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There Will Be Blood

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2016 6:00 am

There Will Be Blood

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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Well, good morning, Summit Church. This coming week is arguably the biggest, most important week on the Christian calendar. We call it Passion Week, and there are multiple things going on here at the Summit Church that help us just refocus on what it meant for Jesus to die for us, the greatest event in all of history and the center point of our lives. This week has a special significance for us at the Summit Church because we know that this is one of the two times of the year, I would put this at number one, where we know that people who don't normally come to church would receive an invitation from one of us to come to be a part of our services.

I share this, I think, the last two or three years, but every survey done in recent time yields the same result. And that is that there is about a 75% chance, give or take, that a person who doesn't normally come to church who knows you would receive your invitation for this weekend, which means that you got really good odds if you just ask the question to somebody. And if you ask and they say no, just realize that you're part of the statistical formula that enabled three people at the Summit Church to invite somebody who actually received the invitation.

So either way you went. The point is, this week, I hope that you will ask somebody. Maybe they don't believe in God at all.

Maybe they're the one who are sending out all the hateful emails around your office about things. You just say, come with me this weekend. We try to do our best just to make the gospel very simple and to show what Jesus has done and why we believe that. And so I hope nobody will come this weekend by themselves. Hope all of you will have somebody. Your campus pastors will tell you other things that are going on, but I'm looking forward to seeing you next weekend.

It's going to be absolutely amazing as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ together. Well, if you have been reading your Bible through with us for the year, you have spent the last couple of weeks in the book of Leviticus. My guess is that some of you stopped reading the Bible with us for the year in the last couple of weeks.

It's like you hit the water and you're still running, but your steps just kind of fall face first. I always feel like that when I start to read through the Bible. I'm like, Genesis, Exodus, and then I hit Leviticus face first. And so metaphorically, that's what's happened to some of you this weekend or this couple of weeks.

And my job is to pick you back up and get you started. So Leviticus seems like a strange book to be sure. First off, there is the name itself, Leviticus.

That just sounds daunting to me. It's not a cool name like Exodus. Or Romans. Leviticus sounds like a disease or maybe a pair of jeans or something. But second, it's filled with all kinds of rules and regulations about diet, dress, archaic religious rituals. Some of the rules just seem weird at best.

They seem random. Eating locusts is good, but shrimp is bad. God loves sideburns. Leviticus 19, 27 apparently because you are not allowed to cut them.

Duck Dynasty was a permanent fashion fixture in ancient Israel. Not allowed, not even little ones on your ring finger to show how much you love your wife. Disallowed 1928, back talking your parents can get you stoned.

I've been waiting on a onus to bring that one back for my kids. Absolutely, you are not allowed to wear clothes of mixed fibers, which means that if you are wearing polyester this weekend, not only are you out of fashion, you are in sin. If we were in the days of Leviticus, if you are wearing spandex this weekend, you are in sin for multiple reasons. One of the laws states that if two guys are in a fight and one of them reaches out and grabs the other one in a particularly, shall we say, sensitive place, then he is to have his hand cut off. And you think of all the rules that you felt compelled to include in the one code of conduct, why fill the need to include that one? We have a code of conduct.

We have a staff handbook here at the Summit Church. We have never felt compelled to spell out a regulation on that. It's just never been necessary.

You say why? You won't hear any of what I just said as sacrilegious because I know the law is perfect. I just want to acknowledge to you that when I read it, I get this sense that it appears strange just like you do. A lot of people read this and they wonder why is it that we seem to follow some of the parts of Leviticus, but there's others we kind of opt out of. When Leviticus talks about certain sexual behaviors of sin, for example, we quote that. But when it says not to eat shellfish or eat a hamburger with cheese on it, that's going to be a regulation there if you read it.

You're like, well, I don't apply to us anymore. Are we just picking and choosing what parts of Leviticus we want to follow? You ever heard that question?

I had a guy say that to me just a couple weeks ago sitting next to me on a plane. He's like, well, you don't really follow the Bible either because you pick and choose what you want to listen to and what you don't. Let me answer that last question really quickly before we jump in this weekend because it's such a huge question and I know that you get it. Let me just real quick, I hope I don't go too fast through this, but basically, scholars tell us there are three kinds of laws in the book of Leviticus. Those are the laws and that are laws that govern the behavior of the nation and punishment for crimes and that kind of stuff. Then there are ceremonial laws.

That's category two. These are the regulations that are given about cleanliness, about the sacrificial system, things like that. Then there are moral laws and those are the laws that declare what God sees as immoral.

And that covers everything from murder and theft to ideals for sexuality. When Jesus came, he said two things about the law in Leviticus that can seem contradictory at first. The first thing he said is the law is absolutely perfect. Matthew 5 18, sooner would heaven and earth pass away than one jot or tittle of the law will pass away.

