Atonement in Symbols: Part 1

Atonement in Symbols: Part 1

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:18-19, Genesis 3:21, Leviticus 4:1-35
Date: 11/08/2008  Lesson: 6
The atonement, as well as other aspects of how we relate to God, were demonstrated through symbols and sacrifices in the Old Testament sanctuary system.

The Sanctuary and the Little Horn by Doug Batchelor

The Sanctuary and the Little Horn by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning and welcome to Sacramento "central study hour." We're so glad that you are joining us here this morning. And I want you to turn in your hymnals this morning to hymn number 286, "wonderful words of life." And while you're turning in your hymnals, I want to wish mrs. Doris bradshaw a happy birthday. She's celebrating her birthday in london today and I just wanted to mention that. And just welcome you all here this morning.

Let's sing, "wonderful words of life." [Music] Amen, and what a privilege it is to get to gather together and study those beautiful words this morning. One way we like to make everybody feel a part of the Sabbath school, whether you're joining us here in the sanctuary or you're joining us wherever you are around the world, is to allow you to go onto our website, saccentral.org, and you get to choose The Songs that we sing; we want to sing your favorite songs. So if you have a favorite song, we are taking Christmas requests right now. Our next hymn is 476, one of my favorites and a lot of favorites around the world, because this is a request from noel and cathy from australia, raulie from California, norma from england, wassa, joan and natani from fiji, jim, diane, jamie and buffy from florida, iris from Georgia, deon from grenada, colin and charles from jamaica, ally from malawi, joy anne from New York, claudette from New Jersey, lynn from New York; oscar and claire from the Philippines, crystal and dalene from south africa, and Karen from thailand. You know, I cannot wait for the day 'til we can all gather together in one place.

And all of you that I've read the names, I just can't wait to meet you face-to-face in the Kingdom of heaven someday and worship God together. Oh, it's just gonna be wonderful. Well, let's lift our voices this morning, hymn number 476, "burdens are lifted at calvary." [Music] Amen. Heavenly Father, we just thank you so much for your love and your care over us. Lord, we know that you're taking care of our lives; that nothing can happen that you don't allow.

And Lord, if we're going through troubles or anything, we can just trust in you. Lord, we just thank you so much for that assurance. Lord, and I thank you so much for giving us wonderful words of life, for giving us your Bible, a love letter to show us your character and your love for us, Lord. And as we study it this morning, I pray that you'd guide us. Show us your love through these symbols of atonement this morning.

Please be with pastor mike as he shares with us. And Lord, may we each receive a blessing today. We love you so much, in Jesus' Name, amen. And our Sabbath school lesson will be brought to us by pastor mike thompson. Thank you very much jennifer and jessica.

Goes well together, jennifer and jessica. Happy Sabbath to everybody. It's good to see you all. You're all looking good and blessed, and praise the Lord. And those of you watching on internet, or listening on the radio or wherever you might be hearing this, welcome.

And those of you who watch weeks from today, it never ends, does it? On 3abn or hope channel, or whatever, God bless you and we're glad you can join us. As jennifer said, the lesson today is number 6, it's in this book, the quarterly. If you don't have one and you're watching maybe for the first time, you can go to any seventh day adventist church, tell them Pastor Doug Batchelor sent you and they'll give you a free one. And it's called, "atonement and the cross." And today's lesson is called "atonement and symbols, part one." By the way, first of all, some of us may wonder what is an atonement? You know, we usually, we throw these terms out sometimes and we get used to speaking this special language of the church. Atonement, actually, it can have a play on words--it means to be made at-one-ment with God.

It means if you're separated from God, and you're out there and he's over here, and you want to get back, you need to be made at-one-ment with him. The question is how do you do that? Well, you really don't have to do anything but believe and accept what God has done for you to bring you back into harmony with him. And he did that by giving each of us a Savior, Jesus, our best friend. And what we have to do, we have a small part to play--we must glad-fully and thankfully accept the gift, and have faith to believe that the gift will work in our behalf. And God will forgive us and give us the strength then to not only be forgiven, but to keep hold of his hand and to walk with him.

