What Got us to the Cross? – Isaiah

April 18th, 2014 by RevBT
[video src="http://www.divinecrash.com/lent5.m4a" width="400" height="300" ]

I finally got my recorder going again and now you can hear the sermon as it was preached via the link at the bottom of this post or on iTunes.

We are continuing our Lenten Series about “What Got us to the Cross?” How did we end up at a place where we needed a Roman torture device to save us?

Jesus, went to his home town and on the normal day he went to his home synagogue, Luke 4:16 says he did this “as was his custom.”

when he was in his home town synagogue it says he was asked to read the scripture and give the teaching.

When he was handed the scripture to read he opens it to Isaiah 61 and reads the same scripture we are looking at today.
Isaiah 61 (CEB)
61 The Lord God’s spirit is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me
to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim release for captives,
and liberation for prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and a day of vindication for our God,
to comfort all who mourn.

After Jesus reads this, he sits down and says “Today, this has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

This tells us a few things about Jesus, it tells us a few things about us as individuals, and it tells us something about us as a church.

First, it tells us Jesus is anointed by God and it tells us why Jesus was here. To preach, heal, help.

Second, it tells us about ourselves. It tells us what we, as christians, are called to be doing.
- John 14:12 Those who believe in Jesus will do what Jesus did and they will do even greater things than Jesus did.
- Those who say they believe in Jesus are then anointed by God and sent by God to preach, heal, and help.
- If you claim to be a Christian then you are sent by God to preach, heal, and help.
- But we aren’t all called to be preachers, doctors, and lawyers. So how do we as individuals live this out?
- You can preach without being a preacher. In fact, we are all called to preach.
- 1 Peter 3:15 always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you
- 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach always.
- We preach all the time, the question is just what are you preaching?
- When we tell all our friends about the TV show they need to watch or movie to see or book to read we are preaching.
- A preacher is someone who shares news. What news are you sharing?
- When our non-Christian friends comes to us and we talk about the weather instead of Jesus we miss our call to preach at all times.
- We can preach via our Facebook status
- We can preach via our T-shirts
- We can preach via our conversations
- A lot of times, preaching gets a bad rap, we say “Don’t preach at me.” That is the fine line. How do we share the gospel without condemning people. We do it by speaking the truth in love to those around us.

- We can heal the broke around us without being a doctor.
- When we offer a cool drink of water to someone who is thirsty we bring healing.
- When we offer clothing to those in need we bring healing
- When we offer hope to those who feel hopeless we bring healing

- We can bring freedom to the captives without being a lawyer
- When we sit and listen to those who are hurting we offer them a release
- When we cut the chains of those in physical slavery we offer them a release
- When the addict finds help they have been released.

This scripture then has implications for our church.
- The church is the body of Christ in the world today. Which means this is our job description.
- We as Harrisville UMC are called to preach, heal, and help.
- Sunday mornings we offer preaching. Healing is offered through our mission trips, and outreach events, and helping is offered through our cell groups, Sunday School, Kids Club, and Youth Group.

Preaching, healing, and helping. That is why Jesus came. That is what you and I are called to do, and that is why the church exists.

If we can’t, or won’t, do those things then we miss out on what it means to follow Jesus. We miss out on what it truly means to be a church.

It is easy to get distracted from our mission. It is easy to get consumed in our wants and desires. In fact, there are supernatural powers that only exist to keep us from our preaching, healing, and helping mission.

We don’t need supernatural powers to get distracted. Cell phones and Facebook can keep us distracted.

However, we need something divine to remind us of our mission and that is where communion comes in.

Communion as a meal reminds us of Jesus’ mission to preach, heal, and help

Communion reminds us of our individual mission to preach, heal, and help those around us.

Communion reminds us of our calling as the bride of Christ to reach preach, heal, and help the world.

Close in Prayer:

Sermon Audio 

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What Got us to the Cross? – David

April 16th, 2014 by RevBT

We are continuing our Lenten Series about “What Got us to the Cross?” How did we end up at a place where we needed a Roman torture device to save us?

2 Samuel 11

David sends his army to war but stays behind

David gets bored having stayed behind.

David has an affair with Bathsheba.

Bathsheba was willing

Bathsheba gets pregnant from this affair.

David has Uriah killed by the Ammonites

David marries Bathsheba

Then God shows up.

God sends Nathan

Nathan brings out the truth

David is guilty and pleads for forgiveness.

David’s whole problem came down to one singular issue. Power.

