Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. It was a night of terror. The angel of death swept throughout Egypt, killing the firstborn of every family whose doorpost had no blood. The Passover was more than just the last plague to make Pharaoh let the Israelites go. It foreshadowed a future sacrificial lamb whose blood would save people eternally. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, tell us about today's Passover message, Redeemed at High Cost. Dave, if people really understood the Passover, and of course the purpose of this message is to help us to understand it better, it would give them emotional and spiritual support in the midst of depression and in the midst of hopelessness, in the midst of despair, and even in the midst of our doubts. Think about this. The issue for the Israelites was simply this, is there blood on our door? It didn't even have to do with whether or not the firstborn was a good boy or a bad boy.
Of course, that makes a difference in experience, but the fact is God looks for the blood. What an encouraging message. And you know, I've written a book entitled Getting Closer to God. Of course, this particular message is a chapter in that book. It's entitled Getting Closer to God, Lessons from the Life of Moses.
For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com.
Or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, I'm going to be giving you that contact info again at the end of this message. For now, I just want you to listen and to be encouraged as we see this marvelous picture of redemption. Louisa Tarkington wrote, I wish there were some wonderful place called the land of beginning again where all of our past mistakes and heartaches and all of our poor selfish grief could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door and never be put on again. Today, I'm talking about new beginnings. If God does not have an answer for our past, we can hardly trust him for our future. Some of you are here today and you're looking for a new beginning, and I want you to know that God is the God of new beginnings. No matter your past, God has something to say to you today.
And at the end of this service, I believe that many are going to make a brand new beginning. The 12th chapter of the book of Exodus is where we are today, if you have your Bibles, Exodus chapter 12. In context, what has happened is there were plagues that came to Egypt. And God brought these plagues on Egypt because Pharaoh would not let the Israelites depart the land and go to Canaan. And no matter what God did, Pharaoh always hardened his heart.
He'd give in and then he'd change his mind. And every one of the plagues was directed against one of Egypt's gods. For example, they had a god that was supposed to keep cattle from disease. So God puts a disease on all the cattle to mock the Egyptian gods. The Nile River was worshipped in the land of Egypt and God turns the Nile into blood and he does it just to show that the Nile cannot be their god. And on and on the plagues go and Pharaoh always says, okay, go, okay, go. And then he changes his mind.
He hardened his heart. So God decided that there would be one more plague. It would be the most devastating and it would be the one that would finally convince Pharaoh to let the people go. And God says, I'm going to go through the land of Egypt and all of the firstborn in every single house will be dead in the morning. But then the Lord said, in order to preserve my people, I'm going to give them a ritual which will be a picture of the coming Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is where we have the Passover still celebrated by Jewish people today and described in the 12th chapter of the book of Exodus. Even though many have not seen the President of the United States directly, you would certainly recognize him if he were here with us today. And the reason is because you've seen so many pictures of him. What God does in Exodus chapter 12 is he gives us a picture of Jesus using a lamb and then later on Jesus is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world and fulfills all that the other lamb was simply a picture of.
So that's the background. So God says, I'm going to give this nation a new beginning. As a matter of fact, your calendar is going to date back to this day. It's going to be the beginning of months, it says in chapter 12 verse 2.
It shall be the first of the year for you. And then he says in verse 3, tell all the congregation of Israel that on the 10th day of this month, every man shall take a lamb according to his father's household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, he and his nearest relatives should get together because God wants all the lamb to be eaten, as we'll see in just a moment. So the first step that they needed to take for deliverance from this terrible plague of killing the first born child in every home, the first step is God says, I want you to find a perfect lamb. The text says that this lamb had to be without blemish.
That means in the book of Leviticus, it's very clear. It could not be blind. It couldn't have a crook nose. It couldn't have a broken hoof or a broken leg. It could have no scabs on its body. As far as the human eye could see, this lamb was supposed to be as perfect as a lamb can be.
Why that requirement? Remember, this is a picture of Jesus. And Jesus was the lamb of God who was perfect. So the outward perfection of this lamb becomes a picture of the inward perfection of Jesus. The Bible says that he was without sin. Now this lamb was observed for four days. You're supposed to find him on the 10th of the month and kill him on the 14th of the month.
Four days of careful observation. Jesus was observed for 30 years. And not only does the scripture teach that he was without sin, but even his enemies said, as Pilate did, I find no fault in him. And Judas, who betrayed him, said, I have betrayed innocent blood. Jesus was perfect.
In fact, there was a part of him that no one could see. It was his divine nature, which was absolutely holy, absolutely perfect. And even though Jesus was both God and man, he was without sin.
