Priority 1: The Sacrifice of Jesus

Chapter 3 - Pillars of Eternity #2

This morning, we're going to look into the Word of God. The Lord has made real to me and I feel is making real to the world the things that are critical, that are important to Him. There are so many things folks that we can spend our time on that may not be important. There are so many things that we can study that may have little bearing on our real spiritual life. But there are some things that we had better not be without. And if we can some way determine those things that God has considered important, and zero in on recognizing not only that they are important but why they are important, it could mean a lot to us.


I've called this Mountain Peaks of Truth. In preparing it, talking with a man yesterday, he said it could well be called pillars of eternity. I even liked that better than what I put down there. These truths of God are so big that they are what hold eternity up. There are seven of them that God gave me. Last week we had an introductory message showing the value of man, what God thinks of each one of us, each individual being worth more than the whole wide world. And every thing that God has placed as a top priority has to do in some way with helping us as individuals. So I summed it up this way. We are God's business, His highest business. How do you like that? We're God's business.


My wife and I were reading a letter that came yesterday from some place that had read the book (Angels on Assignment), but felt that it was so in conflict with their limited understanding that this lady said, "I just can't conceive of anyone as important as God ever saying thanks to little tiny me." She said, "instead I feel that when I stand before God He's going to come down on me for my sins of omission and my sins of commission and all the other sins that I haven't asked God to forgive me for." I'm going to write this lady a letter and give her some news that she'd better ask the Lord for forgiveness if she expects to stand before God, and then knowing that she had done this, Jesus takes care of all that we can't do.


Did you know that this truth is so foreign to so many people that they have a difficult time that God really cares for them? Christianity as a whole has been conditioned to feel that God is out to get them. This is a fact. He's looking for some reason because He wants to get even with me for being so mean. God doesn't want to get even with you. Why it would be like me looking down at a little tiny ant, and saying, "ant I'm going to get even with you." Did you know that's just the way people feel toward God? God looks at you, not as though you're a little fly down there, but God looks at you and says, "Here is my treasure." Oh, hallelujah.


I just love those verses in Malachi the fourth chapter where he says that those who love the Lord spoke oft one to another and God caring for those people and loves them so much, He said, "they shall be mine says the Lord in that day when I gather my jewels together." Praise God. God loves us. We are God's highest business. Praise God.


I think of man's search for truth, man's search for God and the feeling that so many people have. God doesn't care, He really isn't interested and the feeling that people have in the church world today, they look at other people. I've had ministers come to me, I've had gospel workers come, and say, "I ‘m going to quit in my service for God, people just don't care." But people do care. And God cares. God has awakened something in this world today and has created a hunger for God. People are searching in other places but there's that void that's within them. And there is a tremendous hunger, a hunger for somebody that can literally tell them, "Here He is, He loves you, and He cares for you." They've heard so many things, seen so many unreal things presented to them. They have seen so many people that have promised an elephant and have produced a mouse. And they're leery of that but their hungry for God.


I had a couple in my office that accepted the Lord yesterday morning and they made this statement. They said, "We really want God." We really want God; we got turned away from God because it seemed that what people were presenting as God wasn't anything at all. Wasn't anything for my life, but we want God. Is that the way you feel? You want God. The world wants God. I'm seeing it happen.


On Wednesday afternoon I was to speak in the largest active protestant congregation in the United States. The people themselves were planning on coming because service started at 7:30 and they were planning on coming. They told me this. They wanted to get there probably around 6:30 or 7 so we could get a good seat, but what they didn't know were that people were so hungry to hear what God is saying. They heard that God was making contact, letting the world know what He desires of them. That building started to fill up at 3:30 in the afternoon for a 7:30 service. So all of those members that came in looking for seats at 6:30, an hour beforehand, I happened to come in the building, I could hardly get in, big long hallways packed with humanity. If you would have fainted you would never have fallen down. And I had a hard time getting through. There was a dining room bigger than the two bays of seats here that was totally filled, close circuit television for that. There were people everywhere. And I couldn't help but say "God, what you are doing is creating a hunger in the hearts of men and women, by sending forth those reinforcements from heaven, those hosts from heaven to draw people to yourself." Hallelujah.


