Never Forget

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Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness.

Exodus(30) (Part of the Rescued(29) series)
by Stuart Johns(233) on March 3, 2024 (Sunday Morning(336))

Deliverance(4), Faithfulness(16), Omnipotent(3)

Rescued

Never Forget

(Exodus 12:14-20)

 

INTRODUCTION

“London witnessed a spectacular scene recently when a giant wooden replica of the city ignited and burned brilliantly to the ground. The conflagration was planned, however, in honor of the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. The original fire began on September 2, 1666, in the early morning at a bakery on Pudding Lane. The surrounding structures were soon engulfed, and the fire spread to the rest of the city, lasting four entire days. The modern-day festival to remember the disaster is known as ‘London's Burning’ and contains four days of free art events, concluding this year with the grand burning of the replica of medieval London.

 

At first glance, it seems a bit odd to celebrate such a catastrophe-especially with another fire. However, as gruesome as the Great Fire may have been, it now has its place firmly etched into the city's history as a turning point: the beginning of a time of regrowth and resurgence for London.

 

Christians arguably perform the same ‘odd’ type of ritual when we take communion and decorate our homes and sacred buildings with crosses. We not only commemorate the brutal murder of Jesus, but we adorn our worship with the murder weapon: the cross, one of the most widely known torture devices of that time period. And yet it doesn't seem strange to us—because we know that what Satan intended to be the ultimate act of evil, God turned around to be the ultimate act of love.”

 

Source: "Wooden sculpture of London goes up in flames to mark Great Fire anniversary," Yahoo! News (Sept. 5, 2016).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2016/september/9091916.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Experiences I will never forget

        • Wedding day

        • Birth of our three sons

        • Weddings of our children

        • Birth of our grandchildren

        • Calling into pastoral ministry

        • Ordination with the United Brethren in Christ

 

  • WE

    • What experiences have we all had that we will never forget?

 

The Lord has just given Moses and Aaron the instructions for Passover and now He outlines a festival celebration that will be a lasting ordinance for the Israelites for the future, so they will never forget how He rescued them from Egypt. ​​ The Feast of Unleavened Bread is to be followed precisely. ​​ Anyone who was unfaithful to the instructions would be cut off from the Israelites.  ​​​​ The Israelites were to demonstrate their faith in God’s savings power by being faithful to His commands. ​​ The same is true for us. ​​ Our big idea today is . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness. ​​ [Stuart, 284]

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Exodus 12:14-20)

    • In verses 14-20 we see a couple of things

        • Verses 14-16 provide general instructions about a commemorative festival

        • Verses 17-20 provide more specifics about the festival

        • So, we are going look at various parts of the festival and review the general and specific sections together

    • What (vv. 14a, 15b, 16, 17a, 19b-c, 20a, c)

        • Festival/Feast of Unleavened Bread (vv. 14a, 17a)

          • The Lord told Moses and Aaron that the Israelites were to commemorate this day

            • The day that is being referred to is Passover, the day in which the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt

            • They were to celebrate a festival to the Lord every year so the generations to come would not forget that God is a delivering God

            • “Why did God want his people to remember the exodus so carefully? ​​ Because it was his supreme Old Covenant demonstration of deliverance, and he wanted his people to trust him as a delivering God. . . . The Old Covenant exodus was the paradigm of God’s saving acts; the New Testament crucifixion was the ultimate exodus because it delivers not merely from bondage to human despotism but from bondage to sin itself, and thus it provides for life not merely in a promised earthly land but in an eternal promised land, the home of the Father.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 282]

            • The Passover foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – We can trust God to deliver us.

              • We commemorate Jesus’ perfect sacrifice when we observe Holy Communion

              • Through communion we are joining Jesus in His suffering and death – we remember His body that was broken and His blood that was poured out for us

              • Our faith in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice is demonstrated through our faithfulness in observing Holy Communion

              • Gospel

                • Romans 3:23 (all have sinned)

                • Romans 6:23 (we deserve separation from God)

                • Romans 5:8 (God loved us even as sinners)

                • Romans 10:9-10, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

              • Are you ready to trust God to deliver you from your sin today?

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to deliver me from my sin.

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – “It is important that we remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us.” ​​ [Merida, 66]

              • That is precisely what the Lord wanted the Israelites to do every year

              • When is the last time we have stopped to remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us?

                • Some of us pause on Thanksgiving Day and share what we are thankful for

                • We don’t have to wait for a specific time each year to remind ourselves, and others

                • We can remind ourselves, and others, each morning or evening

                • Some people keep a “grateful journal” where they write down everything they are grateful for

                • Let’s take some time this morning to remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us [allow people to share]

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Remind _________ (myself/others) that God has done ________ in my life.

