Monday, May 29, 2023

Exodus Going With God #9 Remember As You Go Text: Exodus 13

Exodus Going With God #9 Remember As You Go
Text: Exodus 13

Which Service

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large
Plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The plaque was covered with names,
And small American flags were mounted on either side of it.

The seven-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor
Walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, “ Good morning Alex.”

“Good morning pastor,” replied the young man , still focused on the plaque.

“ Pastor McGhee, what is this?” Alex asked. “Well , son, it’s a memorial to all
The young men and women who died in the service.”

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. The Pastor sensed that
Some strong questions were running through the boys mind and he prepared
Himself to answer them as best he could.

Little Alex’s voice was barely audible when he asked, “ Pastor?”

“Yes, son.”

“Did they die in the morning or the evening service?

The Elements of a Memorial

A memorial, or as the scriptures often call it, a remembrance, serves three purposes. First it marks a day, a time to remember. Secondly, it honors the events that brought about the memorial and finally, it seeks to perpetuate the attitudes, character and determination that made the memorial event.
Remember the event, honor those who accomplished it and set your mind to be like them.
We see these three elements of a memorial in Exodus chapters 12 and 13. First with the Passover and Days of Unleavened bread and then also with the Lord’s ownership of every firstborn of the Israelites.

Memorial Marked – Exodus 13:3-4
3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. 4 This day came ye out in the month Abib. Remember The Day

Mark The Day 

To mark the day that the Lord freed Israel from the slavery of Egypt, God told Moses that the day would be marked by a change in the calendar and two feasts or Holy Days dedicated to the Lord.
First, the new year on the calendar would be shifted to the month of Abib. Abib in Hebrew means green shoots and Abib is the time of spring, It corresponds to our March or April.

Secondly, the day would be marked by the ordinance of the Passover and the days of Unleavened (Mazzoth) bread.

Go back to Exodus 12:13-17 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. 14 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. 15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. 17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever

So the day of deliverance from Egypt was marked on the calendar, marked in their memory and marked by holy days and meals in remembrance of what God had done.

Memorial Day Remembered

We celebrate our nation’s memorial day in much the same way. We mark it on the calendar, originally called Decoration day, for placing wreaths and flowers on the Civil war dead, then later Armistice Day when WWI ended and then Memorial Day and it was moved to the last Monday in May.
On this day we mark our calendars, we gather friends and families, we cease from work and we usually share a meal. By doing these things we mark the men and women of the armed forces who in of the past gave their lives for our nation’s freedom.

Our Christian Memorial Day - For Christians there is another Memorial Day. On that day our deliverance, our salvation is marked on the calendar not once a year but once a week. We call it Sunday spelled sun but to a child of God it should be understood as Sonday spelled Son. We mark this day, the first day of the week as the day Jesus rose from the grave, showing He had conquered death and that He was truly the Son of God and our Savior.

Luke 24:1-8 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words,
Today and every Sunday is a memorial to our savior Jesus the Christ and it should be indelibly marked upon our calendars and upon our hearts. Those who ignore the Son’s day, those who still meet on the seventh day, even if they call themselves Christians, dishonor “The Lord’s Day,” ignore scripture and place tradition and legalism above the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus which brought salvation to us. It is wrong.

I have no problem with anyone worshiping the Lord on any day of the week, but you better mark your calendar and be in church on Sunday or you dishonor the Lord and his sacrifice. If taking His name in vain is sinful then how can it not be sinful when we vainly ignore His day?

The Lord told Moses to mark their calendars and then he told them in vss. 5-7 to keep the memorial.

Memorial Kept – Exodus 13:5-7


5 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.

Keep The Day

The nation of Israel was told to set aside a time and then they kept the holy day, by observing the Passover meal and then by seven day of unleavened or Matzoth bread.
They were to go through the houses search every corner, sweeping every floor, checking every place where food was stored and to clear their house of leaven, of yeast.

They did this for two reasons, first yeast which made bread rise was a reminder of Egypt, which had discovered or perfected how to make dough rise. By ridding their houses of leaven it was a reminder that God had delivered them from the slavery of Egypt and they were to leave Egypt’s influence behind them.

