Leviticus: Atonement for Sin
Open your Bibles if you would, to the Book of Leviticus. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus.
We're going to follow a format this morning. If you look in your outline, you'll see the themes there the overviews, chapter events. So you can kind of keep up with this sequence of Leviticus from that standpoint.
But what we're going to do this morning is first talk about holiness, and then atonement. And then we're going to talk about Jesus. And that is going to take us through the importance of Leviticus. So holiness, atonement, and Jesus.
The Canadian government recently passed Bill C-4, that is C dash 4. And in the preamble of the bill it says this,
“[the belief] that heterosexuality cisgender [that is the gender that was obvious at birth] gender identity and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth or to be preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions” is a myth. So if you believe that you are a boy, simply because you were born that way, the Canadian government just said you believe in a myth. According to Canadian law, as of January 8 2022, the belief in God's design for marriage and sexuality has now been seen as a myth. Houston, we have a problem.
Leviticus addresses this issue dead-on in chapter 18, you can turn to Leviticus 18:22 if you like. That's the only verse we're going to read out of it. I'll just summarize it for you. It's not confusing. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Now, it's a little uncomfortable to preach that, right? We're all sitting around our friends. It's like, Wow, is he really going there this morning? But listen, God calls few sins an abomination. If you read before that verse, some of the other sins that he calls an abomination would be child sacrifice, that is forcing your children to walk through the fire to sacrifice them to Molech. God considers sacrificing your child to Molech an abomination just like he considers the sin of homosexuality. It's called an abomination multiple times just in case once wasn't enough for us.
I start with this this morning, because around the country and in Canada, as well. There are hundreds of churches that are speaking out against this. Not necessarily in protest against the Canadian government. We pray for them, or our government, we pray for them. But in solidarity with one another to the words of God, to the very Word of God. You see you and I are not called to just merely the standards of mankind we're called to the standards of God. So according to Leviticus 18:21 and Leviticus 18:26, homosexuality is as bad as what the Hebrew literally says, which is forcing your children through the fire. We're not to submit to the abominations of the nations. We are to listen to Yahweh.
Leviticus 18:29-30, I guess I'm reading more than just one verse. “For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge, never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you and never to make yourselves unclean by them [Why?] I am [Yahweh] your God.” Capital L-O-R-D is Yahweh.
God has set a standard of himself, that we are to live by. Remember in the Old Testament what we've been learning is that God's desire is for you to know him. For you to know him so much that it draws your heart towards him, that it moves your heart and your mind to not waver to the whims of mankind and the culture around us. And Leviticus has this, this forceful pull? So are you going to give in? Are you going to cave? What if they put you in jail? Well a friend of mine who went to the seminary that I went to, has already been in jail in Canada once last year. For 30 days, just for preaching the gospel and having his people meet. They put two layers of fences around his church building thinking that could stop the people of God from worshipping. They threw this pastor, they threw my friend, this pastor in jail thinking that would stop the people. But what it did was it tripled the size of the church. It's like, wow, there's a church that means what they say. We love God and nothing will stop us!
Well, it's easy to get a cheer about the sins that we don't practice, often, or the sins that we never practice. But God has called us to holiness, friends. And it's, in a sense, a very straightforward thing to proclaim, and to preach on the holiness of God. But in a sense, it's, it's all consuming. It's everything that God is. How can you communicate that? So Leviticus tries to communicate just this, the separation from the common, that's what holiness means to be set apart, to be undefiled, to be unpolluted, to be pure in every aspect. That's what God is.
And in Leviticus chapter 11. If you turn there with me, this is a pivotal chapter in the book. Chapters one through seven go over different sacrifices and offerings. And then in eight and nine, it goes over priestly ordinances, how the priests are to go about doing things. Chapter Eight is an ordination passage for Aaron, who is a Levite. We learned that from Exodus. So Aaron’s sons are all Levites. But only some of the Levites are ordained as priests. So that's a little confusing, but only some of his sons are ordained as priests. The rest of his family group, the rest of the Levites share in the responsibility of setting up the tabernacle and doing everything to assist the Levites [i.e. priests] with the work of the priesthood.
