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Summary: A sermon that describes the importance of the blood in cleansing us from our sins.

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"The Catalyst for Cleansing"

I John 1:7

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

INTRODUCTION: Let me start this morning with the definition of the word catalyst. Encarta Dictionary defines this word as:

1. Chemical that accelerates chemical reaction

A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any change...

2. Stimulus to change

Somebody or something that makes a change happen or brings about an event...

Two things stand out in this definition. The catalyst makes a change happen without itself undergoing any change. That friends, is the blood of Jesus Christ.

I. The Agent of Cleansing

Notice as we begin our exposition of this passage that the agent of cleansing is "...the blood of Jesus Christ..." The songwriter asks the question "What can wash away my sin...and answers with...nothing but the blood of Jesus..." What do we know about this blood that cleanses us from sin?

a. It is an offering of blood

There is no way that we can rightly consider the offering of the blood of Jesus without taking into account that He is his Father's Son! God loved the world so much that He "...gave his only begotten Son..." John 3:16

This truth is found throughout the entire Bible, from the animals that Jehovah slew to prepare coats of skin to cover the guilty pair, to Abel's sacrifice, to Abrahams offering of a ram in Isaac's place, to the offering of the Pascal Lamb the night the death angel moved over Egypt, to the millions of animals offered in the Tabernacle/Temple worship and then finally to the one sacrifice that was made for all men and all sin in our Lord Jesus Christ, "...the just for the unjust...once for all."

b. There is the operation of the blood

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

c. There is the object of the blood

This blood was shed for us, for our sin!

JESUS DIED FOR MARY TOO--Communion Meditation

Mark Lowry, a Christian comedian observed that Mary's silence at the cross always amazed him. If he were being crucified in the middle of town, his mother would have "Pitched a fit", but Mary never said a word. Lowry wondered if maybe what made the difference for her was remembering back to that 1st Christmas, remembering touching his little hands and feet and counting his fingers and toes.

On a serious note, Lowry says:

"I wonder if she realized then that those were the same fingers that had scooped out the oceans and formed the seas.

Mary probably counted those little toes- I wonder if she realized that those were the same feet that had walked on streets of gold and had been worshipped by angels.

Those little lips were the same lips that had spoken the world into existence.

When Mary kissed her little baby, she wasn't just kissing another baby - she was kissing the face of God.

33 years later she's standing on a hillside watching blood pour from His veins, from the side of her own son... and she didn't open her mouth. What a great testimony to the fact that

He wasn't just a great prophet

He wasn't just a great preacher

He wasn't just a great teacher

He was the virgin born son of God. He was our Savior.

And... He didn't just die for us, He died for His own mother.

The baby boy she had delivered on that 1st Christmas was now on a cross delivering her.

SOURCE: Jeff Strite, Church of Christ at Logansport, IN.

II. The Action of Cleansing

a. Our need

ILL - FREED FROM DEATH- COMMUNION MEDITATION

Paul Lee Tan writes about a horrible Roman practice:

"The Romans sometimes compelled a captive to be joined face-to-face with a dead body, and to bear it about until the horrible effluvia [vapors] destroyed the life of the living victim. Virgil describes this cruel punishment: 'The living and the dead at his command were coupled face to face, and hand to hand; Till choked with stench, in loathed embraces tied, The lingering wretches pined away and died.' Without Christ, we are shackled to a dead corpse--our sinfulness.

SOURCE: Paul Lee Tan's Encyclopedia Of 7700 Illustrations. Edited by Sermon Central staff.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

b. Our nature

We need to be cleansed from our sins because of our nature. The prophet Isaiah writes that "...there are none that doeth good..." and the apostle writes "there are none righteous, no not one..." and that "...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God..."

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