Jot or tittle, by the way, is the Hebrew way of saying dot the I and cross the T. So he means not a single shred of it is untrue and it will never pass away. But then he turned around and said that those of us who were born again by him are released from the law because he has fulfilled it for us. And you say, well, not one jot or tittle will pass away, but then we're released from the law.

We're released from it because you fulfilled a force. What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the law? What it means is that all the laws pointed to Jesus and when he came, he fulfilled everything that they were pointing to. The civil laws set up the nation of Israel from which Jesus would emerge.

When Jesus came, he started a new Israel, a spiritual Israel. So we are no longer bound by the civil codes of Leviticus because God no longer has a nation state on earth anymore, like he did with ancient Israel. The ceremonial laws illustrate for us God's holiness. They point to our unholiness and they show us what God's going to do about it. The word holiness or purity is used in the book of Leviticus over 80 times. All those laws and sacrifices are going to be fulfilled in Jesus's life and his death.

So the book of Hebrews makes clear that if we have accepted Christ, the ultimate sacrifice, then we don't need all these lesser sacrifices anymore when the real thing is fulfilled. The moral laws, however, they reflect what God finds good and what he finds offensive. So those things still do apply to us since the God behind them doesn't change.

What God found offensive 2,000 years ago, he still finds offensive today. Jesus is going to reaffirm those moral laws and he's going to tell us that we should be like him and to love what he loved and what he loved was the morality that's spelled out in the book of Leviticus. So when we say that the sexual ethics of Leviticus are still relevant, but the prohibitions against eating shellfish and wearing polyester are not, that's not an arbitrary distinction that we are making. It's how the New Testament teaches us to interpret Leviticus. Now for what it's worth, the book of Leviticus appears to be one of Jesus's favorite books of the Bible. The verse he quotes most often is from the book of Leviticus.

He appears to have had the entire book memorized. Just one chapter in the book of Leviticus today because scholars tell us that the entire book of Leviticus is shaped around this chapter. It's almost like a mountaintop. Everything before it is leading up to it and it's kind of the mountaintop, the summit, if you will.

See what I did there? And everything after it is going to flow down from it. So we're going to look at Leviticus 16. In this chapter, God's going to give very important instructions about a very important date. In fact, the most important day of the Jewish year, a day called Yom Kippur. Yom Dei Kippur covering, literally the day of the covering.

This day became so central in Jewish life that it was simply called Yoma or the day, the day. Now, as we get into this, some of you are still going to be tempted to think, well, this is all interesting history, but it's not immediately relevant to my life. But think of it this way. This whole book deals with a problem that every single one of us face at some point in our lives. And that is feelings of guilt we have. About certain things that we've done or certain decisions that we've made. You can relate to that, right?

I know a lot of you can. Many of you today walked in with some secret and it is eating you up on the inside. And you're like, man, if you had any idea, you would not let me in your church. And you might be right. Every time somebody says to you, we need to talk. You think, oh, no, how did they find out?

I know that they know now. Maybe it's a sexual sin that you have committed. Maybe you know that you've been a bad parent or a bad sibling or a bad spouse. You feel guilty about how you behave towards someone in your life. Maybe that person isn't even around anymore for you to apologize to.

Maybe it was your parents and they passed away. And you're like, I can't even say I'm sorry and get absolution from them. And a lot of times those feelings of guilt are going to lead us to shame. Shame is that question where you ask, what kind of person am I who could have done something like that? What if people have found out that I did this or that? You know, there's certain sins that when you confess them, they get you sympathy.

Right? Oh, I struggle with pride. You know, everybody kind of nods. No, I struggle with lust. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I just overworked too much, you know. Oh, yeah. Then there's other sins that if you confess them, it makes people feel awkward.

Right? If you bring it up in the middle, you're a small group. Christian counselor David Pallason talks about it this way. So some sins, however, do not elicit sympathetic nods. If you're adulterous and your family finds out, they're not going to be nodding.

Oh, I understand we struggle with that, too. Shameful sins receive stares, not nods, even when guilt is confessed, the sin remains. And there's some of you know what that feeling of shame is like.

And then there's this whole thing that some psychologists call covert guilt, secret guilt, which is this feeling we have that we're guilty for something and we're not even sure why. I explained a few weeks ago, it goes back to Genesis two, where the first effect of our sin was we felt naked. When we sinned, Adam and Eve sinned, their nakedness was exposed. Previously, they've been clothed in the love and the acceptance of God, but now they just felt naked. And it shows you how humanity goes through life feeling naked and exposed, like we're not approved, like we're going to be judged.

And we're not even sure exactly why. But it makes us ask this question, Am I going to be judged? Does whatever is out there, does it approve of me? I mean, even even if you don't believe in God, this morning, it still sort of lingers back there in your heart. I need some kind of atonement. I need some kind of redemption.

