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Passed Over – A Passover Presentation

Today when we use the term “passed over,” it usually means we have been ignored. But in the Bible the term takes on a positive message, namely that we have been granted a pass on punishment. The Passover helps us relive, once a year, how that happens and offers us encouraging implications for living to please God.

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When we think about something for the first time, have you ever noticed there are a lot of loose threads – ideas, wonderings, musings. They all seem relevant, but they’re not in any particular order in your mind and the connections between the ideas are not solid ones. Well, I’ve had one of those things rolling around in my mind for a while now. So far I know I’m going to give a whole series on it, because it’s a big topic, but I also want to talk about the part of it that fits this festival – Unleavened Bread…

Here’s one of the threads: When I was preparing the Passover service this year, my mind locked in on the term passed over. Today, when we use that term, it usually is negative, as in passed over for promotion, for example. It means to be ignored. But in the exodus context, passed over is a good thing. It meant, rather than being ignored, a person was marked out as special, deserving of notice and protection. God told the angel who was about to visit every home in Egypt that anywhere he saw blood on the doorposts of a house in all the land, he was to pass over it, because the people inside were special and valued to Him. And, in all the homes where there was no blood on the doorposts, the firstborn in every house died. So, it was really important that night to have blood on your doorposts. And you only knew to do that if you were special to God. 

Here’s another thread: When I do EMDR with someone, I ask them to list events that have occurred in their past that still upset them when they think about them in the present. Or, maybe if they don’t feel upset, ask them to think about whether they should be upset about it still. When it comes times to process each one of these events – after we’ve got that list – I ask two really important questions. How did the experience make you feel about yourself? And the second one is: If everything were perfect now – you were over all your hurts and you were just the person you wanted to be today, how would you feel about yourself then? By the time I get to these questions for each of the targets that they’ve listed – target is an event in EMDR language – I’ve usually gotten to know the person quite well. And here’s what I’ve noticed: the way it made them feel about themselves is usually untrue – that is, the way the negative event made them feel about themselves. It’s usually untrue. And the way they would like to feel about themselves is usually true already. That means most people go walking around believing very deeply some really negative things about themselves that are not true at all. 

That made me wonder, “What are the effects in a person’s life if they believe they are unlovable, defective and without hope, doomed to fail in every area of life?” Well, my EMDR experience caused me to point to all the negative experiences of my clients that they had when they were very young. When we are small, we learn who we are from the experiences that happen to us. If we are treated with respect and love, if we’re nurtured consistently and in a timely fashion, then we feel okay about ourselves. But when we’re put down, criticized, over-controlled, we feel bad about ourselves.

I also learned – from talking to so many people who feel bad about themselves, that that bad feeling was inadvertently put there, most of the time, by their parents – not intentionally, but quite often the case. Most people that I’ve met, that talk about things that happened to them in the past that were negative, their parents were trying their best to do the right thing. 

So that led me to think about, “Well okay, so where did this all start?” Well, of course, you’ve heard me say it over and over again, that that cycle began in the Garden of Eden. It had to do with our adversary, the devil. And the light bulb went on when I thought about how the serpent turned Adam and Eve. It was with several lies that he told them. He told Eve, “Well, you tell me that God said that you shouldn’t eat of that tree, but actually, nothing bad is going to happen to you if you do it. In fact, it would be a good thing. God’s withholding something from you and you don’t need to listen to Him.” So lies are our adversary’s weapons. The Bible talks about the fiery darts of the enemy. Well, those are lies that he tells us. 

So then I thought about how Satan uses lies to discourage us. And I think that most of them, when it’s about us personally, can be in two categories. Here they are: One is that “God couldn’t love me because I’m unlovable. I’m defective. There’s something wrong with me. I’m worthless.” Now, that kind of thinking is what produces shame. Shame is the idea that we’re not fit, or we’re defective, and there really is no solution for that problem. The second idea is that “God isn’t going to help me. I know. I’ve tried and tried and tried, but He’s just never there for me.” So why would these be the worst ones. Well, because they’re utterly demotivating. Our adversary loves it when we do nothing. He loves us to discouraged and immobilized by depression and fear and feelings of not being able to do anything – learned helplessness. 

So, if we believe these two, then the next thought is more often than not some form of, “Well, what’s the use?” or “Why try?” Notice also that one of the these thoughts is about me, or you, or any person. And the second one is about God. You can think about it that way as well. Now, if we think about it, the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are a frontal assault on both of those huge lies. Consequently, this is very much a festival theme I discovered. Jesus, the night before He died, expressed His deep love for not only the disciples, but for all of God’s children. So any thoughts about us being unlovable are not true! God loves everybody. So, if we continue to believe negatively about ourselves in the face of the truth of God, what is that? Then, after He said all those loving things to His disciples, He allowed Himself to be tortured to death on their behalf to prove it. 

So the Days of Unleavened Bread and Passover show us that God is crafting a salvation for each one of us. Quite often, when we are the most discouraged about our own spiritual state, that’s exactly the time when we’re learning the most and growing the most. 

