Well the sermon this morning is about preparation and this week was a big week in the White House when it comes to preparation and I'm not talking about the one on Pennsylvania Avenue I'm talking about my White House the the Josh White House I know it kind of clever as.
This week we had a lot going on but first I want to tell you about the Cross Fit O'BRIEN That's right I started talking about this a while ago there was a five week competition and it officially ends this weekend the last weekend came out on Friday and would you like to know the results of the crossword open things are asking you I'm glad you want to thank you for taking an interest in my hobbies and I'm glad I can share this with you Well this personally was my second time that I did the crossword Open last year when I did it I had maybe been doing crossword for about three or four months and so I did well I think for last year for my first time and so this is the kind of time of year where you come to see you know did I get stronger Did I get faster to get better and so I looked at my results from last year and I looked at my results in the Southwest region this is like a worldwide competition they break it down into regions and here in America the southwest region is five states Colorado Utah Nevada New Mexico and Arizona and of the people that did the scaled version I did the scaled version last year was my first year which is just a little bit lighter weight a couple movements that you don't have to do on the R.X. of version there were one thousand and one thousand people one thousand men who did the scale version of Crossfire last year and I came in seventy third or out of a thousand not too bad right my top ten percent almost always please with out this year in two thousand and eighteen I did the same thing I did scale because there's still a couple movements or they can do but I wanted to see if I could beat Josh White from two thousand and seventeen you know and so this year out of a thousand and seventy three people right now and it might change a little. Right now I'm number three was pretty good. Grilled right yeah thank you.
And so that's just the scaled and then among men my age because it's better to compare yourself against guys your own age forty to forty four year olds last year out of one hundred sixty six people in the Southwest I was twelve and this year I'm first.
Don't be too impressed yet just wait until I tell you. And in fact the last time I checked the app on my phone for all the men in the world forty to forty four I'm first. That's going to change trust me is going to change but I'm doing the scale which is kind of like the J.V. version compared to varsities So it's not saying much you should as Zack how he did Zach did really good he did the R.X. of version where is actually actually is here OK Ashley did a great job but I'm going to bring about somebody else right now Taylor Hill Taylor… is here she is an actual athlete and so she did this she did phenomenal and there's eight thousand women over a thousand women in the Southwest region and what they do is you take the top twenty from each region and those who are good enough they go on to regionals and this is these are just really the best athletes around and then if you win regionals of the top five in regionals you go on to the games which is kind of like going to the Olympics and of the eight thousand people Taylor Hill is right like you are twelve to fifteen so she's almost a lock for Regionals this is a really impressive and for those of you who ever watch crossfade it is extremely difficult to make it to regionals and so all of us in our Jim Acosta cross that were like super excited for Taylor but I'm for those of us who have been watching her we should be too surprised because she works really really hard I try to go about five times a week and it depends on if there's something going on at night at church and I go in the morning otherwise I try to go in the after. Noon and I think every single time that I'm there so is Taylor she works out two or three workouts a day she wanted to make sure that for this cross that open she was prepared and I think it really goes to show you that people who prepare there's good things that come from that well another thing about the White House something else that we were preparing for my wife and my daughter are gone for the week they took off for Florida for spring break of this is a great opportunity for mom and daughter to spend the time some time away there with Christians grandparents and for Miers and so this last week we've been preparing for her departure and so she did although a lot of us say we she was preparing for her departure so she dove the laundry before she laughed which I really love and appreciate or for that she did all the grocery shopping she also prepared a honey do list for me which was very nice I appreciate that while I'm gone you're going to do these things and then Caleb and Kyle and I will definitely be preparing on Friday night for her return and you know what that means taking up everything the dishes and you know just trying to make sure everything is as clean as we can make it clean. You know all of us are preparing for something life is about preparing So what are you preparing for right now I mean some of you might be preparing for maybe a work project something you might be preparing to graduate from either high school or college some of you might be preparing for maybe like a family vacation that's coming up you know as a church we're preparing for Easter but there's also a really big project coming up a big ministry for our church that we're going to start preparing for and that's Vacation Bible School and this year is going to be really special the leader the peer is the president of the Parent Teacher Association of the elementary school right over here and I am pointing in the right direction this time right over here called us and wants to meet with Sarah Kinkaid and myself to talk about how that elementary school can promote. Our vacation bible school for the summer I mean this is going to be huge Yeah it's really neat.
