Fri, Mar 30, 2018

Good Friday 2018 Nothing But the Blood!

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GOOD FRIDAY 2018

NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD!

ROMANS 5:6-11

            Please turn in your Bibles this evening to Romans chapter 5. I know, some of you are thinking that this is an unusual place to go on this Good Friday. But, as you will see, it is very appropriate that we look at these verses.

            The reason being is that there are those who are trying to distract us from the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And, sometimes, that which we become comfortable with, we loss sight of how important it really is to us!

            Think about a marriage relationship. It is easy to just get comfortable with it and take it for granted and then something happens, and you realize that you have missed out on so much because this relationship, being so common and comfortable, was not that important to you.

            Please understand that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not something that just happened. It was something that was ordained before the foundations of the world. Before God created man.

            You see, God knew that His creation, man would sin and, as we will see, that sin separated man from God. That is the problem. Thus, we are told of Jesus in Revelation 13:8, that He is the . . . Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

            And if you want a picture of what the crucifixion was all about, don’t look to the New Testament, because there is not much about the crucifixion itself. In fact, in Matthew 27:35 we are told, Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.’

            In Mark 15:25 we are told, Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.

            In Luke 23:33 we are told, And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.

            And in John 19:16 we are told, Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

            That is all it says, they crucified Him. And yet, when you look at Psalm 22, written some 1,000 years before Jesus was crucified, and some 800 years before crucifixion was even invented, it is a picture of a person hanging on a cross, looking down upon those who put Him there and the description of what happens to the body when you are hanging on a cross is like an eye-witness account.

            Let me share with you just a few verses to show you how prophetic these words were from Psalm 22.

            We are told, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? . . . But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’ . . . I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:1, 6-8, 14-18.

            This Psalm opens up with the words that Jesus cried from the cross. His cry during the daytime, from 9 am to 12 noon and in the night season when the sky was darkened, from 12 noon to 3 pm. As He cried out to the Father His voice seemed to fall on deaf ears, why? What was going on here when the skies were darkened? Why did God the Father turn His back on God the Son?

            Remember what Isaiah 59:1-2 says, Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. That is the reason God cannot look upon sin, He is holy. And when the sins of the world, all of them; past, present and future, were placed upon Jesus, the Father turned from the Son, He could not look upon Him with favor!

            We also see that Jesus called Himself a worm, a tolaith and this word was used for both a “worm” and “scarlet” because this was the worm that was used to make the red dye.

            You see, when you crushed it you could dye your garments scarlet. Also, as this worm was ready to give birth it would climb up a tree and attach itself to a branch. And as it gave birth it would burst open and die, but in the process, it would bring forth new life. And as it died and fell off the tree, it would leave a scarlet stain on that tree.

            Not only that but after about three days the crimson spot would dry up and turn white, and then flake off like snow. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Remember what the Lord said in Isaiah 1:18, ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.’ And I think that is what Jesus is saying to us here. That in His death He gives new life, the new birth. Without it, there is no new life; there is no forgiveness for our sins!

            Now as you read this you can just picture in your mind what Jesus was going through, it is very detailed! You see, Crucifixion is one of the most painful ways to die. As you hung on that cross, anywhere from hours to several days, until you died, you would become dehydrated, delirious and your bones would be pulled out of joint. Just to breath you would have to push yourself up on that splintered wooden cross and the back of Jesus was like raw meat from the scourging He had endured.

            What a picture and in the end, the One who became sin for us will rule and reign as we see in Psalm 22:27-31, All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.

            That is what we are doing, declaring all that the Lord has done and yet, there are those who are mocking what the Lord has done and feel that this is not important, that it is outdated! Let me be clear on this, the work that Jesus has done for us is not outdated, it is what is needed today, and we will see that this evening.

            Let me share this story with you and it will help set the stage for what we will be looking at in Romans chapter 5, the shed blood of Jesus to take away our sins! We are told,

            The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before.

             It’s not influenza, but three or four fellows are dead, and it’s kind of interesting. They’re sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church you hear another radio spot. Only they say it’s not three villagers, its 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it’s on TV that night.

            CNN runs a little blurb: people are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

            By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. For it’s not just India; it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere and they have coined it now as “the mystery flu.”

            The President has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there.

            But everyone is wondering, “How are we going to contain it?” That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen.

            That night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest, when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: “There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu. It has come to Europe.” Panic strikes.

            As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. Then you die.

            Britain closes its boarders, but it’s too late. Southampton, Liverpool, Northampton, and its Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing.”

            Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. Some are talking about what if it comes to this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.” It’s Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio.” While the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made, “Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu.” Within hours it seems, this thing just sweeps across the country.

            People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working.  California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s just sweeping in from the borders.

            Then, all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of somebody who hasn’t been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: “Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That’s all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals.”

            Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they’ve got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. 

            Your spouse and your kids are out there, and they take your blood type and they say, “Wait here in the parking lot and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home.”

            You stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on, and that this is the end of the world. Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says with a grin, “Daddy, that’s me.”

            Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it!” And they say, “It’s okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has got the right type.”

            Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another – some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, “Thank you, sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine.”

            As the word begins to spread all across the parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, “May we see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we need . . . we need you to sign a consent form.”

            You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. “H-h-h-how many pints?” you ask. And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he says, “We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”

            “But-but . . .” “You don’t understand. We are talking about the world here. Please sign.  We – we need it all – we need it all!”  

            “But can’t you give him a transfusion?”

            “If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?”

            In numb silence you do. Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment with your son?” You go into that room where he sits on a table saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?”

            Can you take his hands and say, “Son, we love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”

            When that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve – we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying.” Can you leave? Can you walk out while he is saying, “Dad? Mom? Why –why have you forsaken me?”

            And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, some folks sleep through it, and some folks don’t even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come with a pretentious attitude.

            “MY SON DIED! DON’T YOU CARE?”

            Is that what God may be saying? “MY SON DIED. DON’T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?”

            “Father, seeing it from your eyes breaks our hearts. Maybe now we can begin to comprehend the great love you have for us. Amen.”

                                                                                                            - Source Unknown

 

            That truly is my prayer for each of you as well as myself. That we would not only see what Jesus has done for us but how much He loves us and was willing to die, to shed His blood so that our sins can be forgiven. That we would leave here rejoicing in the Lord and that joy would just flow from our lives!

            With that said, let’s begin reading in Romans chapter 5, beginning in verse 6 and let’s see what the Lord has for us as we remember the work that He has done for us on this Good Friday!

 

ROMANS 5

VERSES 6-8

            Notice the picture that Paul is painting for us. Sinful man, whom he described for us in Romans 1:18 through Romans 3:20. And Paul lays it all out and says that every person is guilty before God.

            You see, as you read through this section in Romans it truly is all about condemnation. And Paul begins his case against the unrighteous heathen and how nature itself shows the glory of God. Thus, the unrighteous heathen are condemned by nature, and you can see that in Romans 1:18-32.

            Then Paul moves on and presents his case against the self-righteous moralist and how God has placed in the heart of every person what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. Thus, the self-righteous moralist is condemned by his conscious, and you can see that in Romans 2:1-16.

            Then Paul moves on and he concludes his condemnation of man as he presents his case against the super-religious person who tries to live by the Law and fails miserably. Thus, the super-religious person is condemned by the commandments of God, and you can see that in Romans 2:17-29.   

            And then, interestingly enough, Paul places God on the stand to condemn man and in Romans 3:10-18 we see a 14-count indictment against man by God.

            And Paul finally drove home his point in Romans 3:23 when he said, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 

            And here in Romans 5:6 we see Paul speak of man, in that condition of sin, condemned before God, and man is impotent to do anything about it! He is sick. He is without strength. 

            Not a very encouraging situation but man must understand where he stands before a holy and righteous God. And when he does, then God steps in at the appointed time or the proper time, the perfect time to pay the penalty for our sins, for the ungodly, you and me! 

            Listen to how Spurgeon put it: “If Christ died for the ungodly, this fact leaves the ungodly no excuse if they do not come to him, and believe in him unto salvation. Had it been otherwise they might have pleaded, ‘We are not fit to come.’ But you are ungodly, and Christ died for the ungodly, why not for you?” You see, there is no excuse! 

            And Paul wants us to understand what God has done for us and to do that he wants us to understand why we do things for others. He says that a person may sacrifice his life for the “right kind” of person. In other words, we would help those who are nice to us, who have helped us, but if someone comes against us, takes advantage of us, hates us, there is no way we will sacrifice our lives for them! Forget about it!!!

            Now Paul speaks about God and what a different picture he gives to us. You see, God didn’t die for a good person, someone who deserved it, a righteous person, but for sinners and thus, His death on the cross of Calvary is a demonstration of His rich love for us, it is the ultimate proof because we surely don’t deserve it! 

            Again, we have read this verse often, but it is powerful as it shows us what God has done for us. Paul said in II Corinthians 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. That is God’s love for us!