Do you remember David Koresh, who died, I believe, with about 85 others in Waco, Texas? He claimed to be the Messiah, but he said he was a sinful messiah. Now friend, between you and me, I just want you to know that sinful messiahs don't count. Sinful messiahs are useless. The messiah had to be absolutely sinless. And this lamb, as far as the human eye could see, had to be a perfect lamb.
That's the first step. Second step is they had to kill the lamb. I'm picking it up now in verse 6. In verse 6, it says, you shall keep it until the 14th day of this month when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Now obviously, the whole congregation didn't kill the lamb. One person slit its throat.
But the point is that the whole congregation was gathered around, approving it, and in that sense, participating in it. And this lamb was not supposed to die by accident. He was not to die of natural causes. He was to die a violent death because blood had to be shed. Now what a picture that is of Jesus. A lot of people weren't involved in the crucifixion, but the leaders of the nation all gave their assent, crucify him, crucify him. And on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, it is this nation that has crucified Christ. You put the holy one to death, Peter said.
So you can see here that it typifies Jesus. Not only that, the Bible says that the lamb was to be put to death, rather, at twilight. That's the translation that we have, but really, in Hebrew, it is between the evenings. And according to Josephus, that was about three o'clock in the afternoon to six o'clock. Jesus was crucified on the Passover. And when did he die?
When did he die? Matthew says that from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, there was darkness over the whole land. Remember, though, they were counting time from six o'clock in the morning. The sixth hour, which is noon, and then to the ninth hour, which is three in the afternoon, it is after that that Jesus Christ died.
Think about this. While little lambs were being slain throughout the city of Jerusalem, and you could hear their bleating as they were dying, Jesus, the lamb of God, was dying. He himself was giving his life and shedding his blood. And not a bone of this lamb was supposed to be broken, just like Jesus. The Bible says not a bone of him was broken either. The soldiers came to him.
They found out that he was dead. They hadn't expected him to die as soon as he did, and they took him down from the cross without breaking his bones to fulfill the scripture. When we read the Old Testament in Exodus chapter 12, it is like a mirror that God is holding before us and saying, when my son arrives, recognize him because he is the fulfillment of the little lambs in the Old Testament times. So secondly, they had to kill the lamb, and thirdly, they had to apply the blood. Now notice in verse 7, the text says these words, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two door posts and the lintel or the upper top part of the door in which they eat it. And then it says they will eat the flesh of that lamb. But notice they will take the blood and put it on the two door posts and the upper part of the door post.
Now just visualize this for a moment. Here you have three places where the blood is to be applied. The top of the door, blood here, blood here, blood here. Does not that remind you of the cross? And then God says this. He says, when this terrible plague comes and the angel of death is going to go throughout the land and slaughter all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, God says you'll be exempt from that judgment because it says in verse 12, for I will pass through the land of Egypt that night and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast.
And on the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. I am the Lord and the blood shall be assigned for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over.
See, that's why the Passover is called the Passover. When I see the blood, I will pass over you and no plague will befall you to destroy you. When I smite the land of Egypt, the thing that God will be looking for is blood. You say, well, why such importance to the blood?
You know, the corpuscles and all of the things that make up blood chemically. Why would that be important to God? Well, what made it important to God is God says that's the value I'm going to place upon it because this is a picture of Jesus and it's a picture of the fact that the lamb has to die to save you, just like the lamb of God, Jesus, has to die to save you. So God says, I will ask you to put the blood on the doorpost of your house. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you. That's the third step.
Let's notice now the fourth step in the process. They feasted on the lamb. They feasted on the lamb.
Verse eight. It says they shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall eat it. And they're to eat it that evening and they are to enjoy it and it is to be eaten in its entirety.
Why that? Do you see again what God is saying is the lamb who saves you is also the lamb who satisfies you. You not only can thank the lamb for having shed his blood so that you will not come under judgment, but you also have to thank the lamb because the lamb actually satisfies your other needs. And so God says, eat the lamb.
It's to be eaten with unleavened bread, symbolizing the fact that they didn't have time to even let the bread rise because they all left that night, the Bible says. Now what about Jesus? He made this statement in John chapter six. He said that whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life. For my flesh is meat, indeed, and my blood is drink, indeed. Some people have read that and they've said, oh, that must mean that we have to literally eat the body and the blood of Christ. That we have to literally eat his flesh. We have to literally drink his blood.
But actually, cannibalism is inconsistent with the Old Testament and it says expressly that blood is never to be drunk. So it's very clear that what Jesus is saying, the Apostle Paul says, Christ, our Passover has been crucified for us. What Jesus is saying is, you need to, you need to feast on me. I am the bread that came down from heaven.
