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Lev. 17:11 THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BLOOD
Intro: In recent days, I have been spending considerable amounts of time reading through the Old Testament, especially the passages dealing with the exodus of Israel from Egypt. In the pages of Scripture, I have come to understand that God gave His people scientific truth that was centuries ahead of that possessed by men at the time. For instance, God spoke often about washing the body under running water. This is a simple form of cleansing that wasn’t even practiced by medical professionals until the latter part of the 19th century. In fact, doctors would often operate on one patient and then go directly to another stopping only to wash their hands in the same basin that had been used by many others. Another truth God revealed to His people was the notion of quarantine. Repeatedly in the Bible God tells His people to remove from their midst those who are infected with dread diseases such as leprosy. It was this knowledge that was instrumental in stemming the tide of the Black Death that claimed 1/3 of Europe during the Dark Ages. Many other instances could be named, but perhaps the most remarkable of the scientific statements made in the Bible is the statement that is found in this passage, “the life of the flesh is in the blood...” This is a truth that wasn’t understood by scientists and doctors until very recent times. In fact, the blood was often seen to be the culprit behind many diseases and a technique called “blood letting”, whereby some of the blood was run out of the body, was used to bring about healing. Sadly, it more often brought about death! It was this technique that cost President George Washington his life just over 200 years ago. Sometimes, doctors would attach leeches to their patients in an effort to remove blood from their bodies. This technique was, to say the least, more than a little flawed.
Tonight, I would like to take a few minutes to look at this verse and say that it is still the blood that is the life of the flesh and it is still the blood that is the life of the soul. There are three powerful statements that are made here concerning the blood that help us to understand just was a remarkable substance the blood is. Allow me to share these facts about the blood with you this evening.
I. BLOOD IS A PRECIOUS SUBSTANCE
A. The Purpose Of The Blood - This verse tells us that the very life of the body is contained in the blood. As I stated earlier, medical science didn’t understand this until the advent of powerful microscopes that now allow doctors to look at the blood and better understand its function in the body. Among the substances of the body, the blood is unique. Consider these facts:
1. The blood is the only tissue of the body that is mobile. The body produces many fluids, but the blood is literally liquid tissue. Other fluids are limited to certain areas of the body, but the blood touches every single cell in the human body.
2. There are about 5 quarts of blood in your body. This blood travels through your body every 23 seconds. As it does, the blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells of your body, bringing life as it travels. At the same time, the same blood also removes the waste products from the cells. This waste never contaminates the good things the blood carries which the body needs. Imagine, if you will, the local garbage truck picking up your trash and also delivering your meals uncovered.
3. While the red cells in the body are carrying oxygen rich hemoglobin, and nutrients to the cells, another part of the blood known as “leucocytes” or white blood cells are present to defend the body against outside invaders. When the body is injured, you may notice a swelling in the area of the injury. This is caused by blood being rushed to the injured area, blood that is rich in white blood cells. These cells have the power to kill and engulf germs and infections. As they do their job, they die in the process and are expelled from the body, along with the infection, in a material we call pus. All of this is going on in the blood!
4. There is more that the blood does, such as carrying antibodies and antitoxins, but just these simple insights are enough to let us know that the blood is extremely vital to the existence of the human body.
B. The Power Of The Blood - The power of the blood in the human body is so great that an infection in the bloodstream has the power to infect the entire body, and the loss of too much blood has the power to interrupt human life.
(Ill. While the blood and its importance cannot be overstated in the human body, everything we have said about the blood thus far also has a spiritual application. Just as the blood is necessary to physical life, the blood is also necessary for spiritual life! However, the major difference is that in the physical realm, one must have his own blood, in the spiritual realm, we must have the blood of another!)
I. Blood Is A Precious Substance
II. BLOOD IS A PROVIDED SUBSTANCE
A. The Person Behind The Provision - God tells the nation of Israel that He is the One Who has given them the blood. He was the Creator of it and He was the author of the sacrificial system. Left to themselves, Israel would have chosen any number of methods for conducting religion. It would have involved idols and works. However, God devised a system that involved death and suffering. This had always been His plan, Gen. 3:21 and Exodus 12:1-13. Why suffering and death? Because the sinner needed to know first-hand the penalty and price of sin. God demanded blood from the children of Israel and the Lord still demands blood tonight! Many in our day recoil at the mention of the blood. However, it has always been God’s method of dealing with sin and always will be, Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 1:18-19!
