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Jesus & Passover

For a New Testament believer who is not of Jewish origin, the whole concept of Passover can sound foreign. In the past, hearing the word “Passover,” images of Matzo Balls in the grocery store were conjured up in my mind. The whole idea of the word “Passover” for believers may be unfamiliar. Passover is a feast designed to foretell the coming of the Messiah in a physical way. Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death, burial and resurrection is the fulfillment and crown of this Old Covenant feast. Learning about Passover reveals many things about God’s nature.

 

As New Testament believers, our foundation for learning about Passover starts with Jesus Christ the Messiah, Lord and King – the Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the earth.

Salvation through Him Alone

We are saved by faith in Christ alone. The foremost priority of the church is to bring others to a saving knowledge of Christ. When we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and that God raised Jesus from the dead, we are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

The idea of being justified through faith alone is not a new one. Even before Christ was made known in the earth, faith in the God of Abraham, and the plan He laid out for His chosen people was the key to their salvation. That’s why the Word of God says in Romans 4:3, James 2:23 and Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Abraham trusted God at His Word and obeyed God out of this trust; therefore he was saved and justified in God’s sight. You don’t really trust someone if you won’t act on what they tell you to do – but that’s another sermon.

During the Passover, God instructed His people to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and paint the blood of the lamb over every doorpost as a sign to the angel of death. This was a costly sacrifice on the part of God’s people. Perfect lambs were valuable; they were like a source of income. Their wool, their meat, and their milk all provided a meager source of income. Remember, God’s people were slaves; hated and oppressed by their tormentors. Their state of slavery was the absolute worst it could have been. Their obedience at this state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion was a miracle in itself. But God was about to give them many miracles in return.

The blood of the lamb stopped the angel of death from coming and devouring their children. No enemy may cross the bloodline! We are saved by the blood of Jesus and our trust and obedience to Him. God caused their enemies to hand over silver and gold for their journey, and set them free. Later, when Pharoah changed his mind again and wanted his slaves back, God saved them again – this time splitting the Red Sea and making a path for them to walk on through dry land. Your obedience is a seed that produces hundredfold blessing! Some of you have sacrificed in the face of tremendous pressure. God is going to pour out a blessing that you don’t have room enough to receive!

As we are seeing, Passover is a type and shadow of Jesus Christ, and it is also a feast celebrating the deliverance of God’s people from slavery. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our relationship and connection to God the Father is restored. We trade in our sin for His righteousness. Jesus gives us the power to be free from the slavery of sin and death. It’s all about Jesus Christ..He is your Counselor, your humble King, the One who is always with you and who embraces you in good times and bad. Jesus Christ protects you from evil and He promises that His people do not taste of death, but inherit eternal life.

Who do you know that needs the eternal life that Jesus has to give? This Passover season, share the Deliverer with those who desperately need Him. You may never know what blessings are on the other side.

 

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The Passover

Today, most loathe over the idea of waiting. Waiting equals boring. Waiting means reflection, a recalling of the present situation of human purpose, meaning, and dignity. In the quiet moments of human existence, beating hearts come to realize that without God no purpose or meaning exists. But with a God, who just might be holy and righteous, human dignity resonates to the thinking person as lost and unworthy. Waiting, therefore, is often detested as an unpleasant experience that requires a quietness that could haunt the conscience with the questions of life and death.

 

The Bible speaks of waiting differently. Waiting, for whatever reason, should be utilized and happily endured. While in Egypt for 430 years the Israelites waited for Yahweh to fulfill His covenantal promise to bring them to the promised land. Often in Scripture waiting is equivalent to hoping, a time to hope in the Lord while waiting for His provision (Is. 40:31). The day of the Passover was both a time of waiting and hoping in Yahweh for His gracious deliverance.

. . . it is the LORD’S Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. (Ex. 12:11-13 ESV)

 

The Passover was a day of judgment when Yahweh passed through the land of Egypt and killed all the firstborn of the Egyptians—man and beast—but passed over all the firstborn of the Israelites who had the sign of blood on their homes. Not only had the Israelites been waiting on this day for 430 years but they were also commanded to eat the Passover lamb in a manner that typified their Savior’s coming (12:11). Eating in haste while dressed for a long journey with staff in hand represented the urgent expectancy of their Deliverer. Yahweh was coming, and their hope was readily fixed on Him who promised (Gen. 22:16).