And so on we're going to need a lot of help and this is going to be a wonderful way for us to really introduce ourselves to this neighborhood and so we're preparing for that you know life is just one constant preparation we're always preparing for something when you're young you're preparing for school to graduate to maybe your career and preparing to get married and then and then when you're in midlife you're preparing for the financial needs of your family preparing to buy a house and maybe hopefully pay that off some day and you're preparing to maybe buy a car and then pay that often and when you're midlife you're preparing for retirement right and then once you're retired you have nothing left to prepare for you just enjoy life right it is not how it goes something like that maybe not. You have a question for all of you. What is today who had the answer that what is today. Palm Sunday that's kind of a trick question. It's not wrong to say Palm Sunday because that's obviously that's what it is today but back in the days of Christ it wasn't something called Palm Sunday it was actually a very busy time of the year during this week. Some two thousand years ago this is the time when all of Israel was preparing for certain feasts and festivals Passover the Feast of Unleavened Bread and also the feast of firstfruits and what they were doing is they were busy removing all the leaven all the yeast from their house to house because they could not have it in their house for those seven days and the two main reasons why they were preparing is because God told them to remove the leaven this is for them to remember how God brought them up out of Egypt in haste and kind of were symbolizes the removal of sin but also on this specific day we call this Palm Sunday but on this specific day all the Israelites were picking out a lamb that they were going to sacrifice four days later on Passover for them to. Remember the original Passover in Egypt and so it was on this very day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem we call it Palm Sunday but it was actually Lamb of Selection Sunday that Jesus rode into Jerusalem and this was the day that Israel this day in this week was when Israel would look back and remember how God was preparing them to be delivered from slavery in Egypt and for us today this is something that we can look back on and remember but the nice thing is we have the big picture today and so what I want to do today as we call this Palm Sunday I want to look at three major preparations that God has done for us and we're just going to take the time today to remember them and so I want you to turn in your Bibles to the original Passover back in Exodus Chapter twelve
Exodus Chapter twelve
if you're taking notes let me give you the first point for the message here the first preparation that we're going to remember today is how God prepared to deliver Israel this is how God prepared to deliver Israel from slavery through the plague of the Passover so let's read Exodus Chapter twelve beginning in verse one.
Exodus twelve or so one says The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt this month shall be for you the beginning of months it shall be the first month of the year for you tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their father's houses and so that's what I would be today a lamb for a household and if the household is too small for a lamb then he and his nearest neighbors shall take according to the number of persons according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb your lamb shall be without blemish a male a year old you may take it from the sheep or from the goats and usual keep it until the fourteenth day of this month when the whole assembly of the current geisha of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight and so these are the initial instructions that God gave to Moses the nation of Israel ready for the first house or for seven then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts in the lintel of the houses in which they eat it they shall eat the flesh that night roasted on the fire with unleavened bread in bitter herbs they shall eat it do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water but roasted its head with its legs and its inner parts and you shall let none of it remain until the morning anything that remains untold the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it with your belt fastened your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand and you shall eat it in haste it is the Lord's Passover for I will pass through the land of Egypt that night and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt both man and beast and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements I am the Lord the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are and when I see the blood I will pass over you and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt this day shall be for you a Memorial Day and you shall keep it as a feast of the Lord throughout your generation. As a statute forever and you shall keep it as a feast seven days you shall eat unleavened bread on the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses for if anyone needs what is love and from the first day until the Sabbath that person shall be cut off from Israel on the first day you shall hold a holy assembly and on the seventh day a holy assembly no work shall be done on those days but what everyone needs to eat that alone may be prepared by you and so God gave them these instructions before he brought them up out of Egypt and this became the feast that they would do every year to remember and interesting only enough God established all of these Jewish holidays before these actual events took place now we love holidays we love vacations don't we here in America I mean everywhere in the world we love vacations and holidays but how many times have you celebrated a holiday that's based on no actual event or memorial of a person you know we don't do that right that's that's ridiculous and yet God said do these things and he had them celebrate the feast of festivals before actual events took place up to that point in time and this is one way that God was preparing the world for what he was going to do. The continue reading in verse twenty four
