We Must Bleed To Bless

Bible Book: Hebrews  9 : 22
Subject: Commitment; Evangelism; Cross Bearing

Hebrews 9:22; Philippians 2:5-11

I often listened to R. G. Lee, often called The Prince of Preachers, when I was in my teens. We got home from our services just in time to hear Dr. Lee preach on television. I also had opportunities to hear him in person. I believe it was at the Mississippi Baptist Evangelism conference in Clarksdale that I heard him preach a sermon which was later published in a book of sermons. I remember that he asked us not to tape that sermon. The title of the sermon was WHEN WE BLEED WE BLESS. He quoted Dr. J. H. Jowett: “We must bleed if we would be ministers of the saving blood.” He continued, “True intercession is a bleeding sacrifice. In the Bible, life is in the blood; when the blood is poured out the life is gone.” Jesus literally poured out His life’s blood at Calvary, and He tells us that we must take up our cross and follow Him. What He is saying is that He had to bleed to bless us, and when we take up the Cross we must bleed to bless. We live in a day in which church members can really get into the blessing part but do not seem to even consider the bleeding part.

To take up the Cross and follow Jesus is to give your life for Him - literally, if necessary. You must pour out your life for Jesus and for all those for whom He poured out His life’s blood. If you are not willing to pour out your life, yes, literally if it ever comes to that, you are totally unworthy of the name Christian. Will you consider one question as you listen to this message today? Will you simply take stock and try to determine what it is costing you to follow Jesus. In ancient Rome, as in Islamic countries today, to take up the Cross and follow Jesus is to take one’s life in his own hands. That was especially so in Communist countries in the past century. But what about America? I really believe there are many people who profess to be Christians who believe it would be a major sacrifice for Christ if they missed a Sunday afternoon golf game, hunting trip, or a trip to the mall in order to attend the evening worship service. To people like that, giving up recreation, relaxation, or even one’s own privacy in order to attend Sunday School and worship services would be a sacrifice. To them, tithing is a sacrifice, a price we have to pay if we want Him to bless us. Please bear with me on this. I would urge you to consider the question, am I willing to bleed to bless?

Water must be heated to 212 degrees to become steam, which can be used for energy. A candle must sacrifice itself in order to give light. An acorn must sacrifice itself before it can become a mighty oak tree. Grapes must be crushed before they give up their juice. And we must bleed if would bless others.


A. He Was Called “Blessed”, but He Had to Bleed to Bless.

1. He emptied Himself of His glory in heaven to come and die for us, Phil. 2:5ff.

“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:5-11, HCSB).

2. He endured temptations, trials, persecutions, torture and death for you and me.

I love the old hymn, IN THE GARDEN. It has a tremendous message for me, but when I was singing that hymn when I was growing up I never fully associated it with the intense anguish to which Jesus subjected Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke writes, “Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

The movie, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, dramatically and shockingly depicted the brutal treatment to which Jesus was subjected. Seven hundred years earlier, Isaiah was inspired to write of the passion of Christ: “See, My servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted. Just as many were appalled at You —His appearance was so disfigured that He did not look like a man, and His form did not resemble a human being (Isaiah 52:13-14). He continues in chapter 53:

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth. He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of My people’s rebellion (Is. 53:1-8).

“They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully. Yet the Lord was pleased to crush Him, and He made Him sick. When You make Him a restitution offering, He will see [His] seed, He will prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will succeed by His hand. He will see it out of His anguish, and He will be satisfied with His knowledge. My righteous servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil, because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels” (Isaiah 53:9-12).

Isaiah wrote those words in the eighth century B. C., which has been called The Golden Age of Prophecy. Amos and Hosea were prophesying in the northern kingdom of Israel, and Isaiah and Micah were prophesying in the southern kingdom of Judah. Now, let’s turn to the New Testament and see how close Isaiah was:

“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet robe. They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spit at Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him” (Matt 27:27-31, bold added).

3. Jesus poured out His life’s blood for you and me.

“For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!” (Rom. 5:6-8, bold added).

“According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22).

4. Jesus is our greatest example of One Who bleeds to bless others.

We have just read from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Jesus taught that the world that hates Him will hate us. I might add, that the more Christ-like you are the more the world will hate and persecute you.

“If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love [you as] its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

The Bible teaches that God the Father wants every believer to be like His Son. We are clearly taught in Romans that every person who is saved is “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). We are to follow His example, but there is more. When we are born again God puts His Spirit in our hearts to empower us to live the Christ life today.

B. On the Cross, Jesus Was More Than an Example.

1. His was a ministry of reconciliation, 2 Cor. 5:16-21.

(16)“From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him like that. (17) Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. (18) Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (19 that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. (20) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” (21) He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:16-21, bold added).

2. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation.

