. I think that receiving, although it’s not said explicitly in this parable, indicates what faith is for us. Repentance puts us in a position where we are facing the Lord but faith receives from him. Remember in Hebrews 11 it says that it is impossible to do what? Does anyone remember? Answer: To please God. It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who comes to him must believe two things. Does anyone remember? Answer: That he exists. That he is. So you must believe in who he is. And? Answer: That he rewards those who seek him. That he rewards those who diligently seek him. That’s in Hebrews 11:6. So you believe who he is and what he does. It says this is the faith the pleases God. Guess what? If the scriptures are true, it is impossible to please him without a true understanding and a true faith in who he is, according to the word, and what he’s done. So faith that is truly recognized by God, we looked at a little last week. I think it’s important enough to look at again. Go to Romans 10:9-10. Here’s the faith that God recognizes. 9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified. Ok, with what one believes? Answer: with the heart. It has to be there, according to scripture, it has to be in the heart where faith is deposited. It’s like the parable of the sower. He sowed all these seeds and it was in the heart. If you receive it in the mind, according to the Lord, he never even talks about that. He doesn’t talk about faith in the mind, he doesn’t even recognize that in his word. There are things in the mind he recognizes: understanding, hope, salvation, and all these things. But faith that pleases God has to be in the heart. So it begins in the heart, God puts it there in the heart, and as we said, it’s faith in who he is and what he’s done. Jesus’ first words in the gospel of Mark are “Repent and believe…” what? Does anyone remember? Answer: The good news. Repent and believe the good news or the gospel.
Now here’s the million-dollar question, which we should all know from last week. What is the gospel? There are so many debates on this. I don’t know why. It seems like it’s so simple. Answer: That Jesus has come and that he’s died for our sins and that he’s made a way for us to become with God. Ok, how do you know that? You can’t just go by your opinion. The Lord doesn’t necessarily respect that. I mean, our opinions are fine, but he says, “My word is what has to be in your heart”. Answer: 1 Corinthians 15. Ok let’s go there. Gabe, you’re leading now. Comment: Would it be worth mentioning to that in that verse we read in Romans it says that you confess that he is Lord first and then he becomes savior. Oh, that’s good, confessing that he is Lord. No, that’s definitely true, I think so. We don’t have to edit that out. That’s great. That you recognize him as Lord, and as savior, is coupled in that verse. They have to go together. Ok, 1 Corinthians 15: 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Beautiful. Ok so he says, “I delivered to you the gospels” and look what he says in verse 3. “Here’s the gospel, here’s what I delivered to you, these facts; Christ died for your sins”. But it doesn’t just say that alone it says according to what? Answer: The scriptures. It has to be according to what the Word teaches on it, not some opinion on it. He died for your sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day. Now we have in a very clear and concise language Paul telling us exactly what saves you, exactly what the gospel is.
So faith, we already said, is belief that starts in you heart and it’s faith in who God is and what he’s done and it’s faith specifically in the gospel. Now, when you have that kind of faith God says he gives you something too. Does anyone remember what it says in the scriptures that he gives you when you have this kind of faith? It’s not just that you believe and then you’re on your own to try to work it out yourself. No, he gives you something when you believe the gospel. Ephesians 1: 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, (ok so you’ve heard what’s true. What is it?) the gospel of your salvation (Ok, so it’s the gospel. We just saw what that was); in whom also (that means in Christ. So you heard the gospel and also, in Christ), having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit came into your life. You have God’s life in you and you’ve believed and accepted the gospel in your heart. Ok, like God says, it begins with a seed. You could go outside and look at the trees and everything and know that they all began with a single seed. It’s grown and you can tell that it’s been a good seed. You can tell what kind of seed it is based on the fruit it produces. Well guess what, it’s the same with us. That’s why the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, love, joy, peace, patience, all those things, will be evident and they should be growing in you if you truly have the seed in your heart of the gospel. So it kind of moves in this progression.
