Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Every kid loves to make their voice echo, right?
I think every adult, if they’re honest, even likes it
Normally, if you were to take an average size room like this, strip it bare, and yell, “ECHO”…you’d probably hear ECHo…ehco…echo.
But with all of this stuff in here, and all of these people in here, the sound gets stopped.
It’s not the right environment for an echo.
We’re starting a new series this morning called…echoes.
And I think you’re going to find it fascinating.
Because the Bible echoes.
Stories that are in the first 2/3 of the Bible (called the Old Testament), which is everything in God’s story up to Jesus…
Many of those stories ECHO in the New Testament..
And then…they ECHO again…in our lives.
But here’s the problem.
We rarely see it. We rarely hear it.
And I think a part of the problem is our lives are just full.
They’re like rooms full of busy people, walking around and talking about…so we don’t hear the echo.
We don’t see the storyline.
So today…while you’re all here…and it’s quiet…and I want to strip it all back…and look at how one of God’s most important stories…ECHOES.
THE ISRAELITE STORY
To get started, we have to go back in time. Almost 4,000 years ago. About 1,900 years before Jesus.
To a man named Joseph.
Perhaps you’ve heard of him.
Nowadays, he’s most famous for his Technicolor dream coat.
Which is just a Broadway Musical based on the real Bible story from the book of Genesis…the 1st book of the Bible.
Joseph, because his brothers were jealous of his ridiculously awesome coat (and because he was daddy’s favorite) had him sold into slavery in Egypt.
To make a long story short: While there, Joseph gets wrongly thrown into prison, but ends up interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, and is eventually elevated to Pharaoh’s right-hand man.
The combination of Joseph’s leadership and his awesome dream-interpretation skills, helps save Egypt from a horrendous famine.
Joseph’s family…including his brothers and father move to Egypt w/ him to escape the famine.
Joseph’s dad was called Jacob, but his name given by God was Israel.
Thus all of his descendants that moved to Egypt were called Israelites.
And, at first, they lived in Egypt in peace and quickly multiplied.
But after 400 years pass, in the next book of the Bible, Exodus, we’re told a new Pharaoh rises to power, “whom did not know Joseph”
The stories of Joseph were long forgotten, and well over a million Israelites were enslaved.
But God hates slavery.
So He picks a man named Moses to deliver his people, the Israelites, out of Egyptian slavery
You can read this quite suspenseful story in the first 20 chapters of Exodus if you’d like
So Moses confronts the evil Pharaoh about enslaving his people, and says, “Let my people go!” But the Pharaoh says, “Yeah, I don’t think so. That would be…quite the blow to our economy”
So God starts warning Pharaoh with plagues.
And maybe you’re thinking, “How could God do plagues? Isn’t that mean?”
Well, so is killing, beating, raping, and enslaving millions of people.
And God is a God who is interested in rescuing His people. So the plagues begin.
God just sent them some easy warnings at first. He didn’t even hurt them. He just damaged their crops. Their food supply. Turned the Nile to blood. Sent some frogs.
But every time…it didn’t deter the Egyptians… (Ooo..free frog legs from the sky!)
So God sent locusts, and boils, and darkness.
And each time Pharaoh refused to listen.
So, God, who is determined to rescue his people, continues to up the ante.
After 9 plagues, Pharaoh still refuses to let the Israelites go.
So Moses comes to Pharaoh and tells him what the 10th, and final, plague will be.
If you want to follow along today:
(Exodus 11:4-8) – NIV
4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
It’s a crazy story.
And it’s about to get crazier.
But I want you to know…before we continue. There is incredible purpose behind what happens here.
You may think…”Wow…that’s a big strong…or a bit much.”
But it’s not…because the story…in its ECHO…will be even more important. And even wider in scope.
Let’s see what happens next:
Moses now has to go back to the Israelites and tell them exactly how they are going to avoid this 10th and final plague.
