Sermon #386††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† Miscellaneous Sermons
†††††††††††††††††††††† Title:††††††† ††††††††† Laying the Hand of Faith Upon the Head of Godís Sacrifice
††††††††† Text:††††††††††† Leviticus 1:4-5
††††††††† Subject:†††††† The typical meaning of laying hands upon the head of the sacrifice.
††††††††† Date:††††††††††† January 17, 1982
††††††††† Tape #††††††††
††††††††† The picture we have before us is that of a guilty Israelite during the days of the Levitical priesthood. The man had sinner before God. An atonement must be made for his sins, in the way that God had appointed.
1. The sinner goes out to his fields and selects a lamb, or a young calf, to be his sacrifice of atonement.
2. He brings his sacrifice to the priest, and the priest inspects it, to be sure that it is a perfect sacrifice, suitable for atonement.
3. The guilty man then lays his hands upon the animalís head.
4. Then the sacrificial animal is slain. The priest takes his blood and sprinkles it upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle.
††††††††† What did this all mean? What is the significance of this solemn ceremony? Why was it done? No doubt there are many lessons to be gathered from the various sacrifices of the Old Testament. The burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering all have a distinct reference to some aspect of the atoning work of Christ. If in the minds of the priest and the worshipper they did not signify that one great Sacrifice who was to come, the Lord Jesus Christ, then they were mere empty rituals. Indeed, this is what they became during the days of Isaiah (Isaiah 66:3). All those elaborate ceremonies and sacrifices of the Old Testament were designed by God to point men to Christ, the true atonement and propitiation of sin.
††††††††† But this morning, I want to take one part of this ritual and show you its typical meaning. I hope to be simple, clear, and forceful as I preach to you today about faith in Christ. I am reminded of the prayer of a little boy I read about. One Saturday night before he went to bed, he said in his prayer, ďLord, help the preacher, that he may say something tomorrow that I can understand.Ē May God indeed help me that I may be as plain as a childís first grade reader, in setting forth the way of atonement by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. I tremble at the thought that someone might fail to see Christ, because of the preacherís colorful, eloquent, and high-sounding speech! May God give his servant great plainness of speech.
††††††††† There are some things, which are essential and vital, and some things, which are not. There are some things, which may, or may not be true; and yet no great evil will come either way. But there are other things, which are vital. They must be, or everything is wrong. Some things are important for the well being of Christians. But other things are absolutely necessary for the being of Christians. I will leave it to others to strive about those things that are non-essential. Those things that are urgent, essential, and necessary weigh heavily upon me. Those vital things concerning life, salvation, and eternity, those urgent necessities, are the things that I want to press upon you. There is no time to waste upon trifles. I must drive right to the heart of the matter.
††††††††† Here are the two things, which are of highest importance. I want to bring them constantly before your hearts. Without these two things you will perish: The precious blood of Christ and faith in that blood. These were the two essential elements in the sacrifices of the ceremonial law. You have them both in our text - ďHe shall put his hand upon the head of the offering.Ē Here is the sinner expressing faith in the atoning blood of Godís appointed sacrifice. ďHe shall kill the bullock before the Lord.Ē There is the picture of the death of Christ, Godís sacrifice for sin.
††††††††† Dear friends, God will never receive or accept any man, except through a Sacrifice. God Almighty requires blood, either yours or that of a substitutionary sacrifice. Now, here is the marvel of Godís wonderful grace. God has provided himself a Sacrifice for human sin! Behold, the Lamb of God! Jesus Christ, Godís own well-beloved Son is the Sacrifice, the only Sacrifice that God will accept.
∑ Christ is the Sacrifice God appointed and set apart.
∑ The Lamb of God was inspected by the high priests of Israel, and found to be without spot or blemish.
∑ This Lamb was slain, and accepted by God himself as a sweet-smelling savor.
The Sacrifice was provided. He was slain under the penalty of the law. And God has accepted him. Yet, there is one essential thing remaining, without which you will die. You must lay your hands upon the head of Godís sacrifice. This is an act of faith.
On that dear head of Thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.
My soul looks back to see
The burdens Thou didst bear,
When hanging on the cursed tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.
Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
And sing His bleeding love.
††††††††† Faith in Christ was symbolized in the Old Testament by a man laying his hands on the head of the sacrificial lamb. This is the one thing you must do. You must lay your hands of faith upon the head of Christ, Godís sacrifice for sin.
††††††††† When a man came and laid his hands upon the head of the sacrifice, it meant four things to him.
I. Picture the man now. He is standing beside the sacrifice, at the door of the tabernacle, before Godís priest, and he lays both of his hands upon the head of that innocent animal. What does it mean? It meant, first, that he was making a solemn, sincere, and public confession.
††††††††† This is what we do when we come to God, leaning upon Christ. We are making a confession to him.
∑ Laying my hands upon the head of Godís Sacrifice, I am confessing my sins (1 John 1:9).
This was the foremost thing in the mind of the ancient Jew when he brought a sacrifice of any kind before the Lord. He was acknowledging his sin. The only reason I need a sacrifice is because I am a sinner (Lev. 16:21).
††††††††† This is what I am saying. You must come to God confessing your sin. Those who lay their hands upon Christ must acknowledge their utter sinfulness.
∑ Sin must be confessed fully.