says you show observe this right as a statue for you and for your sons forever and when you come to the land of the Lord will give you as he promised you shall keep this service and when your children say to you what do you mean by the service you shall say it is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses and the people bowed their heads and worshiped then the people of Israel when it did so as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron so they did at midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon and all the firstborn of the livestock and Pharaoh rose up in the night he and all his servants and all the Egyptians and there was a great cry in Egypt for there was not a house where someone was not dead and this is how God delivered Israel out of Egypt and want to skip to verse thirty seven this is one of the reasons why they call this the Feast of Unleavened Bread because they had no time to let the bread rise they had to leave Egypt in such a hurry first thirty seven and the people of Israel journeyed from Ramsay's to suck off about six hundred thousand men on foot Besides women and children a mixed multitude also went up with them and very much livestock both flocks and herds and they baked unleavened cake on the dough that they had brought up out of Egypt for it was not leavened because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not wait nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves and so this is a day that we remember we remember what would have been the tenth of Nisson for the Israelites the nation was selecting their land and on that very day God sent Jesus into Jerusalem so that he would be our sacrificial lamb that's the first thing that will remember today oh. God delivered the Israelites the second preparation I want to remember today is the true Passover that happened way back in the Old Testament some fifteen hundred years before we get to the New Testament roughly that amount of time and a lot of times when you're reading the Bible you'll notice something in the Old Testament has a a repeat in the New Testament and that's one way of God giving us lots of types and shadows or something will happen in the Old Testament and then there will be a future a permanent reality in the New Testament and that's one of the things that we see with the Passover and as special and as significant as the original Passover was it was only a shadow of the future reality that we see in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ Well God was showing is that there would be a sacrifice made that would allow all mankind through their faith to pass from death to life and that's what we remember today you know him to prepare the world for that god did a couple things he sent John the Baptist as a way to prepare the nation of Israel for the coming Messiah a couple passages in the New Testament we can read or you can turn to Luke seven all read this and the next one is in John one but these kind of both point to the preparation of Jesus being the ultimate Passover lamb but in Luke Chapter Seven dealing with John the Baptist's who is Jesus cousin. Jesus said this in Luke seven twenty six Speaking of John the prophet John the Baptist's What then did you go out to see a prophet Yes I tell you and more than a prophet this is he of whom it is written so John is a fulfillment of prophecy Behold I will send my messenger before your people who will prepare your way before you and so God sent the name of the Nation of Israel John the Baptist to prepare and ready them for the coming Messiah and you know who John the Baptist said Jesus was read this and. On one twenty nine turn there really quick John chapter one verse twenty nine. Here's John the Baptist baptizing people out in the wilderness and this is what he said about Jesus John one twenty nine Jesus John the Baptist said this
the next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And so this is God's way of preparing for the second and the true Passover Today we remember how God graciously gave His Son to be the sacrifice of our sins so that we can be forgiven and anyone who places their faith in Jesus's death and resurrection we pass over from death to life and the third thing I want to serve member today is what else got us prepared for us and this is not something that we're looking back in the past for this is something that we are given as our great hope and the third thing that God has prepared for us is a future with Him forever in eternity God is preparing a place for us to spend with him one should turn your bibles of your soul the book of John to John fourteen.
John Chapter fourteen.
And I know I've mentioned this before and I'll mention this again John chapters twelve through twenty one are basically the last week of Christ's life and so here in John Chapter twelve you were going to Chapter thirteen you have a the Jesus washes his disciples feet and that's when they were practicing the Passover meal in the upper room and so he did that as part of the Seder meal and then here in John Chapter fourteen and remember this is during the Passover meal that he's having with his disciples literally hours before he's crucified and this is what John says to his disciples John fourteen beginning in verse one. He says to them.
Let not your hearts be troubled believe in God believe also in Me In My Father's house are many rooms if it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and will take you to Myself that where I am you also may be and you know the way to where I am going Thomas said to him Lord. I do not know where you are going how can we know the way Jesus said to him I am the way and the truth and the Life no one comes to the Father except through me you know Jesus said this wall he was still with the disciples and eventually he was crucified he rose from the grave and he told them to take comfort in the fact that he was going to prepare a place for them Jesus says that he's preparing a place for all of us who are facing him so that we can be with Him forever and so this is dealing with the preparation God has made for our future. How many of you know which house you'll be living in ten years from now some of you might some of you saying I am in the house that I'm in I'm never moving from this but most of us are thinking you know I have no idea what's going to happen in five years from now let alone ten years or twenty or fifty years from now but we start preparing for the rest of our lives were wise if we are preparing for a future but our preparations for a future stop in this life but in God's great love for us not only did he prepare the sacrifice to pay for our sins but right now he is preparing in eternal home for all of us who have placed our faith in him and the apostle Paul says something very similar in second Corinthians you can turn their second Corinthians Chapter five.
Saying Corinthians Chapter five vs four and five.