That ministry cost Jesus His life on a cruel Roman cross. What is it costing you? Sadly, we live in a day when even some pastors and evangelists think in terms of “marketing” themselves and their work. Just as Jesus attracted a crowd by the sensational miracle of feeding perhaps 20,000 people with a child’s lunch, there are preachers who are committed to giving people what they want in order to attract a crowd. Little do we note that when Jesus offered Himself as The Bread of Life, the crowds turned away and followed Him no more. When we preach the pure Gospel of Jesus, Christ and Him crucified, the multitudes will turn and follow no more. Help people feel good about themselves and many will not only keep coming, some of them may actually look down on those who sincerely want to be fed from the Word of God.

If your relationship with Jesus Christ is not costing you anything, you can mark this down: the number of people to whom you are a blessing is very limited. The ministry of reconciliation is a costly ministry. You may have to give up some of your private time. You may even have to miss a television program now and then! You may have to break away from old friends, old practices, old habits, old commitments. I can assure you of one other thing: the ministry of reconciliation will take you out of your comfort zone.

3. If it cost Him, it will cost you, John 12:24.

“I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. (25)The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (26) If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:24-26, bold added).

You must be prepared to pay a price if you would be an obedient servant to our Lord. In many countries today, you must be prepared to bleed if you would bless.

4. Taking up your cross and following Jesus is not an option.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. (25) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. (26) What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?” (Matt 16:24-26).


A. Many of the Immediate Followers of Christ Poured Out Their Life’s Blood for Him.

1. Stephen paid the supreme price for his commitment to the Lord.

The enemies of Christ stoned Stephen to silence Him, but his blood has been crying out for two thousand years and no one has ever been able to silence his words:

“When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God’s glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:54-56).

“Then they screamed at the top of their voices, stopped their ears, and rushed together against him. They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They were stoning Stephen as he called out: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!” And saying this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:57-60).

2. James, the brother of John, was the first Apostle to be martyred.

James was the first, but certainly not the last of the Apostles to be put to death for his faith in Jesus Christ. James was killed by Herod in A. D. 44. According to early church traditions, all the Apostles laid down their lives for their Lord. Peter, according to tradition, was crucified upside down. John as exiled to the Island of Patmos and if tradition can be trusted, later boiled in oil because of his commitment to Christ.

3. Paul suffered often before was slain for the cause of Christ.

Paul wrote, “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Phil 1:21). That was his philosophy of life, and it cost him dearly:

“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times (2 Cor. 11:22-23).

“Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the depths of the sea. On frequent journeys, [I faced] dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing. Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses. The eternally blessed One, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, knows I am not lying. In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me, so I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands” (2 Cor 11:24-33).

B. Many Early Church Fathers Poured out Their Life’s Blood for the Lord.

1. Men, women, and children were slain in the Roman arenas rather than deny Christ.

Rome had become the greatest empire the world had ever known, bringing under her control people of many nations, languages, and religions. The Roman emperor at one point, looking for a unifying factor, came with a novel idea. Once a year, every citizen of the Roman Empire was required to appear before an altar to Caesar, burn a pinch of incense, and say, “Caesar is lord.” Devout Jews went to the emperor to explain that they were a monotheistic people. They could not worship any god but Yahweh. They were declared a legal religion, exempt from appearing before the altar to Caesar and declaring him to be lord. When Christians sought the same status for the same reason, some Jews asked that they be denied this privilege. They insisted that Christians were heretics. Thus, Christians were declared an illegal religion and when they would not worship Caesar, they were subjected to imprisonment, torture, and even death. They were forced to fight half-starved lions or gladiators in the Roman arena for the entertainment of Caesar and the people of Rome. Accounts of horrible persecutions are incredible. However, the more they persecuted Christians the more the church grew.

2. Polycarp is one of the greatest examples of one who bled but blessed.

When the aged bishop of Smyrna refused to worship Caesar he was tied to a stake, wood was piled around him, and then he was told to either worship Caesar and live or refuse and be burned alive. To which Polycarp said, “Eighty and six years have I served my Lord and he has never done me wrong. How can I deny my Master who love me so?” As the flames licked his body, he cried out, “O Lord, I thank You that you have found me worthy of this hour.”

C. The Reformation Was Spawned by Those Who Were Willing to Bleed to Bless.

Martin Luther is identified with the Reformation, but there were many others who were contributing to the movement. Church history is filled with examples of men and women who suffered, bled, and died for the cause of Christ. Luther, born in 1483, launched the Reform Movement in 1517, when he nailed the ninety-five theses to the door of the church at Wittenburg. One of his early concerns was the doctrine of indulgences. Luther was but one of many believers the Lord used to bring the Reformation movement to full bloom. Some made the supreme sacrifice for their Lord, others were persecuted for their faith, and still others labored long hours and years without significant remuneration for their labors.

John Hus was deceived and burned at stake for his commitment to the Word of God. John Knox, John Calvin, and many others lived and served sacrificially, bleeding to bless others. It was as though Satan sought to destroy some faithful believers, but God took their ashes and flung them across Europe and everywhere they fell revival broke out.

