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Summary: The Bible tells me I can't get into Heaven if I have sin in my life. But how do get rid my sin? How can I make myself acceptable enough to God so that God will let my through Customs at the Pearly Gate?

How many of you have ever traveled to a foreign country?

For those of you have not, there’s an arm of the government that you’ll encounter on the way back in to the states. Does anybody know what government agency we’re talking about?

It’s called the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

In order to get back into the country, you have to go through customs.

Now, Customs has a very specific job. They make sure you don’t bring anything into the country that doesn’t belong here.

(At this point we put several images up on the screen)

• Things like these exotic animals (jpegs of contraband animals)

• Certain fruits and vegetables (jpeg of fruit)

• These fake Rolex watches (jpeg of fake watches being crushed by steamroller).

• Drugs such as Heroin, Cocaine or Marijuana (jpeg of drugs)

• And even something as harmless… as sand.

ILLUS: One lady told of being stopped by customs agents for bringing red sand from the beaches of Prince Edward Island in Canada - into the States. If the sand had been wet, she would not have been allowed to bring it into the country but since it was completely dry, they let her bring it through.

There are 100s upon 100s of items on the list of things you can NOT bring into the country. If you buy something overseas and try to bring it back into the states without declaring that you have it, Customs tends to get a little upset..If you fail to declare certain agricultural items that are on the restricted list (for example) the first time could cost up to $300.

APPLY: Peter tells us we’re “aliens and strangers in the world.” 1 Peter 2:11

We’re not home yet. We are just traveling thru this world… on our way to Heaven.

The day will come when we’ll have to pass through Customs and go into Heaven. And the Bible tells us that there is ONE thing that we can’t take with us into the Promised Land. Does anybody know what that one thing is? (Sin).

1 Peter 3:18 tells us that “Christ DIED FOR SINS once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, TO BRING YOU TO GOD….”

Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice to pay for your sins and mine. Without that sacrifice there’s no way you I could get close to God, no way I could get into heaven - because my sins would keep me out of heaven.

In Isaiah 59:2 God told Israel “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”

If we tried to hide our sins in an overnight bag and tried to slip them through, that would keep us out of heaven. SO, in order for us to be able to come into God’s presence our sins needed to be removed. And that’s what John 1:29 tells us Jesus did for us.

“John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God WHO TAKES AWAY the sin of the world!’”

When Jesus shed His blood for us He offered us a chance to have our sins taken away. When we became Christians Jesus bought us with His blood. He paid the price for our sins.

ILLUS: My dad once said that – if you were selling something – you could ask whatever you thought was fair. But ultimately the value of that item is only worth whatever somebody was willing to pay for it.

For example, a couple of people have complimented me on my tie this morning. So – how many of you would be willing to pay me $500 for my tie? (No).

Why not? Because it isn’t worth $500 to you.

You’d only give me $500 if you thought the tie was worth that much to you.

In paying for our sins with the blood of His Son God was telling us that we were worth more to Him than anything else in this world. He paid the ultimate price – Jesus’ blood - for us and showed us how much He valued us.

ILLUS: A preacher named Allen Webster came up with a list about what Jesus’ blood did for us:

• We were bought with His blood (Acts 20:28)

• We are forgiven through His blood (Romans 3:25)

• We are justified by His blood (Romans 5:9)

• We have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7)

• We are cleansed by His blood (Hebrews 9:14)

• We are made holy through His blood (Hebrews 13:11-12)

• We are purified from all sin through His blood (I John 1:7)

• We overcome Satan through His blood (Revelation 12:11)

The Blood of Jesus makes us acceptable in God’s sight because His blood removes all our sins. It empties out all our old baggage we’ve been carrying around and makes us acceptable to God.

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