Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

This Is Our Time

You are here

This Is Our Time

Downloads
MP4 Video - 720p (746.13 MB)
MP3 Audio (15.89 MB)

Downloads

This Is Our Time

MP4 Video - 720p (746.13 MB)
MP3 Audio (15.89 MB)
×

Redeem the time we have left. Grow from the lessons of Unleavened Bread. This is our time.

Transcript

[David Metzel] Let's start out with a question this afternoon for you, and this a real easy question. What time is it? What time is it? Now, Yogi Berra, and there are probably many in this room who don't know who he is, famous Yankee baseball player, other teams as well, and, I'll say, American philosopher. Someone asked him the question, "What time is it?" And he said, "You mean now?" But really, when you think about it, old Yogi actually had something. Depending on the circumstances, there can be many answers to that particular question. You could say, you know, "What time is it?" The clock back there says 3:35 in the afternoon. It's all right, I can see it. Saw a person got their head in the way. We could say it's afternoon or it's spring time. And again, you know, as it was mentioned, a beautiful spring day. We could say, "It's time to wake up. That's an alarm, you know, now is the time, wake up, get going." "It's the time between the days of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Pentecost."

There's various answers to that question, "What time is it?" Well, we, as physical beings, are very concerned with time, you know, some more than others, but we're very concerned with time. Our life is made up of so much time. We run by the clocks, you know. As far as work is concerned, as far as church is concerned, as far as other things, we run by the clock. And as I had mentioned, our life is made up of so much time. Our life, really, is our time.

Well, God is also concerned with time, and God is very, very punctual. Look back, you know, night of the Passover. It says in Luke, you know, "When the hour had come." There was a time for the Passover in the New Testament. There was a time for the Passover in the Old Testament. It was a definite time. God has a plan as we know. We just rehearsed part of His plan with the Days of Unleavened Bread and the Passover. He is very punctual. He is bringing His plan to come to pass on time and on schedule. He starts on time and He finishes on time. He ends on time. So, we're going to take a look today at an example of what God did in the past of God's punctuality. Again, what He did in bringing His plan to come to pass.

We're also going to see what we can learn from this example about that time, and also, we'll look at lessons today for our particular time. I want to start by turning back to the Night to Be Much Observed. We're hardly out of the Days of Unleavened Bread. In fact, I'll ask the question in another way. How many are still "unleavened," well, not "unleavened." How many are still physically unleavened? Okay, there's still a good group. That means there's a lot that are really imbibed. And again, there's nothing wrong with that. Days of Unleavened Bread are over. You know, go for it, assuming you didn't go to the store last night and buy a loaf of bread or whatever.

But in any case, I'm going to start by looking at the Night to Be Much Observed, Exodus 12. Exodus 12, and I'll start reading in verse 40. As I've mentioned we're not that far from the Days of Unleavened Bread, and we'll still be talking about it. We'll talk about it in the messages. I'll refer back to some messages we heard during the Days of Unleavened Bread. It's kind of interesting. I prepared this message, you know, a few days ago, and you listened to the messages on the First Day of Unleavened Bread, the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, and on the first message today. There's a definite theme running here, it's an overlapping of ideas. But looking at Exodus 12, starting in verse 40, it says, "Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years."

Now, the first thing I'm going to mention is it wasn't really 430 years, and I'll come back to that statement. And then at verse 41, it says, "And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years— on that very same day—" and of course, they came out at night, "that it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." Verse 42 says, "It is a night of solemn observance to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout all their generations." And again, we observe the Night to Be Much Observed. There's a lot in that particular statement. As I mentioned, 430 years are mentioned. It's not that they were in Egypt that long. But it was 430 years from something. Four hundred thirty years from what?

We'll look in the New Testament to find the answer. Turn to Galatians 3. Galatians 3, and we'll see what occurred 430 years from the original Night to Be Much Observed. Galatians 3, and I'll start reading in verse 15. Some words from the apostle Paul, Galatians 3:15 Galatians 3:15Brothers, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man cancels, or adds thereto.
American King James Version×
, where it says, "Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant," so we're talking about a covenant, "yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it." In other words, if you've got a contract, you've got a covenant, you've got an agreement, it's signed, sealed, and I'll say, delivered, and nobody adds to it, nobody deletes from it. There are conditions that need to be met, and they will be met. It says, "no one adds to it."

"Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made." So now we've got the covenant and Abraham linked together. "He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ." Verse 17, "And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later..." and so now we have the 430 years again. "...four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect." So here we have a covenant that was made with Abraham, and it's talking about 430 years that's... here this is 430 years later, the law was made, they came out of Egypt the same year of the law on... three months later. So now we have 430 years from the covenant with Abraham until the first, I'll say, the original Night to Much Observed, when Israel came out of Egypt.

Let's turn back to the book of Genesis. The book of Genesis, Genesis 15, I'll start reading in verse 1. We'll take a look at that covenant again to see what we can learn about this. Genesis 15. And again, remember this was 430 years to the day, or as the case may be, to the night. Genesis 15, and I'll start reading in verse one. It says, "After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.'" I'm going to drop down into verse 7 where it says, "Then He said to him, 'I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you a land to inherit it.'" And up to that point, between verses 1 and 7, God made a promise to Abraham, and Abraham said, "But I have no heir. How is this going to happen? I have no heir." And God continues on and He said... we read verse 7 and we'll continue in verse 8, and it says, "And he said, 'Lord, how do I know that I will inherit it?'"

Verse 9, "So He said to him, 'Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.' And then he brought all these to Him and he cut them in two,” as he being Abram, “cut them in two, right down the middle. Placed each piece opposite the other; but did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came… when they came down on the carcasses Abram drove them away." And then continuing on in verse 12, it said that, "When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram, 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and will afflict them four hundred years. And the nation whom they serve, I will judge; and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.'"

Verse 17, "And it came to pass, when the sun went down..." So, Abram killed the animals on one day, and then the sun went down, and so we're starting a next day. "...when the sun went down at night and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between these pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying: 'To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates.'" And then it talks about the various people that are going to be displaced, or the people that are in the land at that particular time.

Just a little bit more about that covenant. It's been called, I've heard it called a "Blood Covenant." And basically, again, they cut animals in two, separate them, and the parties of the covenant passed between the carcasses. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, the word is karat transliterated K-A-R-A-T, Strong's Greek, 772, and it means to “cut off or to cut down, to fell or make a covenant or an agreement.” Basically, it means to sever, again, to cut. In other words, it talked about cutting a covenant. “To sever something from something else by cutting it with a blade.” Skipping ahead there's a lot of information about this covenant. It's said, “One of the best-known uses of these verb is to make a covenant… One of the best-known uses of this verb is to make a covenant. The process by which God made a covenant with Abram, is called cutting. It says, “in the same day,” which we read in verse 18, “the Lord made a covenant with Abram.”

“In Genesis, it often alludes to an act by which animals were cut in two, and the party taking the oath passed between the carcasses.” This was a well-known practice so that day it wasn't something that God just did with Abraham, or with Abram at that point, it was a well-known practice of that day. And then a little later in the article it says, "If that faithfulness was broken," in other words, if the agreement was broken, "the person called death upon himself." In other words, “Make me like these animals. They're dead,” you know, “I break the agreement,” you know, “make me like that.” And it called death upon himself, the same fate which befell the animals. And again, that's from Vine's Expository Dictionary.

So, this cutting a covenant, it's like a written contract today with the exception, you know, there's not a lot of fine print. You know, you don't see a lot of, you know, a lot of sub points, and sub points behind some sub points. Not a lot of fine print, it's very simple. This is the agreement. You break it, you die. Quite simple. They didn't have a lot of, I'll say, fancy lawyers in that day or a lot of fine print. Basic covenant.

So interestingly enough, it was 430 years to the day or to the night when the children of Israel came out of Egypt when God made the covenant with Abram. So, what day were the animals killed? It would have been, I'll say, Abib 14th, you know, the 14th of the month, the animals were killed. The covenant was made on the 15th, 430 years before the time when the children of Israel came out of Egypt.

Now, I'm not saying that Abram kept the Passover by any means. I'm not saying that at all, but I'm saying it's interesting the time from night to night from the time the covenant was made until Children of Israel came out of Egypt, exactly 430 years. This was planned by God. This was very definite. And I'm just taking a look at some additional information, and I'll go relatively quickly through this. I know some may be very interested in this, and others are like, "huh," you know, they're not that interested at all. But in any case, there is some additional information here, it talks about four generations, you know. In the fourth-generation Israel was going to come out of... well, it doesn't really say Egypt at this point, but will come out of the nation, you know, where they were slaves. The fourth generation.