Secondly, leaven was left out because of the way they left that night. Back in Exodus 12:11, the Lord told them, “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.” They had to have everything packed and ready to go, when the moment came. Their kneading boards, used to mix yeast into the dough were packed, and there would be no time to prepare the bread. By eating Matzah bread it reminded them of the night they had to be prepared to move when the Lord said go.
Thus, they would keep, remember the day, by keeping their homes free of leaven for seven days.

Keeping In Christ

We meet in the Lord’s house on the Lord’s day, worshiping the One who saved us by His precious shed blood. Jesus is the fulfillment of the type of the Passover lamb. And I can see an application for us in this example.

Just as the Hebrews were to celebrate the Passover on the first day of unleavened bread and then keep their home free of leaven for the rest of the week, we as the New Covenant people of God should celebrate Jesus on Sunday but should also strive to keep ourselves free from the leaven of this sinful world during the week.

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, reprimanding them because they were allowing open sin among their members. They thought this was a great act of tolerance and were proud of their non-judgmental nature. But Paul tells them in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 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: 8 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.

We celebrate the Lord’s supper with unleavened bread, because of the sinless life of Jesus Christ which was broken for us and no other bread should ever be allowed on the Lord’s table. But even more important is for our lives to purged from the leaven of sin that is in the world around us.

We do this not by force of will or determination of our spirit but by the prayer of confession. 1 John 1:8 - 2:2 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  21 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Come together on Sunday, honor the Lord our God and then strive to live above the sin of the world through the following week by going before the Throne of Grace, confessing our sins and trusting in our advocate Jesus Christ the righteous, who covers our sin through his shed blood.

There is one more aspect of the Memorial of Passover and the Unleavened bread that must be understood. It is probably the most important reason for having a Memorial, whether it be yearly or weekly. Go to vs. 8

Memorial Passed On – Exodus 13:8

8 And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. 10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. 11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, 12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD's. 13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: 15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. 16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.

Show The Day Reason

The Hebrews were instructed by God though Moses to make sure that they not only celebrated the Passover and Days of Matzah bread but that they must show the reason for they feast and festival. And this was done in another type of memorial.

Whenever the first male was born whether it be human or animal, God said that firstborn belongs to me. He declared His right of ownership because of what He had done to the firstborn in Egypt in order to free His people.

As the slaying of the first born of Egypt freed Israel now the first born of Israel would sanctified the nation to their God. A terrible, terrible price was paid for the sin and disbelieve of Egypt and God through the redemption of the firstborn wanted Israel to remember the price that was paid for their salvation.

This lesson was to be taught to every member of the family, not just the firstborn son. It was not just family that must be redeemed but even the animals that were born. For God had slain them as well. So anytime an animal of the family had its first male born, the family would go and make sacrifice to the Lord to redeem it, to buy it back. Then the parents would explain, they would show the reason for the sacrifice, for the redemption and the memorial would serve its purpose to perpetuate that memory, that event into the hearts and minds of the next generation.

God told Israel that this memorial was to be, “Exodus 13:9 a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes,” The Orthodox Jews later took this literally, making it a physical box with scripture written inside it, that they would wear upon their forehead and upon their hand. These were the phylacteries of the Pharisees in the New Testament. But that is not what God meant.
God meant that by marking, remembering and showing this memorial the next generation would see the work of God as a sign upon every hand and right before their eyes.

Showing The Reason

Even Jesus was redeemed in this sense, through this Memorial. We read about it in Luke 2:22-24 22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons

The offering of two turtledoves was the redemption price that poor people would sacrifice in the temple to redeem their child and to remember what the Lord had done way back in Exodus when he delivered His son Israel.

Isn’t it a paradox that the Lord who redeemed Israel from Egypt in this memorial was redeemed as the firstborn? God must loves paradoxes. He reminds us always that “His way is not our way.” We see it in scripture over and over and especially in the life of God’s only begotten son Jesus Christ.

Paradoxes of the Lord.

Jesus the creator, becomes flesh and enters into his own creation.

Jesus the sinless God, comes to the earth and is tempted just as we are, yet remains without sin. Even standing up to the direct assault of Satan’s most powerful temptations.