He used his power to stay behind.

He used his power to get what he lusted for.

He used his power to create life

He used his power to take life

He used his power to cover his sin

What David forgot was that his power was given by God.

He forgot his power was limited when compared to God’s limitless power.

He forgot that his power was supposed to be used to serve God and God’s people.

What if that is us? What if we are the ones with power? What does this say about our power and how we use it?

First, we all have some sort of power. With our voice, with our presence, with our money, we all have power.
- If you are a christian than you have power.
- Acts 1:8 says that we have received power from the Holy Spirit.

Second, our power only comes to us because God lets us have it.
- Romans 13:1 There is no Authority unless it comes from God.

Third, our power is to be used to serve God and God’s people.
- 1 Peter 4:10-11 use the gift you have to serve each other with the strength that God supplies so that God may be glorified in all things.

How often have we been David? How often have we been given this amazing gift from God and abused it.
- 2 Samuel 12 God says “I gave you everything, and you decided it wasn’t enough”
- How often is that us?
- Not tipping to our server because they are lower than us
- Not tithing to our church because we are “above” that
- Not serving those in need because they are “lazy” and should “get a job”
- Not praying for each other because they need to deal with their own stuff.
- Complaining that “it” isn’t good enough or they are pretty enough or smart enough.

Maybe we need a Nathan to correct us.

Maybe we need a reminder that we aren’t really in control. That God is the one who puts us in our place.

Maybe we needed the cross the remind us that God has the final say in everything.

Maybe, we got to a place where we needed the cross to remind us that even death is powerless in the face of God.

How did we get to a place where we needed the cross? We got there because we often get this self inflated idea that we are more important or worth more or more worthy than those around us.

There is a phrase thrown around that says the ground at the foot of the cross is level. It means that no matter how bad your life is, you can still come to the cross.

but I think the opposite is true. No matter how good your life is. How high up on the socioeconomic ladder you are the cross is a reminder that in the eyes of God you aren’t any better than anyone else in the world.

The cross is the great equalizer.

On the cross God in the flesh died for each and every person which means that you are not so bad that Jesus refused to save you and it means that you are not so good that Jesus didn’t need to die for you.

This also means our neighbor is not to far from grace either. It means Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama and Billy Graham and the Robertson family are not to far from God’s grace.

We needed the cross so that no one could boast about how good they are or how worthy they are of eternity.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says that We have been saved by grace through faith, not by our works, it is a gift from God so that no one can boast.

None of us can sit here and say “look at how holy I am” or “look how good I am” or “I earned this pew” because we didn’t. We have often times used our power to control and abuse and get what we want.

The reality is, any power and authority we think we have is dwarfed by God and is only granted by God. Un-matchable authority, unparalleled power, undeniable control

It is when we forget that we begin to get in trouble.

Parable of the good Samaritan Luke 10
- priest
- Levite or teacher
- scoundrel

So then, we who call ourselves Christians have this power inside us. Given by the Holy Spirit. And we are called to use this power to serve God and our neighbor. Unfortunately, all to often we mess that up and hurt people.  In light of the cross, abuse of power can no longer exist and when we see a person around us who we think is lower than us. Or less worthy than us. May we instead see that the ground at the foot of the cross is level for all of us.

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What Got Us to the Cross? – Moses

April 14th, 2014 by RevBT

We are continuing our Lenten Series about “What Got us to the Cross?” How did we end up at a place where we needed a Roman torture device to save us?

When I prepare a sermon
- 6months in advance with prayer and discernment on topic and scripture
- 3months out make computer file and jot down a few thoughts
- 1 month out write a draft that includes all the research and work.
- 2 weeks out tweak, make Powerpoint.
- 3 days before practice

Every Thursday is sermon day. I do nothing but work on my sermons. In the morning I write a future sermon and the afternoon is the up

If you show up to my office when I am working on a sermon you will see stacks of books piled up as I research each one.

This sermon was no different. I had research books and commentaries and versions of the bible stacked up so that I had to stand up to reach the top one.

One of the books I read spent nearly 10 pages talking about the different type of bush that this could be and why one type of bush is more accurate than another type of bush.

I finished reading that book and I shut it and I thought to myself.

“Who cares…” The bush was on fire!

Not only was it on fire, but it wasn’t burning up.

Not only was it on fire, but not burning up, God was speaking out of it.

Not only was it on fire, without burning up, and God speaking through it, God was saying that He was going to use Moses to rescue an entire nation.

