Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pleading the Blood of Christ

It is a privilege to be able to speak with you this morning. I love that our church is taking this year and focusing it on the family. You know that with us, that is what God wanted in the garden. He wanted a family. A loving, living, God breathed family that would tend to His creations and each other. The strange thing is He still wants that today. No you say? Well the bible tells us that God is the same yesterday, today, as He is forever (Heb 13:8). When this current world passes and the new heaven and earth are formed we will pick right back up in the garden of Genesis. Isn’t it just and loving that God could so love the world that He would press pause on His desires for everyone to show us His goodness through one for everyone? What a brilliant God we serve. Some of us here have been met with all kinds of questions involving God’s goodness or loving character. Few of us today can combat the questions that are being thrown at us about God and the “if He is love then” questions. Let me give you an example of one that I get asked. This doesn’t have anything to do with my message, but someone here needs to hear this because you’ve been asked a question like this at work and you are ashamed to admit that not only are you stumped but you share the same questions about God. Don’t be embarrassed to have hard questions. If your God is the God of everything, then it stands to reason the He can handle your questions. I promise you, you have a God that is not afraid or scared that you will find out He is a liar. He is not a man that He should lie (Num 23:19).
The question: “If your God is love, then why does it say in 1 Samuel 15 that God tells the Israelites to kill everyone and everything? Doesn’t God say not to murder or shed innocent blood? But, kids are innocent, so why did God break His own commandment?” Anybody ever had a question like that? If not, then good! That’s a hard question that you could be sucked in by. If you are not careful, you will approach the question from the position of agreement with the presumption of their question; that God must have broken one of His words. The truth is we do not have to agree with their pretext. 1st realize that God does not violate His word nor His character. He is loving, merciful, long suffering and at the same time, a judge and righteous God with wrath and anger at His command. So anybody want to answer this besides Pastor Ken?
I know we could fish this answer out, but for the sake of time and the fact that I like to give answers to hard questions, let me tell you how I’ve answered this question with great results when asked by people of other eastern religions and atheists.
1st – Without presuming to know God completely, I would saying that in this as in all things, God demonstrates all of His attributes at once.
2nd – The facts – God is long suffering. Look at Genesis 15:16, He shows that the cup of the iniquity of the Amorites has not been filled and God gives them more time (mercy and grace). This shows us a pattern that God follows even with the Amalekites. There was a ban placed on them. This meant they were not to be plundered by the Israelites but everything destroyed because God had judged them from their iniquity 400 years earlier until now (Long suffering and judgment). God wanted everything destroyed because of two factors. One - that no one would gain from such a hard (judgment). Two - that He could demonstrate His (love). What love do you ask? The love for the children of the Amalekites; they were both innocent and stood in danger of being guilty one day. A loving God, knowing the choices and upbringing they would receive would cause them to reject Him and hate His chosen nation. To avoid them falling under His judgment because the sins of the parents would have visited (punished) them as well, He plucked them up to be raised in the arms of a loving God. This is good preaching.
We can ill afford to have our blessed hope robbed by such questions that we don’t even agree with the premise. More and more today, our children are being faced with these and other questions. How will you prepare yourself and your family? Get into the word and let your mind be open to Him, not the world. Let yourself ask Him hard questions and then start with the whole of the Bible and work your way down to a single verse. Not the other way around. Don’t build your life on a verse that you can’t even quote the context. That is sinking sand and we stand to fall if we don’t build a strong foundation of word. What makes a foundation strong is not just the substance of the materials used but the wide and depth of it as well. Go deep and wide with God by making you and your family available to the Bible (source of the materials), godly friends (width of the foundation), and the study of its contents in our services, Sunday School, and personal time (depth).
For years and years, I heard it in almost every church said I needed to “plead the blood of Christ.” While growing up I never questioned whether I needed to or not, I also never questioned myself as to what it meant, why I need to, or even how. In fact, the only frame of visual reference I had was that of an exorcism where the priest would shake a scepter with holy water at a levitating girl and scream “the power of Christ compels you.” Well, little did I know that I would find myself with a holy scepter and a levitating…? No, no nothing like that. Last year as I began to read, study, pray more than I ever have before, God began to speak to me about this little known topic of pleading the blood of Christ. I took a broad brush to the word like before thinking OK, I’ll do it, but something inside of me popped up and said, one thing; “how?" I realized that I had no clue. This started for me a journey of truth to find out the what, the how, and when we as Christians should be “pleading the blood of Christ.”
Turn with me to the book of Job. A lot of scholarly work has been done to unlock the secrets of this mysterious book. Many of you might be asking yourselves why I would say mysterious. The reason is two fold, 1st – it’s hard to determine with any certainty the origin and time frame in which this book was written. There is great debate on it. 2nd – why has this book been canonized in the Bible? It is classically thought to not have any real applicable reference to Jesus and therefore is questioned as to its validity as scripture. While there is still some question as to the authorship and origin, I believe that there is a great message and believe the book of Job could be the OT key to unlocking the importance of the pleading the blood of Christ. If you have your Bibles open to Job, follow along…
The book opens with Job, a righteous, wealthy man who loved God and shunned evil. Well let’s read it
Job1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.
And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed[a] God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.