Alright, so that’s what we’ve looked at the last couple weeks. Now, I had to go into 2.2 here and I call it the mature faith. Here’s why I say this, go to Romans 1. What we’ve looked at previously is a faith that saves you, a faith that begins your walk, a faith where the Lord works in you and there is repentance and true belief. He says that this is what you need, this is what saves you. However, I want you to notice something here. We’re looking at Romans. I don’t know how familiar you guys are with it, I think Hope for the nations has been going through Romans so maybe some of you have been hearing those teachings. Some of you may know this, I talked to Linda about it yesterday. Has anyone heard of the Romans Road? Linda why don’t you explain it do us just very briefly. It’s a set of Bible verses that are all in Romans and you take someone through it and it’s essentially the steps in the plan of salvation. How to become saved. I’m all for that, its’ great and wonderful, but here’s the thing. Look at Romans 1: 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints. This tells you who Paul is writing this to. Who’s he writing it to? All in Rome, we see that. But the people in Rome who’ve done what? Answer: Who are loved by God and called to be saved. Yes, they’ve believed, they’re Christians already. Ok, so Romans wasn’t written to unbelievers. It was written to people who had a basic understanding, a basic faith. But Romans explains it, it gives a more mature faith, a more mature understanding. It’s kind of like the armor of God. You have to wear the whole armor so that there are no attacks from the enemy that you are going to come under. What’s part of the armor? What goes on over the head? Answer: Salvation. The helmet of salvation. Think about it, that covers the mind. I’ve thought about this before. You have to understand your salvation. We were saved and we kind of get that I think, but the enemy is able to work in stronger ways than we realize if we don’t truly understand our salvation. Romans spells it out a lot better. What does it mean that you’re saved? What is the power of your position now that you’re saved? With that in mind, as I say here, though our faith starts with a seed it must grow to a fuller understanding of the gospel. It must if you are talking about becoming mature. That’s what we’re hoping, by the Lord’s blessing, that these studies are to bring us into maturity. We have to have a fuller understanding of what the gospel is.
Ok, the first thing I say is faith in the power of the blood. Go to Romans 3: 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Ok, we looked at this last week. Paul says that everyone is born with this sin nature, as long as you have the seed of Adam in you, basically is what it says. Adam sinned and it’s passed down, we’ll look at this a little later maybe. But you have this sin nature. From your birth you’re the prodigal son. Guess what? You’re walking away form God from you birth. So what was happening in Rome was that people were coming to them and saying, “Well, here’s the Old Testament law. If you follow XYZ, ABC, 123, all these things, then God will recognize you as truly righteous. Paul repudiates this, he rejects it; he says it’s wrong. He says the law is true and it’s good, but do you know what it’s good for? Verse 20. What did the law bring? Answer: consciousness of sin. Yeah, knowledge of sin. Paul says what the law does is show you how sinful you are. The law reveals to you that you are not good, or not as good as you think. What is the famous C.S. Lewis quote? Answer: No one knows how evil he is until he tries to be good. That’s the case. We all think we’re so good until you have these standards put on you. We talked about last week imagining how graceful, wonderful Linda can sometimes be klutzy. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her but if we started making demands on her, if we start saying do this, do this, you would find out pretty soon. Linda: Walk across a smooth, stable surface? Haha, yeah. Those kind of demands, just like that. That’s what the law does. We are all sinners, you know this. Guess what? The more time you spend away form this Word, the greater you think you are. That’s always the case. I can see it. If I start to think, “Man I’m really great”, then I think, “I haven’t really read the scriptures in a couple weeks”. You start to think, “I’m great compared to this guy or this guy” but then you read the word and you see God’s standards of holiness, God’s standards of greatness. When the law comes you think, “Oh my goodness, I’m not as great as I thought. I really fall short here, here, and here”. That’s what the law does.
