Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Missionary Quotations: James McKendrick2

“Since that day I have spent thirty-two years, a changeable man, in a changing world, but John 3:16 has never changed and never will. All those years have only served to endear to me my blessed Saviour and His Holy Word. His unchanging LOVE, unchanging WORD and all-atoning BLOOD is where I rest today”.

 

from the book ‘Seen and Heard’

(which I miraculously found on my own bookcase, having no idea of how it came to be there)

 

 


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Jesus and the Ark of the Covenant – Part 2

Read Jesus and the Ark of the Covenant – Part 1 here

The Altar & The Throne

Isaiah saw God’s Throne of holiness.

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-3

In the presence of the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah’s sinfulness was utterly exposed.  He stood naked before a Holy God.

“ So I said:  “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”  Isaiah 6:5

In the presence of God, our true state is exposed, just as Hebrews 4:13 says:

“And no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”

Where we once considered ourselves as pretty ok or good enough, in the light of the glory of God, we see ourselves as we really are: sinful, sinners and deserving of hell.  I had this experience myself when I met the Lord.  For six months afterwards I felt the weight of my sin and sinfulness.  No matter how often I repented I couldn’t get rid of it.

In this place Death is certain, there is no way we can stand before a holy God.  Yet it is here that the Altar comes into operation.

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs

source. kenraggio.com

from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”  Isaiah 6:6, 7

The Throne of God in His holiness does not operate apart from the Altar.  It is by the Altar that we can make our approach to God, and it is by the Altar that His Throne reaches out to us in grace.

“The throne, in all its wonderful power, moves by way of the altar”.  T Austin Sparks

Grace works only through the shed blood of the cross (ie. altar)

 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14

It is on the basis of the shed blood of Christ that we can now come in to God’s presence, and there is no other way.  After carrying my guilt for six months the Holy Spirit showed me that it is through the shed blood of Christ that my sins are forgiven and my guilt removed.  Once I received that revelation I knew I was forgiven and ‘the burden of my heart rolled away’.

Because of the shed blood of our Saviour, the throne of judgement becomes the throne of grace to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16

 

The Contents of the Ark & How They Reveal Christ

There were three items contained in the Ark:  the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the unbroken tables of the Law.

These items reveal not only Christ’s work, but also His very Personhood.

The Golden Pot of Manna:  reveals Christ as Prophet

The Manna in the wilderness was sent from heaven to feed God’s people.  Christ Himself is the true Bread of heaven, sent to feed the world.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32, 33

He not only is the Bread of Life, but He also gives bread ie. The Word of God, to others as Prophet.

 

Aaron’s Rod that Budded: reveals Christ as Priest

As Aaron went in before God on behalf of the people, so too Christ our Great High Priest, goes before the Father on our behalf.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14

Just as Aaron presented the blood of the atonement before God and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat in the Tabernacle of Moses, so too has Christ, as our Priest, presented His blood before the Father in heaven and sprinkled it on the mercy seat there before God.  (see John 20:17 & Revelation 11:19)

Aaron’s rod budded and blossomed as proof that God had chosen him as High Priest in Israel (see Numbers 17).  The life which sprang from his dead rod is a picture of the resurrected Christ Himself.  Christ’s resurrection proves He is God’s chosen priest on behalf of sinful humanity.

 

The Tables of Law: reveal Christ as King

These were the two unbroken tables of Law.  The first two were broken by Moses when he found the people in the sin of idolatry.  These are a picture of humanity’s constant breaking of God’s law.

However the second set of tables were not broken, representing the one Man who never broke God’s law – Christ.  These tables of law were constantly in the midst of Israel as the standard God required. This is a picture of Christ as the holy standard.  He is the law-giver and the law-keeper.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Yet these tables of Law were under the blood.  The blood-stained mercy seat was above the Law and it was through the blood that God beheld the Law.

