2017 is here, you made resolutions, maybe not, or you don’t believe in making them, which is also valid. Whatever you do, God has graced us with a new year and the ability to leave the past year behind.
How much closer did you grow in your relationship with God and with each other last year? I would like to encourage the activity of Mountain Valley Church this year to be engaged in a two-pronged approach that I know is biblically sound. Could we as a church family embrace the vision of “Loving God and Loving Others”?
That is my challenge personally and for the church in 2017. We already possess the reputation of being a loving family of Christ, so let’s take our love outside our walls to the glory of God! A few suggestions: Have a study of God’s Word with someone, find a way to minister to others, take outdoor hikes, play indoor, or outdoor games, watch a movie, or have coffee, tea, and prayer, all with someone else. Will you join me in “Loving God and Loving Others” more this year!
Acts 9:15 “Go Ananias! This man [Paul], is my chosen instrument to carry my Name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my Name.” – Jesus
When life is full of ____________, rise above it in Christ.
John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Jesus
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – Paul
When opportunity _______________, speak the truth in love.
Colossians 4:2-6 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about His mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. – Paul
Live for the ________________ of God, not the favor of men.
Ephesians 3:6-7 “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I [WE] have been given the privilege of serving Him by spreading this Good News.” – Paul
2 Timothy 2:15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. – Paul
I. As a people of God, God has a special message for you this day, the first day of this new year 2017.
1. Let me remind you of the fact that the Israelite people (God’s special people) spent 430 years as slaves in Egypt. (Exodus 12:40)
a. The Israelite people were selected by God to be counted as his children, not necessarily because of their faith but because of the faith of their ancestor, Abraham. (Genesis 11:26-18:15, Genesis 6:1-11:25 & Hebrews 11:1-22)
b. As our LORD explained to Abraham his promise; to him and his descendants, God explained that He would be giving to his descendants a promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey; but not before “They would be strangers in a country not their own, and they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years.” (Genesis 15:13-16)
2. Now we fast forward about 500 years and God is about to begin to fulfill his promise to Abraham.
a. Beginning in Exodus 1 we read of the great oppression that is brought against the Israelite people, the descendants of Abraham, oppressed by the Egyptian rulers. (Exodus 1:1-11:10)
b. Forty years or so went by before God spoke to Moses about the task that he had for him. (Exodus 3:1-11:10)
c. And this brings us to Exodus 12 in the account of Israel’s deliverance. (Exodus 12:1-42)
II. Now just as the Israelites are a special people of God, as God’s church, so are you; but if Gods plan for your future is going to come to fruition certain things must take place. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
1. The first thing God told the Israelites to do is to offer up a Passover lamb. (Exodus 12:1-13)
a. It had to be a lamb without spot or blemish, and its blood had to cover the entry of the Israelites home. Even as the blood of Jesus Christ must cover the sinners heart today that their sins be forgiven forever more. (Numbers 19:1-10, John 1:29, Hebrews 9:1-15)
b. Our Lord is calling his people to stand up and declare their faith in God, Identifying themselves as belonging to Him. (Acts 4:8-12, Romans 1:14-17, 1 Corinthians 1:10-31)
c. Now the one thing that the Lord told Moses was “tell the people to share the lamb.” (Exodus 12:4, Matthew 10:1-8, Matthew 28:18-20)
2. The first thing that God told Moses to do was to offer up a “Passover Lamb”, and the second was, “get rid of the leaven”… or yeast. (Exodus 12:14-20)
a. God said to Moses, “Immediately get rid of the yeast, or leaven, and anyone who keeps it will be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:15, 12:19-20, 16:1-36, Numbers 11:1-35)
b. Throughout the Bible leaven or yeast is a symbol of sin. (Matthew 16:5-12, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Matthew 22:37-38, Galatians 5:16-26, Ephesians 5:1-21)
c. For God to allow the leaven of sin to remain within the life of His church is not only deadly to the individual but to the entire body of believers. (Joshua 7:1-8:29, Romans 6:1-23)
3. A third thing that caused God to be upset and angry with the Israelite people was their refusal to forget. (Numbers 11:4-6)
a. After leaving Egypt, the Israelite people never stopped looking back and were always longing for their former lifestyle. (Exodus 14:1-12)
b. If today is going to be truly a new day dawning, a new month, a new year, with new opportunities, there are some things that we must forget about yesterday, last month, or last year. (Luke 9:57-62, Matthew 6:9-15, Matthew 18:21-35, Ephesians 4:29-32, Philippians 3:13-14)
4. A fourth thing that hindered the Israelites in experiencing God’s plan for their life was their refusal to submit to God’s authority. (Numbers 12:1-14:45)
a. Throughout their entire journey unto the gateway to the promised land we read of the complaining and rebellion of the Israelite people. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was when the leaders of Israel rebelled against God’s instruction and refused to enter into the Land that God had said, “This land I am giving to you; the Israelites.” (Numbers 13:1-2, Numbers 13:26-35)
b. If God is going to be able to bless anyone of us with His perfect plan for our lives, a promised rest – peace “The promised land”, we must learn to submit to God’s authority today. (Hebrews 3:1-4:13)
III. Next week, if the Lord wills, we will think a bit more about this theme, A new day dawning – New Beginnings
1. But right now, as we prepare our hearts to receive the elements of communion, let us even now commit ourselves to these four basic principles, as we make our journey toward that promised land that God has prepared for each one who would follow Him.
2. As pastor Don comes and offers each of us the elements of communion, let our participation symbolize our testimony of our willingness to submit to God and his Holy Spirit in our lives.