These are the raw sermon notes from my message on April 13, 2014. Palm Sunday. You can get more clarity by listening to the podcast.
Exodus 12:1While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the lord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: 2 “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. 3 Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. 4 If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. 5 The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects. 6 “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb at twilight. 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. 8 That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal—including the head, legs, and internal organs—must be roasted over a fire. 10 Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not eaten before morning. 11 “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the lord’s Passover. 12 On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the lord! 13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.
The Passover demonstrates the uniqueness. For Jews and Christians – the Passovers defines and gives identity. At the center of Judaism and Christianity is the bloody death of a helpless victim. Why? What does it mean?
There is a Bible long story of the Lamb.
The Offering of the Lamb
The Pharoh won’t let the people go. God says he will strike down every first born.
v.23 Moses says- the Lord will not let the destroyer into your house to strike you down.
There is a simple fact/law: when you violate God’s laws you unleash forces of destruction, disintegration, and chaos.
- If you overwork- career as an idol leads to breakdown of all sorts of life
- Holding a grudge- there is breakdown and disintegration of all sorts.
When God says the destroyer will come, I have scrolled ahead and in one night and in one place, eternal/divine judgment day justice (consequence) will be focused at one point in one place. There will be a preliminary, temporary but devastating judgment day. Not just the forces of destruction, disintegration, and chaos that are out there in general, but for one night there will be a release of destruction.
I’m about to unleash the most irresistible, unstoppable, irreversible force in the universe. The destroyer. It will go through the most powerful military and dynasty that the world has ever seen (Egypt). It will go right through it like a knife going through hot butter.
With superstition, God is no longer your father, and you are not his child. Instead, God is a magician. You have to say the right recipe prayer and it will unlock some secret door of heaven and all of the sudden YOU will get what you want. People often read the Bible from a selfish perspective as if the end objective or Goal is about you. As if the story is about you.
Here are 3 areas that I believe superstition has crept into the church. After I describe them, I will give my thoughts on the truth of the Gospel. Click here to hear my sermon on the topic.
1. Power of Tongue (good or bad) or the Power of your Speech
I actually read this phrase on church website last week. It summarizes the belief of the “Power of the Tongue” -
“What you say is what you have! The sum of where you are today, good or bad, is the sum of what you have been saying.”
People that believe this statement have taken a few scriptures and turned them into a superstitious ritual of getting what YOU want out of life.
Just a quick question before we go any further: If everything that comes out of your mouth is immediately becoming fact, then who is God? You. Whatever God speaks happens. Therefore, if whatever you speaks happens then you are God.
Let’s talk about some of the most common bad luck and good luck traditions that we have.
Bad Luck – broken mirrors, open umbrellas inside, walking under ladders, black cat crossing, spilled salt, placing purse on floor, saying something positive will jinx, itching ears is gossip about you, Next week we are going to talk about OJO! Get ready for that one!
Good Luck – rabbit foot keychain, picking up coins, 4 leaf clovers, wish on a falling star, wish on birthday candles (don’t tell anyone), wishbone at thanksgiving, itching palms means money,
Another tradition that we have in our culture is saying “Bless You!” after someone sneezes. Some people are automatic blessers. Others are familiar blessers. Others never say bless you. Sometimes I’m not sure if I will say it or not. Do I say it? Do I not say it? If the situation is reverse and I just sneezed, I wait to see if anyone will bless my sneeze. When no one blesses me… #smh
Superstition= a belief or notion (not based on reason or knowledge) in the significance (positive or negative) of a thing, action, habit, etc.
(A belief that you have that something is good or bad based on no reason or knowledge.)
Most of you probably aren’t sidetracked too much with the ones we have talked about already. So, Let’s broaden the spectrum a little bit.
While studying and researching this sermon series has been brutal! As soon as I feel like I have a grasp on it, it see slivers of superstition rooting itself all through our society. It is like a spider web sneaking across all parts of our lives.
Many unmerited beliefs are classified as “false religions”. We recognize some of these superstitious things as other religions. Some we would classify as witchcraft, weird, strange.
However, where it affects our congregation and San Marcos is where the influence of these belief systems have been integrated into the Christian church.
Throughout the centuries, people have taken the message of Jesus and allowed:
I have baptized hundreds of people. Strangers. Friends. Family.
However, until this past Sunday I had never baptized one of my kids. I baptized 2 of them. Wow! What a special day.
The whole service was unique because we were focusing on children. We wanted to show our congregation how important the next generation IS (not will be) and we wanted the adults to remember how important it is to remain like kids. You can check out the sermon notes here. You can listen to the message podcast here.
Erica and I have been talking to our boys about baptism for years. Of course, they see tons of people baptized at church every year. They are compelled to talk about it and ask tons of questions. Erica and I have been extremely careful to push the decision later in life. Something in us wanted to make sure the boys were making the decision for themselves and not simply because their friends were or because there was any pressure from mom and dad.
The last month or so, the boys have been telling us over and over that they wanted to be baptized. I would quiz them over and over with random questions. I would surprise them in the car, around the dinner table, or getting ready for bed. “Why do you want to be baptized?” “What does baptism mean to you?” “What does sin mean to you?” “How does sin go away from you?”
Here are the notes from my message on Sunday. Click here to listen to the podcast.
Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. Luke 18:16 NLT
The world seeks people of power, influence, and wealth. God seeks those who remain children.
God builds his kingdom on childlike characteristics: trust, love, innocence, lack of power, lack of pretension, lack of credentials. God wants children (and adult children) whom he can make into disciples.
LET’S BE MORE LIKE KIDS!
- Kids are Teachable! like sponges
- Kids Have an Open Heart! Tender. Soft.
- Kids are Simple Minded! Not complicated with life failures and impossible/rational thinking
- Kids are Humble! Do not find worth in accomplishments
- Kids Trust God Easily! Ready to believe!
LET’S SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY!
- Stop Complaining About the Next Generation We are not going to lose a generation. We are going to stand in the gap between God and the next generation and believe that the kingdom will be stronger when we exit.
- Start Investing in the Next Generation –
- Be an Example! Start being the person you want the next generation to be. If we looked in the mirror, I think many would struggle with what we actually saw. We are trying to get the speck out of the eye of the next generation while we have a log in our own eye. A parent this week said, “It’s an awful moment when you punish your kid for acting like you.”
- Serve in Children’s Ministry – teach, help, clean rooms during the week, prepare snacks, organize closets, play an instrument, run the tech, lead a small group.
- Create a Prayer Culture in Your Home If there was one thing I would work on at home, it would be to create a prayer culture. Meal Time / Bed Time / Special Needs (impromptu)