Now, verse 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. He says there is a way to be righteous. He says, “Don’t get me wrong, don’t give up on me yet”. There is a way to be righteous, but it’s not in the law. Here’s the confusing part, it’s not in the law but the law talks about it. What’s this new way to be righteous? Go on to the next verse. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He says that there is no one who can live by the law, but guess what? By faith in Jesus Christ, you’re covered with a new righteousness. 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Another translation of verse 25 is that he passed over the sins. So it says that when you accept Christ’s work on the cross, specifically his blood, all of a sudden God no longer sees your sins but he sees something else. He knew nothing but your sins but now there is something else that he sees. What does he see instead? Answer: The blood. The blood, I love Chris’ prayer when we were talking earlier that we would understand the blood more. We all need to understand the blood more and God knows how much that includes me as well. So we see that it comes through his blood that we can be called righteous in God’s eyes. Do you know what righteous means? It means in a right standing with God, that God and you can be friends again; you can be on the same page. It has to be by the blood. Go a couple chapters later to Romans 5: 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! Ok, we’re saved from the wrath, praise the Lord! And we’re justified by what? Answer: The Blood. His blood. Now, what does justified mean? It’s kind of like saying righteous, you’re in a right standing with God. Justified, in a legal sense, is just as if I’d never sinned. That’s a way to think about it in a legal sense. It doesn’t mean that God makes it so you’re sinless, that’s not what it is. In a legal sense, he can see the blood now and he says, “this covers it”. So you’re made right now with the judge of all the world. You’re made might with the holy judge because of the blood.
Ok, so to have a more mature faith, we kind of talked about this last week, we really need to understand why this is like this, what the power of the blood really is. To understand this we have to go back to Genesis. Genesis 2: 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Ok, he’s talking to Adam and he says, “You’re free to eat all these trees”. I love the Lord. Of course, this is the way we are, He says, “everything that you can do, you can do all this” but we focus on the one thing we can’t do. So he says, “You can do all this but that one tree I really don’t want you to eat from. In fact it’s so serious to me that the day you eat of it…” What’s going to happen? Answer: You’ll die. You’ll die the day you eat of it. Now that brings up a good question; did they die? We’ll talk about that. Basically, God’s setting forth his standard. Notice something else in Genesis 2: 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Ok, that’s going to become important in a little bit. There was a nakedness but there was no shame. Recognize, there’s no sin in the picture yet.
Now, go to Genesis 3: 6-9. I think we need to understand this, and by the Lord’s help we will be able to. We need to see what the blood has done. 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Here we have all the effects of what sin did, three things that it affected. The first thing it affected is in verse 9. God says, “Where are you?” Before they walked together. This is absolutely essential. The Lord no longer can have fellowship with them. Now, what did they do? Even before God called out and said, where are you, what did they do? Answer: They hid. So they hid form God. It’s kind of like the prodigal son, if you think about it. They had a relationship together and all of a sudden sin enters and they are ashamed, so they hide. But that’s not the end of the story. God also says, “Where are you?” God separates from them and they separate from God. I’ve heard it taught, and I believe this really offends the heart of God, that it’s only a psychological guilt. “God’s never left us or distanced from us. We just have this guilt in our consciousness”. According to this scripture, God has turned away and so have we turned away. The other thing with this picture is that not only has God moved from them and they have moved from God, but that they’ve joined now with the enemy. Ok so sin enters and the Lord separates himself from them and they separate from him and there’s a new component too. They were supposed to have dominion over all the animals but now the serpent has the upper hand. In fact, look at the curse of the serpent. 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “ Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust all the days of your life. The serpent has power over the dust. Well, where was Adam made from? Do you remember? Answer: From dust. He was made from dust. This is a new thing. The serpent was supposed to be under the man but now the serpent has power and consumes what is from the flesh, what is from Adam. In fact, they’ve changed their nature altogether. Here’s how I know. What’s the first thing they say when God confronts them? He says to Adam, “Did you eat of this?” Answer: He blames her. He accuses Eve. God says to Eve, “Did you eat of this?” What does Eve do? Answer: The devil made me do it! She accuses the serpent. Here’s the thing, they’ve taken on the role of their new father, according to Jesus. He says that if you do not know the Lord, do you know who your father is? Answer: Satan. You’re sons of Satan. That’s exactly what it says. Do you know what Satan means? Answer: The accuser. Accuser, you’re blaming. That’s what the enemy does. You can tell when sin is rampant in someone’s life; they’re always quick to blame someone else. When sin has taken control and the enemy has an upper hand, they point the finger and they blame someone else.
