TO/RN Veil

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We’re in a series together. It’s a short series. It’s only going to be three weeks. So we’re smack in the middle today on the idea of torn, and the thought of torn carries significant meaning in the the death and resurrection of Christ, especially. We saw last week that the lamb was torn as sin tore the world. So the lamb was torn for our sin. And we read about that in Exodus chapter 12, where Jesus becomes the ultimate reflection of the lamb that was sacrificed for the Passover. Israel was a slave in Egypt and to set them free, God sent the death angel through the land of Egypt, and the death angel was going to kill the firstborn. And God told the nation of Israel that in order to escape the death angel, that you sacrificed a lamb without blemish, a male lamb, and apply his blood over the doorpost of your home and the application of that blood. By faith, the death angel would pass over your home and wouldn’t take your firstborn. And so, through the sacrifice of the lamb, they were spared or saved and brought into their new freedom. They left Egypt under that celebration of the Passover, and they went through the wandering of the wilderness into the promised land that God had offered them as a people. And through that lamb that was torn, it was a reflection of Christ, who was a lamb who would be torn on our behalf and who was torn on our behalf, and through the blood of this lamb.

When we apply his sacrifice to our lives, we find ourselves rescued from the curse of sin. Just as the nation of Israel was rescued from the curse of sin being slaves in Egypt this morning, we want to carry on with this idea of being torn. And so today I’m going to start with a theological proclamation for the majority of what we express in Scripture today. And so it’s going to be heavy in Scripture. And the reason is, is because when we discuss this thought of torn and what Jesus has accomplished for us, it gives us the backdrop to understanding the New Testament. And so you find this theme, this idea, this concept expressed throughout all of Scripture and especially in the New Testament and the finishing work of what Christ has accomplished. So we’re going to look at the the theological proclamation of this tearing and talk more about what else was torn through Christ’s death and resurrection. And then we’re going to make the application. What do we do with it and why does it even matter. Right. So as we think in the weighty matters of what Scripture says, then we’ll make the practical application of how it relates to our lives. And as Israel sacrificed this lamb in Exodus chapter 12, it was shortly after the sacrifice of this lamb that when Israel was set free, and they go into the wanderings of the wilderness, leading them to the promised land of what would be their land that God promised in Canaan, God directed the nation of Israel to build a tabernacle, which eventually would become the temple where the people of God would go to meet with God in worship.

When the nation of Israel left Egypt, it tells us that that God directed them where to go by cloud during the day, by fire at night, and when they built the temple within the nation of Israel, God’s presence was said to have dwelt there. In fact, the temple had two rooms. There was one room called the Holy Place, and there was a second room called the Holy of Holies, and these two rooms were were separated by a veil, and this temple signified a place to meet with God. But although Israel had a place in which they could go to meet with God’s presence. The reality still rested. That they were separated from him. Because in this room that exists in this temple, this room of the Holy of Holies, there was this veil of separation which they couldn’t cross. In Hebrews chapter nine, the writer of Hebrews records just a picture of this temple. He says in verse three, behind the second veil, talking about the separation and the two rooms of the temple, there was a tabernacle, which is called the Holy of Holies. The tabernacle literally means the dwelling places, the dwelling place of God.

The Holy Holy of Holies. Places. In fact, in describing the function of this temple and this Holy of Holies a little bit further, it says in verse seven, but into the second, talking about the second veil, only the high priest enters. But once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the Holy place has not yet been disclosed, which the outer tabernacle is still standing, while the outer tabernacle is still standing. And so what they’re saying, the writer is saying in the book of Hebrews is like this. If we were to do this as a church, we would have a building built in which we could meet, like here in Lehigh. What we’re here doing this morning, and rather than coming to this place for worship, we all stay out in the parking lot. That’s where God’s presence is. And here we are worshiping the Lord in the streets. And that’s what took place in the nation of Israel. This veil separated them from God’s presence, and the only one who could ever enter behind that curtain was the High Priest, and the only time he could ever do that was one time a year through the sacrifice of an animal, he was able to go into the presence of the Lord because the sacrifice symbolically represented the sacrifice to which Jesus.