Because who wants to go back into the lost place where you were before, right? So God will help us. And that's all part of what we call atonement, being reconciled to God. Before I go any further, there is an offer--it's offer number 129, and it's called, "God drew the plans." A very interesting lesson, "God drew the plans." You can get it free from Amazing Facts if you live in the continental United States. You can go to the website, www.amazingfacts.org. Or you can call 1-866-788-3966, or 1-866-study more.

Okay, "atonement part one." There's a memory text here, it's from 1 Peter 1:18-19, and I'll read it as it is in the lesson. It says, "for you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers. But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." Or in the old kin James it says, "without blemish and without spot." In other words, the price, the Savior that we speak about, the one who God sent to make this atonement for us, he's perfect, without blemish and without spot. And he kind of makes up for what we definitely lack. And so the theme this morning, the key thought--and I'm reading from the lesson--it says, "to show how the old testament sacrificial system pointed to the sacrifice of Christ.

And that sacrifice whereby we are redeemed, and there's an atonement made for us with our Heavenly Father." And as we look in the old testament and into the new testament, of course--but in the old testament we find that in the earlier days just following, immediately following the fall actually, right after the fall--at the fall God initiated the sacrificial system. And from the time of adam onward into the future 'til a certain extent, that sacrificial system was absolutely sufficient to atone for sin. But the sacrifices were presented in a more kind of a simple basic setting. And we speak about that time period as the time of the patriarchs. Then we move along in old testament history to a time where we kind of speak about it as the time of the prophets; we get to the time of Moses.

When we get to the time of Moses we find those same sacrifices. Nothing really changed--well, nothing changed with that. It called for the death of an innocent victim on behalf of a guilty person. That stayed there, but it was offered in a more elaborate system in the sanctuary. And it was in the time of Moses that the sanctuary was first built, a portable temple.

Then finally in the time of Solomon there was a permanent structure and so on. But whether it's in the time of the patriarchs or the prophets, with a simplified system or a more elaborate one, the point is this; that the sacrifices served as a picture book. It was a picture book. You know God is very visual; he gave us eyes; that tells you something of what he's like. And he knows the visual as well.

So the sacrificial system, it was like a picture book. And people could look at the sacrifices and see there pictured how God was dealing and going to deal with this issue of sin. A very thorny problem, you know, how is he gonna deal with this? Well, when somebody went to the temple, or even in the days of Abraham and before the head of the family, the patriarch, gathered his children and his wife together in the morning and he'd have an altar made of rocks. And he'd take a lamb or a little goat and he'd sacrifice it. And the children would look and they'd probably feel a little horrified, and they'd say, "daddy, daddy, why did you do that? I actually knew that little goat, I knew that little lamb.

Why did you have to do that? That wasn't very nice, daddy." Well, it wasn't very nice, but it gave daddy an opportunity to explain to his little children that sin isn't very nice. And there's an awful dreadful price to pay for sin. And so from little children to adults God kept that picture book there all of the time before his people. And it was showing them through the sacrificial system how God could take somebody who had actually broken his law and was being worthy of death, eternal death. They were deemed worthy of that; the law couldn't be changed.

But the sacrificial system showed how God could take somebody under such awful condemnation and yet devise a way of kind of getting 'em off the hook, without having to change his law. The law had to stand, somebody had to die. And God loved us so much he just couldn't bring himself to do it. So he says, "you know what? I'm gonna do it myself." And so the Bible tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. It wasn't that just God stayed in heaven and said to his son, Jesus, "while you go down there I'll stay here and take care of things; I'll be watching you.

" No. Jesus came down, but he was still one with The Father. And when Jesus was scourged and when he was nailed to the cross, the nails went through his flesh, yes, but it went through The Father's heart at the same time. So they were together in this thing, you see. But anyway, let's go--well, there's two things--in a moment two things; I want to mention this first.