So Leviticus 11:44, if you look there with me, this is the standard for all of Leviticus. “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You should not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.” All of you who hate camping love that. [Leviticus 11:45] “For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Notice verse 44, “I am Yahweh,” he's describing himself. “Consecrate yourself,” consecrate means to set yourself apart from the common. God is going to explain in many ways in Leviticus what is clean and unclean according to his standard, what is common and what is holy. You will find that the vessels are holy, you'll find that the priestly clothes are holy. Right, you will find that the altar is holy, you'll find that even parts of the tabernacle itself are holy. Right? So in Genesis to bring you up to speed, we saw God as Creator, He created mankind. Adam and Eve fell into sin. And then it's like what do we do now? He does the restart with Noah. And then we get to Abraham, and he promises Abraham in chapter 12 of Genesis, that I'm going to make a covenant with you and you're going to be my people.
So then we find in Exodus, they've been in slavery for 400 years, he brings them out of Egyptian bondage, separating them from what? From the gods of Egypt. Separating them from the people of Egypt, right? That separation, the consecration, separating from what is clean and unclean. Right? The Egyptians even thought the Israelites were unclean. That's why they made them go live in the land of Goshen. So this idea of consecration, consecrate yourselves therefore, was not foreign to their ears. It was something that they had thought about for generations and hundreds and hundreds of years already. And when it says, “don't defile yourselves with swarming things,” there's lots of things that they could defile themselves with. If you read through the first seven chapters, then they will review some more of those things. After chapter 11, all the way up to 16.
God is holy, he is free from the profane, free from defilement, free from pollution. See, God wants us to understand what he requires. So 92 times in Leviticus, he mentions the word “holy,” and describes things that are “holy.” So if you're having trouble with that abstract concept, getting through the 27 chapters of Leviticus will nail it down. He wants us to know who he is. So 311 times in Leviticus, that's one out of three verses on average. He uses his name Yahweh, I am Yahweh, therefore do this. I am Yahweh, therefore do that. I am Yahweh. I am holy. He describes himself over and over and over again, if you want to know about the holiness of God, who he is and what he requires, you need to know Leviticus.
But as we started earlier, were sinful. Genesis 6:5, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” So that’s why he did the restart. So yeah, but that generation’s gone. Well, Leviticus 17:7, says that the people were even to this day, sacrificing “to goat demons.” Like, what are they doing? You've got a holy God, there he is. He's descending on the tabernacle, right? Right now they're in the wilderness. They've had all these experiences in Exodus on Mount Sinai and getting the Ten Commandments and, you know, kind of going back and forth, you worship Me and Me alone. And, and now here in Leviticus, it's, they're moving from Mount Sinai, and they're at the foot of Mount Sinai. They're in the tabernacle. And they're worshipping in the place of the tabernacle, and they're trying to figure out how do we worship this God who sets mountains on fire? And so he gives them all of these ways to, to live with a holy God. So they had a huge problem. Right? They needed forgiveness. They needed atonement. Right?
So you've got the concept of holiness down and now we're going to move on to talking about atonement. What is this atonement that is so important? And turn to chapter 16, if you would, of Leviticus. It describes this atonement and what it is and what Aaron who was the high priest at the time had to go through once a year. The Day of Atonement is Yom Kippur. Yom meaning day in Hebrew, right, it's always denoted as a qualification of a 24 hour period of time. Over 2,000 times in the Old Testament, it means that. Kippur in verb form means atonement. It also in noun form means mercy. So the mercy seat over the Ark of the Covenant, that was an Atonement Cover. So as we talk about forgiveness and atonement, making atonement making a sacrifice for sin, that people were kind of wondering how do we go about doing this? So he spelled that out for them very explicitly, and I want us to take maybe the next 10 or 12 minutes and just think through what Aaron had to do in order to provide atonement for the people.
Okay, so here's what he needed. He needed a bowl, two male goats, and a ram. Okay, so that's, that's the start. I think you're going to love the forgiveness that we have more and more as we go through chapter 16. Upon entering the holy place, he washes, he sets his clothes aside, he washes and he puts on new clothes. He's not even allowed to wear his normal priestly garments, which were specific, into the holy place. And then even behind the veil, the holy of holies, not allowed even wear them in there. They're so unclean. If that gives you a picture about the separation that God’s going to talk about.
Leviticus 16:6, looked down there, if you would. “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house.” Right. So that's going to take care of the problem of an unholy priest trying to make the people holy, right? So he's first got to consecrate the priests. Remember that Jesus is called our what? Our Great High Priest. That's why Jesus had to be holy to make any atonement for sin. He had to be perfect. Alright, so here, Aaron is going to start to do something which he's going to have to repeat year after year. So he takes incense and he burns it on the altar inside the veil, that is a reference to the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could go in there, and only once a year. Okay.
