Sunday, September 5, 2010

What is Sin - Part 18 : The Answer to Sin

Part 18 - The Answer to Sin
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |



Today I am going to discuss the answer to our sin.

We will look at how Jesus took something that was known and understood by men in the first century, marriage, and used it to illustrate the New Covenant.

We will see how one of the ordinances of the church symbolically represents a spiritual truth, covenant and commitment.


a.      A contract offer must be drawn up and presented to the bride.
                                                             i.      The man would agree with his father on the terms for the contract (considering the Father would be giving land and livestock to help the new couple begin their lives together), then the man leave his father’s home and go to the woman’s home to offer his Ketubah, or marriage contract in Hebrew.

                                                          ii.      Once there, he would explain the Mohar, or “Bride Price” in Hebrew.  The bride price offered for the woman was often high because women were often regarded as an expense instead of an asset mostly because they could not tend or till the fields or work outside the home to bring in an income.

                                                       iii.      The bride price was to compensate the father for the cost of raising the daughter.

                                                         iv.      The higher the bride price, the more valuable the bride was to the groom.

                                                            v.      This high bride price would give honor to the family, bride and groom if the price was extremely high, because it showed how valuable the bride was.

b.     When the man would bring this contract, there was an agreement.
                                                             i.       In Jewish tradition, the man would then pour a glass of wine and give it to the woman.  If she accepted his contract, she would drink of the cup which would seal the contract making it complete and legally binding. 

                                                          ii.       Although there was no consummation or physical union between the two until the night of the ceremony, they were regarded as husband and wife from this moment on.  She was considered to be “consecrated”, “set apart”, or sanctified exclusively unto the husband.

1.      We know Mary was in danger of being accused of adultery against Joseph, and he struggled with whether or not he would marry her (have the ceremony), because she was already “with child”, Jesus. The scriptures in Matthew 1:18, 19 refer to Joseph as her husband, even though no ceremony or consummation had taken place.  But a contract, an agreement, the ketubah had been agreed upon.

c.      Our Father in heaven has a contract. 
                                                             i.      Jesus Christ brought that contract with Him to earth to purchase us for a great price.  The bride price God was willing to pay for you and I was very high.  There is none higher, for He paid His very life.

1.      Jesus left the home of the Father to bring this contract to us.

2.      He lived among us to explain the details of this contract, and made it clear during the last supper.

                                                          ii.      The price was then paid, making it available to all whom wish to be part of it.  It is binding, and legal.

1.      We are considered in contract (or covenant) with God, even though the ceremony has not yet taken place (the great feast in heaven), and we have not yet been physically with Christ in heaven, only in Spirit here on earth.

2.      This is why the Jews will step on the glass in their wedding ceremony.  This symbolizes that another contract will never be offered or accepted.

d.     Why do we drink of the cup at Communion?
                                                             i.      Jesus explains to us;
1.      I am here with a contract for you, a “New Covenant”.

2.      I am the groom, and the Body of Christ, the Church is my bride.

3.      The bride price that will be paid, is my very life, a sacrifice, my blood for you, which is represented by this cup.

a.       1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

b.      1 Peter 1:18, 19 “Forasmuch as you know that you were not purchased with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

c.       Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.”
4.      Drink this cup to accept the contract I am presenting you, and have purchased with my blood, so that you may be with me forever.

a.       Matthew 26: 27, 28 – “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

e.      To all who can hear...
                                                             i.      To the literalists, the ritualistic, and those who think this is a ceremony of the flesh, listen up.

1.      Jesus used worldly things to help the apostles, and us, understand spiritual truths.

2.      Communion is a symbolic representation of a spiritual truth.

a.      The Body of Christ and its members are not a literal “bride”

b.     Jesus is not our literal “husband”

c.      Marriage itself was given to man to help them understand the spiritual truth that when two are in covenant together, they become one, and inseparable.

d.     The cup we drink is symbolic of Christ’s shed blood...not magically changed into His literal blood as some denominations teach.

