Sunday, June 25, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon The Fountain Opened(Zechariah 13:1) ]

                                      The FOUNTAIN OPENED (Zechariah 13:1)

Zechariah 13:1 says, "In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness." This is a prophecy respecting first the Jews and also through them the whole world. The words, "That day" opens up a bright vision to the prophet in the darkness of his time. Looking 500 years into the future, he predicts an event in Jerusalem which displays the love of God that made provision for the necessities of the human race. "There shall be a fountain for uncleanness and sin." We know that this prophecy has been fulfilled because when the Roman soldiers crucified Christ, John 19:35 says, "For these things came to pass that the scripture might be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture says, They shall look on Him whom they pierced. The statement that a bone of Him shall not be broken is a reference to the Passover lamb Israel offered that saved all their first born children in the land of Egypt. Israel was not allowed to break the bones of their sacrificial offering that night in Egypt, for that lamb was a type and a prophecy of Christ our Passover Lamb. It had a direct reference to Christ our Passover Lamb in the Christian religion. God commanded that the bones of that sacrificial lamb was not to be broken and thus the same command applied to the body of Christ, our Passover Lamb. The second prophetic utterance of Zechariah which John applied to Christ is Zechariah 12:10, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced." A Roman soldier unwittingly fulfilled this prophecy by refusing to break the legs of Jesus as he did the two other men on their crosses. Therefore the fountain opened for uncleanness and sin was a direct reference to the crucifixion of Christ for the sins of Israel and the whole world.

First, what then, is this fountain?. Something about Christ's crucifixion bore a similarity of some kind to a fountain. A fountain is a natural spring or flow of water that comes from the earth, and in the dry Middle East countries this fresh water was a great blessing to the people. Such fountains were free for all to enjoy and were considered great blessings of God. God gave a prophecy to Zechariah that connected the word fountain to something that happened to Christ when the Roman soldiers pierced the body of Christ. It is most interesting that God used a Roman soldier to open this fountain predicted by Zechariah. After the soldier broke the legs of the two men on their crosses , he refused to break the legs of Jesus because He appeared to have already died. But to make sure He was dead, he took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus large enough to put a man's hand in.

But you might say, "Preacher how do you know that?" To convince Thomas that He was alive, He made this offer to doubting Thomas, "Reach your finger here and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving but believing. Thomas said, "My Lord and my God." Furthermore, the apostle John was a witness of the crucifixion. He w as near the cross and saw it all. He gives this account in John 19:34, "One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out." That blood and water was the fountain Zechariah said that God would open in that day. The apostle John saw that fountain of water and blood flow with his own eyes. But some one says, "How can the blood and water that came from the side of Jesus be called a fountain? The word fountain used by Zechariah is a metaphor, a figure of speech and is not to be taken literally. He was making a comparison of Christ's blood and water and a spring or fountain of water. What is the similarity? A spring flows from the ground like a fountain, and blood and water flowed from the side of Jesus just as a fountain of water from the ground. But this spring of blood and water was more wonderful than any spring of water that flows from the ground. The writers of our Christian hymns saw the connection between the blood that flowed from the Lord's side and a fountain flowing from the hills. . A beautiful hymn in our songbook says, "There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains." This hymn also uses very figurative language but all Christians know exactly what it means. That hymn figuratively shows Christ's blood flowing down from His side and falling down on a penitent believer in Chrsit at the foot of the cross, cleansing him from sin and uncleanness. But we know what it means. It figuratively describes a penitent believer in Christ obeying the gospel and becoming a Christian by faith, repentance and baptism. This is the one and only way a person can become a Christian.

Furthermore, the apostle John saw the fulfilment of Zechariah 13:1 with his own eyes. He was an eye witness to the opening of this fountain. John wrote in his gospel, " For these things were done that the scripture should be fulfilled, Not one of His bones shall be broken, and again another scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced"(John 19:35,36), John also saw the soldier as he was piercing the side of Jesus.John made an additional statement about this great even in I John 5:5,6, " Who is he who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. This is He who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ, not only by water but water and blood.." When Christ left heaven and came to the earth as the God-man in the flesh, it is specially pointed out that He came by water and blood.

