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Strengthen Yourself - God Loves You     From Nothing but the Blood Audio
. . . But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.  —1 Samuel 30

Before we transition into answering the next question, I want to review the previous six lessons and share something personal. If any of these six are unfamiliar to you, click the link to go back and review.

In recreating the 1955 talk the Billy Graham gave that changed England, we’re looking at blood sacrifice throughout Scripture. We’re answering the questions:

If you’re God, why choose blood as the way to redeem humanity/overcome the relational non-negotiables/bring man back into relationship with you, and

How can I trust One Who would choose that way?

We’ve surveyed a number of stories of sacrifice within Scripture and we’ve seen that:

    1. Blood is required to return to a right relationship with God. This was indicated by God right after the Fall in the violence visited on Creation. We brought that home by realizing that Adam and Eve likely felt they had a full grasp on the facts and felt justified in their belief that God’s violence against creation was the unnatural response.
    2. Then we saw that it wasn’t a quantity of blood that God required, but a heart, too. Cain and Abel both spilled blood on that field. God had great regard for Abel (because of his sacrifice) but punished Cain (because of the blood he spilled). We brought that home by reinforcing that sometimes the evidence at hand (God’s requirement for blood) doesn’t tell the whole story—God deserves our benefit of the doubt.
    3. And in case any man might try good works to earn his way back into right relationship with God [What has two thumbs and would do that? This guy.], Noah reminds us that even the righteous fall short. We brought this home by drawing closer to the idea that our marginal sin (relative to the best or worst person you know) is like a guy counting out coin change in a Ferrari dealership. It doesn't matter how much he has, he’s not even getting a test drive.
    4. So only God stands in the gap and we saw exactly where He promised to do that. This relates as much to the last point as this one, but, here, we’re promised that no sin I/you/we have committed is too big to be forgiven by acceptance of this covenant.
    5. But sin is different. I get how someone can pay my credit card, but how do we know that One can do something so good that it squares me with God? Because God said so. He said that One, the right One, could cover for everyone. So where are we supposed to find that One?
    6. Well, God will provide the One.  We saw how in the first 22 chapters of Scripture, God has revealed the Gospel Story to a people that could never have understood it—we barely grasp at it now.
    7. But in the midst of a hellish slavery, God puts this (1-6, above), together into a type of redemption for Israel reminding us that we, too, must show the blood on the very doorposts of our homes. We must accept the sacrifice in order to be saved from death.

This journey is important because it shows the planning, perfection and intentionality of Jesus from the very beginning. It reminds us that we don’t have all the facts at hand and that there is a more perfect wisdom guiding mankind since the beginning. But lastly, it connects us to God’s love.

My confession is that most mornings, when I awake, I don’t feel God’s love wash over me. Some of you are likely better at realizing that than me, but I’m more apt to try and please God, take a new hill or earn it. That’s not the Gospel, but it is a constant struggle for me to feel God’s love.

I talk about this in Chapter 6-The Wait of the Gospel in A Rooster Once Crowed (also excerpted in a post called The Warning Against Desiring Spiritual Success), but how would you know that Bill Gates loved you? If he gave you a million dollars, would that prove it? What about $100M? Well, if you’re God, the Creator of the universe, Owner of all things, what could He possibly give me that I would know he loved me?

I’m telling you this to say that I didn’t put this lesson together to minister to you. I’m ministered to by this lesson. Something about the blood has reconnected me to the sacrifice that Jesus made for me and the love that God, Jesus and the Spirit have for me. This lesson, and it’s exploration with you, has brought me back into a better/closer/finer relationship with my Creator. Thank you. Thank You.

And yes, I do love you. 

This is the eleventh part in a multi-part post expanding on an exceptional talk Billy Graham gave at the University of Cambridge in 1955 with influences from Tim Keller's sermon series Christ: Our Treasury (The Book of Hebrews). To hear an overview of this material, consider listening to the original Nothing but the Blood audio, linked here (it'll stream from a mobile device), read all the posts to date by clicking #nothingbuttheblood, or hear the most recent version of the Nothing but the Blood talk by streaming it on the player, below. If you'd like to get these posts sent to you via email (and you're not already), click here to register and make sure to tell us that you're a Back Porch Friend.

The next in this series, Part 12. Redemption Out of Pawn is available by clicking here.                                                                                     

The above media player has something new on it. I've mastered the audio a bit to make it sound a little better and added a new intro and close. I'd love to hear your feedback on it down below. Just click play and it'll stream from your computer, tablet or mobile device.
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