Peter, for example – he told Jesus the night before He died that he would be willing to go with him to prison or death. And Jesus told him that he would deny Him three times before the cock would crow – that would be in the early morning, right? Now, you know, some people think that it’s on us to become perfect. If you think that, then Unleavened Bread could become a discouragement to you. What it’s really about is how God is going to make us perfect. The apostle Paul said that we were no longer to keep the unleavened bread with malice and hostility, but that we would be filled with sincerity and truth. So that’s what God is going to do for us. We don’t really have the power to do that, so God is the One who’s going to do all this. 

So let’s look at some truths God tell us about each one of us personally. I said at Passover service that Jesus died and that changed everything. John said that the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. And truth is the weapon God uses to combat the lies of our adversary. So we’re going to hear some truth today. And we’re going to hear truth about each one of us individually. All we have to do if believe it, to dwell on it, and search out how it’s true, and then live that way. 

Let’s start in Ephesians, the first chapter, verse 1.

Ephesians 1:1-4 – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints, who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus. So this is his introduction to this letter he’s writing. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

So, can you find yourself in those four verses? You’re the one that has caused God to pull out all the stops. You’re so precious to Him that He spared nothing to save you. Every spiritual blessing is yours. All the tools you need – everything He has – are at your disposal.

What else? Well, let’s see. Did you notice that you were chosen before the world was even formed? Did you notice that God says His aim for you is to become holy and blameless? That’s pretty good, isn’t it? You were a thought in His mind before the world was even formed. That’s a long time ago. Does it fit, then, than you are, in any way, defective or unlovable? No, those thoughts are lies. They’re not true. It might feel true, but it’s not. In just a bit, I’m going to show you what to do with those lies and those truths. But let’s read on. In verse 5, he says:

V-5 – In love he predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will. So God wants us in His family. He’s adopted us by a choice that He made. Have you ever talked to somebody that’s been adopted? Maybe you’ve been adopted. You know that somebody picked you and took them to themselves as their child. It was a choice they made. That’s you!  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. 

V-7 – In Him we have redemption – verse 7 – through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 

Okay, did you find yourself there? Right. You have been a part of God’s plan from the beginning – not to be a doorkeeper in the Kingdom, but one of God’s very own immortal sons – one His children. You’re a brother of Jesus Christ. He has purchased you back from the adversary and forgiven all your sins. Your slate is clean as new snow. 

What else? Well, all this is not happening behind your back, because the mystery of God and His will that’s been hidden for thousands of years is not a mystery to you. You’ve been trusted by God to hold in your heart His incredible mind-blowing plan. I mean, it’s there, isn’t it? You have it. 

Let’s read on – Ephesians 1:11:

V-11-14 – In Him we have obtained an inheritance…. See, not only were we adopted, but now, because we’re a part of the family, we have an inheritance – something laid aside for us. …so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it. 

So, because of how much God loves you and believes in you, He has made you aware of an eternal inheritance that you are to receive way ahead of most people who have ever lived. Because you did not treat His truth like a pig treats a pearl, but as precious and valuable, He has sealed you with His own Spirit, coming to live within you. His Spirit presence is like a down payment, showing God’s rock-solid intention to bring you before His own presence – perfect and immortal. It doesn’t sound very much like He doesn’t love you, does it? Or think that you’re not valuable? Of course not. Any thoughts to the contrary to this are not true! 

Ephesian 1, and verse 15:

V-15-23 – For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. 

That was a mouthful. But what it means is, that because of your faith – the faith that you have in God the Father and Jesus Christ – God has enlightened your eyes to see a kind of wisdom that no one in this world have. You know His plan. They do not. You know what it means. They do not. He is using the same power to prepare you for eternal life that He used to raise our older Brother, Jesus Christ, to life from the dead. We know Jesus is now out-of-reach of all mortals. He can’t be hurt anymore. He reigns supreme, as will you, under Him. 

Let’s move on to Ephesians 2. There’s a lot more. 

Ephesians 2:1-10 – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

So even when you were as good as dead, because of all the sins you’d committed, all the disrespect you’d expressed toward God in your life by your bad behavior, because of His great patience and mercy, He has made you alive together with Christ – not because you deserve it, but because of the depth of love that God has for you. Think about it. Because God, when He first started thinking about you in His plan, designed you for good works. You and good works go together like peas and carrots, because He’s put His Spirit in you. And all this grace is given because you have believed in Him. He loves that! And He loves you for it. 

I know. We have our doubtful moments and all, but most of us have, pretty much, stayed the course for a long time – maybe a few hiccups and strays, but generally speaking, most Christians can say that they love God and believe in God. 

Now Ephesians 2:13:

V- 13-22 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a spiritual dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

So you were, at one time in the past, alienated from God – a slave to your own wrong thoughts and inclinations. But God put His arm around you and drew you to Him, into His inner circle, into His family. And now you are free to follow your destiny. You’re no longer at odds with God, but reconciled to Him through Christ. You are now a fellow citizen with all the other saints in the city of our God. You are a member of His own household. That’s a very intimate term. You’re being – along with all your spiritual siblings – gently formed into a holy temple for God. And that temple will be His new home. And it will be yours as well. We have all been invited. 

