Theme Song: It is not Death to Die
I praise You that You are always faithful. Thank You for commanding us to trust in You...for allowing us to trust in You through the ever-winding path of this earthly life. You are our peace and through Your blood, Your people are granted peace. Each and every one of Your people has been reconciled to You in Your time. And in You, Your people are irrevocable reconciled to one another. Father, it is hard for me to see Your peace through my weak Spiritual eyes, but I pray that You will grant us faith to know the peace that You have acquired for us.
In Jesus Christ's Name,
Peace with God through His Blood
The relationship of the human soul to the Sovereign soul keeper is of primary importance in the eternal Kingdom. As we consider our own peace in light of this relationship, we know that the status of this relationship will dictate our own peace, yes even the presence of turmoil, fear, worry, gloom...ultimately condemnation in our conscious thoughts and feelings which result in the absence of peace. The absence of our peace came from presence of a great distance and a great separation between our human souls and the great I Am.
The wall which stood between us is like the veil in the Temple which separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. Even the holiest one among the people of God, the high priest, could only enter once a year and not without the blood. The veil was literally our hostility towards God manifested in our disobedience, which was revealed through the law.
But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. Heb 9
As Christ was crucified, His Life was numbered with the transgressors and His blood was poured out onto death. Here the very constituents of the veil, our sinful hatred of God, was placed on the perfect Lamb. As He bore our guilt, His blood was shed to make atonement for, or to remove our guilt.
As the Messiah finished the work of atonement, He cried out "It is Finished" and the veil in the temple was torn in two. In the heavenly realms, the separation between God and His people was removed. No longer was there condemnation looming over their heads or the fear that the Israelites had when the Lord commanded Moses to command the people to not come any closer to the mountain of God where God spoke to Moses. It was not as though God had overlooked our sin in light of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. Rather, in Christ, the full price for our sin had been paid. Our sin had been removed entirely. The price for our sin was the price for our soul. In atoning for our sin, He was purchasing our souls for His own keeping. Yes, the fearful and awesome God, whose holy fire would have consumed the fallen earth in Its splendor, has truly loved His people. He has loved them unto death on a cross. He has loved them to call them His own and to give them Life in knowing Him.
What is eternal Life? What is this Life that was intended to make our joy and peace compete? Jesus has prayed:
3 Now this is eternal Life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. John 17
Though the veil has been torn, few have found the Eternal Life in Christ. For to know Him we must come to Him. We must approach His throne of grace with freedom and confidence. This requires that we believe in the complete forgiveness of our past, present, and future sin. And it is a strange work that the Spirit performs. For as we receive forgiveness we are being granted that very humility and response of love for our Sovereign Lover that enables us to live a righteous life.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the Gospel. Col 1
There is an ongoing temptation in our hearts to harbor condemnation and the associated consequences of a perceived absence of peace: fear, gloom, despair, anger... The devil uses our momentary sins and the accusations given to us from the world and those around us to destroy our peace. We often think that when we lack peace, there is some earthly event or person who is responsible. But it is quite true that the necessary and sufficient predecessor for our lack of peace and thus our pained relationship with our Good Shepherd is the perception of guilt.
Here is a personal example:
One major arrow against my peace has been physical discomfort. There are times when I am overcome with exhaustion or stomach ailments. I have felt utterly condemned in them. For on my heart is written the Law of God (and even the law of men) that we ought to "lay down our lives for others", "pour ourselves out like a drink offering", "set an example to believers in life, love, faith, and purity", "be content in all circumstances", "rejoice in the Lord always", "not be idle"... and in my weakness I feel completely incapable of thinking of others or fulfilling God's or the world's or even my own standards. I could dream of 101 potential occurrences in which I would fail to walk in faith in such a state. And yet God's Word to me is that "My child, your sin has been forgiven and My grace is enough for You. My Holy Spirit still indwells your being though you have felt this way. I have allowed these weaknesses to come upon you in order to reveal my glory. You need not fight against it, but stand firm in faith and You will see My deliverance."
And there are many instances in our lives when the literal continuous sins of the flesh, that is, when we are not walking in faith, bring to us inclinations of condemnation and judgment. And yet when we consider the finished work on the cross we realized that if the guilt of even one of these momentary sins were to be borne by us, we would be entirely damned. Do we feel guilt for our sins? Then we are claiming that we are eternally damned. We ought to approach the throne of grace with freedom and confidence that we may find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
that the righteous nation may enter,
the nation that keeps faith.
3 You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in You.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. Is 26
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Puritan Prayers: Link to prayers by old Puritans...could not get past a few lines without tears.
Sermon: Prayer as Communion