Drink Week 2: Cup One
Woman: So, what’s with the cups?
Man: Don’t worry about that right now. You’re changing the subject.
Woman: I just… I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know where I’m going. All I know is where I came from.
Man: And where was that?
Woman: Why? So we can be pen-pals?
Man: Do you want to know what’s in this cup or not?
Woman: Alright. My whole life I feel like there’s just been something missing. Like, when you’re a kid and your parents tell you you can be anything you want to be and you have your whole life ahead of you. I feel like I’m just waiting for mine to start. I keep telling myself it’ll get better when… Well, when I reach the “whens”, I still feel unsatisfied.
Man: Is that what life’s about? Being satisfied? Contentment? Is that what fulfills you?
Woman: What else is there? I just… I feel like I’m always thirsty for more and, no matter what I do, it’s never enough.
Man: -pushes cup forward-
Woman: I don’t think I’m following.
Man: It sounds like you’ve got a pretty big hole to fill.
Woman: I guess you could say that.
Man: The thing about God-sized holes is that nothing and no one in this earth can fill them. You’re desperately running around waiting for the world to satisfy a thirst with a cup that’s already empty.
Woman: Okay. Well, what makes this cup so special?
Man: This cup represents sacrifice. This cup is what will fill that God-sized hole. The contents of this cup were poured out specifically for you by someone who deeply loves you; by someone who knows you better than you know yourself. Within this cup are answers. More than just answers; this is satisfaction. This is fulfillment.
Woman: Okay. Well, what do I have to do?
Man: The gift’s always been there. All you have to do is accept it.
Well, good morning everybody and to those who watch also via the internet and our mobile app. We are in a five-week series called “Drink.” And, as you know, I always try to bring everybody up to speed as to what we’re doing. If you were here last weekend, I dressed up as an Israelite and tried to give you a background on what it was like to be in Egypt during the Exodus. If you’re new and you want to go back and watch me dress up in a costume, you can do that. If not, you can just stay with us from this point forward. It’s probably better anyway.
But, here’s what we’re doing in the series: we’re looking at what it means for you and me – what it means for us – to drink the four cups of the Passover meal and apply it to our lives.
Now, you probably may go, “What does that mean?” I’m glad you asked because I want to sort of explain to you how I got to put this message and this series together. In life – and maybe you’re like me. I think you probably are. I think a lot more of us are closer to having some of the similar experiences than we realize. Oftentimes in life, you’re sort of doing your thing, you sort of believe the way you believe, you sort of think the way you think, and then there’s moments where you see something that forever changes the way you see things.
I mean, if you’ve been able to travel or if you’ve been able to get outside of the United States – especially if you love the Bible and if you could go and travel to Laodicea. And you might hear that word and you go, “I think I’ve heard that word before.” It’s in Revelation 3. It’s the church that Jesus says, “I wish you were hot or cold.” Maybe you’ve heard that passage before.
I know when I grew up in church I heard that almost every weekend. You’ve got to be hot or you’ve got to be cold. Well, when you travel to Laodicea, what you realize is that Laodicea, back in the time of Jesus, didn’t have any water system. There was no water. So, the water had to be brought in from other towns. And it was brought in from Hierapolis and Colossae. Each of those cities had a robust water system. One was a really hot water system. It was used for medicinal purposes, for bathing, it was used for cleansing. I mean, it was good. The hot water was good. But, by the time that hot water went through the aqueducts and got to Laodicea, it had sort of lost its hotness and had become tepid water.
Well, the other town had cold water. Real cold springs used for all kinds of purposes. Drinking for sure. Also, you could put your food in it a little while and keep it a little longer because it was such cold water. Well, by the time they aqueducted that water to Laodicea, it had lost its coolness and sort of heated up and it became tepid water or lukewarm water. And when you hear that, and now you hear the terms hot and cold, you start to go, “Okay. Maybe what’s going on in that passage is a little bit different than what I might have thought by just understanding culture.”
If you’ve ever been to Israel – and if you haven’t, I would encourage you to try to go if you could. I went to Israel and Israel is a lot different than what I had envisioned. I mean, I had seen the maps and I had seen the pictures and all of that, but we all know that when you have a picture it’s not the same as having been there. You can look at it and you go, “This is not what it really was.”
