Jesus Shed His Blood for You

Steve Viars February 28, 2009 Hebrews 9:1-28

- Let’s begin our time by talking about the TARP program…what do you say?

- TARP – The Troubled Asset Relief Program…it was enacted last fall to address the subprime mortgage crisis…

- the program was designed to allow the US Treasury to purchase up to 700 billion dollars of mortgages, securities, obligations, or other financial instruments that the Secretary and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System determine is necessary to promote financial market stability…

- of course one caveat is that we didn’t have the 700 billion dollars sitting in our country’s checking account…so all of that would be borrowed money…

- and this is in addition to the Federal Stimulus Package of 787 billion dollars that was just recently passed…which is nearly 1.5 trillion dollars, all borrowed money…

- at the end of January, 388 billion dollars of the TARP money had been allocated, and just under 300 billion has actually been spent…so half of it is gone…

- however, the concern is that the proper oversight was not in place and therefore the 300 billion dollars did not have the desired effect…

- now, I’m not trying to discourage anyone, or just pour on more bad economic news…but since we and our children and grandchildren will be responsible for the repayment of those funds, think about how bad it would be if a major investment like that was spent, but did not have the desired effect…

- of course that is part of the concern about the new stimulus bill, isn’t it?...

- no one knows for sure if it will work…many people say we have no other choice…

- some suggest it is worth the try…

- others believe it will actually be counterproductive in the long run…

- Vice President Biden got himself in a bit of hot water when he reported a conversation between himself and the President where, according to him, they concluded that there was a 70% likelihood that it would work and a 30% likelihood that it wouldn’t…

- when the president was asked about Biden’s comment at the next news conference, he smiled and said that he had no recollection of that conversation…

- now, I’m certainly not taking a position on all of this one way or another…I pray for our elected officials and wish them the best…

- but no one knows for sure if the infusion of 1.5 trillion dollars of borrowed money into our economy, along with the steps taken by governments around the world…is actually going to work…that is a bit sobering to say the least…

- now, can I ask you to think about an even worse possibility?...

- and I realize that you might say – I was already depressed before I came to church…I don’t want any more bad news…

- I understand that – which is why the corresponding good news is that this does not have to happen…

- but what if there was even a greater investment that had been made on your behalf…and at least in your case…it was not having the desired effect?...

- would you do everything in your power to change that around?

- with that question in mind, let me invite you to open your Bible to Hebrews chapter 9…page 173 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- we’ve been working our way through the book of Hebrews verse by verse…and organizing our thoughts around the theme of Finding Hope in Our Sufficient Savior…

- the challenge was that the original audience was questioning the credentials of Jesus Christ…

- they were mostly Jewish individuals who were part of a church…

- but some of them had never truly trusted Christ as Savior and Lord…they were part of the group physically but not spiritually…

- then there were those who had genuinely believed…but now they are having second thoughts…

- they miss some aspects of worship at the temple with its priests and sacrifices and rituals…the familiarity of it all…

- others miss their friends and family…some of them have been ostracized by their loved ones because they’ve become followers of Christ and that’s never easy…

- then the persecution of the church is beginning to intensify…and that always has a way of showing who really knows the Lord and who was just along for the ride…

- so the book of Hebrews was written as a testament to the superiority of Jesus Christ…He’s better in every way….

- and that is not to suggest that what they had believed and done was wrong…it was just temporary…it pointed to something else (or in this case, someone else), and now the old system, the old covenant, the old approach was obsolete…

- it was like when my wife and I were dating…

- I was in school in northeast PA…and she was living back here in Elkhart…

- and this was before cell phones and e-mail…so communicating by phone was very expensive…so we wrote a lot of letters…and we did that for three years…which was really the way we got to know one another…

- also at some point in that process, she sent me some beautiful pictures that were framed and that I could keep on my shelves in my room…

- that too was long before taking a picture on your cell phone and printing it out on your color printer…it took some effort to have those pictures made…

- and I treasured them because they reminded me of the woman that someday I hoped to marry…

- and those winters in northeast PA could be pretty cold, and pretty lonely…and the friends I lived with in the dorm know that they could mess with about anything in my room they wanted to, but if they messed with those pictures they’d get a whack upside the head…

- and it wasn’t because the pictures themselves were so intrinsically valuable…they were just paper and ink…but it’s what the pictures represented…and what they pointed to…

- but after Kris and I were married…the pictures changed in value…because now I had the real thing…

- and I didn’t sit around on the couch holding the picture…with Kris saying, what are you doing honey -- oh, just looking at your picture…

- of course not…because now I had what the picture pointed to…it’s not that the picture was bad it just was no longer necessary…

- that is the point of this book – why would you go back?...