You hear people talk about the law was abolished on the cross. Well, the moral law was not abolished--the ceremonial law was abolished. And a good way to remember the difference between the two is this; the ceremonial law, all of those sacrifices, was to illustrate how God was going to save us from the consequences of having broken the moral law. It's just as simple as that. Two laws distinct, both very separate roles--ceremonial law temporary, moral law eternal.

And everything symbolized in the ceremonial law met its substance in reality in Jesus Christ. Okay, so what we see in the sacrificial system, we see two things--we see illustration and manifestation, illustration and manifestation. Through the ceremonial system we see illustrated--and I've already mentioned this--how God devised a way to save us. We see his justice on one hand, the law demands a life has to be taken, had been violated. But on the other hand we see God's mercy, how he gave his son instead.

So we see this, we see illustrated how God saves us. But we also see manifested the wonderful, merciful, kind character of God; whose mercy and compassion, if you had the task of drawing it with a big Marker, there wouldn't be a white board sufficient. The surface of this earth is not sufficient to go around it a gazillion times. You'd have to go way off in space, beyond the nearest star and beyond, beyond the farthest galaxy with that big, super, heavy duty Marker, and even then you would not have been able to draw the dimensions of God's mercy and his compassion to his children, even when we're bad. God is the most wonderful being in this universe, and if you don't know him, it's about time you did.

When you know him, those of you who don't, I can tell you this, your life will never be the same again. You'll look and you'll say, "where was i? You know, where was I all this time? Where was i?" God's been there all the time. And for those right now, even this morning maybe watching on the internet, and your life looks like it's just fallen to pieces and you think, "could it ever get any worse?" It doesn't matter where you are or what you are going through, if you'll bring all of those pieces and you place them in the hands of Jesus, I can tell you this, your happiest and best days are yet to come. That's a promise that I give you on behalf of tHis Word. So don't despair, if there's anybody despairing this morning.

So anyway, we go back, we see the beginnings of the sacrificial system. In Genesis 3:21, if somebody would care to read that? Do we have our microphones? "Unto adam, also unto his wife that the Lord God made coats of skins and clothed them." Yeah, thank you. And the context of this, of course--thank you, jessica-- is when they immediately fell. What could they do? Nothing, absolutely nothing. This passage clearly implies there must have been at least two innocent victims that were sacrificed, had their blood shed and covered the nakedness of our first parents, adam and eve.

So there has to be at least, I'm assuming, two innocent victims. You see, the sinless glory of the righteousness in which God had clothed them at creation, when they sinned, it was all suddenly gone. Transgression had left them not only physically naked, but also in terms of righteousness they were absolutely thread bare. They were lost, helpless, fearful, painfully aware that they could do nothing themselves to atone for their sins or re-clothe themselves in any form of righteousness. But God took care of that, as jessica read, God made coats of skins and clothed them.

Took the life of an innocent victim, washed away their defilement and clothed them again. A very clear picture here, of course, of what Jesus would do one day, who was the fullness. Everything was a shadow that pointed to him, it was the body and the substance, it all pointed to Jesus. And what did Jesus do upon the cross when he shed his blood? He gave his life away completely. He paid the price for our transgressions, to wash us clean and to clothe us in the robes of his own spotless, pristine, pure righteousness.

So instead of the wages of sin, which is eternal death, God could joyfully give us the gift of eternal life. It never cost us a penny, praise God for that. We need to be more thankful, don't you think? We need to nurture a spirit of gratitude. I'm speaking for myself, but I see a few heads nodding this morning. It comforts me to know I'm not alone.

We really need to be thankful for what God has done for us. But this great transaction of love, this righteousness, which is not theirs, which they didn't deserve, but nonetheless God gave to them, it was accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus. And there's a verse there, which you'll find in the Bible in the lesson map, Mark 10:45. Anybody on this side would like to read? "For even The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give his life, a ransom for many." Thank you, roy. Jesus didn't come to be ministered unto, he came to minister and offer his life, a ransom for many.

