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As we come to look in the word and fellowship together we thank the Lord for the opportunity we have to be here and to open His word and trust Him. I want to share a verse from Colossian and it will make more sense after our little study this morning than it does now. Colossians 3:1&2, “Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, and not on the things of the earth.”
Our heavenly Father, how glad we are that we can gather in Your name, and we can trust the indwelling Holy Spirit to turn the eyes of our heart in a fresh way to the Lord Jesus. I pray that You would grace us and help us to avail ourselves of that provision of the indwelling Christ. We know apart from Your revelation we have no hope to understand this Bible. We can’t drill beyond the letter, but we ask you, Lord, by Your Holy Spirit to unveil Your heart to us, and then draw us to Your heart. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
Welcome again to our little look at the Lord Jesus through this wonderful book of Exodus. If you glance at the last hand out sheet, we’re in Roman numeral II and we have finished A, B, C and D, and I like to say, “To my entire satisfaction,” which I know better than that. We’ve looked at those five chief details of the Passover, and the final plague. It had to be a perfect lamb, and the blood of that perfect lamb had to be shed, and that shed blood had to be applied. Last session we looked at the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The difference between the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is this; Passover celebrated salvation, but not from Egypt. It was salvation from God; the wrath of God. We need to be saved from God before we can be saved from Egypt.
And then the Feast of Unleavened Bread picked it up and celebrates our salvation from Egypt. Exodus 12:13, “The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I’ll pass over you; no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” The blood was for His eyes, and not my eyes. People inside the house couldn’t see the blood on the door, only the Lord. That is salvation from Him; from His wrath and His holiness; the stern necessity for God to judge sin. We’re safe. And then the Feast of Unleavened Bread is salvation from Egypt, Exodus 13:7-8, “Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall nay leaven be seen among you in all your borders. You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’” That feast celebrates deliverance from Egypt.
When I left off I was sharing from the record that it’s more than a lifetime, they were more than four hundred years in slavery, and how it ended in a day; a lifetime of slavery, and in a single night, because of the precious blood of the substitute lamb, by power and blood, they were delivered overnight, and everything was new. I showed you that they had a new diet, illustrated by the unleavened bread, and they had a new calendar. Now God is going to begin their life at Passover. They had new associations, and even a mixed company, and we’ll touch on that in another connection. They had a new wardrobe and a new destination. Everything was different overnight, and that brings us now to letter E #5, the details of the Passover. Those redeemed by power and blood must now prepare for a journey. Exodus 12:11, “Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover.”
Last week as we closed I told you of the many changes that would take place, and one of the changes was this wardrobe. They aren’t going to be making bricks now, and they aren’t going to have on a slave’s apron, but it’s far more than a change of dress. The type of clothing you wear generally will tell you something about what is going on. If I saw a woman in fancy gown, and a man next to her in a tuxedo, it’s a good guess that they are not on their way to a football game, because their dress tells you a little bit. I think they are heading to a wedding or some formal ball, or some formal occasion. If a man or woman appears in a military uniform, I get the idea they are either coming back or going out to some dispatch to protect the country, or something like that. If you are dressed in a cap and gown I have an idea what’s going on; it’s probably some kind of a graduation. If you come in a straw hat and bathing suit and sandals, my guess is you are going to spend a day at the beach.
Exodus 12:11, “Eat it in this manner, with your loins girded, sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand. You shall eat it in haste. It’s the Lord’s Passover.” I’m suggesting that those clothes, that dress, tells a story. Lord willing, and God assisting, I want to tell you that story this morning. These people are dressed up for travel. They are going on a journey, “Eat it in haste; you are going somewhere.” It’s a simple picture literally. God gives us three things in the picture; have your loins girded (they used to wear long robes, and if they are going to run or walk they’d hold it up, so that they didn’t trip over the clothing), have sandals on your feet, and a staff in your hand. The staff is used several ways, but mostly as a walking stick, and I’ll show you how that is so. No doubt it’s literal, but those three things—your loins girded, a staff in your hand, and shoes on your feet—are used several times in the Bible spiritually. For example, Isaiah was speaking of Messiah, Isaiah 11:5, “Righteousness will be the belt around his loins; faithfulness the belt around his waist.” The Apostle Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 6:14, “Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with the truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” The clothing illustrates that your loins are girded with truth. 1 Peter 1:13, “Gird up the loins of your mind.” I didn’t know my mind had loins. In other words, these things are looked at spiritually.