- doing so would confuse the picture and the real thing…

- it would show that in your heart you have not been convinced about the superiority of Christ…

- now, what does all of this have to do with anyone here?...

- Jesus Christ has made an incredible investment in every person in this room…

- it makes 1.5 trillion dollars look like monopoly money…

- but the question we all have to answer individually…and to some degree we also have to answer as a church is…is the investment having the desired effect?...because we truly are convinced in our hearts about the superiority of Christ?...

- chapter 9 is intended to help us with that, because it emphasizes the central truth that Jesus Shed His Blood for You

- read Hebrews 9:1-28

- with the time remaining, let’s look for 3 steps to be sure you are benefitting from the death of Christ.

I. Ask Two Questions about Your Approach to God.

- I understand that we are taking this material at a rather rapid pace…

- but the first 10 verses are really about 2 issues…access and effect…or separation (no access) and guilt (a bad effect)…

- so the first question you should ask about your approach to your relationship with God is…

A. Does it provide genuine access?

- when you talk to God, do you believe it’s the real thing?...

- when you have a need, will He really take your calls?...

- is it the kind of relationship where the access is immediate, and real, and warm, and even welcomed by the God of heaven at any time for any reason?...

 - many of us probably remember this delightful picture of JF Kennedy Jr. playing under his dad’s desk in the White House…the fact that he had that kind of unfettered access to the oval office is amazing…that’s an excellent picture of what we’re trying to describe here…

- is that the kind of access you experience and enjoy with the heavenly Father?...

- because part of what this chapter is explaining is that…

1. The Old Covenant didn’t. [provide that kind of access]

-  the assumption is that the reader would be basically familiar with the organization of the tabernacle…

- that’s why he says in verse 5 – but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

- but for our purposes here, please keep in mind that there were three areas that made up the tabernacle…the outer court, the holy place, and the Holy of Holies…

- [show pic of tabernacle…]

- the average person was only allowed access to the outer court…the place which contained the brazen altar and the bronze laver (or basin)

- only a specially selected priest could enter the Holy place…that contained the lampstand, and the table of showbread, and the altar of incense…

- his job was to keep the lamps trimmed, and the incense burning, and to replace the 12 loaves of showbread each Sabbath…

- that’s the point of verses 2 and 6…

- Hebrews 9:2 - For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.

Hebrews 9:6 - Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship,

- but an average person would never enter even that space…there was no access…

- but there was still a more intimate space…the Holy of Holies…separated by a heavy veil…

- only the high priest could go in there, and only once a year…the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur…

- he had to go through meticulous rituals to be sure that he had purified himself and was prepared to offer sins on behalf of the people…

- that was the day that two goats would be selected, and a “lot” was used to determine which one would be sacrificed, and which would be the Azazel…the scapegoat…

- when the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, he would find the ark of the covenant…

- that’s what verses 3-4 are about -- Hebrews 9:3-4 - Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having …the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;

- and the greatest aspect of the ark of the covenant was the top…

- Hebrews 9:5 - and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat…

- God had told Moses…

- Exodus 25:22 - There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.

- after the first goat was sacrificed, its blood would be sprinkled on the mercy seat…

- then the high priest would come out and lay his hands on the scapegoat which would then be released to return no more…

- the first goat represented the satisfaction of God’s justice…the second the satisfaction of man’s conscience…

- and all of this had to be done with careful attention to exactly what God had commanded…that is why the high priest’s garments had little bells sewed on the bottom…that allowed the people outside to listen to the high priest’s progress…their relationship to God was dependent on him taking the proper steps in the proper order…

- even if you didn’t get all of that – the point is summarized in verse 8 -- Hebrews 9:8 - The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,

- in other words, under the old covenant, there was certainly no direct and immediate access to the Father…(it was like a picture)  all of that just pointed to something that someday would be available…

- now, let’s add this…

2. Many modern day approaches don’t as well.

- many people go to church and do certain spiritual looking things, but if they were honest, they would be quick to tell you that it doesn’t have any genuine impact on their life…it doesn’t feel particularly real or intimate…not like the accessibility JFK JR. had to the oval office…not even close…

- the second question is…

B. Does it result in a clear conscience?

- you see that emphasis in verse 9 and again in verse 14…

Hebrews 9:9 - …Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,

Hebrews 9:14 - how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience…

- now let me encourage you to ask those questions personally…about your approach to God?...

- do you really have genuine access, and do you enjoy a clear conscience?...

