SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20130303: "Revenge and the Cross"

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Several mountain climbers were climbing in the Swiss Alps. The lead climber in a descent lost his footing and fell. His momentum dragged the next two climbers after him. The other climbers braced themselves for the jolt. As the three went over a cliff and the rope snapped tight, it suddenly broke in half. The others watched in horror as the three fell to their death four thousand feet below on a glacier. Once the others were safely back they examined the broken rope. They discovered that there was no red strand running through it. The special type of rope they usually used had an identifying red strand. It had special strength to withstand the extreme tension they had experienced in their accident that day. The current rope, though, was a cheap imitation. It was a substitute and weak. It cost three men their lives.
Likewise, there is a red strand that runs through the Bible. If we leave that red strand out, what is left is weakened to the endangerment of our souls. It loses its power to save. That red strand is a strand of blood. Blood is a repulsive word or thought to many. There have even been efforts with some groups to remove the mention of blood from songs. Some translations have used the word "death" in various places rather than "blood", and this has raised objections from some quarters.
Blood, though, is a very important Bible subject. References to the "blood" of Christ are three times more numerous than references to the "death" of Christ. Jesus could have died in many different ways without shedding his blood, but there is some special significance in the fact that he did shed his blood.
Jesus came to offer His own Blood to "Atone" for the sins of the world. We are grateful to Him for being God's and Our "Lamb that takes away the sins of the world."

Pastor Phil  <><<


March 03, 2013, Third Sunday of Lent
Sheepfold Ministries – Pastor Phil Roland



 “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  1 Peter 1:18-19

“There is a path of blood that stretches from Adam and Eve’s sin through the entire Bible.  From the Garden of Eden to the Cross of Jesus, the Bible is filled with the importance of the blood in man’s salvation.”    Pastor Phil  

            A. ATONEMENT - Hebrew Root = “To Cover”
1. Biblical Application -“To Reconcile” "To Purge Away" 
2. Simple Understanding - "To Forgive"
            3. "Atonement reconciles us to God and our sins are forgiven"
            4. “AT-ONE-MENT”-  "As if I'd never sinned"
            B. “Yom-kippur” – The Jewish Day of Atonement - Lev. 16:8-10
            "Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the
             other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the
Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot
             fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make
             atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness."
                        1. Two Goats were part of the ancient Jewish Rituals
                        2. One Goat would be sacrificed for the sins of the people
                        3. One Goat would “Az-zah-zel” The wilderness goat
            C. Two Initial Stories of Sin and Atonement
                        1. Adam and Eve - Genesis 3: 20-21
"And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother
                         of all living. 21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made
                         tunics of skin, and clothed them."
                             a. "Tunics of skin" are presumed to be animal skins
                                    b. Probably the skins of a Lamb or a Goat (kid)

                   2. Cain and Able - Genesis 4:4-14

                        "Now Cain talked with Abel his brother;[a] and it came to pass, when
                         they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and
                         killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your
                         brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
                                    a. God favored Able's Sacrifice of Blood
                                    b. Enraged Cain Murders Able
                        3. Why did God forgive Adam and Eve, but not their son, Cain?
                                    a. God began animal sacrifice to cover their nakedness
                                    b. There was no sacrifice / Atonement for Cain
                                    c. Banishment / "The Mark" were his forever punishment

                        4. Cain's real punishment was Separation from God -Isa. 59:1,2
                        "Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot
                         save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your
                         iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins
                         have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear."
                                    a. Adam and Eve showed remorse
                                    b. Cain showed no guilt or shame over his actions
"Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?
                                     He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
c. God forgives the penitent, but punishes unrepentant

