For Christ Died…
1 Peter 3:18
It’s baseball season, as you well know, and I am having a fine time listening to my Minnesota Twins win as they have been so far.
I should have warned you a long time ago, that sometimes, baseball will lend itself to sermon illustrations. And this morning is one of those cases.
In baseball, there is a thing called a “sacrifice.” It is when the batter hits a ball that is caught or fielded in a way to throw out the batter, yet the runners already on base advance to the next base or to home plate.
The batter is out, but the result was good for the team.
This morning we are going to talk about another kind of sacrifice. One that doesn’t contribute to the winning of a ball game, but one that accomplished infinitely more – salvation to all who will call on God.
We are going to look at one verse in Scripture. And while we will reference others, this will focus on this verse.
Please turn with me to 1 Peter 3:18. This is on page 858 of the Bibles in the seats.
Here’s what it says:
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,
We are going to focus on the first three phrases of this verse as we seek to prepare our hearts to partake of the Lord’s Supper in a little while.
And the first part of our discussion is…
I. For Christ Died – The Who.
It seems pretty obvious to say that Christ died for our sins, but I can’t say it enough. No one else can make that claim with any credibility.
Jesus’ death is both bad news and good news. It’s bad news in the sense that the only sinless person ever had to die for you and me. It’s good news because of what it accomplished.
This verse says something else about Jesus. It says that Christ died for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous. Jesus was perfect. He was perfectly righteous.
He wasn’t being punished for any sin that was His. He was being punished for our sin.
Listen as I read 2 Corinthians 5:21 –
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Isn’t that amazing? The righteous holy One who knew no sin became sin for us, so might become the righteousness of God.
Righteous God becoming sin.
Sinful creatures becoming righteous.
It blows my mind. It should blow yours, too. It’s hard enough to comprehend that God would act on our behalf. It’s beyond comprehension that God would take our place, spilling His blood so we could spend eternity with Him.
But that’s exactly what sets Him apart from other so-called “gods.” Buddha didn’t die to bring people to heaven. Krishna didn’t shed his blood to save people from their sins.
Religious leaders such as Mohammed or Confucius couldn’t offer their righteous in place of ours in order to pay the penalty for our sins.
Only Jesus. He was the only one qualified, and He laid His life down willingly.
Jesus, and only Jesus, is the Who.
Let’s move on, shall, we? I want us to next look at the fact that Christ died…
II. For Sins – The What.
Haven’t we already covered that, Brian?
Some – but not enough. I can’t emphasize enough that without the shed blood of Christ we are hopelessly lost. Lost in sin.
We don’t just do sin. We are sin. But we don’t have to remain that way. Jesus came to wipe out our sin, and make us a new creation in Him.
John the Baptizer (we don’t call him a Baptist around here!) cried out concerning Him: “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Here’s something we need to chew on sometimes: Jesus’ death was not just enough to cover your sins or mine. His death was enough to cover the sins of the entire world.
That’s good news, folks. That means that no matter who they are or where, Jesus’ blood covers them when they call on Him for salvation.
His blood covers our sin. Thank God for that. And His blood covers our sin…
III. Once for All – The How.
The HOW is once for all – on the cross.
And Jesus didn’t die twice or three times. He isn’t still hanging on that ol’ cross, dying over and over.
It’s done! It’s over! And in His own words as He hung there dying, “It is finished!”
And for that we can say, “Hallelujah!”
There is no need to slaughter animals at some altar, no need to buy religious relics, no need to spill your blood.
There is a ritual every year in the Philippines. People have themselves nailed to crosses in hopes of atoning for their sins and hoping that God will answer their prayers for loved ones.
And they stand there with these nails in their hands and feet, hoping that God will come through for them.
The desire to seek God is admirable – but we don’t come to God through our own crucifixion, we come to God through His
Crucifixion. The crucifixion He did once for all.
And why did He do this? It was…
IV. To Bring You to God – The Why.
Jesus didn’t die just because it was a nice thing to do. He didn’t do it to make headlines. He didn’t do it to please the religious or political institutions. He didn’t do it to make a religious holiday.
He didn’t do it to make a name for Himself. He already that. He didn’t do it because he felt like it. In fact, He did not feel like it. He asked God if there weren’t another way.
He did it for one reason and one reason only – to bring you and me to God.
Without Him we are dead. With Him we have life. Life eternal.
And it’s not just heaven He gives us. He gives us the opportunity to have the relationship with God we crave for in our being.
A relationship that is perfect and unconditional as far as He is concerned.
As the apostle Paul was talking to the people in Athens, he said that God is not far from anyone. Another person says that the farthest away from us God ever gets is arm length.
God wants you close to Him. And Jesus made it possible.
Salvation and a relationship with God Almighty. Sounds pretty awesome, huh?
He died to bring you to God.
There are two main applications to this message:
The first is to make sure you have the eternal life and relationship Jesus died to give you.
Is blood paid the penalty for all your sins. Confess Him as your Lord, believing that He died and rose, calling on Him to forgive your sins and give you eternal life, allowing His Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you to live for Him, which is the second application.
Earlier I read a verse from 2 Corinthians 5. Here’s another verse, verse 15:
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Did you get it? Though Jesus died for you as an individual, you are not to live for you. You are to live for Him.
We live for Him when we die to ourselves, seeking to please Him and lead others to the knowledge of the Christ who died to give them life.
Jesus died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Live like one who has been redeemed not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.
Shall we pray?