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Preparing For Passover

Passover will arrive in about fifteen days. Most churches who call themselves Christian do not observe Passover and other annual holy days as instructed by Leviticus 23:1-44. They explain that we do not need to keep Old Testament laws; that Christ nailed to the cross when He was crucified. Did He? The Bible doesn't state that He did. In fact, Paul wrote Rom 2:13 that the doers of the law will be justified and Christ stated in Mat 5:17-18 that He did not come to destroy the law. In about 90 AD, sixty years after Christ's crucifix, John wrote in 1John 3:4 that sin is the breaking of the law. In Exodus 12:43-50 God tells us that the ordinance (H2708, a special ritual law) of Passover must be kept. Christ obviously knew that. 1Cor10:11 and 1Pet 2:21 tell us that we are to follow Christ's example. That example includes Mat 26:17-18 where Christ tells His disciples to prepare the Passover. So, to not keep the Passover is a sin.

We must always be thankful God has blessed us with this knowledge of the Passover. Most people in the world know nothing of it. And most who do know of it, do not know how or when to celebrate it.

Today I want to show you how you can profit from the Passover.

Let's begin by considering God's instructions regarding the Passover.

(Exo 12:11 NKJV) 'And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on you waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover.'

Why were they to eat in haste? Why were they dressed to leave immediately? Were they going to leave that night?

(Verse 22 KJV) 'And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.'
(Verse 29 KJV) 'And it came to pass that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the first born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.'

Some would have you believe that they left Passover that night, but that's not what scripture says, is it? Verses 31-36 describe the spoiling of the Egyptians. That takes time, even when the Egyptians were desperate for the Israelites to leave the contry before any more Egyptians were killed. Verse 32 states that Pharaoh instructed them to take their cattle, contrary to what he had just told Moses. Are their belongings earlier so they could leave immediately?

(Verse 13 KJV) 'Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.'

They were protected from the death penalty, and so are we, through the blood of Christ. Did they earn the protection? No, the Lamb earned it with His life.

(Lev 23:5 NKJV) 'On the fourteenth of the first month at twilight is the Lord's Passover.'

"Twilight" is translated from the Hebrew word "Ben ha-arbayim" which means "between the two evenings or between sunset and dark" -twilight. Since Biblical days begin at sunset, twilight has to be the beginning of the fourteenth.

(Exo 13:10 NASB) 'Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.'

But most of Judaism does not do that. It postpones its calendar so as to keep the holydays at the more convenient time by keeping it on the fifteenth day. And, sadly, many in God's Church blindly follow them. And many church leaders encourage them to do so.

(Exo 12:43 NKJV) 'And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it."

In God's church, this is interpreted to mean that only baptized members can eat it. Rom 2:28-29 will tell us why:

(Rom2:28-29NASB) 'For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. {29} But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is on the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
(Acts 2:38 NASB) 'And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'

People can not repent and be forgiven of sins when they are only days old. Hence, infant baptism is meaningless.

Now I want to read two parallel verses to you. Turn first to Mark 14.

(Mark 14:12 KJV) 'And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him. Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?'

They seemed intent to kill the Passover on the first day of unleavened bread. But we know they killed the Passover on the fourteenth, not the fifteenth. So we have an example here where Mark called the fourteenth the first day of unleavened bread. We know that at the time the verse 12 question was asked, that it was the fourteenth or maybe even earlier. Now let's look at how Matthew described it.

(Mat 26:17 KJV) 'Now the first day of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him. "Where wilt thou that we prepare for You to eat the Passover?"

Notice that a few words have been added by the translators. What the Greek actually says is "Now on the first of the Unleavened Bread....." When Matthew wrote this, he knew that Christ had specified that unleavened bread would be eaten at the "Christian" Passover meal. It had nothing to do with the unleavened bread dough of the original Passover. It had to do with healing and symbolically putting sin out of our lives. Between these two verses we can piece together what I believe was intended. "Before (the Greek word is protos, G4413, meaning first in importance or order) the first day of the season when unleavened bread was to be eaten, when they killed the Passover, the disciples said to Jesus, where would you like for us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" The Passover meal was still future. Why and when did they ask this question? In verse 2, Jesus warned them that Passover was only two days away. Verses 3 and 4 indicates the evil chief priests, scribes, elders, and high priest consulted together how they might kill Jesus. Verse 5 points out that they could not kill him on the first day of unleavened bread (Abib 15 per Lev 23:6) because that was a high day. That left only Abib 14, the day when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.