I need somebody important to tell me that I matter. Let me ask you if you died today, do you know absolutely for certain that you'd be good enough for God to let you into heaven? I asked that question for a long time.

I was like, what's the standard? How do you know? I mean, is it do I need to love God more, pray more? How do you know that you're you're going to get the passing grade and you're going to make the cut to get in? Leviticus, the book of Leviticus is relevant to us because all of us asked that question in some form. That's a universal experience. Am I really guilty? And if so, why?

What can I do about it? So let's start our examination of this day. In chapter 16 with a very sobering incident in Leviticus 10 that sets it up. You stay there in Leviticus 16. I'll take you through what I want you to see in Leviticus 10. But Leviticus 10 is a story of something that happened that sets up chapter 16 and makes it kind of make sense. And it consumed them and they died there before the Lord. And the Lord then says to Moses, jump to chapter 16, tell your brother Aaron that he's not to come in whenever he chooses to the most holy place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover of the ark. I'll explain all that in a minute or else he is going to die. This is how Aaron is to enter the most holy place. Don't just let him come in any way he wants. Remember Nadab and Abihu? Remember what happened?

This is I'm going to tell you exactly how he has to come in. Now, for those of you that didn't grow up in Sunday school or in the, you know, arena of flannel graph theology, let me kind of spell this out for you because it'll help you see the picture of it. The inner parts of the temple was basically like this. You had this area here. Only the priest could go in. It was called the holy place. And then behind that, there was separated by this curtain here, this place called the Holy of Holies or the most holy place. In the most holy place, there was essentially one piece of important furniture. And that important piece of furniture was called the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was this gold box. I have an actual picture of it here with, this is real, not really, but it is this golden kind of box that has this few sacred relics in it. And then it has this thing on the top called the mercy seat. Mercy seat is not a seat where you actually sat down, but it was the seat of where God's presence dwelt, the mercy seat. And then over top of that are these two cherubim or angels that are guarding, in a sense, the way into the presence of God. Now, if you remember back in Genesis three, when Adam and Eve had sinned, God had put an angel with a flaming sword to guard entry into the presence of God.

And that's what this is trying to re-picture there is that the way has been barred. The Holy of Holies was a place that you just didn't go into. Nobody went into it. It was only entered by one person, the most high priest on one day, Yom Kippur. The rest of the temple was really busy every day, people offering sacrifices, but not the Holy of Holies. In fact, it was separated by this thing called the paraket.

Paraket in Hebrew means literally shut off. It is a curtain. It was four inches thick. It was made up of 72 different strands of gold.

I mean, of red and purple and blue. Each of the strands had 24 cords in it. So it was really, really thick and it made the whole place in total darkness. Like I said, it literally means shut off because that's what the Holy of Holies was.

It was shut off from all the people and only one priest, the high priest on one day, Yom Kippur was allowed to go in. Chapter 16 is going to spell out for you what that process looked like. And so it begins to give you the details. Let me just summarize the details here. And I'll pull in a little bit of what we know from Jewish history.

The process started a week beforehand. The high priest was put into seclusion. He didn't see anybody, touch anybody, talk to anybody because he didn't want to encounter something unclean. He wanted to be totally pure when he went into the Holy of Holies.

The night before Yom Kippur, he stayed up all night just praying and preparing, reading the Bible and preparing his soul to go in before God. He'd get up the next morning. He would bathe meticulously. I mean, he would clean every part of his body.

He would clean it several times and he put on a white linen robe that had never been worn by anybody, brand new, pure white linen. And he would go into the Holy of Holies and he would offer a sacrifice on the mercy seat for his own sins. Then he would come back out. He would bathe a second time. And he would throw away that white linen. He put on another one and he would go back in a second time and offer another sacrifice, this time for the sins of the priestly community. Then he would come back out and bathe again. And then he put on another white linen, throw the other one away, go back in a third time and offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people.

Old Testament scholar Ray Dillard says this. Listen, this was all done in public. The temple was crowded and those in attendance watched very closely. There was a thin screen for modesty sake that he would bathe behind, but the people were present for his every move. They watched him dress. They saw him bathe.

They watched him go in and come back out. He was their representative before God. And they were cheering him on and making sure he did it right because they were very concerned to make sure that everything was done properly and with purity because he was representing them before God and he was obtaining forgiveness from God for their sin. Chapter 16 explains that part of the sacrifice ritual was the choosing of two goats. One of the goats, they rolled the dice. One of the goats was going to be sacrificed and his blood will be offered in there in the Holy of Holies.

