Jesus Is Better
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Jesus Is Better

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jesus took something so beloved and trusted as a permanent thing from God and made it all about himself. Jesus essentially said "I am the better way." What is communion? Where and when did it start? And what is its significance for us today? Next week we celebrate communion for the first time as a church!

I'm excited to wrap up our series today life hacks when you just need a better way. That better way is not just a better cake mix, it's a better way to do life. It's Jesus is the better way. He is the best way, and one of the best ways to celebrate the better way of Jesus is something called communion. It's something also called the Lord's supper or the Lord's table, and we're going to be celebrating that as a church for the very first time next week, and so I'm really looking forward to that. But this week is all about getting ready for next week. What's it all about? What's the significance of it? Why does it matter and how are we going to do that? That's what we're going to cover today and I thought what better way to illustrate the power of what Jesus did it communion, then this cake box mix recipe, because literally that's the recipe on the box. You read the box, you follow the instructions, you do the water, you do the oil, that's the way you're supposed to bake the cake. But there's a better recipe. And how would you ever know if there's a better recipe? Of nobody ever told you if genie didn't make a movie about it, right, how would we ever know? Like, and there's almost something that feels wrong about doing something different than what the directions say. Like once you think that they want to put the best thing on the box, right, like you would think somebody did their homework, did the science and measured it in, like the best recipe for this cake is on the back of the box. But it's not. And it relates a lot to what we're going to be talking about today. And in the spirit of changing things, of making things better, I thought, why don't we make something else better? And since last week denny start started his sermon with talking about Christmas, I thought we could talk about Christmas too. And what if this year, for Christmas services, everything was different? I mean Christmas, right, the beloved, just loved holiday. Everybody loves Christmas. We love the Christmas cookies and the Christmas trees, the Christmas lights, we love giving presidents, we love Santa. It's such a beloved holiday. And, Oh yeah, the reason for the season, right, the celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Right, that's why we have Christmas to begin with, celebrate Jesus's birthday. But this year, I was thinking six months from now, and we meet in this place to celebrate Christmas, I think that we can celebrate something better instead of instead of celebrating Jesus's birthday and making Christmas all about Jesus, we're going to make Christmas all about me this year. What do you think? We're going to celebrate my birthday? Yeah, and and and we're going to sing songs like joy to the world. Kevin has come. I guess it's got a perfect ring to it. It's going to be it's going to be awesome. And and you know those candy canes, they're shaped like a J for Jesus. I think we should do them for a K, as in Kevin Right Candy, with a K Candy Cane. It's going to be amazing. We're going to give gifts to the greatest gift between honor of the greatest gift ever given to this world, this guy right here. Yeah, that's right. And if I was serious about that and not using it as an illustration, you should stand up, Yank me off the stage and fire me, because you can't change Christmas. You can't change the meaning...

...of Christmas. I mean there's something that's even wrong about even thinking about it, like even just doing that little illustration. It's like that's like that's not right, like you can't do that, that's like disrespectful to God, like you can't say that. But and don't miss this. That's essentially what Jesus did with the beloved, loved holiday of Passover. So, if you have your Bible, turn with me to Luke twenty two. If you don't have your Bible, we have one to give you and the words will be on the screen behind me. In Luke twenty two we see Jesus. And now the festival of on Levin Bread had arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, and Jesus sent Peter and John Ahead and said go and prepare the Passover meal so we can eat together. Wow, they're going to go and eat the Passover meal in Jerusalem. It's going to be amazing. It's the time of the year when they always do it. And so the disciples asked, where do you want us to prepare it? Great Question. They don't have a house in Jerusalem. There's hundreds of thousands of people there to celebrate this, this festival. It's crazy. It's busy, there's no room in any in you're not going to rent anything last minute. They're asking Jesus, what are we going to do? Where are we going to prepare this meal? and Jesus replied, as soon as you entered Jerusalem, and man wearing a picture of water will meet you, follow him at the House the enders and say to the owners the teacher asked, where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples, and he will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up and that is where you should prepare our meal. And they want off to the city, thinking hundreds of thousands of people, there's got to be like hundreds of men walking around with pictures of water going to prepare the meal. And you want us, Jesus, to show up into this city and this random guy, we're just going to follow him into his house and say, Hey, can we use your upper room? and Jesus says yeah, that's exactly what I want you to do. And of course they found everything just that Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there. And when the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table and Jesus said, I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins, for I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until it's meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. And the disciples must have thought Jesus has said some crazy stuff in his life, like the he's. They've said so much stuff that they don't even know, they don't even understand. But like this is weird, like Jesus, like we want to celebrate the PA ass over just like we've been celebrating it for thousands of years, our whole life. Jesus, why do you have to mess this one up to like, why do you have to make this confusing? Can't we just eat the Passover meal? But then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it, and he said, take this and share it amongst ourselves, for I will not eat or drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come. When they're like what? And he took some bread and gave thanks to God for it and he broke it into pieces and he gave it to his disciples. Says this is my body, which is given for you. Again, the disciples are probably like what, like this doesn't make sense. And then he said this, do this in remembrance of me, do this...