The lesson reads in Monday, there's a statement here, it says the killing of the sacrificial animal also illustrated--and it's really points--number one, the seriousness of sin and the costliness of forgiveness. Illustrated the seriousness of sin and the costliness of forgiveness. And it's one thing to know that something is bad or wrong, but it can be another thing to be able to grasp the magnitude of how bad and wrong something really is. You know we, those of us who have children or grandchildren, you know, you show a little child, "do you see this here, little george? This is hot. You touch this and you get burned.

" What did he do most times? "Oh." You know? We try to, we do this all the time with our children, and really as adults we're really no better. We do the most silly things. We fall down holes, we walk under trucks, we do all these things and we often learn the hard way. And God wants us to understand that sin is bad; and not just that it's bad, but the consequences are so dreadful. Even with our combined imaginations this morning, if we could distill them all, you know what--we can read about Revelation 20 and the lake of fire, and with our combined ability to feel and comprehend, we might think we're doing pretty good; we've got a grasp on how awful it is, it would be, to lose your soul.

But you know we don't. To lose eternal life and to go through the pangs of the dying process of the second death, the consequence of sin, it's something all of us combined, we simply cannot imagine. The cost, the consequences of sin is so awful, so awful it's beyond our ability to grasp. But we do the best we can with our children and God does the best he can with us, with our small minds. But he wants us to realize, don't be one of the people that in life you learn by looking back.

We can get away with it in this life sometimes, you know, put your hand on the stove. It doesn't cost you eternal life. But who wants to learn what--how painful it is to lose your soul? Because, you know, you're lost, who wants to learn that way? Let's be wise, let's look at the examples set for us in Scripture. This is why God, even his heroes, he doesn't paint them rosy; he tells you their mistakes, so we can learn from what they've done. So God, the bottom line is God wants us to understand and grasp, as far as we can, and to stay away from sin, simple as that.

You see, God hates sin; he loathes sin. Sin is extremely offensive to him. God is no respecter of persons. You may walk the walk and talk the talk, and be perfectly faithful to God. But when you sin, if you sin, if you sin deliberately, God cannot turn around and say, "well, you know what? I've got all of this record of all your good deeds, so I'm gonna overlook this one.

" No, if he did that, it means it's salvation by your own works. God cannot excuse sin, period. He's no respecter of persons. So I hope we get the warning and the realization, let's flee it like the plague. Let us take hold of the power of Jesus.

And if we're wishy-washy in this life, get over it, friend, because the grace of God is sufficient to give you the strength and the backbone, and the wherewithal to live the life that God has called us to live in this last hour of earth's history. Because where sin abounds, God's grace does much more abound. And so sin was bad, this is what God was trying to teach with every sacrifice that was offered. And I used this little illustration before, you know, the children would look on and say, "daddy, that is so awful." "I know, son, that's exactly the point, sin is awful." It is so awful and it's so bad that to be saved from it, the price God had to pay was equal to the dreadfulness--I'm trying to, I'm groping for words here, but I think you understand what I mean--the price that was paid had to match the horror and the awfulness of sin. And that price that was paid was the life of Jesus Christ, the life of God.

It was the only life, not an angel, not 10,000 angels, it wouldn't have been sufficient. It had to be the life of God who came down in human flesh and gave everything away. That was the only way that we could be saved from the awful consequences of sin. And so I'll read again, he says, "for as much as ye know that you are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers. But with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.

" Praise God. I want to move on a little bit now. Let's, Monday it speaks of sin and impurity. And in the book of Leviticus, for example, and Numbers, and there's other places in the Bible, we see there how God very often uses impurity. We see, as it were purity versus impurity.

And in Leviticus and Numbers, you'll find these verses in Monday's lesson, it describes various ways that a person could be rendered physically impure and unclean. For example, an issue of blood, man or a woman, an issue of blood. Contact with a corpse. Leprosy, even in the time of Jesus leprosy was seen as the bad thing that it was. But even in his time it was also symbolic of the impurity and the uncleanness of sin.