 

As we consider the timeless truths contained in the Tabernacle of Moses, let us be reminded that the way is open now in to the Holy of Holies for every believer in Christ.  No longer do we have to stay outside in the outer court, we are welcome to enter into the place of fellowship and commune with God around His table.  But let’s not stop even there, let us go on into that most intimate place with the Lord, the place of worship in the Holy of Holies.

“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, …” Hebrews 4:16

Because of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, we are able to approach a high and holy God, the God of Israel and know that He is delighted with us when we come to worship Him.  Let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, let us seek Him and spend time with Him, because the way through the Veil has been made at the expense of the Son of God’s life.  This is no trifling matter, but one of great importance and privilege.  Let us not squander so great a privilege but go in to the presence of the King and meet with Him there at the Mercy Seat.

Blessings in Christ,

Belinda


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Jesus and The Ark of the Covenant

Through the Veil, once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies.

Hands shaking slightly, trying not to spill the precious blood he carried with him in a vessel, the High Priest slowly pulled back the Veil. Immediately the brightness of the light from behind the Veil pierced through the opening.  He was standing in the Holy Place, the place that was lit by the seven lamps of the Golden Lampstand: the place where the gold panels on the walls caught the light of the Lampstand and the whole room shimmered around him. Yet the light that emanated from behind the Veil caused even the shimmering gold light around him to seem dark in comparison.

The radiance was almost palpable and it made him shake in fear.  The awesome presence behind the Veil was almost too much to bear.

 

How can we even put into words what the awesome Shekinah presence of God would have been like for the High Priest as he approached the Throne of God?

“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:34

 

The Holy of Holies

The Holy of Holies was the place of the awesome presence of God.  It was the place where He dwelt amongst His people, above the mercy seat, in between the Cherubim.

“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim…” Isaiah 37:16

It was a place of infinite holiness, the Throne of God’s majesty.   It was the place where none could enter, except the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement, and not without blood.

From the sunshine of the Outer Court with its Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver: the place of judgment for sin, to the Holy Place which shimmered in the light of the Candlestick with its gold furniture: the place of fellowship with God.  Now to the Holy of Holies: the place that had no natural light and no lamp but was the brightest by far, and lit only by the glory of God Himself.  This was the place of worship.

“…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light…” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16

Here we stand finally before the most majestic piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses: the Ark of the Covenant.

 

The Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark of the Testimony

The Ark was the most majestic item of furniture in the Tabernacle.  This item not only speaks of Christ’s work in atonement, but of who He really is, ie His Personhood.

The Ark was a box made of Acacia wood, overlaid with gold. It measured 2.5 cubits in length, by 1.5 cubits in width and 1.5 cubits in height.

“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height.  And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around…. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.” Exodus 25:10-16

The Ark was the same height as the grate on the Brazen Altar.  More on this later in the article.

This was the first piece of furniture, the very first item that God told Moses to make.

“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1

God begins with Himself, the place of His presence, because without Him all else is meaningless religion and ritual.

Once again Acacia wood of the Ark, overlaid with gold, reflects the dual nature of Christ, the God-Man: the incorruptible acacia wood, His sinless humanity; and the pure gold, His deity.

 

The Mercy Seat

On top of the Ark was the Mercy Seat.  It was sculpted of pure gold, with two Cherubim facing each other, wings outstretched.  The Mercy Seat covered the tablets of the Law which were contained within the Ark and was from where God met with Moses and spoke to him.

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:17-22

 

The Mercy Seat & The Holiness of God

The Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies was the same height as the Brazen Altar’s grate in the Outer Court– 1 ½ cubits.

It is of divine importance that the altar where the blood was shed was the same height as where the blood was taken and sprinkled before God.

This is because the Ark of the Covenant was the earthly seat of God’s glory, His majesty and Almightiness. But more than that even, it was also the Throne of His holiness.  God is not only a potentate upon His throne ruling in absolute majesty because of His loftier position to all of creation, but He is the One who also has made a way of redemption from sin.  He is our Creator and He is our Holy Redeemer.