This author was so busy making an argument about whether it was a blackberry bush or a cassia bush or an acacia bush that he had completely missed the fact that God had shown up!

How often has that been us? How often have we missed God because of the smaller issues?

How often have we gotten so caught up in the technicalities that we miss God’s presence.

In Genesis 28 Jacob lays down to take a nap and has a dream about God’s promise for him and when he wakes up he says in verse 16 “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

How often has that been us? God is in this place, right now and we don’t even recognize it.

Maybe it is at work, we are so busy with deadlines and co-workers, and office gossip that we miss that God is right there, in that place.

Maybe it is at home, with the kids. They are running around coloring on the walls, spilling juice, and wiping snot on their sleeves that we miss that God is in that place.

Kid at winter jam story

Maybe it is even here at church. We are so consumed with the typo in the bulletin, the change in the liturgy, the upcoming move of the pastor, the finances, or that it isn’t the way it was in 1956 that we miss that God is in this place.

What would it look like if we stopped acting like the author of that book and instead acted like Moses and gave in to the holy curiosity and moved closer to the burning bush. Instead of asking what kind of Bush this is what if we listened to the God who is in this place.

What if instead of worrying about the technical problems and issues we think we see, we asked “What is God up to in this place.”

Sometimes, I get very frustrated when I hear people complaining about the church. How it isn’t right, and it isn’t the way it used to be, or so and so is mean or “If you don’t do what I want I will leave” or other garbage.

Sometimes, when I hear these complaints or those angry voices I just want to stand up and shout

“BUT GOD IS IN THIS PLACE!!!”

Don’t you see it? God is here. God is in this place. God is in these pews.

I don’t care that you don’t like the music or don’t like my preaching.

Church isn’t about you. Church was never about you. Church has always been about the God of the universe who has joined us in this place.

I mean, look. Kids come out of children’s church excited. Lives are being changed. People are becoming more like Christ.  That only happens when God is in this place.

We can fight and complain about all sorts of stuff. Until Christ returns, no church will ever be perfect. So we can whine about how we don’t like the cloth on the cross or the preacher not in the pulpit or how we have a “divided” church

or

We can focus on the fact that God is in this place!

We ended up at a place where we needed the cross because we spend far too much time worrying about the kind of bush that was on fire, instead of the big things like God was speaking through a burning bush.

We needed the cross to remind us that the little things don’t matter. What really matters is that God is with us and God is rescuing us and calling us to a new place.

So then, for today, we are left at a place where we have a choice to make. Focus on the little stuff and all the stuff we don’t like and pick apart the little things.

or

Recognize that even now, even in the midst of those little things, God is in this place.

God doesn’t leave because of coffee. God doesn’t leave because of typos. God leaves this place when we care more about the kind of bush than the fact that god is in the bush.

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What Got us to the Cross? – Abraham

April 12th, 2014 by RevBT

This sermon is from our Lenten series, however due to a family emergency, I never preached this sermon. I ended up missing church that week and in order to keep us on track I skipped this one. Enjoy the manuscript and feel free to leave a comment at the bottom with your thoughts.

Genesis 17

Abraham is just a normal guy doing his thing, he moved out of his parents place and got married.

He is getting old. At 99 years old he had resigned himself to a comfortable life with a nice wife, and a good life. His family visited once in a while.

Then God showed up.

God says “look dude, your my guy.”
- God is going to create a new nation
- A favored nation.
- A nation of people who will follow God and only God.
- And it is going to start with Abraham’s son.

Abraham’s response?
- Laughter.
- Not just any laughter, in Hebrew it literally means this double over in laughter, to Guffaw, to laugh so hard. Like that big belly laugh.

This was a laughter at the ridiculousness  of what Abraham had just heard.

Sometimes, God’s plans are so ridiculous sounding it makes people laugh.

but then look what happens.

Abraham gets this promise from God and starts to follow it

And nothing happens.

Abraham didn’t get the fulfillment of God’s promises right away.

Abraham went and circumcised everyone just like God said but then he had to wait. He had to wait an entire year.

Ever been there? Ever felt like God had a great plan for your life and it wasn’t happening fast enough. Like you just have to wait and be patient.

Finally, one day God shows up while Abraham is relaxing under a tree.

These three men are understood to be the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Abraham feeds them and they say they are leaving but will be back in a year and by that time Abraham will have a son.

