Dec 2012

Life With A Holy God III

Act 3 | The King Chooses His People

This sermon on “Life With A Holy God” from The Drama of Redemption was preached by Robert Greene at Redemption Hill Church on Sunday, December 16, 2012. His text was Leviticus 1:1-27:34.

Sermon audio:

Sermon Text:
Leviticus 1:1-27:34

Sermon Notes:

Click here for PDF version of the notes.

Life with a Holy God III
The Day of Atonement: The Two Goats
Leviticus 16

How can sinful man have a relationship with a Holy God?

The first goat dies for the sins of Israel.

The second goat is sent out for Azazel (which is the goat that departs or escapes death).  This goat, bearing the guilt and condemnation of the people’s sin, is driven out to a place where he will never be seen again; he is totally removed, never to return.

To personalize: your lies, pornography, betrayal, impatience, coveting, all sin, is on that goat.  It is you watching him walk away through the court, past the tribes and Judah, and finally out of the camp.

The first goat dies so that sin may be forgiven.  The second goat is sent out so that sin may be forgotten.

Through the fate of both goats, the pervasiveness of sin is exposed and addressed.  Moreover, the penalty of sin is paid (and all guilt removed) and the debt of sin is forgiven and forgotten; all of it by God’s grace.

What do we learn about who Jesus is, for us? Why are the two goats needed?

Sin and Guilt are Persistent

Atonement would be made, but the next moment or week, the people are sinning again.  So the next year atonement needs to be made; and the subsequent year, and all years following into perpetuity, atonement would be needed.  In Leviticus 16:34, God says “And this shall be a statute forever for you that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.”  This ceremony was a picture of God’s grace toward His people, but the effect was that it served as a reminder of the people sins.  It cultivated the longing for a permanent forgiveness because the Day of Atonement was not bringing it.

Application Questions

Are you still longing for a permanent forgiveness?

How do you personally identify with the following?

You are acutely aware of the pervasive nature of sin.  You know your thoughts, motives, deeds and because of them you are persistently plagued by guilt.
There is a nagging, lingering, overwhelming feeling of helplessness that comes from looking at your sins and failings.
You can feel guilty for virtually anything: unmet spiritual expectations (lack of enthusiasm, besetting sin, refusal or inadequate sharing of the gospel, etc.)
Persistent guilt has a degree of control over you whether it is attitude or motivations.  Similar to the plant in Little shop of Horrors, there are perpetual attempts to appease but to no permanent avail.

What are the Practical Effects of Guilty Feelings from Sin? 

These feeling can cause us to deny the gospel; the good news is no longer enough.  They compete with the gospel as we make much of our sin by wallowing in guilt.  We lose our sense of assurance and deplete our joy.  Psalm 32:1-4, and even a few psychology and psychiatry studies on the effects of guilt, makes clear that it can even cause us physical illness.

How Can We Receive Permanent Forgiveness?

We receive permanent forgiveness by realizing all of our efforts to hide our guilt, deflect it, diminish it, lie about it cannot stand up against what God has done for our guilty conscience.  Sin is pervasive; guilt is persistence; but God’s forgiveness is greater and permanent.

Hebrews 9:11-14 “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, 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, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Jesus entered the true Holy of Holies, not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood. God sees the sin in our lives and the payment for that sin is death.  However, when we trust in the blood of Christ, when God sees the sin of our lives, instead of pouring out death on us, He is satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son.  The payment for sin is poured out in fullness on Him instead of you and me.  His blood is what covers us from the wrath that is due to us and it is this sacrifice that absolutely does not require repeating; it is a sacrifice that lasts forever.

Hebrews 10:11-14 “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

Hebrews 10:17 “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.  Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.”

Jesus is the Perfect, Permanent, Subsumed 1st and 2nd goat

Imagine all of God’s people laying their hands on Jesus and confessing their sins.  Jesus bore all of your sin on His shoulders and carried them outside the camp on your behalf.  Your lust, your shame, all sin, has been crucified, forgiven and forgotten.  No matter how deep, dark or dirty your past or present, when your sins have been put on Christ, they are removed as far as the east is from the west, never to be counted against you again.  Forgiveness is permanent and not partial or fleeting. Paul says in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ from the law of sin and death.”.

The implication what Jesus has done is that our guilt is gone, our debt is paid, our conscience is cleansed and we may live as though we are truly free, for indeed we are.  We should live in the reality and the promise.  We are being changed from the inside out.  There is nothing to hide and no work to be done to impress anyone.  Be honest, for it’s who you are and recognize that criticism won’t make or break you.  Our Scapegoat lives and has come back to the camp, scarred but sinless, and all has been made right.

Application Questions

How will we respond?
Will we continue to keep our pride and therefore our guilt and joyless life?
Will we humble ourselves, confess our sin and receive grace?

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