“Something has been done in relation to sin, which establishes that throne in holiness, and gives that throne a right, the right to judge sin.  It is not just the judgement of men as creatures under the hand of an Almighty God.  It is the judgement of a sinful state under a holy state” T Austin Sparks

God is ruling from His Throne in Holiness and Righteousness.  The basis of His judgment is within the contents of the Ark:  The Law.

To come into His presence is to meet the divine judgment of the Ten Commandments written on the two tablets of stone.  Since we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, this means certain death, for the “wages of sin is death”.  None can stand before the utter holiness of God.

Yet God in His mercy has provided a way.  Over the top of the tablets of Law is the golden Mercy Seat.

 

The Mercy Seat is a Picture of Christ Himself

The two Cherubim facing inward toward the mercy seat is a picture of the Godhead (or Trinity).  All of one piece of gold, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit facing towards the Mercy Seat, which is a picture of God the Son, Christ Jesus.

The word used in Hebrews 3:24 for “propitiation”

(“…Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith…” )

is “hilasterion” and is translated as “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5 :  “and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat…”

So the same word is translated both as “propitiation” and as “mercy seat”.

“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world… In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 John 2:2; 4:10 NASB)

Jesus Christ is the Mercy Seat, “the place of propitiation, or satisfaction, for our sins.” (Theodore H Epp)

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would take the blood of the slain animal behind the Veil on the Day of Atonement.  He would sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat in the presence of God.

“He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.  Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins…” Leviticus 16:14-16

Because the Cherubim faced inwards towards the Mercy Seat, they were constantly looking upon the blood.  The holiness of God and the demands of the Law meant that to enter the presence of a holy God meant certain death for the wages of sin is death.

But the blood proved that someone had died for the broken law.  The death had to be an innocent substitute, someone who had not broken God’s law.  The death of the animal foreshadowing, of course, Christ’s substitutionary death for sinful humanity. This blood was what expiated the sin of Israel, because they could not meet the requirements of the Holy Law within the Ark and ultimately it was in Christ that justice received full payment. .  It was the blood-stained mercy seat that expiated God’s wrath against sin and meant that the High Priest could enter His presence, with the blood of the one who had died for sin.

 

To Remove the Mercy Seat Meant Certain Death

Therefore to remove the mercy seat meant certain death.  In 1 Samuel 6 the people of Beth Shemesh looked into the Ark after the Philistines returned it.  Removing the blood-stained mercy seat meant literally that mercy was removed and thus they were exposed to the Law and God’s judgment against sin.  The result was that God struck 50,070 men dead, because the “wages of sin is death.”

This foreshadows Christ as our Mercy Seat.  He met the demands of the Law of God and His blood was shed in our place.  To attempt to approach God apart from the work of His Son means certain death as our own righteousness is as filthy rags compared to His holy standard.  There is only one way into the Holy Place, the place of God’s Throne and that is to first come to the Brazen Altar, ie the cross.

 

Next post… The Ark of the Covenant continued: The Throne & the Altar and the Significance of the items contained within the Ark.


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Jacob’s Two Wives: a Picture of Israel and the Church

Jacob’s life in the Old Testament is a picture of dispensational truth.  As we know, his life was far from perfect, yet God still used it to teach us some eternal truths about God’s program for both Israel and the Church.

Remember: The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed. The New Testament sheds light on the Old Testament. And the New is concealed in the shadows of the Old – it is hidden, but it is there for those who like to search for hidden treasure.

 

God’s Program: Israel & The Church

  • Christ came the first time to Israel and was rejected by those He came to save
  • They have been set aside for a time
  • He is now calling out a Gentile Bride, the Church
  • After she is called out, He will return again to Israel
  • This time He will be their Saviour, Deliverer and Lord
  • Then He shall establish His kingdom on earth
  • And every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord of all

 

God made a covenant with Abraham:

“Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:15-18

Then the covenant was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob

Abraham               —›             Isaac         —›             Jacob Israel

(God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel”).  Israel had 12 sons, which became the 12 tribes of Israel: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Isaachar, Judah, Levi, Mannaseh, Naphtali, Rueben, Simeon, Zebulun