Would bring. Josephus, a Jewish historian, records that this this veil that separated the the people of God from the presence of God, though they were near his presence was 60ft tall, 40ft wide, and at least four inches thick. If you were to take a couple of horses on either side of this veil. Josephus writes that those horses pulling with all of their strength wouldn’t muster the power to separate this veil. The word vale. Within Hebrew. Language means a fracture. Or separation that hides. Even though God was present. People were still distant. Until the coming of Christ. In Matthew chapter seven. It tells us, as Jesus hung on the cross at the end of his life, giving his life on our behalf. This statement Jesus made recognizing the importance of this event. And he says, When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. In that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. You got to tell you. When the Bible says something. It’s not just saying it to say it. You know, like in my house, if if a curtain tore out had been like my curtain tore and then I’d been sad. My curtain tore. Right. But when Jesus is making this statement, he’s saying so much more than all this curtain tore. What God is signifying for us is that fracture, that separation that hides us.

When this veil was torn, God’s presence no longer dwelt in this temple where people would go to meet with God. In fact, it says in acts chapter 17, the apostle Paul that God who made the world and all things in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. In first Corinthians 316 Paul went on and he said this, do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? It’s as if to say to us about the church, look, the church isn’t a building. The church is the people. Because that’s where God’s Spirit dwells. In his people. Jesus in John chapter 14 and verse six. In talking about this position of the high priest that would come into the temple on behalf of the people, he said this I am the way and the truth and the life. No one gets to the father but through me. Now I am that representation. I am that access. I am that way. What Jesus accomplished on the cross, signifying through the tearing of the veil, enters us into a new relationship with God that we previously couldn’t understand or receive because there was a fracture or separation that hit us in, in, and from his presence. In fact, the Bible says this in second Corinthians 517 you are a new creation.

You are a temple of God. You are made right before God. In Romans five one you are set apart for God. In first Corinthians 130 you are made perfect. In Hebrews 1014 you are accepted. In Ephesians one six you are forgiven. In Colossians 213, you are complete. In Colossians 210 you are crucified to the old self to live as a new self. In Romans six six you will live with him. Colossians three three you have ascended with Christ. You are his gift. You are his bride. You are his possession. You are. You have glorious inheritance. You are born again, baptized, sealed by His spirit. The same spirit that resurrected Jesus from the grate lives in you. You are the object of his love, the object of his grace, the object of his power, the object of his faithfulness, the object of his peace, the object of his encouragement, the object of his intercession. You are heavenly citizens, God’s household. Maybe my favorite as it relates to our relationship with the Lord here on earth, it says. You are a chosen race. And royal priesthood. Meaning Jesus. Is now our high priest. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the one who has gone through the veil and torn the veil that we may have access to the Lord. And so first Peter, when Peter writes this book. Peter grew up as a Jew. Peter knew the importance of the temple.

He knew the importance of the work of the priests, and he especially knew the importance of the position of the high priest. And through the finishing work of Christ. What Peter is saying to the body of believers now is that you no longer you no longer need the priests. In fact in Christ by His Spirit dwelling within you. You have become that priest. When Peter makes this statement, he’s not making the statement for pastors, right? He’s making a statement to God’s people. It doesn’t matter your race. It doesn’t matter your gender. It doesn’t matter your age. It doesn’t matter your social standing in Christ. His spirit dwells within you, and you have opportunity to ask and come before him whenever your heart desires. Because Jesus has paid this way for for you. How is it possible for us to have unhindered access to God? How? Because how does this happen in the life of the believer with the Bible in the New Testament? When you read it, you’ll see these significant words of justification discussed and righteousness. Justification is a legal firm, and the word righteousness comes from the same Greek word as justification. There they’re the same. It’s a legal firm barred from the judicial system. That means, just as if I’ve never sinned, declared righteous. It creates this idea in those who understand the legal mentality of this Greek culture, that that you come before the courtroom and in front of the presence of the judge, and the judge pronounces that you are guilty.

