Scriptures with Songs

Preparing Your ‘House’ for Passover

passover bloodPrelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1: p. 20 – How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings

Hymn 2: p. 27 – The Lord’s My Shepherd

Introduction:                                          

How does one prepare for Passover? Traditionally, spring, which is the start of a new year/month in the Biblical reckoning of time, is also known as new beginnings—a time of fresh start:

“Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. ‘Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household...’”Exodus 12:12

It is a time of preparation and a dedication before God. Naturally, we are all drawn to this refreshing concept/idea that became the foundation of most family traditions among God’s people. The idea of “Spring cleaning” is just one of those. This was taken from the Biblical instructions to remove or clean the houses from certain “dirt” or contaminants (Heb. ‘hametz’). As the book of Exodus continues,

“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”Exodus 12:15

What does the Bible mean by this instruction? Why do we need to annually clean our “houses” or even ourselves? What spiritual significance can we learn from this ancient custom?

Passover cleaning draws a metaphor on our spiritual need to be cleansed by impurities (sins) in the presence of the holy God.  As you scrub the floors, clean your room, fridge, or empty your drawer from extra/overused things/dress, etc., imagine that you are ridding yourself of stains/filths and excesses, bad habits, malice, anger, jealousy, and the likes! Or, perhaps just imagine you are a ‘slave’ in Egypt (metaphor of sin) and how wonderful it will be when God redeems and frees you! These are some of the spiritual applications we can think of.

As we will see from our Song and Scriptures, Passover cleaning actually has a far deeper meaning than mere dusting and cleaning of our houses and closets. A person’s heart is considered one’s home. Cleaning one’s home means cleaning one’s heart from every form of “dirt” and “stains” namely from bad and sinful thoughts and habits we build around ourselves and about others.

So as our opening Scriptures, let’s read and understand why the need for all of us to appear before God cleansed…

Bible Reader 1 –The Need to Be Cleansed

Exodus 19:1-24

Bible Reader 2 – The Need to Be Cleansed

Exodus 29:1-9; 29-35

Brethren, let’s all stand and sing the following hymns…

Hymn 3 p.224 – Standing On The Promises

Hymn 4 p.211 – The Breath of Life

B. Identifying “Dirt” and “Waste” in our Life. Just as there are many types of dirt and waste, from biodegradable to non-biodegradable, from toxic to non-toxic, so the need for us to identify and consciously remove these “dirt” in our life. Thus, one of the most daunting and disconcerting tasks is to get rid of impurities that reside in the crevices of our mind and heart.

Spiritual defilement symbolized by dirt is a constant predicament of every believer who sincerely desires to live in obedience to God’s Word. The instruction to remove them is God’s own absolute standard which we are told to aim for. The problem is that Scripture, along with our own daily experience, tells us that we are not holy and perfect. On the contrary, we are defiled and prone to sin. Since we are a sinful people at the core level of our existence, then we need a comprehensive and regular cleansing from the contamination and defilement of sin. We need a regular provision for our spiritual dirt to be removed and our lives cleansed. This is not something we can do for ourselves alone. It is something only God can do through Jesus Christ.  Our next set of Bible readers will provide us some guiding verses…

Bible Reader 3 – Identifying “Dirt” and “Waste” in our Life (Law on Purification)

Deuteronomy 23:9-14

Numbers 19:1-22

Bible Reader 4 – Identifying “Dirt” and “Waste” in our Life

Psalm 51:1-19

Isaiah 1:12-20

Jeremiah 4:13-14

Ezekiel 16:1-14

Thank you readers. Please all rise as we sing

Hymn 5 – p.2.46– Had We Not Sinned

Hymn 6p.2.43 – In Thy Loving Kindness, LORD

C. God’s Remedy of Cleansing through the Blood of Jesus Christ. The law on Purification (from previous verses) provided us a glimpse of just how serious God is when it comes to sins and defilements. This must also be very serious to us with dire consequences. It is our responsibility. The person who is contaminated has to initiate the action. The individual's state of uncleanness if left untreated would contaminate the Tabernacle, the dwelling place of God. One person's sinful state could endanger God's continuing presence with His people. A holy God demands a holy people. The permeating and contaminating effect of sin and death requires cleansing through the ritual of the red heifer. In this elaborate ritual you can see a beautiful anticipation of the work of Jesus Christ.

Some people may go through life scrubbing and scrubbing, trying to get rid of stains that stuck. There’s that sin that clings to us like greasy stain defying our best efforts to get rid of it. Then, there’s that great sin in our past for which only God can remove it for us. Thus, the cleansing that Christ provides makes us clean when we first ask Him and trust in his work as our Savior. After deliverance, He continues to encourage us to come to Him daily for fresh forgiveness and cleansing by His blood. 

