“His blood is precious”

In Hebrews 9:22 we are given an explanation as to why Jesus had to die.  We are told the reason why Jesus’ death had to be a bloody sacrifice.  In this verse we read “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

The reason why Jesus had to die was so that sins could be forgiven.

The reason why Jesus’ death had to be a bloody sacrifice was so that sins could be forgiven.

Without it being this way there could be no forgiveness.

It was principle established In the Old Testament when God said in Leviticus 17:11: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

But while the blood of bulls and goats and lambs that were sacrificed in the place of the Israelites enabled them to have a relationship with God.  These sacrifices never fully dealt with the problem of their sin.  As a result they needed to be repeated again and again.

What was needed was a better sacrifice:

  • A shedding of blood that would never need to be repeated.
  • A shedding of blood that can bring complete and final forgiveness of sins for all of God’s people.

And that is what Jesus’ bloody death was!

As we reflect on Jesus’ death and His blood which was shed so that we can be forgiven, there are two things I want us to do:

Firstly, I want us to

1. See the Blood

We begin by watching a man in agony under the twisting moonlit branches of Gethsemane’s olive grove.  Drops of blood are streaming down His face and onto the ground.  Such was the intensity of what He was going through as He looks forward to the reality of His suffering and death that it causes Him to sweat blood.

The scene switches and the man is now being flogged.  With His hands chained up above His head, His back and legs are exposed to the whips of the Pilate’s soldiers.  Blood flows down His back with each lash of these whips of long leather straps with metal balls and hooks of bone at the end of them.

After this a scarlet robe is put on Him and a crown of thorns is pressed into His head.  Blood begins to flow down His cheeks.  His eyes burn as He strains to see through His own sweat and blood.

The final scene has five to seven inch, rough, metal spikes being driven into His hands and feet, nailing Him to the cross which is then hoisted up into the air.

Jesus’ death was a violent death.  It’s a bloody death.  His blood which is infinitely more precious and valuable than the blood of bulls and goats and lambs was shed.  He was a sacrifice for sins, but this sacrifice would not need to be repeated.

Through the shedding of Jesus’ blood there is full and complete forgiveness of sins for all who would trust in Him.

Through the shedding of Jesus’ blood this along with all the other New Covenant promises comes into effect.

See the blood.

Gaze upon Jesus’ death in our place taking the punishment we deserve so that our sins can be forgiven.

But also secondly,

2. Savour the Blood

Delight in it.  Without it there is no forgiveness.  This is the only way that you can be forgiven of your sins.

When it comes to being forgiven:

  • Being a good person is USELESS.
  • Being super intelligent and have lots of letters after your name is USELESS.
  • Being from a well to do family is USELESS.
  • Being in this or that profession is USELESS.
  • Being religious: reading the Bible every day, praying three times a day, giving 10% of your income, your baptism, your service is USELESS.

Blood needs to be shed and blood has been shed so that you can be forgiven.  So savour it!

In His kindness Jesus has given us a meal to help us do this.  On the night He was betrayed, during the Passover meal He shared with His disciples, Jesus takes a cup, and “when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.””

Each time we share the Lord’s Supper, as we see the cup, we have an opportunity to remember the glorious truth that with Christ’s blood, shed on our behalf, there is forgiveness.

Each time we share the Lord’s Supper we have an opportunity to affirm our faith that we are forgiven because of Christ’s blood shed for us, as we take the cup and drink.

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  But with the shedding of Christ’s blood in death for us there is forgiveness of sins.

See the blood and savour it.

Jesus is altogether lovely!

“Yes, Christ is altogether lovely. 

He is altogether lovely in his person, in the glorious all-sufficiency of his deity and the gracious purity and holiness of his humanity, authority, majesty, love, and power. 

He is altogether lovely in his birth and incarnation.  

He is altogether lovely in the whole of his life, in his holiness and obedience, which in the depths of poverty and persecution he showed by doing good, receiving evil, blessing others and being cursed himself all his days. 

He is altogether lovely in his death, especially to sinners.  He was never more glorious and desirable than when he was taken down from the cross, broken and lifeless.  He carried all our sins into a land of forgetfulness.  He made peace and reconciliation for us.  He procured life and immortality for us. 

He is altogether lovely in his work, in his great undertaking to be the Mediator between God and man, to glorify God’s justice, to save our souls, to bring us to the enjoyment of God who were at such an infinite distance from him by reason of our sin. 

He is altogether lovely in the glory and majesty with which he is crowned.  Now he is seated at the right hand of the majesty on high.  Though he is terrible to his enemies, yet he is full of mercy, love, and compassion to his loved ones. 

He is altogether lovely in those graces and comforts that he pours on his people by the Holy Spirit. 

He is altogether lovely in all the tender care, power, and wisdom by which he protects, safeguards, and delivers his church and people in the midst of all oppositions and persecutions to which they are exposed. 