I do that all the time with my phone. You know, you think you take a picture and then you show it to a friend and you’re explaining, “Well, it’s better than that. It looks something like that.” The picture never does justice. So, I got to Israel and the topography was a lot different than I thought. And then you go to these places where Jesus was supposed to be – and I’m a big Jesus-lover. I’m like, “Man, this is awesome!”
So, you go there and then you realize if you’ve got people that know what’s really going on and good tour guides and you understand the whole idea of what’s going on, some of the sites that are traditional sites aren’t really where Jesus did anything. Like there’s a big site where everybody gets baptized in the Jordan River. And everybody’s there and they’re thinking, “Man. This is where Jesus got baptized and John the Baptist was right here. Man.”
They’re looking for the Holy Spirit to come down like a dove. And you realize Jesus really got baptized about eight miles down from where you were. So it’s like one of those bummers. You’re like, “Oh, man. I thought this is where Jesus was. He’s down the road.”
So, we went down the road and saw where He was. Anyways, the point is – and He wasn’t really there at that time, but it was where He’d been baptized. And so you get there and we were going through this stuff and our tour guide – and I’d read this stuff and, you know, sometimes certain things you read are more important to you than others. And I’d studied Passover and read a little bit about the Passover meal and whatever, but not really done a deep dive in it.
So, she starts talking about Passover and stuff and she’s talking about these three things of bread, you know? And the center piece of bread comes out and it’s broken and then hidden. And I’m thinking, “Man, that’s like the Trinity.” I’m going, “Man, this is a cool dinner!” And then she says, “Well, there’s four cups in the Passover meal.”
I’m like, “Four cups? Man. We’ve only got one in that gluten-free wafer. This doesn’t look like what we do.” I’m like, “Four cups?”
My mind is sort of spinning. So you go through and you listen to the four cups and, if you were to go to a Passover meal today or a Seder meal, during the meal you would drink four cups. And it dawned on me as I was over there and listening to stuff and then picked up some other material, I started going, “Man. Those four cups really signify the four major things – the four core things – that God wants to do in your and I’s lives.”
Now listen to me. You know, this ain’t 50 things or 100 things. Everybody in here can get four things that God has for your life. Can I get an “amen” on that? We can do four. It ain’t even a full hand. You’ve still got your thumb you can play with. You can play with your thumb like a joystick. We just got four things we’re going to learn.
And so what I want to do is I want to go back and show you when they drank these four cups – and still do to this day – that they recite and “I will” as they drink each one of these cups. And each one of these “I wills” signifies something that God did for them, but what He wants to continue to do for you and me in our lives today.
So, let’s look here. In Exodus 6:6-7 – any Passover meal you go to if you’ve got Jewish friends, you’ll be drinking four cups. And this is where they’re going to quote from.
Exodus 6:6-7, God says to Moses, “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and (1)…” – this “(1)” here, I know you’re probably looking in your Bible and you’re like, “What translation is Bennett using? Man, I don’t have that big one. Is that in the Hebrew or not?”
No. I added that. And the reason I added that is that is the first cup. And so, the one that says “(2)” next will be the second cup. So, follow along here.
“I am the Lord, and (1) I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and (2) I will deliver you from slavery to them, and (3) I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. (4) I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God.”
Now, this is interesting. Listen: after you’ve gone through four “I wills”, He says, “and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.”
There’s four "I wills" here that are going to lead you to know that He is your God. And what I want to do is I want to take the next four weeks – because He continues on and goes, “who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” I want to take the next four weeks and I want to go through these four cups and I want you to really lean in and listen because these are the things that are the core principles of what God wants to do in your and I’s lives. And I promise you if you will listen to these things and let the Word of God just pour over you, this is life changing stuff. This is stuff that will forever change your life.
So what I’m going to do is we’re going to talk about the first cup today. And I’m going to take just the phrase of the first cup that is participated in in the Seder or the Passover dinner, I’m going to take that first phrase and I want to sort of look at some words in there and sort of let it just speak to you what God is saying to them back then, and what He’s saying to you and me today.