So we have three components here that have all been undone by the work of sin: God separates from them, man separates from God, and now the serpent has got a new power. So, what do they try to do? They know they’re naked and what do they try to do? Answer: Cover themselves. With what? Answer: Fig leaves. Problem: fig leaves don’t last. To me, the fig leaves represent any way that you try to cleanse your conscious. All these different religions are fig leaves. It works for a little bit and you think “I don’t have to have guilt”. It works for a little bit but it doesn’t last. So the Lord has to come and cover them. Look at Genesis 3: 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. The Lord had to clothe them now. The Lord needed to cover them with the life of another, presumably through shed blood, right from the beginning. Remember what it said before, they were naked and there was no shame. Now their nakedness is shameful because there’s sin in the picture. So their nakedness, their sinfulness had to be covered through the life of another. It had to be covered presumably through shed blood. So we see this picture unraveling about the power of the blood all of a sudden. God says there is a restored something here because the blood has been shed, because there’s a covering over you.
This picture is, I believe, grown out even more if you go to Exodus 12. Most people know about this, it happens in the time of Moses. Anyone remember when Moses lived in relation to Christ? About 1,400 or 1,500 years before Christ this is instituted. Look at what happens. Remember, this is while they are in Egypt. They are being oppressed by the Egyptians and God gives a way out. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Ok, remember I said that sin presented three problems. God has to separate himself, man separates himself from God, and the enemy enters and has a new power. So we are going to look at how the blood remedies all the affects of sin. Let’s look at the blood’s remedy in God’s eyes. Here you take the lamb and it had to be perfect, by the way, no blemish. You take it, you slaughter it, and then where do you put the blood? This is important, I believe. Answer: On the sides of the doorposts. So we would put the blood on the outside of the door. So you have the blood on the other side and meanwhile, what else are you supposed to do with that dead lamb? Answer: eat it. So the blood goes there and the death comes in you. We’ll talk about that a little more next week. Go on to verses 12-13. 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Ok, so he says who has to see the blood? Answer: God will. The Lord had to see the blood. Did they see that transaction at all? The Israelites. Question: Did they see the Lord seeing the blood? Yeah, were they even part of that transaction? No, they were all inside, right? God himself saw the blood on the outside and what does it say he did when he saw the blood? He passed over that household. What did it mean for him to pass over? Answer: The first born wouldn’t die. There was no death in the household. If you had the blood you have life. If you don’t have the blood you have death.
Now it starts to get fun here. This is 1,500 years before Christ. But guess what it says in 1 Corinthians 5:7? It says Christ is our Passover lamb. He makes it very clear that this represents Christ, this lamb without blemish and no bones could be broken. Do you ever wonder why on the cross Christ’s bones couldn’t be broken? All these different things- Christ is this lamb. Do you remember when Christ was on the cross and it says that they wanted to hurry up to kill the other 2? Answer: break their knees. Why were they in such a hurry? Answer: It was Passover. It was Passover and they had to slaughter the Passover lambs. Do you realize that? The same day that Christ was slaughtered was the day that they slaughtered the Passover lambs. Pretty cool, it was the exact same date 1,400 years before Christ even came. God knew the very day of the year that he would die. But come midnight, Watchman Nee said, “Do you realize that every single household at midnight had death in it?” Every house. What do you have? Either a dead lamb or a dead son. Every house come midnight had to have death. I believe it’s the same way. Christ always talks about how the hour he returns will be like midnight. Same here with the Passover. It will be like midnight and you are either covered by the death of the Lord, and his blood or there will be death. Separation from God is death, he is life, and that’s what sin does. It has to be for God’s eyes first, that’s the blood.