            • While verse 14 gives us the general description of a festival, verse 17 gives us the specific name of the festival

          • Feast of Unleavened Bread

            • We learn that the name of the festival is Feast of Unleavened Bread

            • We also learn that the day that is being referred to is the day that the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions

            • The first two principles are evident again in verse 17

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – We can trust God to deliver us.

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – “It is important that we remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us.” ​​ [Merida, 66]

          • So far we have learned that the festival is the Feast of Unleavened Bread and it was designed to help the Israelites remember that God was their deliverer

          • Now we learn more details about what was required during this festival

        • No yeast (vv. 15b, 19b-c, 20a, c)

          • Decree

            • They were to remove all yeast from their homes before the festival began

              • There were a couple of ways to make bread with yeast as Stuart outlines [Stuart, 283]

                • Dip dough in wine or vinegar and then air it out in the sun, so it would pick up the airborne yeast spores, before storing it in a closed vessel until it fermented

                • Knead flour and water, add salt, boil the mix into a porridge, then leave it until it went sour

              • They probably stored whatever yeast they had in a closed container and removed it from their homes, so that the unleavened bread (matzoth) they made would not accidentally be leavened bread

              • They would be able to tell if their unleavened bread was accidentally “yeasted,” because it would not be a flat cracker sheet

            • They were to eat nothing that had yeast in it

            • They had to eat unleavened bread during the festival

            • In the New Testament we see the use of yeast as a symbol for how thoroughly evil can corrupt and influence our lives (1 Cor. 5:6-8)

            • Here the removal of yeast did not necessarily symbolize the corrupting influence of evil

            • “Rather, its nonuse for these seven days in the bread one eats simply reminds the consumer that when God says ‘Go,’ he means, ‘Go now. ​​ Drop everything you’re doing.’ ​​ When a smoke detector goes off in one’s house, through its sharp beeps it is saying, ‘Evacuate immediately.’ ​​ Before leaving, the occupant may scoop up a few family photos, but one will not vacuum the carpets first!” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus, An Exegetical Commentary, 187]

            • When we do something consistently for a period of time, it has the tendency to fix it in our minds

            • The same would be true for the Israelites as they ate unleavened bread for seven straight days – it would help them to remember and not forget God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt

          • Consequences

            • The Israelites knew that if they did not obey the Lord’s decree, they would be cut off from the community

              • Being cut off from the community could take various forms as Hamilton suggests [Hamilton, 188]

                • An earlier-than-expected death

                • Childlessness

                • The elimination of the sinner’s family and descendants

                • Failure to join and enjoy the hereafter with one’s family already in the land of eternal bliss

              • It could also simply mean, “by their actions, they exclude themselves from being members of the ‘holy nation’.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 226]

              • The Old Testament has a wide variety of commands that had the same warning concerning being “cut off” for disobedience [Stuart, 284]

                • Failure to practice circumcision (Gen. 17:14)

                • Failure to eat unleavened bread during Passover (Exod. 12:15, 19)

                • Illegally manufacturing or using the sacred anointing oil (Exod. 30:32-33, 38)

                • Violating the Sabbath (Exod. 31:14)

                • Eating sacrificed food while ritually impure (Lev. 7:20-21)

                • Eating the fat or blood of a sacrifice (Lev. 7:25, 27)

                • Slaughter/sacrifice outside the tabernacle (Lev. 17:4, 9)

                • Forbidden sexual practices (Lev. 18:29; 20:17-18)

                • Child sacrifice (Lev. 20:2-5)

                • Necromancy (trying to divine the future by contact with the dead; Lev. 20:6)

                • Worship function by a defiled priest (Lev. 22:3)

                • Failure to observe the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:29-30)

                • Failure to commemorate Passover (Num. 9:13)

                • Defiant, intentional sin (Num. 15:30-31)

                • Failure to purify oneself after contact with the dead (Num. 19:13, 20)

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness. [Stuart, 284]

              • “The person who defies God’s regulations shows that he has no interest in keeping covenant with him and therefore will eventually suffer the consequences of not obeying God. . . . The proof of faith is a faithful life.” ​​ [Stuart, 284]

              • Application

                • Where are you today?

                • Are you living a faithful life or are you defying or ignoring God’s regulations?

                • There are consequences for defying or ignoring His regulations

                • Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. ​​ For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. ​​ But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Prove my faith in God by being faithful to His commands and regulations.

            • Those who ate leavened bread during the festival would be cut off from the community of Israel

          • There is one more part to the what

        • Sacred assembly (v. 16)

          • The beginning and the end of the festival were to be marked as special and sacred

            • On the first and seventh days of the festival they were to have a sacred assemble

            • The sacred assembly was a gathering of all the people in order to worship the Lord

            • It would probably include sacrifices to the Lord

          • Regulations for the first and seventh days

            • No working (regular work)

            • Only food preparation was allowed, but that was all

            • Does this remind you of anything in our modern culture?