He says, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
The first thing I want to focus on is these two words here: I will. These are very important words because these words say that God has taken the initiative. He doesn’t say, “Hey, you guys did this,” or “you did enough stuff” or “you prayed enough.” He says, “I am choosing to do what I want to do. I am the one who takes the initiative.”
And I want you to hear me here: God is the one that takes the initiative in your and I’s lives to start the process of the things that He wants to do. Paul explains what this looks like in our lives as he writes to Titus. Follow me here on this one because this is where you’ll understand the initiative of God in your and I’s salvation. This is out of Titus 3.
Titus 3:3-5 he says, “For we…” – I love how Paul is transparent. He’s a real dude. He doesn’t say he’s better than anybody else. He’s like, “I was there at one time, too. I understand.” He goes, “We ourselves were once foolish,”
Now, the word “foolish” in the Bible is not the same thing as when we talk about, you know, if somebody’s like, “Yeah, you fool. You dummy.” That’s not the way the word “fool” is used in the Bible. A fool is someone that you find in the book of Proverbs that does not follow the wisdom of God. They are a fool. They’re doing their own thing. In other words, if you’re just living the way you want to live, doing whatever you want to do, there’s no room for God in your life, the Bible calls that foolish. And the reason it calls it foolish is because the complete life that you and I are looking for is only found in God, so we’re foolish trying to find completion in our lives in some other way.
He says, “We ourselves were once foolish and…” – because we were foolish, because we were doing our own things – “… we were disobedient.”
In other words, we started doing all the things that we shouldn’t have done. We’re doing our own thing.
“We were led astray and we were slaves to various passions and pleasures.”
Notice here this word “slaves.” See, these Exodus terms – slaves, deliverance, salvation – all of the New Testament books are using the language of the Exodus. Paul says, “We were slaves to various passions and pleasures.”
I like The Message. It’s like a renegade version. It says that you were slaves to your glands. You’re just doing your thing. Whatever pleasure and passion that you want, whatever it is that you think in your life and that you’re just following whatever you want to do. There’s no room for God in your life at all. You’re just sort of doing your thing. And you may be here today and you may go, “That’s where I’m at. Chip, That’s where I’m living today.”
Well, just bear with me here because I want you to see the “I will” of God; the fact that He takes the initiative. He says, “We were foolish, disobedient, we were slaves to various passions and pleasures. That’s what we were doing.” He says, “…passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
Now, some of you are going to go, “Well, hold on for a second. I remember before I became a Christian I was sort of doing my own thing, acting my own way and doing all that stuff. But man, I was never really mad at everybody and hating one another.”
I want you to lean in here and listen to this: when you and me are only concerned about our own selves, when we’re only focused on what we want to do, the Bible says we are hating towards others. See, when it’s all about me, then it becomes all about me and I have no room for others. And the whole idea of love is to reach outside of self and to love someone else. And I experienced this this weekend. As you can tell here, there’s a lot of work going on here.
Believe it or not, we were here Friday night past midnight putting chairs back together. The whole electrical grid back there was out of the room because they’re doing all this work in here. So, we had to put this whole room back together. The projectors, they had gotten cut. We had to run different lines. We were here really, really late. So normally, I get to go through my message during the week, but there was all kinds of construction.
I like going through my message. I mean, I’ve got OCD. It’s so bad it’s CDO. I have to alphabetize it. And so, I like to do my thing, you know, and be able to get in here and I like to go and pray for the chairs and I’ve got my little thing that I like to do. Well, I didn’t get to do it because we were here late. And so, I went home and I was like – Mindy had her mom and grandmother coming over, and Mindy’s grandmother, she’s Cuban. I mean, she got in a boat when Castro came to power. I mean, real Cuban. Matriarchal. I mean, she’s strong. If you’ve ever been around Cuban women, the Matriarchs, they’re strong. I mean, she comes through the door and all my kids run to their room, man. I mean, they never go to their room. Don’t tell her I said that. She comes at 11:30.
So anyway… and X that out on the video. So, she comes in and she’s doing her stuff. Well, I had to convince Mindy that I needed to come up here. Let me tell you. You may think that pastors, we just sit around and have marriages with our wives where nothing ever goes wrong and God just sort of rains down His blessing on everything. No no no no. You’ve got to struggle through that stuff, too, being a pastor and being a husband and being a dad. All that stuff.
