Faithlife Sermons

The Wounds of Blasphemy

By His Wounds  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:50
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In 2004, actor and director Mel Gibson produced and directed the movie The Passion of Christ. At the time of its release, there was much controversy over its realistic depiction of the beating, flogging and crucifixion of Jesus. People would leave the theater visibly shaken, some even to the point of getting sick or fainting. The movie easily deserved its R rating.
As a pastor and theologian, what concerned me most at the time and still does is that such a graphic and powerful depiction of Jesus’ physical suffering can distract us from the far greater spiritual suffering Jesus endured for our sakes. The Bible does not shy away from Jesus’ physical suffering, but it does not focus on it. What it focuses on instead is Jesus’ spiritual suffering. This focus is not found only in the Gospels, but in the Prophets as well. For example, we read in Isaiah 53:
Isaiah 53:4–6 ESV
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Jesus’ greatest wounds were not the bruises caused by blows, tears caused by whips, nor holes caused by nails, but wounds caused by each time we have violated one of the Ten Commandments!
Starting today and continuing on through Easter Sunday we are going to discover how our sins caused the deepest most painful wounds for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We begin with the first three commandments.
It was the Spring of 1970, I was nine years old and like most boys in my class I wanted to see the movie Patton. This was a controversial movie (at least in Bible-belt, Abilene, Texas). The movie was rated PG for its profanity. My friend Scott and I had already unsuccessfully tried to see it, but the woman at the ticket window absolutely refused to sell us a ticket, because “Patton used the Lord’s Name in vain.” We were eventually able to see it, because one of our parents accompanied us (I can’t recall whose), but as I think back to those days I am amazed at how much our society has changed in 50 years.
There are still warnings concerning “strong language” in movie ratings, but no one seems to be concerned about blasphemy. In social media and text messages the initials OMG is everywhere to be found. I wonder if there is anyone left who realizes that the misuse of the Lord’s name is the most profane thing that can leave a person’s mouth.
People used to take blasphemy seriously because they took God seriously. Our blasphemy reveals the idolatry that is in our hearts. Jesus once said, “For out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Mt. 12:34) Outwardly, a person can appear to have an orthodox view of God, but in their heart, there is idolatry. The reformer, John Calvin, once remarked, “The human heart is an idol factory.” Unrestrained from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, our hearts quickly distort who God really is. Most people claim to believe in God, but the god they have created far is from the God of Scripture.
Consequently, blasphemy is a litmus test that each of us need to test our heart by, but in order for this test to work, we must...

Stop Blunting the Edge of Your Sin

This calls for honest self-reflection. How many times in great pain or pleasure have we frivolously uttered the name of God in vain? By the standards of this world, most of us are more likely to be accused of being “goody two shoes” than blasphemers, but we are not called to live by the standards of this world, we are called to live by the standards of God.
A few minutes ago, we sang the song, Holy, Holy, Holy, a hymn based on Isaiah 6. Let me read from a portion of that text:
Isaiah 6:1–4 ESV
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
In these verses, we have a vision of God and what we see should astound us! Everything about this vision shows us that God is to be feared and honored. The seraphim are beings specially created by God to be His throne guardians.
Think of all the amazing creatures God has made: Fish are uniquely designed to live in water. Birds are uniquely designed to fly. Giraffes are uniquely designed to feed from tall trees.
God designed the seraphim to dwell closer to him than any other creature and to do this they need three sets of wings: One to fly, one to cover their feet and one to cover their face. Why three sets? God’s brilliance is so great their eyes cannot bear it. Their feet must be covered because are too unholy to be seen by God. Imagine that, feet that have only walked on the golden street of heaven, yet that is enough to make them unclean before God! This is not a God to be treated lightly or spoken of carelessly!
What is Isaiah’s reaction? We find it in the next verse:
Isaiah 6:5 ESV
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Isn’t that interesting? It is not his feet that Isaiah is worried about (and O, how much more polluted his feet must have been from walking on the sinful streets of Jerusalem), it was his lips! As I said before, the third commandment is the litmus test that reveals our violations of the first two commandments. Now is the time to apply this test to your our lips. Don’t be easy on yourself. Don’t make excuses. See with brutal honesty how little you have loved and honored God, as you should.
Having done that, now turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Jesus Bore Upon Himself Our Sin of Blasphemy

Our Gospel reading came from John 10, because in that chapter we see clear evidence that He truly took upon the sin of our blasphemy. Sin brings guilt. Guilt brings accusation. Accusation brings punishment. In John 10, we see Jesus being falsely accused for blasphemy. It is a false accusation because he never once blasphemed God. However, in another sense, it was a true accusation, it was true because you and I are blasphemers and OUR sin of blasphemy was placed on Christ!
Earlier I urged you not to blunt the edge of your sin. I did this because I wanted you to see how deeply Jesus was wounded by your sin.
I want you to see this not primarily so you will fill empathy and thankfulness for what Jesus suffered for you, but so that you will understand that Jesus took your sin “not in part, but in whole” as the great hymn When I Survey the Wonderful Cross says.
Every time you have uttered the Lord’s Name in vain because you have smashed your finger or toe, Jesus had His face smashed in by a Roman solder's rod or fist! Every time your carelessly typed out the initials OMG, Jesus had a whip tear out huge chunks of flesh from His back! Every time you used the Name of God to make a point, the point of a nail pierced through His hands and feet!
Why did Jesus allow this to happen to Himself? Why did the Father allow this to happen to Him? It was because only in this way could we be healed.

By His Wounds We are Healed

This past week, President Trump issued a number of presidential pardons. There has been great controversy this week over these pardons. No one is questioning whether or not the President has authority to do so, but some are questioning whether or not in doing so there was a miscarriage of justice.
God as Creator and King of all of creation has the authority to issue pardons as well and Jesus was wounded by our sin in order that no one could charge God of a miscarriage of justice!
The name Jesus means, “Yahweh saves.” The scales of justice have been balanced, when you trust in Jesus as your Savior no accusation against you can stand? The Apostle Paul writes:
Romans 8:33–34 ESV
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Isaiah in his vision foresaw this as well, continuing from where we left off we read:
Isaiah 6:6–7 ESV
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
This morning we have looked at the ugliness of our blasphemy, but we have also looked took the wounds of our blasphemy upon Himself. In a moment, I am going to pray. As I pray, trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sin. Let the burning coal of Christ’s righteousness touch your lips and leave from here knowing that “your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Let us pray.
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