Summary: Part 3 of 7 in the teaching series, "REVEALED" from NewSong Church in Westford, MA. This series accompanies our journey of Lent and leads us to the celebration of Jesus Christ, revealed and resurrected. Series graphics available upon request -- info@ne
:: VIDEO: “Love Wins - Trailer”
:: Rob Bell & the Search for Truth -- [s.1]
Earlier this week, Rob Bell - pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in MI - released a book called “Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.” -- [s.2]
● This book - and the concepts presented within - has stirred up incredible controversy between Evangelical pastors and church movements
● Some call it “inaccurate and misleading,” others a “fresh new perspective”
● Some are calling Rob Bell a heretic. Others hold him as a visionary
● Bell is accused of being a universalist - i.e., someone who believes that all people will eventually find their way to heaven.
● At the heart of the debate is the doctrine of Hell - an eternal place of separation and suffering awaiting those who reject Jesus.
● Classic Christianity teaches that it is within this lifetime that Jesus calls us and that it is within this lifetime that we must respond to that call: accepting/rejecting
● Bell seems to offer another view: that the God of Love will ultimately “melt hearts”, that Hell is not closed, that Heaven is always open, that at somehow Love will triumph.
That would be a beautiful picture - a heaven that always stands waiting, a hell that is never closed, a God who is always calling. – [s.3]
● That our response to Jesus in this life doesn’t determine our eternal destiny
● But that would present us with a problem:
● If heaven is open, if hell doesn’t close, if the decision doesn’t matter...
● Then isn’t Jesus’ coming – and our response to him - irrelevant?
● In an interview with Martin Bashir of MSNBC, Bell was asked this very question
● He replied that the decision to accept Jesus is “extraordinarly important” and “terribly relevant.”
● But why? If, ultimately, my rejection of Jesus could be changed by God’s love?
● If, eternally, my decision in the “now” is not final in the “after”
● And why would Jesus come if that which was to be saved... didn’t need to be?
Rob Bell has said before that he is simply seeking the truth and the “questions behind the questions.”
● And I believe him. I don’t think he’s a universalist. I don’t think he’s saying there is no hell. I don’t believe he sees Jesus as less than God, Savior, Lord and King.
● But to me the discussion of heaven and hell raises three important questions:
● How can a sinner live in fellowship with a holy God?
● What happens in the space between sinners and saints?
● And why does it matter in this life?
QUESTION: How can a sinner live in fellowship with a holy God? – [s.4]
The answer to the fundamental question of how to restore fellowship with God is the core subject of both Testaments, and the answer in each, though different in method, has the same essential core: blood sacrifice.
:: Sacrifice: The Model of O.T. Redemption - – [s.5]
The writer of Hebrews evidently was very familiar with the Law of Moses and with the functions of the Temple -- including the ritual sacrifices and their purpose. The writer recalls Exodus 24:8 when Moses is sealing the covenant - the Law - with the people.
[Hebrews 9:19-22] - – [s.6]
“For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you."And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the Law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
1. Five Sacrifices - – [s.7-11]
Leviticus 1-6 establish five types of sacrifices that God’s people would need to make in order to have relationship with Him.
● Guilt Offering -- ram’s blood // atoned for specific sins // mandatory
● Sin Offering -- ram’s blood // atoned for the sinful person // mandatory
● Peace/Fellowship Offering -- blood // celebration of gratitude // peace with God
● Grain Offering -- no blood // offering given from God’s provision // stewardship
● Burnt Offering -- blood // worshiper offered in dedication to the Lord
The last three sacrifices were voluntary sacrifices
● They were given by an individual, often marking times of significance and celebration - they were personal responses to God
● They were also the ones considered most pleasing to God
The first two sacrifices - Guilt & Sin - were offered once a year for the whole person and as needed for specific, personal sins.