 

God’s promises were made to Israel

Sometimes the Church forgets that the New Covenant was made to Israel & Judah:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 (emphasis mine)

But Israel rejected their Messiah, as prophesied in Isaiah 53, so God turned to the Gentiles

The Gentiles

“And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Isaiah 49:5, 6

  • “I will call them My people who were not My people and her beloved, who was not beloved” Romans 9:25
  • “Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” Romans 11:25

So now the Gentiles are being brought in to the New Covenant that God made with Israel.  As Gentiles we are as branches from a wild olive tree, being grafted in to the Jewish olive tree, ie the New Covenant that God made with the House of Judah and Israel.  We are grafted in by faith in the Messiah Christ Jesus. (see Romans 11:16-24).  By faith He is making “one new man”, that is His Bride/the Church, from both Jew and Gentile believers.

“He is  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:14-16

However God has not finished with Israel “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jer 31:3

Which leads to …

 

Jacob & His Two Wives

Genesis 29

Jacob here is a picture of Jesus Christ:

The Type : Jacob The Anti-Type : Christ Jesus
Jacob chosen by God, even though 2nd born son Christ is the Second Adam
Esau forfeited his birthright, it passed to Jacob Adam forfeited his birthright. God sent the second Man who is to receive the birthright of the firstborn Son of God: ie the dominion of the earth
Jacob was hated by his brother Esau Christ was hated by His brethren
He was driven in to exile in a far country Jesus left His Father’s house and came to earth
Jacob was treated badly in a far country, became as a servant

 

Christ came as a bond-servant in human form and was crucified
He married a bride in a far country Christ purchased His bride with His shed blood in the far country ie the earth
Then returned to claim his possession / inheritance Christ will come again to claim His possession/ inheritance, the earth

 

Jacobs Two Wives, Rachel & Leah

Jacob chose Rachel first. He laboured for her.  But at the end of his labour he didn’t receive her, he received a different bride, Leah.

He then served 7 more years for Rachel.

But second bride Leah was fruitful and bore Jacob many children.  Rachel was barren: until she cried out to God in distress.

Jacob chose Rachel first but she was set aside for a time while Leah bore many children and took her place.

Rachel = Israel

Leah = the Church

Israel today is barren and the Church is fulfilling the purposes of God. However when the Church is taken up in the rapture, then the Lord will deal with Israel again, in the Tribulation.  It is when Israel cries out to God in distress that she will too become fruitful and many will turn to Jehovah through the instrument of Israel.

“…that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel); for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins’.” Romans 11:25-27


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Missionary Quotations: The Prince of Preachers

“The way of God’s precepts! Does not that mean that we ought to be acquainted with the relative position which the precepts occupy, for it is very easy brethren, unless God gives us understanding, to preach up one precept to the neglect of another.  It is possible for a ministry and a teaching to be lopsided, and those who follow it may become rather the caricatures of Christianity than Christians harmoniously proportioned.

O Lord, what foolish creatures we are! When you do exhort us one way, we run to such an extreme therein that we forget that you have given us any other counsel than that which is just now ringing in our ears….

Is fidelity to the truth your cardinal virtue? Take heed of being unloving.

Is love to God and man your highest aspiration? Beware lest you become the dupe of false apostles and foul hypocrites…

Oh how easy it is to exaggerate a virtue until it becomes a vice.

There is a way about the precepts: there is a chime about them in which every bell gives out its note and makes up a tune.  There is a mixture, so much of this and that and the other; and, if any ingredient were left out, the oil would have lost its perfect aroma.

So is there an anointing of the holy life in which there is precept upon precept skillfully mingled, delicately infused, gratefully blended, and grace given to keep each of these precepts, and so the life becomes sweet like an ointment most precious unto the Lord…” (emphasis mine)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, aka The Prince of Preachers

From “The Student’s Prayer” sermon, delivered 1877 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Are you unbalanced?

