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Yah'shua (Jesus)






    Text: Exodus 12:1-30

    Brethren, sisters and friends of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Church, I welcome you to the New Covenant Holy Week and pray for the Lord's nearness amongst us all.

    Today is 1 April -- April Fools' Day for the world, but for us who know and love the Lord, the beginning of the Festival called Passover which lasts a whole week. We have been waiting for this time with much anticipation not only because of what we are celebrating, but because of what we have been so earnestly hoping for ever since this Church was called into existence by the Lord. I will say more of that in a moment.

    For New Covenant Christians this is the most special time in the year for us. Many things will happen in the next seven days. To begin with, as this is a Festival, this is a time of joy, festivity, rejoicing and celebration. Even the word "passover" is from the Hebrew hag meaning "to dance or celebrate". And yet, one might ask: How can we dance and celebrate when on this day the Lord of Creation died on a cross for us and experienced the most terrible agony on our behalf?

    The Joy of the Atonement

    It almost sounds a contradiction, doesn't it? Until we understand a little better who the Lord actually is and what His attitude was when He went to the Cross. Does anybody know what His attitude to the Cross was? [Horror]. You are right, of course. When Jesus went up to the Garden of Gethsemane and He became aware for the first time what it meant to take upon oneself the sins of the world, He recoiled in horror. But there's more. The Son of God did not meet His appointment with death just in horror. I wonder how many of you remember what more is said of His reaction to the atonement in the Book of Hebrews. Let me read it to you:

      "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author anf perfector of our faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Heb.12:2-3, NIV).

    Please note this carefully. When Jesus went to Gethsemane it was with joy in His heart -- not because of what He had to endure, but because of the result He knew He would see on behalf of all mankind. Our salvation!

    Here we have, then, one of those many apparent paradoxes of our faith, a principle we must not ignore if we are to understand who God is and if we are to not only make sense out of life but also have the power to endure suffereing, which we must, if we are to be the true inheritors of the Name of Christ. You will find this principle of short-term-suffering vs. long-term-joy everywhere in the Scriptures. It is a principle written into the very heart of Creation. The everlasting joy which all men and women want so much is available only by first joing through the door of suffering, not by our personal design, but by the will and plan of Almighty God, He who knows what will finally bring us happiness.

    The Deliverance of Israel

    Now the Passover was a time of deliverance for ancient Israel -- it was deliverance from slavery in Egypt. But just as Israel was being freed by supernatural miracles -- by the grace of God -- the hand of God's judgment was falling upon another people. Just as the Passover meant joyful deliverance to Israel, so at the same time it meant death to the first-born in Egypt. For the ancient Egyptians the Passover is a time they would rather forget, just as our fleshy natures would rather forget the deliverance of our spirits from sin. For the victory of one nature means defeat for the other. Victory for the Church means defeat for the world. Victory for righteousness means defeat for unrighteousness. There is an equal an opposite effect in all things. The Victory of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary spells ultimate defeat and doom for Satan.

    The Egyptians were defeated one time after another. With each successive plague, God humbled them further. Finally, Pharaoh gave in -- not because he had repented in his heart but because he had no choice. He saw the logical consequences of continuing to oppose the Lord God of Israel. So why did he continue? Why did he send his army out after Moses and his people? Because he was not fully defeated. He had lost several battles -- disasterously -- even to the losing of his own firstborn son. But he was not defeated. His heart, still in the depths of rebellion, rose up against the logic of his mind and he continued to declare war on God. The result was total defeat -- the result was extinction under the waters of the Red Sea.

    The War Against the Flesh

    In this, brethren and sisters, we have a vivid picture of the war we must fight with ourselves between the spirit and the flesh. It is a war of life and death. There can be no peace treaties. There can be no compromises. We can't stop just because we have won a few battles. Imagine what would have happened if the Allies in the Second World war had not demanded the unconditional surrender of Hitler? What if the allies had made peace with the Nazis? Would the world be a better place today? Most certainly not! And yet that is what the Allies did a few years ago went they went to war with Sasddam Hussein of Iraq. He is as great a menace to the world as he ever was because the Allies didn't finish off the job they started. And he has even gone further by reintroducing the gods of ancient Babylon. The pagan goddess Ishtar is alive and well in Mesopotamia again after thousands of years.

