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A sermon on Passover from Exodus 12:12-37 September 7, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Exodus, Passover, Religion, Sermons.
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WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS SERVICE?

Exodus 12:12-37

During the next couple of months, we are looking at the various feasts of the Jews that are mentioned in Leviticus 23. We are not going to look at them in chronological order but we are going to begin with the first of the feasts of the Jews, Passover.

Now the first question we need to ask ourselves is actually the title of this sermon. This is the question that God expected that children might ask when observing future Passovers.

A couple of years ago, Steve Rutledge, a missionary to the Jews in New York City was with us and explained the various parts of the Passover Seder. Integrated into the Seder were the questions that the children are supposed to ask.

 

(Excerpt from the Seder that we observed a couple of years ago.)

Child: Why is this night different than all other nights? Why on all other nights do we eat bread with leaven, but on this night we eat only unleavened bread? Why on all other nights do we eat of all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat bitter herbs? Why on all other nights do we not dip herbs at all, but on this night we dip them twice? Why on all other nights do we eat in the normal way, but on this night we eat with special ceremony?

 

Later we are going to read the answers to these questions but I want us first of all to look at the Scriptures on which the answer is based. In doing this, I trust that you will better understand not only why the Jew celebrate Passover but also why we do many of the things which we do, including Communion.

It is a memorial, that is, it is intended to remind us of a great event, the 10th plague against the Egyptians and the resulting Exodus from Egypt of the Israelites (12:14; 13:9). There are two things that Exodus 12:27 tells us they are to remember.

God strikes those who oppose Him (12:27). Exodus records for us how that God smote Egypt. In Exodus 4:21-23 we find that when God called Moses, He made it plain that He was going to do more than just deliver His people from slavery. He had plans to humble the land of Egypt so that they might know that He is the true God. There are two things interesting about God’s dealings with Pharaoh.

First, it was never intended to bring them to faith but rather to realization of the greatness of God (14:4, 23-28).

Secondly, it was a complete judgment. When you read the Scriptures and see the occasions when God judges a people, they most often are significantly different from the natural disasters like hurricanes or diseases like AIDS. When God judges it is devastating. Not one blade of grass is left, not one stone is left standing on another, no one is able during the judgment of God to stand before Him.

God delivers with a mighty hand (12:17). God intended for Israel to remember that He delivered them, He snatched them from slavery and set them free. Look again at Exodus 13:9. God wanted them to learn His law, His direction, His instruction through the remembrance of the mighty work which He did in passing over them, separating them from the Egyptians, and delivering them from Egypt. We see this practiced in Psalm 78. Let us look at verses 1-8 and if you would please stay open to this psalm. In verses 4-5 we see again that the law is simply the expression of the mighty works of God. Now it is true that there are many more principles expressed in the law of Moses but those moral principles are worthless without the delivering power of God. Now what was this instruction in the power of God, this law, supposed to accomplish?

They were to develop a true knowledge of God (verse 6). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person thinks.

They were to develop a true hope in God (verse 7a). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person feels.

They were to develop a true obedience to God (verses 7b-8). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person does.

How then does this apply to us as Christians, we who are not Jews? Turn to Galatians 1:2-3, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…”

You see, when Christ died for our sins, He snatched us from this evil age that humankind finds itself in. Our sins enslave us, holding us captive to this evil world. Since the time of Adam and Eve, humankind has been captive, but Christ died to free us from our sins and to free us from this world. John Wesley described his own conversion this way, like a brand snatched from the burning. That is the deliverance that Christ has provided for all of us who have put our faith and trust in Him.

Have you trusted Christ? He came to deliver you and me from sin and this evil world but unless you are willing like the Israelites were to believe the message of God, you will be struck by God, smitten of God, rather than delivered by Him. What is the message of God. Galatians 1:6-7 calls it the gospel of Christ, the good news of Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:12-15 clarifies both what the message of Christ is and what the alternative is.

You can try to please God through your flesh and be smitten of God in eternity or you can trust Christ and be crucified to this world and become a new creature.

 

Conclusion: I would like for us to read responsively the answers to the questions that the child would ask.

Leader: We will now answer the four questions concerning Passover that you have asked.

People: Once we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord in His goodness and mercy brought us out of that land with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

Leader: Had God not rescued us from the hand of the destroyer, surely we and our children would still be enslaved, deprived of freedom and human dignity.

People: Once we worshipped idols and were enslaved by our sins, but God in His goodness and mercy forgave our transgressions and called us to be His people.

Leader: Therefore, tonight is different than other nights because we have gathered to remember who we are, what God has done for us, and to tell to our children the story of God’s grace and deliverance.

People: Praise be to God who is everywhere. Praise be to God who has brought us freedom and has delivered us from all that enslaves us!

 

 

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