We Christians, what is it that we aiming toward with our life? What are you seeking as you are living your Christian life? Perhaps someone has a dream and is praying to God about that dream. However, no matter how many kinds of dreams there are, one day, this life will surely come to an end. Someone might say he wants to succeed in business, but if he dies, then that dream will amount to nothing.
In 1 Corinthians 13:13, it is written: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” What is it that you are seeking? What do you have your hopes on?
We shall like to be people who have eternal hope.
There was a person named Moses who aimed toward Canaan (Exodus). He led the people of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. Moses may have thought that he had to lead the people of Israel to the land of Canaan because God instructed him to, but indeed, Moses was seeking something else.
What was Moses seeking? What are you seeking? We, as Christians, should like to know what it is that we ought to be seeking.
*Moses was seeking something other than the land of Canaan. It has been said that life is like a journey. For the traveler, there is no home. They say life is like that.
“Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
It was not just Moses, but all those who appear in the Old Testament had experienced God under various problems. Though a small country, they won over a powerful country. But what they were seeking was not that kind of victory, nor, the solutions to various problems in this land, but in fact, they were searching for an even superior home land, the homeland of heaven.
Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden. They were tricked by Satan and ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because of this, what were some of the things that got forbidden? And what kind of difficulty arose?
Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and sinned. Then they were forbidden to go near the tree of life that they may not eat of its fruit.
“After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Man was banished from the Garden of Eden. Trouble happened to man that he was no longer able to go near God.
*In the Old Testament, it became difficult for Adam and Eve to return to where God was.
Though it was possible in the Old Testament era to go near God, there were various restrictions, difficulties and limitations.
“But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death.”
Who was able to go near God? Since the tabernacle of Moses was built, only the priests were able to draw near to God inside the tabernacle. Others were not allowed to go near. If they did, they had to die. Only the priests received that gift and they were allowed to draw near. A whole lot of people could not go near.
If there is anyone here who is wondering whether he can enter heaven because of his unrighteousness, or thinks he is not able to go near God, then I am desiring that by the end of this message, your thinking will have changed, and that you will know for certain, that even though you sin, you can enter into heaven, and you will know that you have been forgiven. I believe God will make it so.
I do not know how far I can speak today, but I would like for you to understand.
“Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death.”
Others who go near will be killed. They may not go near. Adam and Eve could not go near. There was that “flaming sword flashing back and forth” so they could not go near. The tabernacle of Moses was created, which was the temporary tabernacle of heaven on earth, but that was a place where only the priests could go near.
Next, there were not just the priests, but those who helped the priests as their subordinates.
“Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it. Anyone else who goes near it shall be put to death.”
The Levites were those who were permitted to do certain things under the priest, but as for others, they had to be killed. The tabernacle of Moses had to be reconstructed every time they moved. It was disassembled, then, assembled again; and doing this was the work of the Levites.
Within the tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant. During the time of David, while they were carrying the Ark of the Covenant on oxen cart, a man named Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of covenant to prevent it from falling, and he died
(II Samuel 6).
We see that, “It must not be touched”.
We see that, even the priest went in front of God with his life at stake.
In such strictness, then, how are we to go to heaven, or go near God?
During the Old Testament days, only the limited number of priests was able to draw near God. The Levites were permitted to disassemble and assemble the tabernacle.
The priests were not able to go near God without having certain things.
“This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.”
This matter is about sacrifice.
They had to go with sacrifices.
In other words, in order to go near God, a sacrifice, the blood, had to be carried.
Without that, it was not possible to go near God. That was the system in the Old Testament days. And that was not all.
*To draw near God, there were various restrictions. What did the priests do to go near?
“Even the priests, who approach the LORD, must consecrate themselves, or the
LORD will break out against them.”
God had it that He would not allow Adam and Eve to draw near. However, permission was given, and it became possible to meet the Presence in the tabernacle of Moses (the model of the true sanctuary of heaven). However, certain conditions had to be met. The Bible says, the body must be consecrated unless God’s anger will fall upon them.
