By: Yves Blouin
Hebrews 13:10-16“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
As stated; Jesus suffered and died for us outside of Jerusalem on mount Calvary. The location was a high spot so that it could be seen by many; increasing the shame and sending a message to all, that he had been defeated. Little did they know that this was God’s ordained plan. Jesus was to suffer and die in order to redeem us from our sins and give us a new nature.
The old testament required different types of sin offerings but the nation’s sin offering made by the high priest once a year, the one for all sins, was the only one burnt outside the camp on the yearly day of atonement, called Yom Kippur. Jesus who is our high priest was crucified outside the camp as God’s sin offering for the entire world. Jesus was both our high priest and our sin offering. This is in contrast to the Jewish high priest who every year had to offer a sacrifice. Jesus offered himself, the perfect sinless lamb of God, as our sin offering once and forever. Only on the day of atonement some of the sacrifice’s blood would be sprinkled by the high priest in front of the curtain used to enter the Holy of Holies where God had a special presence. When Christ died and shed his blood the gospels tell us that the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom given everyone access to Him. The sprinkling of the blood of the sin sacrifice in front of the curtain was no longer required. As Christ said “It is finished”.
When the epistle to the Hebrews was written, the new Jewish believers were struggling with leaving Judaism. They had one foot in Judaism and one in Christianity. This passage, especially verse 13 calls for the Jewish believers to leave the comfort of Judaism and in doing so partake of Christ’s shame and disgrace. Jesus was despised and rejected of men – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We can find application today outside of Judaism in that before we became Christ’s followers we took comfort in material things, other religions, family, etc. and by going to Christ and following Him we bare His shame. Sometimes it is family or co-workers who ridicule us – I know that some of my family when I became a follower of Christ thought it was a mental phase that I would hopefully get over – 30 years later I still haven’t gotten over it.
This is especially clear in our current political context where all manners of religions and sins are tolerated, endorsed and even promoted except for Christianity which depending on what country you live in is violently attacked or at best ridiculed and politically suppressed. Take the case of the christian Trinity Western university’s attempt at getting it’s law school program accredited. The supreme court of Canada ruled this week against it because the way in which the TWU Christian community chooses to live, work and study together, sharing traditional Christian values. Most of us will likely continue struggling to put the source of our comfort and security totally in Christ until we go to meet him, having one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity or maybe just being secret Christians. I know I’m definitely not there but it is a progression and as long as we’re going forth to Christ no matter the struggles, trials or shame then the Holy Spirit is working in us to make us more like Jesus. I love what Spurgeon said “It is but a flea-bite here — and then an eternity of bliss! A moment’s shame and then an eternal honor!”
How are we to respond to Jesus’ sacrifice? One way today’s text tells us is to give God the sacrifice or our lips, thanking him and giving him praise. It is said that at a future time all sacrifices shall cease, but praises shall not cease.
I love that as we are told to thank God with our lips for what he did for us that he follows this with a mandate to do good especially to the needy. Our faith cannot be only declared by our lips but also by our actions to the less fortunate. With such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Spurgeon No. 577: Let Us Go Forth
Last week several people shared stories related to Billy Graham and his evangelistic crusades.
My wife came upon this story about how the hymn “I have decided to follow Jesus” came into being:
In the 1800’s, a missionary from Wales who had endured severe persecution finally saw his first converts in a particularly brutal village in the Northern Indian province of Assam. A husband and wife, with their two children, professed faith in Christ and were baptized.
Assam and its surrounding provinces was located in one of the most oppressive forms of Hinduism — a place where the caste system was entrenched, and where headhunters ruled.
Their village leaders decided to make an example out of the husband. Arresting the family, they demanded that the father renounce Christ, or see his wife and children murdered.
When he refused, his two children were executed by archers. Given another chance to recant, the man again refused, and his wife was killed. Still refusing to recant, this husband and father was martyred.
Witnesses later told the story to the Welsh missionary. The reports said that when asked to recant or see his children murdered, the man said: “I have decided to follow Jesus, and there is no turning back.”
After seeing his children killed, he reportedly said, “The world can be behind me, but the cross is still before me.” And after seeing his wife pierced by the arrows, he said, “Though no one is ready to go with me, still I will follow Jesus.”
According to this missionary, when he returned to the village, a revival had broken out, and those who had murdered the first converts had since come to faith in Jesus themselves.
The Welsh man passed along these reports to the famous Indian evangelist Sandhu Sundar Singh.
So Singh took the martyr’s last words, and put them to traditional Indian music in order to make one of the first uniquely Indian hymns.
The song immediately became popular in Indian churches, and it remains a mainstay of worship music there to this day.
Eventually some of the American missionaries returned from India and they brought that song with them.
Finally, it ended up with Canadian song writer George Beverley Shea, and he made it a staple at the Billy Graham crusades.
I’m inspired by Christians martyred for Christ – the strength of their faith. Last week’s persecuted church was about Samiha Tawfiq Awad of Egypt who’s face had been severely damaged by an explosion at her church and her reaction was that of thankfulness to be alive so that she could reach out to her attackers and their families for Christ. My faith isn’t that strong.
Last night my family watched a movie called “I’m not ashamed” based on the Columbine massacre and how a teenage girl touched millions for Christ. We don’t have to be spiritual giants to make a difference in other people’s life for Christ – we just need to desire to serve him in whatever way Jesus leads us to.
Billy Graham, as great a man as he was, didn’t give elaborate theological discourses at his crusades but a simple message – the good news of our salvation through Christ. He left it up to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. His audience has been estimated in the billions. Our call may not be the same but just to be ready to give an answer for our hope to whomever will listen. 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
When I go and pick up Bradyn (my grandson) at his home I will buzz his unit and he will hear my voice on the speakerphone. By the time I get off from the elevator he is out of the door of his apartment and running down the hall, squealing, giggling and calling out Papa, Papa. I would guess that annoys some of the other tenants as the hallways echo with the sound of his voice, but you can’t contain Bradyn’s excitement and it gives me great joy. God calls us to Him. There is no guarantee that we will respond. The decision is ours. If we do come to Him we will not be disappointed and God will be exuberant even more so than we are when our grandchildren run to us to give us a hug. When we respond, is our excitement subdued because we don’t want to disturb the neighbours?
Are we concerned about what will our friends and family think? Are we too grown up to share our excitement with others?
God’s calling on our lives is both to turn to his son Jesus and to introduce others to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does the rest – we’re not responsible for the outcome, just to be obedient in following Jesus and tell others of the joy and peace he can bring into their lives.
By: Yves Blouin
- “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” http://www.nytimes.com/1979/08/10/archives/my-speech-to-the-graduates.html
- Romans 3:23 AMP We all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God.
- Romans 5:15-16 NLT: But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.
Christ gave us many gifts. Through his incarnation Jesus brought love to the rejected, joy to the downtrodden, hope to the hopeless and peace to the weary. Lately (the last 25 years or so) I fit in the latter category of being weary. Chester Donaldson one year asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said peace. This is what he brought me back from Israel. Mr. D had quite a good sense of humour. It says Shalom which we know means peace. It stays on my desk as a reminder of Mr. and Mrs. D. but more importantly in my need to trust in Christ for peace. I’ve definitely not reached the point where I trust Jesus without fail but I’m a work in progress and definitely have more peace with Him than without Him. There is no such thing as happiness or peace apart from Jesus. It is not simply not there.
- Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.