Ultimate Sacrifice

Ultimate Sacrifice

Scripture: 1 John 1:9, John 14:17
Date: 11/14/2014 
There are some things that God cannot do. He cannot lie and He cannot find a sinner He doesn't love. Jesus wants us to know "I wouldn't have gone through everything I went through if it wasn't possible for you to make it."

The High Cost of the Cross - Paper or Digital PDF

The High Cost of the Cross - Paper or Digital PDF
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Blood is the liquid of life, and Jesus poured out His blood to take away the sin of the world. You know, in the Bible we read about one of the great patriarchs. His name was Abraham. And our lesson tonight is called the Ultimate Sacrifice and it's based upon this Old Testament story about the father and the son. Now you remember, Abraham was an old man and he hadn't had the child of promise that he was supposed to have through Sarah. He tried to take things into his own hands and he had a baby with Hagar, Ishmael, and that just brought all kinds of strife into the family. But God worked a great miracle and in his old age - Sarah was 90 - he was over 100 - they had a baby. They named him Isaac, which means laughter, and God promised Abraham that through this miraculous baby boy, all the nations of the world would be blessed because Jesus would come through the seed of Isaac.

So you can understand Abraham's amazement, how distraught he was when, early one night, the Lord woke him up and spoke to him in that clear voice that was undeniable. He knew it was God. And He said, 'Abraham, I want you to take your son - your only son Isaac, who you love, bring him unto the mountains of Moriah and offer him there unto Me as a burnt offering.' Well how could that happen? Because it was through Isaac that all His promises would be realized. Everything in His life had been built up to this son Isaac and now he's a hundred and Sarah's - he's more than a hundred now - Sarah's over 100 at this point. Isaac's probably 17 years of age - but he didn't disobey. He had faith - it says in Hebrews that if he did this, if God needed to raise him from the dead to fulfill His promise, he had learned to trust the word of God no matter what.

So he didn't explain it all to Sarah. He woke up Isaac and said, 'Son, we're going to go offer sacrifice. Come with me. Got some servants. Got the donkeys. They went on a journey to the mountains where God directed him - the mountains of Moriah. It was a three-day journey. They got to the base of the mountains - He told the servants to stay there. He put the wood on Isaac's back and they went a half a day's journey up to the place of sacrifice - three and a half days. How long did Jesus minister? Three and a half years - three and a half years. And on the way up the mountain, Isaac thought something was peculiar because he and his father had gone to offer sacrifice many times before. By the way, you find this story in Genesis 22:19. And he said, 'Father,' - there was a long silence and he knew something was different. His father looked like his heart was breaking and he didn't understand. He said, 'Father, we've got the wood and we've got what it takes to make the fire, but we're missing the lamb.' and he said, 'Where is the lamb?' Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for our sacrifice.' Those were prophetic words because God did provide himself a lamb.

So they continued on their way - they went up the mountain - and at some point Abraham needed to explain to Isaac what was going on. You know, he couldn't wrestle his teenage son to the ground. He couldn't outrun him. He said, 'Son, I need to tell you what the Lord has asked me to do.' And after explaining this, the Bible tells us that Isaac is a willing sacrifice. Jesus was a willing sacrifice. Jesus had the wood placed upon His back. They embraced each other. Isaac then was bound by his father, his trembling hands placed upon the stone altar and just as Abraham was about to bring down the knife - he'd resigned himself to do what God had told him to do - the hand of an angel stopped him and said, 'Abraham, Abraham, don't do the lad any harm for now I know that you trust Me.'

Why do you think He had Abraham act that whole experience out? What greater sacrifice could be asked of anyone than to give their child? This is to illustrate the love relationship between the heavenly Father and Jesus the Son, in what they've done in giving themselves for us - because it's not just the Son that suffered. The Father suffered. The Father so loved the world He gave the Son. And this is why Jesus came. All through the Bible you can see these allegories of salvation. It's all pointing to the time when God would come to the earth in the form of a man.

Now our lesson tonight is going to talk about the central theme of why Jesus came, this Lamb of God. Let's go to our first question in our lesson. Whom did the animal that was sacrificed in Isaac's place represent? You remember when Isaac - when Abraham - I’m sorry - was ready to bring down the knife, the angel stopped Abraham and he directed his attention to a ram that was caught by his horns in a thorn bush called a thicket. There's a ram with a crown of thorns. Did Jesus have a crown of thorns? And that ram was sacrificed in the place of Isaac. Who does this lamb represent? You can read it in John - the gospel of John chapter 1, verse 29. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming it says, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming and he said unto Him, "Behold the Lamb - Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is that Lamb. John recognized - all the lambs that they sacrificed all pointed to Jesus.