...in remembrance of me, to which I just imagine Peter would have jumped up. And when it said Jesus, Um, this ain't about you, this is pass over. You know, remember pass over, when God let the Israelites out of Egypt? That's what we remember. We remember that when God did that. Jesus, I know you're important, I know you're the son of God. We believe you're our Lord and Messiah, but, like, this ain't about you, this is pass over. Like I could just imagine Peter running over to his Bible. I mean he didn't have a Bible, but you know, just metaphorically running over to his Bible, grabbing his Bible, and it's like, Jesus, okay, I know you kind of practically wrote the thing, but like, let me remind you about pass over. Okay, like, like just think exodus twelve. Remember when you gave those words, you know, exodus twelve. Okay, exodus twelve, Jesus, come on, you're better than this, right, Peters, just imagine I'm reading this. While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the Lord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron. From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you, the first month of the year, like, like what they're celebrating at pass over, is so important that it's got to be the first that they change their calendar, because this is the most important thing. It's the first thing. And how many of you know what we do first in life often shows what's most important to us. First, with our time first, with our money first, with our resources first, what are thinking about, what we're praying about? First is important and first is important to God. It's the first of the month, the first month of the year, and announced to the whole community of Israel that on the ten day of this month, each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household, and if a families to all to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood to buy the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. The animal you select was be a one year old male important detail without or with either a sheep or a goat with no defects, a one year old male who was basically perfect. It goes on take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteen day of this first month. So when they take it in on the tenth day and on the fourteen day they sacrifice it, that's four days. The lamb is in our house four days. They're taking special care of it, feeding it, they've probably named it by now. They pet it, they love it, they're sleeping with it, it's with them. And then they got to kill it. And when the whole Assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight, they are to take some of the blood and spirit on the sides and the top of the door frames of the house where they eat the animal. That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with the bitter salad, Greens and bread made without yeast. That seems strange. We're not really told why, but slavery for the Israelites when they were in Egypt was very bitter. It was bitter they couldn't worship God and made without yeast. They didn't have time for the bread to rise, so without yeast, and yeast also has come to symbolize sin all throughout the scriptures. Usually there's some exceptions, but that's usually a thing. And so it says. Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal, including the head, legs and internal organs, must be roasted over a fire. Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not...

...eaten before morning, and these are your instructions for eating this meal. Be fully dressed, where your sandals and carry your walking stick in your hand. EAT The meal with urgency, for this is the Lord's pass over. On that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land, and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord. So let's pause right here for a second and just recap sort of what is going on. God called a man named Abraham and said, I'm going to make you a great nation, the father of many nations, and through you I'm going to bless all the entire world. The problem was Abraham had no kids, so how can you be a great nation if you have no people? Right? So eventually, when they were really old, actually too old to have kids, Abraham's wife had a son named Isaac. Abraham had Isaac, Isaac had Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons and those twelve sons became the tribes of Israel. Now, one of those sons, his name was Joseph. He was hated by the other brothers and they sold him into slavery. He went into Egypt and God blessed him there and he basically rose to like second in command in Egypt. And Joseph had this vision of this famine that was going to happen and he stored up all this food so that when the famine happened, the whole world didn't have any food. They came to Egypt to get the food. And Guess who came to Egypt to get the food? Joseph's brothers. And so there they are. There's this beautiful picture. And now the Israelites, Jacobs family, are in Egypt and they're multiplying. Two hundred some years later, there's more and more people in the nation. They're growing, they're growing. There's so many people pharaoh gets a little afraid of them. He's like, there's so many of you, so guess what I'm going you to work, I'm going to enslave you. And life for the Israelites became very, very hard. They couldn't worship their God and life was just miserable. And God heard their prayers, God heard their cries, and so God called a man named Moses. He said, go to Pharaoh, say let my people go, and Pharaoh eventually let the Israelites out of Egypt and as a huge celebration, and that's what you remember at Passover. You have a big party, a big celebration to remember what God did as leading the Israelites out of Egypt. And this is just a cool note. There are so many festivals, so many celebrations, so many parties that God commanded the people to celebrate, like our God loves to celebrate, to have a good time, to remember things that get people together, to get people excited, to say, like we're doing this, God's at work, this is exciting. All throughout the Old Testament we read all of these parties, all of these celebrations, because like he's the God and and, and he's against, like he's executing judgment against all these other gods. It's only it's him alone. And so what's really interesting also is how God led and Pharaoh to basically kick the people out. There's ten plagues that God brought upon Egypt and all of the plagues were basically the God, our God, saying to the Egyptian gods, you got no power here. They had a god for the Nile and the God turns the Nile River into blood. What you going to do about that? There's flies, there's frogs. The Egyptians had gods for those and God turned them against them. There's even a god for the Sun. You might be familiar with the Egyptian god Ra, and God in the plague said no more sun, darkness, and there was darkness. But the ten...

