Ron Thomas
Sermon by Pastor Ron Thomas

"The Tabernacle: Celebrating
The God Who Comes Near"

Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040

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Preached 4/16/2008

The Tabernacle: Celebrating The God Who Comes Near
Lesson Three: God's No Sin Zone

Key Verse: Exodus 25:8. "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."

Introduction: A nearsighted pastor glanced at the note Mrs. Jones had sent to him by way of an usher. The note read: "Bill Jones having gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety." Failing to observe the punctuation, the nearsighted pastor startled the congregation by announcing: "Bill Jones, having gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety." Good vision, both physical and spiritual are necessary for a pastor to fulfill the work of his office! Every pastor needs to pray everyday for spiritual vision. Some pastors need glasses as well!

Now that we have given an overview and walk through of the Tabernacle built by Moses according to the pattern he received by God on Mount Sinai, we are going to approach the Tabernacle once again with our spiritual glasses on. In lesson two, we learned that the Tabernacle not only served the immediate purpose of providing a place of worship for the children of Israel in the wilderness, it also served as a powerful object lesson, revealing great and eternal truths concerning God's redemptive purpose. The Tabernacle actually pointed the children of Israel to the coming person and ministry of Jesus Christ! Why? Jesus was the coming Redeemer first prophesied in Genesis 3:15, and pictured in Genesis 3:21.

Today, we look back and see that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of every Old Testament promise, prophecy, and picture. In II Corinthians 1:20 Paul wrote, "For all the promises of God in Him (Jesus Christ) are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." Hebrews 9:8-12 teaches us that the pattern and ministry of the Tabernacle, pointed to Jesus Christ. It says, "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure (something to be compared to another) for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." As we approach the Tabernacle, we must be like the Greeks who approached Philip in John 12:21 and said, "Sir, we would see Jesus."

Lesson three: God's No Sin Zone

The Curtain Enclosure And Entrance Gate Of The Tabernacle

Text: Exodus 27:9-19. "And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side: 10 And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 11 And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 12 And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten. 13 And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. 14 The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. 15 And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. 16 And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four. 17 All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. 18 The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. 19 All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass."

As you approached the structure of the Tabernacle, the first thing you encountered, was a wall. This curtain wall was twice as long as it was wide (150 feet long, 75 feet wide), and tall enough (7 ½ feet tall) to obstruct the view of a normal sized person. Dirk Nowitzki who is 7 foot, would not be able see over this wall, unless he stood on his tip-toes! We might think of it today as a privacy fence.

The wall itself was made of high quality cloth or linen, which was white in color. This long, tall white linen wall, must have been quite impressive from the outside, as it stood in stark contrast to the dark tents of the surrounding Israelites.

This white curtain enclosure or wall, was supported by 60 pillars, which were probably made of acacia wood. These 60 pillars were distributed around the enclosure, with 20 supporting the longer, side walls, and 10 supporting each of the shorter, end walls. The base of each pillar was set in a brass socket, which was buried in the sand for stability, and topped with a silver cap. On the east wall, there were 3 pillars on each end of a gate, and 4 pillars were used to support the gate itself. The pillars were spaced at an equal distance apart by connecting bars made of silver, and held erect by cords which were secured into the ground, by brass tent pegs. This white curtain wall surrounded the Tabernacle, and created what was known as the outer court around the Tabernacle proper.

The curtain wall on the east side, contained the only entrance or gate to the outer court. Exodus 27:16 says, "And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four." This entrance gate into the courtyard, was exactly in the middle of the eastern wall. The entrance gate was 30 feet wide, and consisted of fine linen, using the colors of blue, purple and scarlet.

What does this wall with it's one gate surrounding the Tabernacle picture?

First, we consider the white linen wall. Obviously a wall's function or purpose is to separate.

A house has walls to separate or divide space for the purpose of security, privacy, or function. Walls separate bathrooms from bedrooms; a garage from the livingroom; a kitchen from the dining room; the outside environment from the inside environment. Walls are barriers, creating space and restricting or controlling access.

The outer curtain wall of the Tabernacle separated it from the outside world. No one could casually stroll into the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Once the Tabernacle was set up with it's white walls of fine linen, it sanctified the space within it's court. The stretch of desert sand that had previously been home to various creatures, was suddenly claimed by God, sanctified or set apart, and became holy ground!

Before we proceed, we must not miss that wonderful truth. When we are saved, whether we are Jew or Gentile, we are immediately sanctified and placed "in Christ." In writing to the church at Corinth, Paul tells them in I Corinthians 1:2-3, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." If you are saved, you are bought, therefore you are not your own! Your body, your personality, your talent, your life, is now God's! You are sanctified, set apart, to be used for His divine, eternal purpose!

This wall was made of fine, white linen. The color white speaks of righteousness. Revelation 19:8 says, "And to her (the Bride of the Lamb) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Psalm 45:6-7 says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." This wall surrounding the Tabernacle proper made of white, fine linen, pictured a wall of righteousness!