And this was a lesson that God was trying to teach underneath the actual physical uncleanness that somebody could incur. It was a metaphor to describe that the impurity and the uncleanness of the natural heart and mind. We need to understand this, because unless we see our uncleanness and our impurity, and our wretchedness in God's eyes and the offensiveness of that, we won't have the desire and neither the incentive to want to be cleansed. In Isaiah 64:6, we see this here, this kind of a, this metaphor in a spiritual sense, using concrete terms. Somebody else like to read on this side? "All of us have become like the one who is unclean and all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags.

" Yeah, unclean, filthy rags. "We all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." Yeah, thank you very much. And there's another one I'll read from Isaiah 1:6. God is speaking to Israel here of their spiritual state; they were backslidden. And he says, "from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it.

But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores." Very graphic language, but very fitting nonetheless. And it's often the case that physical uncleanness and impurity may also bring with it the most obnoxious and unbecoming fragrances. You know, I used to work in a hospital, I worked on surgical units, and once in a while there would be someone unfortunate person who would get just an overwhelming wound infection. And we'd put them in a side room, you know, by themselves, and you'd walk in that room and you'd just take a little breath, and ray knows what I'm talking about, and you can just smell it. Just, you just know it's decaying flesh.

And I've seen some people, praise God, recover, and I've seen some people unfortunately who passed away. Juanita, she's a nurse as well, she's nodding her head. So it's not the nicest thing to have to deal with that, it's uncleanness, it's corruption, and nobody likes to deal with it. But that's spiritually what our heart is like, but I praise God that God didn't mind putting on the gloves. Actually he never even put the gloves on, he just came down and got his hands in it all to cleanse us.

A few years ago I was working at a place in england called enton hall. It was kind of like a lifestyle facility, but we had some people came with medical conditions. And one day I was on duty and this lady came from the community or somewhere. And first time she came in and she had no intention of staying overnight, but she was desperate and her legs were all bandaged up. And she had--she said she had these very bad varicose ulcers, which were infected.

And straight away that taint was in the air. We took her downstairs into a place in the basement and we took the bandages off. And I've seen some bad varicose ulcers but it was just awful. And I'm not trying, I don't want to turn anybody's stomach, so I won't try to get too graphic, but all we could do initially was stick her legs over a drain and get buckets of warm water, and just keep pouring buckets of warm water on her legs just to wash off all of this foul smelling stuff. I won't say any more than that, but God nonetheless uses the same terminology.

He says, "from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores." Wound infections, putrefying sores cannot afford to be ignored. And neither especially can the putrefying sores of the human heart; its infected wounds and sores have to be cleansed, dressed and healed. And going back to Isaiah 1:6, God continues. He says, "your wounds and sores," he says, "they have not been closed," clothed, "closed," sorry. "Neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

" So you see, you can go to a pharmacy and get medicated ointment for, you know, infected sores, you can do that. But you can go to the best pharmacy in the world, but you won't be able to find any ointment that can heal the sores, the running putrefying sores of the carnal heart that's just been left to its own devices. You can't do that. Nobody on this earth can manufacture that. And the apostle Paul in Romans 7, he kind of speaks about this same thing.

In Romans 7:7, and right there near the end of the actual chapter, the last verse actually, well, almost the last verse. Romans 7, let me get there real quick. Romans 7:24, he's speaking here of a man, he's describing the condition of a man who receives the purity and holiness that he wants. He wants to be pure and holy in God's sight, he wants to measure up to God's high standard of righteousness, the law. And he just can't do it 'cause he's got this wretched, fallen, corrupt heart.

And he cries out there in 7:24, "o wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" And if you have a marginal reading, it says, "who shall deliver me from this body of death?" He says, "here I am," he says, "I'm tied, I'm shackled to this body of death." And where there's death, there's corruption, there's putrefaction, there's filth. And spiritually that's a very powerful, very graphic, but very fitting analogy. You've probably heard this mentioned before, the Romans, one of the things that they would do sometimes, it may not have originated with them, but I've read they certainly would do it sometimes, they would take somebody who was guilty of a crime, a felon, instead of crucifying them or beheading them, they would actually shackle them to a corpse. Shackle them to a corpse and leave them there to die. I won't say any more about it, but you can imagine what that got like after a day or 2 days.

