Monday, January 24, 2022

New In Christ 3: Living New - Luke 5:29-39

New In Christ #3: Living New - Luke 5:29-39

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Introduction:  It’s the New Year 2022, with the promise of the anything new also comes the challenge. New Years are filled with both, challenge and promise and often because we do not rise to meet the challenge we then do not find the fulfillment of the promise.

 Let me read this verse to you from Luke 5:26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Our preaching theme this month is New In Christ and we’ll complete that theme today. As I was preparing for the message today, I was struck by this verse in Luke 5:26, it’s outside of our sermon passage but it is in inside the context that sets up our text from vss. 27-39.

 This is all taking place in the first year of Jesus ministry after his first miracles but before he encounters the full opposition of the scribes and pharisees. They seem to be trying to figure Him out and even to win him to their side. But the miracle of the man let down through the roof draws a line that that Pharisees won’t cross because Jesus declares that the paralyzed man is forgiven of his sin before he is healed of his disease. This is an overt declaration of Jesus as God, which the Pharisees clearly point out, vs 21, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” When Jesus proceeds to heal the man and thus prove he has both the power to heal and to forgive, the final response of Luke summing up the feeling of the people is, “We have seen strange things today.” And that reminded me of the last few years we have been living through. “We have seen strange things.”

 In this beginning of the new year, I am examining the potential and power of our new life in Christ. This is a newness that is as fresh as my last prayer and more powerful than my worst sin and yet the power of Christian newness is easily overlooked or misunderstood.

 New life in Christ does not mean that our old life in this world is erased. Being new in Christ gives us a new birth, it gives us a new name, it gives us a new heart but it does not give us new flesh, nor does it reboot our minds so that we no longer remember our old life before Christ renewed us. This dichotomy is seen in many places in scripture such as Galatians and Ephesians, but nowhere is it dealt with in such a unique way as when Jesus dealt with it in Luke 5:27-39.

New Friendships - Luke 5:27-29

And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

Jesus Is the New Guest

Matthew was the fifth disciple called by Jesus, right after he called the fishermen brothers, He then called the lone tax-collector. Jesus called out, “Follow Me” and he left all and followed Him. Matthew would have been a well know, wealthy person in Capernaum where he collected taxes from the citizens as well as from merchants passing through town. Capernaum was a customs post on the caravan route between Damascus to the northeast and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Matthew’s position in this key city was the reason he was quite wealthy, but he left it all to follow the Messiah. But before he leaves his job and cuts all ties, he throws a feast to introduce his old friends to his new friends and Jesus, the Messiah.

As we’ve pointed out, this feast probably takes place shortly after Jesus healed the paralyzed man. In the middle of this “supper for sinners” we see Jesus the guest of honor, who just the day or so before had forgiven a man’s sins and healed him.

The Pharisees, the self-appointed moral watchdogs of Jewish society and the arbiters of who was going to be the Messiah, showed up outside the feast, since they were, of course, too righteous to enter a publican’s home. From outside they proceeded to discuss their opinion of Jesus and his relationship with sinners like Matthew.

The Bible uses the word “murmured.” This word originally meant the sound made when doves or pigeons flock together and begin to noisily coo. Perhaps their murmuring began to disturb those at the feast or the Pharisees waited until after the feast was over and then began to question the disciples as they left but ultimately it is Jesus who talks to the Pharisees, trying to reach them, just as He had the fishermen and the publicans.

Jesus is going to give four illustrations, two of which Luke calls a parable, about the new versus the old: 1st A New Physician, 2nd A New Relationship. 3rd A New Garment. 4th A New Wineskin,

So perhaps as the feast lets out, the Pharisees started asking critical questions not because they wanted an answer but because they seek influence and standing. They asked the disciples, “Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?” But it is Jesus who answer them. And his answer is in the form of an illustration, “there is a new Physician in town.”

New Physician – Luke 5:31-32

They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus is the New Physician

Jesus says, “They that are well don’t need not a physician; but they that are sick do. I come to call sinners, the spiritual sick, not the righteous to repent.” Here is the contrast between Himself with the Pharisees. The Pharisees believed that the old was paramount, even if that old was killing people spiritually. They believed that the only thing lacking in the old was that people just didn’t respect or reverence as much as they should. They believed that the law of the Old Covenant could heal their souls, not realizing that the law could only reveal that they were very, very sick. It was like trying to use an X-ray machine to heal a broken bone, when all it could do was show that it was broken.