The other one is going to be described in verse 10. The goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat will be presented alive before the Lord. The other goat is kept alive and the priest is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and the rebellion of the Israelites, all their sins, and he's to put them, you know, figuratively speaking, on the goat's head. Now they don't kill this goat. The other goat they killed. The second goat, they send away into the wilderness in the care of somebody appointed for the task. There's a little humor in that because Jewish historians say that they would put a person outside of the city gate. In the wilderness, the person would take it and go throw it off a cliff because they didn't want that goat just to kind of wander back into the camp because that would be like awkward. Like, hey, there's our sin coming back to us.

That's a bad omen. So they just made sure that it was properly disposed of and you never saw it again. Okay, so here's the questions. A lot of details, right? What is it that we learn about guilt and sin, our guilt and our sin from this chapter?

Here's number one. We learned that our sin is much worse than we imagined. Pervasive than we imagined. Reading the book of Leviticus, you get this sense over and over and over again that a great gulf exists between us and God.

We are literally parakeet. We are shut off. And the way in is guarded by mighty angels with swords. At the beginning of this message, I asked you if you died today, do you know absolutely for certain that you'd be good enough for God to let you into heaven? The question behind that question is, what's the standard that God uses to determine who gets in?

What is the passing grade? How good is good enough? Leviticus answers that question in a very clear way. Absolute perfection is what is required.

Absolute perfection is what is required. That's what Adab and Abihu show you. One false move, one unauthorized movement and you're dead. It is sinful because of who it is against.

You've heard it described like this. If you were, you know, if you, in frustration, kick a wall, I mean, that's not, maybe you shouldn't lose your temper, but that's not that bad. If you lose, you get mad, you kick a dog. I mean, that's, it makes you kind of a bad person. If you get mad and you kick another human being, then, you know, you might go to prison.

If you go into the President of the United States office and kick him in the face, I mean, it just got a lot more serious because your action gets more serious based on who it is against. Sin against an infinite God is infinitely guilty. And what Leviticus shows us is that we are filled with these kinds of sins.

It's in everything we think, it's in everything we say, it's in all that we do. Leviticus even has this category for unknown sins. Things we do are sinful that we don't even know about. Even in our best actions, there is sin present. I mean, this morning I'm preaching to you.

That's a good action. I'm doing what I'm called to do. And I've got the word of God open before you.

That's good, right? I know that even in this preaching, there's all kinds of sin mixed in. I'm like, well, what do they think about me now? What do they like me? They think I'm a good preacher? I'm really mad at that guy over there.

I don't want to talk to him. You know what I mean? Just all these sinful thoughts that are in my mind as I, I'm really sufficient as a speaker.

I got them now and they're listening now. You know what I mean? Just all these things. Hospitality, that's a good action, right?

You ever think about how much your hospitality is not done out of love for the person, but out of the desire to make other people think that you're a good hospitable person? And everything you do, there's this stuff that's mixed in. The Puritans used to say, even our tears of repentance have to be washed in the blood of the lamb. Even when I weep in repentance, there's going to be sin mixed in that.

James 4.17 says that if I know to do good and don't do it, that's sin. How many times throughout the day do I think that's a good thing that I should do? I'm too lazy. I'm not in a good mood. I'll do it later.

Somebody else will do it. Sin is much worse than we imagine. It's much worse than we imagine and it's much more pervasive in our lives than we realize. I've tried to describe it to you.

Like this, it's like if you were getting a blood transfusion and you found out that this blood that you're getting, this cord of blood has two microbes of the AIDS virus in it. Right? I mean, that's just a little tiny bit. You couldn't even see it. But it makes it totally defiled and you rip the thing out of your arm and you'd say, get it away from me. We're a little bit more earthy of an example. I told you if you're drinking a glass of milk and you find out it's been cut with 2% human urine, you don't say, oh, 98%.

That's awesome. You know, it's almost pure. You want to vomit. You multiply that times a billion and you've got maybe the first inkling of how God feels when he sees sin. Standing in God's presence, Nadab and Abihu with even the slightest mixture of sin in you is like a piece of flax paper touching the surface of the sun. We're much more sinful than we imagine and our sin is much worse than we imagine. Paul says it this way in Romans 3.23, all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The standard we're comparing ourselves to is not that person sitting next to you. The standard you're comparing yourself to is the glory of God.

And inside of the glory of God, you fall way short, Leviticus tells you. I've heard that described like falling short in swimming to Japan. I'm not that great of a swimmer. I can swim. I mean, this probably is being generous. I might make it a mile and a half if you let me do backstroke and float and whatever, you know, but I might be able to make it a mile and a half. That's not great, right?

There's a guy in our church. He swam, swam, swam, whatever. He swam in the past, across the English Channel. I mean, that's a long way. That's like 21 some miles. That's a whole 42 times longer than I can swim.

Right? That's awesome. But you put both of us on the shore of California and say, head to Japan. His 21 miles don't make my mile and a half really look that much different, does it? Because both of us compared to the distance to Japan have fallen way short when it comes to the glory of God. You and I are so far short that we just fall on our faces in despair because I'm Nadab and you're a Bahu and both of us are going to be destroyed in God's presence.