We’re going to get real here. So, if you’re new and you’re like, “Man, I wanted a pastor that walked on water,” wrong church. So anyway, the deal is is I say, “Hey, Mindy, I’m going to come up here and I’m going to do my sermon. I’m going to go through my stuff and then I’m going to pick up lunch for everybody.”
She’s like, “That’s a great idea.” So, we splurged. We decided to go to Red Lobster. So, I’m up here doing my thing and of course, when I get up here, they’re still running wires and I’m like going, “Man. This is not good because I’m going to be late and then it’s going to be ugly and then I’m going to hear Spanish yelling at me. It’s not good. This is not good.”
I’m like, “God. Come on. I’m trying my best here to be a pastor and I’ve got to get home, too. I’ve got Red Lobster to deliver.” So anyway, I get out and I go through my stuff real quick. I get in the car and run down to 41. I live in Osprey. I go to Red Lobster, get in there and, of course, they’re late. I’m putting all my stuff together. I get it out in the car. I pull out to get onto 41 and it’s like I’m sitting there literally for 10 minutes. There’s just traffic going. I’m like, “It’s not even season.”
I’m like, “God, I’m preaching on the Exodus. Could you part the traffic for me? Because I’ve got to get home. I’m already late and I’ve got to get home. I’m trying to do your thing. I want to preach a good message, but I also want to stay married because I love my wife.”
So finally, the light turns red and I’m like, “This is great!” So, I ease out. But I’ve got to get over three lanes, you know? Anyway, I’m in my car and I’m trying to get over. And so, as I move over to the next lane, I’m just sort of moving over real slow because the light’s red, I guess a guy behind a car in a truck didn’t realize the light was red. So, he pulls out. Well, of course, I’m moving over. And as I’m moving over, he thinks I’m trying to keep him from getting past me. You know what I’m talking about?
And so I finally get over to the other lane. Well, the light’s red. He pulls up and he goes right by me and then, as I pull by, I’m just trying to be nice. And I’m not an aggressive driver. I mean, people who drive with me say that I drive like an old lady. Now, if you’re an old lady, just forgive me, okay? Because I’m not trying to be negative at all here. I’m just saying that’s what other people say. I know that old ladies drive great. That’s what they say.
So anyway, I pull over in the lane and he’s hanging out the window yelling at me and I’m like, “Man, I’m a pastor and I’ve got Grace Community Church on the back of my shirt.” Look, I prayed for the guy. There was the part of me that was like, “Man, I wish I was bigger than three feet tall and I was Rambo.” But, I wasn’t.
Anyway, I make the U-turn and, as I come around, he’s shooting me double fingers. If you’re here in the service today young man, I love you, okay? But so I pull around and I’m thinking, “Man, this guy. It ain’t me. He ain’t mad at me. He’s mad at something else and I just happened to be the lightning rod that he could get mad at.” But I say that to say that when you’re just doing your own thing and you’re living your own way and you’re acting however you want to do, you end up in a place where, man, everything gets under your nerves and you get mad at people because it’s all about you.
Paul says, “That’s where we were. We were slaves.” And then he says this and this is just beautiful: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared…”
Now see, some of you may think that God’s out to get you. You may think that God’s not a good God. You’re thinking, “Man, I’m living my life, man, and I’ve got to turn to God before He would turn to me. I’ve got to get right before God would…”
No no no no no. When we were doing our things, when we were slaves living however we wanted to live, God showed up with goodness and loving kindness in our lives. And let me tell you something: you may be here this morning and you may be wondering where you’re at with God or what’s going on. I just want you to hear this: God says to you, “I’ve got goodness and I’ve got loving kindness for you because I will deliver you from the burdens of the Egyptians. I take the initiative.”
He says, “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us,” – not us. We didn’t do it. Look at this. – “not because of works done by us in righteousness.”
Nothing we did. You couldn’t pray enough, give enough, love enough, come to church enough. None of that. None of that. We were doing our own thing. God showed up and it wasn’t because of anything we did. Listen, if you and I were saved by what we did, none of us would get in. Not any of us. You say, “Well, I’m better than some people.”