Let's go back to Exodus 12:

(Exo 12:6 KJV) 'And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly on the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.'

I think we would all agree that Christ observed the Passover on the evening portion of the fourteenth and was crucified on the daylight portion of the fourteenth.

(Mat 26:20 KJV) 'Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.'

When the evening of the fourteenth came, Jesus was ready to celebrate the Passover.

Again, another point to remember is that, since unleavened bread is used in the Passover service, the fourteenth is also a day of unleavened bread.

What other instructions do we have?

(John 13:15 KJV) 'For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.'

Our example is Jesus Christ. When Passover arrives at sunset, we should be at Passover services, ready for services to begin.

(Exo 12:42 NKJV) 'It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

What was accomplished by Christ's sacrifice?

(Isa 53:5 KJV) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The Hebrew word for "transgressions" is "pe-sha", H6588, meaning "rebellions." So He was pierced or wounded for our rebellions against the law-all laws.

The Hebrew word for "iniquities" is "Av-on", H5771, which means "perverseness" or "moral evils." So he was crushed or bruised for the wrong things that we think and do. Doesn't this apply to us all?

The rest of the verse is self-explanatory.

(1Cor 11 23-29 NASB) ' For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; {24} and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." {25} In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." {26} For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. {27} Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. {28} But let a man examine himself, and drink of the cup. {29} For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body [of the Lord} rightly.

So, notice that before we eat or drink the Passover, we must examine ourselves. If we don't judgment will fall upon us.

(Psa 103:2-3 NKJV) Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: {3} Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
(James 5:14NKJV) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Remember what we just read in Isaiah. By Christ's wounds or stripes we are healed. And speaking of healing, I do hear of occasional sicknesses and infirmities in the church, but I receive few requests for anointing. Are we showing a lack of faith and appreciation for Christ's sacrifice or is our faith in pills and doctors stronger? Or is the church really healthier than some report?

(Mat 26:28-29 NKJV) "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission os sins. {29}" But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."

Christ's blood (symbolized by the wine) is for the forgiveness of sins.

(John 6:48-62 NKJV) "I am the bread of life. {49} "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. {50} " This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. {51} "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." {52} The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" {53} Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. {54}"Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. {55} "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. {56} "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. {57} "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. {58} "This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." {59} These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. {60} Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" {61} When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? {62} "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?"

Look at these verses again: Christ's flesh (symbolized by the bread) gives us eternal life, but only in concert with His blood, which is for the forgiveness of sins. We can not have eternal life without forgiveness of sins and we can not have forgiveness of sins without accepting Christ's sacrifice.

The one part of the Passover services we have not touched on is the foot washing. What is the purpose of foot washing? It is an act of humility. Let's notice John 13:8.

(John 13:8NKJV) ........."If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."

Now let's look at Mat 18:3:

(Mat 18:3NKJV) ......unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Our very ability to enter into God's Kingdom depends upon our humility. We must get rid of all vanity and pride. That brings us to the days of unleavened bread- a symbol of putting out sin including vanity.

(Exo 12:15 NKJV) "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh, that person shall be cut off from Israel."
(Exo 13:6-7 NASB) "for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD> {7} "Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders."

Remember what we read in 1 Cor 11:28:

(NIV) "A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup."
(1Cor 11:27 NASB) Therefore whoever eats the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

Now let's look at seven actions by which we should examine ourselves prior to Passover.

1. The first action is repentance.

(Luke 13:1-6 NASB) Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. {2} And he answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this fate? {3} "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. {4}"Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? {5} " I tell you, no , but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Christ here warns us that we can not be in the Kingdom without repentance.