To expound more of this story, let’s hear from our next reader:

Bible Reader 5 – God’s Remedy of Cleansing through Jesus Christ

John 1:29-36

1 Peter 1:17-21

Hebrews 7:26-28; 9:11-26; 10:5-10

Thank you reader. Please all rise as we sing responsively…

Hymn 7p. 133 Behold the Glories of the Lamb

D. Our House [Body] is the ‘Temple’ of God’s Spirit. Jewish tradition resonates the idea that our home is a mini-temple, a mikdash me’at, -a miniature sanctuary. They consider Passover or Pesach as “a time of rededication of the home temple.” While this view is very unique in itself, the New Testament provides spiritual parallel and amplifications that extend the idea of “spiritual temple” to this house-body connection. As the Holy Spirit resides in us, therefore, we are to honor God with our bodies. If God simply wanted to convey the idea that the Spirit can reside within us, He could well have used words such as “house,” “residence.” or “home”. But by carefully choosing the word “temple” to describe the Spirit’s dwelling, He conveys the idea that our bodies are the shrine, or the holy place, in which the Spirit not only lives, but the body must be treated with respect, and must be honored.  So the need therefore, for this body or temple to be regularly purified and cleansed from all its impurities and imperfections. More on these admonitions from our next Bible reader…

Bible Reader 6Our House [Body] is the ‘Temple’ of God’s Spirit

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Romans 8: 5-11

1 Peter 1:13-19

1 Peter 2: 1-6

Thank you Bible Reader. Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:

 Hymn 8: p.2.33 Love Divine, All Love Excelling

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Watch And Pray:Thank you, brethren. Let us pause now as we hear the news that we need to watch and pray for.

Thank you for the special music offering and for our watchman.

E. “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.” Washing is the primary means to ritual or ceremonial purity. From these biblical examples, John Wesley's well-known comment, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” arose. Wesley, an itinerant preacher, realized early on, that cleanliness is somehow related to what God is like and that personal hygiene has a spiritual dimension. So the idea of separation or holiness, the distinguishing between the “clean” and the “unclean,” in the Bible reinforces this fact.  Moreover, the very first mention of washing in Scripture is when Abraham's hospitality to his three visitors includes providing water to wash their feet (Genesis 18:4).This ancient practice of offering water for washing in a dust-ridden desert of Middle East countries surely provides relief and comfort to strangers/travelers. This symbol of hospitality and servant-like attitude of humility provided the background and intent when Jesus includes it as part of the Passover “footwashing” ritual. More on the meaning of “cleanliness is next to Godliness” from our next Bible readers…

Bible Reader 7– “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Mark 7:1-23

1 Thessalonians 4:7

Bible Reader 8 “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

John 13:1-17

2 Corinthians 7:1

Philippians 4:8

Hebrews 10:19-22

Thank you Bible Reader. Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:

Hymn 9:  p.21 The Earth and Its Fullness

Hymn 10: p.126 When Christ Shall Come

Conclusion-

F. The Need to Be Holy: “Be Holy for I am Holy”. “You shall be holy; for I am holy” God intones early on (Leviticus 11:44). Just how important is holiness to God and to our life?  Surely this is not simply a capricious and self-serving command. It has its lasting or eternal benefits and for the good of everyone. To be sure, the biblical term translated "holy" or "holiness" (qadosh, hagios) carries a strong connotation of moral purity. But purity is not an end of itself. Instead, the most basic and personal meaning of the word is to be “set apart” or “dedicated”  devoted to God—to belong to God! “I will be your God, and you will be my people,” says t he LORD (Lev. 26:12; Heb. 8:10). While God commanded that His chosen nation of Israel be a holy nation, we also find that those called and chosen in New Testament times, including our day, are also to be a holy people (1 Peter 1:15-16).

This is very defining for everyone to say the least, because this idea as it comes from God will transcend the purpose of our life, existence and future destiny. The Scriptures provided ample reminders that our “sojourning” is but a prelude to that grandest life still ahead in the kingdom with our Heavenly Father to whom we truly belong! Only then we can fully participate in the life of God: He dwells in us, and we dwell in him—in His eternal kingdom.

More on these verses from our final reader…

Reader 9 – The Need to Be Holy

Leviticus 11:44-45

Romans 6:20-23

Hebrews 12:12-15

Matthew 5:8

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Revelation 20:6

Thank you readers. That concludes our Song Service.

Hymn 11: p.2.55 One Generation Will Call To The Next

Hymn 12: p.215 Our God Reigns!

Closing prayer.

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