Sarah is in the tent and overhears this and in verse 12 she laughs to herself, but it was that outward, huge laugh and God heard the laugh and said “why are you laughing? Is anything to difficult for God?

Why is it when God wants to do the impossible we laugh?

God specializes in the impossible

Perhaps what we need is a good laugh. Perhaps what we need is to see that the God of the universe is the God of ridiculous impossibilities and we should just relax and laugh a little.

I wonder if to often we hear of God’s grace and it makes us bitter and hard-hearted. “How dare God save that person!” or “That person is such a sinner, God may have forgiven them, but I can’t.” and it just makes us bitter, angry, and grumpy.

Let’s be honest: there are far to many grumpy people in church.

but when I read scripture, I am honestly not sure if you can be grumpy and be a Christian.

I mean, too often we sit here and we complain how we don’t like this or that or this isn’t right and that’s not right and we sit down for an hour a week and complain about how this or that isn’t the way it used to be.

I mean, when I read today’s scripture or the events of the resurrection, or the loaves and fishes, or the baptism of an Ethiopian Eunuch I can’t figure out how so many Christians can be so negative.

I mean, if we really believe this stuff shouldn’t it make us dance for joy?

If we believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us and give us an eternal life shouldn’t that make us dance?

When King David experienced God’s grace he stripped off all his clothes and danced around town naked.

Now, keep your clothes on, but if you have been saved from an eternity in hell and permanent separation from God, shouldn’t that make you jump up and down and dance and just go crazy!

At the very least, it should become impossible to sit around with your arms crossed, in the same pew, refusing to budge because “that’s the way it has always been done.”

but let’s cut the lies out, that isn’t the way it has always been done.

Because the way it has ALWAYS been done is that Our God does the impossible.

Our God does the ridiculous

Our God uses the strangest people and ways to do things no one has ever seen before.

The way it has ALWAYS been done is that God does brand new things in brand new ways.

Colossians 1:27 – No matter how weak you are or how insignificant you think you are God wants to use you to do the impossible.

The way it has ALWAYS been done is to use those who are insignificant, poor, strange, or different to do impossible things.

God is like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects it.

No one expects a 100-year-old guy to be a brand new dad. Let alone a father to a whole new nation.

So you can sit there and say “we’ve never done this before” and close your arms and be all negative

or

we can embrace the fact that the God of the universe does things in brand new ways with brand new people.

“We’ve never done this before” can be our sigh of defeat or our battle cry as we go forward.

The reality of the scripture is that God is calling for a new group of people.

God is calling for a new group of people who follow God and God alone. Who worship Jesus with their whole hearts and believe that they are here to partner with Jesus in His mission of making sure everyone knows who God is.

And to do that we have to be willing to do things we have never done before in ways we have never done them before.

When it comes to making sure the world knows who God is we have two tools.

1. The Bible
2. A blank piece of paper.

The Bible as our anchor that grounds us and centers us on God

and the blank piece of paper that we can use anything at our disposal to share Jesus with the world.

God has called us to do the ridiculously impossible and that should cause us to double over with laughter and then get to work.

Abraham got to work as soon as possible

We need to get to work as soon as possible.

God has promised to be with us the entire journey but the journey is up to us.

There are people all around you who do not follow Jesus. They may be hostile to the gospel. They may not have ever heard the gospel. or maybe they feel like they have done to many bad things to ever be saved by God.

Our call is to reach out to them and love them and show them that we have not forgotten them and neither has God.

So then the questions remain.

How can we see all that God is doing and all that God has called us to do and still be filled with negativity?

How can we participate in the journey of faith while inside we are full of hatred, malice, and anger?

How can we say that we will spend eternity with God when, right now, we aren’t even doing what God has called us to do?

I don’t think we can.

I think the only way to really be a Christian and to participate in the journey God has called us to is to drop the negativity.

So then, your challenge this week is two-fold.

1. If you are a negative person, just grumpy all the time. Ditch is. Do not speak an unkind word. Do not criticize another person.
2. If you are normally a positive person who loves all and finds so much joy in God that you laugh at it all then don’t listen to the negative. When a person around you starting being negative, tell them to stop. Tell them you aren’t going to listen to them and you don’t want to hear their complaints and criticisms.

John 14:12 Jesus tells his followers that if you believe in him you will do greater works than even he did. You will do bigger and better and more ridiculous miracles than even Jesus did.  You can’t do that while being negative! It just won’t work.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we stopped with the negativity? If we stopped listening to the complaints and criticisms and started listening to the God who does the impossible? how much different would we be? How much different would our church be? Our town? Our state? or even the whole world?