                                                          ii.      If you do not get past the ritual, you will never truly experience the Spiritual.

f.       This is the New Testament!
                                                             i.       This is the New Covenant.  We drink the cup accepting His contract, His bride price for us.  We now belong to Him.  We are set apart, sanctified. Exclusively Christ’s own!  Not when we die, nor at the rapture, or later when we get to Heaven, but NOW.  We are His RIGHT NOW!  We belong to Him right now!

                                                          ii.      That is, if you have accepted His offer, His Contract.  The New Covenant.

a.       After the covenant or contract had been established, the groom would return to his father’s house to prepare a place for His new bride, a bridal chamber in his father’s house where the bride and groom could be together.

                                                             i.       John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

                                                          ii.       Neither the bride nor groom knew WHEN the groom would return for the bride because the bridal chamber that he was preparing for his bride had to be approved of by his father. 

                                                       iii.       Mark 13:31-34 “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”

                                                         iv.       Like so, the bride would watch for her husband’s return, anxiously, keeping the oil in her lamp full in case he came at night.  Watching and longing for his return, while preparing herself for her future with him.  All this time learning the ways of the married so as to give her husband the best marriage that she possibly could.

1.      Are we waiting anxiously for His return? 
2.      Have we been preparing ourselves for our future with Him? 
3.      Are we ready for Him to come at any time? 
4.      How will He find us? 
5.      What will we be doing when He comes? 
6.      Will we be faithfully looking and waiting for His return, or perhaps forgetting Him, turn to something else?

                                                            v.      During this period of time apart from the bride, the groom would be preparing this place.  This was typically built in his father’s house.  The chamber had to be beautiful because the bride and groom were to spend seven days there.  The chamber had to be built to the father’s specifications. 

                                                         vi.      The groom could go for the bride ONLY when his father gave his final approval of the bridal chambers.

1.      When the Father in heaven gives His final approval, Jesus will return for us, and we will spend seven years in the bridal chamber, the great feast will then take place and our table will be made before our enemies.

2.      This takes place immediately after the rapture, and the tribulation will then take place on earth for seven years.

a.       It is Jewish tradition for the groom to send gifts to the bride so she will see his appreciation and love for her and to remind her of his future coming for her.  The contract is complete, and they are already married.  It is not a matter of IF he is coming for her, just a matter of WHEN. 

b.     Jesus gave us gifts as well during this period of separation.

                                                             i.      John 14:26 – “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

                                                          ii.      Romans 12:6 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...”

c.      He gave us the Holy Spirit to bring into remembrance Christ’s teachings.  The Holy Spirit gives us Spiritual Gifts to edify and grow the Church, or bride, so that we may be preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ and the eternity we will be spending with Him!

a.       During the time of separation, the bride would partake in a cleansing bath called a Mikveh.  This is the same Hebrew word that is used for Baptism.  To this day in Judaism, the bride cannot marry without the Mikveh.

                                                             i.      The cleansing bath that Christ has provided for His bride during this time of separation is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

                                                          ii.      Acts 1:4, 5 – “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

b.     Here we see that water baptism is called the baptism of John by Jesus...water baptism was a “symbolic” act representing a spiritual truth, which is brought by Jesus Himself.  Remember, even John said “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” - Matthew 3:11

                                                             i.      The water baptism is symbolic of the real baptism which takes place...the spiritual truth of us receiving the Holy Spirit.

                                                          ii.      Again, God used worldly things to help us understand a Spiritual Truth!

a.       When the groom’s father had approved of the bridal chambers, the groom would then go and abduct the bride secretly with her bridesmaids. 
                                                             i.      This was usually done at night.  But before he would arrive at her house, he would give a shout and blow the shofar (or Ram’s horn) to give her notice so she could grab her things for the seven day stay in the bridal chamber.  She did not know when he was going to come, but she knew he was coming!  Coming to take her to the bridal chambers for seven days of feasting and celebrations!

b.     Just as the groom came for his bride in the night without warning, so is the way Christ will come for us. 

                                                             i.      1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 – “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

c.      Just as the groom came for the bride with a shout and a trumpet, so shall Christ come for us.

It’s not a matter of IF He will come; the question is WHEN will He come? 
Only the Father in Heaven knows. 
Are you ready?  Have you accepted Christ’s contract? 
Do you agree with the bride price? 
Have you made the commitment to Christ in your heart?