Which leads us to number two. Leviticus shows us that God's grace is greater than we dreamed. It shows us our sin is worse than we imagined, but His grace is greater than we dream. Why did God have them use two goats? Well, one goat would have made the point, right? It was to illustrate two different things God's doing with our sin.

And He wanted us to make sure that we saw both of them. One goat got slaughtered for our sins, showing that the price for our sin had been paid. That was a theological concept called justification. Justification means there literally is no more claim against you. If you wreck into somebody's car and they drag you into court and the insurance pays their claim, that means they can't ever drag you into court again over that same thing. They can't be like, well, I really feel bad about it. I miss my old car and I want you to come pay some more.

You can't do that. Right? You've been justified. The debt has been settled. The other goat, the one that was sent into the wilderness, illustrates for us the concept of cleansing.

God not only pays for our sins, He removes them from us. Whereas the first goat that was slaughtered shows us that we are forgiven on the basis of a substitute, the second goat shows us that our sins are forgotten and removed from us as far, the psalmist says, as the east is from the west. How far is that? It's not mathematical, by the way. It's a concept.

East, as far as you can go that way, west, as far as you can go that way, they never touch. That's how far God has removed your transgressions from us, the psalmist says. He's put them into the depths of the sea, depths of the sea. Corey Timboon, who I quoted last week, used to say, and wherever that deepest part of the sea is that God puts our sins in, He puts a little sign out that says, no fishing allowed.

You're not ever going to get to it. When they baptized Sam Houston, who was the American who helped establish the nation of Texas. He's a good friend of my uncle, Davy Crockett. The pastor who baptized him said, Sam, Sam, your sins are washed away and they are now in the deepest ocean. Sam Houston replied, God helped the fish.

God helped the fish. That's how you and I should feel about our sin. There's some fish somewhere really struggling with our sin, but we don't have to ever think about it anymore because it's in the deepest part of the ocean, never to be dredged up again. There are some people who say, I feel like my sins are probably too bad. I don't think I can be forgiven.

I knew what I was doing. You don't understand how I've hurt people. I'm not sure that I can be saved. Did you see verse 16?

Do you have any conditions in there at all? I know people who say, well, no, but see, I've committed the sin against the Holy Spirit and I can't be forgiven. What Jesus said about the sin of the Holy Spirit in Luke 11 cannot contradict other things the Bible says like this. And the Bible says that whoever comes to Jesus with whatever sin can and will be forgiven. The sin against the Holy Spirit means that you no longer desire forgiveness. If you desire forgiveness, whatever you've done, you've received that forgiveness. And the fact that you desire that forgiveness means that you haven't committed the sin against the Holy Spirit. When you say I cannot be forgiven, you are not exaggerating the size of your sin. You are shrinking the forgiving power of God. Your sin is great.

I'm sure it is, but God's grace is greater. You say, well, maybe God can forgive me, but I can't forgive myself. Now you're saying that your opinion matters more than God's.

Who do you think you are? I get that you feel like your sin is that bad, but don't add to it another sin by shrinking the size of the power of God saying you can't really do what you said you were going to do. And if God promises to forgive you and he promises to restore you, who are you to exalt your opinion of yourself above God's opinion of you? Do not try to out holy God.

That ain't never going to turn out well. Atonement literally means in English break the word apart at one minute. God has made us one with him on this day. God made Israel one with him by satisfying the penalty of their sin. And by putting it away forever, following it off a cliff, putting it at the bottom of the sea, making it as far as the East is from the West, and he made us one with him and what God has joined together, no man can ever put us under.

Number three, this is really important. The day was all about Jesus. Well, we've been kind of hitting at that the whole time, but the day was all about Jesus.

Did you see the fingerprints of Jesus all through this sacrifice? We're going into what we call Passion Week. When you read through the last week of Jesus's life that we call the Passion Week and you do it after reading Leviticus, you will notice that Jesus seems to be going out of his way to stage his own day of atonement.

Listen to this. Just like the high priest, Jesus began to prepare for a week beforehand. That's why we call it the Passion Week. The night before Jesus's sacrifice, he stayed up all night just like the high priest. Except Jesus is not going to be clothed in rich garments like the Jewish high priest was. He's going to be stripped of the only garment he has. And instead of being cheered on by the people like the high priest was, he's going to be jeered by them and abandoned by nearly everyone he loves.

He wasn't bathed in a purifying pool. He was put on the cross. On the cross when he died, he cried out as his last words, it is finished. In Greek, literally, Tetelestai. Tetelestai was a common phrase that just meant it's been paid. Archaeologists have found it inscribed on receipts.

