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Personal From the President: March 31, 2022

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Personal From the President

March 31, 2022

The Lamb of God and You

Without it, there simply is no plan of God for humanity. This festival opens the door for eternal salvation, for reconciliation with God to all. It makes possible a wonderful life of everlasting joy, of unfathomable things to come “which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 1 Corinthians 2:9But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.
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).

I write here of the deeply humbling Passover and its astonishing meaning for you and me.

It is important to comprehend that the entire Bible essentially points to Jesus Christ and His many roles. As the Creator of the Universe, Jesus was fully aware of what He would do, even at the moment of the creation of the earth long ago. As John tells us, “the Lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
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). During the entire course of history, Jesus had this in front of Him. Each century, each year, each Holy Day season brought Him closer to the sore trial He would face.

John the Baptist powerfully perceived this when he first saw Jesus striding toward him. Nearly 2,000 years ago, John cried out: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
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What does the Lamb of God mean to you?

In two weeks, we will observe the Passover ceremony described in the New Testament and based on Christ’s example. Many of you have observed it multiple times. Some will take part for the very first time as newly baptized members of the Body of Christ. Together we will observe this sobering, yet awe-inspiring ceremony, where we will take part in the washing of each other’s feet, the receiving in faith of the New Covenant symbols of the bread and wine, and the hearing of the Word of God from the book of John.

What did Jesus do for you and me? The book of John opens eloquently and powerfully with crucial background for comprehending the magnitude of this annual festival. John declares that Jesus Christ is both a divine Being(John 1:1-2 John 1:1-2 [1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God.
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) and that He eternally pre-existed with the One from whom we received our calling—God the Father (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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). The eternally existing Word, as Jesus is described here, became flesh (John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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). Let’s look deeply into and consider what that means for each of us.

As we approach the Passover festival, Paul instructs us carefully to examine ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28-30 1 Corinthians 11:28-30 [28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. [29] For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. [30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
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) and appropriately discern the Lord’s body. The English word “discerning” here comes from the Greek word transliterated diakrino, which means to “separate, make a distinction, discriminate.” We are to humbly meditate on what Jesus did and who He is, asking God for a full appreciation.

Over the next two weeks, let’s strive to achieve this. Let’s focus on and appreciate the full dimension of Who Jesus is and exactly what He did for each and every one of us. The apostle Paul illustrated that dimension when he wrote to the disciples of Jesus living in Ephesus that God would “grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16 Ephesians 3:16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
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, English Standard Version, emphasis added throughout).

What would be the outcome of being “strengthened with power”? Paul writes plainly: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” and that the disciples—including us today—would have the spiritual ability to fully discern and understand the “breadth and length and height and depth”—the full dimension—of the love that Jesus Christ has for each one of us and, further, what the full application of that means for us.

Let’s remember that Jesus’ role as the Lamb of God was well known in the first century. Paul openly declared to a gentile church in Greece that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
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, ESV). In Revelation, the capstone book of the New Testament, Jesus is identified as the “Lamb of God” no fewer than 28 times.

The book of Revelation links us with critical connectivity from the prehistory to the future. We read here the accounts of victory in what was accomplished by the blood of the Lamb that God wants to share with us.

Consider the events taking place at the very throne of God:

“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6 Revelation 5:6And I beheld, and, see, in the middle of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the middle of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
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). A powerful song breaks out within the heavenly throne room of God: “For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10 Revelation 5:9-10 [9] And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; [10] And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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).

A major part of our worshiping is to be in a renewed and refreshed spirit of humble repentance before, during and after the Passover service. An unexamined mind can occlude the full benefit of the festival. I earnestly invite you to think on this: some of our sins are obvious to us and others around us. Some are known only to you and God. Secret and presumptuous sins may be known by others, but you may be clueless. The solution? Use this time of Passover preparation to ask God to open your eyes, grant you repentance, and lead you to a path of change.

The rewards of doing this in a good attitude have both immediate and long-lasting benefits! When the ancient Israelites sacrificed their Passover lamb, the blood on the doorframes led to their physical salvation (Exodus 12:12-13 Exodus 12:12-13 [12] For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. [13] And the blood shall be to you for a token 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 smite the land of Egypt.
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). How much more does the sacrifice of the Son of God mean to us?

The coming Passover should be a time of spiritual alignment, a time of getting in sync with God the Father, and a time of recommitment to our elder brother Jesus Christ, who lives in us today (Colossians 1:27 Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
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). Let us all prepare to observe the Passover in a worthy manner!