Looking back, it's really easy to figure this out. But let's say you're at the time, you know, let's say that you know, you're in Israel... you're an Israelite in Egypt. You know, the scholars getting together, "Well, when is this? You know, how are we going to figure this out?" Which can be very difficult, it can be exceedingly difficult. Well, the four generations, I'll say, looking back is easy. The first generation was Levi. He was one of the 12 sons of Jacob, and the first one, I'll say, to really live in Egypt. Obviously, Jacob went into Egypt. He was the first one. The second generation was his son Kohath. Third generation was his son, Kohath's son Amram. And then the fourth generation was Moses and Aaron. So, there's the four generations.

And that's pretty easy to figure out as I said, but again if you were there and you're wondering, you know, "Well, when are we going to be delivered? You know, when is the time of our deliverance?" They were four generations, but also, you know, Moses was 80 years old when he came out of Egypt. He had sons, so there was at least a fifth generation. Depending when these sons were born, there could have been a sixth generation. So, it's not exactly all that easy to figure out as, you know, as you're living in the time. They were living in that time, I say a Bible time. We also have our time and of course we also have our scholars that, you know, try and scour every year. Generally, and really earlier on in the year, it used to be the prophets would "come out" you know, wondering, you know, "Is this going to happen this year, is that going to happen this year?" Thankfully we don't do that so much anymore.

But it's very difficult to do. It's very difficult. The promise said, you know, “in the fourth generation.” And it did happen in the fourth generation, that's when they came out. God was precisely on time. Four hundred and thirty years from the time of the covenant to the time they came out. Now, one other thing I had mentioned... turn back to Exodus 12 just to pick this up... I said it wasn't really 430 years in Egypt. We have to take a look at a little chronology in order to pick that up. I'm not going to go through a lot of the chronology, but it's says, "The sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was 430 years. And many people read that and say, "Okay, it's 430 years, you know, right there." But that's not really a true statement or a true translation. The first clue you have, it's...  I've got a New King James Bible, and the word was where it said, "The sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was," that "was" is in italics.

So, every time you see something in italics like that, you realize there's a translation problem and the translators decided to add something, hopefully as far as they're concerned to make things clearer. Well, the chronology tends to be somewhat of a puzzle. I thought it was kind of interesting, and looking this up on the internet, someone said, "Well, you know, this is really a puzzle of trying to figure out how long the children of Israel were in Egypt." And I'll admit it was a puzzle. And if you look at the internet, you'll find people that say that... well, you'll find scholars, you know, people that study this, that actually it was 430 years, you know, that's what it says. Others will say, "No, it was 400 years." Others will say, "Well, it was actually something less than 400 years."

They have all sorts of information out there, but we'll take a look quickly at a chronology, and I want to start out with an assumption. And I know it's an assumption, and I'll come back to this, or maybe you can talk to me later as far as that's concerned. It doesn't really say when the covenant was made, but I'm going to assume that Abraham was 75 years old at that particular time, you know, when he left Haran. And that's an assumption. Okay, if Abraham was 75 years old then, when he was 100 years old, Isaac was born. So that's 25 years later. Jacob was born another 60 years after Isaac was born. So now we're up to 85 years later. And then Jacob was 130 years old when he went into the land of Egypt. So now we're 215 years before Israel even goes into Egypt.

So out of the 430 years, half of it, give or take, is outside, where they lived outside of Egypt. And again, I want to say I've mentioned definite numbers here, definite years, I'm going to stress approximately, or about, or... the only assumption was, again, when the covenant was made. Dates are approximate, and we heard Mr. McNeely say this at the Bible study when he talked about the Exodus. The dates are approximate.

