AGCC Sun. a.m. 2/27/00
New Series: "7 Requirements of Passover"
TEXT: Ex. 12:1-13
INTRO: After 430 years of slavery Israel was tired and nearly hopeless. Dreams of freedom and fruitfulness seemed impossible. They cried out to God for help and God heard them. They could never have dreamed however of the method God would use to deliver them from mighty Egypt … God used a ROASTED LAMB!
All of humanity is fallen in sin, the power of evil in this world is real, and history is full of the stories of evil. The world has often cried out to God for help and deliverance, and God heard … in fact, God had a plan to save mankind even before Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden … and it was a very special "lamb" - the "Lamb of God" which is Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ has changed all of human history. He can change all of humanity, He is the "lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) When Christ comes into our heart everything changes!
ILLUS:Nikolai Berdyaev, who abandoned Marx for Christianity, insists that neither history nor theology nor the church brought him to the Christian faith, but a simple woman called only Mother Maria. He was present at a concentration camp when the Nazis were murdering Jews in gas chambers. One distraught mother refused to part with her baby. When Maria saw that the officer was only interested in numbers, without a word she pushed the mother aside and quickly took her place. This action revealed to Berdyaev the heart of Christianity--and what atonement means. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 35.
Deliverance for the Jews began with a lamb … and it still does today!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that deliverance from sin comes through the lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Nothing else can free mankind from the grips of sin, only the blood of the lamb.
I. THE SACRIFICE PROVIDED 12:1-6
A. Slavery 12:1-2
1. 430 years of slavery had stripped Israel of any hope of deliverance by their own power!
a. Sin is a slavery that cannot be broken by a better education or a better income.
b. Israel was crying out to God for help … a good place to start!
c. God will always hear the cry of the needy.
2. Though Israel belonged to God already, they also belonged to Egypt which held them captive.
a. They had discovered the horrible price of slavery.
b. They needed a savior … we all do!
3. God was about to deliver them, He has a plan … and for Israel it would mean the freedom they had longed for … and everything would be new!
a. Notice in the text God tells them that starting NOW it will be a new year: the first month, the first day, of a brand new year!
b. The old was gone, from this point onward everything would be new to Israel because God was purchasing their deliverance from captivity … He has a plan and it will involve a sacrificial lamb.
ILLUS:A shepherd notches the ear of a lamb born to his flock and has rightful ownership. That lamb deliberately walks away. The shepherd searches near and far to get that lamb back. A long time later, he finds not a baby lamb but a grown sheep for sale at an animal auction. The shepherd recognizes his mark on that sheep's ear. He goes to the auctioneer and says, "I can see the mark. That sheep is mine." The auctioneer says, "Listen, you must bid and pay just like anybody else." The shepherd bids and pays an outrageous price, far above any reasonable market value in order to get his lamb. He now has a double right to own this sheep: from birth, from redemption. God has a right to own us as creator and because he has paid the blood of his own Son -- an outrageous price far above our market value -- in order to redeem us back again. -- Leith Anderson, "The Lord Is My Shepherd," Preaching Today, Tape No. 136.
4. A relationship with Jesus Christ will make everything in your life new, it is a new starting point, one of freedom from sin, a deliverance from the bondage of sin.
B. Sacrifice 12:3-5
1. Moses and Aaron joyfully tell Israel that they will be free soon, that everything is new for them now.
2. What's the plan?
a. Tell each Israelite man to get a lamb, one for each household.
b. What kind of military plan for leaving Egypt is this!?
c. God does not fight the world with military weapons, He changes hearts and when people are changed the world is changed.
3. If their household is too small to consume an entire lamb they are to invite their neighbors to join them in feasting on the lamb of God!
a. God's lamb found in Christ is so large as to be enough for the whole world, are we sharing that lamb with others?
b. Not one Israelite was to ignore the command to sacrifice and consume the lamb of God … those who failed would be killed by the death angel when he passed over that dark night in Egypt.
4. The price for their freedom would involve a blood sacrifice … that was true with us and Christ, Jesus died to give us freedom from sin.