(Exodus 12:3-7) - NIV
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.
Moses then gives God’s instructions about some other items they are to eat as well.
Let’s continue in verse 11
(Exodus 12:11) – NIV
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
A famous meal still celebrated by Jews all over the world today.
When you see Passover on your wall calendar with kitties at home…this is what it’s referring to.
But why is it called “Passover?”
Let’s keep reading
(Exodus 12:12-13) - NIV
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
So, what happened here?
Each Israelite household was to find a lamb (without defect…which is important)
And then after the lamb is killed, they are to put some of its blood on the sides and top of their doorframe.
Then, when the Lord comes through, they will be passed over (the Passover)
They will be saved by the blood of the lamb.
And if you keep reading in Exodus, that final 10th plague was enough to finally free the Israelites from slavery
NEW TESTAMENT CONNECTIONS
It’s a phenomenal story.
HOWEVER, there’s more. A LOT more.
See…that was just the first story.
It’s about to echo.
So much of the Old Testament finds its greater meaning in the New Testament…once Jesus comes.
So let’s fast forward 1,400 years or so from the book of Exodus.
To the very first Christmas
When the angel shows up to the Shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth.
(Luke 2:8-11) – NIV
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
A Savior has been born. A SAVIOR.
In fact, I don’t know if you know this or not, but Jesus’ name literally means: “The Lord Saves”
He saves. But from what? And how?
He can save us from death. From punishment. From eternal sort of death and pain.
But what do we need saving from?!?
Personally, I spent the first 18 years of my life thinking I was just fine, and I didn’t need saving from anyone.
But the reality is: We all need saving. We all “fall short”
(Romans 3:23) – NIV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
See, most Americans tend to have a pretty unbiblical view of our death and judgment.
Our view comes more out of cultural jokes than the Bible.
Like, you know those jokes that go, 3 guys die and all go to see St. Peter at heaven’s gate…and Peter says, “What have you done to get in?”
I think that’s how most people think it works.
Like God (or Peter apparently) is going to weigh your good deeds vs. your bad, and as long as you didn’t murder anyone, BINGO, you’re good to go.
But that couldn’t be further form the truth.
The Bible says, you could actually murder a whole bunch of people and still get in…but not on your own.
OR…you could be teacher of the year and take care of disabled homeless kids in third world countries, and yet go to hell.
See, it actually has nothing to do with how “Good” you are…because of that verse we just read: “We all fall short.”
No one can walk into the throne room of God, plop their life-resume on God’s desk, kick their feet up, and say, “A HA! I guess I’m good enough to sit in the presence of an Almighty God for eternity. Look at my life…You’ll see national honor society on there…served at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving back in 09….”
NO…no one is good enough.
If we deserve anything, it’s not eternal life and forgiveness. Oh my. Certainly not.
Not for all of our rebellion and ignoring God and our bitterness and judgment of others.
What we deserve is justice.
And God is a just God. God can’t be a cheat.
What?! Is he just supposed to look at Hitler and say, “Meh, there’s no standard, c’mon in!”
No, God is just.
There is a standard.
And the standard is not, as many suppose, just a few clicks lower than you…you know the child abusers and such
No…the standard is…we all fall short.
Justice must be done.
BUT GOD IS ALSO SO LOVING.
So Jesus arrives that first Christmas…on a rescue mission…to save humanity.
To offer us a way out of the judgment we surely deserve.
To offer SALVATION.
That’s WHY He came.
Not so we could all sell Christmas Tree ornaments of the baby Jesus and put cheesy manger scenes that light up and sing in our yards…
He came TO SAVE!
In fact, 30 years after Jesus was born…Jesus goes public with his mission to save.
One of the very 1st things he does is go out to meet John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare the way…and prepare people’s hearts.
And John says something that many of you might be more familiar with than you think.
For whatever reason, there is A TON of people in this church who grew up Catholic.
And if you did, you know that often during the Eucharist, in response to the priest, you sing, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.”