So look at Leviticus 16:12-13. “And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil [the Holy of Holies] and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die.” Okay, Jesus is going to provide us a complete way in the future but right now, if he missed a step, it was game over. Okay. So he had to pay attention. There wasn't, “Oh, sorry, God I’m distracted.” Okay, you only get to do that once. All right, so he's talking here about what God requires completely so that he does not die. The mercy seat was the cover for the Ark of the Covenant.
In verse 13, that he “may cover the mercy seat,” that's the cover for the Ark of the Covenant, right? It's the box that they made and inside were the testimonies. What are the testimonies? It says there in verse 13, “cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony.” That's the Ten Commandments that are inside the covenant, inside the Ark of the Covenant. And Aaron’s staff will be in there as well. Mercy, as I said, is the same root word for atonement. The name of the Ark of the Covenant reminds them of the purpose of the Ark of the Covenant. Notice this is done, so that he does not die.
Leviticus 16:15, after doing that, “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people….” So he's made atonement for himself, for his family. Now he's got to make atonement for the people and bring it, bring the “blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.” [Lev. 16:15] So, after he sacrifices the bull, he brings some blood in and he’s sprinkling it on this Ark. On one specific side of it, you can look in the verses and see which side. It’s the east side, and in front of it, very specific. So he made atonement for the people. Leviticus 16:16, “Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleanness.” So the holy place itself had to be cleansed because the people were sinful. So how do a people who make atonement and then sin, what do they do then? Well, they've got to wait a whole year before this full atonement is made again.
And then in chapters one through seven, they're allowed to bring peace offerings and thank offerings and burnt offerings. Atonement means to appease, cover, or pardon. It means to forgive. And it also has the idea of ransom in a general sense, that is to offer something to avoid a negative consequence. That's what a ransom is. You give me this, I won't give you this punishment, right? So it has this idea of an exchange. This was a temporary measure, which had to be offered over and over again and atonement, the word is used 51 times in Leviticus. I wonder how long it took people too long for a permanent solution? I bet it didn't take Aaron and his sons who are consecrated as priests very long. He's dipping his fingers in blood and sprinkling it on the altar seven times, right? I mean, it's probably long, you just watch me that's only five times six times right? Seven. We are a very, we want it now people, just give me the goods. But this is a cleansing process. So far, Aaron has made atonement for himself, his family, and the people of Israel, the Holy Place and the Tent of Meeting.
He next, in Leviticus 16:18-19, makes atonement for the altar itself, because of the uncleanness of the people of Israel. And now remember what we needed at the start? The bull, and the goats, and the ram? Well, at this point, there's only one goat left. And he's probably getting a little nervous, because his other buddies have not come back yet. But this is what we call, maybe, the scapegoat. Look in Leviticus 16:21. And this is what they would do with each sacrifice, whether it was the day of atonement or any other sacrifice. This is how they would go about transferring in God's way the iniquity of the people to an animal, even though the animal had different blood, it still had life in its blood. So it was only a temporary sacrifice. So verse 21 [Exodus 16:21], “And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel and all their transgressions,” I mean, that must have taken a while, and “all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat, and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness.” That is, they picked some guy who is going to take the goat out of the camp and send it away.
Verse 22 [Leviticus 16:22], “The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.” The scapegoat to Azazel [Leviticus 16:26], it's a sending of the goat into the wilderness, if you would, kind of releasing the sin of the people from the community and sending it out of the community.
Aaron then washes his clothes, he changes into the other clothes that he had changed out of at first. So now he's back in his normal priestly clothes. He finishes off the rest of the burn offerings, right? He only dealt with the blood. So they're still like, these dead animals outside on the altar. They're still being consumed. This is outside the Holy of Holies. The holy place that's the tent and outside, there's a big altar. Okay, there's this burning fire going up constantly. And so what do we do with them? Well, he finishes burning them. And that's verses 23 to 24. And then the man who let the scapegoat go even has to wash and change his clothes before coming back into the camp. And then whatever's left of the bowl and goat at that point, these sacrifices they're taken off the altar and taken outside the camp.