He that eateth this bread. And then he says, he who abides in me and I in him, he eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood. It is Jesus Christ becoming satisfying to those whom he has redeemed. The Savior who is the one who redeemed us, who's shed blood on the cross, rescues us from God's judgment. He's also the Savior whom we love. He's the Savior whom we enjoy, the Savior through whom we have fellowship, the Savior with whom we can spend time, even if we're not asking him any specific requests.
We just love to be with him and we find our souls are satisfied. There's a fifth step in this process, the fifth step, and that is they began to walk. They began to walk in the power and the liberty and the freedom of the Lamb. Now, you'll notice the text tells us that they did leave that night and 600,000 men left. It says that verse 37 of chapter 12, the people of Israel journeyed from Ramses to Succoth, about 600,000 men on the foot besides women and children.
A mixed multitude also went up with them and very much livestock, both flocks and herds. While Egypt was mourning, the Israelites were celebrating because when the angel of death came that night, the Bible says he came at midnight. He struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. You can imagine mothers and fathers going into the room of their children and there they discover that their boy, their firstborn child is dead and they begin to cry and they begin to grieve wondering why it is that he died and so they need some consolation from the neighbors and the neighbors check their bedroom and discover that the firstborn is dead there too and all throughout the land, the Bible says there was this huge cry, this huge cry of desperation and a cry of wailing and grief because of all these deaths in Egypt. If you read the text, you discover that Pharaoh, Pharaoh finally says, okay, all right, if that's what you're going to do, oh God, I will let the people go so the people leave the land. 600,000 men, two million people.
So how could that be? I mean that's unthinkable, two million people leaving a land to go into a desert area. Remember that they were all organized.
They had elders and they had groups and the way in which they communicated was they'd have a meeting of all the leaders and they'd agree as to what they were going to say to the people and that's the way they let it happen by word of mouth, no fax machines, no cell phones, thank God, just word of mouth and the message got out. I can imagine a child saying to mom or dad as they are leaving, how in the world are we going to live? We've got some unleavened bread, we have some water with us, a little bit of food, but what are we going to do when we run out of water? What are we going to do when the little bit of bread that we're taking with us is no more? Some of you who are here today are on the verge of trusting Christ as Savior and what you are saying to yourself is this, if I get saved, God is going to make so many demands of me, how am I going to be able to live this new life?
I mean I can't even conceive it, I mean I don't have the resources, I don't have the strength. Well the God who redeemed them is the God who is now leading them. They had no idea that God was going to send a pillar of fire and a cloud to lead them. They didn't know, they're going to have to trust God big time. They didn't know that God was going to send them manna miraculously every morning six days a week, they didn't know that. They didn't know that the time would come when Moses would simply strike a rock and water would come forth and enough water for all of the millions of people to drink. They could never have thought of it, they couldn't have predicted it, they had not seen those kinds of miracles, but all that they did was they began to walk in the strength of the lamb and in the power of the lamb and they were redeemed out of slavery and it was between them and God, which is where God often puts us, is just between him and us because apart from his help we have nowhere to go and God who redeemed them, led them, cared for them, blessed them and eventually after many many mishaps they did make it into the promised land. But my friend don't miss this, even though they were condemned to stay in the desert because of their unbelief, incredibly God still took care of them and God still takes care of us today. Maybe you're in a wasteland, maybe it's a wasteland that others have prepared for you or you are responsible because you have chosen the wasteland, either way God is there for you. That's why I believe that the book Getting Closer to God, which I'm holding here in my hands, would be a great blessing for you. It's entitled Getting Closer to God and for a gift of any amount it can be yours. Here is what you do, go to rtwoffer.com.
As you probably heard me say before that's all one word, rtwoffer.com or if you prefer call us at 1-888-218-9337. We here at Running to Win have not lost sight of our goal, it's to get the gospel of Jesus Christ out to as many people as possible, it's to speak about issues that people face as they run the race of life, but we desire that you are successful all the way to the finish line. Ask for the book Getting Closer to God, go to rtwoffer.com because for a gift of any amount this book can be yours or if you prefer call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me give you that phone number again, 1-888-218-9337.
You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. The sacrifice of the Passover lambs and the sacrifice of Christ whose blood protects us from eternal death. Dr. Erwin Lutzer has brought part one of Redeemed at High Cost, the fifth in a series of 12 messages about Moses, a man getting closer to God. Next time, more about the dramatic story of Passover. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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