The fact that water and blood came from his side had a very great significance. It signified that a new system of forgiveness was about to be offered to Israel and the whole world. The ancient Jews under the law of Moses had their own system of forgiveness. It consisted of water and blood. There was no forgiveness in the Jewish religion without water and blood, and there is no forgiveness in the Christian religion without water and blood. But since the first century A.D., Jews have had no Temple, no altar of sacrifice and no priesthood. They themselves acknowledge this to be one of their great calamities. They have mourned this fact on every Passover observance since the first century. They say, "Woe to us, for we have no mediator and no High Priest." However, water and blood played an important part in God' s forgiving and cleansing the Jews, but it required a Temple and the brazen altar of sacrifice. The book of Hebrews describes the Jewish system of forgiveness in these words, "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God"(Hebrews 9:13,14). Notice the use of the blood: of bulls, goats, and lambs. Notice the use of water: the ashes of a heifer in containers of holy water sprinkled on violators of God's law for cleansing. The blood of animals was not sufficient; there was also cleansing by holy water. The water was just as important as animal sacrifices. The water and blood that came from the side of Jesus represents the new system of forgiveness and cleansing in the Christian religion. John reveals the significance of water and blood in both the Jewish and Christian religions It seems clear, therefore, that the reference to water is an allusion to His requirement of baptism for the forgiveness all past sins. The reference to blood is Christ's own blood shed for all mankind. When the Bible says Jesus came to this world  bywater and blood, not by water only but by by water and blood, it was pointing out to Jews that the Christian religion uses water and blood as did the old Jewish system, but in an altogether different way. The coming of Christ with water and blood is a new, wonderful system of cleansing that God has given to the world.That He came with water is a clear reference to His requirement of baptism in water for the forgiveness of sins. What was this fountain God opened first for Israel and the whole world? It was the water and blood that flowed from the side of Jesus signifying the new system of pardon and forgiveness which God has established in the world.

Secondly, what was the efficacy, the value, the power of this fountain?. What does it do for people who drink of it? What power does it have to change people's lives". The prophecy and prediction says, "In that day a fountain shall be opened ....for sin and uncleanness. These were the two greatest problems of Israel, and they continue to be the two greatest problems of the human race today. This fountain was opened for sin and uncleanness. Sin is transgression of the law of God. God's law is transgressed in three ways–by a violation of its precepts, by a neglect of its injunctions, and by a defect in the way it is observed. This brought Israel under condemnation, and it will bring us under condemnation today. In addition, this fountain was to be opened for uncleanness. This primarily refers to moral uncleanness. In the tabernacle of old, between the tent and the altar of sacrifice was a large basin of water that priests used to ceremonially wash themselves before they offered sacrifice to God. We too must be washed by faith, repentance and baptism before we can become a member of the church and have our names written in the book of life. Solomon's temple had the same arrangement. Priests had to wash themselves before entering the Tabernacle. Many things caused the Jews to be unclean such as touching a dead person and such like things. They had to wash themselves in holy water that contained the ashes of a heifer that had been offered by sacrifice.  An unclean person under the Jewish law was cut off from all fellowship with the worshipers of God until he had been washed in holy water. In like manner no one to day can have fellowship with God until he has been washed and cleansed from his uncleanness by the blood of Christ in the baptismal water. People who transgress God's moral laws in the Christian age are separated from God and from the church,  and are considered aliens to the commonwealth of Christ's kingdom and His church. If Christians fall into some uncleanness, they must be cleansed. The law of Christ is, "If we confess our sins God is just and faithful to forgive us our sins. Those who choose to walk in the road way that leads to destruction and refuse to walk in the narrow way that leads to eternal life, do not sing the songs of the redeemed ad refuse to enter His kingdom. The fountain of salvation is now open for all to drink. " If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink," said Jesus. God opened this fountain for all who believe in Christ, are willing to change their lives, are willing to be immersed for the forgiveness of all sins in their past lives. God opened this fountain in Jerusalem in 33 A.D., and it remains open to this day for sin and uncleanness to both saints and alien sinners(non-Christians).

Finally, what is the day mentioned in Zechariah 13:1? The prophecy says, "In that day day a fountain shall be opened for sin and for uncleanness." When you read a letter, it is well to notice the date upon it; you may make mistakes if you don't The promise in the prophecy is dated in the previous chapter, Zechariah 12: 10, "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication. Then they will look on Me(Christ) whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. The day is mentioned in this verse. It was the day Christ was crucified and a Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus, making, in a manner of speaking, a fountain of water and blood flowing from His side. The New Testament declares that a Roman soldier fulfilled this prophecy when he pierced the side of Jesus, and the soldiers and the people around the cross looked on Christ who was pierced.

This fountain was officially opened in he city of Jerusalem, 50 days after Jesus returned to heaven, when thousands of Jews in Jerusalem mourned over the death of Christ as Zechariah predicted. In one day in Jerusalem 3,000 Jews were born again of water and the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God was born in one day on earth, and the Church of Christ was born on the same day. From then on, this fountain is opened when the gospel is first proclaimed in any unbelieving nation. There is blood enough among all the nations of the world, but there is no blood that can take away sin and uncleanness. There are many reputed and sacred rivers and fountains but sin and uncleanness still cleaves to all those people. The first day when gospel preachers first proclaim, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," is a day distinguished forever in their future chronology. The true fountain is then opened to the people. I believe this to be one of the most precious prophecies in the Bible because it predicts the fountain we sing about that is , filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. It refers to the flow of blood that came from the pierced side of Christ, and poured down on the ground to satisfy the wrath of God against sin and uncleanness and opened up the way for all mankind to be reconciled to God and come into the possession of eternal and everlasting life. Why not just be called Christians, penitent baptized believers in Christ who are added to the church Christ called His church." He said, "Upon this rock I will build My Church." If it is His church, why call it by some name other than the Church of Christ?

















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