The same thing is said about shoes. Ephesians 6:15, “Having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Mark 6 when He sent out the disciples He said, “Make sure to take only the staff in your hand and make sure you only have sandals, and don’t take any money or any money belt.” He refers back, way to those who were newly redeemed by power and by blood; they were dressed this way. Same thing is true of the staff. Hebrews 11:21, “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshipped, leaning on top of his staff.” Did you ever read the Genesis record? Was Jacob leaning on his staff when he died? No. Genesis 49:33, “When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.” That’s how he died. He wasn’t leaning on any staff. Then why is the Holy Spirit saying, “By faith he died leaning on his staff.” It’s because the staff was a picture. Do you remember when he wrestled the angel, the Lord Jesus? He was made crippled and his thigh went out of joint. He had to hobble away from that experience. All his life he had to walk with that staff, and now he’s ready to die and he dies by faith. That staff illustrate helpless dependence on the Lord, and now He dies leaning on the Lord. That’s the staff. Way back when it began at Passover, “Make sure you are dressed this way,” begins to tell a story of a Pilgrim life.
I hesitate to go where I’m going to go this morning because it’s larger than the book of Exodus, and I thought maybe I should just stick to Exodus, but my grandson Jonathan reminded me that of the words I myself said, “You aren’t teaching Exodus. You’re teaching Christ in terms of Exodus.” So, thank you Jonathan, that gave me liberty to go where I want to go.
Remember at the beginning we are looking at redemption. That’s the big thing—people who are redeemed by power and blood: Christians; you, and me. It’s the redeemed who have been delivered by the grace of God from God, from His anger and wrath and holiness and judgment. It’s the redeemed. We saw that right away with the feast. As soon as you are redeemed you are firstborn, and firstborn belong to Him. You are not your own property. We are bought with a price, and we belong to Him. And now we’re looking at the clothes, the new wardrobe, the dress of the redeemed. Now we are pilgrims.
This is not the first time in the Bible that you get the idea of pilgrim, but I think, as far as my study is concerned, usually He talks about individual pilgrims. Abraham is a pilgrim, Isaac is a pilgrim, and Jacob is a pilgrim, and for the first time now you’ve got the group, the body, and they are all to be dressed as pilgrims. All the redeemed are to be dressed as pilgrims. The Bible presents what I’m going to call “the pilgrim life”, and it’s first illustrated with the clothing by which they walked out of Egypt. The Bible develops this great reality that we are pilgrims, and as I went through the records, the balance of scripture I found six words that all mean the same thing. These six words are used interchangeably: #1 pilgrim, #2 sojourner, #3 alien, #4 strangers, #5 exiles. They are used the same way. Then, the clincher of all of it: we’re ambassadors for Christ. That’s part of the pilgrim experience. Now that you are delivered from Egypt, there’s a new message. This world is not my own. I’m just passing through.
Before I give the great revelation of the pilgrim life I want to describe for you in Bible words. We know everything has become new. So now you have a contrast; that’s the old and this is the new; that was before I was saved, and this is after I’m saved; that’s before I was redeemed, and this is after I was redeemed. I’ll list the words and give the contrast, and you’ll recognize them as Bible words. It used to be temporal, but now it’s new and eternal. It used to be the world that was seen, but suddenly we’re in a new realm, it’s things not seen. It used to be physical, but now you are saved and it’s spiritual. It used to be the world of sight, and now it’s a world of faith and we walk by faith and not by sight. It used to be external, and now everything is internal. It’s a new world for us.
