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Sacrifices

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God decided to dwell with Israel

And so, the issue of sin was going to need to be dealt with, continually
Enter stage right....the sacrificial system.
Now, we as believers, we talk a lot about Jesus being our sacrifice on the cross, but most of us never stop to think about the fact that Jesus’ sacrifice was the culmination of a much larger story throughout the OT
Now, the sacrificial system doesn’t really get laid out until Leviticus, but there are pointings to it from the very beginning
Think back with me to the Garden of Eden…Adam and Eve had just sinned. They were naked and afraid and hiding from God
And what does God do? He makes them clothes
And what does He use to make the clothes?
And please don’t say thread
He uses an animal
And what did He have to do to use an animal?
Kill it
So, if you put all of that together, a sacrifice had to happen to cover the shame of sin that Adam and Eve were experiencing
Abraham & Isaac (Genesis 22)
This whole story points to two main things for us as we look back in understanding of who Jesus is to us
1. God could “potentially” accept a human sacrifice - knowing that it couldn’t have been Isaac because he was just a man
2. God would accept a substitute for the death that we as sinners deserved
The whole sacrificial system, as lengthy and detailed and a bit laborious as it is....ie....when to sacrifice, what to sacrifice, how to sacrifice, the variety of sacrifice...it all exists because of this reason.....SIN
Sin, our sin, is so appalling to God, that in order for the Israelites, and us, to be His, He had to do something to deal with it.
And so the law of Moses gave the Israelites specific instructions on how to make atonement for their sin
Atonement = reconciliation, pardon, amends

Pause and Address why we exist as a youth group

I want to point out to you guys really quickly, because these past few weeks we’ve been hitting sin pretty hard, but I want to point out to you why we exist as a youth group, and as a church
We don’t come together to behavior modify you. We don’t learn about sin so you go home feeling bad. I’m not trying to get you to stop looking at wrong things on the internet, to stop hating people, to stop your self-obsession (even though I long to see that happen)
We exist because I want you to treasure Christ.
Because when you treasure Christ, you won’t want those things anymore. God isn’t looking for behavior modification, he’s looking for internal transformation....and that comes through Christ
And so tonight, as we talk about sin and the sacrificial system, really think about what we’re talking about, what this is pointing towards, and that’s Christ, who sacrificed Himself for your sin. Who loved you enough to die for you. Who longs to welcome you to Himself.
And then look at your sin, and understand, maybe even for the first time, what Christ’s sacrifice really meant.

Back to It

Leviticus
If you would read through Leviticus, what you’ll find is a whole lot of references to blood
I don’t handle blood well
So in Israel, I would have been in some serious trouble
So basically, in ancient Israel, the norm was this:
You are required to bring an appropriate sacrifice before God to make atonement and restore peace with God from your sin
Every time a sacrifice was offered:
An animal would die
Its blood would flow
And that blood would be splattered on the altar
Imagine witnessing this:
The mess, the blood, the smell
But what you would really see was this:
The seriousness of your sin and the awful consequences that sin brings.
You would be seeing a real time representation of what your sin requires
And you would, hopefully, be thankful that it was a lamb/goat/bull, and not you dying for your sin.
And so for us today, even though we don’t have the sacrificial system in play anymore, we can read through Leviticus, and understand the seriousness of our sin, and the sacrifice that had to be made on our behalf as well
Do you understand the seriousness of your sin?
And do you understand the absolute magnificence of the sacrifice that was made on your behalf?
And this is how God was able to dwell in the presence of a sinful people…through the sacrificial system.

Day of Atonement

But smack dab in the middle of Leviticus, in chapter 16, we read about a Day of Atonement.
Have you ever heard of it before? Okay, none of you....have you ever heard of Yom Kippur before?
Well, they are the same thing, and Yom Kippur is still celebrated by Israel to this day.
And what this day of atonement entails is this:
One day every year, one man (the high priest), so when it was originated it would have been Aaron, was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, and stand before God on behalf of the people
Three animals would be involved in this day of atonement.
First Animal: A bull.
The Bull was to be a sacrifice for the sins of Aaron himself, to atone for them, because in order to come into God’s presence he had to have dealt with His sin.
He would kill the bull, take some of the blood and sprinkle it on the front of the mercy seat, and then sprinkle some blood seven times in front of the mercy seat.
Second and Third Animals: 2 Goats
The first goat would be sacrificed, and the blood of the first goat would then be sprinkled on the mercy seat and in front of it as well.
And while he’s in this holy of holies, all of Israel would wait for him to emerge.
If he hadn’t dealt with his sin, he’d die…and so they’d wait.
And then he’d reappear with some of the blood from the bull and the first goat and sprinkle it on the altar before the people.
And this is how God instructed Israel to deal with the sins of Israel as a whole once a year
Then the second goat:
Aaron would put his hands on the head of the goat, confess all of the sins of Israel which would represent the sins of the people being transferred to the animal
And then what would happen, anyone know?
The goat would be released into the wilderness
The goat would bear all of those iniquities and sins and be set free in the wilderness
A picture of the truth that the sins of the people of God were gone. Wiped clean. Never to be visited again.
  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
And so this was the process that one day out of every year.
It couldn’t be a one and done thing because Israel couldn’t stop sinning
And that’s why Israel still carry it out today, on September 18th of this year.
And Israel practically shuts down for this ceremony.

Bring it Together

So let me ask you, why does Israel still celebrate this today, yet we do not?
Right! We don’t live under this sacrificial system laid out in Leviticus because the ultimate sacrifice has been given for us.
The problem with animal sacrifices was it wasn’t permanent, they had to continue making them due to their ongoing sin problem and the fact that the sacrifice did not, and could not, fully satisfy the penalty of their sin!
So we look at the sacrificial system as a pointing towards what we know to ultimately have been fulfilled, and that’s the sacrifice of Jesus Christ himself in our place.
Where he took our sins away from us
He cast them as far as the east is from the west
His blood was shed for us
& 10 talk about this very thing:
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he 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. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he 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. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Do you understand, truly understand, what Christ did for you on the cross?
10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
He took your sins, and He once and for all, as our great high priest, sacrificed Himself in our place, along with our sins, so that we are made clean in Him
goes on like this, “
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. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”
If you truly understand the sin problem in your life, the fact that no “sacrifice” of your own will deem you worthy to stand before God
26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
And if you truly understand Christ, God in flesh, coming and taking the sin from you upon Himself, literally putting it on Himself, the weight, the ugliness of it, and dies for it
Then you don’t go on sinning as Hebrews tells us.
And it’s not so we can be made right? Because we can’t
But we don’t go on sinning because Christ has become our ultimate treasure in light of understanding who He is, who we are, and what He did for us
So in closing I ask you this:
1. Are you guilty of thinking you can earn your way to salvation? Do you come to church in order to check off a box on a list of things you have to do, or to make yourself feel better about the guilt of sin in your life?
2. Have you truly understood the massive problem of sin in your life? Or do you think it’s no big deal. Because I can assure you, it is a massive deal, and it has been since day 1.
If you’ve never dealt with the sin in your life, and if you walk out those doors tonight without dealing with them, you are destined for Hell
3. If you have accepted Christ as your savior, let me ask you this: “Are you sinning deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth”?
Have you forgotten how abhorrrent and apalling sin is to God himself, and are you trampling on the sacrifice of Christ?
If that’s you, and you’ve got habitual sin in your life, or you are claiming Christ as your Savior, and continuing in the passions of the flesh…repent of that tonight. Forsake it, pursue Christ. Not to earn salvation, but because of your salvation.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
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