Death and bloodshed fill our world. You would have to live an isolated life to not be aware of the extent to which death and bloodshed daily impact this planet. It would seem that death and bloodshed only bring heartaches. We might wonder: "How can anything good come out of death? How can bloodshed bring about anything of value to humanity? Especially the bloodshed and death of Jesus?
We are taught three truths in these verses in response to those questions. It was necessary for Jesus to die because:
1. A testament demands death.
2. Forgiveness demands blood.
3. Judgment demands a substitute.
This study focuses on points one and two: A testament demands death and forgiveness demands blood.
I. A TESTAMENT DEMANDS DEATH - Verses 15-17
The truth here is obvious. Before a testament is activated, there must first be the death of the person who made the testament. A will is only in force after the maker dies.
In a safe place, with all my important papers, I have the LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JOHN ALLEN HOLT. It is all very official. It is a legal document. It is properly registered and filed. But it has value only upon my death.
[If you do not have a will, I encourage you to take action in this area. A will is your last opportunity to make a witness for Christ and to exercise your stewardship for the glory of His kingdom. Sometimes you will hear people repeat the superstition that if someone makes out a will, he or she will die sooner. What nonsense! Is not Christ greater than superstituion? The truth is, YOU WILL DIE...EITHER WITH OR WITHOUT A WILL! ]
The wills which my wife and I have executed provide for the godly raising of minor children in the event of our mutual deaths. They provide for each other. The provide blessing for our children. And they provide for blessing the Lord's work and the training of future ministers at our Bible College.
However, none of these benefits will be received until after our deaths. The Will has value only upon my death!
I also have a copy of the LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. It is full of great benefits for all who answer the call to be God's children by putting their faith in Jesus. There is the benefit of (Verse 15):
1. Christ as our mediator. Verse 24 "He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us (on our behalf) in God's presence."
2. An eternal inheritance which is kept for us in heaven. I Peter 1:4 "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade---kept in heaven for you."
With my Will I can leave earthly goods and wealth. These goods and wealth are only as secure as the U.S. dollar and depending on inflation their value will fade.
With His Will I can leave a heavenly inheritance and eternal wealth.
With my Will I can be a good steward of earth's treasures and responsibilities.
With His Will I can leave the testament of a life lived for God. I can leave a Godly heritage sown into the hearts and lives of our children. I can give my children and grandchildren something of eternal value to hold on to.
Jesus has given us many blessings to be enjoyed and shared during our earthly years of living. But our hearts yearn for heaven, because we know that the best is yet to come. There is an inheritance kept in heaven for us.
3. Another benefit of Christ's LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT IS: A ransom has been paid to set us free from all the indebtedness incurred by our sins.
We lived our lives with an immense insolvency hanging over us. We were burdened by a crushing weight of debt. Because of our sins we had a mortgage and lien against our souls which all eternity could not repay.
What hope did you have of paying God what you owed Him? None! Jesus illustrates this in the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. The servant owes the master over ten million dollars. He stands before the master and hears: "Payment in full demanded or you, your wife, and your children will be jailed until the payment is made."
What hope would you have of paying this debt? Who among us could write a check for ten million...a good check? Even a lifetime of monthly payments could not repay this debt.
That's our condition. We are bound up in the indebtedness of our sin. We are facing ruin and bankruptcy. Our future is bleak and hopeless, because all that awaits us is eternal imprisonment in the fires of hell.
Then one day you discover that you are the beneficiary of the estate of a billionaire who has died. He has made you His heir and given you the inheritance.
Overnight you have become a billionaire. The ten million dollar debt is chicken feed. You are free from the debtor's prison. The future looks bright and hopeful.
This is what has happened to us. We have been ransomed from our sins. We are spiritual heirs of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has died, leaving us, in His last will and testament...all the immense wealth of goodness, grace, and mercy that were His alone! We had no claim to any of it! Now we have inherited all of it! Our vast debt of sin and our spiritual bankruptcy are gone!
Look at Paul's words in Ephesians 2:1-5
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Who? Satan), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.
"Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."
The benefits of His last will and testament: We have a mediator in heaven, we have an inheritance in heaven, and our debt of sin written in heaven's books is marked...PAID IN FULL!
Two tramps were sitting on the curb. One was crying. "What's the matter with you?" asked the other tramp. "Haven't you heard?" said the first. "Rockefeller, the multi-millionaire, died last night."
His companion looked at him in surprise. "Well," he exclaimed, "so what? You weren't related to him, were you?"
"No", said the first tramp, "that's why I'm crying?"
Church of Jesus Christ, people of God...we are related to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He died for us so that we could be heirs of His grace. So, let the weak say, I am strong. Let the poor say I am rich! We are relatives of the King. We are family!
We are not just related on paper. We are blood relatives, because:
II. FORGIVENESS DEMANDS BLOOD Verses 18-24
In our country we ratify agreements with our signature. We have witnesses. We have documents notarized.
God has verified, ratified, and notarized His agreement with blood.
It is hard for us today to understand how bloody and messy the Old Testament sacrificial system was. But among other things, the great amount of blood was a continual reminder of the penalty of sin...which was death.