And then he steps down. And he pays your payment. You’ve been justified. And in those moments, you’re able to go from the courtroom free. Titus chapter three and verse five says this. Not by works of righteousness which we have done. But according to his mercy. Our justification. Isn’t conducted by ourselves, but our justification was accomplished through Christ on the cross, seen through the example of the veil that was torn as been declared in Scripture. You are the temple of God. You are a royal priesthood, not just a priest, but you belong. You belong to a king. In fact, in Romans the Apostle Paul explains this. The scope of this idea in the first seven chapters he lays out the framework of our salvation, and then he begins to communicate what it means in our justification before God. And so he says this in verse verse nine. He says, however, you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. If Christ is in you, but the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive. Look at this because of righteousness. Her justification. But if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

The opportunity you have to come before God’s presence is because of the justification that Jesus brought on your behalf in the midst of your condemnation before him as judge. Paul sandwiches this thought in the middle of Romans. But he begins, and he ends it wrestling with the idea. Then, then, then what can separate us from God having now been justified by him? What? What can pull us away? And if you if you looked at the beginning in Romans chapter eight and verse one, when, when Paul begins to establish this, this text, he says, now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. How specific does Paul need to get? He then goes on in verse 31 he says, then what shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own son, but delivered him over for us all, who will he not also with him freely give to us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died. Yes, rather. Who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us, who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In case you didn’t get that, that’s Paul saying nothing. When God justifies you. He doesn’t look at the sin. Or rather, he looks at the beauty of Christ that covers you. There is justification for us. In Hebrews chapter ten. It’s the parallel to Romans chapter eight. In chapter ten and verse 14, it says this for by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified and sanctified means set apart for God. When he has perfected us for all time. It’s saying this past, present, future sin. When Jesus died, he covered it all. Many if you were to walk out today. And fall flat on your face into temptation. Jesus’s death has justified it. Now, it’s not to encourage you to say, now go live that way. What to say to us. The eternal God. Has Eternaly paid for the penalty or excuse me, has paid for the penalty. For your sin against him. Not only has God justified us. But the Bible also gives us another thought beyond just this courtroom pronunciation of our freedom because of what Jesus has done.

The Bible also uses this word adoption. Not only has a judge declared you free. But a father has adopted you in. In the middle of the book of Romans in chapter eight that we saw just a few minutes ago. It says this in verse 15, for you have not received a spirit of slavery, leading to fear again. You’ve received a spirit of adoption. As sons, by which we cry out, ABBA, father! The veil has been torn. And now being able to enter in as a priest. There is this place of intimacy. As you connect with God, there is no longer the separation or fracture, but you have been adopted. In fact, going back to Hebrews ten, the apostle Paul says this in verse 19 give us words of encouragement. Uh, it gives us words of encouragement with our position in Jesus. He says, therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he inaugurated for us through the veil that is his flesh. Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own, assembling together as the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

What it’s giving us is this framework of an idea that now we can come to know Christ, what we do in that relationship as we connect to him. Meaning. Don’t underestimate the beauty of what God is doing in your life, in you and through you, as you meet with him in a personal, intimate way. Because God didn’t create us to isolate ourselves and that beauty. And I’ll explain that more in just a moment. But. But what God desires when we gather together as people who know him, who come behind the veil because of what he has done on our behalf, is that we might continue to encourage one another in that. Continue to lift one another up, to seek his face, to know him more, to draw near to that which we are created for. So the important questions. The theological framework laid in the justification of Christ has brought in the adoption that we have as God’s people through the veil that was torn. What do we do with it? Why does it matter? And what do we do knowing that Jesus has done this for us? How do we approach it? Well, can I encourage you this morning, maybe through a picture of just the Old Testament? When the high priest would would go to the temple for worship. There was a garment that he would wear. He was assigned by God to wear when he’d go before the people of God representing the Lord, and and making the sacrifices and doing the works within the temple.