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Something I have been thinking about lately

April 10th, 2014 by RevBT

Hockey players who refuses to fight.

A fellow pastor who refuses to argue.

An inmate who doesn’t join the gang.

A savior who allows the beating.

So often we put power in the ability to destroy, control, and manipulate.

What if real power comes in walking away? I mean, what if there is more power in not fighting?

How much power does it take to throw a fist compared to how much power it takes to know we can throw a fist and still walk away?

When someone eggs us on, pushes our buttons, makes us furious and we don’t drop our gloves but instead walk away.

At that point who has all the power and who has all the control?

Maybe there is a real power in weakness? Maybe there is real power in being able to walk away.

Maybe those who appear to have power are really weak and those who appear to be weak actually have all the power.

I don’t know all this for sure, but as we approach holy week I see God in the flesh who has the power to call down legions of angels for His defense and chooses not to. He was innocent and no one would blame Jesus if He threw a fist, called down lightning, or at least cursed his accusers to eternity in hell. But He doesn’t. Jesus takes it.

Naked and alone on the cross Jesus looks weak and insignificant. In reality, Jesus holds all the power. By taking on weakness Jesus becomes stronger than any accuser, captor, or judge could ever be.

It is in that apparent weakness that Jesus defeats the only tool sin can use, death. No longer does death hold any power and sin has nothing left to throw at us.

It appears, at least when it comes to Jesus, those who appear weak are actually very strong.

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What a difference winter can make?

March 17th, 2014 by RevBT

We finally had a few warm days outside. The snow has melted and while still windy and cold we had two days of sunshine. So, we took the kids out to play. I was able to play catch with my son was doing great! He wasn’t perfect at it, but was remarkably different from last year.

Last summer, he didn’t even attempt to catch the ball until was past him. he would throw it and end up spinning in a circle until he fell down. Then he would cry and give up.

This spring, you can see the start of the throwing ability, much better catching ability. And no more crying about it. Just going at it and figuring it out.

We didn’t do anything intentional during the winter to help him be better at throwing and catching a ball. We didn’t practice in the house or anything like that. It was just his natural growth in his coordination, patience, and muscle abilities.

It was beautiful.  What a difference a winter can make.

Winter is dark, cold, blustery, and just miserable. Sometimes it feels like there is no end to winter.

But then, all of a sudden, winter ends!

The sun comes out, flowers bloom, temperatures go up and life gets easier again.

And when we finally come out of winter we see just how much we have changed. Maybe our coordination is better or our timing is better, or maybe the things that used to bother us no longer hold us back.

Isn’t that what it is with life? We enter those seasons that feel like winter, where it feels dark and lonely and downright miserable.

Often times, we go through those seasons and we come out on the other side that much better. We don’t necessarily do anything specific during those winter seasons. Sometimes it feels like nothing we do is helping get through those seasons, but then they end and we see the importance of all that happened to make us better and mold us into the image of God that we have been called to since before time began.

Sometimes, as much as we don’t like it, those winter seasons are very important for our own growth.

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A Glimpse of the Kingdom of God

March 14th, 2014 by RevBT

The other week I was on vacation and we were visiting family.  On Ash Wednesday we went out to dinner. It was a great time and we got to spend time with family we don’t see very often. While there, one waitress was working and she had the unmistakable sign of the cross on her forehead. She had been to an Ash Wednesday service. Somewhere and was proudly wearing the mark of cross on her forehead as she worked.

She was not our waitress but was in a section near us and at one point I saw her stop what she was doing and ask the manager if he was okay while his mother was in the hospital.

Normally, I wouldn’t have thought twice about this but then I remembered the cross on her forehead.

Is this not the very idea of what we as Christians do in life?

We care about other,s because of the cross.

We ask how someone is doing, because of the cross.

We lift up other people in prayer, because of the cross.

We worship God, because of the cross.

We do our jobs well, because of the cross.

We live our lives in the way modeled by Jesus because of Jesus’ death on the cross that was for us. Not for anything we have done, or worked for, or earned, but simply because we are loved by God.

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How did we end up at the cross? – Adam and Eve

March 12th, 2014 by RevBT

Here at Harrisville UMC we are starting a new sermon series about what how we ended up at the cross. The text is below, so enjoy!

 

Ever been driving around, you get lost, and you wonder “how did I get here?”