              • How about the 4th of July celebrations

              • We remember (commemorate) our nation's independence every year

              • Most everyone is off work that day

              • Most of us have some kind of gathering with family and friends, which includes eating (food preparation)

              • The only part that differs from the sacred assembly of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are sacrifices to the Lord (animal and grain) – hopefully we pause to thank the Lord for the freedoms He has given us in the United States and for the food He has provided

            • This was another opportunity for the Israelites to demonstrate their faith by being faithful to the regulation of not working

            • Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness.

        • We move on from the “what” to the “how long”

    • How long (vv. 14b, 15a, 17b, 19a)

        • Lasting ordinance (vv. 14b, 17b)

          • It was to be an annual festival to the Lord for the generations to come

          • The fact that it was a lasting ordinance meant that there was no limit to the number of years it would be celebrated

          • The Lord’s Supper

            • Think about the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) for us as followers of Jesus Christ

            • It is a lasting ordinance, for us, until Jesus returns

            • 1 Corinthians 11:23b-26, For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 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.” ​​ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” ​​ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

          • It was an annual festival for an unlimited amount of time

          • There was a limit to the length of the festival each year, though

        • Seven days (vv. 15a, 19a)

          • The festival lasted seven days

          • One week of festivities – that would be amazing!

        • We know it was a festival to the Lord that lasted seven days each year for an unlimited number of years, but when was the festival supposed to happen each year?

    • When (v. 18)

        • First month (Abib)

          • Exodus 13:4, Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving.

          • If you remember from Exodus 12:2, the Lord instituted a new calendar for Israel [read Exodus 12:2]

          • The name of the first month was later changed to Nisan (NYE-san)

          • In our modern calendar it represents March-April

        • Days 14-21

          • The festival began with Passover at twilight on the 14th day of Abib/Nisan

          • Leviticus 23:4-8, “‘These are the Lord’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. ​​ On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. ​​ On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. ​​ For seven days present an offering made to the Lord by fire. ​​ And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’”

        • The festival was to take place on Abib 14-21 every year, but who was supposed to participate?

    • Who (v. 19d)

        • Everyone

          • Men, women, and children were allowed to celebrate Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

          • Native-born and aliens could participate

          • There was a restriction for males, though

            • They had to be circumcised

            • This wasn’t a problem for the Israelites, because they circumcised their sons at eight days old

            • Exodus 12:48-49, “An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. ​​ No uncircumcised male may eat of it. ​​ The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.”

        • Everyone was welcome to participate in the seven day festival to the Lord

    • Where (v. 20b)

        • Wherever you live

          • There was not a restriction on where you could celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

          • If you were not in the Promised Land, you could still participate

        • What a relief for those who had been scattered many years later in Babylon and Persia and the Roman Empire

 

  • YOU

    • Are you ready to trust God to deliver you from your sin?

    • Whom do you need to remind and what do you need to remind them of that God has done in your life?

    • Do you need to prove your faith in God by being faithful to His commands and regulations?

 

  • WE

    • Whom do we need to remind and what do we need to remind them of that God has done in the life of Idaville Church?

    • Do we need to prove our faith in God by being faithful to His commands and regulations for us as a body of believers?

CONCLUSION

In a 2017 lecture, Mark Meynell addressed the connection between identity and memory:

 

BBC Radio 3, the U.K.'s primary classical music station, ran a fascinating series of articles on music and memory. Adam Zeman, a Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, wrote about amnesia and memory loss and their relationship to epilepsy. Zeman mentioned two patients, Peter and Marcus, who described their amnesia in very similar terms. One said: ‘My memory of my past is a blank space. I feel lost and hopeless. I'm trying to explore a void.’ Both described how disconcerting it is to look at photos. Even though they recognize themselves, they have no recollection of the moment. One said that it's like ‘reading a biography of a stranger.’ He's conscious of recent memories slipping away from him, like ships sailing out to sea in the fog, never to be seen again.

 

Two things stand out in Zeman's essay. First, without memory, it's hard to cling to an identity. So one of the patients said: ‘I don't have the moorings that other people draw on to know who they are.’ Second, it's hard to have hope when we don't know our past. As Zeman explained, ‘The inability to invoke the past greatly impedes their ability to imagine a future.’”

 

Source: Mark Meynell, "The Pulpit and the Body of Christ," Covenant Seminary 2017 Preaching Lectures.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2018/march/remembrance-of-lords-supper-provides-spiritual-mooring.html]

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