Skip Heitzig - Getting Passed Over
Good morning, on this happy day. Would you please turn in your Bibles to the Book of Exodus, chapter 12, as we continue to follow the bloodline. Exodus, chapter 12. So there was a senior citizen, an old guy. He was in his 80s, around 80. I'm sorry if that offends you, saying that's old. But anyway, he's in his 80s. He decides that he wanted to get a brand-new Corvette, so he goes to the dealership. He thought, you know, I'm going to live a little bit. I don't have a whole lot of time left.
So he goes and buys a brand-new Corvette convertible. He pulls out of the car lot, 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds. And he likes that, so he goes from 60 to 70. He likes that, takes it up to 80 miles an hour, 90 miles an hour. And he just loves the feeling of the wind blowing through whatever gray hair's left on his head. And he takes it to 100 miles an hour. Now, as he's doing 100 miles an hour, he suddenly looks in his rear-view mirror and he sees police. It's a state trooper. He's got his sirens blaring, his lights flashing. The old guy floors it. 105, 110, pushing a little bit over 110. Then it just dawns on him. He goes, "what am I thinking? I'm way too old for this nonsense". So he slows it down. He pulls over, waits for the policeman to catch up with him. Pulls his car over.
Police walks out of the car, goes over to the Corvette. Looks down at the older gentleman and says, sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a good reason for speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go. The old man looks around, thinks about it a minute. Looks up at the police officer and he says, "years ago, my wife ran off with a state trooper. I thought you were bringing her back." The police officer tilted his hat and said, "have a good day, sir".
Some people are really good at making excuses as to why they don't deserve a ticket. But you got to know that old guy felt so relieved that he was, for whatever reason, passed over in terms of getting a citation. When I was younger, I didn't like getting passed over. In school, when the PE coach divided the class up into two sections and said, OK, you're the captain. You're the captain. Pick teams. I didn't like that, because I would get passed over until you're the last guy standing, and somebody's got to pick you for their team. I never liked getting passed over. If my parent would give a compliment to an older brother but not to me, that's never a good feeling.
We don't like it if we're passed over by our boss for a raise, or a promotion, or an advancement. Nobody liked the feeling, when you were younger, of getting passed over by a potential boyfriend or girlfriend, somebody you like, because they like somebody else. You don't like that feeling. However, there are other times we absolutely love being passed over, like not getting a ticket when you deserve a citation. Or if you disobey your parents and they don't spank you, you don't have a problem with that. You like getting passed over. Or if you ditch class, or in my case, when you ditch class, and the teacher doesn't dock your grade, or keep you in detention. You don't mind getting passed over for that.
And so as God's people, we are absolutely thrilled that God passed over us in judgment. Every believer in Christ is happy not to go to hell. That's a good feeling. Today, we're going to look about being passed over as we study the Passover, in Exodus chapter 12. It's a long chapter, you can notice by looking at it. Let's read some of the verses, and then make some comments.
Verse 1, "Now, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 'This month shall be your beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, "On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons. According to each man's need you shall make your account for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep, or from the goats. Now, you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs, they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw'", no problem there, "'nor boiled at all with water, but roasted fire, its head with its legs, and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning. And what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it, with a belt on your waist, with sandals on your feet, with a staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment, I am the Lord. Now, 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 the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord. Throughout your generations you shall keep it as a feast, by an everlasting ordinance.'"
Allow me to give you a little background, so we can understand where we are. 70 people follow Jacob from the land of Canaan into the land of Egypt, a few-hundred years before this. That small family of 70 has now grown to a population base of two-million-plus people, two-to-three-million people. Not only have they grown in population, they have grown in prosperity, which made them a threat to the Egyptians. The Egyptians' response to the Israelites getting so powerful and so large is to enslave them. And so God decided, "I'm going to deliver them from the slavery, give them their own land. So I'll send Moses to do that."
Moses comes to the Pharaoh. Pharaoh doesn't budge. So God needs to get Egypt's attention. He does so with 10 plagues. He gets their attention. This is the last plague, the final plague, the death-of-the-first-born plague. You'll also notice it's the longest chapter. More space is given to the death of the firstborn, the 10th plague, than all previous nine. Why is that? It's because the basis for a relationship with God will be the blood of an innocent victim. And that sets the tone for what we're about to study.
So this story of the Passover tells us four things about how we get passed over. It tells us about our sin. It tells us about our substitute. It tells us about our salvation. And it tells something about ourselves.
