There are church buildings up and down this valley that are filled with people today. There are also a lot of people not in church, but we live amongst a great deal of religion. Many of our near-by churches are much younger than this one. And some of them just SEEM to be young. They behave like children – they are immature and foolish. The atmosphere in many of them is much different from ours. Some are so casual it’s hard to recognize them as church services. And others have a ceremonialism which make our services look like just a family reunion. There are churches today designed almost like dinner theaters with little tables toward the pulpit. Some have espresso counters at the back and rock bands in the front. Many have huge screens around the auditorium where modernized corrupted scriptures are projected. In some, people are made to feel that Bibles are not important enough to bring to church. Then those screens show the face of the preacher or pretty landscapes and seascapes. The music is high in tempo and up-beat, and the preaching, while sometimes high in energy, is often low in theology and content.
I still get samples of the magazine “Christianity Today” – one had an article about modern church designs. It showed churches with indoor fountains, and ornate metal deck furniture as might be found by a pool. I saw churches with patios and large windows so that parishioners can sit outdoors and still “participate.” There was natural lighting, electric sound, satellite broadcasting and casual, non-worshipful atmosphere. And the sermon is designed to make people feel good about themselves. They can feel good about their common-law marriages. They can feel victimized by their drinking problem or their addictions. They are encouraged to become as sinlessly worldly as possible, which of course is impossible. And they can know that the pastor commiserates or empathizes with them in their rebellion against restrictive parents and a rigorous religious upbringing. They can tell by his blue-jeans, open necked polo shirt and his shaved head or long hair. Many of those congregations have no church membership and thus no responsibility or accountability. Those people aren’t much different from sports fans that semi-regularly attend baseball games. But then, the sports-fan often shows more religious loyalty to his team than these people do to their church.
I saw an article perfectly illustrates the religion of modern man. There are funeral homes which are now marketing caskets and urns – carrying sports team logos. These companies have paid money to various football, baseball and basketball leagues so they can legally use their teams’ insignias. Then they bury uncle George in caskets with team colors and logos. One man had his father cremated and put in a New York Yankee urn, with a baseball as a lid. That urn sits on a shelf in the family room so father and son can still watch baseball games together. And then there are teams which permit the ashes of their fans to be spread on the playing field – for a price. There are football clubs in Europe which actually have dedicated cemeteries next to their soccer pitch where their fans can be interred forever. But problems have arisen when clubs want to build new stadia but don’t know what to do with their cemetery and the remains of their eternal fans. Is there anything that more clearly demonstrates that sports is the religion of millions of people?
This church will never be like those modern churches because we believe that our duty is to God first – not to either saved or unsaved sinners. We are not trying to tickle people’s ears, but rather to grate upon people’s hearts, so God might be glorified and people might be saved from their sin. We use politically incorrect words like “sodomy,” “abortion” – “sovereign election” and “Lordship.” Our message this morning would not be well-received in a great many “Christian” churches. Because most of the genteel world, doesn’t like the subject of blood. Bible makes much about blood. And it doesn’t put on surgical gloves, splash-guards and protective glasses when it deals with that blood.
The pages of the Old Testament virtually drip with warm, rich, red blood. And it is no less prominent in the New Testament. Did you know that in the New Testament the blood of Christ is mentioned three times as often as the cross? Did you that the blood of the Lord Jesus is mentioned five times as often as Jesus’ death? But Christians don’t consider that blood often enough. I’m not sure that we could consider it too often. But many of the modern, seeker-type churches avoid the subject, because it is not “user friendly.” As a rule I don’t buy modern religious books to help me in my study. Most of my last purchases have been books of illustrations, which I only use sporadically. I was looking at the three most recent additions to my library. Not one of them even has the word “blood” in the index.
Brethren, I believe that the Holy Spirit highlights the blood of Christ. I believe that unless a church preaches the blood of Christ – it is not a Christian church. I believe that we need to understand the blood of Christ as far as we are humanly capable. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
I believe that the references to Jesus’ blood are references to LITERAL blood.
Listen to these verses and ask yourself if they refer to real blood? Acts 20:28 – “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Romans 3:23-25 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
Ephesians 1:7 – “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
Ephesians 2:13-15 – “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”
Colossians 1:14 – “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:20-122 – “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death.”
Hebrews 9:11-14 – “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
I Peter 1 – “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
I Peter 1:18-19 – “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Do these verses refer to something mythical and mystical or is it real, red, righteous blood?
It is easy to loose the true significance of a word that we hear really often. And it is even easier to loose that significance when we rarely hear the word. Some people try to tell us that any Bible reference to the word “blood” is really just a synonym for “death.” It is true that sometimes symbolism gets involved in our study of Christ’s blood, but the blood is real. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” When Jesus spoke those words, the eating and drinking was symbolical, but the flesh and blood were real. By that I mean that we are saved through Jesus’ blood, but that blood is ingested by FAITH not feeding.
Think with me of the crucifixion and try to picture it without blood. Think of Gethsemane, while Jesus prayed – what happened? Don’t picture Christ’s forehead covered in sweat as He prayed – it was bright, red blood. When Peter cut off that man’s ear trying to defend his Saviour was there no blood? There certainly was, and there was probably a lot of it. When Jesus was beaten, whipped and crowned with thorns there was no blood covering his face and back? And now He is nailed to the cross – without blood? After He says “it is finished” – the soldiers ran a spear into His side and out poured blood and other fluids. Can you have a crucifixion without literal blood? Can you consider the crucifixion without the smell of blood? Were there no flies drawn to that blood? Were there no ravens near-by or dogs milling about?