Jesus who before His incarnation, his putting on flesh, was a spirit but afterward took on human flesh and with that flesh suffered all the pain, fatigue and sorrow of the human race.

It was Jesus who paid the terrible, terrible price to redeem us. He took on the sin of the world and then suffered and died upon the cross to buy us back from the wrath of God and to place us under the forgiveness and grace of God.

This great redemption price we must never forget.

We must remember it every Sunday, every Easter, every Christmas and every time we have a chance we must show it to our children.

We must show them the reason why we attend church on Sunday, why we sing praises, why we give thanks before every meal, why we forgive one another, why we live our lives in a manner that shows we know that God is watching over us at all times.

Ronald Reagon in a memorial Day Speech given on October 27, 1964 said this,
"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.:
In another speech on March 30, 1961: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same …"

What Ronald Reagan said about our nation’s freedom should be multiplied a hundredfold over when we think of our spiritual freedom from sin. We have a rendezvous with destiny. To preserver for our children, this last best hope of all mankind, the grace of God through Jesus who paid the price for us. If we neglect this memorial, if we should forget to show it the our children and our grandchildren then we will doom them not to a thousand years of darkness but to an eternity of darkness and torment.
Joshua’s Memorial Entering the Promised Land

This purpose of a memorial is seen very clearly in Joshua 4:5-7 When the Lord instructed Joshua to build a pyre of stones in the first place where Israel stepped into the Promised land.

“Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.”

Conclusion: Our Memorials

The Christian memorials that we are to keep must never be taken as duty, but as devotion. We must remember the reason we celebrate them and we must show that reason to the next generation. Look back to that great battle Jesus fought and won that day on Calvary. Honor that victory every Sunday and then show our children, our grandchildren and if the Lord should see fit our great grandchildren, the reason why.

That reason was, is and must always be Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Friday, May 26, 2023

John 13 The Last Passover and Last Supper

John 13 The Last Passover and Last Supper

John 13:1-17 Jesus Washes the Apostles Feet

John's Gospel continually showed that Jesus was on a “heavenly timetable” and knew when the time was now.

2:4—“Mine hour is not yet come.”
7:30—“His hour was not yet come.”
8:20—“His hour was not yet come.”
12:23—“The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.”
13:1—“Jesus knew that His hour was come.”
17:1—“Father, the hour is come.”  - Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary,

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

John begins this chapter with a beautiful statement of Jesus and his love toward His own. How does verse 1 show a transition in John’s Gospel?
The verse draws our attention to Jesus’ own apostles. The next few chapters will show His teaching to them alone.

Vs 6-10 Why do you think Peter did not feel it proper for Jesus to wash his feet?
Jesus was the master, his superior.  Peter should wash His feet but not Jesus wash Peter’s.

After being rebuked Peter told Jesus to wash him all.  What did Jesus answer reveal about the spiritual cleansing that Peter had already experienced?
Jesus tells Peter he was already washed (bathed) and was clean every whit (bit).  Only his feet (that which contacts the world) needed to be cleaned.

Vs. 12 What was the lesson Jesus taught by washing their feet?
“Humility is … losing oneself in service to others.” –Wycliffe Bible Commentary

After reading Luke 22:24, Did the lesson of Jesus washing their feet seem to have an affect on the disciples?
It seems they missed the point. Luke tells us they were seeking arguing over who was the greatest apostle.

Vs. 15 Examine this verse, should foot washing be an ordinance like baptism and the Lord’s supper?
No.  Jesus said this was an example not a practice and it is not taught anywhere else in scripture as an ordinance.

Vs. 17 What is the condition of Christian happiness according to this verse?
If we know the teachings and commands of Christ and then obey and do them.

John 13:18-30 The Betrayer Announced

Vs. 18 What OT passage is Jesus quoting?
Ps 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

After Jesus announced that one of the apostles would betray him, the disciple whom Jesus loved leaned on his chest as they reclined at the meal. Who was this apostle?

During NT time, dipping a piece of bread into sauce and handing it to a guest at the meal was a gesture of friendship. Why do you think Jesus did this to Judas?
It may have been a final attempt to reach out and show His love even for the one who had contracted to betray Him.

According to the other Gospel accounts, it was only after Judas departed that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. Why was it necessary for Judas to leave first?
The Lord’s supper then and now should never be shared among unbelievers and Judas was not a believer.