5. They could not continue to hope for deliverance unless there was a sacrifice, there was no other way.
ILLUS: On July 20, 1993, while cutting down oaks in a Pennsylvania forest, Don Wyman got his leg pinned beneath a fallen tree. No one could hear his yells for help. After digging for more than an hour to try to free his bleeding, shattered leg, he hit stone. He would bleed to death unless he did something drastic. Wyman made his decision. Using a wrench and the starter cord from his chain saw as a tourniquet, he cut off the flow of blood to his shin. Somehow he had the fortitude to amputate his own leg below the knee with his pocket knife. He crawled to his vehicle and drove to a farmer's home. The farmer got him the help that saved his life. Like Don Wyman, men who want to follow Christ face tough choices. We have sinful habits we want to keep as badly as our leg. We also have a Lord and Savior who calls us to repent. It takes strength to cut off our wickedness. -- Craig Brian Larson, pastor in Chicago. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.
6. The sacrifice of the lamb had to be a lamb without any defect at all!
a. Truly this is a picture of the future lamb of God found in Jesus Christ, without sin.
b. An innocent perfect sacrifice was required to pay the price of Israel's sins so that God could deliver them from the death angel … and this is still true, and is found in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
c. In Christ we have eternal life.
C. Substitutionary 12:6
1. When darkness fell the lamb of God was to be killed in place of their own death by the death angel.
a. Sin brings darkness … and spiritual death.
b. Only a sacrifice could save them, a life substituted for their lives.
2. This is the message of the cross of Jesus Christ, He substituted Himself for our place on a cross … He bore our sins, paid the price to set us free … He is our sacrificial lamb that enables us to leave behind the slavery of Egypt and enter the promise land.
3. There was no escaping the price tag of rebellion, it was death … but for Israel it would be an innocent perfect lamb that would take their price … a clear picture of the future Lamb of God which would take away the sin of the world.
ILLUS:In the French revolution, a young man was condemned to the guillotine and shut up in one of the prisons. He was greatly loved by many, but there was someone who loved him more than all the others put together. That one was his own father, and the love he bore his son was proved in this way: when the lists were called, the father--whose name was exactly the same as the son's--answered to the name, and the father rode in the gloomy tumbrel out to the place of execution, and his head rolled beneath the axe instead of his son's, a victim to mighty love. See here an image of the love of Christ to sinners. For thus Jesus died for the ungodly. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)
4. There was no escaping slavery without the sacrificial lamb!
5. Egypt could never have guessed that an impoverished enslaved people like Israel could conquer their mighty military strength through the sacrifice of a lamb!
a. Satan could never have guessed that Christ's death on a cross would destroy his power of humanity … surely Satan thought he had won the day Christ died on a cross, but it was precisely this sacrificial lamb that destroyed Satan and the power of sin.
b. Egypt was destroyed by the lamb of God!
c. While Egypt had forbidden Israel to have any weapons as slaves or anything else that Israel could use to conquer Egypt they did not know that one thing that could deliver Israel from them was a simple lamb which Israel had in abundance.
d. God had already given Israel what they needed for deliverance … and this is still true today!
II. THE SAVIOR'S POWER 12:7-13
A. Safety 12:7-12
1. The instructions for Israel to be spared the passing over of the death angel were clear: "Sprinkle the blood of the lamb on the top of the door and the sides of the door to your homes"
a. Ironically this forms the shape of a CROSS!
b. It was NOT ENOUGH to kill the lamb, the blood had to be applied if they were to be spared!
c. It is not enough to just believe that God exists, we must apply the blood of the lamb if we are to be saved!
2. The blood was to be the sign that would turn away the death angel from that home.
a. Though Israel had circumcised their sons as the sign of the covenant .. of belonging to God, it was not enough to save them!
b. Only if the blood of the lamb was applied would they be spared, not because they had been circumcised!
c. It is not baptism that saves us, that is merely a sign to the world that we belong to God, it is ONLY the application of the blood of the lamb that saves us from our sins!
(1. Baptism as an infant or as an adult will not forgive our sins, we are baptized to SHOW that we have applied the blood of the lamb to the entrance of our heart.
(2. The thief of the cross by Jesus had no opportunity to be baptized, but he did have the blood of the lamb applied to his heart when he asked Christ to remember him … and he was saved.