God is creating a hunger. People are asking the question "is He really there? How can I know Him, how can I find Him? Where is He? What is He like? What does He require of me? How can I please Him? Where do we fit into His plan?" Ah, listen things are happening but the cry is again and I‘ve heard it over and over and over. We hear so many things from different pulpits, we hear radio programs constantly, one says this is important and another this and it seems like Christianity is going 100 different directions but God said Himself, "It's time the world knows those things that are important to Me." And He has let us know about them. In the book Angels on Assignment I have one chapter on God's priorities. And in that chapter I have lumped what He said on those seven pillars of eternity. But in one chapter and one message it would be impossible to enlarge or to give the picture on what God wants. It's only just reference to it. Even in one message it would be impossible to give fully the thing that's important to God on just one of these points.


But this morning we're going to take as much as we can of the first priority that God has, the first in order, all of them are important, but the first in order and that is the death of Jesus Christ. And the purpose of His death, the shedding of His blood was to appease His wrath and to take our place in judgment. I've read things, I've heard things, there's a man in Texas, I told my Sunday School class this morning, he's talking about a man that is the most wicked person in the world. A man that is as mean as the devil. And definitely has horns on the top of his head. He's a man that you have to hate at first sound. When that man was described to me I thought what a horrible person he is, and then when I heard the man's name, well it sounded like mine. And I thought I better look in the mirror and see whether something was growing or not. It was me all right.


There are people who are examining the mechanisms but they are failing to find God. And while I was being told about these things by people who had listened daily, it's a daily television program, listen to the harangue about me; I didn't realize I got in the news that much. And I could almost see a person examining a telescope. God has given us a beautiful telescope with which we can look up and see God and understand what He's like, but the religious world has decided that telescopes are real important, so they have gone into the telescope producing business. Not to look through but to see who can make the shiniest, brightest telescope with the most gadgets on it. And what I could visualize were people looking at the parts the screws and the telescope, padding it, rubbing it and putting some polish on it and oh this is the most wonderful telescope. Look this telescope has all these fancy features, the very latest. And every once in awhile someone would come out with a new gadget, a new feature and say "hey look at mine," and I could visualize all these different denominations, each with a telescope, each with a little peculiar gadget of their own that makes them just enough different. Maybe there would be a blue screw instead of a white screw, just to make the difference so they wouldn't all be the same. It would give them a reason for being, all of them to brag about their telescope, cap is over the end to keep the lens from being scratched, no focus of any kind. This Bible is the telescope. But people are doing everything in the world with this Bible except putting it up to their eye and using it for the highest purpose that God has given us the telescope for, to see what God is like, to reveal God. Oh, I'll tell you, I had a good chance to share this message with some people. I told them, quit polishing that telescope. Give it to your eye. Look and see what God is really like. What He desires, what His priorities really are, and see what He wants. And just this morning, I'm going to be able to put this particular priority. Because of the fact that you already have such a strong foundation of basis in this faith in God. I wanted you to see how precious and dear this is to the heart of God.


We read in Gen. 3:21 where God in order to bring His substitute for death to Adam and Eve when they sinned, God took some animals and He killed them and He covered them with the animal skins. The animals became a substitute. And then God let them see His plan, that death was important to Him. That blood was important to Him. It was so important to God that He kept reminding Israel about it. In Gen. 22:17 I think of the trip that Abraham made up to Mt. Mariah and he took his little son Isaac along, and Isaac said, "Dad we're going up there to make a sacrifice, here's the wood, and here's the coals but where's the sacrifice. Abraham said, "God will provide the sacrifice." God, it was so close to His heart, that He said, "Abraham I want you to feel just a little bit the way I feel in my care for the world. I want you to take your son, your only son. I want you to feel with me, and what is happening in my love for the world. I want you to offer your son there on an altar there, so he took his son and he tied him on the altar and he raised the knife in his hand, with his heart bleeding and broken feeling the anguish, this son promised by God himself and now being removed and slain by God's command. But he said I have to obey God. But he did tell Isaac something, God will provide the sacrifice. And just at the last second God said stop, and Abraham looked and there was an animal caught in the thicket. And that was used for the sacrifice.


