I Plead the Blood!
Sermon preached on August 23rd, 2020. Sermon by Joshua Dykes
Good morning! I wanna start off by saying that I am so glad that you are all here this morning. It has been a long time since I have been in this pulpit, and part of me was worrying over the summer that school would be canceled and I would not be able to be back with you this fall. However, I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be back here, and if not for the whole semester, then I am still thankful for today.
The title of my lesson this morning is “I Plead the Blood!” There have been many sermons written over the years bearing the same title as this one, and the concept of pleading the blood is not a new one. This morning, however, I want us to take a different approach to this topic and make some practical applications to our lives.
Many of us are aware of the phrase “I plead the fifth”. The fifth amendment of our United States Constitution grants citizens the ‘right to remain silent’ in the event one is arrested and questioned by the authorities. If you are on trial or are being questioned by the Judicial courts, and you do not want to speak because you do not want your words to be used against you, you would say “I plead the fifth!” The authorities, then, would no longer be able to question you directly. So with that in mind, I want to talk about what it means to “Plead the Blood”.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOOD IN THE OLD COVENANT
I want to begin the lesson this morning by first looking at the importance of blood within scripture. If you have your Bibles with you, I’d invite you to turn to Leviticus 17:11. Again, that is Leviticus 17:11.
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement.”
In this passage, we have an OT perspective on the importance of blood. In the context of this passage, God commands that the people of Israel are not to eat blood. The reason why blood was not to be consumed wasn’t because it was dirty or unhealthy. The reason the consumption of blood was forbidden was because it was a sacred purifier. In order for a Jew to atone for his sins, to cover his/her mistakes, he or she was to go to a Priest, and ask for the Priest to make an offering on the altar. The animal, which is set on the altar, would face the wrath of God in place of the individual who sinned. Thus the blood of a creature cleansed one and made one free from the wrath of God. There is another passage that comes to mind it occurs not long before the First Giving of the Law to the Hebrews. Please turn in your Bibles to Exodus 12:5-7. After we read this passage, we will skip down to v.13.
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.”
Now skip down to v.13.
“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 no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”
In this passage, God gives commands in regards to the passover. In Exodus 11, God through Moses threatened the Egyptians with a final plague. And in this plague, The Lord was going to pass through the homes of the Egyptians and the Hebrews. If the homes had the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, then the firstborn of the household would live. However, homes that did not have the blood of the lamb on the doorpost were subject to the wrath of God. So as we have seen in these passages, blood is a covering that protects one from the wrath of God. But the blood of God does more than this.
Blood is used throughout scripture to establish or demonstrate covenants between God and man. If you would, please turn in your Bibles to Genesis 15. I wasn’t made aware of this story until a few years ago when I decided to sit in the adult bible class at the congregation I attend back home. When we look at this passage, we see that blood brings about a covenant relationship between God and man. Look if you will beginning in v.7…
“He also said to him, ‘I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.’ But he (Abram) said, ‘Lord GOD, how can I know that I will possess it?’ He said to him, ‘Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, and three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ So he brought all these to him. Cut them in half, and laid the pieces opposite each other, but he did not cut the birds in half.”
Let’s skip down to v.13.
“Then the LORD said to Abram, ‘know this for certain: your offspring will be resident aliens for four hundred years in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed. However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions. But you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’ ”
Let’s pause here for a second and examine what is going on. God has chosen Abram to be the ancestor of a large nation – the nation of Israel. And in this dialogue between Abram and God, God makes a promise to Abram that his people would receive a land inheritance. With this, God is establishing a covenant. Abram is to be the father of the nation, and God will provide them an inheritance. Now I want you to read with me v. 17-18…
“When the sun had set and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the divided animals. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘I give this land to your offspring, from the Brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River.”
Now, I want us to consider a few things. So we have animals that are split in half. What can we expect to come out of the animals that are cut open? We can certainly expect blood to be what is between the animal halves. Now God, represented here as a flaming torch and a smoking fire pot, passes through the animals. Why is this so impactful? Because God had to walk through the blood in order to establish his covenant with mankind!! Now all of this was part of the Old Covenant. But in just a little bit, we are going to examine the importance of blood within the New Covenant.
So we know that blood atoned for sins and we know that it is the medium by which covenants were established, but how does that apply to us Christians today? Well, I am going to ask that we turn to Hebrews 9. In Hebrews 9, the author beautifully ties together the Old and the New Covenants by comparing the mediums by which they were established. In the first ten verses, the author discusses the procedures of atonement during OT times. The procedures were complicated and were often neglected by the practicing Jews of the day. However, when the high priest offered the sacrifices correctly, the blood would cover for the sins of the people. The thing about these sacrifices is that they were not sufficient enough to wipe out all sin for all time. But let us look at what is written down beginning in v. 11…
“But Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), he entered the most holy place once for all time, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?”
Now this morning, we do not have the time to read all of Hebrews 9 and 10. If you are really wanting to know more about the blood of Jesus Christ outside of this lesson, I would ask that you just read these wonderful chapters for yourselves. So Christ appeared as a high priest but he did not offer to God the blood of bulls and other animals that provided limited atonement. However, the blood of Christ did so much more than that! Christ was able to cover all of our sins for all time!! Can you imagine how big of a burden that must have been for Jesus? To carry all of our sins to the cross and face God’s wrath in our place? I cannot imagine anything more burdensome. But God provided us with this sacrifice out of sincere love for His children. And with this sacrifice, God has now initiated a new covenant and we see this further defended in v.15 and following. Christ, all at one time, atoned for our sins and established a new covenant.