John 13:31-38 The Upper Room Discourse Begins

Vs. 31 Shows the moment of transition from Judas present to Judas gone. It also seems to be final preparation before the path to the cross. How does Jesus view these things?
As part of the glorification of Himself and of God.

Vs 33.  Why must Jesus go this way alone?
Only Jesus could die for our sin.  He and He alone had to suffer the punishment of God’s wrath upon sin in order to save us.

Vs. 34 - 35 The New Command of Jesus

The explanation of the new commandment    The extent of the new commandment    The example of the new commandment
That ye love one another      As I have loved you      By this shall all know that ye are my disciples.

Vs. 36-38, Peter desires to follow the Lord even to death, but is told he will deny the Lord three times.  What lesson must Peter learn before He can be fully used of God?
The lesson of brokenness, Peter must be broken of his own strength and courage in order to be filled with God’s.

If this is true of someone like Peter, could it also be true of all followers of the Lord?  Give the area of brokenness that the following people had in their service to God.

Abraham    Isaac born of Sarah
Moses    40 years a shepherd
Samson    Captured and blinded
David    Outlaw running from Saul
Paul    Damascus, Stoning, Chained
John the Apostle    Death of Christ, Isle of Patmos


Christ’s great concern during this last week of his earthly ministry revolves around His crucifixion and His disciples. The former is an appointment that is set, but the latter requires His utmost attention, prayers and instructions. On His disciples, His church, rests the future of the Gospel going forth into all the world.

We cannot take for granted our own part in the work of the Gospel today. The first disciples could not understand or realize the impact of their faithfulness to us today and neither can we realize the impact our faithfulness might have on someone tomorrow or even long after we are gone.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Exodus Going With God #8 Exodus 12 Going In The Power of the Passover

Exodus Going With God #8
Exodus 12 Going In The Power of the Passover

Dead Horse Philosophy

 I don’t know if this is true but there is a legend about the Dakota Sioux tribal wisdom. That has a saying “When you discover you are riding a dead horse, get off.”

However, in the business/church world (might even apply to military command), we often see other strategies for this situation:

Whip harder.

Change riders.

Appoint a committee to study the dead horse.

Hire a contractor to ride the dead horse.

Arrange a visit to another site to see how they ride dead horses.

Create a training session to increase our riding ability.

Remind all concerned that "this is the way we have always ridden this horse".

Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.

Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Some people are riding dead horses, thinking that we are going somewhere, when in reality we are stuck in our past, our routines and sometimes in our sin. If we don’t get off the dead horse soon, we’ll be dying as well. Life, especially the Christian life is about personal change. We see just such a time of change in the book of Exodus chapter 12. It was time for a change, time for a new life for Israel.

Going Into A New Beginning - 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 a New Start

God tells the Israelites that a change is coming. It will be a radical, complete change. For the last 400 years the Hebrews, the children of Israel have lived in Egypt. First as guests but then when a new Pharoah come to power, the Israelites were reduced to slavery.

But on this night, all that would change. There will be a new year from now on.

The Jewish nation in the Old Testament had two calendars, a civil calendar that began in our September–October, and a religious calendar that began in our March–April. New Year’s Day in the civil year is called “Rosh Hashana” which means “beginning of the year”. – W. Wiersbe, Be Delivered

But here the Lord says that now, Passover would mark a new beginning of months. This would be the beginning of the religious year, Passover would focus not on the harvest or crops but on a sacrificed lamb and the peoples relationship to God.

And on this first Passover, they will end their years of slavery and begin a new life, in a new land. Because of Passover, they would be free.

God Always Brings Change

As you read the Bible, as you study God and His interaction with man, you find that when God reaches out to man, it always brings a change. Experience God is so powerful that it always brings change.

Before Moses experienced God at the burning bush, he was a simple shepherd, after he experienced God he was a prophet, leader and nation builder. The Hebrews were slaved before they experienced God after the experience they were free and they became conquerors. David the shepherd became a King. Peter, James and John the fishermen became Apostles that changed the Pagan world.

