COMMUNION MESSAGE – THE TRAIL OF BLOOD (PART 2)
June 21, 2009
Two weeks ago in my last communion message, we followed the trail of blood through the Old Testament, that scarlet thread which began in the garden of Eden when God killed an animal to put a covering on Adam. That is where the trail of blood began. It was in the garden the first sacrifice was made. And this first sacrifice was made by God for man. God covered Adam’s nakedness; God covered Adam’s sin. It was in the garden that God first declared that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. As the blood is the power of God unto salvation, I will continue following the trail of blood this morning by looking at a key passage about sprinkling of blood. We will be looking in Exodus 24 where the nation of Israel entered into a formal covenant relationship with Yahweh – the first blood covenant found in Scripture. I will be reading from Exodus 24 starting at verse 3:
Exodus 24: 3-8 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do."
And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.
And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against 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."
And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words."
Did you know this is the only place in the Old Testament where people are sprinkled with blood? In Levitical practice blood was sprinkled on the altar. [See Leviticus chapter 9 verses 12 and 18]. Here Moses sprinkled the blood of oxen on the Israelites as he declared, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you”. A blood covenant in the Bible carries with it a sacred obligation. Nothing then or now could be considered more serious than the shedding of blood, for it represents the giving of life itself.
When we come to the communion table this morning, this remembrance ceremony comes with a serious sacred, obligation, too. We are obligated to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin – His broken body and shed blood. We are obligated to ponder the gravity of our sin and ask forgiveness. We are obligated to ask forgiveness of others that we have offended. We are obligated to partake in a worthy manner. And we are obligated to thank the LORD for the power unto salvation of Jesus’ shed blood. Jesus’ life-blood was spilled at the cross of Calvary so our life-blood could be spared the penalty of sin. He died for sin; so we can die to sin.
In the passage we just read from Exodus 24, God elicits a promise from Israel, a promise sealed in blood. At that exchange Israel became God’s people for all time. The sprinkling of blood was a picture of what was to come much later when Christ willingly sacrificed Himself for us. In first Peter 1:2, Peter reminds us of the blood covenant we have with the Father. Peter calls us “the elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:2)
We are the blood-bought church elected and sanctified by God the Father, and we have this standing based on the sprinkling of the blood of God the Son. Here Peter reminds us the blood of Christ is clearly the price of our atonement. The atonement is the pivotal doctrine of the entire Bible. The sacrifices and the sprinkling of blood of the Old Testament were forerunners of the atoning work of Christ. Jesus’ atonement restores man to God. God is satisfied that Christ’s death met His demands for the punishment of sin. We were purchased, set free, and forgiven. God is satisfied. Why? Because of the shed blood of Christ.
Hebrews 12:24 says, “You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to
the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.” Today we will come to the communion table to symbolically sprinkle our hearts with the blood of Christ - to recommit ourselves to the spiritual bond we have with our Savior.
When Moses sprinkled the Israelites with blood, they responded in one accord with these words, “Everything the LORD has said, we will do.”
“Everything the LORD has said, I will do?” That is the wonderful promise, Israel returned to the best promise-keeper of them all – our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His one and only Son, Jesus the Christ. “Everything you say, LORD, I will do!” [Optional: “Say it with me now”]
LORD, You say to us, remember my broken body and my sacrifice of blood for your sin! We say, “We remember, LORD!”
LORD, You say to us, remember you must come into my sanctuary with a pure heart to partake of the bread and the cup. We say, “We remember, LORD!”
LORD, You say to us You are the sanctifier of Your people. You set us apart with the sprinkling of Your own blood. We say, “We remember, LORD!”
LORD, You say to us we must continually offer a sacrifice of praise to You, that the fruit of our lips give thanks to Your name. We say, “We remember, LORD!”
LORD, You say to us, remember the trail of blood which led you to this place. We say,”We remember, LORD!
In Your name we remember, Jesus, all You have done for us.
If you are a believer, born in the Spirit, you are welcome at the LORD’s table. Come, join us in this spiritual feast. But before you do, examine your heart. Let’s remember that we are not to partake unworthily. 1 Corinthians 11:27 – 29 says, “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the LORD in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the LORD. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself…” Eating or drinking in an unworthy manner has to do with divisions in the fellowship (as mentioned in verse 18). If you harbor bitterness or envy or an unkind attitude toward others, Scripture asks that you “mend your fences” before you celebrate communion. This is a holy remembrance.
Let’s pray silently. Ask God to reveal to you if there is a need for repentance before you partake. As you come silently before our LORD and God, ask Him to also reveal to you the deep and wide trail of blood leading to the cross for our sake.
AS we prepared to be served, let’s pray for the consecration of these elements: Father, we are thankful for the bread and cup. We pray that these elements will provide more than physical nourishment. Grant us the peace, unity, and spiritual nourishment this bread symbolizes. May this cup speak again of the blood Christ shed for the forgivenessof sin. Cleanse us and consecrate us again as we partake of this token meal together. We eagerly await the day we shall eat it with you in the Kingdom of Heaven. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Starting on my left, please come forward to be served the elements, please hold on to your serving until all have been served so we may partake together.
(When all are ready to partake) “The Lord Jesus on the night He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me” Let’s partake.
(When all are ready to partake of the cup) “In the same way, after supper He took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”