That world was shakable. We live in a world that is unshakable. That one was earthly. Suddenly we’re in heavenly places and we’re in the heavens. That’s called “the Jerusalem which is beneath”. We’re in a Jerusalem which is above. The contrast is amazing. That was the kingdom of Satan. We’ve been transferred to the kingdom of His dear Son. We’re a new kingdom. There we were born. Into this world we’re born again and born from above. That was living under the sun and out of fellowship with God where all is vanity. This is above the sun in fellowship with God where nothing is vanity. That was past and this is future. That was absent from the body and this is present with the Lord. That was darkness and this is light. There you are lost and here you are saved. That was bondage and this is liberty. And there are other words, but do you get the point? The pilgrim is now in a whole new realm.
Colossians 1:13, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” And from the time they were redeemed by power and blood He said, “Get dressed and start living in your new world.” It’s a brand new kingdom and a brand new world. Although you may have lived for many years in the old world, overnight He said, “Now you are translated.” You might say, “Well, my body is still walking around the streets of that old kingdom.” Yeah, but not your heart, and not your spirit and not your disposition. Now it’s a whole new thing, and that is described as the pilgrim life, illustrated here at Passover. Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you live as a citizen of this world, or a citizen of heaven? The world is completely different for us, and those who we left behind don’t have a clue. They see a change in you. Everything is new for you. You have a new calendar, a new diet, new friends, and everything is new, and you are now wearing pilgrim clothes. They look at you and scratch their heads and say, “What happened to so and so? He lost his mind. He just went crazy.” They now don’t only know what is going on, but they can’t know. It’s hidden from them. Your life is hid with Christ in God. They don’t know about your birth, and they don’t understand your breeding, and they don’t know the resources that you are drawing from to get you through your experience. They don’t know your hopes. They don’t know your expectations. They are strangers. You were a stranger, but now you are a pilgrim.
I believe the Bible saints in the Old and New Testament seemed to grasp this more than I do and more than contemporary Christians do. They seem to know that they were pilgrims. Take Abraham. God did a wonderful work in Abraham’s life and gave him a literal inheritance and a literal place; Canaan. That’s real estate. He’s going to inherit that. That wasn’t in his heart, some land that the Canaanites got. Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance, and he went out not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundation, whose architect and builder is God.” He looked for a better city than one built by the Canaanites.
I love Leviticus 25:23, “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” God says you are a sojourner with Him. Abraham was a pilgrim. On the level of earth he was very wealthy; a millionaire. He never owned a home. The only property he ever bought was a grave site, because he’s a pilgrim. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, that’s the only thing this world can offer you; a grave. That’s it! David was a king. In fact, the land never enjoyed the peace it enjoyed as it did during David’s reign. Here’s David’s heart, though. Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.” He’s a king over a great realm, and he cries out to God and says, “Lord, You’ve got to give me some light. I’m a stranger on earth.” Psalm 39:12, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not be silent at my tears; for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner like all my fathers.” David prayed 1 Chronicles 29:15, “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.”
The Old Testament saints seem to capture that idea that they were pilgrims, but that’s also true of the New Testament saints. The Bible truth, the Apostle Paul laid hold of that. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” That’s how pilgrim Paul lived, and when he looked at this world, as he looked back he just said, “It’s dung. It’s nothing. Far beyond all comparison.” When he tried to compare it he called it “dung”. But in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Sometimes we say, “Oh, what you are going through now compared to what you are going to get….” Paul said, “Don’t do that. It’s not worthy of being compared. It’s all contrast. There is no comparison with what we have here.” Listen to Peter, 1 Peter 2:11, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” It seems like these Bible saints got it. It seems like they understood. These Old Testament saints are pilgrims. They are just passing through. And the New Testament, as well. When the writer of the Book of Hebrews under the guidance of the Holy Spirit brought it altogether, Hebrews 11:13-16, “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” They seemed to get it.