It comes from a statement John the Baptist made to Jesus.
(John 1:29) – NIV
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
And the ECHO begins.
You and I…are in trouble. We aren’t going to be able to forgive ourselves.
There’s nothing really of worth that we could present to God that would earn us forgiveness for a billion years+ of eternity.
Nothing I can offer him.
Judgment is coming. It’s going to sweep through our neighborhood.
We’re going to need something that could mark us…something to mark the door of our hearts…something that could protect us from that justice.
And John says, “Jesus…is the LAMB of the world”
Because JESUS…is the lamb…just like the lamb in the original Passover.
His blood…on the cross…is going to save us
(1 Peter 1:18-19) – NIV
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Jesus…the lamb…was sacrificed…was killed on a cross…for you.
See, God’s system is perfect.
Unlike how so many think, it makes no philosophical sense to only have forgiveness, but no justice.
WE KNOW this.
Our laws, our systems of morality are founded on this.
And we get it from the character of God.
God can’t just look the other way and say, “Meh, you’re forgiven…no biggie.”
Someone must pay the crimes for our sin.
Except, He’s also SO in love with you…that He had his very own son come to earth…and take it for you. A life for a life.
A lamb was sacrificed to save you from the coming wrath…the coming punishment…that will surely sweep us at death…unless we can somehow put that blood on the doorframe of our lives.
And Jesus is the echo of the Passover lamb.
Did you see what it said about Jesus in verse 19 of that 1 Peter verse?
(1 Peter 1:19) – NIV
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
A lamb without blemish or defect.
Just like the lamb had to be in the original Passover in the OT
And that was Jesus!
The Bible says, “he was sinless. Without defect.”
He was the perfect sacrifice, the only one, the only lamb that could take our place, because He himself was perfect.
It gets more amazing.
In the original Passover, more instructions are given for what to do with the lamb later in chapter 12 of Exodus. Such as:
(Exodus 12:46) – NIV
“It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.
Interesting. Seems kind of detailed.
But watch this… This is the description of Jesus’ death from the eyewitness John.
(John 19:33-36) – NIV
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”
The story is echoing. Even the little details in the original story of not breaking the lamb’s bones…have purpose.
Jesus is the Passover lamb
(1 Corinthians 5:7) – NIV
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Here’s what’s even more amazing…do you know when Jesus was killed?
Like when in the year he was crucified?
Guess which weekend?
He was crucified the weekend of Passover.
I used to wonder…why was it…in history…that so many Jews converted so fast to Christianity?
How did that happen?!?
How did they just understand what Jesus’ death even meant (without the New Testament and all that?)
Well, for them, they didn’t see it as a conversion. It was a fulfillment…of an echo…of a prophecy long promised.
And they understood it…because if there’s one thing a good Jew understands, it’s the Passover.
Moses commanded all Jews for all time to eat the Passover meal every year and reciting the story every year.
So when the story echoed in Jesus…people just got it. They knew it. They saw it.
And it changed their life.
But more than that…it saved their life.
Can you imagine if you were one of the Israelites and Moses came and told you what you needed to do?
He shows up in the town square and says, “Hey, you could die unless your family sacrifices this lamb (as a symbol of taking your place), and puts its blood on your door.
If you do that, God’s rightful justice will pass over you.
What would you do if you heard that?
Would you have actually have done it?
I’m sure some people didn’t.
Because it had to have taken faith to do it.
And it’s no different today.
The Bible tells us that we are in slavery (just like the Israelites), and that death/wrath/justice/punishment will surely come.
We don’t deserve any better. We haven’t done anything to warrant ETERNAL forgiveness and ETERNITY in heaven.
Yet…there’s still a way out. You can be forgiven.
Because of the love of God. Because God is pursuing you.
God’s So in love with you. He’s crazy about you. He never stops thinking about you.
He’s so in love with us, that even though we deserve differently, He sent his son, to be the Passover lamb, and take our place.