Yeah, but it’s like A.C.G. Muel said – he’s a theologian, he’s deceased – He said, “You may be on the mountain top and they may be in the valley, but neither one of you can touch the Sun.”
See, it’s not by works of righteousness, it’s God’s sovereign choice to reach out to you and me because He’s a good God and a loving and kind God. All of that stuff. He saved us, “not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy,”
Somebody needs to hear that this morning. You need to hear that your Heavenly Father loves you so much. Even when you’re out there running wild and doing your thing, He is for you. He’s not against you.
“By the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”
Let’s look at the next line. That’s the “I will;” the divine initiative. Let’s look at this next line here: “Bring you out.”
God wants to bring you out. That’s why this is called the cup of sanctification. The word “sanctification” means to set apart. It means He’s taking you out of Egypt and He’s taking you somewhere else. He is setting you apart. Peter talks about this. Peter gives us this idea in 1 Peter 2. He’s talking about people that are following Jesus. He’s writing to Gentiles. He says, “You’re living stones.” He says, “Each one of you is a stone that God is assembling together. Not like the old temple. Not like that. He’s assembling living stones for a habitation of God’s dwelling.”
When the Bible talks about that we’re the temple of God’s Spirit collectively as the Church, we’re the stones that make up God’s Temple. Here’s what He says about this idea of bringing you out. Because, see, you didn’t bring yourself out. God brought you out. He set you apart. He did something in your life. When you drink that first cup He not only takes the initiative, but He’s bringing you out.
Here’s what Peter says: he says, “But you are a chosen race,” – I grew up in Kentucky and there’s two things in Kentucky: basketball and horse racing. That’s it. That’s all you do. There’s nothing else. There’s two things to do in Kentucky. UK Basketball is awesome. That is God’s team, by the way. I just want to make sure you all know that. Go big blue.
Anyway, so you grow up playing basketball. Well, I’m like three feet tall and that doesn’t make for a good basketball player. My name wasn’t Spud Webb, so I wasn’t given that great talent to be able to jump like that. So, I was always the last one chosen to play basketball. Not with God.
Some of you feel like, “Man, I’ve never been chosen for anything.” God says, “Listen, I will bring you out.”
“You’re going to be a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.”
Listen to what he says here: “That you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
You know, people say all the time: “Man, why do you all clap and get excited about the Lord? How come some people put their hands in the air? How come some people are really excited about Jesus?”
Because, let me tell you something: when you realize you’ve been called out of darkness into His marvelous light, you want to start proclaiming the excellencies of Him who delivered you.
Listen what he says here: “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people.”
“I will bring you out.” You weren’t there once, but God takes the initiative and brings us out. Look at this: “Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
He says, “I’m going to bring you out.”
That cup that they drink at the Passover, the first cup is “I will bring you out.” I’m not finished. Look at this: “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
Listen to me. Lean in here. Many of you all have burdens in your life right now. Family, jobs, security, fear, finance, health. God says, “I want to give you a cup. I want to bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” See, you and me aren’t in Egypt physically and literally, but you and I were in our own Egypt and we were under burdens. And God wants to give us a cup to bring us out.
This is what Jesus says. This is the way He says it. This is the renegade translation, too; The Message. It’s just powerful. Listen to this. We could just read this passage and go home.
Matthew 11:27-29, “Are you tired?”
See, some of you in here go, “Yeah. I’m tired. I’m tired today, Chip. I’m tired of striving. I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of all this. That’s why I’m here. I needed to hear something today.”
“Are you worn out? Are you burned out on religion?”
“I’ve been trying. You know, I mean I used to love God and then I got involved in church and things didn’t go right. I used to have a real passion for God. I used to really love God.”
“Are you tired, worn out and burned out on religion?”
You know, let me tell you something: this ain’t about going to church, this ain’t about listening to some Chip Bennett message, this ain’t about some song. The next phrase is what it’s all about.
He says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?” Here’s your answer: “Come to me.”
That’s what everybody’s look for. That right there. That answer is Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. He’s not a way. He’s the way. He’s not one kind of life. He is the life. He’s not some sort of truth. He’s the truth. He’s the way, the truth, the life. All of those things. He says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.”