After somebody paid a debt, they would write across the top Tetelestai. In Christ, God has no more claim against our sin. We have been justified. It would be unjust for God to bring it back up because it's already been paid for. That separated us from God was a symbol of Jesus's perfect flesh that was torn so that we could enter into God's presence. During the crucifixion, the curtain was literally torn in two. And for the first time in history, the way to God was wide open and whosoever will may come. Jesus's body was the mercy seat where his blood was sprinkled so that we could find forgiveness of sins and enter into God's presence without fear.

By the way, you ever notice this? When the disciples first go to Jesus's tomb after he's been resurrected, there's a little detail. in there. It says that there were angels there. How many angels? Two. And where were they?

One at the head, one at the foot. What is he trying to recreate? The mercy seat.

They're not there because they're tired. They're there saying this is the new Ark of the Covenant. And if you come to this spot right here where the resurrected Jesus, not physically, but if you come there and say I believe it was done for me, then you will be given forgiveness of sins. In fact, Leviticus 16 says that when Aaron was done with this ritual, he would take off this linen and lay it aside. What was it that Peter and John found in the empty tomb? There was only one thing. It was that linen.

Jesus didn't take it off because he was hot. He took it all. Why did he take it all? He took it all because he was trying to say it's done. It's this whole day of atonement.

I just finished it and just like Aaron laid it aside, I'm laying it aside and it's never going to have to happen again. Jesus was the scapegoat who carried away our sins forever into his grave. Jesus went down into the depths of the grave, burying our sin. Three days later, he came out and he left our sins there at the bottom of the sea as far as the east is from the west. Our sins are not merely covered over.

They are gone forever. The Old Testament prophet, Zachariah, who wrote 500 years before Jesus was born. The book of Zachariah is built around a vision that Zachariah has where he sees a high priest whom he calls Yeshua go into the presence of God. But to Zachariah's horror, it's on the day of atonement, Zachariah, who's very familiar with the whole process, sees that this high priest about to go into the presence of God and the Holy of Holies is not dressed in fine linen.

He's covered in human excrement. This was disaster, not only for Yeshua, who certainly would die. It was disaster for all the people of Israel because this moment was the moment that they obtained forgiveness. But just as Zachariah despairs, he hears the voice of the Lord Zachariah three verse one, he hears the voice of the Lord say to Joshua, Yeshua, the high priest, Yeshua, take off your filthy clothes. See, I've taken away your sin and put rich garments on you.

I will send my servant and remove the sin of this land in a single day. You know what God had given to Zachariah? He'd given Zachariah a vision of what Jesus was going to do one day.

You see, Yeshua is just the Hebrew name for Jesus. It literally says Jesus. That one day Jesus is going to come and he is going to dawn our garments, garments that are covered in the filthy human excrement of sin. And he's going to walk into the presence of the Holy of Holies and he's going to be struck dead.

And then he's going to take it off and he's going to hand you and me a clean white linen garment of righteousness and say, you wear this for the rest of eternity. That's why we say the gospel in four words is Jesus in my place. Jesus did not merely die for you as a statement of love for you. Jesus died instead of you. He took your sin. He bore your shame. He rose to life.

He defeated your grave. A love like that the world has never known. People misread the book of Leviticus. They read the book of Leviticus and they say, Oh my God, look at how many laws there are. Leviticus was not written to tell you all that you need to do. All that God was going to do for you. The effect of reading Leviticus on you should not make you look up in despair and say, Oh my God, look at all the things I got to do for you.

It's Oh my God, look at what you've done for me. That's the goal. That's the goal of all Bible teaching. The goal of all Bible teaching is not that I fill up your notebook with new facts God wants you to know or new things that you need to do and five ways to be a better dad and four ways and uncle JD is going to give you how to handle your job. The Bible is not good advice.

The Bible is good news. And you leave with a sense of, Oh my God, look at who you are. Look at what you've done.

Look at the love that you've given to me. And then in response to that, everything changes in your life. You see gospel change happens not by giving a list of things to do. Gospel change happens when you are overwhelmed with the beauty of what God has done. And that's what the book of Leviticus is about from verse one to the end of the book. Number four, it shows us that always do not lead to God. Always don't lead to God. Do you notice how God set the whole thing up?

You get this really terrible story about Nadab and Abihu. And then God says, Hey, tell your brother Aaron, man, he's not just to walk in any way he chooses into the most holy place or else he's going to die. It's really popular for people today to say, well, you know, it doesn't matter what particular way you try to get to God.

This is like the most, most believed American religious belief of all of them. It doesn't matter what way you try to get to God, as long as you're sincere, as long as you're good, as long as you love people, don't hurt anybody. Nadab and Abihu were sincere. And if you were to say to the people of Israel right after that situation where they die, you know, all paths really lead to the same God.

