Sun, Feb 10, 2019

Joshua 5:10 Remember the Work!

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JOSHUA 5:10

REMEMBER THE WORK!

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Joshua chapter 5 as we continue our study through this book that deals with victorious Christian living!

            Keep in mind that the children of Israel have crossed over the Jordan River and they are now in the Promise Land, the land of Canaan!

            And they are preparing for battle against the enemies that are in this land. Remember, God has given it to them, but they needed to walk by faith and take possession of this land.

            Their first battle will be against the people of Jericho and they were a formidable opponent! And as they are waiting to go into battle, the Lord is preparing them, and He is preparing them spiritually speaking you might say.

            Last time we looked at A RENEWAL OF CIRCUMCISION or the cutting away of the flesh.

            They had left their wilderness wanderings behind them, the flesh life, the carnal life and now they were living a life of the Spirit. And if you are going to do that then you must cut ties with that old life, that carnal life and do to that you must crucify the flesh, put it to death – CUT IT OUT!

            If you are feeding the flesh, living for fleshly desires, then you are carnal! And please understand that this is a constant battle in our lives. That is why Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16, that we are to . . . Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

            Why go back to that which had you in bondage?

            Paul, in Colossians 2:11-12 gives us this insight of what took place here in Joshua chapter 5 and what the Lord has done for us. He wrote, In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

            This is what God has done in us, cut away that flesh, given to us that new life that is only found in Him. But we still carry around this body of flesh and if we feed it, then it will grow. We will see the ugly things that flow from our lives as we manifest the flesh instead of the Spirit!

            That is why we are to deal with the flesh on a daily basis and feed the Spirit, build up the inner man so that you do not give room for the flesh to grow in your life.

            If you want to live that victorious Christian life, you must crucify the flesh, cut it out in a sense, and walk in the Spirit letting the Lord guide you and lead you in all that you do and say!

            It is as Paul said in Philippians 3:3, For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

            So the first thing they were to do as they prepared to do battle against the people of Jericho was A RENEWAL OF CIRCUMCISION, which they did. They obeyed the Lord.

            The next thing that they were to do as they prepared for battle, was the CELEBRATING OF PASSOVER!

            That is what we will be looking at this morning, what Passover was all about and how that applies to our lives today.

            I have called this message, “Remember the Work!” and the reason for that is we have to understand that it is only through God that we can accomplish anything, even our salvation!

            What I see in our nation today is a rewriting of our history so when we look back, we don’t see what has been done, what has happened and we have a warped or distorted look at our history, which helps to form how we live out our lives now.

            Listen to what one writer said regarding how history has been changed and in changing history you change the way people think. He wrote,

            George Orwell said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

            In the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, censorship, rewriting of history, and eliminating undesirable people became part of Soviets’ effort to ensure that the correct ideological and political spin was put on their history.

            Deviation from official propaganda was punished by confinement in labor camps and execution.

            Today there are efforts to rewrite history in the U.S., albeit the punishment is not so draconian [great severity] as that in the Soviet Union.

- https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/14/left-trying-rewrite-american-history-must-stop/

 

            Let me show you how we have rewritten our history with just one point. And that is the new teaching that we are not a Christian nation, never were and never will be! That is the farthest thing from the truth!

            When you look at this nation’s history and the system of government our Founding Fathers gave to us, we have so much to be thankful for. We have the world’s longest on-going Constitutional Republic! Over two hundred and forty years under the same document and one form of government is unprecedented. 

            If you look at France, they have gone through seven completely different forms of government; Italy is on their 51st! We are still on our first!

            What insight did our Founding Fathers have when they were writing the Constitution, where did they get their ideas? 

            A group of political science professors from the University of Houston felt that if they could see whom the Founders were quoting, they could determine the source of their ideas. 

            They looked at 15,000 writings of that era, taking them 10 years to complete their work and they found that 34 percent of the direct quotes in the political writings of the Founding era were from the Bible! They formed this government by looking at God’s Word and applying it!

            Listen carefully to the following charters and what was needed to be a part of government.