- the clear emphasis of this chapter is…if you do, or if you want to…that’s only available through the shedding of blood…which is why we should…

II. Consider Carefully the Blood of Christ.

- the key verse in this section is verse 22…Hebrews 9:22 - …wwithout shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

- the original hearers would have certainly known that…that’s the point of verse 18…

A. Even the old covenant was inaugurated with blood – vv. 18-21

- that’s referring to Exodus 24…Exodus 24:6-8 - Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

- and I realize that some might say – I don’t like all this talk about blood…that offends my modern sensibilities…

- if that’s true, we need to get over that…fast…

- because that would reveal a basic misunderstanding of the holiness of God…

- or the belief that He will somehow grade on a curve…William Cowper was right when he wrote…

- There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins

- And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains

- Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains

- And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains…

- do you believe that this am, that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins…there is no hope of genuine access, or of a conscience that is truly clear?

- that’s why the Scripture emphasizes…

B. The church has been purchased by the blood of Christ.

Acts 20:28 - Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Romans 5:9-10 - Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.For if while 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.

Ephesians 1:7 - In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

Colossians 1:20 - and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

1 Peter 1:18-19 - knowing that 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.

- now, we’ve talked about all of that…so we could emphasize this…

C. Jesus shed His blood for a purpose.

- please look carefully again at verse 14…

- Hebrews 9:14 - how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

- here’s the point – Jesus Christ has made an incredible investment in us…(just like our country is making an incredible investment in trying to rescue the economy)…

- the question is – Is the sufficient blood of Christ having its desired effect in you?...

- as terrible as it would be if the TARP program and the Federal Stimulus plan didn’t work…and all that investment was lost…that would still pale in comparison to there being no evidence that the shed blood of Christ had cleansed your conscience from dead works to serve the living God…

- now, let’s start thinking about some points of application…

1. Let me talk to the young people here this am…

- many of you would say that you’re Christians…that you have accepted the payment of the blood of Christ for your sins and that you have made Jesus your Lord?...

- here’s my question for you – what evidence is there that the investment is having its desired effect?...

- let’s talk about your parents…or your parent (if you only have one…)

- what are the two operative words to describe the way a young person is supposed to relate to his/her parents?...(honor, and obey)…

- I dare you to go home and ask your parents if, when it comes to the areas of honoring and obeying them, you give evidence that you really know Christ…

- ask them if there is anything they have been trying to teach you that you have been stubborn about learning…

- this week there was an article in the paper about the things kids and their parents argue about…one of them had to do with household chores…

- are you serving the living God in your house?...

- ask your parents if the way you’re taking out the trash is acceptable to them?...

- is the way you’re keeping your room pleasing to them?...

- see, what does honor and obey mean?...

- and if you say – it’s my room – (my view on that is – your room belongs to your momma and daddy until you start paying for it…)…and part of honoring and obeying them means you keep the way they’ve asked you to…

- and if the blood of Christ has not impacted you in those kinds of practical ways, then in what sense has the blood of Christ cleansed you from dead works to serve Him…

2. Husband and wife---let me ask you similar questions…

- is the investment having its desired effect?...

- now, you might say – there’s a lot about the Bible I don’t know – that’s why we have FCI…[develop Brent’s e-mail]

3. I also would be remiss if I did not mention our attendance at last Sunday night’s Religious Arts festival…

4. What about the issue of becoming part of the church that Christ has purchased with His own blood?...

5. There’s also the more immediate opportunity of the church family night…

- we pack a lot into those evenings…

- baptisms, testimonies…

- I also would like to speak to you about several upcoming changes to our pastoral staff…

- but we also celebrate the Lord’s table – reminding ourselves of His death, burial, and resurrection…

III. Rejoice in What Christ’s Death has Accomplished.

A. Old Testament saints have been redeemed.

- people often ask how individuals in the OT were saved…

- the answer is – the same way people in the NT are…by faith in whatever truth God had revealed up to that time…

- but the basis of that salvation was always the finished work of Christ…

- all the OT sacrifices just looked forward to that event…

- 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.

– do you remember during the transfiguration of Christ in the gospels…Peter, James, and John were able to see Christ in His heavenly glory – and who did they see Christ talking to?...Moses and Elijah --- what would there interest be in what Christ was doing?...part of the answer to that was – their eternal salvation was dependent on Jesus shedding His precious blood…]

- that’s how verse 17 fits into this, a truth that is still in operation in many countries throughout the world…Hebrews 9:16 - For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.

B. Jesus only had to die once.

 - Hebrews 9:28 - so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video