The Conflict

While sojourning in Egypt the Israelites grew into an extremely large and fruitful people (Ex. 1:7). The Egyptians began to severely oppress the Hebrews in fear that one day this growing nation might turn against their land and fight with the enemy if war were to break out (1:10). Our technological advances that have made life comfortable, convenient, and, deceptively, carefree make it difficult to understand the terrible plight God’s people endured through hard labor (1:14). But let’s see if we can put ourselves in their shoes.

The Israelites lived a miserable life while in Egypt. The conditions were probably similar to that of a modern day third world slum. Disease would have spread rapidly due to the poor living conditions and lack of medical expertise. Death would have been visually experienced on a consistent basis, which would no doubt have a desensitizing, morbid affect. The pain of injustice committed in plain sight would have tormented the minds of parents and lovers as their loved ones were abused. Most of all their spiritual condition would have been hopeless and heavy, for all hope would have seemed severed as Yahweh remained silent for many centuries.

Why were they in such conditions? What were they waiting for? They were waiting for deliverance. After nine calamitous plagues rumbled through the land of Egypt, the silent God was to execute a tenth that would guarantee the freedom of a people in need of hope. The expectation on the night of the Passover would have been a broiling desire of hopeful eagerness and needed vindication. God was about to restore the years the locusts had eaten (Joel 2:25).

The Climax and Resolution

And He did. God rescued His people. The blood from the Passover lamb that was smeared on the doorposts of those who believed the words of God prefigured the Shepherd-Lamb that was to have His blood smeared on the posts of the cross. Jesus Christ, the Shepherd-Lamb, provided in a single sacrifice the deliverance and freedom of all those who will believe in His arrival and atoning sacrifice as the Son of God. Christians have a sure hope, a deliverance that’s fixed in the heavens where Christ sits victoriously at God the Father’s right hand.

The Coming Lord

The Lord will be coming again. God will once again pass through the land and strike with an eternal judgment all who do not have the sign of blood, but He will pass over all who drink of the blood of the New Covenant (John 6:53; Luke 22:20). The peace bestowed on everyone who believes in Christ while living in a fallen world is a gift that surpasses all understanding—a gift that grants the disturbed conscience rest from the tyranny of the oppressor Satan, the world, and self.

As we wait for this day may we continue to remember the Lord’s Passover, both of the Exodus and of the cross (Ex. 1:14). The good news is that we wait with purpose. Jim Elliot, while waiting on God to send him to a savage tribe in South America that would eventually take his life by the end of a spare, learned the secret of waiting: “Thank God for purpose in life. So many purposes come into existence when one works the will of God, that there is no excuse for laziness or wasted time. He is redeeming our lives, as well as our souls.” The hope we have in the living God while we wait for His return gives us purpose in life. The Passover of Jesus Christ as the true Paschal Lamb has provided this purpose that allows us to wait quietly in Yahweh for His coming salvation.

 

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Deliverance From Evil

God sees you not from your current condition, but from your future state! Things have a way of settling in on us and we can become in bondage to them. This is called a stronghold. Other times, addictions to sin are present that are unable to be broken by willpower alone because demonic forces have entered in. When this happens, we need deliverance to break the yoke of bondage!

 

A stronghold is a cyclical pattern of thinking that generates harmful behaviors. Our behavior reveals what exists on the inside. Unhealthy coping methods start off as things like eating for comfort, drinking to numb ourselves, etc. Over time, these negative coping methods become crutches and mental strongholds develop to rationalize the existence of the “crutch.” We should not be relying on any other power besides the supernatural grace and power of the blood of Jesus Christ! As more time passes, these strongholds strengthen and turn into an addiction, and the will of the person becomes less and less in control. It’s usually at this point that demonic forces have become involved because the person is not only in bondage to that person, place or thing – it has become a blatant idol. God wants to deliver us so that these strongholds or demonic addictions can be broken off of us!

God will break the yoke of strongholds, release you into freedom and send you on a mission for Him! So, I ask you, where are you going today? Are you on your way….. or are you stuck?