A while ago, a long time ago, as far as most of us in this room are concerned, there was a scholar in the church, and he really was a scholar. Sometimes I tend to make light of scholars because we think we know more than we know, this guy knew more than we know. His name was Dr. Hoeh, Herman Hoeh. Some of them remember the name, others not. For those who's never heard of them, it's Hoeh, H-O-E-H, and it was Dr. Hoeh. And he was studying about creation, and he was at Pasadena at the college. And he was studying the date of creation. And the guy would say, "This is an approximation. I'm using this for an illustration. Hopefully no one will write this down. And when I say that, half of you will write it down." He came up with this data creation of 4004 B.C.E. That's when he thought it was. And then he continued to study the matter, and he thought, "Well, now there's a 20-year gap here." So, then he changed his date of creation to 4024 B.C.E.

Well, I understand at the time, you know, one Ambassador College student said to the other, "Did you hear? Dr. Hoeh, moved the date of creation." Obviously, he didn't move the date of creation, he moved his understanding of the date. And so, these dates that I talked about, the dates... now, the days I gave you as far as people's lives, that's from the Bible. You know, when Isaac was born, how long Jacob lived before going to Egypt, that's from the Bible. But as far as what day it is, we don't know what's the date. Now, we know approximately. I mean, we're not like a century off or 500 years off or something like that, we know approximately. But as far as specifics, it's very, very difficult. It is a puzzle. And as I mentioned, our understanding does change. But really my main point here is not to go through the chronology, not really to go through the generations, but the fact, not really the fact that they weren't in Egypt 430 years, although I did want to mention that, the point was God was punctual. God was on time.

Just going back to that 430 years for a minute, the King James Version, the authorized version, has a couple of commas inserted in the sentence where it says, "Now the sojourn of the children of Israel, who lived in Egypt, was 430 years." The Septuagint version says, "The sojourn in Egypt and Canaan of the fathers was 430 years." That fits the chronology better. But again, I didn't really want to get hung up on the years so much as the punctuality, to the night. The covenant was made at night. God was faithful. He brought them out of Egypt at night. The original Night to be Much Observed.

Now, let's just think back to Israel's situation for a little bit. It doesn't really say how much they knew or didn't know about God at that point. We get clues every now and then. In Exodus, the first chapter said, "The midwives feared God, and so they didn't destroy the Israelite's babies." It talked about Joseph, you know, carrying his bones out. They obviously knew that they were going to leave, they were going to take bones out. They knew where those bones were. So, there was some knowledge. God introduced Himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses knew who they were. So, there was some knowledge of God, but they really didn't understand what God was doing. Also, during this time, there not only was the knowledge of God, or understanding, but they were oppressed, and it says that they prayed to God. They prayed to God a long time while they were suffering.

The suffering started before Moses was born. As I mentioned, he was 80 years old by the time that, you know, he led them out of the land of Egypt. Eighty years plus. They were praying. They would say, "What is God doing?" You know, "We want deliverance. We need to deliverance." And it says God heard, God had a plan, God was doing something but it was behind the scenes, and they didn't really understand what God was doing. They didn't see it. But God was doing something. Important thing, again, was the punctuality. He not only was doing something, He was doing something on time.

Well, that was then, brethren. That was then, and today is now. As I mentioned, they were Bible times back then, and I'll also say there are Bible times right now. We are praying. We are looking forward to God's Kingdom. God and Jesus Christ are working. Some of the things, we can see. Probably most of it, we cannot. But it will be revealed. We are in another period in God's plan, another part of His timetable. We understand God's plan. We understand God's plan, what He is doing, because we keep the Feasts, you know, the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and on through the year.

At times, when we do keep the Feast, I like to think about God's plan, about what He is doing. To me, this is a real prophecy. This is real prophecy, and we tend to get hung up on, you know, well, who are the two witnesses? Who is the beast, the false prophet, you know? Who are these? And it is interesting. I think we all, most of us at least, would want to know that. But that's just a blip on the radar screen as far as God's plans are concerned, something happening at one particular point in time. So that, to me, is real prophecy.

Looking at our time, again, the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Abraham which was a blood covenant had a death penalty. The covenant with Israel, you know, called the Old Covenant, that also had a death penalty. What about the covenant that we are under, the New Covenant? That also has a death penalty. Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×
, "The wages of sin is death." And this death is a permanent death. It's not a temporary one or one that we'll come back from. That is a permanent death. In our time, in our particular time, we need to strive, to put forth effort. Paul knew, the apostle Paul knew, and I'm not going to turn there, 1 Corinthians 9. He knew that he could lose out. It said, "He brings his body into subjection." It wasn't mildly overcoming. He was working hard on himself. Not just preaching the gospel working hard, but he was working hard on himself to make sure that whatever he preached, you know, he won't miss out and be a castaway.

