Once again, I am preparing to teach our Sunday School lesson at Southern Calvert Baptist Church. I am excited to begin teacher training soon because I love studying the Scriptures with others. There is great fellowship that comes with sitting around the Word of God and discovering Truth directly from the mind of God. Our church has some great Sunday School teachers and I am excited to be part of such an amazing team. As a church, we are walking through the book of Exodus. So far, we have covered the following topics:
In this lesson, we are going to discover the fact that the first Passover instituted by God is a foreshadowing of the Perfect Sacrifice of Christ to bring about deliverance and freedom to all who believe. Our main passage is Exodus 12:1-13.
I. The Good News
The Apostle Paul writes to believers in a predominately Gentile church located in Asia Minor (Modern Day Turkey). There were also Jewish people who had accepted Christ as the Messiah and been born again and placed into the body of Christ. Some confusion arose between the Gentiles and the Jews about some of the Old Testament teachings. They needed some guidance. The Apostle Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit to write and resolve this misunderstanding. This is what he wrote:
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)
Many of the teachings of the Old Testament were preparing the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. When Jesus came on the scene and accomplished His ministry, the Jews were supposed to recognize Him as the Messiah based on all of the clues in the Old Testament. One of those shadows was the Sacrificial Lamb of the Passover, a yearly event. First of all, God gives very specific commands to the people about what they were supposed to do and why. He tells them what kind of animal to sacrifice, what they were to do with the blood, and why they were to do it. When the Lord was going to go through the land of Egypt, the blood of the lamb would spare from the wrath of God. This required the Jewish people to have faith in God’s Word. Their faith was to lead them to action, the action of obedience (James 2:14-26). Obedience to the Word of God would bring about deliverance and freedom from their oppressors so that they could worship God. There is a clear model here that we see in the Gospel. Man has a death sentence and the only thing that will spare him from that death sentence is the death of an innocent sacrifice. That message has to be shared with the people and then they have to choose to believe the message or not. If they believe, that faith leads them to the good work of obedience. If they obey based on faith, they receive deliverance from slavery and get to live in freedom so that they can worship God. This is the message of the Gospel. All people have a death sentence because of our sin nature. God promises to deal with our sin nature through the death of the Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ (John 1:29). We have to make a choice; either we believe God and obey or we choose not to believe and not obey. If we believe and obey, then, we receive deliverance from our slavery to our sin nature, are able to walk/live in freedom so that we are able to worship God moment by moment, day by day (Romans 6:4-7).
Do you take God at His Word? Have you accepted the Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay the price for your sins? Have you been set free from slavery to your sin nature? Are you walking/living in the freedom that God offers to you? Do you worship God daily? Do you have a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ?
II. Celebrating the Good News
The Passover was also to be a reminder. It pointed in two different directions at the same time. It pointed to the coming of the Messiah who would deliver from spiritual slavery and, at the same time, it pointed back to deliverance from physical slavery. It was a reminder. Jesus took the Passover and used the occasion to institute what we call the Lord’s Supper today. It also goes by the name Communion and the Eucharist. The Lord’s Supper has a three fold purpose, according to the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 11.
- The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins. The Lord’s Supper is also a reminder of the resurrection of Christ to set us free from our slavery to our sin nature. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we remember these two monumental events.
- The Lord’s Supper is a reminder that Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth again one day. He came the first time as a Suffering Servant, riding on a donkey, seeking to make peace between God and man. When He returns for the second time and places His feet on the earth, He will be riding a white horse, coming to make war and pour out the wrath of God on all who do not believe or obey the Gospel.
- In between remembering and reminding, we have the third purpose of the Lord’s Supper. It is a time for followers of Jesus Christ to examine our relationships. We begin with examining our relationship with God. Then we examine our relationships in our homes. Finally, we end with examining our relationships with our fellow brothers and sisters in the Church (the local body of Christ). As the 10 Commandments and the Greatest Commandment teach us, our relationship with God will impact our relationships with others. We cannot claim that our relationship with God is fine if we have poor relationships in our homes and with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. If and when God shows us where we are wrong, we need to confess and repent, seeking to restore the broken relationships and then take the Lord’s Supper.
Do these three things happen when you take the Lord’s Supper? Usually, we can do the first two without a problem because that does not deal with confession and repentance. It is just between God and us. We have a really hard time with number three because we do not like to be confronted and we do not like to admit that there are problems in our relationships. We also try to avoid dealing with conflicts, hoping that they will just magically go away. When is the last time that taking the Lord’s Supper led to restored relationships in your home or church? For some of you, it has probably never happened because the Lord’s Supper has become a ritual and routine and you never really take the time to dwell on the significance of it. Now would be a good time to examine your relationships and allow God to examine your heart as you examine those relationships. Are their conflicts in your life? Do you need to call someone and confess, asking for forgiveness? Is there someone whom you need to forgive? Are you willing to break the ice and reach out to that person? May the Lord help us live in the freedom that He promises to us by examining our lives daily and obeying His leading!!!