It must have been just awful. Talk about dying in a mess of uncleanness and being helpless to be able to help yourself. It hardly bears thinking about. But you know we're just as helpless. Isn't that true? We're just as helpless, we're just as firmly shackled to the dead body of our sinful nature, and we cannot escape.

As Paul says, "who shall deliver me from this body of death? Who can heal us? Who can close the weeping sores? Who can restore us to purity?" Well, you know, Jesus can, yeah. In Jeremiah 8:22, speaking again of ointment here and healing of wounds, Jeremiah 8:22, it says, "is there no balm in gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" The reality is that there was a balm in gilead; there was a physician there. There was one who could bring wholeness and restoration. But he's saying, "I provided the balm, the ointment, why aren't my people recovered?" Because they wouldn't take hold of it. They preferred to stay with the open weeping wounds of a corrupt and sinful heart.

But we don't have to be that way. See, it doesn't matter how great your hereditary or maybe cultivated tendencies to sin are, or even your sins. It doesn't matter how great the measure of your impurity or your uncleanness. It doesn't matter how great the weeping sores of the carnal heart that you may be struggling with. There is, friends, there is a balm in gilead; there is a physician there, and that's Jesus.

I want to read to you from one of my most favorite verses in Scripture. I read this often about Jesus. I think I read it maybe in my last sermon, maybe last time I did Sabbath school. But every time I read this, you can turn to Luke 4, beginning in verse 16, it always just kind of gets inside me. I see just the wonder of what Jesus came down to this earth to do for us.

And now this was his passion that he poured himself out to accomplish for us. He's just beginning his public ministry in Luke 4:16. It says, "and he came to nazareth where he had been brought up, and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written.

" And this is just beautiful. Try and hear the voice of Jesus, if you can. "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Then he closed the book and he gave it again to the minister and sat down.

And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." Praise God. It's too bad that they couldn't appreciate that, the next moment they wanted to throw him off a cliff. But, you know, for somebody who is watching and you didn't know that Jesus came to do this kind of thing, well, he did. And so this day this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears.

Praise God for that. I want to read a little statement, this is my wife helen's little mini version of "Christ subject lessons." And as men we can smile at the little delicate things our wives carry around sometimes. But this is "Christ subject lessons" page 418, and this is speaking of telling those who don't know there's a balm in gilead, to tell them about it. You may know of somebody today who would appreciate a phone call from you, or a visit or an e-mail or a letter, or a card that lets them know you care about them. And also this is for us as well.

"There are many from whom the hope," sorry, "there are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them.

There are those who need the bread of life, read to them from the Word of God. Upon many is a soul sick, which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them there is a balm in gilead and a physician there." If that lady wasn't inspired, then i--she was inspired, all right. I have no time for people who say, "this is just," thank God for sending a faithful servant to write beautiful things like that.

So if you know somebody who's courage has failed them, maybe even yours, these words are for you. Well, Jesus was and heal-- was and is the healing balm in gilead. But before the cleansing and the ointment of divine grace could be poured out from that sacred vessel, that vessel had to be broken. And that, again, getting back to our theme here, we see the breaking of that vessel and the release of that precious ointment when we look at those ancient sacrifices. Which all pointed, of course, prefigured the cross of calvary, where Jesus was broken, where he was poured out.

And every one of those animals, whether it was a lamb or a ram or a bullock, it had to first be a firstling, it had to be a perfect specimen, a perfect example without blemish. And this, too, is an example of Jesus, because he was a lamb without blemish and without spot. And that is the miracle of Jesus' life, because he so identifies with us that he encumbered himself with fallen flesh, yet he lived an un-fallen life. And the humanity of Jesus, I'll just speak for myself, that means everything to me; that he knows my struggles, but he overcame them. And as I go to him with the simple faith of a little child, he says, "Michael, take this, it's my righteousness.