            And the reality is, that is what GRACE is all about. We do not deserve eternal life with Him. We do not deserve the forgiveness of our sins. We deserve death and God has given us something we do not deserve and that is life with Him! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me and like you!

 

VERSES 9-10

            Paul is telling us that we are justified by His blood. What does it mean that we are justified?

            Listen to what Paul tells us in Romans 3:24-26 and then we will look at what justification means.

            Paul wrote, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

            The word justified,” DIKAIOO (dik-ah-yo’-o) in the Greek, is a legal term and it speaks of being “declared righteous” or “acquitted.” Of this Spiros Zodhiates said,

             Paul concludes that since all men are guilty, they cannot be “justified” by their own personal character or conduct (v. 20). Justification is a legal term meaning to remove the guilt (liability to punishment) of the sinner. It does not involve making one inwardly holy, but merely declares that the demands of justice have been satisfied. Hence, there is no grounds for condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Not even obedience to the law can justify one before God, Paul reasons, because the very nature of the law is to prove to man that he is sinful and deserves God’s punishment. Thus, the purpose of the law is to lead man to renounce his own righteousness and trust in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness as the only grounds for acceptance with God.

                        - Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study New Testament, p. 506

 

            Exactly, and please understand that this justification, God declaring us righteous is given to us freely,” DOREAN (do-reh-an’) in the Greek and it speaks of being “without cost.” 

            You can’t buy it, you can’t earn it, all you can do is receive it by faith, it is a gift of God.

            Again, this is hard for some to believe and thus they feel they must do something or live a certain way to obtain this or maintain this, but Paul tells us that we are justified through faith in Jesus, by His grace or unmerited favor that He has bestowed upon us, giving us something that we don’t deserve – EVERLASTING LIFE WITH HIM!

            I like the way that John Flavel illustrates justification for us. He wrote,

            My friend Dr. Roy Gustafson has the finest illustration of justification I have ever heard.  It seems that there was a man in England who put his Rolls-Royce on a boat and went across to the continent to go on a holiday. While he was driving around Europe, something happened to the motor of his car. He cabled the Rolls-Royce people back in England and asked, “I’m having trouble with my car; what do you suggest I do?” Well, the Rolls-Royce people flew a mechanic over! The mechanic repaired the car and flew back to England and left the man to continue his holiday. As you can imagine, the fellow was wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?”  So when he got back to England, he wrote the people a letter and asked how much he owed them. He received a letter from the office that read: “Dear Sir: There is no record anywhere in our files that anything ever went wrong with a Rolls-Royce.” That is justification.   

            Did Christ finish the work? How dangerous it is to join anything of our own to the righteousness of Christ, in pursuit of justification before God! Jesus Christ will never endure this; it reflects upon His work dishonorably. He will be all, or none, in our justification. If He has finished the work, what need is there of our additions? And if not, to what purpose are they? Can we finish that which Christ Himself could not complete? Did He finish the work, and will He ever divide the glory and praise of it with us? No, no; Christ is no half-Savior. It is a hard thing to bring proud hearts to rest upon Christ for righteousness. God humbles the proud by calling sinners wholly from their own righteousness to Christ for the justification.

                                                                                                - John Flavel

           

            Make no mistake about it. If we are justified by the work of Jesus, we can be assured that we are also saved from wrath through Him. The wrath of God that was revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18) was placed on Jesus as a substitute in the place of the believer.

            And it is only by His shed blood that we are justified before God. In Leviticus 17:11 we are told, For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

            Now, keep in mind that the old Testament sacrifices could never take away a person’s sins. They only covered them for a time, until you sinned again.

            Paul makes that very clear in Hebrews 9:12-28 as he contrasts what the Law could do and what Christ has done. The Law could never save anyone, it had no power to. All it could do is point out your failure, your faults, your sins. But Christ has come and by His shed blood we have the forgiveness of sin, we are justified before Him!

            Paul put it like this, Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’ Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another - He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

            You see, through the shed blood of Christ our sins have been cast as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered no more. (Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 38:17; Isaiah 43:25)

            I have called this study, “Nothing but the blood!” because it is all about the blood of Christ that was shed for our sins. Apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. It was the just for the unjust so that He can bring us before the Father.

            Remember, our sins separated us, and Jesus is that bridgebuilder to bring us to the Father. Apart from Him we will never see God the Father. He is the way, He is the truth and He is the life. You can agree with it or disagree with it, but it doesn’t change the reality of that! You will not see God the Father unless you repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life!