But what I'm telling you here is that it was on God's heart, it was a priority to God that mankind be spared and a substitute be used in its place. Can you follow this? It was God's plan you see. I think of the message in Lev. 16:6-16, we're not going to read it right now but, when God gave to Moses the tabernacle in the wilderness and He said, "Moses I want you to build it exactly, I want these sacrifices to be exact because they speak of what I am doing." God was picturing the death of Jesus. Now the death of Jesus and it's purpose so covers every base, every need that man will ever have that is so great that one example will not cover. So God had to picture this in many ways. He had to picture it as Jesus being the Lamb being crucified as it was being killed. He had to picture it as the High Priest carrying the sins of the whole world. He had to picture it as Jesus being incense that was offered to provide the cloud. He had to picture it as Jesus the High Priest taking the blood and offering, sprinkling the blood before God as a sacrifice. Over and over again God made reference to this sacrifice. One of the things that clinches if there's any doubt in your mind at all as to whether these messages that God has given me have come from Him or not, there are still people, I had a man yesterday that questioned this, is it really from God? Could it not be from satan? I had to let him know that Satan hates the sacrifice of Jesus. He cannot stand it, he would never promote it. But every message that God has brought to me through this angel from heaven has pointed to the sacrifice. And the sacrifice is the nearest thing there is in the universe to God's heart. It's top priority with God. It had to happen for us, for our salvation. Oh, Hallelujah.


I still tremble when I recall that night when God let me see Jesus, and if you would like to turn to these portions of Scripture it's all right. But in Zech. chapter 3 when He speaks of a priest named Joshua, well Joshua is the name Jesus only this is in Hebrew and Jesus is the Greek word for the same name you see, so when you read this, Jesus came before God with filthy garments on Him. And God said, "Now you can remove those garments, put on Him the royal priestly garments, and He can walk among His people now representing them." Then He spoke of Jesus going down into the grave, into Hades, hell, Oh God. In Hebrews Chapter two verse nine "He tasted death for every one of us." Jesus Himself tasted death. Now some of you will see the importance of this. Though Jesus died for us, and His blood was shed for us and His physical life was given for us, He wasn't taking our place in physical death, He was shedding His blood in physical death, He was doing it for us, but you know the thing that He really did for us where He took our place, the Word tells us that He tasted death for every man. Death is that eternal separation from God; it's called the second death in the Bible. It's that judgment day where men have to stand before God and hear the sentence of doom; it's that day of finality that will never have an end. There will be no turning back; it will be that nightmare that you could never wake up from. That is that day, the judgment day, that day of doom for all of mankind.


I know that everyone here knows at least a little bit about that day. How many of you here have thought about it here, that day of separation and doom? Can I see your hands? You know what I'm talking about here. And there are still fears that come into people's hearts, even when they've given their heart to the Lord, because they haven't realized what Jesus did for them. But when He gave Himself freely, He did not die for every man, for every man on that tree. He did not take every man's place in physical death, if He did, it wasn't successful. Because we're having to say good bye to our relatives and friends all the time. He did not take your place in physical death. You know that, you can see that but the Word tells us that He died; He became a substitute for every man. What's it talking about? It's talking about that day that is coming when you have an appointment with a second death. The sentence of death was upon you. But Jesus said, "Father I will take their place in that second death." And so the Word tells us that on Him the sins of the whole world were laid on Him, and He became sin.


