Faithlife Sermons

Somebody Needs to Do Something

Easter '18  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Memories and Emotions

I rec’d an interesting phone call this week.
Turns out this DTS development guy is the SIL of my old high school baseball coach.
He’s telling me about what it’s like having him as a FIL, grandfather to his kids, and I’m telling him about the “glare.” The look!
When you messed up you could feel the heat. No words, at first anyway, just the look.
So, as I’m tell the stories, more memories flood back and the emotions that I associate w/ them come, too.
We were a good team. Varsity as a soph.
My job was place filler. By moving me to 2nd base the guy that was there moved to his best position, CF.
They in CF moved to his best position. Things gelled.
We got hot, went on a roll, and won the state championship as underdogs.
My senior year we had a lot of talent. Experienced.
I’m still just a place filler. 5 of the guys ended up w/ scholarships to D-1 schools. Best I got was a Juco offer.
We stormed thru the season undefeated. Heavy favorites to win another state. And, we did.
Then, there was my junior year.
We were good, won a lot.
Made it to the state tournament as favorites, we’d won the year before.
Playing up in KC, there had been a number of rainout days. Schedule was all out of whack.
We go up to play, it’s a hot afternoon game, high humidity, sweltering.
B/C of the rain and rescheduling, we ended up having to play the day after our prom.
I don’t want to say we were irresponsible w/ our girlfriends, but we all decided we owed it to them to give them a good experience that night.
Needless to say, we weren’t on our game the next day.
The only game all year we were shut out; 2 - 0.
The other team, KC Ward, the scored their first run, the only run they needed, the run that cost us that game and another championship, scored from third when I made an error on a ground ball.
The quote in the Wichita Eagle newspaper the next day was, “booted a leisurely hit ground ball.”
The whole city, the whole state who read about the baseball playoffs read that quote about me.
I had one particularly obnoxious peer who sat next to me in class and repeated that quote several times back in school.
I let the whole team down, and the entire state knew about it.
It’s pretty cool when you get your name or picture in the paper for doing something good.
I was 17 years old. For what it’s worth, didn’t know Jesus, yet.
I carried that guilt for a while. Sandwiched between really good experiences, but it could have been 3 championships.
What do I do w/ the guilt?
First, understand there’s no moral failure in an error in a baseball game (depending on who you ask of course!)
According to the bible.
The sin, I didn’t realize it at the time, was in the arrogance of letting my self-worth be determined by that error.
I messed up. I hurt a lot of people. They were angry at me.
The whole state knew about it.
We typically think of an arrogant person who brags and talks about how great they are.
Understand, it’s the same arrogance that causes someone to talk as if and believe that they are worthless.
“I am so uniquely horrible, no one is as bad as me.”
I made an error in a baseball game. But the emotion that I carried after that...
What do I do w/ that?
I’m 57, approaching the 41st anniversary of that error and I still feel it.
What do I do w/ that?
I tried to forget. I tried to get over it. I tried a lot things and they didn’t work.
I discovered, I couldn’t do anything about it.
I needed somebody who could to do something that worked so I didn’t have to carry that guilt around any more.
People have been dealing w/ guilt like this from the beginning of time. Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. And everyone who followed.
During the years of the OT what could they do?
One day, every year they did something that they hoped would help them cope w/ their sin and guilt.
Every 10th of Tishri, the 7th month of the year, in the fall.
The Day of Atonement.
Of all the other feasts and worship practices this was the day they focused on atoning for their sin so they could be close to God. Keep the relationship tight.
It’s first described in .

On God’s Terms

Leviticus 16:2 NIV
The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.
We are God’s creation and these were His terms for taking care of the sins of the people.
His game, His terms. Authority.
God literally resided behind the curtain. It was a thick curtain, a foot and a half thick.
Intended to keep a separation between Holy God and sinful men.
Make sure Aaron, the priest, knows he can’t just come behind the curtain whenever he pleases.
God takes our sin this seriously. They had to, too.
On the Day of Atonement the priest would need to go back there to do what he needed to do to make things right w/ God.
If the priest didn’t, then the separation remained.
God is life. Everything in the presence of God lives.
Everything not close to God dies.
In order to live they had to be in the close presence of God.
In order to be in His presence their sin had to be atoned for.
The priest was the only one who could do that and he had to do it on God’s terms.
They couldn’t do it on their own. The priest was the designated representative between people and God.
So, the priest would have to go behind the curtain but he couldn’t go just whenever he wanted and he couldn’t go until he was ready.
Before he could deal with the sins of the people he had to deal w/ his own.