Let's begin with the first. This Passover tells us about our sin. I wonder if you really know how expensive sin is. I want you to just notice some of the words. I'm going to read them to you without going through all of the text. We already read that. In chapter 12, God speaks of judgment. That's a big word for God to use, because God can do it. Judgment, I'm bringing judgment on you. He uses the term, destructive plague, as well as the phrase, death of the firstborn. And he uses the words, strike down. He says, I will strike down. So this is the final plague of the God of the Hebrews against the Egyptians, and the plague is the death of the firstborn. Why? Because you know the principle in Romans 3,the wages of sin is death. Sin is expensive. It costs life. It takes life. It ends life.
Now, this judgment that God brings, this striking down, is for a couple of reasons. Reason number one, it's a judgment against the gods of Egypt, the false gods, the mythical gods that they had constructed, the false-worship system. Did you notice that in verse 12? "I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night. I will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt both man and beast." Watch it. "And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment, I am the Lord."
So then this plague is like the final face off between your Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, the only God, and all of the false gods of the pantheon of the Egyptians. I read a little article about the worship system of Egypt. And the list that I was reading had 112 different gods of Egypt, who their names were, what they did, what their relationship was, kind of the hierarchy.
But that wasn't the end of it the article went on to say, of those gods that we enumerated there are many more. There were over 2,000 different gods and goddesses that the Egyptians worshipped. So then for God to step in and do this, this is like the showdown at the Not-OK Corral. God shows up. I am the true God. You're trusting in gods who cannot perform what I am about to do.
Back in 1964, there was a commercial on television. I don't expect a lot of you to remember this, unless you're my age. But there was a commercial for a dog food called Ken-L Ration Dog Food. Do any of you remember Ken-L Ration dog food? You do. So if you were around in that era, the commercial was a black-and-white commercial. Little kids picked up their dogs and they sang the song. Do you remember the song? You do? So "my dog's better", can you sing it? "Than your dog". My dog's, oh my goodness, you sing it like it's an old hymn of the church or something.
Shall we stand and sing the Ken-L Ration song? We won't. So this is kind of like that, in the sense that it's like the ultimate commercial, my god's better than your god. My god is better than yours. My god's better, because he brings indignation. My god's better than yours. God will do what all of those Egyptian gods couldn't do, or could protect them from. So it's a judgment on the gods of Egypt.
Second, it's a judgment on Pharaoh himself, who hardened his heart time and time again. Moses came to Pharaoh and said, let my people go. Thus says the Lord, let my people go. Pharaoh's response is this: who is the Lord, that I should obey him? Well, funny you ask. You're about to find out who the Lord is. This plague is designed to get Pharaoh's attention, because he was so hardened time and time again against God. Now, there's a note about this you have to know. The Egyptians believed that their Pharaoh was the embodiment of the God Horus. He was deity. The God Horus was the son of Hathor.
Hathor was the son of Amun Ra. If you remember back, if you studied Egyptology, you know that Amun Ra was the chief supreme deity of the universe. So in effect Pharaoh was like the physical earthly embodiment, or the grandson of Amun Ra. So the plagues are designed to show Pharaoh, as well as the Egyptians, who is boss. Now, most of us have no problem with God judging the Egyptians, or with Pharaoh. We do have a problem with the next group that God is judging here, His own people, the Israelites. Yes, the children of Israel were also under a death sentence, and only blood could save them. If the children of Israel said, well, I'm an Israelite, man, I'm chosen, and they didn't apply the blood or stay inside that house, they would be a victim.
Go down to verse 23. We didn't read it. So I want you to look at it, without going through the whole chapter and other chapters around it, to get the whole picture. There's enough here to indicate. "For the Lord", verse 23, "will pass through to strike the Egyptians. And when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts the Lord will pass over the door, and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you." Why? Why did they deserve punishment as much as the Egyptians? I'm glad you asked.
First of all, they were obstinacy. Moses came and said, I'm your man. You've been praying for deliverance, I'm the guy God sent. So he goes to the Pharaoh and says, let my people go. Pharaoh goes, you have too much time on your hands. And he makes it harder for the Israelites. The Israelites get so bummed out that they confront Moses, reject Moses, and say, this is all your fault. May God judge you, Moses. So they rejected God's messenger. That's number one.
