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Archive for March 25th, 2013

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passover

 

Faith Without Obedience

Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household.  Exodus 12:3

Today is the 10th day of Nisan, the day on which the Passover Lamb was to be set apart from the flock in order to be offered as an unblemished sacrifice to the Lord.  Special care was to be taken of this lamb until the 14th of the month, the Passover, when the lamb would be slaughtered at twilight.  On the original Passover, the blood of the lamb was smeared on the doorposts of every Hebrew home to distinguish them from the Egyptians and to protect them from the destroyer.  The whole community of Israel professed their allegiance to God, but it would be this purposeful and individual act of obedience to God’s instructions which would set true believers apart to be delivered from bondage and spared from death.  And when they were delivered, they would truly be God’s people, and God would be their God.

On this exact day in history, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in the ,,Triumphal Entry”, presenting Himself as the unblemished eternal Passover Lamb of God.  In the days that followed, He taught in the Temple, challenging and infuriating the religious leaders of His day with questions that they could not answer, until the 14th of the month when He would be betrayed and handed over to be killed.  On this day as He entered the gates of Jerusalem, the people shouted for joy, declaring the fulfillment of the Psalms and the words of the Prophets Isaiah and Zechariah, affirming their faith in Jesus as the Son of David, the Son of God, their Messiah, and the King of Israel.  Their words declared their faith that Jesus would deliver them from their oppression and that they would be called “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.”

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He wept.  He knew that, despite their professions of faith, in only a few days the people would all abandon and reject Him.  He, too, remembered the words of the Prophet Isaiah, who said, ”These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”  Although the people professed their faith with their lips, it turned out that it was all talk and no action.  They had abandoned true faith in God’s Word and trusted instead in their own traditions, rules, and regulations. These same people, only a few days later, would be the ones who stood in agreement with His crucifixion.  He did not weep over His coming suffering and death, for this was His God-given purpose on earth.  He wept over the hypocrisy of their proclamations of faith.

During His ministry on earth, Jesus taught about the difference between those who would profess faith and those who would put their faith into action through obedience to His teachings.  He taught that everyone who hears His words and puts them into practice will be blessed.  To them, He will be Savior and Messiah, their Prince of Peace, their Teacher, Counselor, and even their friend.  But, anyone who  professes their faith but does not put His teachings into practice, or places more faith in the tradition or philosophy of man, will be unstable in all their ways and cut off from God.  These hypocrites, whose deeds do not match their words, will meet Jesus one day, and He will weep and say to them, “I never knew you.”

God still weeps over hypocrisy.  What was true about genuine faith back then is still true for us today.  If we genuinely believe the things that we say in faith, then we will put them into practice.  Our purposeful acts of obedience are the distinguishing mark of what we truly believe.  It is these acts of obedience, our putting into practice the teachings of our Lord Jesus which mark us for redemption, deliverance, and salvation and which smear the blood of the eternal Passover Lamb on the doorposts of our hearts. Put another way, faith without works is dead.  We are saved by grace through faith, but our actions of obedience prove our faith to be genuine.  If the Hebrews had not marked their doorposts in the original Passover, they should not have expected to be delivered from Egypt or spared from the destroyer.  In the same way if we do not demonstrate our faith through our acts of obedience, then we should not expect to be delivered from our oppressors or spared from death, eternal separation from God, by the blood of our Passover Lamb, Jesus.

Talk is cheap.  Obedience is costly.  If you truly believe that Jesus is your Savior, then you will walk in the obedience of faith.  Today, with renewed commitment, willingness and passion, declare again your faith in Jesus as your Savior and King, and your eternal Passover Lamb.  Smear your heart with the blood of Jesus by putting into practice the things that He teaches.  Then, you will be set free from oppression, and you will be marked for salvation and redemption.  God will be your God, and you will be His child.

Scripture References: Exodus 12, Triumphal Entry: Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19; Psalm 118:25-26, Isaiah 62:11-12, Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 29:13, James 2:17, Mark 7:8, Ephesians 2:8, Matthew 7:21-23

*Note:  This is the day that is currently commemorated as Palm Sunday, which will be observed on March 24, 2013.

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Faith Without Obedience.

 

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