So why do we need this blood? Why do we need the blood of Jesus to take away all of our sins? Well, the reason why we need to plead the blood is because we are all guilty of sin. In Romans 3:23, we are told that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Since this is the case, then we all need our sins to be atoned for by blood. And there will be a day in which we are called to give an answer for every sin that we have committed and we will have to give a defense. There is only one problem with that. Our God is not only just, he is all-knowing.
I want you to imagine with me these two scenarios. These hypothetical scenarios are very similar but with one major difference at the end of them and I want you all to listen closely.
Scenario #1) There is a man named Jarvis. Jarvis grew up in a good household. He went to a large upper-class high-school and went to a very prestigious college. While at college, he became rebellious to all he was raised on. He gave himself to sexual sin and let his ego explode. He dropped out of college, lived with a stripper, and gave himself to alcohol drink. On the way home from the liquor store one evening, he forgot to stop at a stop sign and collided with a vehicle traveling perpendicular to his. He died at 37. After he died, his spirit and conscience is lifted into a court room. Jarvis is very nervous and he has no idea what is going on. At the front of the court room sits a judge. At the center of the courtroom right next to Jarvis is the prosecutor. The judge asks the prosecutor to begin his prosecution of Jarvis. Every sin and wrong-doing of Jarvis is presented. When the prosecutor was finished, the judge asked Jarvis to provide his defense. Jarvis made all kinds of excuses and as he was doing so tried to slowly wiggle his way out of the court room. He failed in doing so and the prosecutor brought him back to his stand. The Judge looked at Jarvis and said these words: “You do the crime, you do the time. My law was clear, yet you neglected it. Therefore, I find you Guilty!” After saying this, Jarvis was cast out of the courtroom to where he would suffer his eternal sentence.
Now I want you to listen to this second scenario. Many similarities, but with one major difference.
Scenario #2) There is a man named Alex. Alex grew up in a good household. He went to a large upper-class high-school and went to a very prestigious college. While at college, he became rebellious to all he was raised on. He gave himself to sexual sin and let his ego explode. He dropped out of college, lived with a stripper, and gave himself to alcohol drink. One evening, he finally came to senses and decided that alcohol was not good for his mental health and living with a stripper kept crippling him of his finances. So he decided to leave the stripper and go to a clinic to get help for his alcohol addiction. He was put into an alcoholic rehab program, and while there he met a preacher who had just overcome an addiction of his own. This preacher had an extra copy of the Bible on him and Alex asked him if he could have it. To his surprise, the preacher said yes and told him to just read the first four books of the New Testament. That evening, Alex read all four gospel accounts and came to the conclusion that he needed Christ in his life. He understood that he needed to be Baptized, and the very next day he asked the preacher to be baptized. The preacher baptized him in water and he was just so excited to have just accepted Jesus. He caught a Uber on the way back home from where he was baptized. On the way back home, the driver accidentally ran a stop sign and collided with another car. Everyone involved was killed. After Alex passed away, his spirit and conscience was also lifted into a court room. At the front stood the judge. There was a prosecutor seated near Alex, but right next to Alex was a lawyer. The lawyer leaned over to Alex and said: “My name is Jesus, I am your legal representative and I am here to defend you. When you are called to the stand, don’t say a word. I want you to plead the blood.” Alex acknowledged what Jesus said and was going to stick to it. The prosecutor began his berating of Alex. Every sin and mistake was made known. The judge then asked Alex to present his defense. Alex stood up in the court room, looked around, and fell into tears. “I can’t do it” Alex said. “I have no defense, I plead the blood.” After he said that, everyone in the room began their applause. Alex was confused, he had no idea what was happening. “NOT GUILTY!” Screamed the Judge. Jesus hugged Alex and the prosecutor hung his head in disappointment. After being embraced by everyone in the courtroom, Alex left a free man in an eternal kingdom.
I hope you notice the difference between these two stories. And this second story in particular mirrors a story that we see in Zechariah 3. Satan, who is the accuser is making his case against Joshua the High Priest. However, Joshua has an advocate. Joshua has an advocate who stands by to defend him. When we plead the blood, we do not make our case. Jesus makes our case because he already paid the price for our sins.
So how do we respond to this good news? How do we go about ensuring that we have Jesus as our advocate? Well, we need to first believe that Jesus died for our transgressions and that we need to walk in his statutes. We then need to respond to the gospel by being physically baptized into water for the cleansing and purification from our sins. And by the way, baptism is not anything new. We see many times in the OT the use of water to purify and free individuals of their sins. So we are baptized into Christ Jesus and then we must live a repentant life as a changed individual. Sin must no longer live in us, but Christ – and we do not need to look any further than Romans 6 and 2 Corinthians 5 to see the vitality of living a new life. Maybe there are some of you here this morning who are struggling in dealing with your sins. You do not know what to do and you need the prayers of the saints. Maybe there are some of you here this evening who have just now opened your eyes to the gospel and have no come to understand that Baptism is a faithful response to Christ. If you want Jesus as your atoning sacrifice, the only way to start is by giving yourself to Him in baptism. This morning, if you have any need, please come as we stand and sing.