Kingdom Principle: The power in the Blood of the Lamb flows for the purpose to overcome.
We must be overcome by the Blood of Jesus so that: Forgiveness Overcomes Fear, Good Overcomes Evil, & Love Overcomes Hate – in us!
|Exodus 12:1-14||Psalm 149||Romans 13:8-14||Matthew 18:15-20|
Because I am not British when I say “The Bloody Truth” I mean something very different than Gordon Ramsey, but I do mean something very similar to the cry of Bono. As the rebellion of ISIS continues to rise (see my note at the end) there is new blood being shed to advance their religious cause. The Bible is also bloody book, from the first acts of sacrifice & worship, to the final acts blood is involved. (Gen. 3:21, 4:3-8, 15:1-15; Rev.12:11, 17:14-18, 19:1-9) It is no wonder that Jesus; who is at the center of all that is Biblical, it is his blood which redefines everything that has comes before and which shall follow after Him.
There are 2 things that stand out to me in this week’s texts:
- The call to articulate– who’s in and who’s out… the understanding of the assembly and community of faith.
- The call to radical transformation. Matthew chapter 18 is all about the power of Forgiveness and how it changes everything. (Forgiveness overcomes Fear) Israel is having a new beginning, moving from a state of Slavery to a Nation state. (Good Overcomes Evil) Romans 13 & 14 continues to explain how love is the transformation that we must all seek. (Love Overcomes Hate)
What’s even more interesting is that we can see the radical transformation in what it means to understand who’s in and who’s out – when we apply the law of love to the community of faith. In other posts I have explained the concept of a bounded-set verses center-set. Here we see that the Passover (Ex.12) creates a bounded-set which determines who shall be saved. You are either “in” by placing blood on your doorpost or you are out. Exodus 12 is first time in Scripture the word edah is used; and in Psalm 149 we find kahal these are the two Hebrew words for “assembly/gathering of community” each is used and will be translated into Greek (New Testament) using the word ekklesia (which is what we understand as “church”).
As we turn to Jesus, a new sacrificial system has been put in place. His Blood is no longer temporary (yearly sacrifice) or limited in power (by the Jewish Law only). And it is the flow of his Blood that releases power to overcome the previous system of salvation. In the age of the Kingdom we operated in a center-set – where the flow of love determines who is “in the flow” verse who is “against it”. Jesus died for us while we were enemies of God (against) but by the gift of this grace we have been washed in the blood and forgiven. (Eph. 1:7-9, 1 John 1:7, Matt 26:28-29) And in Matt 18 is the second and last time we hear Jesus use the word church (ekklesia). It is no longer a measurement if you are in or out based on a bounded set which create a dividing line – rather it is a measurement of relationship; are you moving in the direction of Jesus being carried by his Blood.
- Passover lamb: bounded-set; blood stains ( 12:12-13, Lev. 4:27-35, 16:18-22)
- Jesus as Lamb: centered-set; blood flows (John 1:29-34, Rev 12:11 & list below)
God has clearly established his laws and decrees through the lives of His people as they wandered in the Wilderness. We as His people are called to live into these laws even today. Jesus fulfilled the law in His life, death and resurrection; therefore He is our now Passover Celebration. Thus the law is now fulfilled in our lives through the debt of love – which we are called to live out in all aspects of our life – both in obedience to the King and His Kingdom as well as to all of the faithful servants of the King. We must in the same way that Israel practiced the Passover with precision and purpose; practice forgiveness of one another as we trust in His Grace. To separate Matt. 18:15-17 from the rest of the context Matt 18:1-35 is to place us back in the steps of the Law verses the application and expression of Love. Sin must be confronted and overcome, but this is only done in relational reconciliation through love. Through this act of Love – we are established as His Witnesses and we trust in the mighty judgments of the King over his Kingdom. It is only from this place which we can begin to enjoy the power of Matt 18:19 – the call to pray and ask for anything in Jesus’ name… with the power of 2-3 witnesses. (So often this is used out of context to get what we want, rather than to call us to be the people of God to those in need.)