Number two, idolatry. Did you know that some of the children of Israel were worshiping some of the false gods of Egypt? We don't get it in this chapter. But later on, when Joshua stands up to speak to the descendants of this generation in Joshua 24, Joshua says, "Put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve the Lord." He said, look, I know that your forefathers, while they were in Egypt, worshiped many of those Egyptian gods. Put them away now, and serve only the Lord. So God's own people, the children of Israel, rejected God's word, rejected God's prophet, rejected God Himself. And they were not protected by their race. They were not protected by their nationality. They couldn't say, we're Jews, we're exempt. You get out of that house, you don't apply the blood, you are not exempt.
Now, I'm bringing all this to your attention because this paints the picture of the plight of all humanity. For the Bible says, in Romans 3, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Now, that might be news to some of you. Because maybe up to this point you say, no, no, no, I'm OK. I'm good. God and I, we're OK. No big deal. And perhaps you can't think of any particular sin that puts you in jeopardy. All I can say is that's because you're misinformed. You're misinformed of your true condition, and you're misinformed of what God's solution to fix your true condition is all about. So if all have sinned it means you have sinned, and I have sinned. And therefore, in that condition, we can expect to die. So chapter 12, the Passover, tells us about our sins. Second, it tells us about our substitute. And that's all through the chapter.
So as an act of mercy, God provides an out, a substitute. He tells each family to take a lamb, a yearling, that is, a lamb that's a year or younger. Have you ever seen a little lamb that age? It's so cute, like a pet, little, fluffy, white, sweet little thing. It had to be pure. It had to be perfect. It had to be whole. It had to be sound. It was inspected, to make sure that it was. And that little lamb was the substitute for the family. It stood in the place of that family, took its place". I mentioned it had to be perfect, as far as humanly possible. Moses later will instruct, in Leviticus 22, "It must be perfect to be accepted. There shall be no defect in it. Those that are blind, or broken, or maimed, or have an ulcer, or eczema, or scabs, God would not accept.
So get this picture. They selected the lamb on the 10th day of the month. They sacrifice it on the 14th day. So day 10 of the month comes. Dad and the kids go down to where the lambs are, picks one little one that's inspected, that's perfect, brings it home to live with the family for the next four-or-five days. It becomes part of the family. They feed it. They care for it. They love it. They pet it. They become attached to it. Can you get the picture? So sweet, so cuddly, and then the 14th day comes. And Dad takes the lamb, raises its neck and slits its throat, as the blood spills all over that white wool.
It's a shock to anyone. But to a child, if you were the first-born child in that family, you would not escape the significance of somebody standing in your place. But the children would have cried on this first Passover, Daddy, why? Daddy, why? And the dad would have to explain, that lamb is your substitute. A lamb is always what God required, always what God required. Go back to the Book of Genesis, at least in your minds. You don't have to turn there. Adam and Eve sinned. They covered themselves up with fig leaves. Pretty itchy. Not a good fashion statement. God in turn covers them up with animal skins. For that to happen it requires death, right? And most scholars believe it was a lamb. Lamb skin feels really good, by the way. So in that case it was one lamb for one person, one lamb for Adam, one lamb for Eve. Follow?
By the time we get to Exodus chapter 12, the Passover, now it's one lamb for a family. You take the blood and put it on the lentils and door posts. Later on in Israel, God will establish what's called Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A lamb is killed. This time, it's one lamb for a nation. The blood of that lamb is sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Tabernacle, to atone, to cover for sin.
So you have one lamb for one person, one lamb for one family, one lamb for one nation. But the best is yet to come. When Jesus comes down to the Jordan River, his cousin John the Baptist said, look, it's the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. Now, it's not one person, or one family, or one nation, it's for everyone.
Now, this becomes the consistent message of the Bible. The consistent message of the Bible is this, if you want to meet God, you must meet God on the basis of a lamb. That's the only way God will meet with you. Remember, Isaac asked the question, when Abraham took him on Mount Moriah. They're walking up the hill, we covered this, and he says, well, here's the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb? That's the only question God will ask you. If you think you can stand before God and say, I deserve to get into your heaven because I was a good person, God will simply ask, where's the lamb? Well, I'm here because my parents always went to church. Where's the lamb?
Well, I attended semi-regularly. And I think, compared to other people, I'm OK. Where's the lamb? Jesus is often referred to in the Bible as the lamb. Isaiah 53, "As a lamb before its shearers is silent so He opened not his mouth." 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, "Even Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us". And in Revelation 13, Jesus is called the lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. It's always about a lamb, a substitute. So it tells us about our sin. It tells us about our substitute. The third thing it tells us is about our salvation.