While we are contemplating, I want to share 5 simple steps to getting and keeping our victory. These are not the be-all and end-all. Counseling, laying on of hands and involvement with a deliverance ministry at a Bible-based, spirit-filled church is VITAL. I want to share with you 5 steps to approaching God for deliverance:

  1. Acknowledge and renounce.

Acknowledgewhat is really going on to God. Speak truth to God and ourselves. Renounce anything that has had control over you. It takes so much strength to do this. Confessing our sins is never a weakness..it opens the door for the power of God to flood our lives.

  1. Forgive.

Overcome bitterness and gain freedom by releasing others from their sins. Forgiveness is for you, not them! Put down the baggage and remember the grace of Almighty God towards you. God is going to be so good to you, you wont even remember what those people did to you. Receive His forgiveness, and let it flow through you to others. God gives to you freely..you are so blessed and highly favored! Release others from their sins towards you. You will be amazed at how much peace you experience.

  1. Submit.

Submit to God and His way of doing things.

Every good and perfect gift is from Him!

  1. Take responsibility.

Take responsibility of your own actions to gain full freedom.

Never give anyone or anything the credit for what you do, except God!

  1. Disown.

Disown sinful influences that come from associations.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:30, “If your right arm causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it far from you!”

This month, I will be talking to you about the season of Passover and God’s sovereign, powerful deliverance. It is God’s desire to see His people set free from strongholds and addictions, so they can move into destiny! God sees you not from your current condition, but from your future state! Be victorious and nevergiveup battling that affliction or condition! It is only temporary and you will outlast and overcome every evil thing, because He who is in you is stronger than he who is in the world! God has given you the victory. It is already finished!

 

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Hope In Christ

We all know what it’s like to experience deep loneliness. It can be healthy to remember those times. On an infinitely higher, different plain, Paul encourages his readers to remember their aloneness before Christ came and died on the cross.

remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Eph. 2:12 ESV)

 

When these first century Christians had recalled the state of affairs before Christ came to reconcile them to God, they would have felt their heart drop like a sinking anchor. They would have understood that “alienation from commonwealth of Israel” meant no help from the only God that existed. They would have realized that without Yahweh their lives were an existence that had a hopeless beginning and a destructive end.

The construction in the Greek shows that the Gentiles did not actively choose to be alienated from the salvation of Yahweh. God shut them out. As impossible as it would be to enter the Oval Office uninvited, even harder would it be to enter the gates of eternal life without the right garment (Matt. 2:13).

The Greek also shows that the Gentiles actively or really lived an existence without God, thus “having no hope” (2:12). The same stands true today. Everyone outside of Christ needs deliverance from the worst situation. An existence without a loving God in Christ but only a judging God out of Christ means eternal punishment. But existence with a loving God in Christ means that Jesus bore the punishment of the Judge, absorbing eternal wrath for a sinful people.

The good news is that of deliverance. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13 ESV). By the blood of Christ those who were without God now have hope. They have hope in God through Christ. Existence is no longer God-less. The blood of the eternal Son paid the ransom of an eternal debt. The debt racked up by sin was paid once and for all by a single sacrifice which actually perfects those who were acquiring the debt (Heb. 10:10).

Applying Truth

Christians have many issues that unbelievers will never have. For instance, there’s a daily burden placed upon all Christians by their union with Christ. When one member suffers the whole body suffers with them (1 Cor. 12:26). Everyone who is not in Christ won’t experience this burden.

There could be numerous causes of suffering. Right now I’m sure you know plenty of devout Christians who have committed their children to the Lord by instruction and prayer but they continue to rebel and reject the faith. Not only are there heavy burdens placed upon the backs of these gospel-driven parents, but there’s also the unseen pain and hurt of these children that steadily drive them to disobedience. Only Jesus can rescue them. They know that. The only thing they can do right now is fall on their knees and ask Christ to deliver their loved ones, and perhaps bring them comfort in the process.

Since the Spirit lusts against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17), a constant struggle takes place in everyday life that doesn’t happen within the unbeliever. Paul will go on to say that since Christ has reconciled Gentiles to God through His cross, they “are no longer strangers and aliens . . . but fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19). The encouragement we have to fight the battle of sin is that God has brought us into His home. We have an identity and privilege that no one else has. We have God’s Spirit to teach us how to live in God’s eternal house while on earth. Although unbelievers don’t have to fight the battle of sin now, unfortunately they will have to pay for it later.