    What would have happened if Pharaoh and Moses had had a peace treaty, as some of the Israelites had wanted? Israel would have been returned to slavery and it would have been even worse than before. What would have happened if Jesus Christ had made peace with Satan and not gone to the cross of Calvary by, say, remaining as a Rabbi and continuing to teach the people? It would have meant the defeat of God and the Great Plan of Salvation. Satan would have won! There would have been no salvation in Jesus Christ. And this world would have been utterly destroyed by now.

    So why, O why, do Christians compromise with the flesh??! Why do we say: OK, I'll quit this bad habit -- in fact, I'll quit all my bad habits so long as I can keep this one? Do you not know that such an attiutude spells instand defeat? Did not Jesus Himself say that if you break one point of the Law you break it all? To be a Christian you have to live all the Gospel, not just those parts which you like.


    Well, you may say, we cannot live the Law. That is why Jesus came. You are right. We can't live the Law. We say to one another: Jesus lived all the Law perfectly and all we have to do is trust Him. And so that is what Christians do....as they suppose. But trusting God is obeying Him -- trusting that His Spirit -- not ours -- will enable us to live the Law.

    Let me give you an example. There is an excuse I have heard of time and time again which says in its crudest form that you can do whatever you like so long as you trust in Jesus, because He is our ticket to heaven. They say: Jesus died for us so we don't have to die. We're going to ride on the back of Jesus into heaven without doing a thing ourselves.

    The Lie of Self-Realisation

    Of course, most Christians don't say this directly because it's so ridiculous but their lives testify to the opposite. In fact, look into the lives of most people and you will find that have made peace treaties with the flesh somewhere. They have then gone to "re-define" the Gospel so that their consciences can sit easy with them. Just think of all the homosexual churches there are. Of Christians who continue to be addicted to tobacco and alcohol. Of those who celebrate -- usually knowingly -- pagan festivals. Of the mass introduction of Satan's music into Churches. Of the infiltration of New Age ideas into the Gospel such as "self-realisation". All of this is compromising the truth and all of this means defeat of the spirit by the flesh.

    That, brethren and sisters, is why we have the Passover Festival, to remind us that the way to life in the spirit means death in the flesh. Our road, as Paul reminds us, is to be crucified with Christ. That's the word he uses -- crucifixion. And in case you didn't know, no-one ever survived crucifixion.

    The Righteousness of God in Christ

    In case there is anyone who mistakenly believes I am saying you must go and kill yourself, may I state that to be crucified is to have your sinful nature put to death, that nature which wants us to sin -- the nature which wants us to blaspheme God's Name, hurt others, steal, murder, commit adultery and fornication, and so on. That nature has to be put to death as surely as Pharaoh's army was swallowed up in the depths of the Dead Sea.

    Praise God we do not have to do this ourselves any more than we have to do a major operation on ourselves. We can't cut out the man of sin ourselves and neither can we make ourselves righteous -- only God in Christ can do that. But there is something we can do -- indeed, there is something we must do. We must have faith. We must trust. If I want an operation I can't expect the surgeons to come to my house. I have to go to the hospital. Moreover, I won't be helping myself if, when I get to the hospital, I then start punching the nurse when she tries to give me an anaesthetic. I have to get to the hospital and I have to surrender myself into the doctors' care. And after the operation, I must take the medicine that is given me, do whatever exercises I must, rest if I must, etc.. My faith in the doctors, far from being passive, must be an active or working faith. I must agree with the doctors -- promise them -- that I will follow their treatment.

    Only Christ can put our sinful nature to death by our completely surrendering to Him and putting our trust in Him. But we can't then go out into the world and continue living our old lives. We must obey His commandments -- the Law of Christ -- trusting Him to supply us with the power to overcome temptation and grow in grace.

    The Party

    Now I wonder, have you ever had a party all by yourself? Have you ever celebrated alone? Not much fun, is it. To celebrate implies, naturally, to celebrate with others. God has parties too, though they are quite unlike anything the world has. We call them Festivals and we gather together first to have communion and fellowship with God, and second, to have communion and fellowship with brothers and sisters in the covenant.

    When King Hezekiah of Judah sought to bring the people back to God and into a relationship and fellowship one with another, he called for the revival of the Passover as the first step.

    And that is why God has called for the restoration of the Passover in the New Covenant, because the Passover Festival contains all the spiritual keys necessary for a people of God to have fellowship and communion with each other and with the Lord.