(Psa 19:7-14 NKJV) The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul, The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; {8} The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure enlightening the eyes; {9}The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. {10} More to be desired are they than gold, Yea than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. {11} Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. {12} Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. {13} Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. {14} Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Aren't these the same kinds of sins we suffer from?

(2Cor 7:10-11 NKJV) For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. {11} For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehiment desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

What is worldly sorrow? Worldly sorrow is being sorry abut a matter after you are found out. It could be called embarrassment. Godly sorrow is a feeling of guilt before God for disobeying him and letting Him down.

(Psa 51 KJV) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to they lovingkindness; according unto the multitude of they tender mercies blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. {4} Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. {5}Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. {6} Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. {7} Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. {8} Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. {9} Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. {10} Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. {11} Cast me not away from they presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. {12} Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. {13} Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. {14} Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. {15} O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. {16} For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it : thou delightest not in burnt offering. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. {18} Do good in they good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. {19} Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole brunt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

David expressed Godly sorrow and repentance.

(1 John 1:8-9 NKJV) 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.

How repentant are we? Do we repent when we sin... or just when our sins are found out?

2. The second action in order to profit from Passover is Prayer.

(Mark 1:35 NKJV) Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
(Mat 26:36 NKJV) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."
(Mat 26:38 NKJV) Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."

(1 Thes 5:17 KJV) Pray without ceasing.

(Heb 5:7 NASB) In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

How much do we pray-and how fervent are we toward the one who can save us from death?

3. The third action in order to profit from Passover is through Bible Study.

(Isa 66:2 NASB) " For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being." declares the LORD. "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

We won't tremble at God's word unless we read and study it.

(Acts 17:11 NASB) Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things [what Paul said] were so.

How much do you study the Bible? Do you tremble at God's word? Do you prove what ministers tell you is true? Do you have a scheduled time for Bible study so you do not neglect it? Does it have a higher priority than worldly pleasures?

4. The fourth action in order to profit from Passover is through fasting.

(Mat 9:14-15 NKJV) Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?" {15} And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

How often and for what purpose do you fast? Do you fast to get closer to God.... or to lose weight?

5. The fifth action in profiting from Passover is by Love.

(John 13:35 NKJV) "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Whether or not you believe in church eras, remember that the Philadelphia Church, described in Rev 3:7-13, is the church of brotherly love. It is to this church that God expresses his love and satisfaction, and where He also makes His promises that they will be pillars in His temple contingent upon the church overcoming.

(1Cor 13 NASB) If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. {2} And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. {3} And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. {4} Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, {5} does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, {6} does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; {7} bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. {8} Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. {9} For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; {10} but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. {11} When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. {12} For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then fact to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully know. {13} But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1John 4:21 NKJV) And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

How is your love for your brother? Are you really concerned about others-or is your love dulled by worldly cares, personal resentments, and selfish concerns?

6. The sixth action in profiting from Passover is via Overcoming.

(Rom 2:26 NKJV) Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?
(1Cor 6:7 NASB) Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

Is this our attitude when brethren are hostile or take advantage of us?

How much have we really overcome this past year? Do we still have problems with others? Do we still have problems obeying God's laws? How hard do we try to overcome our carnal, worldly ways?

7. The seventh action concerns any loss of our original zeal for God's way of life.

(Jude 1:3 NASB) Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Jude here encourages the people to regain the faith that was once delivered to them.

And in Rev 2:5, the results of losing our original zeal are made clear.

(Rev 2:5 NKJV) " Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent."

How strong is your zeal? How does it compare with the zeal you had when you were first called? Is God talking to you in Rev. 2:5? Don't let someone else get your lamp-stand.

Brethern, Passover is almost upon us. Use the points of this sermon to examine yourself; then orient yourself to God, His word, and your fellow man. Don't just go to Passover because others do or because you know you are commanded to do so. You have chosen to follow the Bible instead of tradition. Prepare now for Passover, relate to what Passover services mean, and you will benefit far more than you'll ever know.

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell
9 March 2013
Copyright 2013, Wayne Bedwell

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