All right. These are thoughts we need to be thinking about ourselves. And when we think this way, we are encouraged and we go forward. And they are all true! But when we forget those thoughts, we sink back into messages and the beliefs we had about ourselves that we learned erroneously.

Okay, here’s a step-by-step. After talking to hundreds of people about what they believe about themselves, I have learned that we all have our own version of the original lies that the devil told Adam and Eve. Remember how they went and started hiding from God right away, after they broke God’s law – didn’t follow the rules anymore, started to distrusting Him. So think about how you feel about yourself. 

What are the negatives that you believe about yourself? Find your lies. Remember that God has given you the Holy Spirit. And what kind of spirit is that? What is one of the Spirit’s fundamental characteristics? Well, in John 14:16, Jesus said:

 John 14:16-18 – And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…. I will not leave you as orphans. He said: I will come to you. 

So, if you do this – if you find the lies that you have believed – then God is going to come to you. 

One of my former clients has a masters’ degree, a great job, a nice house, and she accomplished all that before she was 28 years old. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s good-looking. She has friends and interests. She’s computer literate. She’s a manager where she works. Her employees like her. And her core belief about herself? Well, she believes deeply that she is defective – that there’s something wrong with her that cannot be fixed. I’ve talked to her a lot about that. And she’s talked to me a lot about it. She knows that’s not true, but she still believes it in her heart. Now that, I happened to learn, came from her father, who, I think, loved her, but somehow communicated to her that she was insufficient. So, it’s no surprise that she has a terrible time with men.

Since she was not a Christian, she could not do the next thing I’m going to tell you. But I can tell you because you know God. You take the list of the lies that you believe about yourself, you get down on your knees, you raise your hands to God – or however it is that you pray when you’re in dead earnest – and you repudiate every one of those lies to God. And then explain to Him how you know the opposite is true. You can open your Bible to Ephesians 1:1 and 2, and read it to Him, if you like. Then you ask Him to protect you from the enemies lies about you. Okay? Ask Him to protect you from those lies – to teach you the truth in your heart. 

Okay, so two more things. Ready? The next time you find yourself believing self-doubting lies about yourself, say a quick prayer and start dwelling on what God says about you. Is that biblical? 

James 4:7-8 – Submit yourself, therefore, to God – to the truth that He has for you. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. So the way we resist the devil is to resist the lies he’s told us. And it says, in verse 8: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 

What’s that talking about? Well, that’s the battle we have – “I’m good, I’m bad, I’m good, I’m bad.” “I’m okay, I’m not okay.” “I’m loved by God, I know I’m defective.” So that’s what God wants us to do – is wash our hands of those lies and purify our hearts – to believe the truth – and not be double-minded about it any longer. It’s like that old Bob Dylan song: You’re going to have to serve somebody. It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you are going to have to serve somebody. So, who are you stubbornly going to choose to follow – to serve? 

All right, then. That’s how we do it. We dispute the enemies lies with the truths of God about ourselves. Then what? What’s the last thing? 

Well, I have a friend who told me that all his life, he had lustful thoughts about women. And I think he meant more than most. And women have lustful thoughts about men, too, so I don’t want to leave you out of it. But he told me the lies he believed were that he couldn’t help it, that there was nothing he could do about it, and maybe it really wasn’t so bad, because he didn’t actually have sex with them.

So he said he took these lies to God. He confessed to God that he now knew they were not true. They were lies. (He wrote me a letter and told me this.) His exact words were – after he told about that – he said, “And poof! They were gone.” He’s not troubled by those kinds of thoughts anymore. So why would we be surprised? 

You know that Spirit that God said He’s given you? Do you recall one of the primary characteristics of it? Yeah, we just read it. God’s Spirit is the spirit of truth. And that Spirit is in you. That’s God living in you. And it’s impossible for Him to lie. 

So God uses His truth to protect you in the same way that He resurrected Jesus from the dead – the same power, same Spirit. God’s pulled out all the stops to protect you. And, if you go to God, and you repudiate the lies you’ve believed – that enabled you to sin – God will protect you from that. It’s a promise – resist the devil and he will flee from you. 

Okay, so what’s the last point then? The last point is to be free! 

Romans 8:2 – For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 

If you don’t believe that…I mean, there’s a promise! Is that true or not? Well, try it out! Many times, in the Bible, God challenges us. He says, “Pay your tithes and watch what’s going to happen. See if I don’t open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing upon you.” This is the same kind of thing. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Wash your hands, you double-minded. Purify your mind with the truth of God and watch what happens. 

Okay, so, we kind of got around the edges of the first lie about us today. The other really bad one is about God and how He won’t do what He says to take care of us. By the time you listen to this, that one will already be out on our Website. So that’s going to be fully covered in the series we’re working on now, called something like, Waging Spiritual Warfare. And that will start publishing after the Feast of Tabernacles in 2020. 

Liferesource.org has a lot of other presentations about how to actually apply God’s way in your life. Those presentations are not filled with judgment or criticism, but with practical, doable strategies for Christian growth.