Jesus says, “I have the cure for what is broken and it is not the old law, the old covenant or the old traditions. He is the new doctor in town and His prescription is, you need to repent.

New In Christ Means Overcoming the Old

Do you remember the saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  Or maybe, “You can’t beat a dead horse and expect it to get up and run.” We understand the saying but like the Pharisees many times, we don’t see the connection to what we may be doing in our own life. We just keep on doing what we’ve always done and we just keep beating that dead horse. What we need to do is listen to the words of Jesus, repent of the sins of our past, the failures of our past, the habits, the ruts and the routines of the past and begin believing in the newness of Jesus, our great Physician.

There’s a new Doctor in town and we need to pay Him a visit every day, because everyday there is newness in Him.

New Fasting Luke 5:33-35

And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? And he said unto them, -- Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

Jesus is the New Bridegroom

When they don’t or won’t grasp what Jesus is saying about the need for repentance, they then throw another challenge, “Why do John’s disciples fast often, and pray, just like the disciples of the Pharisees; but yours eat and drink and don’t fast? 

Part of that old way, and that old covenant was the practice of fasting. In the Old Testament one day a year was required for fasting for all Jews, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). Other times of fasting, for dedicating oneself to seeking God and prayer, were up to the individual. The Pharisees, however, decided to improve on the Old Testament, they forced a fast on Mondays and Thursdays of every week. Instead of being a act of seeking God it literally became just an act. One of the reasons the Pharisees might have been so incensed in Luke 5, at this “sinners supper” could have been because it took place on one of those self-inflicted, self-afflicting fasting days.

We see this again in the parable of Luke 18:10-12 where once again, Jesus contrasts the pharisees and the publicans. In Luke 18:12,  Jesus said, 12 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Here in chapter 5, Jesus answers the self-righteous, fasting Pharisees with a question. He asks them, “Can you make the guests at a wedding fast, while the bridegroom is with them? And then He adds the explanation of how fasting will a practice of the disciples, when He is gone, but not now. He says, “But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”

New In Christ Means Understanding the Old

What Jesus is trying to tell the Pharisees and what He continues to tell us today, is that they need to have the right perspective, the right understanding, the right application of the good things from the old and new.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. The Old Covenant, the Old Testament wasn’t wrong, but under the Pharisees and the Judaism they had constructed it was terribly misapplied and misunderstood. Fasting wasn’t wrong but it had a proper time, place and purpose. Jesus points this out, but to the Pharisees it was just a rule to be forced on all at all times.

They hadn’t learned the lesson of God given to the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 58:3-5 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

Once Jesus relaunches our life, once He saves our soul, once He revitalizes our vision, once He recreates us as new creations then the old things take their proper place and bring a blessing instead of a burden. We must have the right perspective the right balance of old in light of Christ’s new.

I don’t think I have to tell you that I love being a Baptist, and an independent Baptist is just the cherry on top of the church Sundae. I’m not a denominationalist, I don’t belong to a denomination, I belong to the local visible body of Jesus Christ and that is and always has been doctrinally a Baptist church. Thank the Lord for that heritage and history, but….. are you ready for this qualification? But I have sometimes lost perspective and let that history and heritage become tradition and legalism. When the traditions of the old become a burden then I will miss the blessing of the new in Christ today. That’s true of the Pharisees and its true of the Baptists. You need to have the perspective that comes with being new everyday in Christ or you will find burdens instead of blessings.

Ephesians 4:20-24 But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on (daily) the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Now back in Luke 5, Jesus explains to the Pharisees why they were having such a hard time with Him and His way of teaching and living. The parable of the new garment and new wine in verse 36 is a sharp reminder of something that was very difficult for them and is often difficult for us. We are not only new spiritually, but we must understand that this new life can’t be forced back into the old life.

