Live by Me

Dear Brethren,

Today is the Last Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  On this day in history, Israel crossed the Red Sea and came completely out of Egypt.  But they had help, didn’t they?  It was Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament who made it possible for them to leave Egypt by destroying their enemy.

“The children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”  (Exodus 14:22-25)

That pillar of fire was Jesus’ presence with the Israelites.  Israel came out only because of God’s direct intervention and deliverance.  But here is the question we must consider today.  Why did Jesus Christ remain with Israel after they were safely on the other side of the Red Sea, and the Egyptians were so broken as to constitute no threat to them at all?

After all, Israel was finally able to stand on their own two feet at that point having come completely out of Egypt.  Why did Jesus Christ continue to be with Israel on their trek through the wilderness toward the Promised Land?  Nehemiah gives us a glimpse into the answer:

“Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsook them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go.  Thou gave also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheld not thy manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.  Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.”  (Nehemiah 9:19-21)

So we see the answer as to why Jesus did not abandon Israel after they were safely out of Egypt.  They still would not have survived without continual guidance and sustenance.  These lessons are even more important for the New Testament Church than they were for ancient Israel.

Brethren, the answer is the same for us.  Coming out of sin is not enough for us.  We still cannot begin to make it n our own.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread shows us that just accepting Jesus’ sacrifice to pay for our sins is not enough.  The name of the Feast of Unleavened Bread gives us a clue to what God intends our focus to be.  Primarily, we must focus on the unleavened bread

When we understand the meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we will understand what it means to follow after righteousness.  We put on Christ by following after righteousness (Romans 13:14).  These Days of Unleavened Bread picture our putting sin out of our lives so that we might put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  That is Jesus Christ, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1Corinthians 5:8).  However, we must remember the lessons of having been in sin – and so still we can eat nothing leavened, for we know that leaven is a symbol of sin.  That is why God commands His people to eat unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15; Exodus 12:19-20; Leviticus 23:6).  It symbolizes putting on Jesus Christ and His righteousness.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”  (Colossians 2:6-7)

Being rooted in Christ, means that we embrace His doctrine, His principles, His teachings, and His values.  A deep-rooted connection to Christ includes trusting in all of His words, and greatly appreciating the forgiveness He earned for us.  It also includes looking to God in faith, realizing our total dependence on our Creator while demonstrating the fruits of God's Holy Spirit, and expressing true Christianity through good works.  When we are rooted in Christ, it means that we know His ways, and love His ways more than the ways of the world.

Spiritually, our responsibility is to overcome, and to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies.  But, again, that is not enough – we must have Christ in us guiding, strengthening and performing every move we make.  His principles, morals, law and love must be instilled in us.  We eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood.  There is an old saying, “We are what we eat.”  And in this case it is true.  That is what Jesus meant by these words:

“Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me.”  (John 6:54-57)

We are unable to overcome sin by our own strength.  We must abide in Christ.  Abiding in Christ is subject to our continuing to eat the unleavened bread.  This promise of eternal life is contingent on our eating Jesus Christ’s flesh through taking in His Word fully.

“This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever.” (John 6:58)

Sermon:  "Live by Me"  
Offertory:  "Offerings of God"