Another aspect of the blood, I love this, go to Leviticus 16. This is called the Day of Atonement. We’re not going to read the whole thing so I’m going to give you a very brief summary here. On the Day of Atonement, 3 animals are involved. Does anyone know it? Answers: Bull, Ram, and Goat. I think there’s 2 goats, I believe, that you have together. So you have the bull and the goat and then another goat. 3 animals. The bull was slaughtered for the priests sins; the greater animal for the priest’s household. The goat’s blood was slaughtered for the people’s sins. Does anyone remember what happens to the third animal? Answer: It’s the scapegoat. It’s called the scapegoat. In fact, that’s where we get the term. The scapegoat ran into the desert representing that all your sins are gone. Now, with that background, we’re going to look at some of the details of this offering called the Day of Atonement. 3 “This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. Ok, Aaron is who? What’s his position? Answer: High priest. Only Aaron could go there as the high priest and he had to come into this sanctuary area with something in his hands. What did he have to have? Answer: Blood. With the blood of a young bull. Alright, he had to have the blood if he was going to go forward. Question: Does your bible say the word blood? Ours doesn’t. Oh it doesn’t? Later on it actually says blood in everyone’s translation. Right here it just says young bull but you recognize later that he’s not bringing the whole bull in. He sacrifices the bull out there and then he brings the blood in. So when the high priest comes to the holy place he has to have the blood of the bull. Oh, I might have misspoke. I think there are actually 4 animals, 2 goats, the bull, and a ram. Anyway Leviticus 16: 6 Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Ok so the bull’s blood speaks to who? What does it cover? Answer: The priest. The high priest and his household.
Now let’s move on past there. 7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. Understand he’s got 2 animals in front of him. They cast lots to see which one they will slaughter, take the blood, and present it to God and which one will be the scapegoat. He’ll go free and represent that your sins are on him. So this is setting up the whole picture here for us to follow. 15 He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. Ok, that’s good. So first he slaughters it publicly where everyone can see it. But then he takes the blood and where does he take it according to verse 15? Answer: Behind the Curtain. Yeah he takes the blood inside the veil. Who goes with him into that place? Answer: No one. No one goes with him. In fact, go to verse 17 No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel. Now what an interesting thing, don’t you think? It is slaughtered publicly where everyone can see it. Look at whos sins are being paid for; all of Israel but none of them are there to see it happen. None of them are there to see the transaction. Why? Because, like we said, the blood has to be for God’s eyes first. In fact, look at this connection in Hebrews 9:11-12. This is talking about Christ. 11When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Ok, this tells us everything. It said he had to have blood to go forward. Ok first, the goat was slaughtered publicly. Christ? Publicly. Then, where did Christ present his blood after he was slaughtered according to that verse? Answer: The more perfect tabernacle. Yes, anyone know what that represents, what that means? Answer: Heaven. Heaven, yeah and the immediate presence of God. Were you there? No. Was anyone there? No. Just like the high priest, only he could go. Also, anything that says “Christ is one way but there’s all these multiple ways to The Lord” is wrong. There’s only one high priest who could go and offer the blood for sins. He was the only one who could. None of us saw it but he went.
But what do the people have to do now? Verse 29 This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you- 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. Ok, so the people were commanded to do what? To rest, to do nothing. Doesn’t that seem kind of unfair? The priest is doing all this great work. He has done everything, he presented the blood, and he did all these things on behalf of your sins. You are commanded to not work specifically. Do not work. Is it unfair? Yeah, that’s grace. This is the Lord’s story. That’s why in Romans 6 it says 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Ok, the wages; do you know what wages mean? Answer: It’s what you deserve. What you deserve or what you’ve earned. So by all of our great works we’ve earned what? Answer: Death. That’s what we’ve earned by what we’ve done. But the gift is eternal life. The gift is something given, you didn’t work. Also, Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. It’s not your works, it’s a gift of God. Another thing, John 6: 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” And what? And what? Answer: Nothing. Nothing else! Believe, that’s it. That is the work of God, to believe in the one he sent. Now, did Christ do a work? Absolutely. He went through all of that stuff. That’s why on the cross what are his last words? “It is finished”. The work is done. That’s why he has called our Sabbath. Do you realize this? He has called our Sabbath because he finished all the work. Do you know what the Sabbath is? It’s when you rest in his finished work. It’s done. You are commanded now to rest. I praise the Lord! This is the good news.