You take this and come with me, and you can present this to The Father's throne. And you can do that, and through that transaction you bring his righteousness; it's credited to you. And The Father cannot turn your way and he gives you grace. And he says, "I give you strength. You go back into this world, you live for me; you bring glory to me.

I give you the strength to do that." The Gospel is a high calling, friends. But that high calling has been attained for us through Jesus, who gives us his life of victory that we might follow successfully in his footsteps. And we have to have the faith to believe that he is able to do that for us. But the point I want to make here is that prefigured in these sacrifices was the perfect offering of Jesus. In other words, the sacrifice he made when he poured himself out was all-sufficient.

It was absolutely complete to wash away every sin. There is nothing that you and I can bring to kind of mix with that to make it more effective, or to use this term, efficacious. We can't bring anything but our sinful hearts and our fallen lives. But that's all Jesus asks for, because he'll take care of the rest. John 1:9 says, "if we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

" That is a promise. In Isaiah 55:6-7, it says that, "the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. And let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy on him and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Actually, the verse before says, "seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Then it says, "let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. And let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him, unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Now, we mustn't take this promise, as wonderful as it is, we mustn't take this promise to mean, because it says there, "let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts." Some people get the idea that they have to reform themselves first. They want so bad to be forgiven, but they think, "I've got to reform myself first.

I've got to clean myself off. I've got to live a few days without falling and then I can come to God." You can't do that; you have to come just as you are. And some people, you know, i, and I've done this myself, some people hold back because the other reasoning that they have is that, you know, I don't think I'm sorry enough. I did a bad thing, but I just really don't feel sorry enough. Surely I've got to feel more sorry before I can come to God and ask him to forgive me.

You come as you are. Here's the thing, here's the thing, the devil hates for fallen human beings to become the recipient of God's mercy and his forgiveness, so he'll put these arguments in our mind. "I'm not sorry enough, I don't think I'm contrite enough. I've got to first reform myself for a few days at least." You come as you are. The fact that in your mind there's just, it may be, you may not feel anything so strong in your heart that's true contrition, but even if it's just in your mind, there's a thought there that appeals to you, just the thought of, "yeah, I would really like to be forgiven.

" If it's just that, respond, because that thought did not originate with you, it was God putting it in your mind to get your attention and to draw you. You see, the grace of God, it reaches out to us when we're just the most hopelessly lost. When we're down in the darkest pit, it's that inclination. When the prodigal son was in the pigpen, it says he came to himself. That wasn't his own reason, "he came to himself," that was, getting inside the parable--and it was a parable that's happened so many times--that was the Holy Spirit wooing him, just the intellectual thought, "you know, it's a lot better off in my Father's house than here.

And, you know, I really would like to go back, if I could." If you only have that, respond to it, because that is the Holy Spirit; that is Jesus wooing you. You see, in 2 Corinthians 8:12, it says, I'll let you get there. Does somebody want to read this? Corinthians 8:12. "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath. And not according to that he hath not.

" Thank you very much. If there's just the willingness, just the desire, "I'd like to be forgiven," go. You know, I've very often found that contribution and true sorrow for sin, most times comes after I've been forgiven, after I've experienced by faith forgiveness. And then I'm able to contemplate God's mercy, what he just did for me. And I can, I see Jesus on the cross.

And very often it's after that I feel that full flood of-- that explosion of true sorrow. I want to read to you from "steps of Christ," this is the Amazing Facts' version called "road to redemption" and the paging is not the same, but it's the chapter called "repentance." I want to read to you just a few sentences. "Speaking of some who think that they cannot come to Christ unless they first repent and that repentance prepares for the forgiveness of sins. It is true that repentance does precede the forgiveness of sins, for it is only the broken and contrite heart that would feel the need of a Savior, but must the sinner wait 'til he has repented before he can come to Jesus? Is repentance to be made an obstacle between the sinner and the Savior? The Bible does not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ, 'come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.' It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ that leads to genuine repentance. Peter made the matter clear in his statement to the Israelites when he said, 'him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

' We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience than we can be pardoned without Christ. Christ is the source of every right impulse." Where did that impulse come from? Not from you, but from Jesus. "He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against sin. Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own sinfulness is an evidence that his spirit is working upon our hearts." And think there may be something else. Yeah, one more.