The Bible says, in Revelation, it talks about the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. When Adam and Eve sinned they tried to cover their nakedness with what? Fig leaves, you remember? God said, 'That won't do.' for one thing it says that they made aprons of leaves - little mini skirts. And then it says God gave them tunics of skin. It wasn't vinyl that He bought from Wal-Mart. Where do you think that skin came from? Something had to be sacrificed. The sacrificial system was established there to cover their nakedness. As the Lamb of God, Jesus - His robe - covers our sin.

Why was it necessary for Jesus to die? People say, 'Couldn't He have just forgiven us? Why did He have to die? The Bible tells us - Romans chapter 3:23 - I bet most of you know this - "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We've all sinned. And you go on - why is that such a serious thing? Sin is breaking God's law.

What is the penalty? Romans chapter 6, verse 23, "For the wages of sin is - death. Death. But God doesn't want you to die and the only way for you to be forgiven was to have a substitute. And Jesus said, 'Look, I love you so much I will take your place. I will come into the world. I will live the perfect life that I wanted you to live, but I will die the death that you deserve to die. I will give you My goodness and I will take your badness. I'll give you My life. I will take your death. I'll give you My power. I will take your weakness.' He made an exchange with us that we receive by faith and then it becomes real. It really does. But the penalty for sin is death. That was the only way. Furthermore, without the shedding of blood there is no remission - and that means no forgiveness.

The Bible says the life is in the blood. All of the nutrients that go to every cell in your body - fingernails, hair, everything - it's cleansed and it's sustained by blood. Blood is the liquid of life and Jesus poured out His blood to take away the sin of the world. The Bible tells us Christ died for our sins. Now we don't like to think about it but we've all sinned. You see, when God first made man, He made us to be motivated, naturally, by love. But when man chose to follow the devil, we took on the nature of the devil, which is the reverse of that - it's selfishness. We fell. We were tricked. And so God said, 'Look, I want to do something to give humanity another chance at eternal life. I will give you an opportunity to choose. Do you want a heart that is motivated by selfishness, like the devil, or do you want a heart like Mine that is motivated by love?' And the only way is to have that new birth and to get that new heart. We come to Jesus. He takes away our sinful natures and He gives us His own heart - His own spirit. And it's a learning process. It doesn't necessarily all happen at once.

Why did God make such a fantastic sacrifice for us? Answer: you all know this one - John chapter 3, verse 16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son." - the only time that God was ever begotten as a man was in Jesus. God the Son became a man to show us how to live.

Three reasons Jesus came: show us what the Father is like, to be an example to you and I - how we ought to live - and then to be our substitute - to die on the cross. And look at how He suffered. That's what we all deserve for our sins. But He doesn't want us to suffer, He said, 'I will take it for you in your place.'

What must I do to benefit from Jesus' sacrificial death? It is true that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but will the whole world be saved? No, why? You must do something about it. It says - it tells us in the Bible what we need to do. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. By the way, the word 'believe' does not simply mean to acknowledge that He existed. Some people say, 'Oh, I’m going to Heaven because I believe in Jesus.' But their life is just like everyone else in the world. And you say, 'Well, what makes you different?' 'Well, I believe.' 'Well, are you showing that you believe by your life?' See, in the Bible, when it says 'believe' it means 'be live' in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you believe then you respond accordingly. If you say, 'Lord, Lord' and you don't do anything He says, ‘Do you believe?’

You know, the Bible says there are devils that believe He exists. The devils actually believe better than us because they've been around Him for millions of years or thousands of years before they fell. So it's more than just acknowledging He exists or even acknowledging He died on the cross, it's surrendering your life to Him and saying, 'Lord, I’m willing to serve You. I want to live for You.' That's what it means to believe. It starts with believing here, but then that belief needs to go into the heart and then that belief will go from the heart into the life, right? That's the complete belief.

How then am I forgiven and cleansed? Now if we understand everything about prophecy and we miss the main point of prophecy - that Jesus was coming, then you've missed it all. We really want to know how does this all affect me? All these prophecies in Revelation talk about the gospel. People come to these seminars and they say, 'Pastor Doug, I don't want to hear about Jesus, but tell me about the beast. I want to know about the antichrist.' By the way, the word antichrist does not appear in Revelation, did you know that? It's in the letters of John. They say, 'I want to know about Armageddon' and 'I want to know...' Well, what's the book of Revelation called? First words: the revelation of Jesus. So you can't teach prophecy and separate it from Jesus, friends. Amen?