While the Israelites are resting guess what’s happening here? Go to Leviticus 16: 20-22. 20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. So Aaron is supposed to do what? He’s supposed to lay both hands on the head of this goat, representing that all of Israel’s sins are on the goat. By the work that the high priest has done presenting the blood, all of the sins are there. Now we saw that Christ is that high priest who presented his own blood to God and none of us saw. Just like the Passover lamb, they didn’t see the blood in the transaction. We didn’t see the transaction so what is our work? To believe, that’s it. We believe that it’s done because you didn’t see it. We recognize by the word that the blood was offered and God accepted that sacrifice. Now all of our sins have been placed on Christ. Guess what? He is the head. Look at that specific part, he places it on the head of the goat. It says specifically “Lay your hands on the head” not the body or anywhere else but on the head. Christ is our head. We’ve talked about this before, how precise God is. On Christ’s very head he had two things that were affecting his head on the cross. What were the 2 things? In Gethsemane what do you remember happening on his head? Answer: Sweating Blood. Sweat, sweating blood. And then also? Answer: Crown of thorns. If you went back to the curse that was put on Adam for his sin, do you remember what God says? Answer: By the sweat of your brow…You’ll sweat and thorns will come up out of the earth. Those are the 2 things that are part of the curse of Adam, of his sin. Now think about that. All of the curse of Adam has been put literally and physically on his head and spiritually like on the goat. It runs away and it’s gone. This is what the Lord’s saying because as we read in Hebrews 9, that was Christ.
Now, I want everyone to look at Hebrew 10 that relates to this and also moves on to something else. 1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Ok, so it shows a contrast of the Old Testament Law and the way that things were taken away. It says you would do it and year after year you’d have to keep working, working, working. Of course, it’s better now. There’s a better blood. What’s the better blood? Christ’s own blood. Look here a couple verses later. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Look at verse 12. After he had done his work what does it say? The priests in the Old Testament after they had done their work, what did they do? After they slaughtered an animal do you know what they did? They got back up and slaughtered another. And they just keep working, working, working. What did Christ do after he finished his work? Answer: He sat down at the right hand of God. He sat down, there’s a contrast. They kept working, he sat down. Why was Christ able to sit down when they had to keep working? Answer: Because it’s finished. It’s finished, it’s done. He is the perfect sacrifice, the blood has answered. So, look again at what it says in verse 2. If that sacrifice was perfect for them, they would have ceased to be offered for the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. What do some other translations say? Answer: They would no longer have felt guilty. They would no longer have guilt of their sins if what? Answer: If there was a perfect sacrifice. If there was a perfect sacrifice there would have been no more guilt for their sins.
Wait a second; we are under the perfect sacrifice. Remember, the first thing we said was that the blood had to be for God’s eyes. But what else did Adam and Eve do? God said “Where are you?” but what else did they do? Answer: They hid. They hid because there was shame and guilt, rightfully so. They couldn’t be naked when their was sin in their flesh. And now, there’s no need for guilt. In fact, if you are under guilt, I don’t think you recognize the blood. There’s conviction of sin, don’t get me wrong in that. But the guiltiness of all that you’ve done is gone, if the work is finished. Now, here’s the good question. If you say, “Yeah, but I’ve still done this, this, and this”. The question is, what are the chances of Christ getting up from where he’s sitting? What are chances that he still has to complete the work? Answer: None. Zero, it’s done. So every time you say, “yeah… but what about this sin or this sin? What about this guilty feeling?” Every time you say that, I’m saying this strong but I’m saying what I believe the Scriptures teach on it, it is a slap in the face of the Lord’s work, if you think that you can add to his work. If you feel ashamed to come to God because you say, “I’ve done this, this, and this”. It’s because you don’t understand the entrance you have to God. It’s only by the blood. In fact, later in Hebrews 10: 19-22 it’s talking about this perfect sacrifice. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place. How do we have confidence? Answer: By the blood of Jesus. By the blood. You should not have confidence to enter any other way. There is confidence allotted for you because, guess what? You have fallen short and you have sinned. If you’re coming and saying, “I’ve been really righteous today. I came to this bible study. We read and sat it out in a couple hour bible study. Man, we really have a place to enter now with confidence in our prayers”, you’ve come by the wrong entrance. If you come and say, “Man, I’ve prayed so much. I don’t even remember the last time I sinned. That’s my confidence”, you’ve come by the wrong entrance. There’s only one place you can come but guess what? You can always have confidence. The way you can come in confidence to God is…? Answer: The blood of Jesus. So, is the blood good if you’ve sinned? Yes, it’s for your sins. The blood is always the access you have to God. As long as Christ’s work was done, you have an access to him, by the blood. Go on, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us draw near with what? Answer: A sincere heart. Isn’t it consistent? Earlier we looked at how it has to be faith in the heart. If you have faith in his work and in his blood, you now have an entrance to the Lord. He will not reject anyone who comes by his blood, that’s a promise. You come on the basis of his blood, not on the basis of your righteousness, because it’s really unrighteousness. Going by the fig leaves, would that work? Were they able to cover themselves? No, but if they went by God’s covering, they were able to have fellowship. Comment: It says their righteous acts were like filthy rags. Exactly, I think it’s the same. If you come and say, “I’ve done this so therefore I can come to God” it’s like fig leaves. You are deceiving yourself. That’s not God’s access to him. His access is only by the blood. He needs to see it, like with the Passover lamb and he says you need to come by it.