It was this beautiful, ornate garment. And and he had a breastplate with this garment. And on this breastplate were precious stones. There were 12 stones. Each stone represented the people of Israel, God’s chosen people, saying to the people of Israel, wherever this priest went, their presence was represented before the Lord. God was always on their mind, and he was. Yes, God was always on their mind, and the Lord was always thinking of them. That’s what I mean. But when the priest would turn around. The priest would go into the temple. This one time of year to make the sacrifice. There was a different garment the priests wore. This garment was simplistic. It was a white, basic humble garment. He came to the people with everything, displaying the beauty of who God was, this valuable garment that he wore. And he came before the Lord. Empty. Humble. It’s decorated in just the basic garb. Bible tells us, humble yourselves, therefore the presence of the Lord, that he may exalt you in due time. Coming before the Lord, we have the opportunity to do so, but we should do reverential, reverently, humbly, just knowing that God meets with us. And. And the Bible also tells us in Hebrews chapter four and verse 16, let us come with confidence, drawing near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.

We can come boldly. But in addition to that, we also come honestly. So God’s justified us as people. God’s also adopted us as father. This is what we know about relationships as people. They’re never going to stay the same. You’re always drawing closer or further apart. Right. We use a spouse. You work to build intimacy within your relationship or it slowly dwindles. When sins present. Relationships are difficult. But when there is no sin, there is unity in the beauty of those relationships can be made known. And the same is true with God. Even though we can relate to him as a father. To be honest, there’s still tension in our relationship. Because I still walk in the flesh. I still have my sin nature though he has set me free by justifying my relationship with God isn’t perfect. Your relationship with God isn’t perfect. In fact, when John wrote first John, he said just that if we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. John saying, if you now think you’re going to be perfect, you lie. And God knows it. God knows you’re not going to be perfect. In fact, he says in first John chapter one and verse nine, if we confess our sins, he’s faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have no sin. Uh, if if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. In chapter two, verse one, my little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Meaning Jesus is constantly making the intercession for you as your sacrifice. The Bible uses this word sanctification for the believer, describing our position in Christ, and it uses it in three ways. It says you were sanctified, set apart for God. When you trusted in Jesus, you applied the blood of the lamb, but his blood continues to be applied to your life. So your sanctification constantly progresses under the blood of the lamb that continually covers you until you enter into eternity, in which you are glorified. But in the midst of that, there’s an important opportunity for us to recognize we can come before the Lord honestly, because God knows that we are imperfect as people, but God created us for relationship. God paved the way. Christ died not so that we can walk in guilt, but that we can go back and experience his presence. To grow in that relationship with him. Sometimes we use the word repentance to describe this. I got to say, as people, we we really abuse the idea of that word because a lot of times we make a repentance all about man rather than about the justification that Christ has done.

And what I mean is this I was reading this week about Saint Augustine in the fourth century. He wrote this, this book and and in that he was confessing about the, the idea of a man’s heart. And he said, you know, some people in this world, they can they’ll conduct something and then they’ll get condemned for it, and they’ll feel bad because they were condemned for it. But those same people, if they went out and they did it again, and those same people that condemned them praised them for it, then they would be excited too. And he’s just simply saying their concern has nothing to do with God when when they feel condemnation on their hearts. It has to do with with worldly sorrows. It has nothing to do with God like we can. We can weep, we can be bitter. We can be sorrow because we get caught for doing something. We feel like like a fool for doing something. But our heart could never agree with God in something. Repentance isn’t about us. The reason the Bible talks about repentance. The whole point of it is reconciliation. The whole point of it is to say to us as people, listen, you were created for a relationship with God. God has paved the way that you can come before him.

To set and feel like you have to owe more for a payment that Jesus has already paid is an insult. For the God who’s already paid everything for you. He wants you in his presence because he understands his presence is what transforms the heart, that does things that are contrary to him. And the longer you stand away feeling as if you’ve got to pay this penance before you can go in his presence. And the longer you keep God from entering back into his presence, that he may work on your heart. Repentance isn’t about you, it’s about him. So that you can be reconciled to him, that you may go and enjoy him, that he can transform you from the inside out. So it’s important for us. Just agree with God. And verse eight to just say, okay, God, you’re right, you’re right, I’m not perfect, and I’m coming before you and God. This, this is me. This is what I’ve been. This is me apart from you. Lord, I need you. I want you, God. Please forgive me. Lord. Let me enter in your presence. Let me enjoy you as you have created me to enjoy you. God, allow your spirit just to work in me and through me to be to be powerful in the way that it desires to represent you in this world. That’s what we do with it. We come simply. We come boldly.