Because he doesn’t want you to die…he doesn’t want you to suffer…
He wants you to be free. He wants to be in a relationship with you. He wants you to live with Him forever.
So he sent His own son to take your place.
It reminds me of one of the most amazing news stories of the past 30 years.
In 1987, Northwest Airlines flight 225 crashed just after taking off from the Detroit airport, killing 155 out of the 156 people on board.
1 person survived. A 4-year old girl named Cecelia
The best they can tell, the only reason she survived, was even as the plane was falling, her mother, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around her, and didn’t let her go.
Nothing could separate that child from a parent’s love.
Neither height nor depth, neither the fall or the flames that followed after, not even having to sacrifice herself.
And God feels the same way about you.
SO much so that he sacrificed himself…taking your punishment…for you.
But whether or not you want that forgiveness….whether or not you want that amazing love relationship with God (and it IS amazing), is up to you.
It’s a choice that every human being must make at some time.
Just like the Israelites had to decide if they were going to go out and cover their house with the blood.
You have to decide if you want to cover your life with the blood (with the sacrifice of Jesus)
You essentially have two choices.
One, you can let Jesus be your sacrifice…and forgive you.
Two, you can try and be good enough on your own.
But I have to warn you…the Bible is clear…as clear as you can be…if you go out there on your own…just as if someone would have wandered out there during Passover trying to save themselves…it doesn’t end well.
Israel escapes the judgment that fell on Egypt, not from being good enough, but by their faith…by being forgiven by blood…in life for life.
So, let me ask you a question: Have you ever done this?
Have you ever said, “Jesus…I believe that you died for ME. That your sacrifice…your blood…paid for my life…and I give my life to you.”
Because that’s what forgiveness is all about. That’s how a real relationship with God really starts.
And if you’ve never made that commitment to believe in what Jesus did for you…if you’ve never started a relationship with Him by committing your life to Him…then let’s do that today.
All it takes is faith…you don’t have to be good enough.
It’s about us not being good enough.
The Bible says we’re forgiven this way:
(Romans 10:9) – NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
We believe, IN FAITH, that he is our lamb. Our sacrifice.
So if want to do that today…then let’s do that!
Let this story…echo again.
Let it echo in YOUR LIFE today.
In fact, let’s all bow our heads and close our eyes…as I want this to be a special moment between you and God.
If you want to believe in what Jesus did for you and commit your life to him (to make Him your leader & forgiver) to be completely forgiven! If that’s you…and you’ve never done this before…in just a few moments, I’m going to ask to raise your hand.
Maybe you’ve even been around church for a while now. But I would ask you: “Have you, in faith, said, “I believe this. I really do. I want to be forgiven. I will truly become a Christian now. Which just meets FOLLOWER of Christ. One who really believes and follows”
Everyone is going to have their eyes closed (no one’s looking), so this is just between you & God
But this is your act of faith.
It’s like the Israelites who had to ACT in faith. They had to GET UP, go out, and put the blood of the doorframe.
This is you…saying…I believe. I will follow.
So wherever you are, all across this room right now. If you’d like to become a follower of Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to just, real quietly, raise your hand up wherever you are.
If God is nudging your heart in this…raise it up. Accept His forgiveness. Start a new life with Him.
If you’re hand is raised, would you pray this prayer with me?
It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at…again, the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
EVERYONE repeat after me with these new believers.
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life. Amen
AMEN!! Let’s just clap and praise God.
Let me thank Him and PRAY.
If you gave your life to Christ today, I need you to do just 1 thing for me
Right after the service today, I want you to go to the back of the room …for just a moment.
In the back, and in the hallway, there are signs that say “FOLLOW-UP”
There will be some incredibly nice people there (they have lanyards on) who want to give you some extremely helpful tools to help you get started in your faith
Won’t take you very long. But absolutely go back there.
Let me just pray & thank God!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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