Whatever pain or suffering you may be going through right now, remember that Jesus is here to set you free. Jesus is the only hope for anyone. He makes all things new. He restores peace to our home. He grants new strength so that we can face our job and employees tomorrow. He reminds us that we are special and loved when others attack and mistreat us. He gives us His Spirit to teach us about Him. Jesus walks beside us to lead us in a life that’s full of joy and hope. An existence without Jesus is a life without God. Let’s remember that only by our union with Christ is deliverance possible and that the greatest need we have is to be with God.

 

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What Is Deliverance

Deliverance is the supernatural transference of God’s people from a place of oppression to a place of freedom. It can happen to a person individually by a move of the Holy Spirit, or deliverance can occur for Gods people corporately all at once. When the children of Israel were set free from their slavery in Egypt, it was by God’s sovereign intervention. They were snatched out of a place of oppression and sent to a place of great freedom. Through Moses, God proclaimed to His people that He was going to set them free, and then He did. Have you ever been given a promise from God?

The Bible says God’s people were so overwhelmed in their hearts from the slavery and their suffering that they could not even believe freedom would ever happen. I have been in that dark place, and I’m sure you have, too. Sometimes we are so downtrodden from the weight of our circumstances that we cannot imagine things will ever be any different. This is how the people of Israel were in their captivity. Their position of slavery was not just being in a state of servitude – the Egyptians feared them. The Bible says that the Egyptians saw that the Israelites grew in numbers the more they were oppressed. Sometimes the oppression you experience is because someone is afraid of you. So the Egyptians oppressed God’s people fiercely. They intended to keep God’s people under the tight fist of slavery forever.

When an evil master fears their servants will escape or overpower them, they employ every tactic of the “iron fist” that they can think of. This is the world slavery situation you could ever imagine. The people of God were not just slaves…they were hated and feared.

We can’t even begin to imagine the glory of the victory God has for us on the other side of the trial we are in. If we continue to trust God, do things His way and believe His Word, we will press through to the other side. Victory through trials is amazing, but deliverance is more than that.

Deliverance is when God sovereignly reaches down and cuts the cords that bind us to our oppressors. Whether it be a harsh master, a besetting sin, a fiery trial…deliverance involves the hand of God severing the power of that thing over you. He supernaturally takes you from a place of oppression to a place of breakthrough, by severing things in the spirit realm. Deliverance is by grace, a sovereign act of God..deliverance is a miracle!

God split the Red Sea in half so His people could walk through on dry land to safety, and He shut the gates for the enemy. God severed the cords binding His people to the Egyptians permanently.

God’s people were taken out of slavery and sent on a journey – a journey to the Promised Land. You have a “Promised Land.” The beginning of your journey starts with deliverance!

God begins the journey by calling you to Himself, and you have to answer Him. When He sends you on a journey to the Promised Land after delivering you, there will be ground to cover and battles to fight.

Notice that God’s people had to walkthrough the Red Sea to get to safety. Then they had to take the long way to the Promised Land, because God knew they were not immediately ready for battle. There is a walk you must go on to get to freedom. You must walk out your battles, walk out your struggles with sin, walk out your trials of fire! God does not allow you to encounter any battle you are not ready for! If He led you to it, He will lead you through it. If you fell into it and repented, He will lead you out of that too. There is always a way of escape!

This month, deliverance is on God’s mind and we are seeking Him for it. What does God want to pull you out of? Deliverance is the supernatural transference of God’s people from a place of oppression to a place of freedom. What areas of your life does God have His finger on that He has a place of freedom for you today?

If every believer in the body of Christ was free in their spirit, soul, and body, how powerful would the body of Christ on earth be? We are called to go from glory to glory in Christ! What bonds do you need God to sever? This month, we are crying out to God to set us free from every bond that holds, every stronghold that restrains us from walking in freedom, knowing His truth, and every sin that so easily sets us back from His destiny here on earth! Let God hear your cry as the people of Israel did for deliverance! We are believing for Him to make a way for you where there is no way! You will walk through the sea on dry land! God bless you!

 

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