            Now, tragically, some are negating the shed blood of Christ. They see it as foolishness. But think about it, what are you going to replace it with? I guess they will replace it with social justice programs, good works and yet, how can that negate your sins? It can’t, and it won’t!

            Think about. When the sins of the world were placed upon Jesus, darkness covered the earth. We are told in Matthew 27:45-46, Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’

            Why did God the Father turn His face from the Son, why did He forsake Him? Like I have said, it was because He bore the sins of the world and God cannot look upon sin with approval.

            In saying that, do you really think that God will look upon you and your sins, your righteousness, which are like filthy rags before Him, with favor? Of course not and that is why Jesus shed His blood for us!

            Let me show you where Christianity is going, and maybe I should clarify that, apostate Christianity. Diana Butler Bass, who just happened to be one of the speakers a few years back at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, wrote a book called, “Christianity After Religion: The End of the Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.”

            The title itself should be a red flag to you but listen to what she is saying. She wrote,

            “Conventional, comforting Christianity has failed. It does not work. For the churches that insist on preaching it, the jig is up. We cannot go back, and we should not want to. . . . In earlier American awakenings, preachers extolled “old-time religion” as the answer to questions about God, morality, and existence. This awakening is different . . . it is not about sawdust trails, mortification of sin [putting to death the old man], and being washed in the blood of the Lamb [the preaching of the cross]. The awakening going on around us is not an evangelical revival; it is not returning to the faith of our fathers or re-creating our grandparents church. Instead, it is a Great Returning to the ancient understandings of the human quest for the divine.” (pp. 36, 99)

            What is interesting to me is that what she is saying is where the church is going, it is what they are embracing! This New Age, Eastern Mysticism, where we are gods and this whole idea of repenting of your sins and asking Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life, that we are saved by His shed blood, is old and out of date. We don’t need that old-time religion, we need to go back to the pagan practices. Sorry, not her words, but mine because that is exactly what she is saying, she wants us to go back to those pagan practices that lead people to HELL!

            Now who are you going to listen to? I hope it is not man but God. Listen to what the Lord said in Jeremiah 6:16, Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it.”’

            This is a very sad statement by the people of God. God tells them what they need to do, and it is very simple, . . . ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.

            In other words, go back to the Word of God, follow the paths that have been established by God and you will find rest.

            What a loving God we have but they responded to him by saying, We will not walk in it. That is a hard heart. God has what is best for our lives and we need to not only listen but obey!

            All these new things, new teachings don’t make it good or right! Keep this in mind, if it is new, it is not true, and if it is true, it is not new! God’s Word is complete!

            Apart from the shedding of His blood, there is no remission of sins, whether you agree with it or not!

            I realize that some of you may be having a hard time with this idea of sin and that you are not good enough for heaven. You’re not but let me show you why and it goes all the way back to the beginning!

            Remember in Genesis when God created Adam and Eve and they were created in the image of God, the likeness of God, without sin. 

            In Genesis 1:26-27 we are told, Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 

            Also, in Genesis 5:1 we see that same thought, This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. They were created without sin in the likeness of God!

            Then, before Adam and Eve had any children, sin entered this world through Adam. Now, no longer is man created in the likeness of God, but in the likeness of sinful man, in the likeness of Adam.

            You can read of this in Genesis chapter 5, but to give you just one example, one verse, we are told in Genesis 5:3, And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 

            When Seth was begot, when he was born, whose likeness did he have? It was not in the likeness or image of God any longer but in the image or likeness of Adam, sinful man.

            He inherited from his father the sin nature. And so, every person who is born is born with this sin nature, they are born in the likeness or image of Adam!

            Thus, being born again makes us into the image of Christ, into the image of God as we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior of our lives!

            Paul makes that point very clear as he wrote in Romans 5:12, Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. 

            The Amplified Bible puts this verse like this, Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.

            I think that is very obvious, we not only have the sin of Adam in our lives, inherited sin you might say, but our own sin. And Paul reminds us, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. And in Romans 3:10 Paul tells us, As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’

            And the wonderful news is that . . . when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10.

            In other words, if God loved us when we were still sinners, how much more will He pour out His blessings upon His children, those who have been reconciled to Him by grace through faith in Jesus! 

            The thing is this; do you really believe that God is going to pour out His wrath on His children? Of course not, but He will pour out His wrath upon a Christ rejecting world who stand in their own righteousness which are like filthy rags before a holy and righteous God!  