    The New Covenant Passover

    Anciently, the Passover festival was celebrated in the month of Abib, or April, which was the time the first green ears of barley were cut. As we all know, Passover commemorated the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage by protecting them when the death angel moved across Egypt in the slaying of their first-born. But the Passover is more than this. Like all Old Testament festivals it was also a pointer to Christ, the true Passover Lamb sacrified for us. And this sacrifie brings to God's children a perpetual feast. Paul says:

      "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast -- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor.5:7-8, NIV).

    And that, brethren and sisters, is what we are doing -- celebrating the New Covenant Passover. It is probably the most solemn of all the feasts that we celebrate, and with good reason. It became, anciently, the beginning of months and the beginning of the year. It was a memorial to the birth of a nation, Israel. As a type of Christ's death, it becomes a memorial to the birth of a new nation, a holy nation, a kingdom of priests unto God, the Body of Christ. And within that Christian Body it is, for us, the birth a particular covenant -- the New Covenant Church of God. And it ought to be a festival that all Christian Churches celebrate, symbolising the birth of their Church fellowships.

    And each year thereafter it should be used as a festival of rebirth, as we put to death all the mistakes of the past and reconsecrate ourselves to God's service in the New Year, for this is our New Year.

    In a short while we shall celebrate a Passover Meal together. But before we do I must explain the symbolic elements of it. For the Passover Meal, like the weekly Lord's Supper, is an ordinance pregnant with spiritual meaning.

    Before I do I need to give you an overview of the entire Passover Week, and the spiritual processes that lie hidden in its ordinances. Let me draw your attention to the diagram below:

    PassoverSalvationDeath of Christ
    Unleavened BreadSanctification

    The Passover commemorates the birth of a nation -- Israel. Notice how completlely associated with birth is its opposite, death. For Israel to be born, the Israelites had to die to their Egyptian "citizenship", which was a citizenship of slavery and death. They therefore "died to death".

    Commemoration of the Death of Christ

    Today we celebrate Passover but we also commemorate the death of Jesus on a Cross. We celebrate our "passing over" from spiritual Egypt to spiritual Israel. We celebrate our passing over from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ. The first passover we call the "Egyptian Passover"; the second we call the "Perpetual Passover". Israel left Egypt once, never to return. We, in a symbolic way, leave our old lives of sin behind in the waters of baptism to be forever united with Christ. The truth, alas, is that we all too often are tempted back into the fleshpots of Egypt to sin against God. Therefore we constantly ask for deliverance through repentance and faith in the Name of Christ.

    Life and death -- they almost seem like twin brothers, don't they? A perpetual life in the spirit means a perpetual death as to the fleshy nature. Thus to remain alive we must be dead. To be alive in Christ we must be crucified with Him.

    Symbols of the Passover

    The ancient Israelities were given detailed instruction as to how they should celebrate the Passover. They were to select a paschal lamb four days ahead of the festival. I hope that all of us have been making preparations for this Passover. We should have started four days before 1 April, namely, 28 March. During this time the lamb was kept under close observation to make sure it was without blemish. We too ought to have been watching ourselves carefully, making sure that we came to the festival "without spiritual blemish" -- in short, righting all wrongs, as we do before taking the Lord's Supper each Sabbath day. Thus the four days before Passover ought to be days of spiritual preparation.

    On 1 April a male paschal lamb was slain and its blood was applied to the doorposts and to the lintel overhead of every Israelite family's home. If you have been following the instructions given by the Holy Order, you should have a sign on your lintel which reads: Holiness to the Lord, the same sign worn by the High Priest of Israel on the turban over his forehead. The applied blood was the sign to the death angel that the members of that household were protected by God's holiness. Inside the house, protected by the applied blood, the lamb was roasted and eaten. They did this standing, readying themselves for the journey out of Egypt.

    Death of the Church

    Brethren, sisters, and friends, we are here today to celebrate the Passover. For the first time in our Church's history -- on the day we are symbolically putting it to death -- we are going to eat a Christian Passover. Instead of eating bread, as we normally do in the Lord's Supper, we are going to eat roast lamb. And we will do it standing up, rather than kneeling. This is to indicate symbolically that our call to forsake sin is not something we should dither over -- it is something that must be done quickly whilst in a state of preparedness.