I want you to picture the torments of hell. I want you to picture the blackness and darkness of an eternity without God. But then He said your debts have been paid. You're free. Oh Hallelujah. Many people, when they hear this beautiful message, this beautiful story, they remind me of that great Russian bear that was in a cage that was just nine steps from one side to the other. And that bear a couple years ago was released. And that bear for so long walked back and forth nine steps one way, nine steps back, nine steps one way, nine steps back. He was conditioned to captivity, a slave in bondage. But there was a petition as that bear got older. They said, "Let's let him have his last years in freedom." And they took the bear out in the hills and the woods, they let him out, and the bear got out of the cage that they took him out there with and he looked around and he started walking and they thought, "He's free. It must be wonderful for him to be free," and he walked nine steps and he started back again. There were no bars. He was a captive by bars in his mind. There was no way to tell this bear that he was free.


But men and women today have had the bars torn down and the Holy Spirit is saying, "You can step out in a free world," but somehow their minds have been so conditioned to fear. They're afraid to listen to the voice of the Spirit. They're out their in the broad open expanses. Many, many believers are in the expanses of God's grace, but they're saying I just can't believe I could be this free. I can't believe it. I can't believe it. And they take nine steps one way and nine steps the other, like this letter that I told you about that we read, "I can't believe that God would ever say thanks to me," because of condition for fear, facing that judgment. But Jesus took our place. The death of Jesus is a great pillar that holds up eternity. Hallelujah. God planed it that way. And it's going to be the important, still a great priority, one of those mountain peaks when you get over there in eternity. It's going to still be there. It will never, never, never lose its importance. Jesus died for me. He took my place. Praise God. God is saying take the Bible, use it as a telescope, and see what I'm like. I love you, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes will accept Him, should not perish, because Jesus took your place. Hallelujah. Do you believe that? Oh Hallelujah.


I just wanted you to see today the importance of the death of Jesus. And there are so many different aspects. And people have wondered in what sequence it happened. It doesn't have to happen in sequence. In God's great plan it was like one explosion that took place with the many facets moving out, because in eternity it's neither long nor short, it took place. Jesus became the cloud covering for us, and today we can look up into His face regardless of problems you had this morning. Your faith in His performance is the only way God can accept you. So He's looking down at you this morning and saying, "there is a person who looks just like Jesus," because you're all wrapped up in Him. Oh hallelujah. Doesn't that make you love Him? That's part of His death.


Then we see Him as the great, great high priest who went into the heavens. We read it over in Hebrews the ninth chapter and verse 19 and 20, where He went and He sprinkled those things pertaining to God with His own blood. First He sprinkled the mercy seat, and the mercy seat covered the box called the ark, and inside the ark were all of the broken commandments of man, but it was sprinkled, and so God looked down where your broken laws were, your iniquities and sins and He sees the blood of Jesus there. And then that sacrifice was so complete, it took two animals, one to die and one to carry the sins away. God covers your life so that He cannot see your sin, then He executes a plan for taking them all away. That's what Jesus did for you. When he suffered that second death, the judgment of Almighty God, He carried your sins with Him there.


And you read it in Lev. 16, about these two animals. Every sin was pronounced over the head of this live goat. The live goat was taken out into the wilderness to never return again, to wander until he perished. Jesus Himself. As I said, it's so complete; it took more than one way to show what He has done. So God in His desire not only to cover up your sins has a plan of taking them all away. Praise God. Doesn't that make you love Him? This is God's great priority. And what this means to us, it means that because Jesus did His job when you put your faith in Him, He pronounces you not guilty or you are innocent.