God always Brings Change. The Bible is a record of one change after the other, from creation, to the flood, to the beginning of the nation of Israel, to the new Jerusalem, and New Heaven and earth. God changes hearts, he changes nations, He changes churches.  

This is what scripture says.

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.

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.

For us as Christians we need to understand and even anticipate that when we experience God, there will be change. Something must change, something must become new in me, because I experiencing God cannot leave any one the same as they were. God is too powerful not to bring change.

And let me add this, when God brings change, or a new life it always means leaving the old behind. The Israelites had to leave Egypt. It was a monumental undertaking, 400 years had to be left behind.

God’s new direction is never easy but through His power it is possible and by His will it is required.

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. Don’t keep trying to ride that dead horse, because sooner or later it won’t just be the horse that is dead.

Wesley and the Robber

Let me tell you a story about John Wesley and what used to be called a road agent. That sounds like an elected office but back in the 1700s a road agent was what we now call a robber, a thug, a gangster.

As John Wesley rode across Hounslow Heath late one night, singing a favorite hymn, he was startled by a fierce voice shouting, “Halt,” while a firm hand seized the horse’s bridle. Then the man demanded, “Your money or your life.”

Wesley obediently emptied his pockets of the few coins they contained and invited the robber to examine his saddlebags which were filled with books. Disappointed at the result, the robber was turning away when evangelist cried, “Stop! I have something more to give you.”

The robber, wondering at this strange call, turned back. Then Wesley, bending down toward him, said in solemn tones, “My friend, you may live to regret this sort of a life in which you are engaged. If you ever do, I beseech you to remember this, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin.’” The robber hurried silently away, and the man of God rode along, praying in his heart that the word spoken might be fixed in the robber’s conscience.

Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service with the people streaming from the large building, many lingered around the doors to see the aged preacher, John Wesley.

A stranger stepped forward and earnestly begged to speak with Mr. Wesley. What a surprise to find that this was the robber of Hounslow Heath, now a well-to-do tradesman in the city, but better still, a child of God! The words spoken that night long ago had been used of God in his conversion.

 Raising the hand of John Wesley to his lips, he affectionately kissed it and said in tones of deep emotion, “To you, dear sir, I owe it all.”

Wesley replied softly, “Nay, nay, my friend, not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ which cleanseth us from all sin.”

That highway man experienced God that day and later he found real change in Jesus Christ and it was the best change he could ever make and it brings us to our next point. Change this profound requires something much greater than our strength and resolve. It requires sacrifice.

Going In a 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 Brings New Life

The single event that for the Hebrews, would accomplish the complete break from the old was the sacrifice of the Passover lamb.

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 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 terrible death and heartache. Those who refused to accept God’s word, His protection and His change, suffered the terrible loss of life, instead of being under the protection of God, they were under 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 from slavery.

New Life Starts With The Lamb

Just as God brought new life to the Israelites through a slain lamb, He will bring new life to us through THE slain Lamb. Slain in order to give us new life. Slain in order to protect us from the wrath of God. Slain to deliver us from the slavery of sin.

Back in Genesis 22:7 Isaac asked Abraham his father, Where is the lamb?

Here in Exodus 12 we see a lamb, a type of the true Lamb, but it is not until the New Testament that we understand fully and see The Lamb of God.

In John 1:29 John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

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:

 In Revelation 5:6-10, John records his vision of the throneroom of God. “6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

If there is to be a new life for us, if there is to be a new start for us it must be through the blood of the Lamb of God. He is our deliverance from sin, our salvation from slavery, our redemption from death.

 We must look to the Lamb of God. Look to Jesus Christ slain for us and then just as the Hebrews we must place ourselves under the protection of that precious blood. That is the sign of our faith, just as it was for them that first Passover night. Then and only then can we really be changed. Changed from fear to hope, from sorrow to joy, from eternal death to eternal life.

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 and wit and eloquence and influence at the feet of his Lord, his motto being—“Whatsoever others do, as for me, I will serve the Lord.”

God changed William Wilberforce and William Wilberforce changed England and the world by working for decades in Parliament to finally eradicate slavery in England and to influence the emancipation of all slaves in the Christian nations throughout the world. That is the kind of change God can bring, first with one life and then that life that can change everything around it.

Finally, we need to also understand that change often means moving, taking action or going where God wants us to go.