"If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better." We're already talking about this. "How many there are who think that they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts? Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then can you also do good who are accustomed to do evil? There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, better opportunities or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves, we must come to Christ just as we are.

" I find that very encouraging, don't you? Because I can struggle with a hard heart, absolutely. So we need to come just as we are. The sacrifice has been made, but we come as we are and we must believe and accept the sacrifice and the gift that God offers by faith. The just shall live by faith. And I'm gonna read something else in respect to this as well.

This is sometimes a stumbling block to some who may read the Bible, see pictures of Jesus on the cross, may even understand about the sacrifices, which we're talking about this morning which prefigured the cross. But still they see all of this and they want it, but they feel they don't have faith, the simple faith to believe that what God says, he means. And yes, it is for you, you must believe that the just shall live by faith. I'm reading two statement from "testimonies to ministers" page 518 and 519. And this first statement, I've read it before a couple of times, during Sabbath school class and sermon, and you'll probably hear it again before I'm gone from this church.

So here it comes again, it's beautiful. "Satan seeks to draw our minds away from the mighty helper, to lead us to ponder over our degeneration of soul. But though Jesus sees the guilt of the past, he speaks pardon and we should not dishonor him by doubting his love. By faith we must believe and accept and go forward. The feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross or it will poison the springs of life.

" Some people, they struggle with this burden of guilt and they want to take it, but they don't have the faith to believe. You have to take it, you have to lay it down and give it over to Jesus. Because as it says, "the feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross or it will poison the springs of life. The cloud may seem dark in itself, but when filled with the light of heaven it turns to the brightness of gold, for the glory of God rests upon it." And then on the other page, even if this didn't kind of fit in with the lesson or not, I want to read it anyway, 'cause it's--i just love this statement. "God loves the sinless angels who do his service and are obedient to all his commands.

But he does not give them grace. They have never needed it, for they have never sinned. Grace is an attribute shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it, it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow grace upon all who hunger and thirst for it, not because we are worthy but because we are unworthy.

Our need--our need is the qualification that gives us the assurance that we shall receive the gift." If you feel your need, that's your qualification. That qualifies for you to go before God with all your baggage, with all the impurity that you could ever fill your heart with. That need is your qualification. You can lay that down and God says, "why are you here?" Because I have a need. It's done.

You have a need and you have a Savior. Well, we're almost ready to conclude here. In fact, our time really has gone. But all of the sacrifices, they prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus. But also, and we didn't get 'round to this, this morning, they also prefigured the priests, the high priests, who would take the blood and minister there in the sanctuary.

And so I will conclude with, finally, with these two verses here from Hebrews 5:1-2. "Speaking of Christ, who is the fulfillment of everything under the priesthood, for every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity." Jesus was compassed with our infirmity. He understands what you go through and his grace is sufficient to atone for every sin and to give you the grace to live the life of victory in this world. Oh, by the way, in conclusion, the free offer is number 129, "God drew the plans." You can get this by contacting Amazing Facts at www.amazingfacts.org. Or call 1-866-780-3966 or 1-866-study more.

God bless you and may you have a great, wonderful and very precious and glorious Sabbath day. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live," and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions. And our online Bible school is just a click away.

One location, so many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org. If you've been encouraged by today's message and would like to know more of what God's Word says to you today, Amazing Facts invites you to visit our educational website at www.Bibleuniverse.com. At Bible universe you'll discover exciting truths that will fill you with peace and purpose. The mysteries of the Bible will unfold for you at your own pace.

Visit www.Bibleuniverse.com today, expand your universe.

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