            1606 Charter for a Colony in Virginia:

            [T]o make habitation . . . and to deduce a colony of sundry of our people into that part of America commonly called Virginia . . . in propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness.

            1680-1681 Charter for Pennsylvania:

            William Penn . . . out of a commendable desire to . . . [convert] the savage natives by gentle and just manners to the love of civil society and Christian religion, hath humbly besought leave of us to transport an ample colony unto a certain country . . . in the parts of America not yet cultivated and planted.

            The Colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Plymouth, and New Haven, back in 1643, joined together to form the New England Confederation and this is what the document said,

            [W]e all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.    

            Let me ask you this. When you think of the Ivy League schools of today, do you think they are Christian? Of course not, but that is not the way they were started. Listen carefully!

            These are the 1636 rules of Harvard and they declared,

            Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17.3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.  And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Prov. 2, 3). Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein.

            In 1699, Yale was founded by ten ministers in order,

            [T]o plant, and under the Divine blessing, to propagate in this wilderness the blessed reformed Protestant religion.

            What was America’s educational philosophy? 

            Listen to what George Washington said as chiefs from the Delaware Indian tribe brought him three Indian youths to be trained in American schools.

            First Washington assured the chiefs that “Congress … will look upon them as their own children.” 

            And then he commended the chiefs for their decision by telling them,

            You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.

            The New England Primer was the first textbook ever printed in America. It was introduced in Boston in 1690 and for two centuries many in America learned to read from this book. 

            After learning the Alphabet and putting one, two, and three-letter syllables together and learning how to put them together to make words, after about a fourth of the way through this textbook it returns to the alphabet and attaches phrases to the letter for them to memorize.

            Let me give you a few examples,

            A – A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

            B – Better is little with fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.

            C – Come unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden and He will give you rest.

            D – Do not the abominable thing which I hate saith the Lord.

            E – Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

            Do you think that would be allowed even for a day in our schools today? Not at all and yet it was used in our schools to teach children how to read and it is part of our history!

            Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration:

            Principally and first of all, I recommend my soul to that Almighty Being who gave it and my body I commit to the dust, relying upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.

            Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration:

            On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on his merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to his precepts.

            John Jay, the original Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and one of the three men most responsible for the Constitution:

            Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty – as well as the privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

            Back in 1824, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said this, “No free government now exists in the world, unless where Christianity is acknowledged, and is the religion of the country.”  How true that is, just look at the oppression that Islam is bringing to the world!

            Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence said this in a letter to John Adams back on January 23, 1807, “By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects . . . It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published . . . All systems of religion, morals, and government not founded upon it [the Bible] must perish, and how consoling the thought, it will not only survive the wreck of these systems but the world itself. ‘The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’”

            Noah Webster, Founding Educator said back in 1832: “The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible . . . The moral principles and precepts found in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation . . . All the evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible . . . for instruction then in social, religious and civil duties resort to the scriptures for the best precepts.”

            And Robert Winthrop, former Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives said the following eye-opening words back in 1852 and again, are we listening to what he said? 

            We are told, “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”

            We have moved away from God, we have forgotten our history, we are changing our history, and this is the way we see things now. According to constitutional scholar and law professor John Eidsmoe, this philosophy is characterized by the following five major theses:

  1. There are no objective, God-given standards of law, or if there are, they are irrelevant to the modern legal system.
  2. Since God is not the author of law, the author of law must be man; in other words, the law is law simply because the highest human authority, the state, has said it is law and is able to back it up.
  3. Since man and society evolve, therefore law must evolve as well.
  4. Judges, through their decisions, guide the evolution of law.
  5. To study law, get at the original sources of law – the decisions of judges.

            Thus, everything is in a state of flux, and what was law years ago has changed today and not for the better.

            And look at the mess our nation is in because we don’t have God on the thrones of our hearts, as a nation, and everyone does what is right in their own eyes, and the government encourages it! That is not that way it has always been!

            It is true that Christianity doesn’t make perfect men but what would this country, what would this world be like without Christians. Ben Franklin reminded religious critic Thomas Paine, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?”