 Going Into a 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 Brings A New World

God tells His people to prepare to go. They are to be dressed, with their staff in their hands and their shoes on their feet. When He gives the signal, then they are to go immediately leaving Egypt for the Promised Land. 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 the blood upon the door. Those who rejected God would not.

When the death angel, the Destroyer, passed over Israel that was God’s signal for the nation to begin their move into the promised land. Now from that day forth, they would keep the Passover as a memorial to what God had done in making them free from Egypt’s chains of slavery.

Are We Ready To Go?

I have to ask myself this morning, Am I prepared to move, to go, when God say go?

The answer isn’t just a mental assent, just a verbal affirmation. No, being ready for us means that just like the Israelites that night we are dressed ready for the journey. We must have our staff in our hands, our loins girded, our shoes on our feet and we must be standing up waiting for the Lord’s moment to act.

This Bible, the Word of God is your staff. The staff is used to support you when you walk and if you don’t have God’s word in your hand and in your heart, then you won’t be ready to go when the time comes. Carry it, read it, study it, meditate on its eternal words of life. Be ready with God’s Word.

 Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalms 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Our loins must be girded. The people of God knew what this meant. They would bind up their long robes tying them through their legs and around their lions so that they would be able to move quickly or to fight without being tripped. Girding up your lions for us means having our hearts and minds ready to follow the Lord.

 Jesus told his disciples in Luke 12:35-36 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, …

To be ready we must also have our sandals on our feet. We must be ready to go in the direction that God points us to.

Paul in Ephesians 6:14-17 seems to be echoing this event as he writes to the church at Ephesus. He says, “14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

 This morning as you sit in this church, are you ready to go? Will you respond as you experience God? As he touches your heart and tells you to leave the old life find new life in Jesus Christ, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world?

Or will you stop and look back to your old life, your old disbelief, your old sin and stay in the bonds of your own Egypt?

 Remember, the death angel, the Destroyer, comes into every life one day, but only those who have made Jesus Christ their Savior, only those who have put His blood on the doorpost of their hearts will be passed over and spared from the judgment of. Are you ready?


If God should tell you to go this morning you ready?

If God should open a door of opportunity for us as church would we be willing to pass through it? Would we see the chance to go for God and step out? Would we have our loins girded, take our Word of God staff in our hands, put on the Gospel shoes of Peace and go where God directs us? Or would we hold on to our the past life, our past disbelief, our old traditions, our familiar comfort zones and miss the new world that God has prepared us for.

Are you ready this morning to move when God says go?

Those who are will go on to the to the newness of God. Those who are not will stay behind and miss the blessing that God brings with His call to change. I hope and pray that I will be ready and go when God says, “It is time.” I hope and pray that we all will be ready when God say go..


Friday, May 19, 2023

Five Reasons Hell Is Real

Five Reasons Hell Is Real

 My purpose in doing this study, is not to prove hell, heaven or anything supernatural to an unbeliever but to establish in the minds of Christians that the Bible teaches that Hell is a real place and that there must be a place like hell for those who reject God and His salvation freely offered through Jesus Christ.
First, some background on the word, Hell itself. The word comes from the Saxon word helon, which became the Old English hel it meant “to cover” or “to conceal.” Hel was also the name, in Old Norse, of the Scandinavian queen of the underworld. English translations of the Bible usually use the word hell for the Hebrew term Gehinnom, or Gehenna and the Greek word, Hades.

Reason 1. Hell Was a Universal Human Belief

In Mesopotamian, hell is described as a distant land of no return, a house of dust where the dead dwell without distinction of rank or merit, and a sealed fortress, typically of seven gates, barred against invasion or escape. The god-king Gilgamesh travels to the end of the world, crosses the sea of death, and undergoes terrible trials and then realizes that that mortality is inescapable. In the Gilgamesh epic, Hell is a house of darkness where the dead “drink dirt and eat stone.”

In Egypt after death the dead were judged by Osiris, those who failed the test based upon their goodness and preparation for the afterlife, were devoured by a crocodile headed monster and then tormented by demons or much worse.