3. The death angel would destroy the firstborn son in every home, Egyptian or Israeli if they failed to have the blood applied - the presence of the blood was the evidence that a proper sacrifice of death had already taken place so the death angel could merely "pass over" that home.
a. Some people don't like Christians talking about the blood of Christ … but it is that blood spilled on Calvary that is proof of a proper sacrifice for our sins.
b. The presence of Christ's blood was proof that we could be redeemed.
ILLUS:When I was 5 years old, before factory-installed seat belts and automobile air bags, my family was driving home at night on a two-lane country road. I was sitting on my mother's lap when another car, driven by a drunk driver, swerved into our lane and hit us head-on. I don't have any memory of the collision. I do recall the fear and confusion I felt as I saw myself literally covered with blood from head to toe. Then I learned that the blood wasn't mine at all, but my mother's. In that split second when the two headlights glared into her eyes, she instinctively pulled me closer to her chest and curled her body around mine. It was her body that slammed against the dashboard, her head that shattered the windshield. She took the impact of the collision so that I wouldn't have to. It took extensive surgery for my mother to recover from her injuries. In a similar, but infinitely more significant way, Jesus Christ took the impact for our sin, and his blood now permanently covers our lives. -- Jeffrey Ebert in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.
4. Two things had to happen for their freedom:
a. The blood applied to the entrance of their homes.
b. They had to consume the lamb completely! They could not leave any of the lamb as waste … if they could not consume every bit of it, it had to be burned by fire so that nothing was left as waste.
5. We cannot partake only partially of Christ, God does not have a casual relationship with anyone … we must completely take Him into our lives.
6. They were to apply the blood, partake completely of the lamb … and then get dressed so they are ready to leave in haste!
a. Once the lamb of God comes into their lives and the blood is applied deliverance will be quick!
b. When we accept Christ as our Lord and savior the deliverance is quick, it is immediate, we are forgiven and set free!
B. Sufficient! 12:13
1. The blood would be sufficient to save every Israelite from the death angel … nothing else would do!
a. There is nothing in this world that can cleanse away your sins, only the blood of the lamb!
b. There is nothing else available that can give you a place in heaven, only the lamb of God - Christ - can give you eternal life.
c. Pharaoh's first born son died that night, though the first born son of Pharaoh was considered a "god" just like Pharaoh was.
d. Both Jew and Egyptian lost their firstborn sons if they failed to apply the blood and accept the sacrifice of the lamb … and the truth is that every human will be lost in sin and fail to find heaven if they don't accept God's sacrifice found in Christ!
(1. It is not religion that will save you.
(2. It is not Church membership that will save you.
(3. It is not baptism that will save you.
(4. It is not education that will save you.
(5. It is not technology that will save you.
(6. ONLY the Lamb of God can save you, and only when you take Him into your life and apply the blood of His sacrifice will you find eternal life!
2. Sin demanded a price … the price of death … it required a perfect flawless lamb, and there has only ever been one of these! "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that who ever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
3. God Himself paid the penalty for us so that we could live free from sin's penalty and power.
ILLUS:Zaleusus flourished about 500 B.C. His government over the Locrians was severe but just. In one of his decrees he forbade the use of wine unless it were prescribed as medicine; and in another he ordered that all adulterers should be punished with the loss of both their eyes. When his own son became subject to this penalty, the father, in order to maintain the authority of the laws, but to show parental leniency, shared the penalty with his son by ordering one of his own eyes to be thrust out along with one of his offending son. In this way, the majesty of his government was maintained, and his own character as a just and righteous sovereign was magnified in the eyes of his subjects. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 39.
4. The horrible price of sin was paid, God paid the price Himself in Christ as the "lamb of God" - God bore our sins, bore our penalty, and bought us our freedom from sin.
a. The only question now is "have you applied the blood of the lamb to your life?"
b. Do you know the freedom from sin that comes in Christ Jesus?
c. Why would you fail to accept God's sacrifice, what do you think you can gain by staying in slavery to sin?
d. Christ will accept all those who call upon His name.
CONCLUSION: After 430 years of slavery Israel had no way to be free … only God could save them. They had nothing to free themselves with, so God provided a lamb - yes, a lamb would be God's provision for life and freedom. Jesus Christ was called "the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) Have you accepted God's lamb, or are you still a slave to sin?