Now if you've recently read Hebrews 9 and 10, all of this is firing hundreds of connections with Christ, even “outside the camp.” But we'll get to that in a little bit. So all of the details, even in in chapter 23, which we can’t get to today, is a summary of all their feasts and a summary of everything they had to do. And each one of those can be related to Christ fulfilling all of those sacrifices, every single one. It's incredible! But there's no time to get to that today. So you're going to have to read through chapter 23, and try and tie those off yourself.
So Leviticus 16:30 and v.34, summarizes what's just happened, and this huge ritual that Aaron, the high priest had to go through. Leviticus 16:30, “For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you.” Listen to this, and “You shall be clean before the LORD from all your sins.” Leviticus 16:34, “‘And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.’ And Aaron did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
That's quite a day. It's still observed in Israel. Only problem is, there's no more temple. The Tabernacle that they use was a tent. Right? Remember, they built a permanent temple later, and that was permanently destroyed in A.D. 70. So though the people of Israel today still celebrate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and they remember these things, there is no way to make a sacrifice. You can't just sacrifice anywhere you want. You have to do it according to God's Word and Law, or what? You die! So if you wonder why they're not sacrificing, it’s because they don't want to die. There's no temple, and they're too scared to make the temple because of what the nations around them are saying, right? This has gone on for thousands of years.
So who would do all these sacrifices? As we said, that was Aaron and his sons. And you look you can look at their setting apart, their being ordained before all the people in chapter eight. You can look at that on your own and see the direct things that God did, the things that he commanded, it took seven days, I thought my ordination process was long, where twelve pastors had to review and examine me over a three hour period. And we invited those of the church at the time, this was back in 2014, to come and watch my examination. And the only book that I had to know was just the Bible. And any verse was fair game, they could ask me what any verse meant. They could ask me what any theme was. And some of them were pretty scary, knowledgeable. They had Ph.D.’s and things I'd never even heard of. Thankfully, not all of them. But they were all ordained. And they were all pastors and shepherds, who had watched my life in various forms, and examined me and set me apart to the work of the ministry. It's a serious calling. And I think today, one of the applications for us is that there's so many people who take the work of the ministry so lightly, and then their people take the work of the ministry so lightly, that we have churches crumbling, just because someone says, “you can't go to a building today.”
That destroys the church. The church is the gathering of the people, the body. And yes, you could even make the argument that the place where we come has significance that other buildings don't, right? This place is set aside for worship. That's why we don't watch the Super Bowl here. Right? We don't have Super Bowl parties, because this is where we worship God. We do those at your houses, right? You worship God at your house, too. But this one set apart solely for that purpose. Everything we do here, the children right now are hearing the Gospel. Right. Their teachers know the Gospel, they're sharing the Gospel. In the nursery, right. they're treating them with the character of Christ to show them the Gospel. Everything we do is about that. So the people knew that Aaron and his sons were set apart for the work of the ministry.
And in their ordination, Leviticus 8:35, God said [loose paraphrase], “follow all I command, so you won't die.” If I didn't do well on my ordination, I just failed. If Aaron and his sons didn't do well in their ordination, they died. Right? God takes sin seriously. You can't read Leviticus and get any other conclusion. There were two of his sons who didn't believe that. There's always people who read all this, [and their like] “You know, you're always focusing on sin and you're always focusing on God's judgment. And can we just talk about, you know, group hug and love and all that stuff?” And yeah, you obey me, because what? Because you love me, love drives obedience, right?
But Nadab and Abihu in chapter 10, they thought all this was kind of silly. Like, look, we're set apart. We're priests. Even the other parts of our family, they're not priests, we’re priests. We can do what we want. So they just brought in some kind of unauthorized fire. Another way of translating “unauthorized” is “strange fire.” You may have heard of a “Strange Fire Conference”, right, which goes over all the ways that we've misused Scripture and the miraculous. But the death of Nadab and Abihu are for any of us who are tempted to think this is overbearing. Fire came out of what they offered and consumed them, they then became the burnt offering and had to be taken up and taken outside the camp to where that which was unclean was left.
So Nadab and Abihu in chapter 10 got the point. So we're left with, is there anything permanent? What’s gonna change my heart, God? You've already asked me in Exodus to give freewill offerings from anyone whose heart moves him. Right? Around Exodus 25, is where they make that plea to the people to build the temple. The New Covenant says, or sorry, the New Testament says this Old Covenant is flawed. Said it had to be repeated in Leviticus 16:34, year after year. So you know, it wasn't permanent at all. Right? Something that has to be repeated was only a temporary measure of appeasement; because if God's wrath is set aside permanently, then whatever set it aside only has to be done once. So what's the only thing that has ever set aside God's wrath permanently and completely? It's Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 53 is the most iconic and well known place where it talks about what we need in this regard, that there's going to be one who was given who is pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities. You can only crush someone and pierce someone once. Right. It speaks of a singular sacrifice that would be sufficient to take care of iniquities, you can't kill someone over and over again, right? They needed new bulls and goats, and they probably all ran when they saw Aaron and his sons coming.