...plague is what really made Pharaoh upset. It's what got Pharaoh to kick him out, to get out of here, move on quickly. You didn't want them here anymore, because the ten plague was the death of the firstborn son. Every firstborn son in the land was going to die. Or that's right. God made a way for the people to be spared, and that was in Exitus and thirteen. But the blood on your doorpost will serve as a sign marking the house where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. Hence the name pass over. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. And so God made a way for his people to be saved, to be spared. They had to sacrifice that lamb, put the blood on the doorpost in this death angel, this God would, would, would pass over them. And what a horrible, horrible night for the Egyptians. You could just imagine the horror and the crying and the tears and the pain and the death and the loss and the just imagine pharaoh being overcome with emotion as his son dies and it's just like get out of here, like you're causing so much pain, so much terrible suff just get out, get out. And God said that this is a day to remember each year, from generation to generation. You must celebrate it as a festival to the Lord, and this is a law for all time. For seven days you must eat, must eat with bread, without east. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your house. Anyone who eats bread made without yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel. On the first day of the festival and again on the seventh day. All put people must observe an official day for Holy Assembly. No work of any kind may be done on these days except for the preparation of food. So God had these Passover Festival and this feast of unleaven bread like right back to back, and they just basically become one big party, one big thing. And then he says, celebrate this festival of unleaven bread, for it will remind you. What's it going to do? Remind you that I what brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day. This festival will be a how long, permanent law for you. And celebrate this day from generation to generation. And so it all up and exactly the way that God told Moses that it was going to happen. All of that happened. The Israelites escaped, they went out. And then, remember, these instructions are a permanent law. You get that already. You heard that enough times. Permanent Law that you and your descendants must observe. For How long? Forever, even when you leave Egypt. Yep, when you enter the land the Lord had promised you, you will continue to observe the ceremony. Yes, you will. Then your children will ask, I love this. What does this ceremony mean? You know, the things you do in your calendar, the rhythms of your life. They matter, and the next generation is looking and they're asking questions. Why do you do that? Why do you why do you celebrate that? Why do you do that at home? Why do you pray before you when you know? Why do you go to you know, these are questions that your kids will ask. And and God instituted these celebrations and these festivals for a specific time on the calendar so that this story could be passed down to the next generation, from generation to generation.

It was so important. God said, you're going to take a pause in your normal life and you're going to explain to your kids exactly what I did and build their faith, and you will reply. It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and though he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our families and when Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and they worshiped because these were holy words. These were words from a God that caused all cause, some bear cause some. This God is going to do this for me, for us. God's going to rescue us from slavery, rescue us from bondage, he's going to lead us out, he's going to execute judgment against the gods of Egypt. He's going to kill the firstborn son. He's going to pass over the houses where the Passover lambs blood was put on the door post. God's gonna do that and it should cause such great awe and wonder and amazement at this is our God. And guess what? The first year that Israel was not in Egypt, they were in wandering in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. Guess what they did when the time came around, the first month of the year, what did they do? Celebrated Passover, to remember what God did a year ago. You can read about that in numbers, chapter nine. And then when the nation of Israel entered into the promised land, guess what they did? Joshua led them to celebrate pass over and Joshua Chapter Five. Then history moved on and Israel got kings and one of those kings, his name was Hezekiah, and he found the Torah and the law and he was like, Oh, we got to do this, we got to listen to God, we got to obey God. And so what did they do? In Second Chronicles, Chapter Thirty, they restarted celebrating the Passover and a hundred years later, King Josiah did something similar. He found the law on the Torah and he's like, we got to do this, we got to obey God. So guess what we're going to do? We're going to celebrate pass over that second chronicles, three thousand and eighteen, when Israel came back from exile from Babylon, Prophet Ezra wanted to again reinstitute following God, following obeying the the scriptures. And so what did they do? They celebrated pass over Ezra Chapter six, and nothing had changed from Ezra chapter six until the time of Jesus. Nothing had changed. This was a festival they had been celebrating from generation to generation, a permanent law that they were going to celebrate forever. They were passing down to the next generation. The story of how God rescued his people out of Egypt, let them out of slavery, out of bonds, into the promised land. And so when Jesus sits down with his disciples to celebrate the Passover, he took the bread and gave thanks to God for any broken into pieces, gave it to his disciples and says this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And things just got real, like Christmas. Now is all about me, right, like that type of real. Jesus took something so loved, so cherished, so God ordained,...