Because see, He says, “I will bring you out from your burdens.”
Here’s the deal: there’s three more cups. Most of us haven’t even gotten past the first. God has so much for you and me if we could just understand what He wants to do in our lives. It ain’t about just coming to church and checking off a few things. God really wants to give you a life. I mean, when He says, “Hey, listen. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I’ve come to give you life and life more abundantly,” He’s not joking.
He’s not just saying it might be or it could be, He’s saying, “I really want to give you life. I really want to transform your life.” He says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.”
All those things we’re looking for. He says, “Come to me and you’ll recover your life.”
He says, “I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
See, what God wants for you and me, He wants us to drink of that first cup. He wants us to understand that He has taken the initiative. That He is coming for you. That He loves you and He wants to bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Now, this is what we call our take-homes. This is where you get your pad out and your pen and you start writing down. These are the things you want to take home and think about and pray over and everything else. If you’ve got a phone, you can type it down. Write it. Whatever you want to do. But these are the take-homes.
First one, and this is huge. This is for somebody in here today. I can guarantee it. Because you’re not here by accident. There could’ve been a flood at your house today. You could’ve got in a wreck on the way here. You’re here because God has a divine appointment with you. Write this down. This is important whether you’ve been a Christian for 100 years or whether you’ve never even made a decision. This is so important for us to all understand.
Number one: realize that God is pursuing you.
He’s pursuing you. He took a boy out of Cynthiana, Kentucky. Six thousand people. That’s all that was in my town. And here I am standing here in Sarasota, Florida, Lakewood Ranch, speaking to you today. I would’ve never thought that when I was growing up on a farm. I would’ve never thought that this is what I would’ve done. It’s not because of me. God is using my voice right now to speak to you to let you know He is pursuing you. He is after you. You may be feeling something in your heart tugging at your heart and you go, “Man, I just know something’s going on inside. I know God is speaking to me somehow. I know something’s going on inside of me.”
That is God pursuing you. You know, it’s not that God turns away from you when you’re doing bad and then you’ve got to figure out how to get it right so that He’ll turn and look towards you. He’s following you wherever you go. He’s pursuing you. This is important that you understand this. He is pursing you.
Number two: realize that God loves you – listen to this, this is just so good – with an everlasting and unconditional love that is not based on your performance.
Listen to me. Before the foundation of the world, He chose to unconditionally love every single one of us. He loves us. It’s not based on anything we do. It’s not based on performance. I know some people are going to be like, “Yeah, but we’re supposed to do good works. We’re supposed to…”
Yeah. Let me tell you something: good works are the fruit of your salvation, they are not the root of your salvation. He says, “I love you with an everlasting and unconditional love and it’s not based on what you’ve done. It’s not based on what you’re going to do. It’s based on one thing. It’s based on the fact that I sent my Son, Jesus, to die on a cross to forgive you of your sins, and all you have to do is say, ‘I want some of that. I want to follow Jesus. I want Jesus in my life. I’ve been looking for everything else. I’ve been following all this stuff. I’ve been doing all this stuff. I just want Jesus in my life. I just want to have a relationship with Jesus.’”
It’s not based on what you do; it’s based on what Christ has done for every single one of us. Performance is out of the window. Some of you grew up in the deep south and you were a Christian because you went to church. You were a Christian because you sang in a choir. You’re a Christian because you did certain things right. None of that is what makes you a Christian. What makes you a Christian is whether or not you believe that God has an everlasting love for you and an unconditional love and that He gave His Son for you to forgive you of your sins and He wants a relationship with you.
Number three: realize that God wants to bring you out of your Egypt.
See, we’re not in Egypt physically. But spiritually, every single one of us has been in some type of Egypt. We’ve been slaves to something. Listen to me. God wants to get your burdens out of your life. He wants to give you a real life. You know, we hear Christians all the time. They don’t look that different, they don’t act that different. And we go, well, that must be all that there is.
Listen: there’s far more than that. This is just four cups. We haven’t even gotten through the first one yet. Some of you are going, “Man, if I had that in my life, my life would be awesome.” Wait until you hear the next three. God has so much for you and me and it’s not about religion and performance, it’s about letting God set you and me free. It’s about just following the crowd, man. You’re going through the Red Sea. You’re going, “Whoa, this is awesome!”