So then in looks a little like this. Go to 1 John 1: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. It starts this way, if we walk in what? Verse 7. Answer: The light. Just like he’s light, we can have fellowship with one another, with each other and with God. What does light do? It exposes darkness. So being in God’s life is maybe not always the best thing if you don’t have his blood because it exposes your sinfulness. Then it says we can walk in the light and have pure fellowship because something cleanses us from every sin. What? Answer: The blood of Jesus. So you are able now to have fellowship with God who is light, who will expose your darkness. You are able because there is that bridge now; it’s his blood. Every sin means past, present, and future. Go on to Song of Songs 1. We looked at this a little for repentance. 4 Draw me after you, let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine. Ok, she starts by saying “bring me away with you”. How was she brought to the chambers? Answer: She was taken. She was taken to his chambers, which is basically his bedroom, an intimate place. Here’s the thing, the king represents God, I think he does at least as a type, principle, or shadow. If you’re in close fellowship with light, what does that do? You see how filthy you are. The closer you get to God the more you see your filthiness. In fact, look at her first three words in verse 5: I am very dark. Look at what she notices because she’s in light, in a close fellowship. She notices that she’s dark. Yet, she’s able to say “But lovely”. We can say the same on the same basis; we’re dark but lovely by his blood.
Ok, we’ve seen the first two aspects of the blood: that God recognizes the blood and can pass over our sins and that we, on the basis of the blood can come to God. The third thing is, what about the enemy? Do you realize? We’ve said this before. Satan means the accuser. He has every right, at least in the Old Testament, to point out faults. Remember he did it with Job? Here’s what could happen, let me just give you a picture. Especially before the power of the blood of Christ, it’s like the enemy could come to God and point to us and say, “What about Brian? He’s done this, this, and this”. And God would have to say, “Yeah, he has”. But now there’s an answer to the accusations of the enemy. Go to Revelations 12: 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power of the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuse them before God day and night, has been hurled down. Ok, Satan is called the accuser who accuses them day and night. He does not give rest to his accusations. He’s been hurled down and look at how they defeated Satan. 11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony: they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. What’s the first weapon they use to overcome him? Answer: The blood of the lamb. The blood of the lamb answers all his accusations. So, before the enemy could say to God, “Brian’s done this and this” and point it out. But now there’s a covering for me. Like the animal skin covering, there’s a covering I have to come before a righteous God. Satan says, “He’s done this, this, and this”. And God says, “The blood is there”. There’s nowhere he can point where the blood has not covered. There’s a new covering. It reminds me of Zechariah 3 where you have Joshua the high priest and Satan is right there accusing him. It says, “The Lord rebuke you Satan, you have no right to accuse him”. Joshua had filthy garments on and guess what? It says God removed his filthy garments and gave him clean garments. That’s what the Lord has done if you have accepted his work, that he on his basis has made it so you were covered. Remember what the old problem was? That they were naked. Before sin they had no shame but after it nakedness shows their flesh. So, if you’re in the sight of God, the only way is if there’s a true covering over you.