He is altogether lovely in all his ordinances and the whole of that glorious worship which he has appointed for his people, by which they draw near to him and have communion with him and his Father. 

He is altogether lovely and gracious in the vengeance that he takes and will finally execute upon the stubborn enemies of himself and his people. 

He is altogether lovely in the pardon he has purchased and which he gives to those who receive him. 

He is altogether lovely in the reconciliation that he has wrought, in the grace that he communicates, in the comforts, the peace and the joy that he gives his saints, and in his assured preservation of them, losing none but raising all of them to eternal glory in the last day. 

Yes, he is altogether lovely…This is my beloved and this is my friend.” 

(John Owen, Communion with God)

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Sermon: Acts 2:37-41

Acts 2:37-41 (23rd August 2009, Banstead Community Church)

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How do we respond to the news that we are responsible for the death of Jesus: 

1. Recognise (v37)  

2. Repent (v38) 

To repent means ‘to change one’s direction’.

“True repentance will entirely change you; the bias of your souls will be changed, then you will delight in God, in Christ, in His Law, in His people.” (George Whitfield) 

3. Receive (v38) 

Repentant sinners receive forgiveness.
Repentant sinners receive the Holy Spirit.

We have killed the Saviour!  But we are living in salvation days, where the Saviour forgives those who killed Him when they repent.

Acts 2:37-41 Kids Talk

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Take a look at this picture: 

  • Who can tell me if there is anything wrong with this picture? [There is a car going the wrong way]
  • What does the car need to do? [Turn around]
  • Why does it need to turn around? [It might cause an accident; dangerous situation] 

The apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost tells us we need to turn around because we are going the wrong way and are heading for disaster. 

Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and preaches to the crowd about Jesus.  He tells them who Jesus, the man from Nazareth really is.  “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36) 

Peter tells us that Jesus is the Christ.  The Saviour God promised who would rescue people from their sins.  He is also the Lord.  The King of kings who we must worship and obey. 

But here’s the bad news, you killed Him.  

Peter tells us that we are going the wrong way.  We are sinners because we do things that Jesus doesn’t want us to do and don’t do things that He was us to do.  Our sin ultimately was the reason why Jesus was crucified; He died nailed to a wooden cross. 

Because of our sin, because we don’t obey King Jesus, we will be punished in hell.  We are heading towards a great danger. 

How do we respond to this news?  What shall we do?  That was the question some people in the crowd asked Peter.  

And Peter’s answer: Turn around!  Go in the opposite direction.  “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2:38) 

To repent means to turn around!  It’s to say to Jesus “I want you to rule over me and to forgive me for my past disobedience which was responsible for putting you on the cross”.  It’s to start trusting Jesus to save you from your sins and then seeking to obey what He says. 

And here’s the wonderful news.  Your sins will be forgiven.  You’ll no longer be punished in hell because Jesus has been punished for you.  And you’ll also receive the Holy Spirit who will help you to obey Jesus.  

We’ve been going the wrong way.  We are sinners, and our sin is reason why Jesus died on the cross.  We need to turn around, to repent, to trust in Jesus to save us from our sin and live with Him as the King of our lives by obeying Him.

Jesus – the greatest man in history!

“The greatest man in history was a child refugee.  Born into poverty and obscurity, as a youngster he was taken to Egypt to escape Herod and persecution by the oppressive regime of the Romans.  

Jesus received no formal education, but rather, worked hard a labourer.  He never wrote a book or a song.
 
He formally preached and ministered for only three years.
 
He never spoke to flatter the authorities; He refused to compromise His message, and eventually was executed by crucifixion at the age of thirty-three.
 
In those three years of public work, without travelling far, He made blind people see, dumb people speak, and deaf people hear.  He healed lepers and lame people.  He raised the dead to life.  He fed thousands of hungry people with just a few loaves and fish.  He instantly calmed a rough storm at sea and walked on the water, dispelling the fear of terrified fishermen.
 
Nobody spoke as Jesus did; He had authority.
 
He gave to the world the highest moral standard, preaching only what He practiced.
 
Christ said, ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you,’ and ‘turn the other cheek’ (Luke 6:27).
 
Jesus Christ gave dignity to women, respect to the disabled, significance to children, credibility to the family and status to each individual.
 
He has made an indelible impact upon our literature, art, music and architecture and is the foundation principle for our democratic freedoms.
 
Judas, who sold Him, cried, ‘I have betrayed innocent blood’ (Matthew 27:4).
 
Pilate, who ordered His execution, said, ‘I find no fault in Him’ (John 19:6).
 
John, the disciple, said, ‘In Him is no sin.’  The great missionary, Paul, said, ‘He knew no sin.’  And Peter said, ‘He did no sin.’
 
It is impossible to fault Christ.
 
