September 18, 2006
Message #10: An Essential Ingredient
Elder Randy Skeete
Our subject for this evening: An essential ingredient
• Gen 1: 14: Let’s isolate one word: signs. This is the first occurrence of this word in the Bible. The sun, moon, and stars were to serve as signs along with their other functions.
• Matthew 24: 29: Jesus said the sun, moon, and stars would play a leading role as signs for last day events
• Rev 6:12: A similar passage to Matt 24:29
We see now that a sign can point to an event. Let’s look at another use of sign in the story of Cain in Genesis chapter 4.
• Gen 4:13-15: Here we have a second use of the word mark or sign. A sign or mark is the same thing for they are from the same Hebrew root word. The sign or mark was to serve a purpose of protecting Cain from those who would seek to harm him.
Still another use of a sign is found in Genesis chapter 9.
• Gen 9: 12-14: The sign or token was the rainbow. It was used as a sign of God’s covenant with Noah that He would not destroy the world with a flood again.
As signs the sun, moon, and stars signal certain events are coming to pass.
For Cain the sign was used to preserve life.
The rainbow as a sign signifies that God is faithful to keep His Word.
Let’s look up sign, or token, or mark again. It is all the same, from the same Hebrew root word. Let’s turn to Genesis chapter 17.
• Gen 17: 10-15: Circumcision is introduced as a sign or token of a covenant with God. Its function is to identify a special people.
The sign here is used as an indication that the person carrying that mark has a special relationship with God.
Let’s go to Exodus chapter 12:
• Exodus 12:12: God told the Israelites to put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts as a sign so they would not be destroyed by the last plague. When the destroying angel came and saw the blood on the doorposts he would passover and all in the house would be saved. When Jesus looks at your life He looks for His blood. He doesn’t look at the color of your skin or the size of your bank account. The blood represents the life and the life is the righteousness of Christ.
In this example the sign of the blood was used to protect a people from Divine judgment.
Let’s look at the Lord separating His people again in Exodus chapter 8.
• Exodus 8: 22, 23: The sign of flies over Egypt and not over Goshen was an indication that God preserved His people from the plagues that were all over Egypt. It was a sign that they were separated from the surrounding nations. God’s judgments do not fall on those that have His special mark. It cannot happen.
Let’s look at this more in Ezekiel chapter 9.
• Ezekiel 9:4-6: God loves people who are broken-hearted over sin. He says “find those whose hearts break over all the sin in the land and put My mark on them”. Those who take a casual approach to sin are in God’s eyes no different from those doing the sin. For those without the mark God commands that they be smited. Smite means kill. Does God kill? We murder but God doesn’t commit murder. He simply takes back what is on loan, life. God loans us life for His Glory. When we misuse it He takes it back and gives it to someone who would use it wisely. But God says “don’t come near to those who have My mark for they are My people.” With the mark of God they are immune to Divine judgment.
Are you immune to Divine judgment? Are you marked off for preservation?
God is love, but love has many ingredients. One of them is justice and another one is punishment. If God did not punish sin He wouldn’t be righteous. We have prisons because even sinful human beings know that crime should be punished. Do you have that sign?
Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 17:
• Gen 17: 10-14. Circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign of His relationship with God. Notice, it was given after the domestic disaster of chapter 16 where Abraham had an affair with Hagar at Sarah’s suggestion. Abraham had this relationship with Hagar because He and Sarah could not wait. We love to rush God. Abraham had a child when he was physically able. He was physically able to father a child without god’s help. God had to teach Abraham a lesson o faith and dependence and that a relationship with Him is based on complete faith in His Word. God introduced circumcision as a way of symbolically saying to Abraham, “cut it off.”( I am trying to be as euphemistic as I can).
• God said “OK, you used that to demonstrate your power, cut it off” symbolically of course. And to show Abraham that it was really “cut off” God waited until Abraham and Sarah were both old and physically incapable of having children. It was then that God brought forth life out of their reproductively dead bodies.
• Circumcision is a sign that says “I am not depending on my power, I’m depending on God”
• Romans 2:28-29: This was a sign that was to distinguish God’s people up to Christ. Christ was circumcised. But after Christ fulfilled the requirements of the ceremonial law, physical circumcision was passed off as a sign.
God had two signs to distinguish His people. Circumcision was one. Let’s turn to Exodus chapter 31 to see the other.
• Exodus 31:12-13: God said His Sabbath was a sign between Him and His people. It is not a sign between God and the earth. To sanctify means to set apart.
We see two signs given to God’s people: circumcision and the seventh-day Sabbath. Circumcision ended at the cross but the Sabbath continues. One sign is gone and the other remains.
Let’s go back and look at two institutions that were given in Eden before sin entered the world.
• Gen 2: 2-24: These verses inform us of the first marriage. The Bible says marriage is holy. It began in the Garden of Eden and is a holy institution. Jesus has such a high regard for marriage that he chose it to signify the intimate relationship between Himself and the church, His bride.
• Gen 2: 1-3. Another holy institution is the seventh-day Sabbath as a day of weekly worship.
Let’s go to Luke chapter 20
• Luke 20:27-36: Jesus said that in heaven there is no marriage. .
• Isaiah 66:23: The Sabbath will remain in the new earth.
Two signs: Circumcision ended at the cross, but the Sabbath remains.
Two holy institutions from Eden: Marriage will end, but the Sabbath remains
What does this tell you about the importance of the Sabbath? It is an essential ingredient throughout eternity. The Sabbath is linked to God as creator and will always remain. God must be serious about the Sabbath.
Jesus set an example for us twice. Twice he gave us an example of resting on Sabbath
• John 1-3, 14: Jesus created all things.
• Gen 2:1-3: After creation Jesus rested
When Jesus died on the cross, he died late on Friday and rested in the tomb on Sabbath.
• Rev 14:13: Death is a rest
After the work of creation and the work of salvation, Jesus rested on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is of highest importance to God.
Now let’s go to Mark chapter 12
• Mark 12:28-31: Jesus divided the Ten Commandments into two tables. The first table contains the first four and the second table contains the other six. The first table is our relationship to God and the second is our relationship to our fellow man. Both tables are very important but our love for God must be supreme. The bridge between the first and second table is the 4th; the Sabbath commandment. It includes how we honor God and how we treat our fellow man.
There may be a price to pay in this world for obeying God’s Word. Calvary was a price. The essential ingredient missing in many lives is the respect for God’s holy Sabbath Day. Christ said He was Lord of the Sabbath. We love to say we love Jesus. If you used to respect God’s Sabbath but went away and you desire to obey Him again, ask the Lord for power to obey tonight. If you have learned of the Sabbath for the first time and want to ask God to help you keep your first Sabbath, make that decision tonight. God will be faithful to fulfill His promise. Amen!