God created, and Jesus made it all about himself. It was the end of Judaism as they knew it. You no longer could worship God the same way. You can no longer obey God the same way. It was, it was done. It wasn't about that anymore. It wasn't about that story anymore. Jesus said, I've got a new story to tell from generation to generation. I've got a new event that to you remember, to pass on to your kids, and that that's me. And so after supper he took another cup of wine and said this Cup is the new covenant between God and his people and agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. They're God, Their Messiah, their Lord, Their rabbi, their teacher, the one they believed to be the son of God. In just a several hours after Jesus said this, he was going to be crucified, he was going to be nailed to a cross, he's going to be whipped and beaten, his blood was going to be spilt all over the place and he was going to be buried in a tomb, along with the hopes and the dreams of all of his friends and followers. But three days later, on the third day, what did Jesus do? He came back from the dead. He showed back up to his people, to his friends and his followers, and he said it's game on. He said. My body was given for you, just like the Passover land was given so that you could be saved, and no bones were broken and and my blood was shed for you, just like the Passover blood. Lamb's blood was put on the door post, anybody inside would be saved. And that is why Paul and First Corinthians, Chapter Five, calls Jesus Christ our Passover lamb who has been sacrificed for us. So why is this all matter? Matters? Because I want you to see today that we worship a god, Jesus, who wasn't just some random guy that showed up did some cool things. I mean he predicted his death, burial and resurrection and actually pulled it off, which is a reason to worship him. But Jesus is the culbination, the fulfillment, the completion of the entire history of the world, like everything that you read, everything that you study in history, in the the way that God set all of this up. It's all brought about, it's all fulfilled in Jesus Christ, that you can spend the rest of your life studying, digging into what Jesus did, how he accomplished all of this stuff, who he is and how it all fits together. You can spend the rest of your life doing it. This is such a deep, deep well. It's not just some frivolous little thing like Jesus is the real deal. He is the...

...better way, the best way, he is the way and we should worship him, following trust in him, like you can build your life on this. Yeah, it goes deeper than just the surface, like it goes real deep, real deep. And the second thing that I want you to see today, and this is real important, is that what Jesus did was new. I don't know about you, but you know somebody that's gotten hung up on some of the stuff in the Old Testament. You know, you've ever read some of the stuff in the Old Testament. You're like what, what is this? I started, I try to read through my Bible and now I'm in Leviticus and now they're sacrificing animals. Like what, we don't do that today. Why? Why should I bother worship and God and fought going to church if the Bible that they say they preach, they don't even follow it. It's in there. Why don't you do that? Why don't you follow all the laws in Leviticus? I mean there's hundreds of them. Why don't you wear that type of clothing? Why don't you do this? Say That, why don't you follow that? And for some people, maybe for you, but certainly for your friends, for your family, for our community, they say this is, this is, this, doesn't make sense. I can't follow a God that changes his mind. I can't follow a God that or go to a church that preaches the Bible that you don't even do half the stuff that's in there. It doesn't make sense. And if you've ever thought that, or if you've ever talked to somebody or the next time you do that has thought that, what we've talked about today is the a answer is Jesus looks at all of that stuff, he takes the recipe on the box, the back of the box and says I got a better way and that way is me and the story. That's it. Like that stuff is it's done, to which Jesus is like, I didn't come to abolish it. He came to the word is, fulfill it. He made it complete, he did it the way it should have been. Are the way it always would have been, the perfect, best way. He came to fulfill it. So don't let that stuff trip you up. Jesus. It's all about Jesus. So next week, what are we going to do? Next week we're going to celebrate communion, what Jesus did in the Last Supper there and I want to give you a couple things to know so that next week when we do it, you won't be like, what is going on? All Right, we'll remind you to next week and run through everything again. We'll have some music will I'll preach a little message again about communion, more about communion and Jesus than pass over next week. But you see the connection there. But what we're going to do, and I'm going to grab these for visual AIDS Sake, is let me pour this out. So we're going to have two tables set up, one that's probably going to be, I don't know, in the front section somewhere and then one that's going to be in the middle section somewhere. And during the service there'll be a time, obviously will tell you when, but there'll be a time when I'll have you stand up and you can go walk to one of the tables and you'll...