In Greek and Roman belief, hell is called hades, the word most often used for Hell in the KJV. Hades is named after the God, Hades, who ruled there. People in his realm could be both bad or good and hades or hell was in general an abode of the dead. Those that were evil or had offended the gods, however were sent to the field of Tartarus where they were tormented 

In Persian and Zoroastrian beliefs, hell is overseen by Yima, the first person to die and is the place where all that is evil, dark and opposing life dwells. Demons there torture sinners until one day, like purgatory they have paid a price and the torment stops. 

In Muslim tradition hell is a combination of the beliefs of hell that have preceded it. It contains elements of Egyptian, Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian versions of hell. Life deeds are recorded, the soul is weighed, there is a bridge, which widens for the righteous but narrows to a knife-edge for sinners, who lose their footing and plunge into the flames below. In Islam God predestines all things and yet somehow holds individuals accountable for their choices.

In Hinduism, which believes in reincarnation and the soul’s continual rebirth, those who commit terrible sins are reborn into hell and spend time there until they can be reborn on a lower plane of existence as a bug or a rat.

In Buddhism, which also believes in reincarnation,  there are still multiple hot hells beneath the earth, or in millions of universes in which humans suffer but there are buddhas (teachers) there to show them the error of their ways. In Buddhism, all hells as well as all life, are actually illusions. Still the suffering of those in hell and those reborn as hungry ghosts is excruciating,

The point is before you dismiss the idea of hell completely you have to find a way to explain why such a belief is nearly universal in all societies and civilizations throughout history. Why would they believe in hell unless there was a common source for that belief? The best explanation for that source would be God who revealed it to man before the flood and the dispersion of mankind at Babel.

Reason 2. The Old Testament Declares There is A Hell

In the Old Testament, the word Sheol is the word translated Hell. In general, it refers to “the abode of the dead”
both the righteous.
Gen 37:35; Isa 38:10; Ps 30:3, 9
and the unrighteous.
Num 16:30, 33
It is the realm of the dead
Isa 14:9-10; Job 26:5-6
Sheol can also simply refer to the grave.
Isa 14:11; Job 17:13-16; Ps 30:3  88:3-5; Prov 7:27
or death
Hos 13:14; Hab 2:5; Isa 28:15, 18; 38:18; Song 8:6; Ps 49:14; 89:48; 116:3; Prov 5:5; 1 Kings 2:6, 9).  
As well as the place reserved for the wicked
Ps 9:17; 31:17; 49:13-14

Its location is downward, the opposite of heaven
Ps 55:15; 86:13; Prov 9:18; 15:24; Isa 14:15; Jon 2:2

It is portrayed as a place of "darkness"
Job 17:13 and "dust" Job 17:16, The place where the worm feasts

The place where the worm feasts
Job 17:14; 24:19-20; Isa 14:11.

Once one enters there will be no return
Isa 38:10, Job 7:9-10; Isa 38:10, 18.

Except for the righteous
Hos 13:14; Ps 16:10; 49:15; Job 14:13; 1 Sam 2:6

The revelation of God in the Old Testament shows that Hell (Sheol) is a real and is a place of punishment for the wicked.  If we deny Hell as God’s judgment for the wicked of this world, then we must also deny scripture in the Old Testament that clearly teaches exactly that.

Reason 3. The New Testament Declares There Is A Hell

The word hades occurs four times in the Gospel while the word Gehenna occurs eleven times both words are translated as hell. The Gospels also use words like darkness and fire to describe eternal punishment. 

Hades is found in Matthew 16:18; 11:23 Lk 10:15; Lk 16:23),
Gehenna in Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Mt 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Lk 12:5).

Gehenna literally, the "Valley of (the son of) Hinnom." In the Old Testament it was a place of horrific sin committed by Kings Ahaz and Manasseh and their people, who burned sacrifices to Moloch there, 

These sacrifices included their own sons, burning them in the outstretched hands of the idol as it was heated searing red. 2 Chron 28:3; 33:6; 2 Kings 16:3

Because of this terrible desecration, the valley of Hinnom was turned into a dumping ground for the city of Jerusalem. All the refuse of the city, including dead animals and dead criminals were thrown there. A fire was kept continually burning in order to consume the refuse and dead.

Outside the Gospels the rest of the New Testament consistently shows hell as a place of eternal torment, punishment and regret.