Ever opened the mail and see the balance on your credit cards and wonder “How did I get here?”

Ever been going through life and you look up and suddenly it is 20 years later, your kids are grown, you are about to retire, and you wonder “how did I get here?”

Well that is where we are today. How did we get “here” Here being how did we get to a point in life where we needed the torture device, known as the cross?

Today we start off a series on “What Got us to the cross.”

We will be spending each week looking at different people from the Old Testament as we answer the question:

How did we get to a point where the cross became necessary?

Each week we are going to do two things.
1. We are going to hear from a member of our congregation about their own testimony and how they got to a place where the cross was necessary in their own lives.
2. We are going to look at some of the Old Testament people and what they did that made the cross necessary.

Prayer:

To start this series off, we are going to go to the very beginning. The very first people. Adam and Eve.

Genesis 1:26-29
- God created humans. All humans are God’s creation
- This has implications on justice and hate.
- We can’t hate another human because God made them, just like God made us.
- We can’t stand by and let injustice happen to a human being because God made them.
- Almost as if each human is created by God than anything that hurts humans we have this duty to stop.
- Pollution
- Slavery
- Poverty
- Violence
- War

Genesis 2:15-17
- They had one job, take care of the land.
- Do whatever you want, just don’t eat from that one tree.
- They had one rule.

Genesis 2:25 – Nakedness and not ashamed
- Naked and shame have some sort of connection?

Genesis 3:1-11
Adam and Eve.
- Created good and blew it
- They did the one thing God told them not to do.

Fast forward to Romans 5:12
- Through Adam and Eve sin entered the world. All have sinned.
- Some people use the term “Original Sin”
- What this means for us is that event in Genesis 3 messed up the whole world and everyone in it.

So what does God do to the people who he loves and yet they have broken his heart?

Genesis 2:17 says that the day they eat it they will die.
- Adam and Eve’s consequence for breaking the one rule was death.

but God didn’t kill them.
- Did God lie? Change his mind? Or was this one of those empty threats we make to our kids at Christmas time?

Instead, in Genesis 3:22 God made them clothes from leather.
- Leather comes from animals
- God killed an animal to cover up Adam and Eve’s sin and shame.
- The animal didn’t do anything wrong. The animal didn’t sin or eat from the forbidden tree and yet it paid the price to cover up the shame and guilt of Adam and Eve.

For some reason, instead of killing Adam and Eve and doing what God said would happen in the first place God killed something else in their place and then used that dead animal to cover up their guilt and shame so that when God looks at them instead of seeing their sins God sees the dead animal.

But it also goes a step further, when Adam and Eve look at each other, they no longer see each other, they see the dead animal covering them.

Now, one innocent animal worked for two people and one sin.
- There are now over 6 billion people on the planet which means More people, more sin.
- This was such a problem that by the time the temple was built-in Jerusalem they built troughs around the altar area to help drain the blood away from the building and outside the blood would be carried away.
- We needed something bigger to cover our sins.
- I don’t know about you, but if we took the sheer multitude of my sins and had to kill an animal for each one, there would be no animals on this planet by the end of the week.
- I’ve seen the way some of you drive, there would be no animals left by the end of the week for you either.

So, we have this giant need for something deeper and better than an animal for our sins.

Hebrews 9:13-14
- The blood of bulls and goats will cleanse but Jesus actually washes our consciences clean so that we can serve God.

At the very beginning, all of humanity messed up and needed God to step in and create a covering for us So that we can look at each other and see something else besides sin and so that God could look at us and see something besides sin.

Animals were a temporary solution to a permanent problem and it wouldn’t last.

We needed the cross so that we could have a permanent solution to a permanent problem.

We see our own shame and sin and guilt before us and we realize it is a problem and we need a way to cover it. That way is Jesus.

Romans 8:2
- You have been set free from sin by the blood of Jesus

Jesus’ death on the cross is the death that cleanses us from all our sin and shame and guilt.

Not just a covering, but a cleansing, it is gone. It is as if the sin doesn’t exist which means that when God looks at you, God does not see sin, shame, guilt. God sees you.

Which also means that when we look at another person we do not see their sin, shame, or guilt. We see them. A human, created in the image of God. Beloved by God. redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

Acts 4:12
- Jesus is the only way to truly be covered and cleansed from all our shame and guilt
- We have tried other ways. Friends, family, alcohol, drugs, pornography, sometimes we even use church to try to cover up our inward shame. None of it works.
- Only Jesus.

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