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Topical - Blood of Jesus(b)

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Nothing ---

October 3, 2004   Topical-(repeated and revised from 12/6/98)


Scripture Reading:


On this communion Sunday morning, I am going to give you a break.

I am going to preach about “Nothing ---.”

If you ever wanted to hear a message about nothing, this is it.

But for those of you who think you will get to go home early, I don’t want to mislead you – even nothing can sometimes be something.

For those of you who came to hear a message, I don’t want you to feel cheated – because nothing can sometimes even be better than something.

So what is this ‘nothing’ that might be something about which I am going to preach – by the grace of God?

A few years ago I had a conversation in the car with our granddaughter, Crystal.

Crystal:  “Where does God live?”

Grandpa:  “God lives in heaven.”

Crystal:  “Why is God in heaven?”

Grandpa:  “Because that is where His throne is. Do you know what God’s throne represents?”

Answers:  “Riches, rule, authority, Jesus, light, truth ---”

Crystal:  “I know what it represents; power, absolute, almighty power!”

Grandpa:  “You’ve given the best answer, Crystal.  God’s throne represents ultimate power.  And do you know what is under God’s feet, underneath His throne, what it sits on?  It sits upon a sea of crystal (Rev. 4:6).  Your name is ‘Crystal’. Your life is under God’s power forever.  Do you want God’s power to rule your life?”

Crystal:  “Yes, Grandpa. I like God’s power.”

It was just after that when I turned on the car radio to a Christian station and heard a rendition of “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” by Chris Rice when it occurred to me. Nothing portrays the power of God quite like the blood of Jesus.

Of course, we can see the power of God in the world he created. But Elijah discovered that was not really where God could best be understood.

“There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"” (1Ki 19:9-13 NivUS)

If we would not have God pass us by, we must discover how he reveals himself in the more subtle yet profound ways.

The blood of Jesus doesn’t impose upon us to be heard or understood.

You must be washed in it to know that

·        it heals and forgives,

·        it gives eternal life and makes all things new,

·        it gives us heart and soul and purpose and power,

·        it is the power of the love of God.

But it is only for those who hear the gentle whisper. And that is the essence of power. It walks softly but carries a big stick. True power is confident in itself. It need not be preposterous or excessive.

So it is with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead; subtle in that it requires the observation of faith to accept it; profound in that it had never happened before. It is the most powerful way that God has chosen to reveal himself to mankind.

“and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” (Eph 1:19-20 NivUS)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s power working in us. But it goes back to the righteousness of his death that makes resurrection possible.

“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” (Ro 5:18 NivUS)

It was his righteous blood, spilled on the ground in holy sacrifice for all mankind for the forgiveness of sins that defines our justification. His blood was acceptable to God.

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,” (Heb 13:20 NivUS)

There is power in the blood of Jesus, for it is his blood that met the requirements of the eternal covenant to raise him from death and cleanses us from sin and makes our own resurrection possible, even as it made his possible. This truth goes back a long way.

Le 17:11  For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.

This is why Jesus came to earth.  He came born of the water and the blood (1John 5:6) in the power of the Spirit, born of a virgin at Christmas, that he might shed his blood in death and be raised by the power of the Spirit at Easter.

But it is the power of his blood that is effective for us, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins (Heb. 9:22).

As the song says, “There’s Power in the Blood of the Lamb - Jesus” (#191, hymnal).  Or, as in the hymn that I heard on the radio right after my conversation with Crystal, “Nothing but the Blood - of Jesus” (#195, hymnal).

You see, we all have what we might call spiritual AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. 

A person with AIDS ultimately has no bodily defense against any kind of disease or infection. 

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The spiritual disease with which we have been infected is sin. 

With spiritual AIDS, we have no immunity to greater sin or to the wrath of God over sin. 

We have all been infected genetically from the seed of Adam (Rom. 5:12). 

Every generation adds to this infection by the choices they make. 

We are without cure in our own strength or resources. 

The Bible also tells us that the wages of sin is death.  Death is the penalty for sin. 

It is a blessing from God that we are not allowed to continue in our sin. 

The word ‘wages’ is quite descriptive.  It means we have earned the death penalty. 

Sin is not only acquired, it is chosen.  If we would have been Adam or Eve, we would have sinned the same as they did.