New Foundation - Luke 5:36-37

And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

Jesus Gives New Garments and New Wine

Luke says that Jesus spake also a parable. Luke loves the parable of Jesus, all the Gospels highlight the parables of Jesus but Luke gathers them together into collections and emphasized them more than the other Gospel writers, perhaps because he was the only Gentile writer of the Bible. With parables Jesus uses takes an earthly story or physical objects in this case and then with them He teaches a heavenly truth. That’s the definition of a parable, an earthly story that teaches an heavenly truth. And Jesus was the master parable giver.

First, Jesus says you can’t take a piece of new cloth and sew it on an old garment because you would ruin both.

Now this takes place in the times before pre-washed jeans and synthetic cloth. In Jesus’ day when cloth was made by hand from wool or linen, if you had an old piece of clothing and it torn you wouldn’t patch it with new cloth because the new cloth would draw up and shrink when it was washed while the old would not. This could tear the cloth and make the original tear even worse.

Then Jesus goes on with the second part of the parable and says, “No man puts new wine into old bottles, because the new wine would burst the bottles and everything both wine and bottles would be lost.”

The bottles Jesus is talking about were goatskins.  The goat skin was cleaned and tanned, then the legs tied off and a spout put in the neck forming a bottle.

If you had to carry new wine, wine that was less than 40 days old, you had to use a new wine skin. New wine if put in an old goatskin would come in contact with the yeast of the old, fermented wine that was left in the goatskin and begin to ferment. The old skin would have no elasticity, no stretch left in it and as the wine fermented it would burst the skin. New wine was carried in new wineskins, new bottles so it would not burst and destroy the skin.

Jesus was trying to tell the Pharisees you can’t who I am, and what I am teaching and build it into your old ways. What Jesus was and what he taught required and complete new beginning, a completely new foundation.

New In Christ Means The Old Is Over

Jesus didn’t fit in the old perceptions and old ways of the Pharisees. 

We understand that but our problem is that we too often think he fits into ours. What Jesus truly does in us is shocking, overpowering and unbelievable it is anything and everything but understandable and simple. Yet that is what we often try to do.

We try to take who Jesus is and what Jesus does and make it fit into our old life and our old ways.  But the new life of Christ will not work with the old habits, the old understanding or the old life of our past. The power of newness in Christ is just too much for the old to be able to handle it. Just like the old garments and the old wineskins it will not contain the power of Jesus. You can’t build on the old foundation but must start completely new in Jesus.

Yet, many people try to add the new of Jesus to the old of their lives. They want the power of the newness of Christ but in the vessel of their own old life.  They want the power of Christ to patch up their old sin-stained, sin-torn garments instead of accepting the completely new robes of righteousness from Jesus Christ.

Many churches are also trying to fit new patches to old garments or new wine in old wine skins. It won’t work. Things around us are always changing, it is a always new time and always a new era and we allow Jesus to renew us and empower us to deal with it.

The Experience of Useless Garments – Oswald Chambers

The Holy Spirit does not patch up our natural virtues, for the simple reason that no natural virtue can come anywhere near Jesus Christ’s demands. God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, He totally recreates us on the inside. “And every virtue we possess is His alone.” As we bring every bit of our nature into harmony with the new life which God puts in, what will be exhibited in us will be the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus, not our natural virtues. The supernatural is made natural. The life that God plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ can never be described in terms of the natural virtues.

Jesus ends with a challenging statement.

Conclusion: New Desire - Luke 5:39

No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

Jesus is saying that the new wine is shocking, its taste is sharp and tart, while the old is mellow and comfortable. It is pleasant, it is easy, it doesn’t challenge us. It is what we are familiar with, what we’ve come to expect.

The Pharisees didn’t want to lose what they were comfortable with.

They were used to being the leaders of religion. They didn’t have sinners at their supper tables, just pious, self-righteous saints. There were no surprises or shocks in their way of doing things.  It was what they expected and what they wanted.

None of us want to be Pharisees, the notorious villains of the New Testament. Yet in my attitudes and understanding I can act just like a Pharisees. If I hold on to my old ways, my old life, my old sin, my old understanding, my old perspectives and I don’t live in the newness of the power of Christ, everyday, then I can fall into my own kind of Phariseeism. If I refuse to let go of the old ways of legalism, of pride, of tradition and daily put on the new man of Christ, I risk being a Pharisee. But, Jesus says I must develop a new desire. A desire of Him and the newness He brings.