We come honestly. Let me tell you what matters. Why do we approach God this way? Um, let me conflict with culture for a minute. We’ll say in our culture today, follow your heart, right. I’ve said it, and I want to just counter that thought for just a moment with, I think, what the Bible says. We’ll say, you know, just follow your heart. Just follow your heart. And and if you’re a guy this morning, you’re like, I don’t want to talk about heart. Just follow your gut. Just follow your gut. Right. So so we just we just just just follow, you know, your heart and and that’ll lead you in the right way. But let me just let me just give another thought that might run counter intuitive to what Scripture says, according to the way we say it culturally, um, your heart. Was never designed to lead. Your heart. Was designed to be led. And this is why. God made you a worshipper. You can’t help in this world to worship something. Now here’s the beauty of your heart in being a worshipper. That your heart. When it follows something. Your heart is designed to magnify the beauty of whatever it is worshiping. And in some cases that’s not good, because if you if you go with the philosophy of following your heart, whatever, if your heart is, is designed not to lead, but to to be led, whatever is Lord of your heart, that is what your heart will magnify when you feel like you’re following your heart.

In fact, Jesus said in Matthew chapter six and verse 21, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Meaning your heart is led to honor that which it treasures. And so if you simply follow it. Without identifying what is Lord of it. You end up magnifying something with your heart. God never designed you to do. Could be yourself. Could be an idle. Could be a relationship. Or could be the Lord. God has created you with a heart that is designed for worship, not to lead, but to be led. And when your heart is led for the reason it was created, it magnifies the beauty of your creator. Listen to these verses in the Psalms. It’s just expressed throughout in Psalm 86 verse 12, I will give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with all of my heart. In Psalm 91 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart in Psalm 37 four delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart in Psalm 62. Trust in him at all times. Oh people, pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us. In Psalm 73, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. In Psalm 119, your Word have I treasured in my heart. In Psalm 139 and verse 23, search me, O God, and know my heart.

Listen. Proverbs three three do not let kindness in truth leave you. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs three, five and six. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Your heart was made to be led. Because your heart was created for worship. This word for trust in the Hebrew language means lie helplessly, face down. It’s as if to say behind the veil in the presence of God. God, I understand my heart. My heart will worship something, but it’s created to magnify you as my creator. So God help me in these moments, I’m just lying down, just helplessly on my face, knowing it’s created for your glory. God. But it wonders. If you claim to love the Lord. The veil was torn. So that you could go into his presence. Enjoy the relationship for which you were created. And why? Why has this become more important to us? Let me just give you this thought as worshippers this morning. Maybe, as I’ll start with a parent who who has children. Parents just like you. Your kids. Are many worshippers. Your kids have a heart sinking, something to connect to. And this world is fighting to try to connect to them. And here’s something you learn as parents with little kids that grow up in the home that that their hero at a young age becomes mom and dad, and the person they look to mimic and idolize and reflect in this world is the one who has that closest relationship to them.

They’re their hero. It’s mom and dad. And so every time you as a parent, approach the throne of grace, entering behind the veil because of what Jesus has done for you. You’re giving God the opportunity to work on your heart. To take the heart that loves to wonder and allow the creator who made it to lead it. As you reflect, it tells us in second Corinthians 316, the veil is taken away, and as you reflect on the glory of God moment by moment, he transforms you into his image. That when you leave the presence of the Lord, or when you walk back into the world and you engage this world, knowing God’s presence is always with you. But as you engage the world being transformed by Christ. Those little worshippers within your home begin to see the beauty of who Jesus is. And not just the kids, but the church. Not just the church, but the community. The veil that was torn, and the power of what Christ has done has significant implications to the power of the church as they rest in God’s presence because of what Christ has done on your behalf, not only justified. But adopted. At the heart. That needs led. Could reflect the beauty of its creator being designed for worship.

TO/RN Lamb

Fatally TO/RN