If we aren’t careful we will miss the point of the book of Job and its application to our families today. Let’s break this down into three parts to see how we should treat our family before God.
  1. Sanctify Them
Your children need to be set apart for God. That is why we do baby dedications here. But that is just for a moment. This sanctification is for a lifetime. If you notice Job’s kids are grown and gone. It says “their houses,” but that didn’t stop Job from sanctifying his children. You see, we are not owners of our children. Yes they are born through us, but not from us. They are God’s own breathed spirit that is meant to worship Him as a created being of faith, hope, and love. Since we are not owners, but have a great responsibility still, we become stewards of these gifts from God. We have a God commanded responsibility to sanctify them until God.

  1. Plead the Blood
This is the important part that is overlooked by so many. Job makes sacrifice to God on his children’s behalf. He covers his children.
Rev. Allen Brummel says in his commentary of Job 1 “Job's concern for the spiritual welfare of the children went to the root of the matter: their hearts. Not just the outward actions, but their hearts. There was no evidence that they had sinned or fallen into temptation. But Job knew that sin was deeper than the deed. Sin was a matter of the heart. Even though his children were living uprightly, were doing that which was not outwardly sinful, he was concerned that their hearts be right with God. For Job was one who eschewed all evil, that is, he shunned and avoided all evil, not only the outward deeds but any evil thought or desire. And Job is concerned that it may be that his children have sinned in their hearts. The very possibility of their sinning brought concern to the heart of Job. Job knew God as a righteous, holy God who demands perfection and holiness of His people. And Job's godly concern was the spiritual welfare of his children as they stood before that holy, righteous God.”

  1. Do it regularly
We see this as a model for success. From David to Jesus, they would get up early and seek God continually. There is something to be said about the earnest fervent prayers of righteous people… it would seem that they break  through the heavens and into the throne room of God.

But some of you might say to yourself, “wait a minute, Job’s kids died?” to which I say yes they did. This is where we see that the book of Job goes quiet. If Job did these three things, why did God take his children from him? Well, to be honest, I don’t fully know, but the Hebraic understanding paints a better understanding of the truth of God’s mercy, justice, and love through this account. The Talmud offers this about the death of Job’s children; they had just finished a birthday party for one of them and Job had just made a burnt offering when Satan came and pulled the house down on them. Later, when Job’s wife has had enough, supposedly after 17 years of him sitting in the dust and his wife having been deceived by Satan into having her head shaved in public, she tells Job it would have been better for her and her family if he would just curse God and die. Job prays asking God to show her their children. The heavens part and there are all of her children clothed in white linen with God. She goes to a stable in perfect peace, lies down and goes to be with them in heaven. It’s a tragically beautiful picture of the goodness of God.

Smith, James E. "First & Second Samuel." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

Brummel, Allen. "THE REFORMED WITNESS HOUR." "Job: Sanctifying His Children" Job 1:4-5., 5 July 1998. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.