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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, November 17, 2013

This morning I want you to look at two phrases in the New Testament that describe the Blood of Christ. Turn first to Hebrews 10:29. The phrase that describes the Blood is in the middle of the verse,

“An unholy thing” (Hebrews 10:29).

Now turn to I Peter 1:19. Here the Blood is described as,

“the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).

Please keep your Bible open here.

I was thinking about those phrases a few nights ago. In my meditation on those phrases it struck me that the whole world can be divided into two groups: (1) Those who think of Christ’s Blood as “an unholy thing,” and (2) those who think of “the precious blood of Christ.” Which one of those phrases describes your view of Jesus’ Blood?

I. First, do you think of the Blood of Jesus as an “unholy thing”?

If you read the whole passage of Hebrews 10:26-31 that Mr. Prudhomme read a few moments ago, you will see that it refers to those who “sin willfully” and are subject to God’s judgment, as we see in our text this morning, which comes two verses after the phrase, “an unholy thing.” Look at Hebrews 10:31.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”
       (Hebrews 10:31).

You may be seated.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said of that verse,

…God’s judgment is ahead [for] everyone “who hath… counted the blood of the covenant…an unholy thing…” My friend, if you despise what Christ has done for you on the cross, there is nothing ahead of you but judgment. You have no hope whatsoever (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, Volume V, p. 578; note on Hebrews 10:31).

You may say, “I don’t think the blood of Jesus was unholy. I just think it was like everyone else’s blood. There wasn’t anything special about the blood of Jesus.” Well, if you think that you are guilty – because the Greek word translated “unholy” is “koinos,” and it means “common” (Strong, number 2839). George Ricker Berry says it means “common, i.e., shared by many.” That’s what “unholy” means. It means that the Blood of Jesus is common – just the same as anyone else’s blood, “shared by many,” as George Ricker Berry put it.

It seems to me that Dr. John MacArthur comes perilously close to calling Christ’s Blood “a common thing” when he says, “His blood had no saving value” (MacArthur Study Bible, note on Hebrews 9:7). In his note on the words “the blood of Christ” in Hebrews 9:14, Dr. MacArthur says, “Blood is used as a substitute word for death” (ibid., note on Hebrews 9:14). In his overview of theology (ibid., p. 2192) Dr. MacArthur says that the Bible is “verbally inspired in every word.” But the Greek word in Hebrews 9:14 is “haima,” and it literally means “blood.” To say that “Blood” is a substitute word for death is to deny that the verse is “verbally inspired in every word.” When Dr. MacArthur says, “His blood had no saving value,” it seems to me to come very close to calling Christ’s Blood “a common thing” (Hebrews 10:29). And Hebrews 10:29 gives a strong warning against doing that! There is no life in such teaching. I think it is dry and deadly. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

      You will find in every period of revival, without exception, there has been a tremendous emphasis upon the blood of Christ. The hymns that have been sung most of all in periods of revival, have been the hymns about the blood. I could quote them to you in several languages. There is nothing more characteristic than this. We find that the Apostle has put it for us in Colossians 1 – “Having made peace…” – how did he make peace? “…through the blood of the cross” (v. 20).

      Of course I know perfectly well when I say a thing like that I am saying something that is unusual and highly unpopular at the present time. There are Christian preachers who think they are being clever in pouring ridicule upon this theology of blood. They dismiss it with scorn… And that is why the Church is as she is. But in periods of revival, she glories in the cross, she makes her boast in the blood. Because as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews puts it, there is only one way in which we can enter with boldness into the holiest of all, and that is by the blood of Jesus, see Hebrews 10:19 (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway Books, 1994 edition, page 48).

I have to tell you the truth. If the Blood of Jesus doesn’t seem important to you, you are a lost person, going to the place of eternal torment. You are not a true Christian in any real sense.

Here is part of a testimony from a young woman in her twenties who attends our church. She said,

I [was] wallowing in despair and hopelessness. Mentally I knew I was a sinner, but I was too wrapped up in self pity to be concerned with my sin. Eventually the Holy Spirit convicted me of my past sins. They haunted me and I could never get away from them. I began to wonder, “How could I commit those sins? How could I have sunk so low in sin?” The Holy Spirit revealed to me that these sins came out of a wicked, devious heart, and the utter and total depravity of my nature. I can’t fully describe what it’s like to be given a view into the blackness and grotesqueness of your heart. I was disgusted and so ashamed of what I knew God saw. I felt like a vile creature in front of an all-seeing God; a God who knew my thoughts and intentions; a God who knew all that I did, even work in the church, was rooted in selfish sin. Every time I went to church I felt like a leper amongst the clean Christians. But yet I would not trust Christ. “Jesus” was just a word, a doctrine, or someone that I knew existed but yet was so distant. I had a steely-cold aversion to Christ [I did not want Christ]. Instead of striving [to find] Christ, I was looking for a feeling of salvation, or some kind of “experience” to [prove] my faith.