Jesus Christ is always new.  He is always challenging us to climb to new heights, always pushing us to new truths. That’s Jesus. He’s the new physician, the bridegroom of new relationships, and the giver of new garments. That’s who He is, and in Him, I need to live in the power of that newness, not just once at salvation but every day of my walk with Jesus Christ.

Monday, January 10, 2022

New In Christ #2 - Getting Past the Past - Exodus 12

New In Christ #2 - Getting Past the Past - Exodus 12

Power Point


In Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip, Lucy asks Linus, "Do you think people ever really change?" "Sure," replies Linus, "I feel I've changed a lot this past year." Lucy says, "I meant for the better." - Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

Our theme for the month is “New in Christ” I want to see and experience the power and potential that can change our lives, our families and our communities. I'm really ready for a change and I don't mean another variant of Covid, or more fear about the future.  I want to see God’s power of the new. I want all of us this morning to know how God intends for us to change for the better and to become His power for a better change in this fearful, sinful world.

In Exodus 12 God is going to make some changes for Israel. It has been four hundred years of slavery, Four hundred years of aimless, purposeless surviving in the land of slave masters instead of serving their true Master, Jehovah God. Now Moses has came back to Egypt and commissioned by God he tells the Israelites they were to be set free and a new life was to begin. Now all of this change culminates in the 12th chapter of Exodus with the a single event, the Passover. 

New Year - Exodus 12:1-2

 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

God Brings Change

God tells the Israelites that a something new was about to start. It would be a time of significant change.

They will move to new land, and they will live new life. They would become warriors instead of slaves, conquerors instead of subjugated, victorious instead of defeated, hopeful instead of helpless.

So radical would be the changes for God’s people, that from that moment on it would be remembered by marking a New Year of their calendar. From this point on the new year would be Abib. Later it was called “Nisan” and comes close to our April. The year used to began with the month Tisri, when the harvest was gathered in but with the Passover and the exodus from Egypt everything was changed, everything was new.

Be Changed, Cause Change

Let me share some quotes with you about change. They might sum up what we sometimes feel like when we are contemplating changes in our own life.

Quotes: Change is the handmaiden nature requires to do her miracles with. - Mark Twain (1835–1910)

Change is the nursery of music, joy, life, and eternity. -John Donne (1572–1631)

Some of us can relate to this quote, “With me, a change of trouble is as good as a vacation.” - David Lloyd George

Here is the one I want you to really thing about, Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it. - Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878–1969)

This morning what I am challenge you to act on, to understand and even to anticipate is that our God is a God of change and we intends to use us to bring change to the people and world around us.

God Himself cannot change because he is God, He is immutable. But because he is God he will change the world and people in it. The Bible is a record of God changing one thing after the other, from creation, to the flood, to the beginning of the nation of Israel, to King David, to the exile, to the return of Israel, to the birth of Jesus, to the start of the church, to the return of Jesus as King, to the new Jerusalem, and the New Heaven and earth.

God changes things. He changes hearts, he changes nations, he sets history in a new direction and He changes churches and people just like us all the time.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.

Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Revelation 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Those are powerful truths, but they will not mean anything to us, unless we accept and apply them to ourselves on a personally level. We must come face to face with the God of change and know what that will mean in our lives and future.

And we must also realize that once we are change by the power of God then we must go and become agents of change in others.

Here in Exodus, the Israelites had to go from Egypt, from their homes, away from their own lives and change from a population of Egyptian slaves to a nation of warrior servants for Jehovah. And then they would change the Canaan from a land filled with the worst forms of idolatry, paganism and child sacrifice to the Promised Land. They would be God’s agents for change.

It was not easy, but it was necessary and by God’s will and power it was worth the losses.

No matter how hard it is to change, or how difficult it is to leave things behind, we need to embrace the change that God will bring because it always, always will be better than the old. And until we change, we can’t be used by God to bring change to a world that so desperately needs to change.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese? is a parable about change that takes place in a Maze where four characters look for “Cheese”—cheese being a metaphor for what we want in life. In this context this morning I would make it the blessings and rewards of God in this life.

In the story, Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw are four characters that live in a maze, each searching for their own special cheese to nourish them. 

