- Sermon Notes
There is Power in the Blood - 2
The book of Leviticus is a book of worship. It describes the relationship that is possible between God and man. It deals with life and death. It shows that the way to life is through death; it is by the shedding of blood, the giving of life that sins are forgiven, that sinners are made righteous and given eternal life as well as spiritual life – and life to the full.
God provided a way for sinners to have relationship to a holy God. That is man’s greatest problem; man is sinful - God is holy. Therefore, God gave Israel provisions not only for the offerings of worship, but also sacrifices and offerings for sin and guilt; to make atonement for their sin; that their sin might be forgiven.
All of Leviticus contains sermon after sermon pointing the way to Jesus. You will find Jesus in the burnt offering, the peace offering, grain offering, the thanksgiving offering, and of course the sin and guilt offering.
His blood is the scarlet thread woven throughout the word of God from Genesis to Revelation.
Last week we saw Jesus in the greatest day on the Jewish calendar; Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is on this day, and this day alone, the high priest could enter the holiest of holy places in the temple; the place where the mercy seat, covered with the golden seraphim, rested upon the ark of the covenant. It was an image of the very throne room of God in heaven.
In that holiest of holy places in the temple, where the very presence of God dwelt, the high priest would enter, once a year. He would bring a fire pan of coals from the altar into the holiest place and pour two handfuls of sweet incense on the fire – a picture of the prayers of the saints before God. He would then sprinkle the blood of the bull for a sin offering for himself upon the mercy seat and then the blood of a goat as a sin offering for the people.
It’s all a picture of the fact that because of the blood of Jesus that was offered in the throne room of God in heaven itself, we now, with our sins forgiven, can draw near, with confidence, to the God of heaven. But there’s more…
The high priest would then lay his hands on the head of a second goat and confess the sins of all the people. That goat would then be led into the wilderness, bearing their iniquities, never to return.
That second goat is quite mysterious. The meaning in Hebrew is not obvious and even some Jewish scholars have been confused as to its meaning. The word in Hebrew is azazel – ‘azaz’ means strength, and ‘el’ means God.
Read those verses in Leviticus 16:8-9 again but use the Hebrew Azazel instead of the word scapegoat. “One lot fell for Jehovah and the other lot fell for Azazel.” Some Jewish scholars thought Azazel was a fallen angel, a demon of the desert to whom was sent the second goat. To which I say, be careful; Satan must have no part in your relationship to God. If you are in the kingdom of God, then have no part in the kingdom of darkness. “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”
And that brings us to Leviticus 17 where God makes clear to the children of Israel that they must bring their sacrifices to the Lord at the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, as sacrifices of peace offerings to Jehovah. And they shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons in the wilderness as they had done before. “You’re in the kingdom of God now,” God was saying.
I. Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve
- Israel had lived in Egypt 400 years and had become accustomed to numerous gods.No more, God was saying, serve God and God alone.No longer should they sacrifice to the goat demons “with which they played the harlot.”
- Israel wanted both; they wanted Jehovah, but they didn’t want to let go of the gods they served when they were in Egypt.
- The same is true today.Many want God on their terms; they don’t want to let go of what the world has to offer.
Mark 4:19, “The worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.”
A. Give nothing to the goat of this world
- The goat demon was a picture of all the world had to offer.The Greek god, Pan, seen as a goat, is the god of the wild; often affiliated with sex, Pan was connected to virility.
- Or the ancient Roman half goat – half man, Phaunos, a satyr, was also a symbol of fertility.
- The ancient Egyptians had their half goat – half man god of sex and fertility, the Knights of Templar had Baphomet, and Israel had the goat-demon that some thought was Azazel.
- By these, God said, Israel played the harlot.
- God redeemed them from oppression and slavery, and He gave them the land as a promise fulfilled.He was a husband to them, he said, but they were unfaithful.They wanted Jehovah and the goat demons of the desert.
- The goal of the enemy of your soul is to divert your course, to get you away from God’s purpose and mission for your life.
