The Purification Process
I am looking forward to seeing each of you this Thursday at our 2Gather 2Gether worship service. I apologize for this missive coming out late today. I switched days with Jim due to a funeral. A couple weeks back we began our look at the book The Chemistry of the Blood by M.R. DeHaan. We began with how life is in the blood. We as humans, need our blood to survive, we need our blood flowing, our bodies need the blood circulating.
Last week we looked at how the whole plan of redemption rests upon the power of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus' blood flows through the body of Christ, mirroring our individual blood flow, caring for the body of Christ the way that our blood cares for our bodies. Today I would like to be more specific in how Christ's blood cares for those of us in the body of Christ.
If you are a believer in Christ, a born again child of God, you are in the body of Christ. If you just attend church, but are not a confessing born again believer, you are not in the body of Christ. Just attending church like your grandparents did does not mean that you are a believer in the body of Christ. You have to make the decision to choose Christ. No one else can make this decision for you.
Mankind has learned a great deal about our blood since the discovery of the microscope, among a great many other things. The normal human body with its five quarts of blood is completely dependent upon the circulation of this fluid for its life, because the life is in the blood.
Trying to state this as simply as possible, the blood consists of a liquid vehicle called plasma, a colorless liquid in which are suspended the various cellular elements and in which are found in solution a great many chemical compounds. In the solid part of the blood there are mainly three kinds of cells. Most of us are familiar with these. First, there are the platelets, thin transparent cells that form or eliminate blood clots depending on what your body needs. Second, there are the red blood cells, these carry the fuel to the tissues throughout our body in the form of combined oxygen which gives the blood its red color. Thirdly, there are the white blood cells, of which there are several kinds, and these deal mainly with the defense of the body in combating infection.
Please remember that as the blood of Christ flows through the body of Christ, the blood flow mirrors that which occurs in our body.
The red cells are the UPS or FedEx cells of the body. But they are also our garbage collectors too. The red cells travel through our lungs, pick up oxygen and travel to the cells to deliver that cargo which the cells use for combustion and heat.
But they also pick up all the waste products from the tissues, including carbon monoxide and other waste, that is then discharged through the kidneys, the skin, the bowels, and the lungs. Then it goes and picks up another load of oxygen and the process starts all over. This all takes around 23 seconds, and it happens over and over and over, no mistakes, no mis-shipments, no uncollected garbage. It really is a miracle. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
If the blood is essential to our bodies, it is also essential to Christ's body. Here too, it is fluid, so that it can reach every single member of that body no matter how far they may be away from other members. Just as the blood via the red blood cells supplies the body and then carries off the waste, so to does the blood of Jesus Christ supply every believer the only Source of life, the only support and sustenance of life, and also the One who keeps cleansing us day by day. 1 John 1:7 & 9,
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
In these two verses is what I believe to be absent from most of the lives of the modern day Christian. And because of this, we are a sickly and malnourished version of Christians, in need of cleansing and purification.
All because we do not confess our sins on a regular basis. Many have never confessed their sins period.
What this means is that we are not living fully into what God has planned for us. The blood of Christ is not purifying us because we are not confessing our sins. This hurts us in two important ways:
1) We cannot receive the nutrients from Christ and process them properly because...
2) our consciences (our mind and body) are not cleansed by the regular confession of our sins.
I am an old school guy. I confess my sins daily on my prayer walk. But as a pastor, I have sinned by not constantly recommending that others do this for their own benefit. If we don't confess our sins we struggle to grow spiritually.
The body of Christ will then grow sickly and malnourished as individual believers grow sickly and malnourished from this lack of personal confession. Other problems in the body of Christ, such as those that we see now occurring in the United Methodist Church and other denominations, will also develop.
I truly believe that one of the biggest problems in the church today is that we do not confess our sins enough, if we do so at all. 1 John 1:9,
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
This is what we are supposed to do as children of God. This should be natural for us. Yet, we don't and it isn't.
This should be between you and God. You do not need to confess your sins to me or anyone else. This is between you and God.
Please pray this prayer silently with me (# 891 in the UMH, with a few changes)
Almighty and most merciful God,
we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep.
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have broken your holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
We have sinned against you.
But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us. Forgive us our sins. Wash us in the blood of the Lamb.
Spare those, O God, who confess their faults.
Restore to you those who are penitent, according to your promises declared in Jesus Christ our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful God, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
(Confess your sins now)
If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Revelation 7:13-14,
"Then one of the elders asked me, 'These in white robes--who are they and where did they come from?' I answered, 'Sir, you know.' And he said, 'These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
How can you wash a robe white in human blood? Ahhh, this is the power that is indeed in the blood of the Lamb. The Creator of all things, the Author of all medicine and chemistry, in His laboratory of redemption has provided a way to wash away all the filth and stain of sin, and wonder of wonders, it is by washing in the blood of the Lamb. His sinless, supernatural blood alone can do this.
Why would you not want to do this?
Do no harm, do good and stay in love with God.
Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor The King.