The blood of Jesus is the only AIDS free (sin free) supply in the world.  We must go to him for a transfusion by faith. 

The Hebrew word for blood is mentioned 361 times in the O.T. The occurrences are roughly divided into usage either in reference to shedding of blood as in war or murder (2/3’s), or in reference to shedding of blood as in a death sacrifice to God (1/3). 

In this latter use, blood symbolizes life offered up in death since blood is the source of life, that is, the means by which life is perpetuated.  To remove the blood is to terminate life. 

Before the sacrifice of an animal could be made to God, it must have all its blood drained and disposed of either on the altar, the ground, or elsewhere. 

Atonement for sins was made by the sacrifice of the life of animals as a substitution for one’s own life. The shedding of blood was the most important element in the expiation of sin. 

The primary teaching of the O.T. about the blood is its role in the forgiveness of sins. God promises atonement for sin and cleansing by the blood of a guiltless substitute. 

How logical it is then for the N.T. to take this concept to its fullest fulfillment and extension.  We are reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and we shall be saved by his life (Rom. 5:10).

          The Greek word for blood is used 99 times in the N.T.  The blood of Christ is supremely significant in the N.T. (1Cor. 10:16; Eph. 2:13) - not his material blood, but its sacrificial shedding in violent death.

1Co 10:16  Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

This guarantees the new order (1Cor. 11:25). 

1Co 11:25  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."

This order includes the forgiveness of sin (Rom. 3:25; Col. 1:20; Eph. 1:7). 

Ro 3:25  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--

Col 1:20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Eph 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

Both legal and sacrificial images are used in this connection.  Christ’s self-offering is expressed by the idea of his sacrificial blood.  Hebrews compares this blood with that of animals (9:12), but the effect of Christ’s blood is ethical (9:14). 

Heb 9:12  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Heb 9:14  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Fellowship with Christ’s blood in the eucharist [celebration of communion] (1Cor. 10:16) means union with him who died for us. 

As you can see, the blood of Jesus Christ is not “nothing”; it is that there is nothing” that can compare with it. 

It is the most valuable commodity of life - spiritual life, eternal life. 

It cannot be sold or bought, only given and received; even as it was not taken by man, but given freely by Christ on our behalf. 

Are those who refuse it afraid of being obligated to God?  Do they see some other remedy for sin?  They will certainly see that there is nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

It represents almighty power to heal from our genetically deep sin-sick disease that is otherwise incurable. 

As long as you are alive you have a choice to make and to keep.  But it is a one-sided choice because there is nothing but the blood of Jesus.

1.       Nothing can wash away my sin – but the blood of Jesus. 

          The blood of Jesus is a cleanser.

Heb 9:22  In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Everyone is familiar with Murphy's Law, "If anything can go wrong, it will." That has spawned a whole set of such tongue-in-cheek laws. One of them is O'Reilly's Law of the Kitchen: "Cleanliness is next to impossible." We've all heard that cleanliness is next to godliness, but doesn't it sometimes seem that cleanliness is truly next to impossible? Spiritual cleanliness is only possible through the grace of God, by the blood of Christ.

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).


As John Wesley rode across Hounslow Heath late one night, singing a favorite hymn, he was startled by a fierce voice shouting, "Halt," while a firm hand seized the horse's bridle. Then the man demanded, "Your money or your life."

   Wesley obediently emptied his pockets of the few coins they contained and invited the robber to examine his saddlebags which were filled with books. Disappointed at the result, the robber was turning away when evangelist cried, "Stop! I have something more to give you."

   The robber, wondering at this strange call, turned back. Then Wesley, bending down toward him, said in solemn tones, "My friend, you may live to regret this sort of a life in which you are engaged. If you ever do, I beseech you to remember this, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin."' The robber hurried silently away, and the man of God rode along, praying in his heart that the word spoken might be fixed in the robber's conscience.

   Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service with the people streaming from the large building, many lingered around the doors to see the aged preacher, John Wesley.

   A stranger stepped forward and earnestly begged to speak with Mr. Wesley. What a surprise to find that this was the robber of Hounslow Heath, now a well-to-do tradesman in the city, but better still, a child of God! The words spoken that night long ago had been used of God in his conversion.