I think Aaron would say, we got two dead men here that would say the opposite. Always don't lead equally to God. My sons were very sincere, but they didn't come in the way that was prescribed. The whole chapter declares there's one way to come to God and God gives you that way. And if you're going to come to him, Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life.

I am the Father except by me. Do not try to enter the presence of God in any other way, because it's not about how you reach out to God with whatever fire you want to present before him. Salvation is about God's reach to you and you receive it for what it is. Number five, it shows us that you have to accept the atonement for yourself. You got to accept it for yourself.

This might be my favorite point, not all of them. Even though full atonement has been made by Jesus, even though full atonement was made by the high priest, you had to individually appropriate it. Let me show you, you might've just read over in the chapter.

Let me show you this. Verse 29, this is to be a lasting ordinance for you. On the 10th day of the seventh month, you must deny yourselves and not do any work. Sabbath is what he's talking about. You must go into a Sabbath, whether native born or whether you're a foreigner residing among you. Because on this day, Yom Kippur, atonement will be made for you to cleanse you. Then, and only then before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.

This is such a beautiful picture. To reap the benefits of the day of the atonement, you had to do something. The benefits of the day of the atonement, the sacrifice the high priest offered, the benefits were not conferred on you automatically. You had to do something. What was that something you had to do?

Pay a lot of money? Say enough prayers? I love this. You observed the Sabbath. And what was observing the Sabbath? Doing nothing.

You had to consciously do nothing. The way that you received the work of the atonement was by doing nothing and resting in what God had already done. I call salvation by faith alone.

It is the acknowledgement that Jesus has done it all. And I cease trying to earn my way before God. And I say you've done it all.

And I rest in what you've done. And God takes my rest. God takes my faith. And He counts it as righteousness. You see, there is something you have to do to be saved. But it's not a religious thing that you got to do. It's not try harder, do better, read your Bible more, love God more. It's simply rest in what Jesus said He has done. Rest in it.

Its benefits are not yours. Hey, I've told you before about one of the most bizarre Supreme Court cases I have ever heard of. United States v. George Wilson, 1833. The defendant George Wilson pled guilty to several counts of robbery and for trying to kill a mailman.

Right? It was apparently serious enough of a crime that they gave him the death penalty, but his crimes had political overtones. And so President Andrew Jackson, president at the time, issued him a pardon. Full pardon.

Total. You're forgiven. George Wilson rejects the pardon for reasons we'll never understand or he never explained. He said, I reject the pardon. The warden said, I cannot execute you.

The president has pardoned you. George Wilson said, I refuse that pardon. So George Wilson fought it in court. He's fighting in court to be executed. It's not complete unless both sides ratify it. If the pardon is rejected, we have no power in this court to force it on him.

I have no idea where the Supreme Court got that reasoning. But I can tell you this is exactly what the Bible says about God's forgiveness of us. Jesus has died and paid for all your sins. And there are some of you that are going to go to hell with your sins paid for. It's not that you were too guilty. It's not that you couldn't be religious enough. It's not that you just weren't cut out for spirituality. You would not rest in what Jesus said he had done for you.

George Wilson was executed in 1834 with a pardon sitting on the warden's desk. There are many of us who are not walking. We're not going to enter eternity. Not because we're too guilty.

Not because we're not good enough. Simply because we simply refuse to believe. We simply refuse to believe that Jesus did what he said he did and he paid it all. Number six, for the rest of your life, you're going to respond to this great sacrifice. For the rest of your life, you're going to respond to this great sacrifice. Many commentators point out that the order of events in this chapter is incredibly significant. It begins with what the high priest does for the people. 28 verses of him climbing this mountain, making atonement for the people.

And only then does it cross that crest and begin to show Israel how they are to live in response. Y'all, that is such a common pattern in the Bible. God's work of salvation comes first. Our obedience comes as a response. In other words, it's not that we do good and serve God in order to be saved. It's that we do good and serve God because we have been saved. Good works don't lead up to salvation. Good works flow from salvation and that makes all the difference.

Martin Luther was the Catholic monk who rediscovered this truth. He said the only reason they obey God now is because you threaten them with hell. That's not obedience to God.

That's fear of God. God wants people to obey him not because they fear him but because they love him. He's not just after obedience. He's after a whole new kind of obedience. An obedience that grows out of desire. An obedience where you seek God not because you're afraid of hell but because you crave God. An obedience where you love righteousness and therefore you do righteousness.

I'm paraphrasing a lot here. He says, look, we've got to have either the carrot or the stick. Which way do you motivate? The carrot, the reward, or the stick? The stick is hell and the carrot, that's heaven. Luther said neither because the gospel is that God took the stick and he beat Jesus with it and he handed you the carrot for free.