Revelation 2 and Revelation 3, the message to the churches, which I'm not going to turn to. To every one of those churches, it says, "To him who overcomes… to him who overcomes." Even I'll say to the Philadelphia church, and I say even Philadelphia, I could say Smyrna also, yeah Smyrna also, where there was no criticism given to those churches, no criticism, but to him who overcomes. Overcoming is very important. Days of Unleavened Bread, and again, very important, which teach us about this. Now, when it says, "To him who overcomes," it doesn't say, "To him who tries," or, "To him who even tries hard." And we should try hard. It doesn't say, "To him who struggles," and again, we should struggle. Or it doesn't say, "To him who endures," and we do need to endure. It says, "To him who overcomes." Overcoming is an important part of our Christian walk with God, very, very important, “to him who overcomes.”

Now, overcoming does not mean overnight. It doesn't mean, bang, you know, and it's going to happen. Sometimes, it does. You know, sometimes, I've heard of people, and I'll just use the example of smoking, they quit smoking cold turkey, and that's it. Sometimes not. Overcoming is a process. That's why there's seven days of the Days of Unleavened Bread. It's not a one-day Feast. It pictures a time period. It pictures our Christian life. Interestingly enough, on the Night of Much Observed this year, one of the children was there. They asked the question, "Well, why do we eat unleavened bread, you know, this night and for the next seven days? Why do we do that?"

Well, the first answer to the question is very obvious, you know, God tells us to. That's why we do it. But as with anything God tells us, He tells us for a reason. It's for our good. It's to learn something. It's for a purpose. It's not that He just tells us something to tell us something, He tells us for a purpose. Turn back to Exodus 13. Exodus 13, and I'll start reading in verse 6. Again, God tells us things to do for our learning, for our good. He wants good things for us. He wants to teach us. He wants us to learn more about Him and to become more like Him and like Jesus Christ. So, Exodus 13, starting in verse 6, it says, "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread should be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread should be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters. And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the Lord did for me when I came up out of the land of Egypt.'" 

So, the first reason we keep Unleavened Bread, God tells us to. The second one, as a remembrance of deliverance of Israel from Egypt. And what about our deliverance? Our deliverance from the spiritual Egypt. So that's a second reason. It's a sign of our deliverance. And then continuing on, "This is done because of what the Lord did for me when I came up from the land of Egypt," a deliverance. And then verse 9, a third point, it says, "It shall be as a sign on your hand and as a memorial…” excuse me, "It shall be as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord brought you out of the land of Egypt." Well, if this is a sign between our eyes and in our mouth, it means it's inside of us. It's inside of us. You know, Christ said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." It's a sign, a sign of what our heart is like. 

And that's, as we've heard about during this week, our heart is very important as far as it needs to be changed, needs to be transformed, not just papered over as it were, but it needs to be transformed. I'll ask the question as far as Unleavened Bread: what lesson or lessons did you learned this year during the Days of Unleavened Bread? Or the days leading up to the Passover, the Days Of Unleavened Bread? I think all of us should think about that, you know, what did we learn?

Hopefully, there are some things that pop into mind. And I will say that, you know, if something has not popped into mind, maybe you need to think a little bit longer. Maybe you need think a little longer. In this room, there's many of us that have kept the Days of Unleavened Bread for years, and years and years. It can be a ritual for us, you know. "Well, okay, seven days, I don't eat leavened bread, leavened products." But it's really more than a ritual. There's lessons in these days. These are important, I'll say, re-committals year by year, re-committals to God and to Jesus Christ and to His way of life. As I say, it's not just a ritual. 

Somewhere or elsewhere, which I'm not going to turn to, talks about unleavened bread being a bread of affliction. I don't know about you, I like unleavened bread. You know, you can dress it up, you can put butter on it, jelly, peanut butter, you can put cheese and put it in a microwave, make little pizzas. You can do all sorts of things. It's not really a bread of affliction as far as I'm concerned. I like it. I could live on it more than one week. I don't accept that, you know, we'll just use up the unleavened bread that we already have, not really going to go out and buy any more right now, but it wouldn't bother me. I like it. It's good stuff, so to speak.

