Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lest We Forget


One of the greatest concerns known to man and shared by God is a concern that we might forget the price that was paid for us by others.

John 15:13  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends."

Before we get to the heart of our message today it behooves us to realize where we stand in history, how we got here and where we will go from here. It’s Memorial Day weekend in the United States and this is an important week on God’s calendar in history.

1 Corinthians 15:46  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.

There is a governing principle which allows us to observe eternal spiritual truths acted out in life. Even the very things of nature cry out concerning the truth. Just as seeds in good ground produce an expected harvest, so God’s Word laid in our lives produces an expected harvest. We most often see what God plans to do in eternity by observing what He has already done in the earth.

When God sent Moses to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt it was a both a revelation and a reminder of what God would later do to save people from their sin and bondage to this world. Moses was a type of Jesus and Egypt represented the World system to which people are enslaved. Pharaoh was a type of satan and the Land of Canaan which was promised to the Children of Israel represents heaven that awaits the followers of Christ. The wilderness experience parallels the period of time followers of Jesus live in this world after we have been saved and delivered from satan.

God continued revealing His eternal plan through each encounter and every step made by the Children of Israel. God instructed them to keep certain feasts each year at the set time He had established. Each feast was ordained by God to be a dress rehearsal for a coming event which would ultimately be fulfilled by the promised Messiah.

God gave strict instructions concerning how each Feast was to be observed. Every step reveals yet another piece to God’s master plan of redemption. Jesus will meticulously fulfill every tenant of each Feast in order to accomplish the plan of God and secure us for all eternity.

For example: Moses told the Children of Israel to take a lamb and sacrifice it in the afternoon on the day just before Passover began that evening at sundown. He further instructed them to take the blood of that lamb and cover their houses so that the angel of death would “Passover” them and all who were covered by the blood. Their journey to the Promise Land began that next day with the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Children of Israel were free from Pharaoh but found themselves trapped between the taunting enemies of their past and their bright new future by a body of water, the Red Sea. God parted the waters and the Children of Israel were all baptized the sea. Those same waters closed upon their enemies and shut their mouths to every claim they could make. It was in that type of water baptism that the enemies of those saved by God were drowned to be heard from never again.

The Children of Israel were saved, delivered, safe, secure, well fed and well led. Although they were on their way to the Promise Land, yet God had one more important stop for them along the way. He knew they needed greater direction and more confidence if they were going to go up against the giants that awaited them. God wanted to give them something which can only come through a dynamic personal spiritual encounter with the living God. So instead of going straight to the battle with the Canaanites, they were led first to the mountain of God, Mount Horeb.

It took about 40 days to reach Mount Horeb. On the 50th day after the day they began their journey God appeared to them at Mount Horeb. God had instructed them to count from the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Count 7 weeks, making 49 days, and on the 50th day they would observe the Feast of Weeks, as spoken of throughout the Old Testament, called the Feast of Pentecost in the New Testament.

It was on that day that the Holy Spirit of God descended on the Mount and appeared unto everyone with power and passion. There was thunder, lightning, smoke, fire and a voice from heaven. This instilled such great and respectful fear in the Children of Israel. On this mountain they received the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God.

These commandments, the New Testament reveals, are no longer written on stone but are rather written in our hearts and minds. The things experienced by the Children of God that day would be forever commemorated by the yearly Feast of Pentecost. The prophet Joel spoke of a day when God’s Spirit would be poured out on His servants. In Acts 2 Peter proclaimed that prophecy fulfilled through God sending His Holy Spirit accompanied by signs, wonders and miracles.

I have said all of that to say this – Today is the 47th Day since the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread this year. According to the Jewish calendar and the instructions of God, the Feast of Shavuot, or Pentecost, will take place this coming Wednesday beginning at Sundown. What a wonderful day for us to remember and celebrate God sending the Comforter and Guide on that day and the awesome power made available to every Believer to be a witness through this Pentecostal experience.

The Holy Spirit is not spooky and did not pass away. God still saves sinners, sanctifies them to Himself and fills with His Holy Spirit. He knows we need the awesome in order to deal with and conquer our enemies while we live in this worldly wilderness on our way to our Promise Land.

Now for today’s Memorial Day weekend message: Lest We Forget

Not long before they will go into the Promise Land, Moses reminds the Children of Israel concerning the need to remember how they have been blessed by God in the past and what it took to get them to this place.

Deuteronomy 4
7  “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?
8  “And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?
9  “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,
10  “especially concerning the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’
11  “Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.
12  “And the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice.
13  “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.
14  “And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess.

Today there is no nation under heaven which is so blessed by God greater than the United States of America. No nation has such laws which protect the innocent and punish the guilty. No nation enjoys a greater religious freedom or the rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. We are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We hold certain truths to be self-evident among those truths is the equality of all men.

We are a nation by God’s design, formed by the Holy Spirit moving on the hearts of men and women. The seeds of democracy and the pledge of freedom for all men have been sown by us in the soil of nations all around the world. These seeds have been well watered by the blood, sweat and tears of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. We will never forget the price paid by those who laid down their lives so that we might live in peace.

May God bless America and the memory of her best and bravest sons and daughters who gave their all. And may we never forget the debt we owe our Heavenly Father for the sacrifice of His Only Son so that we might have a peace filled eternity when our work on earth is done.

I have but three closing questions for each one of you today:
1.  Are you saved?
2.  Are you right with God?
3.  Are you filled with His Holy Power to be a witness?

It is yours for the asking … ask and receive that your joy might be full when the times of refreshing shall come from the Lord. Let’s Pray …