How is consecration done?
“Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die.”
The priest had to wash themselves with water. Unless they were cleansed by water, it was not possible for them to draw near God.
“Say to them: ‘For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the LORD, that person must be cut off from my presence. I am the LORD.”
To go near God we must be clean. We are not able to draw near God in our unclean state. More and more, in our daily lives we are not clean, not right. There is the sin of Adam, and our own sin. Furthermore, as in the Old Testament days, we are not the Levites, nor priests. We are unclean sinners. How can I go to heaven?
We shall see later, however, that God has made us such that we can draw near Him.
The priests could not go there in only being purified. In order for them to enter the tabernacle of Moses, they wore a garment which had on it strung pomegranate and bells that made sounds. The sounding was a sign that said there are people in the tent, and because people would die should they see God, God did not show His presence. This was a sign that said, “I am here”. There was a rope attached that should the priest die in the tent, he could be pulled to the outside. It was a service of life at stake. That garment was called the ephod.
“Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die. “This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.”
Wearing the ephod = if the priest’s garment was not worn, he would die.
Approaching God was a difficult task. If something was left out, one would die. Should one see God, he would die. Should one not be pure, he would die. Without wearing the Ephod, he would die. Without the blood of the animal, he would die.
*Moses and the people longed to return to the God of heaven, but they knew that was difficult. And yet they sought after it. They longed, “We want to go”.
If we are to seek the ultimate, it is about returning to where God is.
But if that is difficult as this, how can we return there? When we come know its exact answer, despite sinning day to day, I would like for you to be saying, “I am fine! I am forgiven! I am not a priest of the Old Testament, not a Jew but a Gentile, but I am fine!”, and be convinced of the fact that you will surely enter God’s Kingdom.
It is alright for us Christians to pray for success of business or healing of sickness, but that is not the ultimate goal. Our greatest joy and goal ought to be the ability to go where we are unable to go, the ability to draw near to where we cannot approach.
(1 Timothy 6:16)
“Who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”
We want to draw near, but if we do, we die. In the tabernacle of Moses, the model of heaven on earth, it was possible to draw near and continue living as long as the ephod was worn, blood of the animal was held, purification by water was done, and God was not seen. But to actual heaven, no one could go. God is in the “the unapproachable light”. We are forever unable to go to where God is.
Had Adam and Eve not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we could have been conversing with God and be near Him. To say further, we who received the characteristics of Satan and having accumulated sin in day to day living, had been all the more far from God.
But we are already such that we can draw near to God.
*First of all, why is it that we can draw near God?
One reason was being the “priest”.
What does the Bible say about us?
(1 Peter 2:4)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
All of us, believing in Jesus, are of royal priesthood. All Christians are priests by Jesus. Therefore, we are able to draw near God.
*There is one condition to this, however.
“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
For us, it is “through Christ”.
Now then, what is meant by “through Christ”?
It means that by the blood that was shed by Christ, we are able to go near.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”
Not by the blood of the animal, but by the blood of Christ we are made so that we can be near. Indeed, by the blood that was shed by Jesus.
*In verse 18 earlier, we read, “Through Christ by one Spirit”. What does this mean?
Verse 13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus”.
We must realize that we Christian were forgiven of our sins by believing in Jesus; we are no longer in our old self where we try not to sin in order to go near God.
It is not by how holy you are that you can draw near.
If that was the case, we would not be able to draw near God just as it was so for the people of the Old Testament.
However, here, we see, “in Christ Jesus”.
It is in Christ.
What we must realize is not about what we are, but where it is that we are!
We must have the consciousness of being in Christ.
As we are, we are not holy, we sin, we are not righteous.
The priests of the Old Testament would wash with water for purification. It was a covered form of righteousness, but by that, they drew near.
Now, however, we live in the righteousness of God, in other words, if we are in Christ, then we are living in the righteousness of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:30)
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
Christ is holy, Christ is God’s righteousness. Christ became the redemption.