So we turn to the sweet offering made by Jesus Christ. And this is the third topic we're going to cover here. It's Jesus and the permanent forgiveness that he offers in the New Testament. See, the law could never make anyone perfect. So that’s why they had to do it over and over again.
And you could do the law without having your heart in it. You could follow every single command to the Day of Atonement, and still your heart could not be in it. I'm just going through the motions. I know we can all identify with that, just going through the motions.
Psalm 51:15-17 says, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Hosea 6:6, I think talks about the same idea. God's not interested in these, these vain sacrifices anymore. Their hearts were cold. And you could see that it's over and over again with the Israelites even seeing all the great wonders of God bringing them out of the land of Egypt and conquering all of the ten gods and here they are in the wilderness. They've seen Mount Sinai, they've heard the thunder and the rumblings of God and they're just scared of his voice. And they've seen the power of Moses, asking God to provide quail and water out of a rock. And it's like, every time we needed water, it's like, wow, there's a rock there. Alright, and Paul later says that rock was the Christ. They've seen all these things, and still, they're sacrificing to goat demons? They needed something permanent and they needed a heart change. They needed a heart change.
Remember what we started the sermon with, about the laws in Canada? Well, here comes the good news. God has given the homosexual, the adulterer, the liar, the thief, the murderer, the gossip, the prideful, the arrogant, the sensual, the angry, the self-centered, the self-righteous person… and the list could go on. He's given those people a way to have all their sins forgiven in Jesus Christ. Right? “And such were some of you.” [1 Corinthians 6:11]
Praise God for Jesus! How does this tie in? Turn with me if you would to Hebrews 9:1. Listen to the sweet words of forgiveness found in Hebrews.
This relates specifically to what we've been talking about. Hebrews 9:1, and following, “Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship [right? That's Leviticus 1-7] and an earthly place of holiness. [Right? That's the tabernacle. That's the 10 of meeting. There was a temporary tenant meeting then a permanent tent of meeting once the tabernacle was finished. Right?] For a tent was prepared, [in verse two] the first section, in which there were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain [that is the veil] was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” Remember Aaron’s staff that budded was [when] the people were rebelling. They said, “Look, we're holy just like you. God brought us out of Egypt just like you. So we don't need to listen to you anymore. So guess what? We're not going to. And Moses said, “wait a minute, all of your leaders get a staff.” And they all mark their staff. And they said, “whichever staff buds, he is the Lord's chosen, the Lord's anointed.” And guess whose staff budded? Aaron’s. It even produced almonds, pretty good, in the wilderness. So there was no question that God had chosen these people and to remind them of that they took that staff that budded and put it in the Ark of the Covenant. Okay, so that's what it’s talking about here in verse four. So that's the setting and the context of chapter nine.
Look in verse 12 [Hebrews 9:12]. This is where Jesus brings eternal redemption, “he [i.e., Jesus] entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
He took care of the repetition of sacrifices too. Look in verse 25 [Hebrews 9:25], “Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own.” See the Scriptures even clarify this distinction. You're bringing blood of bulls and goats, did you really think I thought that was as valuable as a human life? Verse 26 [Hebrews 9:26-27], “for then he would have had to suffered repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages [why?] to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Friends, Jesus Christ is your only way to find eternal redemption. Eternal redemption has to do with the change of the heart. It has to, you know the verses that talk about getting a new nature, but think beyond that for just a second. If there's one sacrifice that makes one change, then you have to change too. And though you and I aren't perfect and glorified yet, we're still at that point where we have been changed and we no longer need to make these sacrifices.
That's why we sing about things like blood that everyone finds weird. Right? You guys are weird. You're singing about blood all the time. Yeah, that's because we know what it's done for us. And it's not just anyone's blood, it's the blood of the perfect willing Sacrifice. Friends, some of us at times, carry around so much burden, so much guilt. It's moving for me to sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy” because I know how “unholy, unholy, unholy,” I am. And the more unholy you know that you are, the more you desire that sweet sacrifice from Jesus. And if you think you're righteous and good and fine and I'll just kind of skim this, do the CliffsNotes, then that's Nadab and Abihu’s method. Right? That's the Pharisees method. That's the, “all roads lead to God,” method. That's not the, “I am method,” where God identifies exactly who he is.