- Don't go anywhere, friends, in just a moment we're going to return with the rest of today's presentation. No doubt, you've often heard that Jesus died for your sins and that He paid an enormous price to save you from sin and death. It sounds important, but how does that affect your day-to-day life 2,000 years later? Well, friend, your response to Jesus'sacrifice is going to be in direct proportion to how you understand its value. In fact, your eternity actually hinges upon knowing the truth about this vital subject. That's why Amazing Facts would like to send you a special gift called, "The High Cost of the Cross." This extraordinary resource dives deep into the heart of the Christian faith by exploring the reasons why Jesus had to die and how much He sacrificed to open the gates of Heaven for you, so don't wait, friend. To get your free copy, call the number on the screen and ask for offer number 156 or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend. Well, let's return to today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts from the Word of God.

How then am I to be cleansed and forgiven - or forgiven and cleansed? Acts chapter 3, it says, 'Repent ye therefore and be converted.' - that's a change of heart - 'that your sins might be blotted out.' Now what does repentance mean? Repentance is a sorrow for sin and a willingness to turn away from it. You've got to look in the mirror and come to terms with you've got a problem. God cannot save you, cleanse you, heal you from your problem until you acknowledge it. You have to humble yourself and then He can lift you up. And you come before the Lord and say, 'Lord, I’m a sinner.' and the next part of that - let's get to the next verse - it says in 1 John 1, verse 9 - in connection with repentance there's sort of a stereo part of that. It says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from some unrighteousness?" - all - did you catch that? To cleanse us from how much unrighteousness? - all - all unrighteousness.

So part of being sorry is then verbalize it to the Lord. Get off by yourself. This is what real repentance and real salvation is about. Inviting God to empower you to be a new person. You take the first steps and draw near to God and it will give you such a refreshing and a peace that comes afterward. You know, new things don't sprout until there's been a rain. And sometimes the new birth comes after tears and pain and that's what repentance is.

Question #7: who enters the heart of each born-again Christian? The Bible tells us in John 14, verse 17, even the "Spirit of truth...you know Him for He dwells with you and will be" - what? - in you - in you. God is real and Jesus said, 'Look, I’m going that I might send a comforter - I’m going to send the Holy Spirit. I can be with you physically, but He will be in you.' and I can't tell you how many times I've just known that the Holy Spirit was in me and prompting me. Sometimes He prompts me to say something. Sometimes He prompts me not to say something. Sometimes the Holy Spirit directs me to, you know, an action or to do something for someone.

I was driving up the street the other day here in town and I saw one of those people standing on the corner and he had an unusual sign. It said, 'I've lost everything but my faith.' And, you know, I used to panhandle and I sized him up and, you know, he looked like he was sober and maybe he really was having a hard time and, you know, I didn't know. So I stopped and I gave him a little bit and I gave him an invitation to the meeting and I knew the Holy Spirit told me to do that. Well, I then went on my errand to the store right around the corner and, you know, I found out he really was hungry because I saw him coming out of the store with food. - wow - so I said, 'Thank you, Lord, for impressing me.' But the Holy Spirit will talk to you in just these little affairs of life.

Question #8: Why should I be confident that my new birth experience will be successful? It says in Philippians 1, verse 6, "He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." You can be confident - if you come to Jesus on a daily basis, surrender your life to him, He will finish the work that He starts in your life. People say, 'Oh Lord, but I may fall.' You probably will. Don't get discouraged. We all sometimes get distracted and we'll make mistakes and we'll fall, but He that began a good work in you will be the author and the finisher of your faith. He will finish what He started if you continue to surrender yourself to Him. Because what'll happen is either sin'll keep you from the Bible or the Bible will keep you from sin. You keep praying, you keep reading the Bible, you'll be so miserable with your sin you have to give up God or you'll give up your sin. But the two will be incompatible. You just keep coming to Him and He'll finish what He started. You believe that? Some people get discouraged and they throw their hands in the air. You keep pleading with Jesus. You keep praying. He will transform you. And it's a growing experience so don't get discouraged.

How can I know that Jesus accepts me and that I’m called His child? Well, because the Bible makes some promises. The Bible tells us in Titus 1, verse 2, "...God, that cannot lie, has promised." Some things God can't do - one thing He can't do is He can't lie. God also cannot find a sinner that He doesn't love. I know, I used to think, 'Oh Lord, well, I know you created this plan of salvation for people but I've gone too far.' And God wants us to know 'I wouldn't have gone through everything I went through if it wasn't possible for you to make it.'

Matthew chapter 7, verse 7, it says, "Ask and it shall be given you." What's the most important thing we can ask for? Jesus said, 'If you have a son and he comes to you - Matthew chapter 7 - 'and says, 'can I have a loaf of bread?' would you give him a stone?' That'd be kind of a cruel joke if they're hungry. Or if he says, 'Can I have a fish?' would you give him a scorpion? If he asks for an egg would you give him a serpent?' - Luke adds one more - He then says, 'If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him? He just wants us to ask. Every day, ask and what happens? 'Ask and you shall receive.'