   Raising the hand of John Wesley to his lips, he affectionately kissed it and said in tones of deep emotion, "To you, dear sir, I owe it all."

   Wesley replied softly, "Nay, nay, my friend, not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ which cleanseth us from all sin."

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 50.


We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. I have heard others, and I have heard myself, recounting cruelties and falsehoods committed in boyhood as if they were no concern of the present speaker's, and even with laughter. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. The guilt is washed out not by time but by repentance and the blood of Christ.

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)


The Bible says that God himself accepted the responsibility for sin; the cross is the proof that he did. It cost Jesus Christ to the last drop of blood to deal with the vast evil of the world.

   Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

If I had the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of John, the meekness of Moses, the strength of Samson, the obedience of Abraham, the compassion of Joseph, the tears of Jeremiah, the poetic skill of David, the prophetic voice of Elijah, the courage of Daniel, the greatness of John the Baptist, the endurance and love of Paul, I would still need redemption through Christ's blood, the forgiveness of sin.

   R. L. Wheeler

2.       Nothing can make the devil run – like the blood of Jesus.

          The blood of Jesus is a repellent

Heb 2:14 ¶ Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-- that is, the devil--

Martin Luther had a dream in which he stood on the day of judgment before God Himself--and Satan was there to accuse him. When Satan opened his books full of accusations, he pointed to transgression after transgression of which Luther was guilty. As the proceedings went on, Luther's heart sunk in despair. Then he remembered the cross of Christ--and turning upon Satan, he said, "There is one entry which you have not made, Satan."

   The Devil retorted, "What is that?"

   And Luther answered, "It is this--the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sins."

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 67-68.

3.       Nothing can bring me peace with God – but the blood of Jesus.

          The blood of Jesus is a protectant.

Col 1:20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Ro 5:1 ¶ Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ro 5:9  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!

Exodus 4:24-26; Zipporah (Gal. 5:11)

Exodus 12; blood on the doorposts.

When I was 5 years old, before factory-installed seat belts and automobile air bags, my family was driving home at night on a two-lane country road. I was sitting on my mother's lap when another car, driven by a drunk driver, swerved into our lane and hit us head-on. I don't have any memory of the collision. I do recall the fear and confusion I felt as I saw myself literally covered with blood from head to toe.

   Then I learned that the blood wasn't mine at all, but my mother's. In that split second when the two headlights glared into her eyes, she instinctively pulled me closer to her chest and curled her body around mine. It was her body that slammed against the dashboard, her head that shattered the windshield. She took the impact of the collision so that I wouldn't have to. It took extensive surgery for my mother to recover from her injuries.

   In a similar, but infinitely more significant way, Jesus Christ took the impact for our sin, and his blood now permanently covers our lives.

   -- Jeffrey Ebert in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.

4.       Nothing can lead me to the throne of God – but the blood of Jesus.

          The blood of Jesus is an attractant.

Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

Heb 10:19 ¶ Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,

How it must have startled those early Jewish Christians to read in the letter to the Hebrews, "Let us draw near." Their whole Jewish tradition said just the opposite: "Stand back!" The architecture of their temple said it with an outer court for the Gentiles, an inner court for the women, and an inmost court for the men. After that came the temple proper, which only the priests could enter. The whole message of that architecture was "Stand back!" There were ranks of people to match the temple's architecture--a high priest, and then lesser priests, then the men, then the women, and finally the Gentiles. There were rituals to match the ranks. Burnt offerings were offered at an open-air altar in sight of all. The altar of incense was inside the temple, seen only by the high priests and seen only dimly by them, in a shadowy room lit by seven candles. Shed blood was offered for the sins of the people in the inmost room, shrouded in complete and perpetual darkness. All was calculated to say, "Stand back!" Against this background, the letter to the Hebrews offers us a blessed assurance: "Let us draw near to God, with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:22).

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

5.       Nothing can make God’s people one – but the blood of Jesus.

          The blood of Jesus is a solvent.

1Jo 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, he unites us body, soul, and spirit with God until we are one with God even as Jesus was. This is the meaning of the Atonement—at-one-ment with God.

   Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

6.       Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

The blood of Jesus is a miracle of the power of God.