I’ll never forget the first time the truth of the pilgrim life dawned on my heart. It didn’t dawn a lot of light. It sort of kicked me in the stomach actually. In 1963, a lot of years ago, I’d been a Christian for about five years, but I knew nothing of the indwelling life of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I was in a season of rebellion. People say, “I hear you went to Moody Bible Institute.” Yes, that’s how I got in, but they don’t hear how I got out. I got out in a huff. I quit. I was offended. They said something to me that I didn’t like, and my proud heart just got offended. Well, that’s a little stupid for someone like me, because I get lost coming out of a revolving door. Now I’m on the streets of Chicago, and I don’t know anybody, and I don’t know where to go, and I’ve only got a few dollars in my pocket. And what is an idiot like me supposed to do?
Anyway, I found a place. I was asking different people if they had suggestions, and they said, “Why don’t you go to a flop house?” For 25 cents a night I could have rented a room in a flop house. If I wanted a real mattress crawling with bugs, I could spend 50 cents a night. So, I went top drawer. I bought the 50 cent room. When I was asking I said, “How much for a room?” and I was in desperate shape, and I had rebelled against the Lord ( a long sad story), and here’s what he said, “It depends. Are you planning to live here, or you just passing through?” Those words through the years have stuck in my heart, and I praise God that I was just passing through, that I didn’t have to live in that terrible place. So, I had a taste of the pilgrim experience. I could not forget those words, “Do you want to live here, or are you just passing through?”
I wish I could testify to you that from that day on I lived like a Christian pilgrim, but that’s not the case. I had to yet to discover to me the thrilling message of the exchanged life, that the One who died for me also wanted to live for me, who died in my place, and wanted to live in my place. I did not know that. Anyway, my point is that the Bible saints seemed to have gotten that, and a lot of Christians I think struggle with this pilgrim experience. They seem to have a heart sickness for the Lord as they live on this earth. Maybe it’s because they’ve had a lot of persecution, or something like that. Romans 8:23, “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” They had a desire to depart. Philippians 1:21&23, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.”
When spoilers robbed, when burglars robbed their homes…. Anyone here been burglarized? They kicked in our door, and when the detectives came, upstairs they had turned the bed over, and they pulled all the drawers out, and went through the closet, and the whole room, you can’t believe what it looked like. The policeman turned around and said to my Lillian, “Did they do this?” And she said, “No, that’s the way I keep house!” True story. Anyway, Hebrews 10:34, “For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.” Isn’t that amazing! We didn’t think about that attitude when we were burglarized. Taking joyfully the losing of your property and rejoicing because they were realizing eternity; a pilgrim realizes eternity. He lives in a new world, a different world, and he is a spiritual person, and they live that way on the earth. We can sing, “This world is not my own; I’m just passing through,” but somehow they lived it. Is it just a song or have we entered into this experience?
I believe God is introducing us Passover night to this whole realm of pilgrim living. As soon as they are delivered by power and blood, God says, “You are a new Christian, and you can get dressed now. You can put on these clothes, because from this moment on you are going to be a pilgrim.” We need to think; I wonder how many of us have really entered into this realizing eternity while we live here in, being absolutely detached from this world, from all things and all of the circumstances, and always having eternity in their mind.” May God help us! I think many Christians don’t begin to realize eternity until they are ready to face it. That’s what I’m thinking. In the hour of death and the doctor gives you the report, and things are going downhill, all of a sudden we start thinking about our hopes and what God has done for us, and eternity. We think about reuniting with loved ones and so on. Some people don’t ever think about it until they face their mortality, and then all of a sudden they become very spiritual. We sing about the hour of death.