How will true conversion change a life? Now we're going to give you a spectrum of answers here. It says in John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." God'll do something in your heart - believe it or not, you'll not only be able to love the people that you live with, you'll be able to love your enemies. God can change your heart. He can give the ability to forgive. And some of us need the Spirit of God to forgive ourselves because we feel so guilty. I don't know about you, but there's places in my past I don't want to go. Whenever I think about what I said or what I did, I just cringe. And then I remember that Jesus has forgiven me, so what right do I have to be a higher court than God. If He's forgiven me, then that must be good for me too, amen? He'll help us have love for Him and love for one another.

Now I’m going through, kind of, the alphabetical answers here. Answer B - This is in a series that falls under that question - "If any man be in Christ, he is a" - what? - new creature - "a new creature. Old things are passed away. All things are made new." We - you become transformed and things are all different. Things that you once loved, you now hate.

I used to - the first few times I went to church, I'll be perfectly honest with you, I grew up with the music of the world. My mother was a songwriter and great composers came to our house and I love music, but church music? Whoa. It was so slow. I'd go to church and I'd look at the hymn that they picked in the bulletin and it would say - if it had more than three verses, I went to the bathroom until they got done singing. The things I once loved, I hated and the things I once hated I love. Now I hear those songs and it just brings tears to my eyes because I think about the words and what they mean. Places I used to love to go, I hate now. Things I used to love to do I don't want to do and things I used to hate I want to do. I mean, God just changes you - makes you a whole new creature.

Answer C: 1 John 3:22, "...We keep His commandments, and do" - there's that word again - "those things that are pleasing in His sight." This is what the Bible teaches. He makes you a new creature and you want to be a doer of the word. God'll just totally transform your life.

Answer D: It says, "Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that we might prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It says, 'You shall be witnesses unto Me.' Then we let our light shine. We show others what Jesus is like. What wonderful promises come with the Christian life?

A number of other wonderful promises. A - we'll do these quickly, okay? Philippians 4:13, "I can do" - how much?

All.

"All things through Christ who strengthens me."

Answer B - Philippians 4:19 - The Bible says, "God shall supply all your needs." He will take care of you. He'll give you everything you need to prosper, as a parent would. Mark chapter 10, verse 27 - don't forget this one - "with God all things are possible."

Answer D - John 15, verse 11 - it says, "That your joy" - is the Christian life a sad experience or is the gospel good news? Christians ought to be the happiest people in the world. We have eternal life that begins now. We become citizens in His kingdom. God will transform your life and give you a purpose. John 10:10 - it says, "That they might have life more abundant." Jesus doesn't come to take away your life, He wants you to have an abundant life. Hebrews 13, verse 5, "I will" - Jesus promises - "I will never leave you or forsake you." He says wherever you go, He's with you. He'll watch over you.

And then, you can also read in Hebrews chapter 13, verse 6 - you don't have to be afraid of anything. Some people live in fear. It says, "I will not fear what man can do unto me." You know, if you have God in your life, you don't have to be afraid of anything. If you're fearing God, you don't have to fear anything else. If you do not fear God, you're going to end up fearing everything else. People having panic attacks - a lot of people live in fear. Some are afraid to leave their houses - they're taking medications and I’m not a doctor but I think a lot of these things could be resolved by having faith in God. He gives you - that's the last one - John 14:27 - He says, "my peace I give you." Jesus could sleep through a storm because He knew His Father was always with Him and Jesus will always be with you.

So what's the sum of what I’m saying, friends? That there's only one way for you to really have peace and power and purpose in your life and it's to accept the sacrifice of God's Son. You know, this took on new meaning for me. I used to read that verse all the time: 'God so loved the world He gave His Son' and then a few years ago I was doing some evangelistic meetings in the Philippines and while I was there I thought, I’m going to call my firstborn son, Micah, and just see how he's doing. They had this new technology called Skype - it had a different name back then and I wanted to make a cheap phone call on my computer. So I called him up. We talked a little bit as a father and son - just, 'wWhat you doing? Oh, I wish you were here with me.' And we talked and just before I hung up I thought about saying, 'You know, I love you son.' But you know he's a tough kid and you know you go to hug him and 'Oh, c'mon Dad, you're getting mushy.' And so I said, 'I love you, I'll see you when I get back.' That next morning I got a phone call. He was a contractor - 23 years old - had a fatal construction accident. And when you get the word, as a parent, that you've lost your child, you would do anything to bring him back to life.

Death is such a terrible permanent situation. And I cannot read that verse anymore, where it says 'For God so loved the world He gave His son' the same way because I know how much it broke my heart - and our family - when we got the news about Micah. And I’m looking forward to the resurrection and getting other people ready. That's the purpose for life. He wants you to be ready but He won't force you, friends. You need to make the decision.

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