Now, I want to drill down a little bit on this. God didn't just require a lamb. Let's get specific. God required a dead lamb. As you read through chapter 12 of the Passover, you start understanding the importance of blood being shed. It grosses a lot of people out. You can't read chapter 12 without being confronted with blood, blood, it's all over the place. Verse 6 is a command to slaughter a lamb. Verse 7, the blood of that lamb applied to lentils and doorposts. Verse 13, the blood that's there will be a sign on their homes. Blood is everywhere. Why is that? Why blood? Blood represents life, that's why. It says in Leviticus, "the life of the flesh is in the blood." So blood represents life. And blood was a sign that a life ended, in substitute for your life being ended.
Now, I want you to notice something in verse 13. And if you don't mind, I'm going to wax a little theological. I think you're up for it. I think you can handle it, and I think you need to know it. Now, the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. In other words, you're going to put the blood up. You're going to look at it. It's going to signify something, be a sign to you about something. You're going to see it. The blood will be a sign for you on your houses. The same verse, it continues, "And when I see the blood," God says, "I will pass over you. And the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."
Did you notice there's two parts? You're going to see it. It'll be a sign to you. I'm going to see it. It's going to be a sign to me. When Israel saw the blood on their doorways, it was a reminder that their sin took a life, that a lamb died in their place. The technical term for this, the theological term is expiation. Expiation. They knew they were covered. Their guilt had been removed.
When God saw the blood it was the sign to him that a death had already occurred in that house, and the penalty against sin had already been meted out. The technical term for this is propitiation. That's a New Testament term you've read about, if you've read the New Testament. It appears a few times. That means the wrath of God is turned away. God is not against them. So when we look up at the cross, we see our payment has been made for sin. When God looks down at the cross, he sees His punishment has been made for sin.
That is the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. A substitute allows God to take death and pass over you. And for you, according to Jesus, to pass from death into life. And you are safe forever because of substitutionary atonement. So in the New Testament it's very specific about this. When it starts explaining the crucifixion it gets very specific that the whole crux of the matter is the blood of Jesus Christ.
Here's a couple examples. Romans chapter 5 verse 9, "We have been justified by His blood." We're not justified by His birth. We're not justified by His teachings. We're not justified by His exemplary life. We're justified by His blood that was shed. First John chapter 1 verse 7, "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanses us from all sin" Ephesians chapter 1, verse 7, "In Him, we have redemption. Through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Hebrews chapter 13, verse 12, "Jesus also suffered to make the people holy through His own blood." First Peter chapter 1, "You are redeemed, not with corruptible things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, a lamb without blemish and without spot." It's all about blood, isn't it? Not just a substitute, one who died. Blood. Peter even calls it, the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Why is it so precious? Easy answer. Because it's the blood of the only person who never sinned, never sinned. Of all the people ever living on the Earth, Jesus was the only sinless perfect son of God. Pilate said, I find no fault in him. Jesus said, Which of you can convict me of sin? He was without spot, without blemish. This is why Hebrews 9:22 says, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness for sin." It's one of the most important versus in your New Testament. Hebrews 9:22, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin." Do you know what that means? It means that God will not arbitrarily forgive people. God doesn't forgive you because you have a good intention. God doesn't forgive you because you really meant well. God forgive you because you live better than other people, you think, and you hope God grades on a curve. God only forgives based upon shed blood of His son, as the substitute.
A few years ago the group Consumer Reports, you've seen them. They evaluate things that you're thinking of buying. They say, don't buy this. This is really crummy. But buy this. This is really good. So Consumer Reports, the good people of that organization put out a little book called How to Clean Practically Anything. It's very handy guide and how to come up with solvents for different stains.
So glycerin will remove ballpoint-pen stains. Boiling water is good for berry stains. Vinegar will remove crayon stains. Ammonia takes care of blood stains. Alcohol will remove grass stains. Hydrogen peroxide is what you need to get out magic-marker stains. Bleach will take care of mildew stains. Lemon juice is how you get out rust stains. Very handy book. But the book lists nothing for how to get out sin stains. Humans can't do it. Only God can. Unbelievers look at our faith with great ignorance, thinking, why are you Christians always talking about such gory subjects like blood? It's always the blood of Jesus, the cross of Jesus, what a gross, gory worship system.
That's because they don't understand how bad off they are in their natural condition apart from Christ, that their sin is so offensive to God that it took the extreme measure of the death of His son. If they don't see how bad off they are, they don't see how good it is that we get passed over and don't get a ticket, by God eternally.
