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God's Longings for Your Life #1: Rescue

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God's Longings for Your Life #1: Rescue

Sermon with the Lord's Supper

Hebrews 10:1-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - August 31, 2014

INTRODUCTION

*It will soon be 13 years since the savage attacks on 9/11. It was a horrific day. The terrorists murdered 125 people at the Pentagon, 246 on the planes, and 2,606 in NYC. Almost 3,000 people were killed, and over 6,000 people were injured.

*It could have been a whole lot worse. United Flight 93 crashed 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, with 45 people on board. It was headed toward Washington D.C. but was stopped by brave passengers, who gave their lives to keep that plane from hitting the White House or the Capitol Building.

*Plus, on a typical weekday 50,000 people worked in the twin towers, with another 200,000 passing through as visitors. There were also 2,600 people working in the Pentagon near that impact site.

*God spared many people that day. And a little piece of metal like this helped. (I had a squeegee handle.) It doesn't look like much, but after 9/11, the Smithsonian put together a display from that day. I got to see it in 2003: The enormous flag that was hung from the Pentagon, a door from one of the fire trucks that was crushed, twisted girders, Rudy Giuliani's hat, pictures from Ground Zero, part of the prayer wall, and a squeegee handle like this.

*It belonged to World Trade Center window washer, Jan Demczur, and that small piece of metal saved the lives of 6 men on 9/11. They were riding in an elevator in the North Tower when the plane hit. Each tower had 110 floors, and their elevator got stuck on the 50th floor.

*When they pried the doors open, they faced a solid wall made of several layers of sheetrock. Their only tool seemed to be a pocket knife, but then the unthinkable happened. The knife slipped and fell down the elevator shaft. But someone thought to use Jan's squeegee handle as a digging tool. That handle let them break through the wall. And they escaped with just minutes to spare. (1)

*What a rescue. But God's got an infinitely greater rescue for everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ! God wants to rescue you, and the Word of God shows us how.

1. First: God uses His commandments.

*He uses His commandments to help us see how much we need to be rescued. Verses 1-3 help us understand this purpose of God's law.

1. For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged (or cleansed), would have had no more consciousness of sins.

3. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

*God wants to rescue us, and His commandments, the Old Testament laws, are part of the process. He tells us in vs. 1 that the law has a "shadow of good things to come". And a shadow is not reality. But a shadow can tell us something about reality. And this is one of the things God's Old Testament law does. So in Galatians 3:24, Paul tells us that "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

*The law is our schoolmaster, our teacher, and it is a strict teacher. Do you remember the strictest teacher you ever had? -- Oh, I do too. It was my 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Lois Culver Jordan. It was 1963, and Mrs. Jordan had been my dad's 7th grade teacher in 1933. Mrs. Jordan was also one of the best teachers I have ever had. She taught us a lot that year.

*Lois Culver Jordan was a proper woman. She was fair, but tough as nails, and she didn't put up with nonsense, even for a moment. I have always remembered the day Mrs. Jordan got mad at my friend, Harold Causey.

*I think I must have also been in on the trouble, because we were both out in the hall with her. And she told him: "You're nothing but a snake in the grass! -- A snake in the grass!" (That was before the days of positive self-esteem.) And Mrs. Jordan was right. We were both pretty snakey.

*Lois Culver Jordan was a strict teacher, but not nearly as strict as God's law. Can you imagine a teacher that never passed a single student? That's how strict God's law is: "You fail. You fail. You fail." We all fail.

*No one can live up to the standards of God's law, so vs. 1 tells us that those Old Testament sacrifices can never make us perfect. And in vs. 3, the law's purpose is to remind us year after year that we have failed. As the Word of God says: "In those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year."

*God's law can never save us, because none of us can fully keep His law. But God's law can help us see that we need to be saved. The law then is our teacher to help us see that we desperately need to be rescued from sin.

*We can't make it on our own. We need a rescue. We need a Savior! We need Jesus! So again, Galatians 3:24 tells us that "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." God wants to rescue us. And He uses His commandments to help us get there.