- When the devil tempted Jesus in the desert, he took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory…
Matthew 4:9, And the tempter said to Him, “All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.”Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan!For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
- Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world if he would abandon His mission.
- Does God have a purpose and calling on your life? What is Satan offering you to abandon your mission?Whatever the enemy offers is a mere pittance compared to the glory of God’s purpose and calling on your life.
Romans 6:21, What benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed?For the outcome of those things is death.
Illus - Esau was willing to trade his birthright for a bowl of red stew because he was famished.
B. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord
- God was calling them to be faithful to His call and purpose on their lives.
- God is the answer to what the heart is seeking and searching for.
- When Joshua made that declaration, he said, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, then choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.”
- To quote the famous American philosopher, Bob Dylan, “You’re gonna to have to serve somebody.It may be the devil, it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
- In other words, don’t be double minded.God wants you to be single hearted towards Him because what he offers is far greater.
- “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways,” the scripture says.
II. His Blood Speaks a Better Word
- Verse 11 begins with a straight-forward truth; that the life of the flesh is in the blood. As one encyclopedia put it, “Blood is the life stream of the human body.”
- In other words, “It is because of the life that is in the blood that blood makes atonement for sin.”
- Life is sacred and therefore blood is sacred.They must not eat of it.But it all points to the blood of the Son of God because His blood speaks a better word.
A. His blood speaks the word of grace
- In the book of Genesis, when Cain killed his brother Abel, God said to Cain, “What have you done?Your brother’s blood calls out to me.
Hebrews 12:24, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
- The blood of Abel spoke the words, “revenge!Justice!Retribution!”
- The blood of Jesus speaks the word of grace and mercy.…
1 Peter 1:18-19, You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
B. Blood is truly amazing
- Our hearts beat an average of 72 beats per minute, depending on who is driving the car.
- Our bodies contain an average of 1.3 gallons of blood that is pumped through our bodies so that 1500-2000 gallons is pumped through our bodies every day.
- The body can respond to any crisis the body encounters and send more white cells or platelets to the area of trouble.
Illus – When our daughter Nicole was nine, she had a terrible fever and rash on the palms of her hands and souls of her feet. They weren’t certain what it was, so they took the gamma globulin from donated blood. How powerful that was in her body!
- What a testimony of God’s creation! Its irreducible complexity speaks to the power of the creator in giving us life.
Illus – Evolutionists suggest that the worm was the first creature to have blood, but unless it was perfectly formed with the proper amount of blood platelets, the worm would have bled to death at the fist scratch.
C. Come to the altar, the place the blood was offered
- Verse 11 - “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls.”
- In other words, there is only one place where blood is effective, on the altar of God.
Illus – If they offered God a sacrifice other than at the altar it would have no power.
- The altar pointed to the cross of Calvary and only by that blood offered there by the Son of the living God can man be saved.
- For there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
- The amazing thing is not that there is only one way for men to have forgiveness of their sins; what’s amazing is that there is any way at all!
Hebrews 9:22, And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
- It was only the blood of Christ which made the Old Testament saints accepted by God…
Hebrews 9:15, For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
App – God demonstrated his love for us when Christ died in our place.
- You are justified by the blood of Christ.
- You are redeemed by His blood.
- You have been washed in his blood.
- You have been sanctified by his blood.
- You have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ.
- You have peace because of Christ’s blood.
- You have gained victory by His blood.
- You have been reconciled to God by His blood.
D. You must partake of His blood
- It is not enough to simply recognize the power of the blood of Christ, you must participate in it.
- The Passover Lamb’s blood must be applied.
Illus – My first sermon was on the bread of life. You must partake of it for it to have any effect on our life.
- The cup of communion is a picture of taking Christ’s blood into each of us. That is a powerful picture. Jesus taught this Himself as a picture of the life that comes into us from God Himself.
- We are meeting God at the cross of Calvary, and God is meeting us.We come to Him and give Him our sins so we can then give Him our hearts. He gives us His love and then He gives us His life!
Leviticus 17:5-14 NASB