He had no sin, nor did any sin, because He was God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).
 
The Bible says of Jesus, that God ‘became flesh and made His dwelling among us’ (John 1:14).
 
Stripped naked, beaten and humiliated, Christ died on a cross.  As He hung there, God laid on Jesus the sin of us all.
 
The Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
 
‘For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’ (1 Peter 3:18).
 
Jesus was punished in our place, that we might be forgiven for all our sin, all our wrongdoing.
 
Three days later, the tomb, where Jesus’ body was laid, was empty; He had risen from the dead; He was alive.
 
Over an extended period of time, He showed Himself physically alive again to many people.  He changed their lives, giving hope and peace to each one who trusted Him.
 
Jesus Christ had come to earth with a mission.  He had come, not to call to Himself the righteous people, but sinners.  He was more than a great example to us.  He was greater than the supreme teacher.
 
He accomplished more than simply performing great miracles.  The Bible states: ‘The Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world’ (1 John 4:14).
 
Millions have followed Jesus simply because they trust and love Him. Civilisations have been changed as people have come to know God.  He is able to set free each person who comes to Him. Instead of the hell we deserve, through forgiveness, God can reserve a place in heaven for us.
 
The Bible makes it clear that God’s command to us, is that we turn from all that is wrong in our lives, and ask the once-crucified, now-risen, living Jesus to free us, forgive us and become our Lord and Saviour.  When we turn our back on sin and trust Christ, He becomes our Saviour and Helper, making everything new.  As our constant Companion He helps us in all the decision making of our lives.  Jesus Christ has been such a real Friend to individuals for twenty centuries, all over the world.
 
Only Jesus had the power to defeat death and rise from the dead – He said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).”
*
(D. J. Carswell, Real Lives)

Luke 6:37-42 Kids Talk

Here’s an idea for a kids talk on Luke 6:37-42…

[Powerpoint for this talk HERE]

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What’s wrong with this picture?  Can you spot seven things that don’t belong? 

  • Car
  • Tortoise
  • Fish
  • Boat
  • Stocking
  • Painting
  • Clock 

In Luke 6, Jesus tells a parable to His disciples about spotting wrong things.  

He says to them: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41) 

In this parable Jesus is saying that we are brilliant at spotting the wrong things that people do; the speck of dust in our friend’s eyes.  But we are rubbish at spotting the wrong things we do; we fail to notice the plank or log in our own eyes. 

Now it’s good that we want to help people to obey God, but we need to remember that we need help to obey God too.  Just like our friends do wrong things that we see, so we do wrong things too. 

Jesus then goes on to say that before we can help others we need to ask God to forgive us and help us to obey Him. 

He says: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eyes,’ when you fail to see the plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42) 

Now there was a reason why Jesus told this story.  He wanted to teach his disciples an important lesson, which is that followers of Jesus ‘Don’t Judge!’ 

That means: Don’t think that you’re better than other people, you’re not.  You’re a sinner like they are.  You need to be forgiven just like they do.  Jesus died for your sins, like He died for your friends sins.  You need to trust in Jesus to save you from your sins by His death and resurrection and ask God to help you obey Him just as much as they do.

Interview with Jonathan Carswell (Part 1)

Interview with Jonathan Carswell (Part 1)

As part of 10ofthose.com week here’s the first part of an interview I did with Jonathan Carswell who started up and helps to run 10ofthose.com.

jdc

Blog of Dan: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?  Where you’re from?  When you became a Christian?  What you do? etc 

Jonathan Carswell: Sure! I’m a Yorkshire lad – I was born and bred in Leeds and went to school in Harrogate. Some people will know my dad, Roger Carswell. Mum and Dad never thrust Christianity upon us as kids (I’m the youngest of four), but they did say that if we lived under their roof we were to go to church with them. So I heard the Bible being taught each week, but it meant nothing to me. That was until I was 15; I ruptured my cartilage whist playing rugby one week, and I began to question God. Around six months later I was on a summer camp in Holland – on the last night I decided to listen to what the speaker had to say, and resolved to either accept it or reject it forever. The speaker was a guy I knew well, someone called Vinny Commons. That night he spoke of our dreadful position before God because of our sin, yet his generous offer of forgiveness. The penny dropped really – my issue was not a knee injury, it was my sin. That night I asked Jesus to save me; to be my Lord and Saviour. 

After becoming a Christian my life changed direction. My outlook changed I think. No longer did I want to meet my demands but to try and serve God. I took a year out, firstly working with deprived kids in Liverpool, and then as an apprentice at an Anglican church in south Manchester. From there I went to study Theology and Youth Work at Durham University, before moving to Northern Ireland where I worked as a Youth Pastor for three years. 

I now help run a not-for-profit company called 10ofThose. We distribute quality Christian books at discounted prices, specialising in bulk purchases, those being 10 or more (hence the name). 