2. He also uses His coming, -- the coming of God the Son into our sin-sick world.

*The Bible highlights this truth vs. 4-9, and in these verses God does two great things for us. First, He shows us that Jesus is the fulfillment of a prophecy the Lord gave to King David in Psalm 40, a thousand years before Jesus was born.

*God also lets us listen in on a sacred conversation between God the Son and His Heavenly Father. And in this conversation, the Son of God mentions His coming three different times. Starting in vs. 4, God's Word says:

4. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

5. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.

6. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure.

7. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come in the volume of the book it is written of Me to do Your will, O God.'''

8. Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them'' (which are offered according to the law),

9. then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.'' He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

*In vs. 5&7&9, God the Son came into the world. He came to do the will of His Heavenly Father. God came. And C.S. Lewis said it's "as if Shakespeare stooped down to become one of the characters in his play!" (2)

*God the Son, Jesus Christ came into the world as a man, and why? -- Because there was no other way for us to be rescued from our sins.

*In Luke 15, Jesus compared Himself to a good shepherd who went wherever he had to go to find His lost sheep. There God's Word says:

1. Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.

2. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them.''

3. So He (Jesus) spoke this parable to them, saying:

4. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

5. And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

6. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

*In Luke 19, Zacchaeus was a very wicked tax collector, but Jesus came to his town. Then Jesus came to Zacchaeus' house. That's when Zacchaeus turned His life over to the Lord, and trusted Jesus to save him. Then in Luke 19:9&10:

9. . . Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;

10. for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.''

*And in 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul said: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

*God came into the world. He became a man. He took on a human body to establish a new covenant, because the old covenant of the law couldn't get the job done. God wants to rescue us. And He uses His coming to help us get there.

3. He also uses the cross of Jesus Christ.

*More than anything else, God uses the cross to rescue anyone who will trust in the Lord. And His Word points us to the cross in vs. 10-12, when it says this to Christians:

10. By that will (i.e. by God's will) we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

12. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

*Untold millions of animals were sacrificed in Old Testament times. On the day that King Solomon dedicated the Temple, 2 Chronicles 7:5 tells us that he "offered a sacrifice of 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep," on that one day alone.

*It was never enough, because as vs. 11 says, those sacrifices "can never take away sins." But every one of those sacrifices points us to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. That's why in John 1:29, the first thing John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus was: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

*The sacrifice of our Savior was God's plan all along, and that sacrifice was needed because of our sin. Somebody had to take the punishment. Somebody had to pay the price for our sins. And Jesus was the only one qualified to die for others, because He had no sins of His own. And again in vs. 12: "This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God."

*That's the cross of Jesus Christ! One sacrifice for all! One sacrifice forever! No wonder that in Galatians 6:14, Paul said: "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

*God wants to rescue us. And the cross of Jesus Christ was the only way it could happen. That's why we get to see the glory of our Risen Savior in vs. 12-14:

12. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

13. from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

14. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

*Yes, the Lord's enemies will be punished. But we can trust Jesus Christ to make us perfect forever! Have you done that? God wants to rescue you from your sin and everlasting death.

*It is amazing what Jan Demczur did on 9/11 with a squeegee handle. But it can never compare to what Jesus did with 3 nails, a hammer and a wooden cross. Let Jesus rescue you. Turn your life over to the Risen Lord. Receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Call on the Lord to save you, as we go to God in prayer.

INVITATION

LORD'S SUPPER

*As we observe the Lord's Supper this morning, we want you to know that in our church the Lord's Supper is for everyone who has received Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. So, if you know Jesus, we invite you to share.

*The Apostle Paul told us how to take the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. There Paul said:

23. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;

24. and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.''

25. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.''

26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

27. 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.

28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.

29. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

*Paul tells us here that before we take the Lord's Supper, we need to examine our hearts. The only way to properly receive the Lord's Supper is to search our hearts, repent, and confess our sins to the Lord. All of us need to do this, because all of us have sinned. So please join me in a time of silent prayer, as we search our hearts before the Lord.

SILENT PRAYER

*The Lord's Supper is to remind us of the high price that Jesus paid on the cross for our sins.