            It is as Paul said in I Thessalonians 5:9, For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

            Praise God for this wonderful gift He has given to us and sadly, there are those who are trying to take this gift away from us. Don’t let them! Trust what God has said in His Word, may we . . . ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.

 

VERSE 11

            After Paul has shown us all that God has done for us, he now praises God for this wonderful gift of life that He has given to us!

            You see, God has declared us justified, He has cleansed us from our sins, we are His, we will always be His, we have escaped His wrath that is to come and will be with Him for eternity because we have been reconciled back to God through Jesus and that should cause us to rejoice!

            God has provided the atonement for our sins. And the word used in the Old Testament for atonement is different than what it means in the New Testament.

            In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for atonement is KAPHAR and it speaks of a covering. You see, the sacrificing of bulls and goats could never take away a person’s sins, it only covered them for a time, until they sinned again. 

            Now as we come to the New Testament, the Greek word for atonement is KATALLAGE (kat-al-lag-ay’) and it speaks of “making one” or better put, reconciliation. 

            Think of it like this, at-one-ment! You see, what the Old Testament sacrificial system couldn’t do, Christ has come and has done for us, paying in full the penalty for our sins and thus, our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west to be remembered no more! And like I have said, we should rejoice over that!

            I think John Stott summarized this section for us very nicely as he wrote,

            We should be the most positive people in the world. We cannot mooch round the place with dropping, hang-dog expression. We cannot drag our way through life, moaning and groaning. We cannot always be looking on the dark side of everything, as negative prophets of doom. No, ‘we exult in God.’ Then every part of our life becomes suffused with glory. Christian worship becomes a joyful celebration of God and Christian living a joyful service of God. So come, let us exult in God together!

                                                                                                                        - John Stott

 

            Now you may be thinking, “Wait a minute Pastor Joe. You don’t know what I am going through. Life is not easy for me right now and I am down! And I am discouraged. I am depressed.”

            As true as that may be, let me shed some light on this and hopefully it will cause you to rejoice in the Lord.

            You are a sinner separated from God. There is absolutely no good in you. In fact, even your righteousness, the good things you do are like filthy rags before God!

            “Hey, I thought I was going to feel better by what you were going to say? I am not feeling better, but worse!”

            That is good because to see what God has done for you, you need to know where you came from and I think you have seen that!

            As bad as you were, there is no sin you can imagine that will keep you from God. He loves you so much, He loved you when you were a sinner, when you were at war with Him and He died for you so that your sins, the penalty for all your sins, would be paid in full. All you must do is repent and ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life!

            You see, how can you not rejoice! Look at all that God has done for you. And yes, in this life it may not be easy but whatever we are going through, God is aware, and He will use it for good in your life!

            Remember the story we opened up with? The disease that was killing the world and there was one boy who gave his life so that all could live. We are told, after the cure, after this boy gave his life for the world,

            . . . And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, some folks sleep through it, and some folks don’t even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come with a pretentious attitude.

            “MY SON DIED! DON’T YOU CARE?”

            Is that what God may be saying? “MY SON DIED. DON’T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?”

- Source Unknown

           

            May we not take lightly what God has done for us. If you know the Lord, may you leave here praising God, jumping for joy for His love for you. And you see, if you could take a visit to heaven and want to look at your record of sins, guess what? There is no record of them because they have been paid in full!

            If you don’t know the Lord, may you come before Him and repent of your sins and ask Him into your life. He loves you that much. He sent His Son to die for you so that you can live with Him!

            It is all about the blood! There is a song that is titled like the message I shared with you this morning. “Nothing but the Blood!” The words go like this,

            What can wash away my sin?
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
            What can make me whole again?
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

            Refrain:
            Oh! precious is the flow
            That makes me white as snow;
            No other fount I know,
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

            For my pardon, this I see,
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
            For my cleansing this my plea,
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

            Nothing can for sin atone,
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
            Naught of good that I have done,
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

            This is all my hope and peace,
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
            This is all my righteousness,
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

            Now by this I’ll overcome -
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
            Now by this I’ll reach my home -
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

            Glory! Glory! This I sing -
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
            All my praise for this I bring -
            Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

 - http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Nothing_but_the_Blood/

 

            Make no mistake about it. It is all about the BLOOD, the shed blood of Jesus on the cross of Calvary as He finished the work of our salvation and sat down at the right hand of the Father! May we never lose sight of that fact and may we never let anyone distract us from this precious truth. Because, without the shedding of blood, there is NO remission of sins!

 

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