Summary: Christ blood brings us near to God because through it receive His life!
“Brought Near By The Blood” Ephesians 2:11-22
John Wesley rode across Hounslow Heath late one night, singing a favorite hymn, he was startled by a fierce voice shouting, “Halt,” while a firm hand seized the horse’s bridle. Then the man demanded, “Your money or your life.” Wesley obediently emptied his pockets of the few coins they contained and invited the robber to examine his saddlebags which were filled with books. Disappointed at the result, the robber was turning away when evangelist cried, “Stop! I have something more to give you.”
The robber, wondering at this strange call, turned back. Then Wesley, bending down toward him, said in solemn tones, “My friend, you may live to regret this sort of a life in which you are engaged. If you ever do, I beseech you to remember this, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin.’” The robber hurried silently away, and the man of God rode along, praying in his heart that the word spoken might be fixed in the robber’s conscience.
Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service with the people streaming from the large building, many lingered around the doors to see the aged preacher, John Wesley. A stranger stepped forward and earnestly begged to speak with Mr. Wesley. What a surprise to find that this was the robber of Hounslow Heath, now a well-to-do tradesman in the city, but better still, a child of God! The words spoken that night long ago had been used of God in his conversion. Raising the hand of John Wesley to his lips, he affectionately kissed it and said in tones of deep emotion, “To you, dear sir, I owe it all.”
Wesley replied softly, “Nay, nay, my friend, not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ which cleanseth us from all sin.”
What can take away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus can take away our sin. What can make us whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus can make us whole again. But what is the power of Jesus Blood? What does the Apostle mean when he says that we have been brought near by the blood of Christ? Is he referring to the liquid which fell from his body on the Cross?
Is he referring to the celebration of communion in a worship service? This morning, as I enter my text, I will seek primarily to answer those two questions as well as give some historical background to enliven our understanding as to the meaning of today’s text.
This is an ambitious undertaking for just one sermon, so it will not be exhaustive, but I trust that after having considered its meaning, that you will be further compelled to move beyond understanding’s foundation of the blood of Christ to understanding’s ultimate fruit; experience of the blood of Christ!
At the outset I want to answer the two questions which I have raised already directly and plainly. I fear that there is a great deal of confusion in the minds of many believers with regard to the manner and nature of the meaning of the saving power of the blood of Christ. In this area of doctrine there are two major errors of biblical interpretation and application of this teaching.
There are many who are of the impression that this passage and those like it ought to be interpreted in light of Mathew 26:28 and the institution of the sacrament of communion. The idea is intrinsically linked to the doctrine of transubstantiation in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, and among some high church Anglicans.
While I respect greatly the faith and genuine desire of these Christian believers, for the sake of doctrinal clarity, in light of what the Scriptures teach, it is important that not make this error. There is no efficacy, not saving power, in the “liquid” of communion just as there is no particular efficacy in the actual liquid blood which fell on Calvary’s Cross.
This is of course not to say that the blood has no power. Here in the text the Apostle says that we who were once outside of the covenants of God, we who were once distant from the grace and mercy of God, have been brought near by the blood of Jesus. The real question is what is meant by the blood.
Jesus died a horribly bloody and painful death for you and me. When the Apostle Paul speaks of us having been brought near to God by the blood of Christ he is saying that we have been brought near by the power of the sacrifice.
Indeed, we have been and are saved by the blood of Christ. We are brought near to God by the power of Christ sacrifice! In the Old Testament, the people of God made a sacrifice of animals; offering the blood of the animal for the purification or cleansing of personal sins and the sins of the people.