Second Chapter five or says four and five
this is the comfort in the hope that we get from the Apostle Paul he says for while we are still in this tent we groan being burdened not that we would be on close but that we would be further closed so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life he who has prepared us for this very thing is God who has given us the spirit as a guarantee I read that last sentence and it is so poignant that God has prepared you and me to live for eternity and it's our choice where we're going to live eternity based on what we believe Jesus Christ who he is you know so today this being Palm Sunday or lamb Selection Sunday maybe more properly it's good for us to remember the things that God has prepared for us he's prepared the payment for our sins and He is also prepared a future home with him forever so what do we need to be prepared for you know for it is in regarding our salvation there's nothing that we need to do there's nothing that we're supposed to do to assist God or to help him in his his work of saving us but the Bible does tell us that we should be prepared for something and so I do want to leave us with this last thought you can turn over the first Peter chapter three
first Peter chapter three verse fifteen.
First Peter chapter three.
Verse fifteen and sixteen it says this.
And this is what we are to be prepared for. His but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord is holy always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who ask you for the reason for the hope that is in you you do it with gentleness and respect having a good conscience so that when you are slandered those who are vial your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame we are supposed to be prepared to share with anyone the reason why we have hope and now that we say this and with this being history and I think someone in this room hopefully many of us in this room will have an opportunity this week based on some kind of conversation you're going out with someone and they're going to ask you something about Easter Why do you go to church and will be your opportunity to share with them your faith I told my Sunday School class this morning this week I got my haircut on Thursday and the hairdresser asked me the question which kind of surprising she said So you have any plans for Easter was kind of shocked you know I've never been asked a question by so Miranda a stranger and and I said yeah I'm going to go to church and then she said well I'm going to go to church too I and girls my brother it's only time of the year I go to church and she kept talking and talking talking I didn't have a chance to tell her I was a pastor that's all right.
Five other conversations after that but I was just thinking you know this is the time of year where you might ask somebody that question and you everyone in this room I'd have an opportunity this week to bring up this topic so be prepared to share with everyone if you have this hope or right now what I want to do is I want us to celebrate communion by remembering what God did to prepare us for the sacrifice of His Son so I'd like to have the men come forward right now we're going to help me with communion.
we've never done communion in this building before so we're figuring this out as we go. But right now we're going to pass out the bread which as you know represents the body of Jesus Christ and for those of you familiar with the Seder meal you know that up in the Upper Room Jesus with this was his disciples he took the unleavened bread the matzah and he took the middle portion of any broken and he said to them this is my body which is broken for you do this in remembrance of me and when Jesus said that he knew that literally within hours his body was going to be broken. And so as you sit here today with us as a family of believers spend time thinking about how God willingly sent His Son and His Son Jesus our Savior willingly allowed his body to be broken so that you and I could have our sins forgiven.
In first Corinthians as Apostle Paul is giving us our instructions for the Lord's Supper He wrote this he says for I received from the Lord What I also deliver to you but the Lord on the night that he was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and he said this is my body which is for you do this in remembrance of me.
Thank you so much for the sacrifice of your son and even the willingness of Christ to die he knew what he was doing he knew why he was writing into Jerusalem. And he willingly did that for us because of his great love for us. Thank you so much father for the sacrifice which pays for our sins of previous unquestioning men
and during that same night Jesus was. With his disciples he was going through the Seder meal and he was going through the four cups of they were drinking and he got to the third cup and he said to them I will not do this again and tell finds its fulfillment in the kingdom of God and when he said that that my dad was the last time he had celebrated the Passover meal with the Israelites because he has been busy like he said preparing a place for all of us so that we can be with him forever. And so as we take the juice and we spread it out to allow you to hold on to it. Courage you to just take time and realize that it's because of the spilled blood of Jesus Christ the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Jew and I have the hope of spending eternity with him.
The scripture continues and says. In the same way also he took the cup after supper saying 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 this cup you proclaim the Lord's death and telling.
Father with great joy we proclaim your death until you return because we believe just as Christ rose from the dead he is the first fruits of all who will be raised back to life and because he rose from the grave we believe that we will as well thank you so much for giving us this picture of redemption from the Word of God for you brought Israel out of Egypt using the Passover and how you sent your son some fifteen hundred years later to be the true Passover so that we can look back and we can realize that you prepared to deliver us from the power of our sins through the death of your son the Lord his resurrection gives us the hope that because he was raised from the dead we too will be raised to life eternal and so Father we praise you for that truth and this week in a very practical way I pray that you help us all be prepared to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this coming Sunday we look forward to that and we pray this in Christ mean you Matt.