 


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The Old-Fashioned Power of the Blood

“Old-fashioned” but never-ending

source:wordlive.org

“Old-fashioned” but never-failing

“Old fashioned” but ever speaking

Give me the old-fashioned power of the blood, that old rugged cross and the exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord and there’s nothing that can stand in my way as a blood-bought child of God.

The old fashioned power of the Blood of Jesus Christ is still there on the mercy seat in Heaven before the Father.  It has never been removed, it has never lost its power and it never will.

But the devil doesn’t want the Church to know the power of the blood.  In particular there has been a sustained effort to cover it up over these last few decades.  So let’s have a look at it.

What power does the Blood have?

What gives the Blood its power?

And how can we experience the Blood’s full power in our lives?

 

The Power of the Blood of Jesus

  • Peace is made between man and God   Colossians 1:20

 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

  • Forgiveness of sins   Colossians 1:14

 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

  • Eternal Life   John 6:54

Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

  • Satan is Overcome   Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

  • Continual Cleansing from all Sin    1 John 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 Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

  • Set Free from bondage to a Guilty Conscience to Serve God   Hebrews 9:14

how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

  • Liberty to Enter and Remain in the Holy of Holies of God’s Presence   Hebrews 10:19

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,”

 

What Gives the Blood its Power?

sacredsharingsforthesoul.blogspot.com

Like the old hymn says “There’s power, power wonder-working power in the Blood of the Lamb”…

The Blood of the Lamb surely has power even now.  We can testify to its power to cast demons out of people, save people and set them free..

But it is the power of the blood of the Lamb.

  • Jesus Became the Lamb of God

Not a mighty warrior, a conquering superhero, but a Lamb.  A lamb has a meek and humble disposition. A lamb doesn’t fight.  A lamb is led to the slaughter quietly, a lamb doesn’t protest.

It is the power of the blood of the Lamb

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:14

Jesus became the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world.  He was the final Lamb in fulfilment of all those thousands of lambs in the Old Covenant that were killed on the altar for man’s sin.

He literally became the physical Lamb as an atonement, but it was more than that.

  • The Disposition of the Lamb

He was also the Lamb in disposition.  Jesus was meek and unresisting.  In total submission to the Father He allowed man to do whatever they wanted to Him and He didn’t fight back, He didn’t resist, nor protest.  He yielded the whole time, even to death.

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil 2:8

“He’s not merely the Lamb because He died on the cross, but He died on the cross because He’s the Lamb.”  Roy Hession

Hebrews 9:14 says “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…”

Truly Christ was so humble that He offered Himself to God as the Lamb, willing to do whatever the Father wanted.

It was because of this disposition of utter self-denial, of the complete surrender of the Lamb and of His deep humility that God exalted Him and gave Him the Name above every name.

So we see how valuable this disposition is to God.  This was the disposition He was after when He created Adam.  But Adam rebelled against his Creator and took the path of Self instead. Thus all mankind has followed Adam down this path of Self and rejected submission to our Creator and God. This is the essence of sin: self and pride.

But God found that disposition in one Man: the Man Christ Jesus.

And His shed blood is the ultimate expression of this humility.

“It was because the shedding of His blood so supremely expressed this disposition that it is so utterly precious to God and so all-availing for man and his sin” Roy Hession

 

How can we Experience the Blood’s Full Power in Our lives?

Just as the shed blood’s power comes from the Lamb’s disposition, so too in our own lives, the power of the blood becomes available to us as we follow the Lamb and partake of His divine nature.

Just as He submitted fully to the Father’s will and yielded up His life to Him, so we too can know the full power of the Blood as we submit to the Father, willingly and quietly obeying His will, laying down our own wants, desires, rights and ambitions.  As we offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him, He fills us with His Spirit and the disposition of the Lamb becomes ours.