- Forgiveness overcomes Fear – the power of the blood flows to purify us
- Good overcomes Evil – the power of the blood flows to empower us
- Love overcomes Hate – the power of the blood flows to purpose us
It is easy and impulsive to hate. It is natural to seek revenge. It is the way of the world to blame and hate The way of love is purposeful and requires patience. The Psalm describes the faithful people with a word that eludes God’s long-suffering patience creating a reality were we are saints are filled with mercy. This is a high calling and yet only from this point can Love overcome Hate. When you read Matt 18:17 quickly, you may (as I) have a tendency to read it as a Pharisee might; understanding that if your brother or sister fail to reform even after your repeated attempts to reconcile with them through the church– then you are to treat them as a pagan or tax collector. But the meaning for them is quite different than Jesus. For the Pharisee it means to put them outside of the church and isolate from them. But look again at what Jesus says in Matt. 18:4, 14, 21-22,32-35; forgiveness is the only way and you are to never give up on this pursuit. So in humility pursue the lost as God has pursued you.
How did Jesus treat the pagan and tax collector… ? He Loved them. Last week we said the way to overcome Evil with Good is to “live loved” and “love life”. Hopefully you are seeing how this all “flows” together. Love must overcome the hate in you, before you can overcome evil in this world. It will be Forgiveness, by the blood of Jesus that moves you in power to overcome in this world.
Questions for your further reflection:
Is there any event or person that you are avoiding because dealing with it/them will be difficult?
God does not avoid the difficult; rather in love he embraces them. What does it look like to embrace a difficult person or event in love?
The Bullet points below on the 20 things the Blood of Jesus does is an excerpt from the book, Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ. By Frank Viola Here are the 20 Things the Blood of Christ Does
- It remits sins (Matt. 26:28).
- It gives life to those who consume it (John 6:53).
- It causes us to dwell in Christ and He in us (John 6:56).
- It is the means by which Jesus purchased the church (Acts 20:28).
- It is the means by which Jesus becomes our atonement through faith (Rom. 3:25).
- It justifies us and saves us from wrath (Rom. 5:9).
- It redeems us (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9).
- It brings those who were far away from God near to Him (Eph. 2:13).
- It grants us the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14).
- It brings peace and reconciliation to God (Col. 1:20).
- It has obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).
- It cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Heb. 9:14).
- It is the means by which we enter the most holy place with boldness (Heb. 10:19).
- It speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Heb. 12:24, NIV).
- It sanctifies us (Heb. 13:12).
- It makes us complete for every good work (Heb. 13:20-21, NKJV).
- It cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
- It bears witness in the earth along with the Spirit and the water (1 John 5:8, KJV).
- It is the means by which Jesus washes us (Rev. 1:5; 7:14).
- It is the means by which we overcome the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:11).
Summary: Thank God for the “precious” blood of Christ . . . the “sprinkled” blood of Christ . . . the blood of “the new covenant” . . . the blood of “the eternal covenant” (1 Pet. 1:19; Heb. 12:24; Luke 22:20; Heb. 13:20). “The life is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11).
BONUS MATERIAL: Take notice in Ex. 12 who the plagues were against – it was not Pharaoh or the Egyptians themselves, rather against the Egyptian gods. We must know what evil is and is not – or else we will struggle with the issue of forgiveness. Evil is the Spiritual force of the Enemy which we must stand against. Evil people are those who dedicate their lives and efforts to Satan, but all others while being difficult to love are the very people who need Christ’s love the most. Further and on a much deeper conversation – notice that one of the Egyptian gods bears the name of Isis. This god is the god of fertility – the holds the power of life and death in Egyptian worship…. (I’ll let you make the connections to the modern day situations in Syria & Iraq.)
We see God overcome this god in the 10th plague… which is in our text this week. Rather than post deeper in this direction –ask yourself: When have you gotten off track blaming a person for a problem? Might the problem be better addressed as the reality of evil? If so, do they worship of evil, how might you help them to experience love and to encounter life? This shift allows us to engage in warfare and to battle in the spiritual realm rather than our focus to be on flesh and blood.