So this answers Satan’s accusations. Now he has nowhere to go. Now he can accuse, and he will accuse. I’m very serious about this; the enemy will do anything he can do to get your eyes away from Christ and his work. Anything. That includes getting you to focus on yourself. How many of you have had a hesitation or stumbling block in your faith because “I’ve done this sin or this sin” or something’s gone on? The enemy has you so focused on that that you’ve lost sight of the work of Christ. Probably everyone. You’ve forgotten that he says it’s all done, it is finished, and he’s sitting. The work is done and the blood has covered you. That’s the enemy’s scheme. He has no right to accuse you now. All he can do is get you to accuse yourself and not look at the blood. That is his work. If you have true eyes to see the blood of Christ and what its’ done, you have access to a holy God for the rest of your life. That is worth more than gold and silver, I promise you. You have access now to the Lord of lord, the King of kings, and the holy one. You have access, not by your righteous doing, but by his blood
The last thing about the blood, I want to show with 2 verses. 1 Corinthians 6: 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Ok, you’re not your own. You don’t belong to yourself any more. You were bought with a price. Well the question is; what’s that price? Well, go to Acts 20. Paul is speaking here to the Ephesians elders. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. So now it tells you exactly what you’re purchased with. In 1 Corinthians 6 all we see is that we’re purchased, you’re not your own anymore. And now it shows you, what was the price that he purchased you with? Answer: His blood. His blood was the price. So guess what? That’s why when you go the Old Testament it talks about slaves. Now people have really perverted that passage but I think it does show that there’s a principle that there is a certain price you buy a slave at and then he’s yours. Here’s the thing, that’s us. You’re not your own. If you are accepting Christ as your Savior, if you are accepting the blood, you have to accept him as your Lord too. The blood is a double edged sword in that way. You can’t say, “I’m saved from my sins. I’m great, I can do anything”. No, it also buys you. You are now his.
What does it mean to be his? This is an example Watchman Nee uses in a book. He says there’s a guy he knows who was in a train car with 3 other guys and they say, “Let’s just gamble to pass the time. It will be kind of fun”. Well, this guy was a Christian. They say, “Come along, come along and gamble with us”. The guy said, “You know, I can’t actually gamble. I’d love to, but I really can’t”. They said, “Why not?” and he said, “I don’t have any hands to play with”. “What about the hands that are on you?” He said, “Oh, these aren’t mine actually, they belong to God. My choices belong to God”. See what I’m saying? That’s when you understand that you’re purchased at a price. You say, “I do have hands but they’re really not mine. Let me ask if the Lord’s ok with that”. That’s what it means to be purchased at a price. It’s the same way with a wife’s dowry, people manipulate this too. Do you know what a dowry is? Answer: For a bride. It’s the payment for a bride. I think the Lord’s showing us a principle. Do you know that you’re the bride of Christ? Do you know that you were bought for a dowry? The dowry is his blood. You are not your own anymore, you belong to another. So, I say this to point out and understand that the work of the blood and the cross is the most amazing thing I think. If you just a little more understand it because of tonight, I believe the forces of the enemy are destroyed in a major way with the more understanding you have of the work of Christ and the cross. But it’s also that he is our Lord and he has bought us at this very price.
Let me pray. God, you said that you are the only good teacher, and that you are the one who opens blind eyes. I can go on, and on, and on and not open a single blind eye. But with one touch of your hand you could open every eye in this room. Paul prayed for the Ephesians that they would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that their eyes and their hearts would be opened up. God, I ask on the basis of your blood, Lord God, you have commanded us to come boldly on that basis, I ask God that you would help that all of our eyes would be opened up, by your mercy. I know it is 100% by your mercy, it is not something we deserve. By your mercy may you teach us and may you show us more of what your great work means, that we would celebrate like the did in Ezra. The foundations were being built and there was celebration because they knew “We’ve understood repentance, we’ve understood faith” and we can celebrate before the King of kings and Lord of lords. I know that the enemy is real and you are real so the enemy must be real because you speak of him. I pray though that the enemy would not mix the message here, would not mix seeds, but that you, the master gardener, would be protective and jealous over your bride here tonight. Lord, keep the enemy at bay for the sake of your great name as our husband and the one who has rightfully purchased us. Thank you so much, Lord God, you are the best master ever, ever, ever. May your blessing be upon us here. In your name, Amen