Turn to Deuteronomy 7. Deuteronomy 7, and I'll start reading in verse 6. Deuteronomy 7:6 Deuteronomy 7:6For you are an holy people to the LORD your God: the LORD your God has chosen you to be a special people to himself, above all people that are on the face of the earth.
American King James Version×
, and verses 1 of 6 talks about dealings with the nations that are around them, about who they should marry or, specifically, who they should not marry. Starting in verse 6, it says, "For you are a holy people," And this is talking about Old Testament Israel, but as we know they are our example. Things that are written to them are for our learning. They are our example. They are called a holy people, so are we. In fact, this whole passage here, I could turn to 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 [26] For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: [27] But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; [28] And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: [29] That no flesh should glory in his presence.
American King James Version×
. It says, "You are holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure" That's us, “special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not send His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people,” And again, "For you see your calling, brethren," you know, "Not many mighty… not many wise."

Same thing, God chose us. He looked down and picked us. It says, “He didn't choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you're the least of all peoples, but because the Lord loves you,” God loves you. Dropping down to verse 9, it says, "Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments." So, it's not a one-way street. God loves us, He called us, but He expects a response for us, from us. It's not a one-way street. There are rules that God has, rules for us. But we need to go, I'll say, beyond the rules talking about loving God here. Do we ever look at God as being a god of rules? And again, He has rules, I'm not going to dispute that all. He has rules.

Does He give us rules to keep something from us? No, He gives us rules for our good, to help us. Do we look at the church as being a church of rules? Like, "I could really have fun except, you know, for..." Do we look at the church as being a church of rules? Turn to Mark 10. Mark 10, and I'll start reading in verse 17. Mark 10:17 Mark 10:17And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
American King James Version×
, it says, "Now as He was going out on the road," that He, being Christ, "one came running," so he really was anxious, "one came running, and knelt before Him, and asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?'" And of course, that's a question that we all have. "So, Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not bear false witness,” “Do not defraud,”’" So basically He's talking about The Ten Commandments here, although He either rephrased or added one where He said, "’Do not defraud.’ 'Honor your father and your mother.'"

So that was the question. And the man said, “He answered and said to Him, ‘Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.’" I would imagine there is many in this room that could say something very similar. And I perfectly, you know, not in the fullest extent, but many in this room were born into the church, could make a similar statement. You know, "I've kept these from my youth." And it said, "And then Jesus, looking at him, and loved him," So, He loved him “and said unto Him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.’" Just think about that, you know, He's saying, "That's good, you know, you keep the law. You're obedient. That's a good thing." You know, He doesn't say that it's a bad thing. But He said that's the basis, or a basic part of it, if you will, the fundamentals. “You need to go above and beyond that. You need to do more.”

Now, in this case, He told the young man to sell all that he has, you know, give it to the poor, give his money to the poor, and follow Him. God is not asking us to do that. This isn’t an example that we need to do today to sell all our money, you know, and give it in the Holy Day offering, or sell all our possessions and give it in offering. He's not telling us that of all. But He did tell it to that young man. Again, to use, to build on the first split sermon today, you know, what was that young man holding back? He was holding back something. Christ knew it. “You're at this level, you're obeying and that's fine. But now I'm going to take you to another level. How is your heart? You know, what are you holding back?”

Hold your finger here, and turn to Luke 14. Luke 14 where Christ... it's a little bit more descriptive as far as, you know, what are you holding back? Luke 14 starting in verse 25. Luke 14:25 Luke 14:25And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said to them,
American King James Version×
, it says, "Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said unto them, 'If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.'" Well the first thing I want to talk about where it says, "Hate," this hate isn't hate as we would have it today, or as we understand it today, as we use the word today, it's a comparison. And I've heard it said that, you know, "Love less by comparison." Like we had an anniversary cake today and you might say, "Well, I like, you know, a white or a yellow cake, but I really like chocolate." That's really what it's saying here. It's a comparison, you know, you don't have to hate your parents, you have to love God more.