...pick up a piece of bread and a cup of grape juice. Both are from Wagnans. There's nothing special about them. But you'll take them back to your seats and we're going to all do it, participate in communion, celebrate communion together. Obviously there's many different ways to celebrate communion. If you're joining US online, just grab whatever you got next to you, some bread and some think to drink, and you can join right in. But one of the things special things about communion is that, like, it is extremely meaningful time because we were remembering what Jesus did for us on the Cross as death, burial and resurrection and we wanted to stay meaningful. And if you do it every week, then you kind of get into a routine and it becomes rhythm and road and you kind of forget about it. But if you do it like once a year, because it's going to be a special celebration, we're going to do it like this big party is going to be amazing. Then like what happens the rest of the year? Right? So, like we're going to do it enough time so that we remember it, because it is important and we're going to celebrate it. Well, we're gonna space it out so that it doesn't become regular routine and rhythm and there's different way is again, to do it. Our leadership team has talked about some of those ways and we want to mix it up to keep it fresh and keep it interesting and just new ways of experiencing what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. And so you'll grab both these things off the table, you'll take him back to your seat, excuse me, and then we will do something where I will say something like Jesus, at the Last Supper, the night he was betrayed, took the bread and broke it and gave thanks to God and says, this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And then when I say rememberance of me, your mind's going to flash back to the last week, which is today, and you're going to be like, Oh man, that's a huge statement, that's life changing, that's world changing, that's everything changing. Do This in remembrance of me and then we're going to all eat it together. Thank you. Then after supper, Jesus took the cup and he said this Cup is the new covenant in my blood. As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do remember the Lord's death until he comes again, and we'll all drink of it together. And then after the last supper, before they headed out into the Mount of Olives, they sang a song, and so it's something special about it after communion song. I don't know about you, but it's just me maybe, but what we do a after communion. So so final final thoughts today about communion. Number one, it's a symbol, a way to remember what Jesus did for us, his body that was hunging, hanging on across died for us, his blood that was shed. There's nothing special. It doesn't become the body of Jesus. It doesn't become the blood in a real or figurative way. It's just a way to remember, a way to symbolize, and it's a special thing. The second thing is it doesn't save you. When you take communion, you don't get your sins forgiven, you don't get a special anointing of God, you don't. You know, when you take communion it doesn't doesn't do any of that stuff. I remember one time when I was in college, we were at Church and they were passing around the stuff and I pulled the juice cup out of the tray and I guess when they filled the cups up they were all on the tray and so when they poured the juice in it was good,...

...but when I lifted it up there was I just started to feel my hand getting really wet and I was like what is going on right now, and I realized that there was a hole in the bottom of my communion cup. And so by the time it was time for me to like drink it, I had nothing left. Stopped all over. So afterwards I went up to my pastor and I was like, it's a good thing that that didn't forgive me of my sins this week, because I didn't have any to drink. So there's nothing, there's nothing saving or anything about that. And then, thirdly, it's for believers to remember. It's for believers to remember what Jesus did for them. It's a time when we do it together. There's a common union, a communion in Jesus, regardless of our backgrounds, in our whatever happened this week, like we come together under Jesus because of what Jesus did for us and we celebrate that together as believers. And if you aren't a believer and you're tuning in, you're joining us, like you're so welcome here, were so glad that you're here. But if you're like this is kind of weird, I don't really get it and for some reason you don't want to participate, like that's okay, I get that's totally fine, like we were so glad that you're here, we're so glad you're asking questions and tuning in and this thing is a little strange for you, and that's sort of that's just perfectly fine. We're so glad that you're here. But as for believers, to celebrate and to remember, and so I'm excited for next week. It's going to be a great, great time together. Let me wrap up our life hack series with the word of prayer and close our service. God, thank you so much much for what you've done. I pray today that we would understand a little bit more deeply, Jesus, of what you accomplished for us. The Cross is an incredible thing. Mean in and of itself it's amazing, but when you realize how connected and how deep it goes, Oh God, forgives our sins, redeems the world that's so broken and so messed up. So, Lord, as we take this moment even now, to remember what you've done for us on the cross, your death for us, your burrow, your Resurrection, Oh may our lives be changed knowing that you did that for me, you did that for us, you did that for this community, and it changes lives. Thank you, God, for doing that, for working. Thank you for making a difference in our church, in our world, saving people and bringing them into our right relationship with you through what you've done for us. How us, the worship you this week and whatever we're doing, wherever we're going? How US The follow you? I ask these things in Jesus name,.

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