If we are in that, then we are holy. We are in God’s righteousness and we have been redeemed. Therefore, we fulfill the condition of the Old Testament, and something superior to that has been readied, and we shall enter the kingdom of heaven.
When Jesus was put on the cross, curtain of the temple had split from the top. This shows to mean that all of us, in Christ, are able to draw near God. We are not drawing near God because we have become good people, but rather by becoming aware of ourselves being in Christ.
Let us proclaim:
“I believed in Christ, therefore, I am living in Christ. For Christ is holy, I am holy. For Christ is righteous, I have the righteousness of God”.
We Christian are in Christ.
*Let us look at one more.
Let us realize that we are “in Christ”. Many people become discouraged because they have sinned, or in not being able to draw near God. They say things like, “I fear the Lord’s Supper because I have sinned.”
It should not be so, for we are in Christ, we are righteous people.
In the Bible there are mysteries that are hidden. Until now, Satan had something he was hiding in the long history of the church, or in the church’s restoration. That is because if this mystery becomes known to Christians, or the church, Satan will no longer be our enemy. Christians and the church would become such that they would boldly draw near to God. This is something that Satan does not want for us to come to know.
“The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Jesus is within us.
This Jesus, He is the mystery.
To be in Christ, this is the mystery, the mystery that we are in Christ.
Because Jesus was hanged on the cross and died, and paid for our sins, we are holy.
I am in Christ. I am able to go to God as one who is in Christ. When we realize this mystery, we change.
In 1 Corinthians 1:2, it is written: “sanctified in Christ Jesus”. And in 1 Corinthians 15:22, it is written: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
In Christ, we are made to live.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
It is according to being in Christ!
*Why was it that the people of Old Testament were unable to go into the holies of the holy? Why do they die should they see the true God?
It is because a certain matter was not done.
For us, a certain matter is taking place between us and God because we are in Christ.
For us, reconciliation with God exists, because of Jesus.
Reconciliation with Adam has taken place, and reconciliation with you has taken place. Reconciliation has taken place over your sin. Because reconciliation has taken place even for those sins that you may commit in the future, through Christ and in Christ, we are already made as such that we can draw near to God.
And we are already made so that we do not die should we see God. We do not die by going to God, and so we are able to return to God.
This is the true happiness for us Christians.
(2 Corinthians 5:19)
“That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
How is it that we can be reconciled with God?
Indeed, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ”. If one is to stand in front of God just as how he is, then no one can stand.
On our own, we are not able to go to God, we are such that in our unrighteousness,
our prayers can’t even be answered.
However, because Jesus took our place, by the righteousness, holiness, and the redemption that is in Christ, within Christ we need not be “persecuted for violations”; therefore, we are able to return to where God is. This is the mystery.
That prodigal son had returned (Luke 15).
He returned in the condition of being in Christ.
In the Old Testament, being “in Christ” did not exist, therefore, one could not return.
When we come to know this mystery, we will not dwell in our daily lives about this or that which we had done wrong, but that in Christ, we dwell on being righteous and forgiven. It was in this kind of way of life that that prodigal son, though not doing anything, was given fine clothes to put on and ate well. That was due to the mystery of being in Christ.
We must not lose sight of ourselves who is in Christ. Satan will attempt to make you forget that. “What do you think you are doing? Look at what is happening around you (reality).” However, when we recall ourselves as one who is in Christ, nothing can make us fall, we can see God and not die, and we will know that we have the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.
In Him = in Christ.
In believing in Jesus, are you in Christ?
If so, you must proclaim:
“I have the righteousness of God. Though I see God and return to heaven, I will not die.”
There is God’s presence in the radiant light, but because we are in Christ, we are able to enter into that light.
*We have become new persons. The old person may be there, but we must not be concerned by that, for we have been redeemed by Jesus.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
It is saying that everything about us has become new.
A lot of Christians have lost sight of being in Christ, and so they are not thinking that they have been completely renewed. They are trying to improve on the old selves. The old self has died.
