Pass Over Me
The Day of Atonement
(Order of Worship & Sermon)
“Rise up people of God and stand in the presence of your appointed meeting with God. This is a time of worship. Lift up your hands in praise and celebration to Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who holds the power to cleanse you of your sins!”
Celebrate Jesus, Celebrate
How Majestic Is Your Name
Pastor: This past week on Wednesday afternoon at sundown the Jewish people began the celebration of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is the holiest day in Israel and it concludes a 40-day season of repentance. A time to examine your life. A time to return to God. According to scripture, Yom Kippur is a divine appointment with God. Like any meeting, this “appointment with God” requires preparation. Today, we must prepare our hearts to meet with God, to examine our own lives. The Bible says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Are you willing to cry out with David this morning, “I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin”?
God instructed the Israelites in Leviticus 25:9, “Then you shall sound the horn loud; in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month - the Day of Atonement - you shall have the horn sounded throughout your land”. The blowing of the shofar, or the ram’s horn, reminded the people of the binding of Isaac, who offered his life to God, and of the ram that was slaughtered in his place. The sound of the shofar is a call to repentance. Perhaps in recent days more than any other time you have heard the Call to Prayer of the Muslims. In the same way, the blowing of the shofar is a call to enter into the presence of God. The noise of the ram’s horn is the almost unbearable sound of our sins detonating. It is a cry from the soul - from the depths of our being - for forgiveness, the breaking of the heart. Today, let us offer ourselves to God in a repentant heart as we reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, the One who makes atonement for our sins.
In your hearts, bow before the Mighty God who sits in judgment upon His throne.
Come to the altar; pour out your tears to the Lamb of Glory; for the Day of Atonement is approaching.
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded (Hymn # 137)
Oh, How He Loves You and Me
Prayer: O Lord, you have searched our lives and you know each one of us by name. You know when we sit and when we rise; you perceive our thoughts from afar. You discern our going out and our lying down; you are familiar with all our ways. Before a word is on our lips you know it completely, O Lord.
Have mercy upon us, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out our transgressions. Wash away all our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin. For you know our transgressions, and our sin is always before us. Against you, you only, have we sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Cleanse us with hyssop and we will be clean; wash us, and we will be whiter than snow. Hide your face from our sins and blot out all our iniquities.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts; test us and know our anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting.
Praised are You, Adonia our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has made us holy by the sacrifice of your son Jesus; and who has called us to hear the call of the shofar, the call of repentance. Amen.
Songs of Praise – (Possible – Celebrate Jesus, Celebrate)
Pass Over Me
The Day of Atonement
Sept. 30, 2001
Intro.: (TURN TO LEV. 16) Yom Kippur is designated as a national day of judgment in Israel. Historically, only on this day, the holiest day, could the High Priest enter the section of the temple known as the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was the place of God’s presence and the High Priest would plead before the Lord on behalf of the people. Five times the High Priest would purify himself in the ritual bath; five times would he change his priestly clothes. He would first sacrifice a young bull and sprinkle the blood on the judgment seat of the Lord for his own sins. Then he would select one of two goats and sacrifice the goat, sprinkling its blood on the judgment seat for the sins of the people. Then he would lay his hand on the other goat and symbolically transfer the sins of the people to the goat. A red sash was tied around its horns, and it was sent away into the wilderness, representing the sins of the people being sent away.
For just a moment today, I want us to consider the central theme and significance of Yom Kippur.
At first glance, it’s easy to conclude that Yom Kippur is a day of wrath and a day of judgment. A right relationship with God is of extreme importance on Yom Kippur. Perhaps they feel this way because the trip into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest could be very dangerous. An unworthy priest would be killed by God upon entering the inner sanctum of God. A rope would be tied around the waist of the High Priest and kept taut as he entered the Holy of Holies. If the rope went limp he would be pulled out. Leviticus Chapter 10 tells us that:
“Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censors, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to His command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all people I will be honored.”
Let’s get one thing straight this morning: God does judge sin. He will not allow you to come into His presence with sin in your heart. God warned us in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death”. In fact, God’s presence cannot dwell with sin. [READ LEV. 16:1-2 & 16]
Yom Kippur definitely deals with the idea that God will not let your sins go unpunished, but the central idea of the event is that God has allowed a way for those sins to be forgiven. That’s why the central theme of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is not judgment, but “forgiveness”. In fact, the word atonement actually means “to cover” or to “pass over”. Those words should bring vivid biblical images to our minds of the first Passover when the Jews placed the shed blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of their homes so that the death angel would “pass over” there home and spare their life. Yom Kippur announces with the loud blast of the shofar that God has provided a way to cover your sins. The shofar was to be blown for ten days prior to Yom Kippur. These days were known as the “Days of Awe”. Ten days of self-examination, ten days of repentance. During the Days of Awe each and every person becomes accountable to God for their sins. God says that on the Day of Judgment we will be judged for every careless word and every evil deed, unless we have sought out His forgiveness. We need to use this time today to examine our lives. This is a time of putting things right with God, of repairing the damage of a broken relationship, of forgiving others who have hurt you; and accepting the blame for your sins and transgressions committed against God and against one another. You need to be honest enough with God and with yourself today to admit that there is sin in your life...That sin is separating you from God...That you need forgiveness.
The question then quickly comes to mind: If God cannot dwell with sin and we have sin in our lives, how can we receive God’s forgiveness? [READ LEV. 16:6-10, 15, & 17] In this passage, and in many others in the Bible God tells us that...
He requires the shedding of blood for our sin. That may seem like a strange idea, but in essence it is the loss of life. God’s gift to us is life. When we turn away from God, then he has no choice but to take away that life. Remember, “For the wages of sin is death”. Spiritually speaking, when the Bible speaks of death as a punishment for our sins it is referring to a total and permanent separation from God.
Fortunately, God allows a substitute to carry the punishment of our sin. [READ LEV. 16:20-22] (TURN TO HEB. 9) This scapegoat would be a vivid reminder to the people of the ram that was provided for Abraham when he was about to sacrifice Isaac to the Lord. That ram was Isaac’s substitute, and the scapegoat would be the substitute for the people, sending the sins of the people “as far as the east is from the west”.
The central theme of Yom Kippur is forgiveness, but more importantly, the significance of this day is that Jesus, as our substitute, provided a way for each of us to receive that forgiveness. Hebrews nine speaks about the Day of Atonement - Just as the priest laid his hand upon the goat to symbolically transfer the sins of the people; we must lay hold of Jesus this morning. We must seek His forgiveness [READ HEB. 9:6-7 & 11-14]
Repentance is actually a turning away from sin. The Bible tells us that when we truly seek God and ask Him to forgive us he gives us a new heart, we are “new creatures in Christ” to use the words of Paul in Romans. True repentance says, “I am changing my heart, I am not the same person who did those evil deeds.” The real significance of Yom Kippur is that God is giving us one more chance to repent, one more chance to change our heart, one more opportunity to make things right.