I posted my original thoughts for this night here. However, I revised them and taught what you will find below.
Last night we talked about the 6 elements of sacrifice. Tonight…we are going to look at those same 6 elements. And we are going to see how those elements are still relevant to us today.
I Peter 1:17-21 ESV
“17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
In this passage, we see all but one of the elements (although in a different order from last night). The one element we don’t see is Element #4: The People Prepared Themselves and the Sacrifice Was Eaten. We will talk about that element tomorrow night.
In these few verses, we are going to see a Truth and then a Response.
I Peter 1:17 ESV
“17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile…”
Element #5: The Execution of God’s Judgment. The Truth that we see in this passage…the same as last night…is that God executes His judgment. And this passage says that His judgment is impartial. That’s the Truth. Our Response, according to the passage…is to conduct ourselves with fear throughout the time of our exile.
The time of exile is now. To be in exile is to be away from your home for a period of time. This place we are living right now is not our final home. The Bible uses words like “alien,” “foreigner,” “ambassador,” and “sojourner” to remind us that we are here in exile.
Our final and permanent home…our home country…is with Christ.
And so, during our time here in exile, Peter encourages us to conduct ourselves in fear. What does that even mean: to fear the Lord? Fear begins when we feel like we are in the presence of danger…and we try to get out of that danger. There is a cool story in the Old Testament about the great King David. He summons a man named Mephibosheth to his throne. Mephibosheth was the grandson of the previous king, Saul. And it was customary in this day, when a new king took the throne, to completely kill off the old king’s family. And so…when King David summoned Mephibosheth, Mephibosheth knew he was in danger. And he had fear. The Bible tells us that when he got in front of David he was so afraid that he fell on his face.
To fear something or someone is also to treat it with reverence and respect and awe. We feel fear whenever we come into the presence of greatness and power. Like Mephibosheth, who was, according to the Bible, handicapped and hiding…when he came before David, he came into the presence of power and greatness. David was the greatest man in the known world. And when you come into that kind of power and greatness, you have fear again…and it is expressed in reverence and awe. The Bible says that Mephibosheth paid David homage.
The same kind of ideas are true with us and God. Since we are sinful and He is not and, as we have discussed, He is the only one who can execute His perfect judgment…we approach Him with fear. We know that He has the power and authority to punish us. Also, we know He is powerful and great. And so our fear of Him is expressed in awe and reverence and worship. The fear of God is a central theme throughout the entire Bible…especially throughout the Old Testament. In fact, if you read the book of Ecclesiastes, it says that your life’s meaning and purpose is to fear God and keep His commandments. See, when you have a healthy fear of God…you will be motivated to obedience. Not just because you fear His punishment, but also because you want to please Him.
Joel hit on that this morning just a little bit…did you notice in the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac today that the fear of God was mentioned?
Genesis 22:9-12 ESV
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
“I know that you fear me.” The fear of God motivated Abraham to sacrifice…to sacrifice that one thing that meant the most to him. Fear of God motivated Abraham to sacrifice.
I think we have lost some of this fear. We approach God often times with very little thought about His power and greatness. The New Testament seems to shift a little bit away from the fear of God as heavily as the Old Testament…and emphasizes Him as Father. And our Father is loving and accepting and good. And all of that is true…but if God is our Father, He is also the authority. He also is the one who lays down the boundaries for us. He is the one who also hands down the discipline when we cross those boundaries. And so…we must fear Him also as our Father. And therefore, we must find a healthy fear of God. One where we know we can approach God as a Father who forgives us and loves us no matter what…but also one where we are motivated to pursue holiness and repent of sinful ways…not only with motivation to avoid consequences, but also with the motivation to please the God who loves us.
And so…because God judges impartially, we must live our lives and conduct ourselves with fear during our time of exile in this land.
I Peter 1:18-19 ESV
“…18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ…
Elements #3 and #6: #3: The Blood of the Sacrifice Must Be Applied and #6: The Saving of Those Under the Blood. The Truth that we see in this passage is that we have inherited futile ways from our forefathers. Peter was writing mainly to people who were Jews before they became Christians. And he is most likely referring to the empty, hallow traditions that had become much of the Jewish faith. Their fathers had passed down those traditions after receiving them from their fathers and on up the line. And during the course of that time…those traditions had lost their meaning and just become empty things they did. And those empty things can’t save.
How many of us are just going through the motions? How many of us have just inherited empty traditions? How many of us go through all the motions and leave our hearts by the wayside?
When Peter refers to inheriting futile things from our forefathers, I think, too, that Peter could be referring to the very beginning. Go all the way back to Adam.
Romans 5:12 ESV
“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
We have inherited, from our forefather Adam…sin and death. And sin and death have no redemptive qualities.
That’s the Truth of these few verses: that we have inherited futile ways from our forefathers; either sin and death or meaningless religion. And we need to be ransomed from those things. We need to be saved. We need someone to pay the ransom price so that we can live…just like in a good hostage movie.
