Intro: Today we are going to continue our series on revival and national security. We come to what I believe is the most important message in the entire series. So far we have really been tilling the ground and watering seeds, but today we get to see the fruit then from here we really get the practical tools for revival and national security. Let me warn you if you ignore this message but take in the messages that were before you will be lacking and if you accept the future messages, but leave today’s on the spiritual ash heap you will be sorely ineffective for Christ. I am so excited to preach this message I can hardly stand it so let’s get into our text…
Scripture: Ezra 6:19-22 And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth [day] of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them [were ritually] clean. And they slaughtered the Passover [lambs] for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel. 22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
They celebrated Passover
I am convinced that this is the apex of the Revival
This is what fully got the revival going so to say
First I want us to remember what all has happened up to this point
Zechariah called for repentance
A general call, “Return to Me and I will return to you.”
The Hebrew idea of repenting, not just changing your mind, but moving in the right direction.
Haggai’s call for repentance
Consider your ways!
Specifically put God’s house in the right priority
The people obeyed as God stirred them
Their past attempts to build the temple
Were full of good intentions
Met with opposition
Quit and ended up stealing from the house of God
They obeyed with resolve
They worked and finished the work
They had a joyful celebration filled with joy!
All of this was necessary to start the revival
God requires repentance
As nice as it is to say “God meets you where you are at” it is only kind of true
God is able to save to the uttermost
He loves His prodigal children
Ultimately God will not meet your demands, rather we must obey His voice and agree to His terms.
God made the provisions for us we must accept them
This is true of salvation
This is true of confession and repentance
God requires obedience for revival
There is no such thing a disobedient revival
We want revival, but we often want it on our terms and in our sin. Revival is a holy thing and we must put on holiness if we are to have a part in it.
This obedience must be a committed obedience in spite of opposition
We must also dedicate ourselves
Revival takes dedication, without a right priority on God’s house there will be no revival.
This leads to joyful celebration of righteousness
This is an important ingredient
What do you celebrate in your life?
All of these are important, but there is one main ingredient we are missing and that is Jesus.
Jesus is the passover (1Cor. 5:6-7 Your glorying [is] not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.)
The context here is actually church discipline, but in the midst of a teaching on church discipline we get a wonderful nugget of truth that Christ is our Passover.
More on this in just a moment
Notice in our text the emphasis on cleansing and separation (20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them [were ritually] clean. And they slaughtered the Passover [lambs] for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel.)
Before the passover began there was a cleansing of all of the leaven in the kitchen.
The wife would clean it all up except for the last pinch. She would hide that.
The husband would then come in with a bag, feather, and wooden spoon and would find the last bit of leaven sweep it up with the feather and spoon put it in the bag and take it to the synagog to burn in a fire. Taking care of little bit of leaven… he would purge it as it tells us to do in 1Cor. 5.
This points us to 1Cor. 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Before the passover could start there needed to be an examining
Before communion can happen there needs to be an examining
Before revival can happen we need to examine our life. I want to just simply ask you to do that even right now. Ask God to point out what you need to repent of.
Maybe it is a hidden sin
Maybe it is a sin that is even hidden from you, maybe it is a sin of ignorance or one you forgot about.
You take care of that sin right now, in your seat confess it, if you need to come to the front and go to your knees before God do it now, but you deal with that sin and let God deal with you.
The separation the Israelites had was from sin and to seek God (Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel. )
You have to repent of sin to seek God
I know we want to think we can seek God and keep our sin, but it is like trying to run a marathon with an elephant on your back.you can’t do it.
Jesus is our passover (1Cor. 5:6-7 Your glorying [is] not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.)
The Passover meal: There are four cups that signal four phases of the passover meal: The cup of sanctification, The cup of plagues, the cup of redemption, and the cup of praise.