            It is as Benjamin Rush, a Signer of the Declaration, said:

            Without this [religion] there can be no true virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without the restraints of religion and social worship, men become savages.

            I know, that was a long introduction, but I think it is important that we see where we came from and where we are at today.

            The reason it is so important for us is that we see changes or the rewriting of our Christian heritage happening in churches across America today. We need to get back to the truths of God found in the Word of God, because God is the only hope for sinful man!

            As I have said, the title of our message this morning is, “Remember the Work!” With that said, let’s look at Joshua 5:10 this morning and see what the Lord has for us as we learn to live out that victorious Christian life!

 

JOSHUA 5

VERSE 10

            First of all, let’s take A LOOK BACK at the first Passover and what that was all about.

            I think we are familiar with the story of the first Passover and what that was all about. But let me review a few things with you.

            The children of Israel were in bondage down in Egypt. And Pharaoh was coming down hard upon the Jewish people, he saw them as a threat. He wanted all the Jewish boys who were born to be put to death!

            Not only that, but we are told in Exodus 1:13-14, So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage - in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.

            So God heard the cry of His people and sent them a deliverer by the name of Moses. And Moses went to Pharaoh and asked him to release the Jews, and he said yes, and he said no, and back and forth this went. And each time God sent a plague upon the land of Egypt, and these plagues went against the god’s the Egyptians worshiped.

            Finally, the tenth and last plague was the death of the firstborn. And the only escape, for the Jews and the Egyptians, was to place the blood of a lamb upon the doorpost of their homes and the angel of death would Passover them. If the blood was not there, the firstborn in the home would die! Thus, you can see why it is called – PASSOVER!

            And we are told in Exodus 12:29-36, And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, ‘Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.’ And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, ‘We shall all be dead.’ So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders. Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

            So Pharaoh and the Egyptians let the children of Israel go free, at least for now. But that night, after they sprinkled the blood upon the doorposts of their homes, they celebrated Passover for the first time!

            And Passover was a picture of REDEMPTION, how God redeemed His people from their bondage in Egypt, set them free! And that freedom was only found in the blood of the lamb, for apart from the shed blood of the lamb, there was death!

            And this meal, as they observed it, would remind the children of Israel of how God had redeemed them from the harsh bondage that they were in down in Egypt. It was a memorial to them so that they would not forget!

            In fact, in Exodus 12:14 we are told, So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

            Interestingly enough, at some point in the Passover meal the youngest child would ask his father, “Why is this night different from every other night?”

            And the father would tell them the story of Passover and how God caused the angel of death to Passover their homes because of the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes. And through all of that, God led His people out of their bondage in Egypt the next day!

            Make no mistake about it, Passover was a memorial meal, a meal of remembrance, looking back on what God had done!

            And keep in mind that the original Passover itself could never be repeated, but there was power in its remembrance. They were to always live remembering that they were a people delivered and remembering God’s work of deliverance.

            That was the first Passover.

            The next time Passover was celebrated was in Numbers chapter 9, where we are told, Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: ‘Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time. According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it.’ So Moses told the children of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, at twilight, in the Wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did. Numbers 9:1-5.

            Now, after this, we don’t see them celebrate Passover for some forty years of their wandering in the wilderness! Can you believe that?

            Here is God’s people and God told them to remember the work that He has done, and for some forty years, as far as the Scriptures tell us, they neglected what God told them to do.

            And the picture here is that Israel had turned their backs on God in their hearts. They refused to do what He told them to do. And as much as they turned their backs on God, God did not turn His back on them!

            How do I know that? Because God fulfilled His promise to them, He brought them into the Promise Land, the land of Canaan! This was the fulfillment of the covenant that God had made with their father Abraham!

            Now they have entered the land of Canaan, and we have LOOKED BACK on what they did, so now it is time to LOOK IN, or take a look at what is transpiring now with the children of Israel.

            Keep in mind that they did not circumcise their boys during those forty years of wandering in the wilderness. So the first thing that they do is circumcise their men and boys. And the idea here is that they are consecrating themselves to the Lord, and we saw that last time. It was a time of cutting the flesh life away so that they could now walk in the Spirit, for the Promise Land is a picture of the Spirit-filled life!