Blog of Dan: Where did the idea for 10ofthose.com come from? 

Jonathan Carswell: Good question! I often ask myself that – where did this beast come from! When I was at Uni I wrote to a publisher with an idea for a book. They liked the idea and asked me to write it. From there, and I guess the contacts my family already had in publishing, using my royalties from the book I began buying what I saw as ‘key’ Christian books in bulk (1000 at a time) and selling them on at a discounted price. To help me admin wise, I asked that people buy 10 or more at a time. That is how the 10 idea first came along I suppose. 

However, after some thought, there was a more serious reason for it too. There are over 150,000 Christian books on the market today. Though people differ on the percentage, I would argue that only 10% or so are quality items – items that really build and sustain the church. Many others are simply there to make people feel good or better about themselves, or worse, just to line the pockets of the author or publisher. 

Being a naive and no doubt arrogant student I thought I could change the publishing world! It concerned me that so many people only read a few books a year, and of those books, the chances were that not all of them would be helpful for their Christian growth. My thinking was that if I could buy in bulk, and sell on in the same way, then publishers would begin to sit up and take note that these were the books selling; therefore these were the books to be publishing. 

Since its start 10ofthose has, I hope, grown and developed, but that’s how it started. 

By the way, you don’t have to buy 10 necessarily, though you get an even bigger discount if you do!

Interview continues HERE.

Setting a gospel way of life for our kids

“The important thing about sinfulness is that, as Christian parents, we know how God has dealt with it and this is how we should deal with it.  An unwillingness to accept sinful behaviour – while at the same time willingly forgiving those who repent and accept the cost of their sins – sets a gospel way of life before our children.”

(Phillip Jensen, Raising Christian Children)

London Men’s Convention 2009 – He Came as King

London Men’s Convention 2009 – He Came as King

Here are my notes from Wes McNabb’s exposition of Matthew 14:22-33 at the London Men’s Convention 2009.  This first main session focused on Jesus, He came as King.

lmc

Introduction 

London’s greatest need is for men to be vibrant worshippers of the King, acknowledging Him as the Son of God and living transformed lives. 

Do you love Jesus?  How can you not?  Has Jesus captivated your hearts?  Does your wife, children, friends, know that you’re mad about Jesus, that He’s precious to you?  This man deserves your worship, does he have it? 

He came as King like no other.  When was the last time you went to a baptism and heaven opened and God Almighty speaks. 

1) King of Authority (v22-23) 

Look how He dismisses the crowd, how He tells the disciples to get in the boat.  His authority is staggering.  Thousands ready to crown Him as King and He sent them home.  He has authority over life and death, angels and Satan, you and me.  One day every knee will bow and acknowledge King Jesus as Lord. 

2) King of Knowledge (v24-25) 

Knowledge of everything – even our greatest dilemmas.  Disciples are in the middle of a storm but Jesus knows exactly where they are.  Maybe there are storms in your life (marriage, finances etc), take heart Jesus knows exactly what’s going on.  Its pitch black and Jesus walks straight to them.  We’re his children; it’s his business to know where we are.  Maybe nobody understands what you’re going through, King Jesus does, and He says He’ll be with you to the end of the age. 

3) King of Love (v26-31) 

Love that is outrageous and unconditional.  Disciples are terrified but Jesus full of love and compassion speaks reassuring words to people who thought He was a ghost.  Maybe you need to hear His words ‘Don’t be afraid, take courage’.  Jesus says ‘Come’ to Peter.  What Jesus says to each of us when we ask for His forgiveness and mercy.  Peter begins to sink and cries out ‘Lord save me’.  Jesus couldn’t let Peter drown and as the King of love saves Him.  Do you remember when Jesus did that for you?  Jesus can meet your greatest need. 

4) King of Power (v32-33) 

Power that brings us to our knees.  Are you still unsure that Jesus deserves your worship?  When they climbed into the boat the wind died down.  Do you know anyone who can control the weather?  Here is someone who is all-powerful.  When we think of things that are impossible, remember Jesus delights to do the impossible.  We’re so weak and helpless, not King Jesus. 

Conclusion 

Has Jesus won your heart?  Are you sorry that you’ve let other things take His place and want to be taken up with Jesus again?  

Be passionate about power of Jesus to change people.  No-one comes close to Jesus.  Will your worship of Jesus enable you to address London’s greatest need? 

How dare we not be lost in wonder, love and praise to King Jesus?

“Forgive us our sins”

“Forgive us our sins”

6 things this petition teaches us: 

  • It teaches us that we still sin every day.
  • It teaches us that we still need forgiveness every day.
  • It teaches us that we must confess our sins.
  • It teaches us that God is holy.
  • It teaches us that God is ready to forgive us every day.
  • It teaches us that God our Father wants a close walk with his children. 

(Hugh Collier, ‘Forgive us our sins’)