What sort of person is a new person?
Verse 17 says, “if anyone is in Christ.”
Why do Christians become energized when they read the Bible? It is because we are new persons. We do not have to be impressive. The Bible says prostitutes and tax collectors are entering the kingdom of God at ahead (Mathew 21:31).
“We are unable to continue doing what is right.
But because we are in Christ, and because we are forgiven, we are not condemned to
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”.
When Adam ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we got tied to the law of sin and death. We were such that we could not draw near to God. However, by Jesus taking our place as our sacrifice, we have now become priests, we have become holy, we have become new persons, therefore, we are without sin, and made as those having the righteousness of God. So, “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.
*In living a Christian life, Paul, too, had sufferings like us. But he solved them in thoughts of being in Christ.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.”
Within ourselves there is a part of us that try to do what is not right. Is there anyone suffering because inside of you there is a part that makes you do what you do not want to do? How is Paul answering to this?
Even Paul had a part of him that made him do things that prevented him from drawing near to God. Verse 20: “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Paul said, what does sin is not himself, and that the old self had died to sin by the sacrifice of Jesus. Because Jesus is now living in him, and because he is a new creation, Paul said, “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”
While we are in this consciousness of being in Christ, of course, you must repent of your sin when you commit sin, but when you are looking at your new self, you are not in sin any longer. That is why we can eagerly enter into heaven.
Let us be conscious that we are amidst this wonderful grace.
*Actually, our souls alone are already at that place of light where no others were able to go. We are not going to heaven from now, but in Christ, we are already at heaven.
In Christ, I have been put to the cross together with Christ, went to hell, and resurrected. If Christ had gone to heaven, then because we are in Christ, we too are in heaven, aren’t we!
Therefore, it is written:
“(God) made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”.
Let us proclaim:
“Because I am in Christ, I am seated with Christ on the right hand of God. Amen.”
However, this is due to being in Christ, therefore, we must not leave Christ.
If you say you want to stop being a Christian, it is written: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven” (Mathew 10:32).
We must not come out of Jesus. We must remain in Jesus. This is important.
“Rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Let us live our daily lives being rooted in Christ.
Let us proclaim:
“I am in Christ. I have become a new person that is holy, without blemish, and free from accusation. In the name of Jesus. Amen.” (Colossians 1:22)
Because Jesus had solved the conditions that pertained to priests in the Old Testament, we are able to enter the realm of radiant light.
What Moses prayed for, we are having it now.
*I will touch quickly that because Jesus is interceding for us, we will enter heaven in completeness.
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
*And another that is written is that, by the perfect hope, we can draw near God.
“(For the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
The ten commandments of Moses, the Law, could not be fulfilled by anyone. On the other hand, perfect hope was led in.
By this we shall draw near to God.
What is this hope?
In verse 22 it is written, “Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.”
This is because Jesus is different from the priests of the Old Testament. The priests of the Old Testament die. Jesus does not die. It is by the guarantee of a better covenant of Jesus who does not die, that we are able to draw near God.
“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
Because we are in Christ, by faith in Christ, we are able draw near to God with bold confidence. We give thanks!
It is awesome. Everyone, it is not about what you are or what you are not.
Jesus had done the incredible for us.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. We will draw near Him by faith.
Faith in that even when we are not right, (by Christ) we believe that we have been made right. We have become wonderful persons.
And we are allowed to glorify God in heaven and on earth.
(Leviticus 10:3) Old Testament
“Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:
“’Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.”
Because we are able to draw near God in heaven and on earth, we were made to show through us God’s glory and holiness! Amen! Thanks be to God!
Now let us proclaim:
“I have become one who can draw near God in Christ. My soul is already in heaven. I am blessed. I am a priest and I am holy. Therefore, because I am righteous, I am allowed to draw near God! In the name of Jesus. Amen.”
Therefore, your future concerns of marriage, employment, business; if you are in Christ, all are to be solved, aren’t they!
Our daily lives as Christians are in Christ!
Let us give thanks!