(Ill. This verse is a prophetic verse. Here the Lord is speaking ahead to a time when He would give the ultimate blood for us. He is looking ahead to a time when His precious Son would go to Calvary and shed His blood for you and me. That was the purpose behind these sacrifices! It was all pointing to the cross!)
B. The Place Of The Provision - The place God mentions is the altar. A place associated with death and suffering. The altar was a bloody, grim place also marked by the blood the dead and dying. From the altar arose the smoke of the sacrifices that burned there continually. It was a place of suffering.
(Ill. Again, this all pointed ahead to a time when the Son of God would go to an altar called the cross and would shed His blood the redemption of mankind. Please never lose sight of the terrible price Jesus paid for us. He suffered terribly so that we might be saved. Just as the sacrifices of old were tied to the altar and burned with fire, Jesus was nailed to His altar and burned in the fire of divine wrath! The price He paid was a terrible price!)
C. The Purpose Of The Provision - Go reminds them that the reason He gave them the blood sacrifices was to make an atonement for their sins. The word “atonement” means “a covering”. God gave them the blood as a means of covering their sins and of bringing them into fellowship with Himself. Lest we forget, sin separates us from the presence of God, Isa. 59:2. The blood has the power to bring us together!
(Ill. I don’t know about you, but one of the most remarkable truths in the Bible is the fact that God genuinely wants to have fellowship with you and me. He has proven this be the lengths He has gone to, to bring us together. The fact that God would place our value above that of another life is an amazing thing! To me, it is absolute proof of the power of the love of God for humanity. That He would value us more than the life of His own Son is a truth that is wonderful beyond words, Rom. 5:8.)
I. Blood Is A Precious Substance
II. Blood Is A Provided Substance
III. BLOOD IS A POWERFUL SUBSTANCE
A. The Blood Covers Sin - It is stated in this verse again that the blood was given to cover sin. That is, when the blood was shed and applied to the altar, God saw the blood and not the sin. It was removed from His sight and He accepted the blood of the innocent sacrifice in place of the guilt of the sinner.
(Ill. Interestingly, of all the millions of sacrifices that were slain during the days of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, not a single sin was ever removed. They were only covered by blood and had to be recovered as they were recommitted. This is told very clearly in the book of Hebrews, Heb. 10:11. The sacrifices were never finished and sin was ever a problem. Thank God, that has all changed!)
B. The Blood Cleanses Sin - When we come to the New Testament and to the death of Jesus on the cross, we find a sacrifice that was filled with a power that the Old Testament sacrificial system could never know. What we find about the blood of Jesus is that it has the power to take away sin! This was the promise of John the Baptist, John 1:29 and it is the declaration of the Word of God, Heb. 10:12-14; Heb. 9:24-28, 1 John 1:7.
(Ill. Unlike the Old Testament sacrifices, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross will never have to be repeated! It was a one-time for all-time offering that forever removes the sins of every person who places their faith in Him and His shed blood!)
C. The Blood Converts The Sinner - When a person under the sacrificial system offered his offering to the Lord and spilled the innocent blood, nothing changed in his life. He left the altar, moved by the death of the animal, but otherwise unchanged. However, when a person comes to Jesus by faith and is saved by grace, that person is forever changed. The blood of the Lamb has the power to convert the soul. Not only will God cleanse away your sins, but He will forever change your life. The blood of Jesus has the power to make us into new creatures, 2 Cor. 5:17.
Conc: Are you thankful for the blood this evening? I know that my soul thrills when I think of the love that pushed Jesus Christ to the cross and that caused Him to lay down His life for mine. I praise the Lord this evening for the blood that He shed that day so that people like you and me might be saved and go to Heaven when we leave this world. Thank God for the blood! The primary question this evening is this: Have you been washed in the blood? Didn’t ask about the baptistry, I asked about the blood! Is the blood of Jesus the anchor of your soul this evening? If you need to trust the blood, then this altar is open, or if you just want to thank God for the blood!