The use of the word righteous or righteousness in the Bible, implies justice and conformance to established standards. Justice means doing the right thing; and conformance to established standards refers to following the standards or ways of God. Righteousness therefore is that which is right in the sight of a sinless, holy God! In Genesis 18:19, the Lord spoke of Abraham as a father, and praised him because He knew that Abraham would "...command his children," and make sure they kept "...the way of the LORD."

We are living in a self-willed, self-worshiping generation, which is committed to doing that which is right in its own eyes! The wall of fine white linen around the Tabernacle was a barrier to a world of unrighteousness. In a real sense, this outer curtain wall was a sin barrier. When the wall was erected, it created a no sin zone! No one, but no one, could take one step into the courtyard, without their sin being accounted for! Not even the priest!

Bill O'Reilly, a politically conservative man, hosts a television show on Fox News called "The O'Riley Factor." Bill proudly refers to his broadcast slot as the "no spin zone." Committed to the truth, Bill does not allow his guest to "spin" the facts so as to avoid the truth. Bill O'Reilly can be very rude at times to people! Just the hint of a spin, someone fudging on the facts, and he boots him or her off his show!

Can you imagine the Holy God of Heaven living in your neighborhood? Sin cannot exist in His presence! Taking one step onto His yard, would be like a mosquito flying into an Electronic Mosquito Zapper in the summer time! Before you can enter the presence of the Lord, you must face the white, fine linen wall. You must face His righteous standard, and deal with your sin!

We are immediately confronted with a problem. The Bible informs us that we are without righteousness. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our best words and deeds are corrupt. Compared to the fine, white linen of the Tabernacle wall, they are as "filthy rags." The only righteousness that can satisfy God, must come from Himself. We must be cleansed from our sin and covered in His righteousness!

This wall with it's fine white linen, wooden posts, silver caps, brass sockets and cords, point us to none other than Jesus Christ! Hebrews 7:26 says speaking of Jesus Christ, "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." The white curtain speaks of His perfect righteousness, which is imputed or transferred as a free gift by faith. The wooden posts speak of His humanity, becoming flesh to dwell or tabernacle among us. The brass sockets, speak of judgment, as Jesus suffered the wrath of God and "..tasted death for every man." The silver caps speak of the price of redemption, paid fully on the cross by Jesus. The cords represent the cords of love that bound Jesus to suffer, bleed and die in our place. No one took His life. Jesus freely laid it down for us!

Second, we consider the entrance gate. This wall contained one gate, one door, one way of access into the outer court.

There was no other way to enter or access the Tabernacle. It was easy to distinguish the gate, because of it's contrast in color. The wall was white, but the gate was a combination of blue, purple, and scarlet. You could not miss this gate. We are reminded of John 1:14 which says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." If you refused to recognize and enter this gate, there was no other access to God!

In John 10:9, Jesus presented Himself as the door to the sheepfold. "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Speaking of Jesus Christ, Acts 4:12 reads, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

These four colors of the Tabernacle each point to a particular aspect of the nature and character of the person of Jesus Christ.

The color blue speaks of the heavens. Speaking of Jesus, John the Baptist said in John 3:31, "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all." Jesus as the Son of God, is above all!

The color purple speaks of royalty. Purple is the kingly color! On the way to the cross, they clothed Jesus in a purple robe, placed a crown of thorns on His head, and hailed Him as king.

The color scarlet speaks of redemption. Scarlet or red is the color of Christ's shed blood. There is a mountain range in southern Colorado named the Sangre de Cristos, which means the blood of Christ. In Jesus Christ, we have "...redemption through His blood."

The color white speaks of a suffering servant. Jesus came to this earth in the form of a servant! Jesus lived His life among the common people. Jesus taught in word and example, servant leadership!

The four gospels present Jesus in all of these ways. Matthew presents Jesus as the King. It speaks of Jesus as the promised and prophesied King of Israel. Mark presents Jesus as the divine servant. Luke presents Jesus as the suffering Savior. John presents Jesus as the heaven sent Son of God.

There were four pillars that supported this entrance gate which speak of the four human authors of the gospels. Matthew was a Jew, and wrote particularly to Israel concerning their King. Mark was a Roman, and wrote concerning the suffering servant. Luke was a Greek, and wrote to the Greek mind. John represented the Christian believer, and spoke of the heavenly character and origin of Jesus as the Son of God! Praise God, this was a whosoever gate!

The apostle Paul ended his letter to the Romans this way: Romans 16:25-27 reads, "Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen." It is believing in the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, that establishes us, sanctifies us, and places us, in the courtyard of the King of Glory.

As a child growing up in Sunday School, we would sing a little chorus that said, "One door and only one, and yet the sides are two. I'm on the inside, but which side are you?" Have you passed through the gate and come inside the white, fine linen wall? There is only one way, one door! JESUS!

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