It is a place of fire and darkness for sinners and the unrepentant

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 

Jude 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

A Place of destruction
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;  
and of everlasting, unremitting torment 

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Reason 4. Jesus warns about Hell

Not only does the New Testament warn us of hell but its most adamant teacher is Jesus Christ. One of the most obvious difficulties in denying hell as a place of eternal punishment comes from the fact that Jesus was the New Testament’s most passionate advocate in warning about the torment of hell. If you would deny hell, then it would seem you must deny Jesus as well.

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He'd be either a lunatic on a level with a man who says he's a poached egg or else he'd be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. - C. S. Lewis

In a similar vein you don’t have the option of denying what Jesus said about hell anymore than you have the option of saying He was a great teacher but not the son of God. Jesus said He was God and He also said Hell was real. If you deny His words about Hell then how can you believe His words about His deity, or salvation or forgiveness or anything else. 

Jesus clearly taught that hell was a place of punishment and suffering 

First prepared for the devil and his angels
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 

Now also a place for those who reject God and Jesus His Son
Matthew 11:20-24 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:  Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.  And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Matthew 8:10-12 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Sinners, Jesus warned, would be judged and sent there
Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Matthew 23:33  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

He proclaimed hell was a place of punishment for sins
like hateful language and intent Mt 5:22,
unfaithfulness Mt 24:45-51 par. Lk 12:41-46,
unrepentance Mt 5:29-30; 18:8-9 par. Mk 9:43-47;
and disobedience Mt 5:22; 7:19; 13:40, 42, 50; 25:30; Jn 15:6
Jesus said hell’s location was in the depths, the opposite of the heights of heaven, just as it was stated in the Old Testament  

Luke 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
Jesus taught that hell would be an eternal, conscious punishment. 

This is clearly taught in Matthew 25:46, where the righteous and the unrighteous are both appointed to eternal destinies. The righteous to "eternal life" but the unrighteous to "eternal punishment". 

Jesus taught that in hell torment would be eternal and unending. He said the worm feeding on the dead, would not die 

Mark 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. the "fire that is not put out"
He taught that "weeping and gnashing of teeth" was always ongoing 

Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

If you reject everything Jesus said about hell, and he said more about hell than any other preacher in the New Testament, then how can you believe what Jesus said about anything else?

Reason 5. Hell Is Real Because Man’s Choice Makes It Necessary

If man was created in the image of God, with the ability to choose right and wrong, then man must also be allowed in that free will to experience the reward of good choices and the punishment or bad choices. The choice to reject God, which God gave to man, must then have a consequence and the only place such a consequence can be real is in hell. - DKM

In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is itself a question: What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does. - C. S. Lewis

If the believer will live eternally in the presence of God and in his favor, the unbeliever will exist eternally away from the beneficial presence of God. – Henry Thiessan In Lectures on Systematic Theology

The strongest objection (to hell as an eternal punishment) is thought to be the idea that a God of love could not punish his creatures eternally. But this is to forget that at death character is fixed, and that the law of congruity (same with same) requires that the (eternal) living be separated from the (eternal) dead. It is not a question of God’s love, but of the soul’s life. – Henry Thiessan

Scripture sees hell as self-chosen; those in hell will realize that they sentenced themselves to it by loving darkness rather than light, choosing not to have their Creator as their Lord, preferring self-indulgent sin to self-denying righteousness, and (if they encountered the gospel) rejecting Jesus rather than coming to him). 

General revelation confronts all mankind with this issue, and from this standpoint hell appears as God's gesture of respect for human choice. All receive what they actually chose, either to be with God forever, worshiping him, or without God forever, worshiping themselves. Those who are in hell will know not only that for their doings they deserve it, but also that in their hearts they chose it. – J. I. Packer, Concise Theology


No matter what you choose to believe, the reality of the Bible teaching, that hell and the Lake of Fire are real and places of judgment and punishment, can’t be denied. You can imagine ways that it no longer applies, or philosophy that God’s love over rules his justice, but you can’t make the Bible say something it does not.

Hell is real, the Bible declares it, Jesus preached it and you and I must be saved to avoid it. It really is that simple. - Pastor Kris Minefee