The mice, Sniff and Scurry, use trial-and-error method until they find the cheese, find a way of dealing with the change and keep going. The two Littlepeople, Hem and Haw, have to deal with their emotions after discovering someone moved their cheese and a their own sense of entitlement and inertia about having to change. In the end Haw goes looking, he enjoys the challenge and the change and finds “the cheese!”  But his buddy Hem, well he stays back at the place where they used to find the cheese… until he shrivels up dies. (It doesn’t actually say that but that’s how I would picture it.)

As a pastor and a Christian when I read that story, I pictured myself, I pictured brothers and sister in churches I had been a member of and others I had pastored. Some accepted the changes, saw them as challenges and trusted in the Lord to overcome and even grow stronger through those changes and challenges. Others well, they just sat there until they shriveled up and died.

Change is part of life, often God is working to change things and us and we are to rise to the challenge and even become the spark that brings change to others.

Back in Exodus, God had a plan for getting His work of change started, its in verse 3 where we begin to see the…

New Life - Exodus 12:3-7

 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:  And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:  And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.  And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

God Changes the Calendar With The Passover

The single event that for the Hebrews, would make the new break free from the old was the Passover. It had never been done before, it was a change it was new, it was from God.

God told Moses that each house was to take a male lamb w/o spot or blemish. It was to be slain in the evening with the whole assembly of Israel. They were to take the blood of the lamb and put it upon the doorposts of the house. Then they were to eat the lamb with all their family.

This would be the last action they took as slaves, for once they prepared the lintels of their home and partook of the Passover lamb they would be made free by the power of God. For that night the Angel of the Lord passed through the land of Egypt and those who did not put themselves under the blood of the lamb suffered death and heartache. Those who refused to accept God’s protection, refused to accept their need to change, suffered the terrible loss of life by the wrath of God.

But those who believed, those who made that slain lamb the sign of their faith, were spared God’s wrath and they found a new life and freedom, changed from slaves to seekers and finally to soldier for Jehovah.

God Changes Us With the Passover Lamb

Just as God brought new life to the Israelites through a slain lamb, He brings new life to us through THE slain lamb, Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist sent by God to prepare the way,  saw Jesus coming toward him at the Jordan River and he calls out, in  John 1:29 “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

Peter who was one of John’s disciples and later one of Jesus’ apostles says, in 1 Peter 1: 18-19  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

That lamb back in Exodus at the first Passover was a picuture a foreshadowing of the real lamb of God, the real sacrifice for freedom from sin and slavery, Jesus Christ. If there is to be a new life for us it must be through the blood of the Lamb of God.

 He is our salvation from sin. He is our Savior from slavery. He is our deliverer from death.

 We must look to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, slain for us and place ourselves under the protection of that precious blood. That is the sign of our faith, just as it was for those Hebrews that first Passover night. If they had not taken the hyssop brush, dipped it in the blood and sprinkled that blood over the door, they could not have been set free.

Unless we see ourselves applying the shed blood of Christ to our sin, our lives, our soul, then we cannot be free. But if we will, then we can really change and we can bring change. A change from fear to hope, from sorrow to joy, from death to life.

The power of God to change us and to bring change through us is miraculous and it can do miraculous things. Take the story of …

William Wilberforce, a man who changed the world through Christ

When William Wilberforce was brought to Christ he went with fear and trembling to his friend, the great statesman of the day, William Pitt, to tell him of the change. For two hours his friend endeavored to convince him that he was becoming visionary, fanatical, if not insane. But the young convert was steadfast and immovable. He had spent his twenty-fifth birthday at the top wave and highest flow of those amusements—the racecourse and the ballroom—which had swallowed up a large portion of his youth. He had laughed and sung and been envied for his gaiety and happiness. But true happiness he had never found till he found Christ. And now he laid his wealth, wit, eloquence and influence at the feet of his Lord. He adopted this motto as his life’s mission, “Whatsoever others do, as for me, I will serve the Lord.”

God changed William Wilberforce and William Wilberforce changed England and the world. For decades he worked in Parliament until finally slavery was outlawed in England and then that influence began to free all slaves in the Christian nations throughout the world. And don’t be fooled, the only place that slavery is outlawed in the world today, is where Christ is proclaimed and believed. It was Christians like Wilberforce and thousands of others that brought that change. The kind of change only God can bring, first with one heart and life and then with that one life, He can change everything.

