Communion Service (text below)
Miracle Bible Camp Commissioning Service (text below)
Last month as we prepared for communion, we talked about the tenth plague on all of Egypt, which was the very sobering death of the firstborn of each family. But God provided a way of salvation from the judgment of this 10th plague. We found that by their faith in God’s provision, they could kill a lamb and put the blood of the lamb on the door post and lintels of their home. Then the angel of death would pass over that household. This was an act of faith, believing what God told them. The sign of visible blood on the door of the home was not for God to see, but for a sign of their faith for them, their family, their neighbors, and all in Egypt.
Today I want to focus on our identification with the sacrificial lamb. Let’s look at the instructions given to the Israelites for this selection of the Passover lamb in Exodus 12.
3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. 7 "Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
Why do you suppose the lamb was to be selected on the 10th day of the month, kept in the household until the 14th day of the month, and then killed at twilight on that day? Isn’t this interesting?
First, notice that the lamb must be a year-old male without blemish. The most important part of the sacrifice was a flawless, perfect lamb. The 5 days given here was a time to examine and make sure that your lamb met the requirements. It also gave you time to identify with the lamb personally. It would be easy to become attached to a beautiful young lamb, one that was perfect. This would make the idea of killing it even more personal because you have begun to identify with the very life of that lamb. It would be as though you were killing a part of yourself. A personal identification with it.
Now think about Jesus for a moment. Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th day of the month of Nisan, we call it Palm Sunday. Though the world did not recognize it at the time, Jesus was the Lamb entering the city as the one selected for sacrifice for them. During the next few days, Jesus was inspected, questioned, interrogated, and even tortured. On the 14th day of the month, the head of the Roman government, “Pilate, said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no guilt in this man." (Luke 23:4 ESV).
Jesus was declared the perfect Lamb who was then sacrificed on the cross of Calvary, for the sins of all who will believe in Him. When we put our faith and trust in Him as our Lord and Savior, we make a personal identification with Him as our sacrificial Lamb. The one who took our penalty of death for sin. He died for me, for my sin. He did for you, for your sin. The writer of Romans makes our identity with Jesus the sacrificial Lamb very clear.
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
As a person who has identified with Jesus Christ’s death burial and resurrection, we not only are passed over by the eternal death penalty, which is being separated from God for eternity in the Lake of Fire, but we experience death to sin in our daily living. In our identity with Christ, we are set free from sin and live in a newness of life. Our old self is crucified, and we begin experiencing victory over sin in our daily living.
As we celebrate communion this morning, remember our identity in the perfect Lamb that was our sacrifice. He took our place and now we can live in His victory.
Self - Examination
Jesus says, remember how much I love you!
 . . . “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Jesus says, remember My love demonstrated in My sacrifice!
 . . . “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Who am I? Why am I Here?
Exodus 3:11, 5:22
The book of Exodus records for us the life of Moses, the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and God’s establishment of His covenant relationship with His people. Chapter one tells us how the Israelites became so numerous in the land of Egypt that the Pharaoh of Egypt put them under extreme oppression and afflicted them with heavy burdens by building great cities of brick and mortar. But the heavier the burden that was placed upon them and the harder the work that they were forced to do, the more the people of Israel multiplied.
Because of his fear of the Israelites becoming too numerous and overtaking the nation of Egypt, Pharaoh ordered that all male newborns of Israel were to be killed immediately after birth. However, in chapter two, we find one woman gave birth to a son in secret and hid him for 3 months. Trusting God to protect her child, she put her son in a basket that she water proofed and set in the Nile River.
This new born baby floated into some reeds where the Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing in the shallows of the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter saw this basket floating in the reeds with the 3-month-old Hebrew boy inside. Now, Pharaoh’s daughter could have had this infant killed, but instead she took the basket from the water and took this boy into her home as if he were her own child. She named the boy Moses and he grew up in Pharaoh’s home and he learned the ways of the Egyptians, though he was a Hebrew, born of the nation of Israel.
One day when Moses was a grown man, he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave and in anger Moses killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. When the Pharaoh found out about this, he sought to kill Moses, but Moses fled into the wilderness of Midian. There Moses was taken in by a shepherd named Reuel and Moses married one of his daughters, Zipporah. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness of Midian raising a family of his own.
Chapter 3 of Exodus records that one day as Moses was watching his sheep near a mountain called Horeb, the mountain we call Sinai, that Moses saw in the distance up on the mountain, a bush that was on fire and burning. But the bush was not consumed by the fire. Moses decides to go up on the mountain to see this curious sight. When Moses arrives at the burning bush, God speaks to Moses from the bush. Look at 3:4-6:
4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."
5 Then he said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."
6 And he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
What a powerful moment this must have been in the life of Moses. God continues to tell Moses that He has seen the affliction of Israel in Egypt and that He wants to deliver them from their oppression. That God wants to use Moses to do this. Look at verse 10:
10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."
One might think that Moses would be overjoyed and ready to take on the task God has given him. But look at verse 11:
11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
Who am I?
Our immediate reaction to Moses’ question is amazement, is it not? Why would Moses question that? Moses was brought up in an Egyptian home, knew the ways of the Egyptians. But even more than that, Moses was born from a Hebrew slave. Moses has a unique connection to this oppressed people.