Put On New Clothes

Leviticus 16:4 NIV
He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on.
We immediately see the symbolism and reference to the NT.
Take off the old, dirty clothes and put on the new clean clothes. They’ve been cleansed. New life, new lifestyle.
Symbolic of what’s about to happen on his inside.
Symbolic of what’s about to happen on his inside.
Washed, white as snow. Bathed.
What’s under the clothes is clean and what people see is clean.
If he put clean clothes on a dirty body the clothes would take on the dirty smell.
Don’t try to put on a new lifestyle w/out cleaning up your soul or soon your new lifestyle will smell and resemble your old one.
Once he was prepared, cleaned up, it was time for him to atone for his own sin.

1 Bull for Himself

Leviticus 16:6 NIV
“Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.
Sin cost a life. Something had to die. Blood had to be shed.
He would slaughter the bull
He would burn a bull on the altar as a repentant offering for himself and his household.
He would then go behind the curtain into the presence of God to sprinkle some of the bull’s blood by the Ark of the covenant.
As he went in he would put incense on the fire to fill the place with a pleasant smell to cover the odor of sin so God would not be offended. Sin stinks.
Blood is life. The sprinkled blood represented the life that was taken so he and his family could live in the presence of God.
Once he had taken care of his own stuff, he could take care of the rest of the Nation.
On bull for the priest and his household.
It cost 2 goats for the everyone else of Israel.

2 Goats for Everyone Else

Leviticus 16:7–10 NIV
Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.
Leviticus 16:
So, the first goat is killed, burned, and his blood is sprinkled behind the curtain just like the bull.
In the presence of God, by the Ark.
Sin can’t be atoned for w/out something dying.
If nothing dies for them, then they die.
Blood is life. The blood, again, represents the life that was taken so the people could live in the presence of God.
v.16 says these actions atone for all the sins all the people have committed in the previous year.
One goat dies, the other is the scapegoat.

The Scapegoat

We’ve all heard the term scapegoat. We know what it means. It’s the one that takes the blame for everyone else.
Leviticus 16:20–22 NIV
“When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.
Confess all their sins. How long do you suppose that took?
Then, let it go. There was a person designated to lead it way out into the wilderness so that it couldn’t return.
One goat died to pay for their sins.
The other goat led away, never to return.
All the guilt gone. As far as the east is from the west.
This was huge formal rite that they were supposed to practice annually from this day forward.
Sin is a big deal to God. And, being in the presence of God should be a big deal to people.
But, sinful people can’t be in the presence of God.
The sin has to be addressed, atoned for.
If they had to slaughter one animal per sin there wouldn’t be enough animals on the planet.
But, one bull, 2 goats how is that enough to accomplish anything?
Well, it isn’t.
Technically, by themselves, they don’t.
This is an important part of the story, but there’s one more element that needs to be present.


Pause: Think about the 2 goats. Which goat got the better deal?
One died. Immediately, but humanely.
The other got to live. Maybe to be tracked down and killed by a predator. Or, become someone’s pet, or supper.
What really happened here?
Truth is, no goat could remove the guilt from the people.
No animal’s blood could pay for their sin.
They had to repeat the process every year.
And the shear number of sins could not be carried by one little goat.
The only way the whole process works is if the the people have faith, first.
The actions a part from faith were pointless.
The actions as a result of their faith were priceless.
They had to believe that God would do something for them that they didn’t deserve so that they could live in His presence free from all the guilt from all their bad choices.
God’s terms. He told them to do these things.
Why? as a reminder. Some level of understanding of what their sin cost.
It cost the people their closeness w/ God.
And, they couldn’t do anything to override it.
Faith that God would do something on His end for them to establish, maintain, restore their relationship.
The had to believe before they did anything.

I Needed Something

I needed something to happen to take away the guilt that I carried. I needed to do something.
It was an error in a baseball game, but it was more than that.
I let that moment define me. My pride. My arrogance.
I needed something. A goat. A bull. Something.
You may be rolling your eyes at me for making such a big deal about a baseball game, an error.
What’s the big deal?
Well, I know, we’ve all lived long enough to have a regret or 2.
As I shared my story, you might have been chuckling a little, but at some point I know a memory, or an emotion crossed your heart from a time when you did something or said something that you regret and you’re still carrying the guilt.
Maybe the whole world knows what you did. Maybe an entire state. Or, maybe just a few.
Or, no one else knows. You did something in private and you still feel guilty about it.
Maybe you can relate to this.
I needed somebody to do something.
I wish somebody who could, would do something for me that I can’t so I don’t have to carry any guilt any more.
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