    Without this meal the Israelites would never have had the strength to flee from Egypt. Without Christ we do not have the strength to overcome the temptation to sin. With the blood of Christ protecting us from the judgment of the death angel against sinners, and the body of Christ giving us strength, so we are prepared for our new and (sometimes frightening) journey. Those who ate the paschal lamb were given the strength to flee from Egypt without disease or sickness. We therefore partake of Christ for our physical health and strength as much as for our spiritual health and strength.

    Now this lamb was not boiled. It was not smoked or fried. It was roasted with fire. Our suffering Lord Jesus Christ, the Precious One who bore the fierce fire of God's wrath against us sinners, becomes the best food of the poor sinner under guilt and condemnation. The sinner must know that Christ suffered and died in his place; that the fully penalty of sin was borne by the Holy One of God. Anything short of that will not satisfy the saint or sinner.

    Christ Without Judgment

    The Israelites on this Passover night were told that they were not to eat the lamb raw and they were not to eat it soaked in water. What does this mean? There are many who preach Christ only as a good example. They refrain from dwelling on the suffering, bleeding Christ. They want Him without the judgment fire. They want their Christianity watered down. Together with the thief, they want the Christ but not the Cross.

    Some churches have put so much water in the pot with their own reasonings and boiled it in their own debates and speculations until the flavour and its desirableness has been taken away. Only in roasting is the flavour of the meat retained and enhanced. This is what we mean by the meat Gospel as opposed to the milky and watery ones of so many Churches.

    The so-called truth about Christ handed down to us by liberals is raw and soaked with water. They dilute the doctrine of the vicarious atonement until there is no nutrition for saint or sinner.

    Roasted Lamb

    So, brethren and sisters, that is why we are going to eat roast lamb in our Passover Sacrament, to remind us that the way of Christ is one of blood and fire. But that is not all. The Israelites were commanded to eat all the lamb -- they were not to leave or keep any for the next day. Likewise we must partake of all the Gospel and not just the parts we like. Take any part of the Gospel away and you have no Gospel at all. The Good News is all the News about Christ, not just part of it. Therefore we must accept all of Christ, the judgment as well as the mercy, the reality of hell as well as heaven. We cannot reject any part of Him. We must feed upon all of Him -- all His teachings, all His commandments, all His promises -- until He becomes a part of our entire being.

    Now there was another part of the Passover Feast, and that was the eating of unleavened bread. That I shall talk about tomorrow because the Israelites did not eat that until they were on the march out of Egypt.

    Finally, the eating of the Passover Lamb was a family affair. Unlike the Lord's Supper, which is only for those who have entered into full baptismal and Chrism covenants, the passover lamb is for everyone in the family, believers as well as unbelievers, children as well as adults.

    The whole family examined the paschal lamb to see if there were any blemishes. The whole family had a part in the slaying, in the application of the blood over the door, and the eating of the roast lamb. Unlike the Lord's Supper which is a memorial of personal salvation, the Passover is a memorial of communal salvation, or the salvation of the whole Body of Christ and its component parts. Notice especially that the grace of Christ therefore protects those who are both too young to understand the Gospel as well as those who are unbelievers who reside in the family. Thus all those who are of the family of Christ are welcome to join in with us in this ordinance -- those who have truly accepted Jesus as their Saviour, who have no bitter feelings towards anyone here, together with their children.

    The whole family was protected in leaving Egypt, the good and the bad alike, provided they obeyed the ordinance. Of course, any who slept outside their homes -- in the homes of non-Israelites -- perished along with the Egyptians. So there is a condition -- of accepting the shelter of ones family.

    Now isn't this the longing of every Christian family? Don't we want our children to accept the Lord of Calvary and receive His pardon and grace? This ordinance, which is for the whole family, is Christ's invitation to those who have not committed themselves to Him to receive this free protection -- this grace -- if they will trust and follow their parents in the Lord.

    Departing for Zion

    Every Israelite left Egypt. Similarly, every family called to Zion will leave with all those of their beloved who want to come, even if they are not true believers, provided they trust those who are. However, do not for one minute think that salvation without conversion is here being offered by God. It is not. Remember that not all the Israelites entered the Promised Land. Some took the spirit of fear and disbelief from the ten spies and died in the wilderness. Many turn from Christ in the early days of their conversion, just as many have fled from this Church. God will take those who trust Him out of Babylon, but if, having left Babylon, they look back to it as the wife of Lot did, they will perish.