            A. Wars are fought over Revenge
                        1. WWII – Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941
                        2. 9/11 – A Qaeda attacks US on our Soil –World Trade Centers
B. Levitical Law - Exodus 21:23-25 - “You hurt me, I hurt you back!”
”But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
            1. Cities of Refuge Established to provide relief - Joshua 20
2. Seven Cities granted Haven to those fleeing from the
               Avenger of Blood
            3. First ancient prison system
            4. “Honor Killings” were common in the Middle East
            C. Revenge is in the very fabric of our US culture
                        1. Judicial system bound up in attempts at "fairness"
                                    a. Courts attempt to assuage victims and families
                                    b. Justice often is seen as "revenge"
                        2. American Entertainment involves getting even
                        3. We are obsessed with Revenge / Getting Even
                        4. Movies, Games, Entertainment involve getting “One Up”

            A. All religions represent man's attempt to find God
                        1. Without God we feel empty and disconnected
                        2. Man's religious devices are empty and unfulfilling
            B. Hindus often resort to Revenge
                        1. Mob Violence Common
                        2. In India often religious minorities are victimized
B. Islamists Practice Revenge as Well
            1. 109 Quran Verses call Islamists to Revenge and Violence
            2. “You strike me once, I'll strike you back twice."
            3. Moderate Islamic scholar's Quote:
“Madness cannot be answered with Madness”
C. Ancient Judaism "Legalized" revenge through Lev. Law
                        1. Revenge is as common to Mankind as breathing

                        2. Technically, Revenge is in every religious culture
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.'"   Leviticus 17:11
            A. The Cross is in the Passover - Exodus 12:13
            "Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And
             when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on
             you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."
            B. Lamb's Blood on Threshold, Covered and Exempted those Within
                        1. Passover is all about being set free by the Blood of a Lamb
                        2. John the Baptist Identified Jesus as God's Lamb - John.1:29
                        "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,
                         "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
C. The Hebrew writer understood the importance of Lamb's Blood
            "And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and
             without shedding of blood there is no remission."(Forgiveness)  Heb. 9:22

            A. We Surrender our feelings of Injustice to God
                        1. "Give it up for. . ."
2. NOT, "Give it up for. . ." BUT, "Give it up TO. . ."
B. Jesus' Cross of Injustice ends our need for Revenge - John 5:24
            "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him
             who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but
             has passed from death into life."
1. We trust in Jesus' Atonement for our sins on His Cross
                        2. We are Set Free from God's Judgment
C. Closing Illustration: "THE BIRDCAGE"


          S. D. Gordon, a preacher in Boston, aroused the curiosity of his congregation when he walked into the pulpit carrying an old bird cage. He began his sermon by telling the story of a little, dirty lad about ten years old in an alley. He was hovering over the bird cage which was full of several small, tiny, scared birds. Gordon asked the boy how he got the birds.
"I trapped them," he said.
Gordon then asked what the boy planned on doing with them. "Play with them; have fun with them."
"But what are you going to do when you get tired of them," he questioned.
The boy thought a moment and concluded,
"I have some cats at home. Cats like birds. I'll feed them to my cats."
The preacher then asked the boy if he would sell him the birds. "Mister," he said, "You don't want to buy these birds. They're just plain old field birds. They're ugly."
Again he asked if he would sell them and how much he wanted for them. The boy hesitated, calculated, squinted one eye, and then settled on $20.00. Gordon quickly paid him the money, and the boy ran away down the alley. Further down that alley, in a sheltered corner, Gordon opened the cage door and stepped back. He watched as the frightened little birds all found their freedom.
          Then Gordon told this story to his congregation. Jesus and the devil were talking. The devil had laid a trap in the Garden of Eden and had caught a whole world through sin. Jesus asked the devil what he was going to do with mankind. He said he would tease them, play with them, and cause them to make war with one another and kill each other.
"What will you do when you get tired of them," the Lord continued. "I will kill them. They're no good anyway." Jesus then asked the devil how much he wanted for them. The devil asked Jesus if he was truly serious:
"If I sell them to you they will just spit on you and hate you. They're no good."
The Lord again asked for a price.
"All your tears and your blood," the devil answered.
Jesus paid the price, opened the door, and let man go free.

The devil ruled over mankind. God regained the freedom of mankind through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus as the precious jewel of heaven was a prize worth more than all of mankind.
Have you given up your need for revenge?
I urge you today to accept Jesus as the atonement for your sin.
Do it today!