John Smyth and Thomas Helwys baptized each other and then baptized a congregation who were convinced that the New Testament mode of baptism was immersion. There were persecuted for their convictions. Roger Williams faced opposition in America. David Brainerd poured out his life in an effort to reach the American Indians for Jesus Christ. Countless ministers and lay persons have lived sacrificially for the Lord to bring Christ to the nation. The Voice of Martyrs ministry chronicles the suffering and slaughter of saints around the world right now for their faith in Jesus Christ. Hey, we are not talking fairy tales here! The faithful are bleeding for Jesus and blessing His kingdom right now! We may be at ease is Zion, but they are suffering, and bleeding, and dying for Him and for those who need him around the world.


A. An Easy Believism Has Left the Church in America in a weakened Condition.

1. Sadly, some predictions of early generations are coming true in the church today.

America today is moving deeper and deeper into the post-Christian era in our history. Millions profess to believe in God, but studies reveal that it is not having a significant impact on their lives. William Bennett published a book some years ago in which he showed that what he called the Moral Index proved that we are in a downward spiral, morally speaking. Bennett has since published another volume now on the subject. Pornography, gambling, euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, and gross immorality do not shock the church any more. Nor, are those things being confronted by the church. In fact, church members are participating in those things! Not only are professing Christians not willing to bleed for Christ, most are not even willing to abstain from evil for Him.

2. The church is to blame for our entering the post-Christian period in our history.

We can point the finger at the world, the evolutionists, Hollywood, or Washington, but the church is the only entity that had to power to resist the moral degeneration that has led us to the point that a former Surgeon General of the United States would announce that she favors teaching kindergarten children (babies!) about HIV! If you teach young children about HIV, wouldn’t you also have to teach them about other STDs?

When the church backed off and let the evolutionists have the public schools, they were saying, we just want to get along with everyone. We don’t want to fight over these issues. After all, they reasoned, evolution may account for all we see here, but who created that first mass of protoplasm?
God did it, they declared, and assumed they had taken the high ground. They compromised and left the gate down for the spread of homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and lower morals in general.
When you take away God at the beginning, you do not need a Redeemer in the middle, because there can be no Judge at the end.

3. We are at war with an evil that is going to bring the war to America.

Islam is not a religion of peace, it is a religion of conquest. There may be many Muslims who would prefer peace to war, but there are certain things we must remember. If Islam takes over, the “peaceful” Muslims will have nothing to worry about as long as they are cooperative. Second, it is true that the global war of terrorism is being pushed by radical Muslims, but they are determined to force the “peaceful” Muslims to help them, stay out of the way, or be killed. Third, many passages from the Koran teach that if a Muslim cannot convert non-Muslim he must shun him, and if that does not work he must kill him.

I received the following e-mail message from Don Wildmon of the American Family Association (3-21-06), asking for help in the case of a Abdul Rahman who had been sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

Dear Johnny,

Abdul Rahman, 41, faces death because he converted from Islam to Christianity and refuses to convert back to Islam.

His family accused him of being a Christian. During his trial last Thursday in Kabul, Rahman confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law. It is an attack on Islam," Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada said.

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he offered to drop the charges if Mr. Rahman converted back to Islam, but Rahman refused. "He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one. We are Muslims, and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty," Wasi said.

The Voice of Martyrs has chronicled the martyrdom of the saints from the first century forward. They report that more people have been martyred during the past century than all the centuries since the death of Christ. They have bled, and they still bless. They were killed but they live, and they live victoriously!

B. The Cost of Revival in American Today Will be Great.

1. Jesus has done His part - He poured out His life’s blood.

When Jesus died on the cross, God was in Christ reconciling the world into Himself. Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was God’s purpose to give His Son to die for our sins. He stressed that His life was not taken from Him; He gave it voluntarily.

2. The Bible spells out God’s requirements for revival.

“ And My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).

3. Committed Christians are crucified with Christ.

“For through the law I have died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:19-20, bold added).

4. Many faithful Christians are paying a price today for their faithfulness to Christ.

Some believers are paying a high price in the battle against pornography, homosexuality, immorality, drugs, gambling, alcohol, and other problems in out society. Still others are paying a high price in order to go on mission trips around the world, or to witness to the neighbor down the street. The question is, what are you doing for the Lord? What price are you paying in order to serve Him. Are you bleeding - are you pouring out your life for Jesus Christ.


If we are to see revival in America, it is going to cost you and me something. Please note that I did not say it is going to cost some super saint something - it is going to cost you and me something. You and I are going to have to bleed to bless! We are going to have to pour our life’s blood into worship, prayer, preaching, teaching, witnessing, serving, and sacrificial living. I am calling on members of this church to step our of your comfort zone and reach out to those who need you. Prayerfully submit to Him. Commit to Him. Worship, pray, witness, serve. Love Him and love one another.

If you really love the Lord you will obey His Great Commission and be His witness to your neighbors. Tell them God loved them and sent His Son to die for them. You don’t know what to say? Read John 3:16 to them. You can still do that in America, so we had better do it while we can.