Friday, January 6, 2017

A Backward Look Forward

A Backward Look Forward
Text: EXODUS 12:5-15
New Years is just about my favorite holiday, used to be Christmas when I was a kid.  Probably will be again once all my kids are grown.  Still I have always liked New Years.  There is something exciting about seeing another year begin,  something hopeful about starting out fresh in the new years.  I'm a big believer of resolutions of setting a course for where you want to be in the new year.

A man was talking to his friend about his New Years Resolutions.
"Well my wife and I both resolved to lose weight." 
"That's good how are your going to keep it this year?"
"Well I went out and bought myself a set of golf clubs."
"That should help keep the weight down, what about your wife?"
"Oh I bought her a brand new push lawnmower!"

Most of our resolutions aren't even that well planned out. Yet if there is a people who should believe in the power of new beginnings it should be Christians. After all we are the only people who have been born twice. As we approach 2017, let me share with you the first new year commanded by God and the lessons we can learn from A Backward Look Forward. Turn to Exodus 12: 1-8 as we look first of all at the past.


Israel’s Deliverance From Their Past in Egypt
God tells Moses and the people that beginning this day they would celebrate this day as the first day of the new year. Something would occur that night and it would so change everything for the nation that it would have to be marked as a new day, a new year from this day forward. But before they could start that New Year, that new life they would have to deal with their past years in Egypt. That would be done through the Passover, a slain lamb’s blood covering them and a meal of bitter herbs.
Their deliverance was symbolized by the slain lamb, a picture of Jesus being slain for our deliverance from the judgment of God for our sins.Their past was represented by the bitter herbs they would eat with the Passover lamb. This meal was to be a memorial, to remind them of where they had been and the suffering they had endured and because of that bitterness their calling out to God. Now by the grace of God and the blood they had placed on their doors they were ready to be delivered by the hand of God.

My Deliverance From The Past
Like Israel, you must be willing to examine yourself, your past?
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
What should you be looking for in your past?
A day that you realized you were a sinner destined by your own choices and actions to hell and then time you looked to Jesus dying on the cross and taking your sin, your guiltyou’re your punishment on Himself. Was there a day in your past when you like the Israelites let the shed blod of the Lamb of God cover and deliver you?
Was there a day when after accepting Christ as your savior you gave yourself to serve God? Can you recall it for yourself, your marriage, your children?
Can you look back over the past year and see yourself growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ? Are you closer to Christ now than you were at this time last year?
Examine youself, you can’t move forward until you examine the past that future will be built upon.

Before you can change the future you must deal with the failures and sins of the past, and the only hope of stopping the bad of the past from affecting the present is by confession to God.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Israelites grew tired of living in the past, a past of slavery and weakness. They called out to God for deliverance and God sent them Moses and salvation. Like Israel God waits until we are ready to get past the past and find His deliverance today.

The Present     Exodus 12:11-15
Israel Stands In Readiness.
Israel was to be prepared to go.  vs. 11
God told them to be readay, their loins girded, shoes on their feet, and their staff in their hand.
They were to be ready to move when God told them to go.
In their leaving they had to also separate themselves from Egypt’s influence. vs. 15
Before they would hear God’s signal to go they had to separate themselves from their old life.
The Passover meal symbolized that separation. The meal was to be eaten without any leaven. In fact the whole house had to be searched and then swept free of ay leaven.
The leaven was a symbol of Egypt, the land that most historians think first put yeast, leaven, in bread to make it rise. So in this meal is was a symble of the sinful influence of Egypt and its pagan gods.
Ready to Go at God’s Command

Preparation: What of our preparation in the present?
If we are to be ready to deal with the present then we like the Israelites be prepared to go at God’s command and separated from this world’s influence.
We are will not be prepared to go unless our loins are girded, our shoes are on our feet and our staff is in our hand. This just means we are dressed to travel, prepared to move at God’s command.

Twice in the book of Ephesians Paul talks about putting on, getting dressed as a Child of God.
Ephesians 4:24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

If you aren’t prepared, dressed and carrying your staff, the Word of God, then when God says its time to go, you won’t be ready and you really want to be ready when God says “Let’s go!”
We must also understand that part of that preparation is separation from this world?
We must leave the leavening of the world behind. There must be a conscious decision to sweep out the leavening out of our life, our homes and our church.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Though we must examine the past to plot the future, we must also remember that you can’t move forward while looking in the rear view mirror. Leave the failures, sin and pain of the past behind and in God’s forgiveness move forward in grace and truth.
Transition: Once the preparation is made, as God has commanded, then our future can be shaped as God wills.

The Future      Exodus 12:21-23, 29-32
Israel Looked Forward To Victory.
Israel submitted their lives, their future, their families, their hopes all to God. They left the security of Egypt behind and moved out in trust and faith to face the battles and win the victories of the future in the Promised Land. There would be many battles with victories and losses, but ultimately they would win their way through the promised land and possess the promises of God. And it was all because of a sacrificed lamb and the faith they placed in God on this New Year night of the Passover.

Looking Forward to God’s Blessed Future
I truly want 2017 to be a year blessed by God and I think that the same things that set Israel out in hope are what we must do today.

Submission: First just like Israel, there must be submission under the blood of the Lamb.
We must place our faith in the promises and grace of God through Jesus Christ. It will not be our plans, resolutions, goals or wishes that bring God’s blessings to our life, but our submitting ourselves in service and love to Jesus Christ.

Phillipians 1:20-21  According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Colossians 2:6-12 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 
There will be many battles, wins and losses but ultimately, if we trust Him we will win through. We will experience our own Promised Land of God blessing today and for eternity.
There were many Israelites who travelled across the wilderness but did not see the promised land. They refused to trust God, to put themselves under His love and protection and they spent their last days suffering in the wilderness.
Too many Christians will also wander in the wilderness instead of experiencing the promises of God simply because they do not put themselves under the love and protection of God. They can’t believe that the promise of God apply to them. They miss the victories because too often they are afraid to enter the battles.

Joshua and Caleb
Numbers 14:6-9. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying,The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of theland; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

For you today the New Year stands as the border to the Promised Land. God blessing for your life, your family and especially for you soul could be just inside 2017 but it takes faith to cross that border. If we lack that faith in the promises of God then we also will continue to wander in the wilderness year after year.

Transient not ready to accept $10,000.
If we not willing to trust God, not willing to accept Christ as Lord, not willing to turn our back on the past and step into God’s will for our future we can be like the story carried in a Californai paper about a man who got in debt and declared bankruptcy. Before the court could sell his assets he disappeared. When the sale of his property was over it was discovered that he had $10,000 left over.  The newspaper sent out a reporter to find the man. The reporter recieved a tip that the man was living on the streets in Los Angelos.  He tracked the man down and one day in a dark dingy dirty alley, he found him and walked up to him. Calling him by name he said, "Sir, you have $10,000 dollars in a bank account waiting for you. All we have to do is go get it." To the reporter's surprise the man refused.  When he reporter kept insisting for a reason the man finally replied, "I'm just not ready."  
He would never be ready until he got up off the street and walked to the bank. And you and I will not be ready until we take a hard look at our past and trust God for our future.

Someone has said, “on the past is built the present and on the present will be built the future.” We hold tomorrow in our hands today. Today, our action or lack of action, our choices or unwillingness to choice will determine where and even who we will be tomorrow.
Actions to Make 2017 A Great Year With God
Introspection  2 Corinthians 13:5
Confession     1 John 1:8-9
Preparation    Ephesians 6:10-11
Separation     Romans 12:1-2
Submission   Colossians 3:7

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

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