∑ I am a sinner by birth.
∑ I am a sinner by choice.
∑ I am a sinner by practice.
All that I am and all that I do are marred by sin. Like the leper, everything I touch I defile. All is stained by sin.
∑ And we must confess our sin sincerely.
Sin with us is more than a theory. We have tasted its bitter poison. We have known and felt the evil of sin.
∑ Godís Lamb is given as a Sacrifice for sinners.
The righteous, the innocent, and the good have no need of him, and they cannot have him. The Savior is provided for none but sinners.
††††††††† Here is our true place. We lean heavily upon the Saviorís head, because we are sinners. We plead guilty to the dreadful indictment of Godís holy law; and we are therefore glad to lay our hands upon the Sacrifice for sin.
∑ This act is also a confession of impotence.
Not only am I a sinner, Iím a helpless sinner. There is nothing I can do to help myself.
1.We must have Christ as a sacrifice for our sin.
∑ I cannot keep Godís law for myself.
∑ I cannot make atonement for my past sins.
∑ I cannot hope to gain acceptance with God by my future obedience.
Christ is precious to us because we cannot do without him. If I am not accepted before God upon the merits of Christís righteousness and shed blood, I am a damned man, utterly without hope!
2.And we must have the blood of Christ as an atonement and covering for our sin.
††††††††† Something must cover us to keep the eye of God from seeing our sin. The blood of Christ so thoroughly covers us that God beholds no blemish in us!
††††††††† I stand before God laying my hands upon the head of Christ, leaning my entire soul upon him, because I am an impotent man.
∑ Laying my hands upon the head of Godís sacrifice, I confess that I deserve to die.
When a man brought his calf, or goat, or lamb and put his hands upon its head, he knew that the poor creature must die. And by this act, he confessed that he deserved to die. The innocent lamb fell in the dust in pain, struggling, bleeding, dieing. And the man confessed, ďThis is what I deserve from the hand of God. Death is my due.Ē
If ever you come to see this, you will lean hard upon Christ, and acknowledge that the death he died you deserved to die (Ps. 51:1-4).
If God had been pleased to send me to hell, it would be no more than I deserve. He would have been both righteous and just in doing it. But, instead, he poured out my hell upon his Son! ďThe chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.Ē
Come, lay your hands upon Christís head in humble, sincere confession, saying, I am a guilty sinner, unable to do anything to help myself, and worthy of eternal damnation. But I trust Christ to save me.
II. Secondly, when a man laid his hands upon the head of the sacrifice, he was saying, I accept Godís remedy for sin.
††††††††† When a man comes to trust Christ, he simply confesses and acknowledges his acceptance of Godís salvation.
A. Laying my hands of faith upon Christ, I testify to God and to all men that I accept Godís plan and purpose of salvation by a Substitute (Rom. 5:19-21).
B. But there is more. Having accepted the gospel of substitution, I accept the substitute himself.
Beloved, salvation is not in a plan. It is in a Person. Salvation is not in the doctrine of substitution. It is in the Divine Substitute. We rest our souls, not upon a doctrine, but upon the Lord Jesus Christ himself. We cast ourselves entirely upon him.
III. Thirdly, when the sinner laid his hands upon the head of the sacrifice, he was expressing his faith in a marvelous transference (Lev. 16:21).
††††††††† In a typical sense, that manís guilt was transferred from him to the innocent lamb, and that lambís innocence was transferred to him. The whole thing was done in anticipation of our Lordís death at Calvary.
††††††††† Now, when a sinner comes to Christ by faith, accepting him as Savior, he is saying, ďI agree with the mighty and mysterious transaction that took place long ago upon Calvaryís brow.Ē Dear friends, this mighty transaction took place and was completed when the Son of God stood in our place at Calvary!
A. God Almighty made his Son to be sin for us.
B. God made us righteous in his Son.
By faith we simply accept the finished work, adding nothing to it. Laying my hands upon the head of my Redeemer, I rest my soul upon this mighty transaction, trusting the complete efficacy of Godís Sacrifice.
IV. In the last place, laying my hands of faith upon the head of Christ, there is identification between the sinner and the Substitute.
†††† I think that if the manís heart was right, and he was not a mere ritualist, as he watched that lamb struggle, and bleed, and die, his eyes must have swelled with tears. He must have said in his heart, ďThat death is mine.Ē Now, brethren, come lay your hands upon the head of our Substitute, and identify yourselves with him. His death is our death, and now we cannot die again (2 Cor. 5:14).
Illustration: The Substitute Soldier
††††††††† Children of God, can you grasp this?
∑ When Christ died you died.
ďI am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.Ē ďYe are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.Ē In the Person of your Substitute you paid your debt to Godís law.
∑ When Christ arose, being accepted of God, you arose in Him.
∑ As Christ is now a sweet-smelling savor to God, you are a sweet-smelling savor, ďAccepted in the Beloved.Ē
Blessed be God, there is a real identification between believers and their Substitute. It is real, and it is eternal.
††††††††† I have but one thing now to do, I urge you who are sinners to come and lay your hands upon the head of Christ, Godís Sacrifice for sin. Lean the weight of your soul upon him.
∑ In confession
∑ Accepting the Substitute
∑ Acknowledging the transference
∑ Rejoice in the identification