That young woman was miserable. She covered it up pretty well. Most people did not know what a terrible struggle was going on inside her. But inwardly she was in great agony, like John Bunyan was.

I have been counselling high school and college-age young people for over fifty years. I have discovered that many of them – very many of them – have tensions and fears and confusion – like that young woman had. Many of them turn to drugs or alcohol to dull their inner pain. Others play endless video games to blank out their minds. Some become addicted to pornography. If their minds are occupied with sex, it keeps them from thinking how horribly miserable they are. I read recently that suicide rose from number two to the number one cause of death among college-age students. They become so deeply disturbed, and so unhappy, that they kill themselves. One young person left a suicide note that said, “I couldn’t think of any other way to turn off my mind and make me forget.”

I’ve discovered that the years of 15 to 25 are the hardest of all for most people in today’s world. Friends turn away from you. Boyfriends and girlfriends drop you and leave you all alone. School work is hard, and you have difficulty concentrating. There doesn’t seem to be any way out!

God has provided a way to get rid of your sins – but it doesn’t make sense to you. God sent His only Son to die on the Cross and shed His Blood to wash your sins away. But it doesn’t make sense to you. Some of you think, “How can the Blood of someone who lived 2,000 years ago take away my sins today?” So you go on in pain, suffering like that young woman I just read about.

A young woman in our church teaches four college courses. She told her father that the young people in her classes know something is wrong. She said they know that the politicians can’t fix things. They know that the world is all messed up – and there isn’t any real hope. But what do they do? They stick their heads in another video game, or numb their brains with drugs and marijuana. Some of them become workaholics, plunging into endless hours of work to forget their problems. A growing number of them commit suicide. What a horrible waste! If only they would see that it’s sin that is destroying them! If only they would believe that “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). But like most people else in this sinful world, they think that the Blood of Jesus is just a common thing – not important enough to even think about. And that takes us to the second point.

II. Second, do you think that the Blood of Jesus is “precious”?

The Apostle Peter did. He said, “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:18, 19). He knew what it felt like to be a sinner. He knew what it felt like to lose all his friends. He knew what it felt like to be alone with a troubled conscience. He knew what it felt like to lose faith in God. He knew what it felt like to betray his best friend, to be alone in the dark, to cry his eyes out because he couldn’t stand himself. He knew what it felt like to be a sinner!

That’s why he knew you can only be redeemed, you can only be saved from the heartache of sin – by “the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19). “Precious” means it has great value! “Precious” means it’s more important than silver or gold! There’s a chorus that says it all,

Acres of diamonds, mountains of gold,
   Rivers of silver, jewels untold;
All these together couldn’t buy you or me
   Peace when we’re sleeping or a conscience that’s free.
A heart that’s contented, a satisfied mind,
   These are the treasures money can’t buy.
If you have Jesus, there’s more wealth in your soul
   Than acres of diamonds or mountains of gold.
(“Acres of Diamonds” by Arthur Smith, 1959).

Or, as Mr. Griffith sang a moment ago,

Come, ye sinners, lost and hopeless,
   Jesus’ blood can make you free;
For He saved the worst among you,
   When He saved a wretch like me.
And I know, yes, I know,
    Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean.
And I know, yes, I know,
    Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean.

And I know, yes, I know,
   Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean.
And I know, yes, I know,
   Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean.
(“Yes, I Know!” by Anna W. Waterman, 1920).

That young woman I quoted earlier went on to say this,

       My sin stretched out like a bottomless ocean. I couldn’t take it any more. I had to have Christ! I had to have His Blood! I got on my knees and…trusted Jesus, Himself. [I was] free from my idols of feeling, psychoanalysis, and desire for assurance…I let them go and collapsed onto the Saviour… He drenched my sins in His precious Blood; He took the heavy burden of my sin away!...My record is stamped “Not Guilty” with His own Blood!...I cannot fully express the satisfaction and peace that comes from sins forgiven and the wrath of God appeased. I wish all those, especially those who struggled like me, could experience pardon from Jesus! He accepted the blame for my sin. He paid it all! The Gospel, the “Good News,” which was so dull and lifeless before, is thrilling and my heart swells with joy and gratitude when I hear sermons about Jesus.

What more can I say? If you come to Jesus, you will no longer think of His Blood as a “common thing.” Oh, no! Then you will speak with great joy and enthusiasm of “the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).

If you would like to speak to us about being washed clean from your sin by Jesus’ Blood, please leave your seat and walk to the back of the auditorium right now.  Dr. Cagan will take you to another room where we can talk and pray. Please go to the back of the auditorium now.  Dr. Chan, please pray that someone will trust Jesus this morning. Amen.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Hebrews 10:26-31.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Yes, I Know!” (by Anna W. Waterman, 1920).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“An unholy thing” (Hebrews 10:29).

“The precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).

I.   First, do you think of the Blood of Jesus as an “unholy thing”?
Hebrews 10:31; I John 1:7.

II.  Second, do you think that the Blood of Jesus is “precious”?
I Peter 1:18, 19.