The cup of sanctification (they take a plate and have a spot for six items on it)
First item: Greens (signifying life) they dip them in salt water (signifying bitter tears from their slavery in Egypt… the slavery in Egypt ultimately signified their slavery to sin). They would take the greens out of the salt water (redemption from bitterness) and eat it.
Second item: Bitter herbs (horseradish) they would take a portion (a big dollop) on their unleavened bread and eat it. This naturally would make them cry and remember the bitter tears of slavery. This was also the bread that Judas dipped with Jesus so it can also remind us of the bitter tears of betrayal.
Third item: Sweet apple mixture signifying the hope of redemption. It also takes away the bitterness of the horseradish when you eat it.
Fourth item: a bitter root. This sits on the plate to remind of the bitterness that surely comes to all on this earth. (signifying the bitterness of sin on mankind)
Fifth item: boiled egg (this is in place of the sacrifice that can only happen in the temple). They slice it up dip it in the salt water (bitter tears) and eat it. Signifying the high cost of the sacrifice.
Sixth item: an unbroken shank bone from the lamb. This reminds them of the perfection that is demanded in the sacrifice. No spot, no blemish, no broken bones (pointing of course to Christ as He is the perfect sacrifice, no sin, and no broken bones)
(Second cup) Cup of plagues
They dip their finger in a put out a drop for each plague
Remember specifically the last plague that the passover is directly tied to as they put the blood of the lamb on their door posts (above and on each side).
(Third cup) Cup of redemption (more on this in moment)
(Fourth cup) Cup of Praise They sing Psalm 113-118.
The Matzah Tosh (bread bag) takes place between the second and third cup
They take three pieces of unleavened bread and put them in a bag that has three compartments. This bag is a unity and makes a 3 in 1.
They take the second (you know the place Jesus has in the Godhead) piece of bread out of the bag and call it the bread of affliction.
In the making of the bread they use a tool to make sure that the bread doesn’t have any leaven in it and the tool ends up putting holes in the bread piercing it.
They also cook it on racks and in the process the racks leave there mark giving the bread stripes.
They then brake the bread (so it has been pierced, striped, and broken; remember it is the second piece of a three in one and named the bread of affliction.)
They take these broken pieces and put it in a linen cloth that is called Afikomen (He who is to come)
The Afikomen is then taken outside the room and hidden for a time; buried if you will.
They then eat the passover meal
After the meal
The children go and look for the Afikomen
They bring it back to their dad and just before they give it to him they pull it back and he has to pay silver for it (later the silver coins are used in a game that teaches giving)
So now we have the second part of a 3 in 1 who was pierced, striped, broken, named bread of affliction, wrapped in linen cloth, hidden, and bought with pieces of silver. (you getting the story yet?)
Finally the father breaks the bread and passes out a piece to each person around the table. This is where Jesus when He was in the upper room stopped and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which was broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Then He takes the third cup and says, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” This was the cup of Redemption.
When the Israelites took the passover after they obeyed God and rebuilt the temple Christ showed up to the revival.
Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
It was a shadow of what was to come, they were looking forward to the Messiah’s incarnation, holding on to the truth that a revival only truly comes when Jesus is the focus.
Jesus is the apex of revival
Set aside national security for a moment and security or anything else we might desire in today’s day and age
Don’t worry we have plenty more in this sermon series we will get to it I promise. But for just the moment understand this truth:
We only obtain revival when we singularly put Jesus in the top priority.
I trust you won’t take this the wrong way. There are other things that are very important, but those things can never be fulfilled in their highest potential if Jesus isn’t in the top spot.
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Jesus must be first in priority.
I believe with my whole heart this book (the Bible) has every answer that our beloved nation could ever need. It has the medicine to heal our land. It has the principles and plan to give our nation security and stability. But we can only get to those things once Jesus is the focal point.
Conclusion: Today I want to conclude and if there is anything you are going to get out of today’s message and this series I pray it is this. Put Jesus in the right focus of your life. Remember Him. Let’s pray.
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