Moses was not only called by God, but he was uniquely qualified to do the task God has called him to do. Moses used several excuses in chapters 3 and 4 of Exodus. But in the end, Moses knew that he was the one God chose to deliver His people from Egypt. Moses went to Egypt and met with the elders of Israel and told them what God said. They believed what Moses told them and they worshipped God. In chapter 5, Moses goes to the Pharaoh and tells him that God wants Pharaoh to let His people go to worship Him in the wilderness.
Do you remember what happened? Pharaoh became hardened and he commanded that Israel not be given straw to make the bricks. Now they must harvest their own straw and still keep up with the same amount of production of bricks as before. Thus, their burden became even greater.
You can imagine all that was going through the heart and mind of Moses at this point. Probably questioning God’s call in his life and once again his qualifications for the job at hand. In his attempt at delivering God’s people, as God instructed, he only made things worse. Moses goes to God and cries out to him in 5:22:
22 Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?
Why am I Here?
Moses not only questioned “Who am I,” but after he followed God’s call, He questioned “Why am I here?” Have you ever asked those questions? When things get tough and you think God must have made a mistake, do you ask, “Why am I here?” I know I have many times. They are questions every single one of us should be asking on a regular basis. Who am I? Why am I here?
“Who am I?” is a question that establishes your relationship with the God you serve. Who are you in relation to God? Of course, this begins with your faith relationship. Do you know God, love God, and want to serve Him in whatever capacity He calls you to? Do you know what God’s answer to Moses was when he asked, “Who am I?” Look at 3:12:
12 He said, "But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.
What is God saying to Moses? He is saying that the very presence of God is with Moses. Who was Moses? He was a man that had God at his side. A man that had the power of God in all that he did and everything he said. Who was Moses? He was a man greatly used by God to deliver Israel from the bondage of Egypt. He is a man with God at his side, that is who Moses is! Who we are is established by our relationship with God.
“Why am I here?” is a question that establishes God purpose in your life. If you are a man or woman of God, in a faith relationship with Him, He has a purpose for you. Do you know what God’s answer to Moses was when he asked, “Why am I here?” Look at 6:1-2:
1 But the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land."
2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am the LORD.
What is God saying to Moses? He is saying that Moses will become the hand of God in Pharaoh’s life. Moses gets to participate in the work of God in delivering Israel from Egypt. “I am Jehovah,” God says. Moses you are here to represent Jehovah God to the nation of Egypt. Moses you are here to put Jehovah God on display. That is why you are here! You get to participate in God’s leading the nation of Israel out of Egypt with a strong hand.
Who am I? Why am I here?
*Illustration of going to Northland.
In 1990, Carrie and I had no doubt that God was calling us to receive training at Northland Baptist Bible College. But while taking a full load of classes, working till midnight three nights a week, and getting some failing grades in English, I began to ask those questions. As Carrie worked almost full time, monitored home schooling work for our children, and taking care of home, I believe she began to ask those questions.
But these questions are not just for people in full time ministry like pastors, missionaries, or camp staff. These are questions every single one of us should be asking every single day as we rise up and walk out that door. Who am I and why am I here?
Ray Vander Laan tells the story of a Rabbi walking wearily on a dusty path along the sea. It was dark already, but he was on his way home. He was reciting the passage found in Isaiah 43:11 over and over in his mind, “You are my witnesses declares the Lord.” In his concentration and the gathering of darkness, he came to the fork in the trail and he went right this time instead of left. He had never done that before.
He found himself standing in front of the Roman fort just outside of town. Romans and Jews did not get along well at that time and so he had never been there before. Suddenly, out of the darkness came the voice of the Roman century. “Who are you? What are you doing here?” he shouted.
Startled the Rabbi said, “What did you say?” “Who are you? What are you doing here?” shouted the century again. This time the Rabbi’s voice came back with much more confidence, “What do you get paid for asking me these questions?” he said. There was a long pause and then the century responded, “Three denarii a week, Jew, why?”
“I’ll give you double,” said the Rabbi, “if you stand outside my house and ask me those two questions every morning when I leave home.”
Who are you and what are you doing here? There are probably no questions more fundamental to life than those two questions. The question of “who we are” must be answered in our relationship with the Lord. If you are a believer, you have within you the very presence and power of God through His Holy Spirit. Your identity is wrapped up in God. That is who you are.
The question of “why are you here” is answered in our purpose as a believer. We are to put Jehovah God on display in our lives and be witnesses for the salvation He has made available for everyone.
Who are You?
Why are you Here?
You might be asking, “Who am I that I should be a witness for the Lord to my neighbor or coworker, or to a cabin of campers? Who am I that I should lead people out of their slavery to sin?” Who are you? You are the one God chose to be in a faith relationship and He has uniquely qualified you to help others come to know Him also. God has chosen you to do this.
You might be asking, “Why am I here in this community, in the midst of these neighbors I have around me, or even at Miracle Bible Camp as staff or counselor?” Why? To put the power of Jehovah God on display and lead others to Him. You get to participate in God’s work in the heart and lives of others, in deliverance from their bondage and oppression to sin.
Who are You?
Why are you Here?
1 Peter 2:9