Also the purpose of the blood was as a sacrifice for sin, which brought cleansing. "For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Forgiveness means remission, the carrying away of, or putting away from us of sin. Verse 22
The blood of Jesus was the price paid to atone for our sins and free us from that debtors prison. Through the blood of Jesus we are made rich before God.
You see, God has spoken. "The soul that sins will die." But, God has also spoken through the blood of Jesus that the soul that is saved will be saved through the sacrifice of God's Son.
The blood of Jesus is the price paid for our forgiveness. Forgiveness is not cheap, it cost God the life of His Son.
God does not forgive sin by looking down and saying, "It's all right. Since I like you a lot and you did some good things this past week, I'll give you a break. I'll overlook your little mistake this time."
God's holiness will not allow Him to overlook sin. Sin demands payment by death. And the only death great enough to pay for our sins is the death of Jesus.
God's great love for us does not lead Him to overlook our sin or wink at our sin....but His great love has led Him to provide payment for our sin...and the blood of Jesus pays in full.
SOME BENEFITS OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS:
1. Matthew 26:28 It is shed for the remission of sins.
2. Acts 20:28 It is the price paid for our purchase to be God's possession...to be His church.
3. Romans 3:25 It is the sacrfice for our atonement...to be made right with God and at one with God. Faith in His blood brings this atonement.
4. Romans 5:9 We are justified by His blood. Made as if we had never sinned. 5. Ephesians 1:7 & Colossians 1:14 "...we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin..."
6. Ephesians 2:13 "We are brought near...into God's presence through the blood of Christ."
7. Colossians 1:20 We now have peace with God through the blood of His cross.
8. Hebrews 9:14 Through the blood of Jesus our conscience is cleansed from dead works so that we might serve the living God.
9. Hebrews 10:19 We have boldness to enter God's most holy presence through the blood of Jesus.
10. Hebrews 13:12 Through the blood of Jesus we are sanctified...that is made holy before God.
11. I John 1:9 The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son cleanses us from all sin.
12. Revelation 1:5 We are washed from our sins in His blood.
13. Revelation 12:11 We overcome the enemy...we overcome temptation to sin, we overcome condemnation, we overcome sin's power, we overcome the past, by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony!!!
Even in heaven there will be singing about the eternal saving power of the blood of Jesus. You can read the songs in Revelation 5, 7, 12, & 19.
Don't let the enemy rob you of this truth!
There are folks today...even in the church...who look with revulsion on this shedding of blood which fills the Old Testament. They consider with equal distaste the New Testament teaching concerning Christ's blood. They abhor the songs and hymns which speak of the effectiveness and power in the blood of Christ.
Those who scorn the shed blood have their eyes blinded both to God's blazing holiness and to the dreadful, radical nature of sin. Sin is a radical and terrible reality which calls for a radical and terrible cure.
Some would like references to the blood removed or toned down in Scripture. Some have used derogatory terms in regards to teaching on the blood of Christ calling it "slaughterhouse religion". One church leader said: "I don't believe in blood sacrifice; we don't do it anymore."
Don't we do it anymore?
In the 20th century we have killed more people in various wars than in the preceding eight centuries. Millions have died in Russia, Europe, Cambodia, Vietnam. Millions are dying today but we have stopped counting or reporting when the deaths do not directly affect "America's Interests."
Sin is still costly. Man's inhumanity against man costs us more human lives than we are willing to admit. Sin still demands the blood sacrifice.
What did that mean: "We don't do it anymore."?
We don't shed blood as payment for sin anymore? Who are we lying to?
Look at the blood running in the streets of our cities. Blood sacrifices are made almost every day. Sacrifices that cannot atone for sin.
Evil is answered with evil. "You did me dirty. You betrayed me. You ripped me off. Someone must pay for this sin. You called me a name. You were in the wrong hood or wearing the wrong colors."
The gunshots ring out and another person dies. Another blood sacrifice is made...and for what? Does the death and bloodshed heal the hurts between people? Does it bring peace between gangs and warring parties? Does it bring reconciliation? Does the sacrificing of others ever come to an end? Does this death and bloodshed make things right between people, races, nations, and ethnic groups? Does it give us peace of heart and mind?
Church, we must take heed. We are God's redeemed people. Either we proclaim the One perfect sacrifice of Jesus and His blood that was shed to cleanse humanity of sin, of mindless stupidity as well as ignorance...or we shall continue to pay for our sins by our own blood sacrifices which can never take away sin.
Oh, that we had the eyes to see and the intelligence to accept God's great act of redeeming love in the sacrifice of the Great High Priest...the Lord Jesus Christ!
THE LAST WILL AND TESTMENT OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST...sealed and signed in His own blood.
It's terms are uncontestable. They will be carried out and in our next study we will learn how.
Now the question that must be asked is: Are you a beneficiary of this Will?
If so your name is written in heaven. You have a mediator in heaven. You have an inheritance in heaven. And your sin account in heaven is marked PAID IN FULL!
If you are not a beneficiary...there is still time for your name to be added. There is power in the blood of Jesus to save you from all your sins! WILLS, ATTORNEYS, & COURTROOM APPEARANCES
Other sermons by Pastor John.