I have a dear friend that just went to be with the Lord within a couple of months. He called me up and all of a sudden he’s very eternal centered. For more than a half an hour or forty five minutes, I couldn’t say a word. All he did was sing songs about heaven. He sang over the phone, and in between he was weeping. God touched his heart with the truth that we all embrace, our inheritance. Ecclesiastes 7:2, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart.” See that last part? “The living take it to heart.” When you are in a funeral home you get serious, and a lot of people get serious. I’ve seen many Christians get very serious about spiritual things when they were face to face with death.
King Hezekiah, a relatively good king, Isaiah 38:1-2, “In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, ‘thus says the Lord, “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord.’” If you read the rest of the account, he began to weep bitterly. He found out that he was going to die. “No, no: leave this world?” He didn’t live as a pilgrim that moment. In the day of trouble sometimes we start thinking about eternity. I don’t want to get into the theology, but I think a lot of the pretrib people, those who believe in the rapture before the tribulation, some of them believe it just because they don’t want to go through the tribulation. That’s why I believe it.
I’ll tell you something about the tribulation. I’m not going to settle all your eschatological problems, but if it’s pre-trib, I’ll be with the Lord, and if it’s post-trib He’ll be with me. That’s enough. That’s all you need to know. Sometimes if you are on your deathbed you’ll think about it, or in the day of trouble when you think there is no way out and you get into financial problems, or you get into drugs and all that kind of thing. Or in the time of war a lot of people say, “Take me home.”
Moses fell into those circumstances and it crushed him. Numbers 11:14-15, “I alone and am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once.” That’s what Moses said, “I can’t handle this mess; kill me.” Elijah said the same thing. Remember when he was running from Jezebel? 1 Kings 19:4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested from himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life.’” God answered and said, “I’ll tell you when it’s enough. It’s not enough yet.” Imagine if God had answered that prayer? He’s one of the two guys that got caught up in heaven. If God had answered that prayer he would have missed the rapture, that great experience in his life!
So, when life closes in on us, all of a sudden we’re pilgrims. When we are on our deathbed all of a sudden we become pilgrims. There’s another time and it’s like this moment now, when somebody like me or some teacher or some preacher gets up and starts talking about it, then you say, “Well, maybe we should think about it.” If somebody brings it up to you, and gives a sermon on the realities of heaven and union with Christ and the vanity of this world and the shortness of life, then for a while you get stirred up, but then it fizzles. Our soils are sometimes like the parable of the soils; sometimes the seed is on shallow ground and with tribulation and problems it gets choked out. Or if it’s on the thorny ground, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches….
Has God made provision for every believer to always live as a pilgrim? This is what we were talking about. Has God made provision for every Christian for all time to always to live as a pilgrim, not just when there’s a thought of dying and not just when things get real bad, not just when some preacher, teacher, friend, tape or book stirs us up about the shortness of life? I’m suggesting that God has made a wonderful provision, and I want to show you that. Everything is new now; your calendar, your tastes, your friends, your destiny, but in that list in Exodus, the newest of all new things is not your calendar. It’s your dress. That’s the newest of all things. You and I are pilgrims. We have now been translated into another realm.
I don’t want to close this Bible study without proclaiming to you the “how”; how can I live that way? In order to do that I want to show you the two most tried methods that do not work, because I want to save you from these two method, and the reason how I know they don’t work is because I’ve tried them, and I promise that they don’t work, but let me just mention them. I told you when the preacher gets up and he talks about the shortness of life and all of that kind of thing, many think that I will realize eternity if I study, if I meditate how short life really is; it’s just a moment.
Are you familiar with that wonderful hymn by Henry Light “Abide with Me”? I love that. He had that in mind. That’s a pilgrim song. The first verse and lines in this song, “Abide with Me, fast falls the evening tide.” That’s saying that life is very short. The second verse, “Swift to its close, ebbs out life’s little day.” Isn’t that a great description of life? The last part, “Heaven’s morning breaks; earth’s main shadows flee.” He really had the pilgrim idea. “Change and decay in all around I see. Earth’s joys grow dim, as glories pass away.” He’s talking about the shortness of life.
