Summary: God wants to rescue you: 1. Through the commandments of Christ (vs. 1-3). 2. Through the coming of Christ (vs. 4-9). 3. Through the cross of Christ (vs. 10-14).
God's Longings for Your Life #1: Rescue
Sermon with the Lord's Supper
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - August 31, 2014
*It will soon be 13 years since the savage attacks on 9/11. It was a horrific day. The terrorists murdered 125 people at the Pentagon, 246 on the planes, and 2,606 in NYC. Almost 3,000 people were killed, and over 6,000 people were injured.
*It could have been a whole lot worse. United Flight 93 crashed 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, with 45 people on board. It was headed toward Washington D.C. but was stopped by brave passengers, who gave their lives to keep that plane from hitting the White House or the Capitol Building.
*Plus, on a typical weekday 50,000 people worked in the twin towers, with another 200,000 passing through as visitors. There were also 2,600 people working in the Pentagon near that impact site.
*God spared many people that day. And a little piece of metal like this helped. (I had a squeegee handle.) It doesn't look like much, but after 9/11, the Smithsonian put together a display from that day. I got to see it in 2003: The enormous flag that was hung from the Pentagon, a door from one of the fire trucks that was crushed, twisted girders, Rudy Giuliani's hat, pictures from Ground Zero, part of the prayer wall, and a squeegee handle like this.
*It belonged to World Trade Center window washer, Jan Demczur, and that small piece of metal saved the lives of 6 men on 9/11. They were riding in an elevator in the North Tower when the plane hit. Each tower had 110 floors, and their elevator got stuck on the 50th floor.
*When they pried the doors open, they faced a solid wall made of several layers of sheetrock. Their only tool seemed to be a pocket knife, but then the unthinkable happened. The knife slipped and fell down the elevator shaft. But someone thought to use Jan's squeegee handle as a digging tool. That handle let them break through the wall. And they escaped with just minutes to spare. (1)
*What a rescue. But God's got an infinitely greater rescue for everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ! God wants to rescue you, and the Word of God shows us how.
1. First: God uses His commandments.
*He uses His commandments to help us see how much we need to be rescued. Verses 1-3 help us understand this purpose of God's law.
1. For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged (or cleansed), would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
*God wants to rescue us, and His commandments, the Old Testament laws, are part of the process. He tells us in vs. 1 that the law has a "shadow of good things to come". And a shadow is not reality. But a shadow can tell us something about reality. And this is one of the things God's Old Testament law does. So in Galatians 3:24, Paul tells us that "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
*The law is our schoolmaster, our teacher, and it is a strict teacher. Do you remember the strictest teacher you ever had? -- Oh, I do too. It was my 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Lois Culver Jordan. It was 1963, and Mrs. Jordan had been my dad's 7th grade teacher in 1933. Mrs. Jordan was also one of the best teachers I have ever had. She taught us a lot that year.
*Lois Culver Jordan was a proper woman. She was fair, but tough as nails, and she didn't put up with nonsense, even for a moment. I have always remembered the day Mrs. Jordan got mad at my friend, Harold Causey.
*I think I must have also been in on the trouble, because we were both out in the hall with her. And she told him: "You're nothing but a snake in the grass! -- A snake in the grass!" (That was before the days of positive self-esteem.) And Mrs. Jordan was right. We were both pretty snakey.
*Lois Culver Jordan was a strict teacher, but not nearly as strict as God's law. Can you imagine a teacher that never passed a single student? That's how strict God's law is: "You fail. You fail. You fail." We all fail.
*No one can live up to the standards of God's law, so vs. 1 tells us that those Old Testament sacrifices can never make us perfect. And in vs. 3, the law's purpose is to remind us year after year that we have failed. As the Word of God says: "In those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year."