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The Lamb that Took Our Place

The Cross in the Old Testament   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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MOT: In the context of Aaron’s sons’ failure and judgement, God explains how the people of Israel can approach the LORD.
MOS: A life that is not lived in the presence of God is a life that is lived without the favor of God.
Thesis: The Day of Atonement symbolizes how we can be reconciled to live our lives in the presence of God.

Introduction

To live the life of a Christian is to live our lives “in the presence of God” or “before the face of God.” However, our sin has separated us from God so that we cannot—by rights—live before God’s face.
Exodus 33:14–15 ESV
And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.
Numbers 5:3 ESV
You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.”
The story of the first five books of the Bible begins by showing us that mankind had been removed from God’s presence due to sin.
The remainder of the Pentateuch focuses on God restoring mankind to himself so that—once again—man finds himself able to stand before God.
It appears that the is the center-point of the OT Law. Indeed, it appears that has been written in such a way as to reverse the removal from the Garden of Eden. What had been lost in the Garden—the presence of God— is now regained in the Tabernacle. Namely, access to the presence of God. [Reference, Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord, 167ff].
Define atonement:
Atonement restores us to live our lives before the face of God. In the Bible, atonement requires the shedding of blood.
Leviticus 17:11 ESV
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
Setting the context:
Nadab and Abihu had “burned unauthorized fire” in .
Because they offered “unauthorized fire,” God consumed them in fire.
Everything that follows from chapter 10 until chapter 16 is kind of a parentheses. This interceding chapters focus upon how the nation can be cleansed
Everything that follows from chapter 10 until chapter 16 is kind of a parentheses.
The interceding chapters focus upon how the nation can be cleansed after strange worship had been offered to God.
First, there is an explanation of what God considers “clean” and “unclean,” which includes diet, death, and disease, among other things.
Then, gives the instructions for how the people are to have themselves cleansed.
Quickly rehearse the events of Day of Atonement
The priest would fully bathe himself, symbolizing the necessity of coming before God in purity.
The priest would dress in linen, symbolizing the humility in which one must approach God.
There were five animals involved in the sacrifice.
The first two bulls were for the purification of the priest and then the congregation.
After offering the first bull for his own sin, the priest took burning coals from the alter and carried them into the Holy of holies. Then he placed two handfuls of incense upon the burning coals so that the smoke would fill the small room and would cover the mercy seat. This was apparently done to signify that no one can look upon God’s glory.
The second two were goats, which were for the ascension of the people into the presence of God.
The carcasses are taken outside of the camp and burned.
The fifth one was the scapegoat.
The first four animals are offered as a sacrifice while the fifth one has the sins of the community symbolically placed upon its head.
The fifth animal is then sent into the wilderness to a place called Azazel.
Azazel means “place of destruction.”
So the animals flees to the wilderness where the sins of the people are destroyed along with the sacrifice itself.
Transition
The Day of Atonement is a beautiful picture for us of what Christ did when He made atonement for us in the Cross. Three ways Jesus is better:
In Christ, our sins have been destroyed.
In Christ, our salvation has been secured.

Jesus is the Spotless Lamb: He does not need to purify himself.

In Christ, our access (to God) has been accepted.

Jesus is the Perfect Lamb: He does not offer himself repeatedly.

Jesus is the Heavenly Lamb: He reconciles us to God.

Three accomplishments of the Cross

Atonement purifies us of our sin.

The scapegoat was sent into the wilderness, symbolically carrying our sins upon his head.
Jesus is “sent into the wilderness” by the Spirit, symbolically carrying our sins upon His head.
Romans 6:6 KJV 1900
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
App: Jesus did not just imprison your sins. He destroyed them!

The Atonement gives us Access to God.

Atonement removes our sin from us.

He desires to be a citizen of the nation and has learned the language, gotten an education, and met the qualifications. Yet, he is still held up in the process. He is growing impatient, but recognizes that there are certain qualification to be met in order to gain his citizenship.
Just as the scapegoat was sent to the wilderness with the sins of the people upon its head, so have our sins been sent to the wilderness upon the head of Jesus.
There are also qualifications that need to be met in order of us to be citizens of Heaven. We must be cleansed of our sin. We must be purified. The way that occurs is through our being washed by the blood of the Lamb who is our atonement.
But that means that the distance between you and your sin should be always increasing.
Once the scapegoat was sent into the wilderness, he was destroyed, and the sins of the people along with it.
To have received the Atonement that is available in Jesus Christ does not mean that you become sinless. But it does mean that you are growing in holiness. Putting to death the deeds of the flesh.

Atonement reconciles us to fellowship with God.

The pinnacle of the day of Atonement is that God came to dwell among His people.
Our biggest problem is that we have been separated from God by our sin.
By the destruction of our sin, we are restored into fellowship with God.
Romans 5:1 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Transition
The Day of Atonement is a beautiful picture for us of what Christ did when He made atonement for us in the Cross. Three ways Jesus is a better atonement:

Jesus is the Spotless Lamb: He does not need to purify himself.

Hebrews 7:27 ESV
He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
Jesus does not need to purify himself because he is, himself, purity. What do you use to cleanse soap? What can you use to purify God? Nothing.

Jesus is the Perfect Lamb: He does not offer himself repeatedly.

Hebrews 10:10 ESV
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 7:27 ESV
He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
Hebrews 7:12 ESV
For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
The once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus is perfect because

Jesus is the Heavenly Lamb: He reconciles us to God.

By reconciling us to God, we have continual access to the presence of God.
This does not mean an occasional access. Christians live day by day with the assurance that access to God is open wide. They need the mediation of no earthly priest. Indeed, now all of life is lived in God’s presence. —Leon Morris, The Atonement, 87.
Conclusion
Illus: The sacrifice of Jesus is considered to be a substitutionary death. That is, Jesus died in our place so that we might live in His place. During WW2, there was a Franciscan monk named Maximillian Kolbe. The Germans had chosen a number of people in the concentration camp to be executed. One of the men cried, “Please! Not me! I have a wife and children!”
Kolbe stepped forward and offered to die in his place. The Germans accepted the offer and Kolbe was put to death so that the man with the family might live. That is the idea of “substitution.”
There is no way to be reconciled back to God apart from Jesus Christ. Without turning to Him in faith and confessing your sins you will remain separated from God. Your only hope to restored to God is confess your need of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is not merely that Jesus died FOR you. The Gospel is that Jesus died INSTEAD of you. He is the Lamb who stood in your place to receive the wrath of God so that you might stand in His place to receive the favor of God.
There is no way to be reconciled back to God apart from Jesus Christ. Without turning to Him in faith and confessing your sins you will remain separated from God. Your only hope to restored to God is confess your need of Jesus Christ.
The Lamb that takes away the sins of the Word is the very Son of God. He became—for us—the sacrifice that removes God’s wrath.
Once you have received Him as your Savior, He becomes—for you—the priest who ushers you into the presence of God.
The Bible says that—if you would receive reconciliation back to God—you must believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth that God raised Him from the dead.
To be restored to God is to be brought into His presence where you will live. God’s face turned toward you. Your heart turned toward Him.
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