Galatians 5:13 NLT
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
We can look to the history of Israel for a great story about being liberated to freedom.
The Jewish Passover celebrates the Exodus, the freedom from slavery of the Children of Israel from ancient Egypt that followed the Ten Plagues.
In 2015, Passover starts at sunset on Friday April 3rd, and lasts until nightfall Friday April 10th, with Saturday April 11th being the 7th day.
To appreciate how long this celebration has been going on, the Jewish people were liberated somewhere around 1313 BC, so this is a celebration lasting over 2300 years and passed down over a hundred generations.
The celebration lasts a whole week each year, so I’m guessing that it’s something worth throwing a party over. Let’s see –
God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born.
The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the English name of the holiday.
When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason Passover was called the feast of unleavened bread in the Torah or Old Testament. Thus Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover and it is a tradition of the holiday.
You know, each of us chooses whether we are an Egyptian ruled by our sinful and selfish nature, hurting others by withholding the love and help they need, and oppressing and hurting others with our actions, words, judgement, condemnation, and accusation –
Or chooses to be a freed child of God. And we make this choice by calling on the Lord for help, by asking God to free us from our evil captors of sin, pride, shame, and guilt, and we spread the Blood of Christ over our lives in accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, acknowledging that His sacrifice is sufficient to reconcile our lives to God.
And when we do that, isn’t there an amazing reason to celebrate? Shouldn’t we run so fast away from those captors that we leave everything behind?
And this run to our personal exodus is not just a one time event at the moment of our salvation. It is a life long walk, each day, even each moment, rung from and resisting those old captors of evil.
And like the Egyptians who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their unfaithfulness, we too must walk out our faith in this life of ours for however many hours, days, weeks or years we have remaining.
But don’t we have an amazing reason to celebrate? Shouldn’t we celebrate each day with praise to the Lord?
And God doesn’t just want us polishing up on our theology but forgetting the more important things like mercy, forgiveness, and service unto others. He’s not looking for a heaven full of hard heated but well polished hypocrites. No, He is looking for a few good men and women, with softened hearts and cleaned minds who love God first in their lives and not just their words, who serve and love others with no selfish or prideful angle.
You see, scripture gives us a blueprint for our lives, and it shows us the greater picture of the complete picture that God is love. Yes, those who are blind to this truth will only see rules and regulations and punishment and wrath. And I fear this is because they are not listening to that still, quiet voice. That they are not using this instruction to work on themselves, but they are aiming it like a weapon at others.
But we are His children. We know His voice. We see His example of a life walking it out loving and obeying God, even if surrounded by those who do not. Of loving, healing, and forgiving those around us who don’t deserve it. Of praying for and showing honor and respect to those in authority over us, even if they are oppressing us or acting in ungodly ways. Of asking God to forgive those who hurt us and are our enemies.
Yes, we are called to serve one another in love. We are told that people will know us by how we love others.
Do people know me as a loving Christ follower?
Or as a well polished hypocrite?
Our actions speak much louder than our words.
We are the body of Christ.
Let’s love like Christ this week.
Let’s APPLY THE BLOOD to our lives!
Big Daddy Weave – “Redeemed”
SHARE WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Exodus 12:21-28 ESV
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the 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 will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service
Ephesians 1:7 ESV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 1:14 ESV
In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:20-22 ESV
And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
1 John 3:16 ESV
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.