The Bible is filled with shortness of life passages. You notice on the sheet I just gave you a string of verses. You can look them up; that whole line of verses, but I’ll just give you the words. These are from Job. It says, “Life is like being crushed like a moth, plucked like tent chord, like the stacking of grain, the days of a hired man, a slave panting for shade, swift as a weaver’s shuttle, like a breath, like a vanishing cloud, like a shadow, like a runner, like a reed boat, like an eagle that swoops down and takes its prey and flies away, like a flower withering, like the house of meeting of all the living, like a funeral home.” In the Psalms it’s called, “A sigh, soon flying away, fading grass, a thousand years like one day, a watch in the night, like a dream.” Joshua said it’s, “The way of all the earth, cut off from the loom.”
There’s no question that life is short. I don’t know how old you are, but just divide that by three, because you’ve been unconscious one third of that. I’ve lived to 75 and I’ve already slept twenty five years. Life is short. We need to pray Psalm 39:4, “Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am.” Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” We know life is short; time by seconds tick away; first the hour and then the day. Weeks go by, the month appears; months are swiftly turned to years. How the dreams of what could be soon become a memory; like the tides that ebb and flow, generations come and go. Of all the evils men should fear, is having heart and portion here.” Life is short, but the contemplation of how short your life is will not make you a pilgrim. I would think that if I knew what little time I have here, I’d start thinking about eternity. It doesn’t work that way.
Solomon called this world “the vanity of vanities”. He used the superlative form. Of all the vanities that can exist, this world is the emptinesses of emptinesses, and vexation. He knew. He was rich. He had it. So, I’m thinking, “Well, if I don’t know how short this life is, if I see what a fake it is, and I see that it’s vain, then maybe I’ll become a pilgrim, if I knew. This means nothing and it’s all show. Proverbs 23:4&5, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth. Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.”
These two things will not work. Get it out of your mind. Don’t think, “I’m going to see how short life is or how vain the world is.” That will not work. I need to have something more substantial. The world in my view is like Judas. Matthew 26, “He who was betraying Him gave them a sign, ‘Whoever I kiss, He’s the one.’ Seize Him.” That’s what the world does. It gives you a kiss and puts you in bondage. Whoever I kiss, put them in bondage. Seize Him. Something more necessary than knowing life is short and all in the world is vain, isn’t going to make me a pilgrim. May God help! God explains that redemption is more than a free ticket to heaven. The goal is not heaven. I don’t realize eternity by thinking about heaven or singing about heaven. I don’t realize eternity by saying, “My life is short and it’s almost over, and the world is vain and has nothing to offer me.” Eternal life is more than duration.
John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Eternal life, yes it’s duration. Eternal life is the life of the eternal one, living in you, and living in me. It’s a quality of life. I don’t just get it at the end when I die. The moment I trusted Christ I got eternal life. This life is in His Son, and His Son is in me. This life is in His Son; and His Son is in you. Realizing eternity has to do with union with the eternal One. 2 Corinthians 1:21, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” Do you want to know how to live the Christian life? We got a down payment. The Spirit as a pledge. Ephesians 1:13-14, ”In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed to Him with the Holy Spirit of promises, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” KJV calls it, “An earnest.” You all know what an earnest payment is. Wuest in his translation calls it “a token payment of our inheritance which guarantees full payment”. That’s what an earnest is. Over and over again God tells us we have the life of God. The Holy Spirit lives in you and me, and it’s called a down payment.
Romans 8:23, “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” If I buy a house, or a car or anything and I give a down payment of 20%, I’m obligated then to pay the 80% later. The down payment won’t do it, and I’ve got to pay the rest with the same currency that I paid the down payment. I can’t give 20% in dollars or gold and then pay the rest with marbles or with anything else, like stones. I’ve got to have the same thing.