The blood of Christ is a summary of the cross. That word links the pain, and the shame, and the bruises, and the open wounds all together. When the New Testament says “blood,” it is speaking of Christ’s blood at the time of His death. It is not like the child who ran, fell, and scraped his knee with a little trickle now running down his leg. The word “blood” is used to represent the whole crucifixion. But that blood actually had a specific ministry and role to play in that crucifixion. And that blood was as real as your own.
Yet at the same time that blood was definitely exceptional – it was UNIQUE blood.
It wasn’t extra-terrestrial, or heavenly, or angelic – but it WAS exceptional. Think about I Peter 1:19 and recognize the word “precious.” “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Peter could have used a long list of superlative adjectives, but under the Holy Spirit he chose that one. It doesn’t refer to a value in the market place, but a value to God and to the believing heart.
Jesus’ blood is the blood of a unique person. His biology and hematology was not, and is not, that of an ordinary person. Since he had only a mother and no human father, His biological make-up was very different from yours. An expert in DNA would be totally mystified if given the opportunity to study the blood of the Saviour. And Paul touches on an exquisite theme when he spoke to the Ephesians elders and referred to: “The church of God which he purchased with his OWN blood.” That precious blood has been found, and can be found, in no other human being.
The blood of a mere human avails nothing for sin, because it flows with sin. But Jesus Christ is Jehovah – holy and without internal or external blemish. “For unto us a child was born….unto us a Son of God was given.” “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of God.” “In the fullness of time God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law.” In one sense, Christ’s was divine blood, while yet in another it was very special human blood.
Jesus’ blood was precious because it was absolutely free from any corruption. We have to wonder if it was made up of the same ingredients: plasma, red and white blood cells and platelets. I believe that it probably did, but whether it did or didn’t, it certainly carried no sin. The Bible teaches that sin is passed from fathers to their children. Since Jesus had no human father, He was a perfect human being through his mother. Jesus was perfectly perfect through the incarnation. And Christ was thoroughly human – but holy, harmless and undefiled by human nature.
Not only these things, but that blood of Christ was precious in the plan of God. All one has to do is look at the importance of Old Testament blood symbolism. “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and the Lord has given us that blood upon the altar to make an atonement for our sins.”
This church believes that the blood of Christ was and is effectual in what it was designed to do.
We the sing the hymn: “There is power, power, power in the blood.” It is true. That blood has power – “excusia” and “dunamis” to heal and restore the broken relationship between God and the sinner. It is all sufficient to meet his salvation’s need, having been shed once for all for the sins every repenting sinner.
I wish that the words of Hebrews 9-10 could be read in every so-called Christian church in America. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” ” For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
“Once for all, O brother believe it; One for all O sinner receive it.” The blood which Jesus shed on the cross so many years ago, was sufficient for every sinner and every sin man will ever commit. But the blood which Jesus shed on the cross was efficient only for repenting, surrendering sinners. Because that blood cannot be separated from the grace of God. Romans 3:23 once again – “all have sinned” – that means all of us. But the precious blood of Christ has settled the account with the justice of God. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.” It is the literal blood of the Lord that enables us to stand at the bar of God without fear. Ephesians 1:7 – “In whom we redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according the riches of grace.” The blood of Christ has freed the repenting believer. I John 1:7 – “If we walk in light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin. The blood is the cleansing agent for sin. It is the blood of Christ that makes those who were once aliens and separated to have peace with God. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” It is the blood that purges the guilty conscience of the sinner – Hebrews 9:14.
There is so much that the precious blood of Christ does for the saint. It provides the key to the throne-room of God – Hebrews 10:19. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” It removes the spot of stain caused by daily sin – I John 1:7. It makes us different from the rest of the world – Hebrews 13:12. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” That blood gives us overcoming power – Revelation 12:11. “They overcame the great dragon, that old serpent, called Devil and Satan, by the blood of the Lamb.” That blood shall have a part in uniting people from around the world some day. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood our of every kindred, tongue and people and nation.”The literal red blood of Christ is the most powerful substance in the world.
And something else which cannot be omitted from this message: The blood of Christ is ESSENTIAL.
There is only one path to the righteous God and it is through Jesus’ shed blood. God makes things so plain. Hebrews 9:22 – “Almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Then we are left in no doubt as to which blood we are talking about: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Can the gospel of Christ be preached in too bloody a fashion?
Just as in physical life, in eternal life, a bloodless gospel is a lifeless gospel. “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and (the Lord has) given it upon the altar to make an atonement for our souls.” Jesus blood must have been shed. Nothing has been more necessary in all the world. Because “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed” But Jesus’ blood was shed as an atonement for our sin. Jesus’ died is a substitute for the sinner He died to save. Christ’s blood had to be shed.
But more than that – it had to be sprinkled. Remember I Peter 1:2 – “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” This takes us back to the days of the Old Testament Passover and other sacrifices. If the Egyptianized Jews didn’t sprinkle the blood of the lamb upon the door of their house, then the angel of the Lord would attack the residents in that house. God had said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
Today we are not in Egypt, but we are certainly in sin and in a sinful society. And the message is still clear. The precious blood of Christ, shed and applied to our hearts is the only thing that can turn aside the wrath of God.
There is a Jewish legend that on the night of the Passover, there was a little boy, an only child, who was sick. He believed the words of the Lord and was terribly frightened that he would die. Over and over he asked his father, “Is the blood there? Is the blood there? Is the blood still there?” The times have changed, but the need is the same, “Is the blood there?”
I preach the blood, I trust Jesus’ blood, I have washed in it, and I drink it by faith. Paul certainly did. Do you?