[1] Jesus wants us to remember His body.

*And we remember His body with this bread, because Jesus is the Bread of Life. As He said in John 6:

35. "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

47. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

48. I am the bread of life.

49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.

51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.''

[2] Through the Lord's Supper, we also remember the Lord's blood.

*The Apostle John tells us:

5. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

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 Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

*We remember the Lord's blood, because "the blood of Jesus Christ (God's) Son cleanses us from all sin." The cup we are about to drink represents the blood of Jesus Christ, the soul-saving blood He shed when He died on the cross for us.

*Please listen again to what Jesus said when He offered the cup to His disciples: "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." (1 Cor 11:25)

*Historian Ray Vander Laan gave us great insight about how the Lord offered the cup to His disciples: "In the first century, when a young Jewish man was ready for marriage, the two fathers met with the young man and the young woman to negotiate the 'bride price.' The 'bride price' was paid to the woman's family, because the loss of a daughter was a great loss to them. And the price was usually very high, like the purchase of a house.

*When the price was finally agreed upon, the custom was for the father of the groom to pour a cup of wine and then hand it to his son. His son would turn to the young woman, lift the cup and hold it out to her, saying: 'This cup is a new covenant in my blood, which I offer to you.'"

*When anyone entered into a covenant, they were putting their lives on the line, because the penalty for breaking the covenant was death. "So in other words, the young man was saying: 'I love you. And I will give you my life. Will you marry me?'

*The young woman had a choice. She could take the cup, then give it back and say 'no'. -- Or, she could take the cup, and without saying a word, drink from the cup. By drinking, she was saying: 'I accept your offer, and I give you my life in response.'

The disciples sitting with Jesus knew this custom very well. They also knew the customs for the Passover meal they were eating at the time. The disciples had celebrated Passover all their lives.

*This cup was the third cup of wine, the cup of redemption. And when it came time to drink the third cup, Jesus lifted the cup as the disciples expected. Then He offered the traditional thanks, which is used to this day: 'Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, for giving us the fruit of the vine.'

*Then Jesus offered the cup to them, but He said something they probably did not expect: 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood.' There were many meanings to that statement, no doubt. But one was Jesus saying in common, ordinary language: 'I love you, and I will give you my life. I will pay the price for you.'

*And that may have seemed totally out of place to the disciples at a Passover meal, but just a few hours later, they got the message, when Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins." (3)

*This reminds us that God calls His Church "the Bride of Christ". And when we take the cup, we are saying "yes" to Jesus: "Yes" to Him as our Lord and Savior, "Yes" to Him as our God and King, "Yes" to all of His will for our lives, "Yes, I accept your love, and I give you my life in response."

*With this background in mind, let me ask the Deacons come forward to serve the Lord's Supper today.

[1] Jesus wants us to remember His body. And we remember His body with this bread, because Jesus is the Bread of Life.

PRAYER TO BLESS THE BREAD

PASSING OF THE BREAD

*The Apostle Paul said: "I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'' (1 Cor 11:23-24)

TAKING THE BREAD

[2] Through the Lord's Supper, we remember the Lord's body and we remember His blood. This cup represents the blood of Jesus Christ, the blood that He shed when He died on the cross for us.

PRAYER TO BLESS THE CUP

PASSING OF THE CUP

*"In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." (1 Cor 11:25)

TAKING THE CUP.

1 Cor 11:26 -- For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

FELLOWSHIP HYMN: "Blest Be the Tie That Binds"

BENEDICTION

(1) Multiple Sources: September 11 attacks - Wikipedia, PittsburgLive.com Pittsburg Tribune -Review - By Michael Machosky 09072004, http://www.newser.com/story/187281/in-911-museum-a-life-saving-squeegee.html, http://pentagon.spacelist.org/

(2) Original source unknown

(3) Adapted from "His Body, His Blood" by Ray Vander Laan - Article from James Dobson's, Focus on the Family magazine, April 1999 - Source: http://www.oocities.org/gbdill/study18.html -- Also see: http://jayguin.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/faith-lessons-by-ray-vander-laan-no-greater-love-part-1-korazin/

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