And when you believe that and you understand that it will produce a whole new kind of desire in you, a desire that says I just want to respond. John Bunyan, the guy who wrote Pilgrim's Progress, same deal. The Anglican church in his day was like, John, you've got to put them in prayer. You can't go around telling everybody that Jesus is just giving them a free gift of salvation. If you tell them that, they'll just go out and do whatever they want.

Bunyan said quite the contrary. If you convince them that Jesus really has died for all their sin, they'll go out and do whatever he wants because it will produce in them a desire, a desire that comes from love and a love that will not be able to be stopped by anything, not even prison. What if you saw your entire Christian life as a response to the gospel? What if you saw everything you did as a response to what Jesus had done for you on the Day of Atonement?

What would your life look like? Because the book of Hebrews, which is the book in the New Testament that explains pretty much everything I've been saying to you right now, that all these sacrifices were about this one sacrifice. The book of Hebrews ends, chapter 13, by suddenly switching and talking about sacrifices we offer to God. It's like all these sacrifices in the Old Testament, they're all done. And then it says you're going to offer to God, listen to this, a sacrifice of praise.

That's an incredibly important way to say that. It's not a sacrifice in order to please God, in order to be saved, it's a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise because I have been saved. And what the writer of Hebrews says is what comes out of your mouth in worship ought to be a reflection of the price that Jesus paid for your sin. Let me ask you, your worship this morning, was it a good reflection of the price Jesus paid to save your soul from hell?

I'm just going to tell you, hands in your pocket, bored look on your face, not the right response. That just shows me that you've never really understood how sinful you were and how far Jesus reached to save you. The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, he says how you share your things, what you do with your money ought to be a reflection, ought to be a statement about the price you realize that Jesus paid for you. Why is it that people in this church sacrificially give their money? Is it because they think that giving a little more money is going to make God happier with them?

No, God has given us full and complete acceptance. And Jesus, it's because we realize where we were and how much Jesus gave to save us. Why do people leave this church and go live in places like the Sudan or Indonesia or India or Afghanistan? Is it because they don't like America? Is it because they want to be away from their parents? Is it because they get the sense of adventure and they just go have to live over there? No, it's because they realize how far Jesus came to save them. And there are people in Afghanistan and Sudan and Indonesia who've never heard about him.

And so they say, if this is how far Jesus came to save me, there's nowhere on planet earth I can go that is nearly as far as the price that he paid and the extent that he traveled so that he could save me. And I just want to respond. I just want to respond and say, as you've been to me, I'll be to others. Why is it that some of us reach out to people that are around us and try to talk to them about Jesus? Is it because we're extroverts?

Is it because we like religious controversy and we're just looking to engage in debates in random places? No, that is not the reason that we do it. The reason we do it is because we know that Jesus died for that person. And we know that we were wandering away from God when Jesus got ahold of us. And so we want to be to other people the way that Jesus was to us. You say, well, I don't like, it just makes me feel awkward. Of course it makes you feel awkward. And I don't mean to be heavy handed here, but I imagine being stripped naked and crucified felt a little awkward too.

But if that's what Jesus did to save me, then it means that I'm probably going to need to tell that person in my life that Jesus died for them. That's the price that was paid and that's certainly a way that I can respond. You see, there's really two questions that the book of Leviticus presents to you. Here they are.

If I want you to bow your heads, just bow your heads. Here's your two questions. Number one, have you received the free salvation that God has offered to you? It's not automatically yours. It's not automatically yours.

What do you have to do to get it? You rest in what Jesus has said he's done. Here at the Summit Church, we compare it to sitting down in a chair. Let the chair represent the fact that Jesus paid for your sins. You can be around the chair. You can know where the chair is. But you have to transfer the weight of your body onto the chair. Jesus died for your sins.

That's true. Have you ever transferred your hope for eternity into what he has accomplished for you? Because if not, you could do it right now. You could say, Jesus, I receive it.

I believe it. I surrender to you as Lord and I receive you as Savior. Right now, you're going to sit down.

Sit down. You're going to Sabbath rest. You're going to Sabbath rest in what Jesus has done.

If you've never done that, I would invite you to do it right now. The second question that Leviticus presents to you is simply this. Are you responding appropriately to the gospel?

Is how you spend your money, is it a good reflection? Of what Jesus did for you? Is the zeal with which you live, is the focus of your life a good reflection of the price you believe Jesus paid for sin? I urge you, therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, that you present your lives a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God. This is your reasonable act of worship. Don't be conformed to this world. Don't listen to everybody saying it's all about the American dream and it's all about acquiring stuff.

No, don't do that. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind and the message of what Jesus has done because then you'll begin to live out that perfect and acceptable will of God. Let me leave you for a moment just to linger as I often do in just the Holy Spirit as he ministers to you. Then our worship teams will come and they'll lead us in a verbal response to the glory of God and the price that he paid.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-05 07:17:08 / 2023-09-05 07:36:13 / 19

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