Joseph Parker was a contemporary with Charles Spurgeon, in London. He wrote this, "An extreme condition demands an extreme remedy. Until you see that you are doomed apart from Jesus Christ, you will never truly count his blood precious in your sight." So Passover tells us about our sin, our substitute, and our salvation.
Let me give you the fourth. And we'll close on this. It tells us something about ourselves. What I mean is it tells us that our entire self identity must change because of this. So there's a couple of things that were to change for the children of Israel. First of all, their future was to change. Look at verse 2. "This month shall be your beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you." It's like God says, OK, we're doing a new new year. This is a do over. Let's make this month to month of redemption, new year.
How about you orient your whole future based upon your past? Why don't you orient your whole future year based upon being redeemed and becoming my people. Their whole future was to change. Passover took place during the Hebrew month of Abib. Later on it was called Nisan, not like the car. It took place in the springtime of the year, as opposed to the Canaanite religions, their new year was in the fall time of the year. So God says, I'm giving you a new start, new bearings, new direction.
It's not unlike we in the Western world. What year is it today? 2019. What does that mean? It's been that long since what happened? Jesus Christ came and died on a cross. We decided as a culture a while ago to reorient our calendar based upon a sacrifice. If we didn't do that, we would still be in the year, I think they say 5779 anno mundi. That's the year since creation. That's what the Jewish people believe. But it's anno domini, AD. And so every check we write, every time you put a date on it, you are attesting to the fact that God sent His son into this world as a substitute for us. You are reorienting your time. It should reorient everything. If any man is in Christ, he's a new creation. All things pass away. All things become new.
I love it when you get a 30 or 40-year-old Christian saying, hey, celebrate with me, I'm two years old. An unbeliever doesn't get that. It's a wack hammer over here saying he's two years old. He's like 30 or 40. We know what they mean, right? It means, two-years ago I gave my life to Christ. Everything's different. So my physical life began in 1955. Yes, I'm not ashamed to say I'm an older person. 1955, I was born into this world. That's when life began for me. But, really, it wasn't until 1973 that life began for Skip Heitzig. Because that was the summer, in San Jose, California, that I gave my life to Christ. And everything from then on changed.
Not only was their future to change, their family should see a change. Verse 3, "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, on the 10th day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household." Newer translations say, family. The NIV puts it this way, "Each man shall take a lamb for his family." This is to be a family meal.
And so if you've ever been to a Jewish Passover, it's a long, leisurely meal. And it's interactive. The kids ask questions. They have games. It's fun. I love that the first spiritual ordinance in Israel was a family holiday. And I've always believed that a nation is only as strong as its families. If the families in a nation are strong, the nation will be strong. If the families are weak, the nation is weak. Passover was a long family meal.
By the way, can I just say, using this as a model, as your kids get older, and they do sports, and they have friends, and they go off with a lot of different activities, always bring them back to the table for at least one family meal a day. Many studies have been done to show the kids who eat at least one meal a day with their parents, without looking at screens, just with their parents. As boring as it might sound to a teenager, kids who do that are healthier physically, emotionally. They become less depressed. They do better in school, and they are more confident as a result.
So then redemption was to change everything, their futures, their families. Let me close with a story. The bright noon day sun cast a common shadow on the Judean countryside. It's the black silhouette of a shepherd standing near his fat-tailed flock. He stares at the clear sky searching for clouds. There are none. He looks back at his sheep. They graze lazily on a rocky hillside. An occasional sycamore provides shade. He sits on the slope and places a blade of grass in his mouth, and he looks beyond the flock at the road below.
For the first time in days the traffic is thin. For over a week a river of pilgrims has streamed through this valley, bustling down the road with animals and loaded carts. For days, he has watched them from his perch. Though he couldn't hear them, he knew they were speaking a dozen different dialects. And though he didn't talk to them, he knew where they were going, and why. They were going to Jerusalem. And they were going to sacrifice lambs in the Temple. The celebration strikes him as ironic. Streets jammed with people. Marketplaces full of the sounds of the bleeding of goats, the selling of birds, endless observances.
But the people relish the festivities. They awaken early and they retire late. They find a strange fulfillment in the pageantry. But not him. What kind of God would be appeased by the death of an animal? Oh, the shepherd's doubts are never voiced anywhere, except on the hillside. But on this day, they shout. It isn't the slaughter of the animals that disturbs him, it's the endlessness of it all. How many years has he seen the people come and go? How many caravans? How many sacrifices? How many bloody carcasses?