God wants to do that for you. He wants to get rid of your burdens. Maybe it’s your marriage today. Maybe it’s your health. Maybe it’s your relationship with somebody in your family. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your boss. Maybe it’s your emotions. God says, “I want to set you free. I’m going to bring you out from the burdens of the Egyptians.”
Number four: whether it’s for the 1st time or the 100th time, we all need to drink of His deliverance and salvation.
Because what happens is, you know, you may be here today and you’re going, “Man, I haven’t been living my life for Jesus and I really want to live my life for Jesus. I really want to follow Jesus.” You can make that commitment today. But some of you have been living for the Lord for a long time and you let that religion seep in, because it does, man. You get in to church. Give me that old time religion. You don’t want that old time religion. You want some Jesus is what you want. Because it’ll bog you down and make you feel guilty and all that stuff. He’s pursuing you.
So, here’s the deal: there is an offer on the table for you this morning. There’s an offer on the table for you that watch via the mobile app and internet as well. That offer is the first cup. The first cup says, “I will bring you out from the burdens of the Egyptians.”
You’re not here by accident. You didn’t show up just because. If you’re going, “Man, I’m living my life for my own self. Something’s tugging on my heart,” this is the day for you to take that drink. Take it. Say, “God, I want to follow You. I know You love me; I know You care about me. I want to follow You.”
Just make that decision. Find somebody. Find a pastor. Find somebody with a name tag. Say, “Hey, I want to move forward.” Get enrolled in Starting Point. Enroll yourself up. Learn about your faith. Learn about what God has for you. Some of you have been in church for a long time. See, some of you are like the ones that were in Egypt. Some of us are that way. We know Yahweh, we read the Bible, but we’re still in bondage and we need to get liberated. Let God’s freedom pour over you today. Take a drink from the first cup. Let Him bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to You this morning and I thank You, Lord, for the truth of Your Word. I thank You, Lord, for Your pursuit of us. I thank You, Lord, for Your everlasting and unconditional love. Lord, what I pray for is two specific people in this building. Two specific people that may be watching via the internet or mobile app. I pray, Lord, for the first one who says, “Man, I’ve been living my life for myself. Need to live my life for Jesus. I want this life. I’m tired of trying to find everything and it never satisfying. I want to drink from the waters of life.”
Lord, I pray for anyone in here that wants to make that decision, that they would make it today. That they would just say, “God, come into my heart. I want to follow You. I love You.” And God, help them get involved in Starting Point. Lord, let them find somebody and share that prayer today.
Lord, the second person I pray for is the one that’s serving You, trying to love You, but just feels beat down, just feels guilt-ridden. Lord, I pray that they would drink of the cup today and realize that You don’t want them tired and worn out. You want them to come to You and experience life and life more abundantly.
So Lord, I pray that You would answer our prayers today. Minister to Your people. Give them strength. Let them understand the true dimensions of the first cup of the Passover. And Lord, we thank You for it. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”
Take a drink. Don’t leave here without taking a drink. Get involved in Starting Point. If you need prayer, find a pastor or somebody with a name tag, look for anybody with a “Drink” shirt on. We’re here for you. We want to reach out to you. We want you to know the love of the Savior.
And drag your friends in. This is going to be a great series. We’ve got a bunch more cups to drink and I promise you we’re going to leave this series differently than when we came in.
If you would, would you stand with me and I’m going to dismiss us with another word of prayer. I just want to say before I pray: I love all of you all. I do. I love this church. This is a great church. Man, we’re doing so many cool things, reaching people, lives are changing. I mean, God is just doing some cool stuff. And, on top of that, we’ve got a cool AC system. That duct is cool, man. I like that. That’s my ADHD kicking in. Look at that.
Anyway, let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray that as we leave here You’d watch over us and protect us, that You’d lead and guide us. And I pray, Lord, that You’d continue to help our church be the light that You’ve called it to be here, not only in Lakewood Ranch, but Sarasota and Bradenton. We love You, we praise You, we honor You for all that You’re doing. Bring us back safely to when we meet again. We thank You for it in Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”