Look in Hebrews 13:11, if you would with me. You say, “there's one sacrifice, but what about my continued sin?” Hebrews 13:11-12, “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.”
Remember all those rules and regulations about what's holy, didn't read many of them. But how Aaron, even on the Day of Atonement, had to what? He had to make atonement for the altar. He had to make atonement and for the holy place itself. He had to make atonement for himself and his family. All these things had to be cleansed by what? With blood. That sanctifies. Sanctifies means to set apart, right? For the holy will of God. You have been sanctified.
All those things, those sinful things, that pull at you. You no longer have to obey, because of Christ. Those sins that you might have to give over to God, over and over and over again. Like Satan just keeps going, “Yeah, but you remember, you remember what you did. You remember how you lived, what you thought, what you're even thinking right now.” But friends, we don't need another sacrifice. When we take communion. We rejoice in what God has finished. Not like the Catholics who call Jesus down into the sacrifice, every single time. No, we don't sacrifice him over and over again, it's finished. That's not who you are. That's who you were.
So, what do we do now? What do we do now? Now that all that has been done for in the Old Testament? And it says the prophets looked ahead. Right? They looked ahead to the time of Christ, Hebrews 11 talks about that. But what do you and I do now? We don't have to make any more sacrifices. I don't even know how I would kill a bull. Maybe you do. I can run over squirrels with a car that's about as good as it gets. I don't know how to do those things. You know, I like to burn stuff, but it normally just turns to ashes. Did you see how sweet it is that we have forgiveness in Christ? We don't hear this lowing this, the sound of the animals heading towards, you know the church every Sunday. You guys bringing your trailers and stuff with your sacrifices. Praise God, we don't have to do that anymore.
And Jesus was tortured for us. He did so much. And Hebrews 10:19 tells us what we need to do. Look there if you would. And I encourage you to read back through Hebrews. Earlier it talks about Jesus being the Great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, which is the eternal priest, with no origin in the Old Testament.
Hebrews 10:19, “Therefore,” Right? Therefore, now what well, therefore, thank you God for telling me what I need to do now… “since we have confidence to enter the holy places.” Not the ones made with human hands, but the eternal, perfect ones, “to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus.” Verse 20 [Hebrews 10:20], “by the new and living way,” there's a new way to do things. There's a “new way,” “a living way,” nothing else has to die… “that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.” In verse 21 [Hebrews 10:21], “and since we have a great high priest over the house of God,” he's over everything, “over the house of God.”
Verse 22, here's what we do, [Hebrews 10:22] “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Remember Aaron, year after year after year, he's got to consecrate himself, his clothes, everything, but we have been washed with pure water. We’re sprinkled clean, our hearts are sprinkled clean, our nature's changed, your heart is not the same. Stop bearing the guilt of the old heart, it's gone. If you've confessed with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. Unlike the trite sayings today, you don't trust in a prayer. I've heard that so many times this week on the radio trust in the prayer that you're right with God, no trust in God that you're right with God.
Let us draw near. Friends, are you close to God? Are you close to God? Have you drawn the line and said, “God, I'm not coming past this point.” There’s that fun saying, you know, “if you're not close to God, guess who moved,” right? Our hearts our clean, our conscience is clean, our bodies are washed. Everything about you is acceptable to God if you know Jesus Christ, if you have his shed blood on your behalf, you are completely right with God.
Verse 23 [Hebrews 10:23], the conclusion, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Father God, we need you to do this in us. Lord God for those who might be here who don't know you. Lord, I pray that you would save them. If you don't know Jesus Christ, just cry out to him, and ask him for forgiveness. Confess your sin and ask him to make you clean. And he will. Right now. For those of you who know Jesus Christ, let's take a moment to pray. Just give your burdens to Jesus Christ and ask him to give you the unwavering confidence in Christ.
Lord God, we ask that you would lift those burdens of sin from us. Help us to do your will Lord, from a heart that's been changed. Thank you that you've made a way for us to worship you, Lord God, a holy and righteous God, through the forgiveness that we have in Jesus Christ. In your precious name, Amen!
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