Do you know that people have made the mistake in feeling that God has said He is able to justify the godly, and make the godly innocent. Read it in Romans 4:5. I read it wrong for many years. It doesn't say that, doesn't say He's able to justify the godly. The word justify means to make innocent you see. He said He is able to justify the ungodly, to make the ungodly innocent. Doesn't that give you a little bit of hope? Or is everybody here the godly kind? Ah, I tell you it's a good thing He justifies the ungodly, or we'd all be in trouble. Then I read over in Hebrews 8:12, these verses incidentally came to me right from God's heart by this angel. In Hebrews 8:12 where He says, "He is now merciful to our righteousness, that's what we've taught. No, He's merciful to our unrighteousness. Hallelujah. That ought to make you happy. Praise God. Praise God. He's merciful when you don't deserve mercy. Praise God. God in His great love planned it this way. It isn't an accident. He planned it this way. He wanted to remove all of the barriers that were in your way so He could accept you. Praise God. This is why this is a pillar of eternity. He wants you to know that you are innocent, that His wrath is turned away. Praise God. Rom. 3:21-28, I'd like for you to write down the references and just read it when you get home. It's one of the most beautiful portions that there is. Where He speaks about this justification, how complete it is. And God can still be just and do it because He put the penalty on someone else. And then it speaks 1 John 1:9 that because of what Jesus has done and His death, we can have a daily cleansing just like your heart is beating and the blood is going through your body and it's cleansing your body everyday. The blood of Jesus Christ as long as God's big heart is beating for you, its coursing and the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses us from all sin.


There are some people trying to find reasons why this doesn't apply to them. But if your faith is in what Jesus has done it applies to you. Do you know what they're saying? They're saying, "Well that speaks of people that are walking in the light, and to walk in the light, that light means knowledge, you have to walk in every bit of knowledge. God literally spoke to me on that. He said "do you walk in every bit of light that you have?" If it was Mike that was asking me this I'd say sure. But when God asks you that, "you got to say well I don't believe I do." And He literally asked me, "How do you expect to be cleansed, if you're not walking in the Light, every bit of knowledge?" He said, "If this were the case you would be earning your salvation. But you can't earn it. And so He said, "Do you want to know what this light I'm talking about? It's not knowledge, it's Me. And He pointed me to verse five in 1 John 1:5. This then is the message, God's message to us. That God is light, He's light. He is light. "This is the message that we've heard, God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all." Then if we walk in that light, that light of His fellowship by putting our faith in Him, our faith in what He has done, that opens up a beam of light. The Word tells us that Jesus Himself was Light. In Him was Light and that light was the life of man. It comes, it lights us. He tells us that it's available for every man that comes in the world. And it's sufficient to save everybody. In 1 John 2:2 He said, "It's sufficient not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole wide world." You see when God did this; it's a priority because it covers the needs of all.


Then this is important, Heb. 7:27. "He is able to save to the uttermost all that comes unto God by Him, through Him, in His name, regardless of where they are or what they've done. They all look the same, like Jesus. Only way we can be accepted. And I think of the confidence we can have in Rom. 5:8, "if when we were His enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more now that we're His can we have this life through Him. "Praise God, Praise God. Then I think of the beautiful fellowship we can have daily, where our High Priest is asking us to come and we read it in Heb. 4:14-16 where He said that we can come boldly now before the throne of grace. Hallelujah. Find grace to help in the time of need.


You know what He's telling us today. This is top priority with God. This is priority. Now the things that we've been holding up were, "How good have I been?" We've been criticizing people if they haven't been able to be what we think they ought to be, when God is all the while saying, "there's no way you can climb that ladder and make yourself look good." You must come on the basis of what Jesus has done, and then you can have that fellowship with God.


We're going to stand in the presence of God. God is here. Don't you love the fact that God cared enough about us where we could have that telescope and see those things that were important to Him? I'm going to ask that no one else leaves for just a moment. I want you to lift both hands before Him, lift your hands in His presence. I want you in your own way to thank God for caring for you. Thank Him all over the building. Let Him hear your voice.


"God we thank you, thank you for caring for us. Oh how we love you, how we adore you. Praise God. Praise God. Praise God. Thank you Jesus for taking our place in the judgment of God. Oh we love you for this. Praise God, praise God." From our hearts lets sing "Oh, how I love Jesus."