            And, keep in mind that if they were not circumcised, they could not celebrate Passover, according to Exodus 12:43-44, 48.

            But here we see that they are circumcised and now we also see them celebrate Passover, just as God had told them. And, as I have said, it is a picture of redemption.

            Now, keep in mind that this is only the third time that they celebrated Passover in some forty years! But it was important for them to look back at the past work of God and understand that how God had delivered them from their bondage in Egypt, He will deliver them from the enemies in the land of Canaan!

            I think that is important for us to understand, that obedience to the Lord is important! They obeyed the Lord and the Lord was going to give them great victories against their enemies.

            So we have LOOKED BACK at the first two Passovers that were celebrated.

            Then, we LOOKED IN, and saw what the children of Israel were doing now, how they celebrated Passover in the Promise Land.

            And there is one more point I want to focus on, and that is A LOOK OUT or what does this mean to us?

            Let me ask you a question. Do we see, in the Scriptures, another important Passover meal being celebrated?

            You bet we do. It was during the night of the Last Supper that Jesus celebrated Passover with His men. And at that meal in the upper room Jesus gave them, and us, a new “memorial meal” to celebrate, it is called Communion!

            Look at the picture that this new covenant gives to us. We have been redeemed out of the bondage of sin that the Devil and the world had us in.

            How have we been redeemed? By the BLOOD OF THE LAMB – JESUS CHRIST!

            And it is through that shed blood that we can have communion with God, that fellowship with God!

            Let me show you how this is all played out for us by looking at that first Passover and how it is a beautiful picture of Christ and the work that He has done for us.

            In Exodus 12:3-5 we are told, Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.’

            What I want you to see in these verses is that there are three articles that are used in front of lamb.” 

            In verse 3 we see the first article that is used as we read Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.’” 

            Notice the article a that is used here.

            You see, that is how many people approach Jesus today. They see Him as just a lamb, one of the many prophets who have been sent into this world. 

            In fact, many today, even church leaders, feel we are all on our own path to God only taking different ways to get there. 

            In other words, Jesus is a lamb, one of the many who have come and will come to show us the way to God.

            Do you really believe that?

            Do you believe those who followed Jim Jones into the jungles of Guyana and drank the Kool-Aid that was laced with Arsenic and all of them died, were on their way to God? 

            Do you believe those who are following after Allah and Mohammed, doing suicide bombings, killing people in the name of Allah are on their way to God? 

            Do you think that those who followed after Hitler, who quoted Scriptures and theologians, were on their way to God? 

            Do you think those who committed suicide thinking that Jesus was in a spaceship behind the Hale-Bop comet were on their way to God? 

            Do you think that Mormons who believe Jesus was the brother of Lucifer and we are all going to become god’s one day are on their way to God? 

            Do you think that Jehovah Witnesses who believe that Jesus is agod and not Yahweh God are on their way to God? And that truly fits in perfectly with Jesus being alamb!

            And please understand, I am not saying that these people are not sincere in what they believe. The problem is that as sincere as these people were and are, none of them are on their way to the true and living God because all roads don’t lead to God! And it doesn’t matter how sincere you are about it! 

            I realize that many would call me “narrow minded” today. But I am not really interested in what people say or think about me, I am interested in what Jesus said and that I would believe what He said by faith!

            Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” 

            You see, it is not a “Have it your own way” salvation.

            The gate is narrow; it is only through Jesus that we can enter in. 

            Paul put it this way in I Timothy 2:4-6, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”  And yes, it is difficult because there are so many out there waving us to go this way and that way to get to God and Jesus tells us, “No, He is the way!” 

            So I am going to listen to Jesus instead of the ideas, the philosophies of man, which are mostly wrong and they can be deadly? I am going to listen to Him!

            There is a story of a West Indian who rejected Christianity for Islam and his reason for choosing Islam over Christianity was that Islam “is a noble, broad path. There is room for a man and his sins on it. The way of Christ is too narrow.” 