Memories stalk him. Memories of uncontrolled anger, uncontrolled desire, uncontrolled anxiety. So many mistakes, so many stumbles, so much guilt. God seems so far away. Lamb after lamb, Passover after Passover, yet I still feel the same. He turns his head. He looks again at the sky. And then he asks this question, will the blood of yet another lamb really matter? I want to answer that. Nope. A lamb from your flock, shepherd, or from any flock on these hillsides, won't matter. It will just be a temporary fix, a temporary covering. It won't matter. But on the other hand, I want to say, yes, one lamb will make a difference. And only one. And that's behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
That one lamb makes all the difference, and is enough to atone for your sin and my sin, and give God permission to turn away his wrath and welcome you into his kingdom, as sons and daughters forever and ever. With blessing upon blessing, forever and ever. And joy upon joy forever and ever. Expiation, propitiation, that's why, where's the lamb? If you ever wonder, well, how bad is my sin, just look at the cross of Jesus Christ. Your sin put him there. My sin put him there. God had to do that to bind you to Himself. And get this, He did it because he thought you were worth it. For the joy that was set before him, He endured the cross, the Bible said. He looked at you in relationship with Him and goes, I'll do it. They're worth it.
So when we say God loves you, we don't say that glibly. We say it based upon the fact that He would give His only son in time and space to take our sin. So God's wrath is turned away. Your sins are covered. You come before him as brand new. All things become new, because of the lamb.
Father, how grateful we are for the Lamb of God, in your mind slain from the foundations of the Earth. The blood of Jesus Christ, that can cleanse us from all stain of sin. It's a big deal to you. It's such a big deal to you that you made the very epicenter of all redemptive history that event, the cross. How thankful we are for the precious blood of Jesus Christ, that enables you to be not a judge but a father, to pass over us in judgment, to accept us as sons and daughters. I pray for anyone who has not yet received Christ, still under the death sentence, not in the house with blood-stained doorposts. They're still sort of relying on their goodness, or their merit, or their religion, or their background. They haven't personally said, "I need a lamb in my place, and I will let His blood wash away my sin."
If you've never personally done that, or if you've wandered away from Him and you need to come back home, either one, while our heads are bowed and eyes are closed, I'm going to leave mine open. I want you to raise your hand up in the air if you're willing to come to Jesus as your lamb, or to come back to him because you've strayed away. Raise your hand up in the air. In raising it you're saying, Skip, pray for me. Raise it up high and keep it up. Right in the front, God bless you. Thank you for doing that. Anybody else? A couple of you to my left. Anybody else? Raise that hand up. To my right. Give it just another moment. God's providing a house with blood on it for you to come into. God bless you. But you have to come in.
Father, we want to thank you for each one who has a raised hand, because behind that hand is a human being. I don't know what they have gone through. You do. You love them. You can love all of us, because of this incredible sacrificial Passover lamb named Jesus. How grateful we are for that substitution. Thank you for passing over us. Be willing to do that. I pray, Father, for these who have raised hands. Help them, Lord, to walk in newness of life, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Let's all stand. We're going to sing a final song. I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hands to get up from where you're standing. Find the nearest aisle. If you need to come down the balcony, we'll wait. If you're in the family room, we'll wait until you get here. If you're up front, you can just walk a few steps. But find the nearest aisle. Come stand here. In a moment, I'm going to say a prayer with you, a prayer leading you into faith in Christ. We're going to make it public. We're going to do it now.
You raise your hand, and you come. You come on up. Thank you for that enthusiastic response to their faith. I always wait an extra moment, because God waited many extra moments for me. So He loves you. He wants to enter into a relationship with you. He's standing at the door of your heart. He's knocking. Open that door, let him in. Come and make your faith public. Step out of the shadows. Step into the light.
Jesus called people publicly. That's why we do it, not to embarrass anyone, to celebrate with anyone who wants to come. Anybody else? Take God up on his offer, forgiveness. Become a son or daughter of the living God. Good thinking. Good thinking. Way to go. I'm so happy to see each and every one of you here.
Now, I'm going to lead you in a prayer. And I'm going to ask you to say this prayer out loud after me, OK? You're asking God to come in. You're asking Jesus to come in and occupy the throne of your heart, to control your life. You're giving your life to Him. But let's pray. Say:
Lord, I give you my life. I know what I am a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe Jesus came and died. That He shed His blood for me. That He rose again from the grave. That He is alive right now. I turn from my sin. I repent of my past. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. Help me to follow Him as my Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.