Covered by the blood of Jesus, you will never be dirty, evil, unaccepted, rejected or lonely.  Instead you are clean, righteous, loved, uplifted and increased. 

This is the victory of Christ over sin.  This is why he came.  This is why he died.  This is what we celebrate today.  It is effective.  It is permanent.  It is glorious.  It is yours by faith in nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

If Paul could say in Php. 3:13-14, ‘This one thing I do,” meaning forgetting the sins of the past, it is because it was, “This one thing I believed,” having faith in the sufficiency of the blood of Christ to cover, nay obliterate, those sins because God chooses not to remember them anymore.  The blood of Christ has washed them white as snow.

Php. 3:13  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The blood of Christ may seem to be a grim, repulsive subject to those who do not realize its true significance, but to those who have accepted his redemption and have been set free from sin's chains, the blood of Christ is precious.

   Billy Graham (1918– )

It was in 1937, Dennis Hensley tells us, when this true story took place. For the first time, he brought his 8-year-old son, Greg Griffith, to work with him to see what Daddy did all day. The little boy was wide-eyed with excitement, and he clapped his hands with glee when the huge bridge went up at the beck and call of his mighty father. He watched with wonderment as the huge boats steamed down the Mississippi.

   Twelve o'clock came, and his father put up the bridge. There were no trains due for a good while, and they went out a couple of hundred feet on a catwalk out over the river to an observation deck. They sat down, opened their brown bag, and began to eat their lunch. His father told him about some of the strange, faraway lands that some of these ships were going to visit. This entranced the boy.

   The time whirled by, and suddenly they were drawn instantly back to reality by the shrieking of a distant train whistle. John Griffith quickly looked at his watch. He saw that it was time for the 1:07, the Memphis Express, with 400 passengers, which would be rushing across that bridge in just a couple of minutes. He knew he had just enough time, so without panic but with alacrity he told his son to stay where he was.

   He leaped to his feet, jumped to the catwalk, ran back, climbed the ladder to the control room, went in, put his hand on the huge lever that controlled the bridge, looked up the river and down to see if any boats were coming, as was his custom, and then looked down to see if there were any beneath the bridge. And suddenly he saw a sight that froze his blood and caused his heart to leap into his throat. His boy! His boy had tried to follow him to the control room and had fallen into the great, huge gear box that had the monstrous gears that operated this massive bridge. His left leg was caught between the two main gears, and the father knew that as sure as the sun came up in the morning, if he pushed that lever his son would be ground in the midst of eight tons of whining, grinding steel.

   His eyes filled with tears of panic. His mind whirled. What could he do? He saw a rope there in the control room. He could rush down the ladder and out the catwalk, tie off the rope, lower himself down, extricate his son, climb back up the rope, run back into the control room, and lower the bridge. No sooner had his mind done that exercise than he knew--he knew there wasn't time. He'd never make it, and there were 400 people on that train.

   Suddenly he heard the whistle again, this time startlingly closer. And he could hear the clicking of the locomotive wheels on the track, and he could hear the rapid puffing of the train. What could he do? What could he do! There were 400 people, but this was ... this was his son, this was his only son. He was a father! He knew what he had to do, so he buried his head in his arm and he pushed the gear forward.  The great bridge slowly lowered into place just as the express train roared across.


   He lifted up his tear-smeared face and looked straight into the flashing windows of that train as they flashed by one after another. He saw men reading the afternoon paper, a conductor in uniform looking at a large vest-pocket watch, ladies sipping tea out of teacups, and little children pushing long spoons into plates of ice cream. Nobody looked in the control room. Nobody looked at his tears. Nobody, nobody looked down to the great gear box.

   In heart-wrenching agony, he beat against the window of the control room, and he said, "What's wrong with you people? Don't you care? I sacrificed my son for you. Don't any of you care?" Nobody looked. Nobody heard. Nobody heeded. And the train disappeared across the river.

   -- D. James Kennedy, "Message from an Empty Tomb," Preaching Today, Tape No. 66.

Have you heard the still small voice of God, subtle yet profound, whispering the power of the blood of Christ in your ear?

Have you heard him above the noise of life’s railway – an express train to nowhere?

Have you looked out the window to see what God has done for you?

Have you come to the cross?

We invite you this morning.

Re 19:13  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

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