One last lesson we need to also understand from Exodus 12, change means going where God tells us to go.

 New Land - Exodus 12:8-14

 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.  Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.  And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.  And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.  And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

God Tells Israel, Go!

God tells His people to prepare to go. They are to be dressed, have their staff, (their walking stick) in the hands and shoes on their feet. Then, they are to go when the Lord gives the signal. That night He would pass through the land separating the old world of Egypt from the new world of the Promised Land. Those who believed God would have placed the blood of the Passover lamb upon the doorposts of their home. While those who rejected God and His word would not. They would remain in the land of sin and slavery.

When the death angel passed over that night it would start the change. And from that day forth, they would keep the Passover as a memorial of that change. The power of God, through the blood of a slain lamb, had delivered them from Egypt’s chains and set them free to seek the promises of God.

We are talking about change but God and the way He deals with us, that doesn’t change. God is still telling us, Go!

God Tells Us, Go!

Throughout the Bible God tells His own to go. In the Old Testament, he told Abraham to leave Ur and go. He told Jacob to go back home. He told the Sons of Israel to go to Egypt and 400 years later He told them to go and conquer the promised land. He tells his prophets to go and confront evil kings and He tells His faithful Kings to go and defeat His enemies.

In the New Testament, He sends His Son and Jesus then tells his apostles to go throughout Israel and when Jesus returns to heaven, then the church is told to Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.

We are supposed to be people on the go. But we won’t be able to go unless we are prepared when God tells us specifically to go, to change, to leave the old and go to the promises of the new in Jesus Christ.

To be prepared we must be dressed in the robes of righteousness. We must have our staff, the Word of God, in our hands. And we must have our feet shod ready to spread the Gospel and affect change in the world around us.

 This morning are you ready to go? Have you applied the blood of the slain lamb of God to the doorposts of your heart? Have you partaken of the lamb sacrificed on Calvary for you, or will you face the death angel unprepared and alone?

What about us as a church? Are we being God’s agents of change in our community and in our families? If God should open a door of opportunity for us would we be prepared, ready to go through it?

Each of us must ask ourselves, Am I ready to move when God says go?

Those who are ready, will go on to the more blessings in the ever newness of God promises. Those who are not will stay behind and miss the blessing that come when God calls His own to go.

On Beyond Zebra

To finish this morning I want end with a reading from one of the great minds in theology and literature, Dr. Seuss. In the classic book, “On Beyond Zebra,” Dr. Seuss talks about launching out into the new and if Dr. Suess understood this then we as God’s children who are supposed to be agents of change in this world, really need to accept the challenge.

Said Conrad Cornelius O'Donnell O'Dell, my very young friend who was learning to spell, “The A is for Ape, the B is for Bear, the C is for Camel, the H is for Hair, the M is for Mouse, the R is for Rat ... I know all twenty-six letters like that. Through to Z is for Zebra, I know them all well,” said Conrad Cornelius O'Donnell O'Dell. “Now I know everything anyone knows from beginning to end, from the start to the close, because Z is as far as the alphabet goes.”

Then he almost fell flat on his face on the floor when I picked up the chalk and drew one letter more. A letter he had never dreamed of before. And I said, “You can stop if you want with the Z, and most people stop with the Z, but not me. In the places I go, there are things that I see that I never could spell if I stopped with a Z.

“I'm telling you this ‘cause you're one of my friends, my alphabet starts where your alphabet ends. My alphabet starts with this letter called yezz, it's the letter I use to spell yezzametezz. You'll be sort of surprised what there is to be found, once you go beyond Z and start poking around. So on beyond zebra explore like Columbus, discover new letters like wum, which is for wumbus, my high-spouting whale who lives high on a hill and who never comes down till it's time to refill. So on beyond Z, it's high time you were shown that you really don't know all there is to be known.


That’s just a fun reading from Dr. Suess, it makes an impression in our minds, but what God’s commands makes an impact in our hearts.

Matthew 28:18-20 The Great Commission

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Change happens and we can be changed by it, or we can be the change through the power of God. The world’s changes will always be downward, we are called by God to change things upward. Let us be that change.

 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.