“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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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’)

For we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night!

John Bradford was the pastor of St Paul’s in London.  He was thrown into prison for refusing to deny his beliefs which were in opposition to those of the state church which was Roman Catholic during the reign of Queen Mary. 

In prison he continued to preach whether it be to the thieves and criminals or to the many of his congregation that visited him.  On a couple of occasion he was offered a pardon if he would deny his beliefs, but he wouldn’t.  He was then sentenced to death and on hearing the news that he would be burned at the stake the next day said: “I thank God for it.  I have waited for this for a long time.  Lord, make me worthy of this.” 

John Bradford was brought out to the stake with a teenager who also refused to deny his faith called John Leaf.  Before the fire was lit, he begged forgiveness of any he had wronged, and offered forgiveness to those who had wronged him. He subsequently turned to his fellow and said, “Be of good comfort brother; for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night!”

Christ in the Passover

Yesterday my church had great evening with Stephen Pacht from Jews for Jesus as he took us through the presentation Christ in the Passover.  Stephen clearly preached to us the gospel as he showed how Christ is the fulfilment of the Passover – wonderful stuff!  I definitely recommend inviting him to do this presentation at your church.

A couple of things he said stood out:

“The removing of all the yeast (which represents sin) from the house in preparation for the feast of unleavened bread is a lovely tradition that recognizes that we are sinners in front of a Holy God.”

“What we have in Jesus that they don’t have in Judaism is the assurance of forgiveness of sins.”

“The bread eaten with the cup of redemption has to be pierced (Jesus was pierced), and it has to be without leaven – bread without Sin (Jesus was without sin).”

“Three pieces of unleavened bread are hidden in a bag.  The piece in the middle is taken out, revealed, broken and buried, and then brought back.  Rabbi’s aren’t sure why that it.  But it could be an old tradition from the first messianic Jews to represent the triune nature of God with the middle piece representing God the Son, Yeshua-Jesus who is revealed, broken, buried and then brought back.”

Stephen recommended a couple of books:

Bring us to the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ

“The Christian gospel is not merely that Jesus died and rose again; and not merely that these events appease God’s wrath, forgive sin, and justify sinners; and not merely that this redemption gets us out of hell and into heaven; but that they bring us to the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ as our supreme, all-satisfying, and everlasting treasure.  “Christ…suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).” 

(John Piper, God is the Gospel)

Thrilled at being forgiven

“One of the reasons that many Christians seem to have no thrill at being forgiven through the gospel is that they have not been broken-hearted over their sin.  They have not despaired.  They have not wrestled with warranted self-loafing.  They have not grieved over their sin because of its moral repugnance, but have grieved only because of guilt feelings and threats of hell.”

(John Piper, God is the Gospel)