Lord, help us to truly submit to You.  To lay down our life for you as You lay down Your life for us.  As we do, fill us with your Spirit and may the fruits of the Spirit, such as meekness, gentleness truly become evident in our lives.  We thank you for becoming the Lamb who took away our sins, may we become lambs now and follow You wherever you go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

*Based on teaching from Roy Hession’s book “The Calvary Road”

 

 

 


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Wisdom From my Homeless Friend Shaz

“You tell me this”, said Shaz* as we sat over coffee, “You tell me: if there was a homeless person lying in the gutter, would it be a Christian or a druggie that stopped and helped him?  It would be the druggie every time.”

The parable of the Good Samaritan came to mind.  And I knew she was right.

I said “I agree with you Shaz.”

That stopped her for a second.

We had met for a coffee, but when we got there she refused to have one. Said she’s not paying that amount for a coffee.  I offered to buy her one but she refused that as well.  So I drank my coffee and she sat opposite me with nothing.  Instead she had the sugar bowl.  With a spoon she stirred and stirred as she spoke.  The constant stirring was mesmerising and I had to tear my eyes away from it.  Also it was easier than looking in to her tormented eyes the whole time.

But when I agreed with her, she stopped stirring for a second and said,

“Ha – we agree on something. What do we do now?”

Shaz’s and my relationship isn’t an easy one.  To be honest, I have no idea how to handle her.  And that’s something I constantly say to the Lord, believe me.

Before Shaz, I thought I was pretty experienced with all sorts of people.  When we had our home church for the outcasts there were times where we had seven heroin addicts sitting around our table at once for lunch.  We have had neo-nazi’s in our home, murderers, profoundly mentally disturbed people, lonely people, homeless ones, ice addicts, people I met while street preaching, whoever God sent.  They were difficult and God always gave us grace for each one.

I first met Shaz in March.  I preached at the homeless mission in the city and she was there.  Full of anger, bitterness, hard, cold as anything, she told me what her father had done to her from a terribly young age.  She asked me how God could forgive someone like that if he repented.  And why would she want to go to a place (heaven) where that animal might possibly be? She spat at me that nobody has been able to help her, even Christians.

As I listened to her story my heart broke.  And she was right too, I didn’t know how to help her. What the heck do I say to this woman who had been so wounded by the one who should have protected her?  ‘Oh God’, I cried out in my heart, ‘help me!  I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say to her.’

I didn’t know what to do, so I just put my arms around her little body, my head on her shoulder and cried.  I sobbed. I said I am so, so sorry that this happened to you and I was. I cried and cried as she stood there silent, as stiff as a board while I wet her shoulder with my tears.

Then she moved away from me and I heard her swearing and cursing as she left.  I said to God that I am sorry I failed.  I couldn’t get through to her and I had no idea how to help her.

Two weeks later she was back at the mission.

She came over to me and said roughly, “the compassion you showed me that other night saved my life.  I was going to go home and neck myself but after I met you I didn’t want to anymore.”

Then she swore and cursed Christians and left.

And pretty much that has been our relationship since.  She clings to me, she pushes me away.  She seeks me out, she runs and hides.  Like a puppy who’s been abused and is scared of being hurt again.  One time she came up behind me at the mission and hugged me.  She literally clung to me.  The anointing and love of the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly that I just cried and prayed in tongues while I hugged her back.  And she clung and clung.  Then she ran out of the building.

As we sat at coffee that morning she cursed and called me a hypocrite. Everything I said to her was wrong, and she told me off the whole time.  It was exhausting.

I left feeling like I had failed, yet there was an inexplicable joy in my spirit.

Two days later in the mail I got a card from Shaz in child-like, painstakingly neat handwriting saying that she can’t tell me this to my face but I am the only true friend she has ever had and that she loves me.

She said she doesn’t know how to be with “normal” people and that is why she hangs out with the street-people.

I cry for these ones. These ones who haven’t known love.

Not long after this we visited a local Baptist church, a good and decent church we sometimes go to.  The pastor explained that they want to build a bigger auditorium to be able to seat more people at once to cut down on the number of services over weekends.  To do this they are raising $2 million to replace the perfectly good auditorium they already have.  I looked around and I knew that they would get that $2 million.

I cry for the church.

 

 

*not her real name