Peter tells us that perishable things can’t do that. Money, good looks, possessions, education…nothing perishable is valuable enough to save us.
So what can?
The only thing that can ransom us, according to Peter, is “the precious blood of Christ…”
Jesus…the great sacrifice…his blood alone. This afternoon I looked up the word “sacrifice” in the dictionary and came up with this definition: “an act of offering to a deity something precious.” We talked about that last night a bit…God wants our best sacrifices. And He wants us to sacrifice that which is precious to us. That’s why we kept the lamb for 4 days. Jesus…the great sacrifice…his blood is precious. And Peter says it’s the only thing that can ransom us.
That leads to our Response: The blood of Christ must be applied to our lives as well. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb was put over the doorposts and lintels of each Jews house in Egypt…so Christ’s blood must cover us.
I John 1:7 ESV
“…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Romans 5:9 ESV
“…we have now been justified by his blood…”
We must bring ourselves under the blood of the sacrificed Lamb.
Hebrews 9:22 ESV
“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
Why does blood have to be shed?
Let me see if I can explain this in the simplest way I can think of:
· When a person sins, He sins against a perfect God.
· God demands that the person who sins be put to death as a penalty of those sins.
· In order for death to happen, blood has to be shed. If you think about it…the life of a creature is in its blood. In fact, the Bible says that: “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Lev. 17L11) If there is no blood, there is no life. Therefore, it makes sense that blood has to be shed.
· Sin demands death…death demands blood…therefore, sin demands blood.
· God…in His grace…will accept a substitute. Our blood deserves to be shed, but He will accept the blood of something or someone else.
· In the Old Testament…it was the blood of animals. Specifically, a lamb.
· And more specifically…tonight…it’s Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Jesus’ shed blood brings for us forgiveness. Jesus said his blood was the covenant…an agreement between God and people for their forgiveness. But only through the blood. We are separated from God, but only through Jesus and his blood can we be reunited with Him. And the way that happens is for us to connect with Jesus. And how do we do that? We believe in him…in his life and his death and his resurrection. We confess him to be God and the perfect sacrifice. We turn from our sins and we are baptized into him. And we stay connected with him by living our lives for his pleasure.
I Peter 1:18-21 ESV
“…18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways…with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God…”
Element #1: The Choosing of a Perfect Sacrifice. Peter says that Jesus was a lamb without blemish or spot. I bet the people reading this, being good Jews at one point…would immediately pick up on the Passover lamb reference. The sacrifice had to be perfect. And God chose Jesus to be that perfect sacrifice.
That is the Truth of these few verses. Peter says that God had planned for Jesus to be the great sacrifice before He even created the world. Just like the Jews chose a perfect lamb for the Passover ahead of time…God did the same with Jesus. And just like the Jews kept that lamb with them for 4 days before they sacrificed it…Jesus stayed with us. He knew people and people knew him. He loved people and people loved him. The sacrifice cost something.
That’s the Truth. Our Response? Peter says that our response is to believe in God through Christ. God knew Jesus to be the great sacrifice before the foundation of the world. But the passage says also that Jesus was made manifest…or he was revealed…in these times for our sake…so that we might believe in God through him.
I Peter 1:20-21 ESV
“…you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
Element #2: The Sacrifice is Slaughtered. Peter here states that God raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory. It sounds simplistic…but if Jesus was raised from the dead, that means that he died. And if he died, that means he, as the great sacrifice, was slaughtered. That’s the Truth of this verse. Jesus, the sacrifice, was slaughtered.
Our Response to that Truth is that our faith and hope are in God. You guys know that there is always cause and effect. The effect of God raising Jesus from the dead is that we have faith and hope in Him. We have faith in Him; His power, His promises, His giving of life. And we have hope; through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, we get life.
And so you can see the elements of sacrifice don’t just apply to the sacrificing of the Passover lamb in Exodus. It applies to Jesus. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, without blemish, that was chosen well ahead of time. But, like any sacrifice, he had to be sacrificed. And his blood that was shed has to be applied to our lives. Why? Because God’s judgment is real and coming. And in order to survive that judgment, we have to be under the sign of the blood. Those who are, are saved. Those we aren’t, perish.
If sin demands death…and death demands blood…then sin demands blood. And God accepts Jesus’ blood.
And here is where it all comes together…in this one simple verse.
I Corinthians 5:7 ESV
“Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
This is what I want you to write down on your stones tonight. This verse.
Everything that we talked about last night for the Passover lamb…the choosing of the animal, its sacrifice, its blood applied, as well as the execution of God’s judgment and the saving of everyone under the blood…all of that…IS TRUE FOR US IN JESUS.
And remember…the Israelites were led into new life. Jesus, our Passover lamb, does the same.
He has been sacrificed. His blood has been shed. It covers us and saves us and brings us into new life.
And that is the invitation for tonight…for you to recognize the elements of sacrifice and realize tonight that Jesus Christ is our Passover lamb…and that he has been sacrificed.
**BUILD THE ALTER
**CONFESSION OF SINS