    Every individual must come personally to Christ, receive the blood-covering, feast on the roast lamb, and walk in faith, not fulfilling the lust of the flesh, but walk in the Spirit to the Promised Land.

    The Joy of Salvation

    Brethren, no greater joy comes to a saved family than to know that all are saved. Today, on this first day of Passover, that invitation is made to everyone. Trust in the blood of the Lamb for protection, and feast on it for protection.

    The first day of Passover is the Day of Salvation -- of deliverance from evil and free passage into the security and rest of Jesus Christ. Today I am inviting both those who have known Jesus, as well as those who have not, who wish to join us in the New Covenant in this Passover Journey into new life. I must warn you, however, though this will be an experience of great joy, it will also mean much suffering as you wrestle with your fallen human natures and accept the discipline and chastisements of God until you have each personally overcome. To enter into life means simultaneously entering into death.

    From Independent Church to the New Covenant

    It is therefore appropriate that we lay our Church "to death" at this time also in anticipation of the renewal we have been promised. There are many of you amongst us today who have been together with us since we started in Norway in 1988. During that time we have seen great changes. We have all grown in Christ and we praise the Lord for that. For the last year we have been celebrating all the the Lord has given to us. We have, as it were, been in metamorphosis, changing from a caterpillar into a butterfly. We have been in pupal form for about a year now and are waiting for the Lord's signal to emerge anew.

    To do that we have had to put all our old "caterpillar" ways of thinking, feeling and behaving aside. After all, a caterpillar is a very different creature from a butterfly. Thus we have put aside our old NPKF constitution and have written a new one which we feel most closely respresents the Church that the Lord wants. However, we await His Word of acceptance or rejection of this matter over the next week. All the Church banners, its new Constitution, scriptures and other symbols lie upon the altar which you see before you, all covered in a white cloth. The Church -- the NPKF -- is officially disorganised -- for ever -- and we await to see if the Lord will accept the New Covenant Church of God.

    If there is anyone who would like to receive Christ, or would like to bear their witness of Christ, then I invite them to come up and bear their testimony now

    • {Period of Testimony Bearing}
    • {Confession of those accepting Christ}
    • {Invitation to baptism}

    Brethren and sisters, we now invite you to participation in the New Covenant Passover. Prior to, and after, partaking of the Passover Lamb, the Israelites customarily sang the Hallel, a word derived from "Hallelujah", or Psalms 103 to 108, singing the first two before the meal and the last four afterwards. As we do not as yet have these psalms arranged musically, I would like to invite you to join with me in reciting them together. After this, I would like to invite you to sing, with uplifted hands, a short Hebrew song of praise with the words: HALLELU-YAH YAH'SHUA HA-MASHIACH, which means, "Praise God, Jesus the Messiah!", and to do so with all your heart.

    • Recitation of Psalms 103 & 104
    • "Hallelu-Yah, Yah'shua haMashiach" (x2)

    I now invite all those who are members of the Church and those who have received Christ who desire to come to Zion together with us, to come and stand before the altar, together with their children, and partake of the Paschal Lamb. A blessing will be recited over the roast lamb and then it will be distributed to everyone, to be followed by a joint reading of Psalms 105-108. After the first 5 verses of Psalm 105 we shall sing and dance to the song: Sing to the Lord all the Earth! Afterwards the meeting will be opened for anyone who wishes to speak, testify, bring a word of prophesy or revelation, read the scriptures, or pray.

    • Blessing over the Paschal Lamb
    • Sit down
    • Read Psalm 105:1-5
    • Sing to the Lord all the Earth
    • Read Psalm 105:6-35; 106-108
    • Open Meeting


    Brethren and sisters, may I welcome you here again tomorrow when we celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Before you come here, though, I wish you all to return to your homes tonight, or very early tomorrow morning, and search it from top to bottom for every single crumb of bread. You are to search the cracks in the floorboards, cupboards, tins -- everywhere. Not one single crumb of bread is to be found in your homes. It is most important that you do this. The whole family should join in, including any guests you may have staying with you. You are not to eat any leavened bread. You are encouraged, however, to eat unleavened bread. If you would like some, we can let you take some home with you when you leave this meeting. These are the only conditions that I am giving you before you will be allowed to return here tomorrow. May the Lord bless you until then. Amen.

    This page was created on 12 May 1998
    Last updated on 12 May 1998

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