            He is right, the way of Christ is narrow, and it is only through Him! 

            And so, by making Jesus a lamb, that is not going to save you. He is not one of the many paths to God; He is THE path to God!

            As we continue on looking at this, we see in verse 4 of Exodus chapter 12 the second article that is used as we read, And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb.” 

            Notice the article the that is used here.

            I believe what we are seeing here are people who believe that Jesus is God, He is the way, but there is no relationship, only head knowledge, and they miss heaven by 18 inches, the distance between their head and their heart. 

            You see, what is in their head has not sunk down deep into their heart and become part of their lives. 

            These are what we might call “religious” people. They know of Jesus, they know that He is God, they know He died on the cross of Calvary, they know He rose on the third day from the grave and yet, their lives are unchanged, Jesus may be the Lamb, but He is not theirs!

            The point is this; you can go to church on Easter and Christmas, or even every Sunday. You could be baptized having the piece of paper that states this fact. You can tithe. You can do all kinds of things, but unless you have made Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of your life, it is meaningless!

            You see, Jesus is not just a lamb, one of the many who are leading us to God.

            Jesus is not the lamb, for knowing the truth doesn’t save you, you need to apply it to your life!

            And that leads us to the third article that is found in verse 5 of Exodus chapter 12, which says, Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” 

            Notice the article your that is used in this verse.

            You see, Jesus Christ is not just alamb, He is not just the lamb, but He must become your lamb! 

            That is hard for many to do, to admit you are a sinner in need of a Savior, as this letter illustrates for us from a Melbourne, Australia daily newspaper. This letter stated,  

            After hearing Dr. Billy Graham on the air, viewing him on television and reading reports and letters concerning him and his mission, I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else’s) needs saving – whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost. Nor do I feel that I daily wallow in the mire of sin, although repetitive preaching insists that I do.

            Give me a practical religion that teaches gentleness and tolerance, that acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children of goodness and no sin.

            If in order to save my soul I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned.

                                                                        - Melbourne, Australia daily newspaper  

 

            The tragedy of that letter is that if he continues down that path he will “remain forever damned.” 

            Now, interestingly enough, many people have no idea why they need a Savior. They feel they are pretty good, and God will accept them the way they are. They realize they are not perfect, who is?  But when it all comes down to it, their good deeds outweigh their bad ones and God will let them in. Now let me say this, that is not the way that God looks at things and we must not go by what we feel or what we think, but what God says! 

            In Habakkuk 1:13a we are told You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,

And cannot look on wickedness.” 

            In other words, God cannot look with favor upon wickedness, He doesn’t condone it, He can’t accept it because He is holy, He is pure, He is righteous, and there is no darkness in Him at all!

            On the other end of the spectrum from God is man and Isaiah put it like this, Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2. 

            Also, in Isaiah 64:6-7 we are told, But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities. 

            And if you still are not convinced that God cannot accept you the way you are, in your own righteousness, according to your own good works, your own goodness, Paul tells us in Romans 3:10-12, As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’

            Do you see the point here? Think of it like this. On the path to God the bomb of sin has wiped out the bridge and now, by man’s own efforts, that gap cannot be restored, it can’t be fixed, no matter how good we are, we will never be perfect and that is the only righteousness that God will accept, perfection!

            I know that does not sound too encouraging, but God will not leave us hopeless, without a way out. 

            Look at Exodus 12:21-23 where we read, Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.’” 

            Notice that it was not only the sacrifice of the lamb but the applying of the blood upon their door that kept the angel of death from coming upon them.

            They took this lamb’s blood and struck the top of the door and then the two sides of the door and as the blood flowed down from the top it would make the shape of a cross!

            You see, it is all about the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 

            If you don’t apply His blood to your life, if His blood is not appropriated into your life, you are still dead in your trespasses and sins.

            It is as Paul said in Hebrews 9:11-15, But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 

            Now if you reject that, if you want to work your way into heaven by doing this or doing that, you too will die in your sins. 

            It is not about our finished work, but the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary. He paid in full the penalty for our sins, and now He is telling us to come to Him and receive the free gift of life that is found in Him, it is not of works, but a gift of God’s grace that He has given to us if we would only receive it into our lives. 