Think about that, you know, what are we holding back? What are we holding back? Is it a spouse? Is it a child? Is it a job? Is it a position? You know, what are we holding back? What are we not letting go of? We need to let go, and we need to go beyond the rules. We need to go, again, above and beyond just keeping of the commandments. We need to serve God from our hearts, internally, you know, from a new heart. Israel was stiff-necked, rebellious, hard-hearted, whatever you're going to say, and it's said in the Bible about them as well. I'm not just criticizing them or being critical, they were. We cannot be that way. We have to have a right heart and a right attitude.

Kind of interesting over... well, recently there's been commercials on television where this young lady thought she was invisible. You know, maybe some of you have seen these commercials. I had to watch it three times to figure out what they were advertising. But anyway, she thought she was invisible, and because she thought she was invisible, she would do mischievous things. What would you do if you really were invisible? What do you do in your minds? You know, if no one can see, no one knows, we won't get caught, you know, we'll get away with it. What would we do? What sort of actions would we take? And again, I'll just go back as far as this example of the young man, young man back in Mark. That's not really an example for us to sell all that we have, but it is an example for us to not hold anything back from God. Again, to not hold back, but to serve Him with all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul.

It also says that he has to take up his cross. Christ told him to take up his cross, follow Him. We've heard a little bit about that on the First Day of Unleavened Bread, on the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, you'll hear a little bit more about it today. This was a common occurrence back in, you know, the time of Christ. Criminals were, you know, dragging their crosses through the streets. People knew that, you know, guys in real trouble, gals in real trouble, whatever the case may be. The question is when they take up their cross, and you've got the centurion, or soldier, or whoever, you know, telling him, you know, "Drag that cross," how far do they take it? How far do they take that cross? To the end of their life, till they're nailed to it.

Likewise, once we take up that cross, it's to the end of our life. Now, our case isn’t as dire as this is in some senses, as that... you know, sometimes, we're dragging this uphill, and I know some have some very hard trials. Sometimes, we get to go downhill. Sometimes, someone helps us. But regardless, God always helps us. God always strengthens us. He tells us to take up our cross. And again, some may think, "Well, that's another rule that, you know, that God and the church has." But again, God does things for our good. And I hope we all understand that and know that.

It's like a parent with a child, and I'll say, a small child, in this case. You don't want them to go play with electric outlets, you just don't. You don't want them to run into the street. Now, a child might think, "My parent's spoiling all my fun, you know. I can't run in the street." Bad things happen when you run in the street. What I'm talking about now is going beyond rules. So, it's not that the child running into the street. The child would say, "I'm not going to run in the street because this is good for me. My parents have told me this." In this case, God has told us this. 

Turn over to, well, 1 Peter 4:17 1 Peter 4:17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
American King James Version×
. 1 Peter 4:17 1 Peter 4:17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
American King James Version×
, this is another scripture that is familiar to most of us, to many of us here. 1 Peter 4:17 1 Peter 4:17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
American King James Version×
, it says, “For the time has” excuse me, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God." This is our time, brethren. This is our time, our time of judgment. It's not somebody else's time, not the world's time, but certainly, right now, this is our time. We'll hear more about this particular period of time on the Feast of Pentecost, about the phases of God's plan, about God giving us His Spirit to help us to carry that cross, to continue to go on to the end. Again, God loves us and He wants us in His family, He really does. Christ came that we might live with Him forever and God the Father forever. He came to set us an example, and then ultimately, to die for us.

Turn to Revelation 10. Revelation 10, and I'll read verse 5. Revelation 10:5 Revelation 10:5And the angel which I saw stand on the sea and on the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
American King James Version×
, it said, "The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer." I like the way the King James Version says, the authorized version says, "Time no longer." In other words, time's up. It's not that there's not going to be any more time after that, but time's up. Here, that catches the essence, delays no longer.

There is going to be a time when there will be no more delay. When whatever date God has calculated, whatever date He's figured out, whatever date He is working for, that day will come. That day will become and there will be time no longer. As God was bringing His children of Israel out of Egypt, He had a plan, He was working. Some saw it, or saw glimpses of it, I'll say, most did not realize what God is doing. But He was on time and on schedule to the very day, 430 years. And again, that day which was at night time.

We don't know how much time we have left, and I say that collectively and individually. None of us know, whether we're younger or whether we're older. But this, we do know, we need to redeem the time. The Days of The Unleavened Bread picture our Christian lives. We need to live the lessons of the Days of Unleavened Bread because whatever time we have left, this is our time.