            Paul put it this way, For the wages of sin is death, but the [free] gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23.

            In John 19:30, as Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary those six hours, as darkness covered the earth for the last three hours as the sins of the world were placed on Him, we read So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” 

            Those words, It is finished come from the Greek word TETELESTAI, which means Paid in full or It is finished.  

            That is so important for us to understand today. He didn’t say that it is partially paid. He didn’t put us on an installment plan. He didn’t tell us that His work was finished and now it is up to us to do the rest, and good luck! Not at all! He said, TETELESTAI or that all our sins were paid in full, it is truly finished by Him for us!

            Paul expounds on that in Colossians 2:13-15 where he says, And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” 

            Think of all the sins we have done and will do in our life and God wipes them clean by His blood, the payment for our sin, for Paul said, And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22. 

            That means all our sins are cast As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12. 

            And in Isaiah 43:25 we are told, I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” 

            In other words, God has cast our sins in the depths of the sea of forgetfulness and then He has placed a sign on shore that says, “NO FISHING!” 

            I like that, I can take comfort in that because I know my weakness, I know my failure, but He is strong, and He is faithful and what I couldn’t do, bridge that gap between me and God, He has done on the cross of Calvary! 

            As Colossians 1:19-22 tells us, For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight. 

            Let me share with you this story that deals with nothing but the blood and man’s sin, his separation from God. This took place many years ago but listen carefully to what was said. We are told,

            At [the] great parliament of religions, held in Chicago many years ago, practically every known religion was represented.

            During one session, Dr. Joseph Cook of Boston, suddenly rose and said: “Gentlemen, I beg to introduce to you a woman with a great sorrow. Bloodstains are on her hands, and nothing she has tried will remove them. The blood is that of murder. She has been driven to desperation in her distress. Is there anything in your religion that will remove her sin and give her peace?” 

            A hush fell upon the gathering.  Not one of the company replied.

            Raising his eyes heavenwards, Dr. Cook then cried out, “John can you tell this woman how to get rid of her awful sin?”

            The great preacher waited, as if listening for a reply. Suddenly he cried, “Listen. John speaks: “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sins’ (I John 1:7).”

            Not a soul broke the silence: the representatives of Eastern religions and Western cults sat dumb. In the face of human need, the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone could meet the need. The sin of the race demanded the blood of Calvary.

                                                                                                            - Frederick A. Tatford

 

            Don’t make Jesus just a lamb or even the lamb but make Him yourlamb as He paid in full the penalty for our sins.

            If Jesus is your lamb, then remember what it cost Him to free you of your sins, His life!  That is how much God loves you! 

            Be thankful for what He has done and walk worthy of the high calling by which you have been called. You see, it truly is about the blood for each of us, the blood of Christ applied to our lives.

            Remember that in communion we are looking back at the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary for our sins just as the children of Israel, in Passover, looked at the finished work that was done in Egypt to redeem them from their bondage.

            And in looking back we have that confidence to go forward, to see the salvation that God will bring to the situations that we are facing.

            Think about it. If Jesus paid in full the penalty for my sins, if He has imputed into my life His righteousness by faith, then are any of the situations, the battles I will face in this life be too difficult for Jesus? Of course not!

            Paul tells us in Romans 3:21-26, But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” 

            You see, it is all about the blood, the blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, the complete sacrifice for our sins. 

            The issue for you is, “What have you done with the Lamb and His shed blood?”

            Won’t you apply it to your life as you make Jesus your Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world? Won’t you let His finished work dispel your anger, your bitterness, your fear, your discouragement, your disappointments? Come to Him for He is calling to you and rest in His love, His grace, His mercy, His compassion and let His peace fill your life! 

            All you have to do is receive His pardon for you, to repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life. And then, as Paul said, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21. 

            For those of you have done this already. Be obedient to the Lord, follow His Words to you. And then, REMEMBER THE WORK that Jesus has done for you and use that to encourage you in the battles you face each and every day!

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