Some of you are familiar with my old friend and now in glory, Pat. Oh how I loved Pat. I think you’ve heard this but I’ve got to tell you. As he was dying I talked to him on the phone and I was concerned that he wouldn’t have assurance because he had mental limitations and I wanted to encourage him. I called and it was the day before he died. With a weak voice he said, “Hi Ed. Na, na, na, na, na; I’m going to see Jesus before you do!” Do you think he had grace? I lived a lot of years and didn’t hear a, “na, na, na, na, na,” because they were going to heaven.
Anyway, one day Pat came up to me and said, “Ed, did you hear the lottery is up to 80 million dollars?” I said, “Wow, 80 millions dollars! Pat, what would you do if you got 80 million dollars?” I’ll never forget his answer, “I would use it as a down payment on my trailer.” He always wanted to own a trailer. He never got to own a trailer. I’m thinking, “If 80 million dollars is the down payment, what does the trailer look like?” I use that illustration to tell you that you’ve been given a down payment, and you can’t spend it all. You’ve been given a down payment. If the down payment is as great as that, what is the full payment going to be? Romans 11 it says, “His ways are unsearchable.” He’s called you to know His unsearchable ways. 1 Peter 1, “We have joy unspeakable and full of glory.” That’s the down payment. That’s not what is coming later. That’s now; joy unspeakable and full of glory. Right now you have the love of Christ that passes knowledge. What is that; right now as the down payment, you have the peace of God that passes understanding. That’s not later. That’s the down payment. 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will like Him, because we will see Him just a He is.”
It’s hard to believe this world is under a curse now. It’s so beautiful. Look at this property. It’s so beautiful. What is it going to be when He lifts the curse? If we can’t begin to spend the down payment, what will the reality be? I’m calling attention to that because the down payment is a Person. The Holy Spirit is the pledge, the earnest, the down payment. It’s not a thing. It’s not peace, and it’s not power. It’s not patience. It’s not even joy. It’s a Person. It’s the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ; to die is to gain more of Christ.” That’s the idea, because the full payment has to be more of the same; what the down payment is.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” There’s no difference. If you are alive you live with Him. If you are dead you live with Him. If it’s now you live with Him. If it’s later you live with Him. If it’s in time you live with Him. If it’s in eternity you live with Him. If it’s in the body you live with Him. If it’s in the Spirit you live with Him. If you’re dead, if you’re resurrected, if you’re on earth, you’re in heaven there’s no difference. The down payment is Him. Do you know why Christians don’t live the pilgrim life? It’s because they haven’t entered into the down payment. They haven’t focused on Christ. If you could focus on the down payment and live in the glory of that which is way beyond, and you can’t even begin to spend the down payment, how little that everything that takes place in your life and this world and everything else, how little it would be. The Holy Spirit is the down payment; the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart.
I’ve got to bring it back to Exodus and then we’ll close. Jesus didn’t redeem us by power and blood so that we could be good little pilgrims on this earth. He redeemed us because He wanted us; He redeemed us for Himself. Exodus 19:4, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.” It’s all about Him. He saved you for Him. We think it’s all about us; it’s all about Him. Deuteronomy 32:9, “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.” Exodus 6:6, “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God.” You are saved to be His, and He’s given a down payment, so that we can enjoy Him. If our eyes were on Him, and we were involved in this great down payment, we’d be the pilgrims that He’s called us to be. His heart was to be our God and have us as His people.
David recognized how he and the Lord were co-pilgrims. Psalm 39:12, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not be silent at my tears; for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner like all my fathers.” When David wanted to build God a house, remember what God told Nathan to tell Him? 2 Samuel 7:5-6, “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle.” That’s the pilgrim life. He was moving about with them; a stranger with God; a pilgrim with God. He wasn’t up in heaven some place while His people were down here trying to be pilgrims. He was with them every step along the way. His presence with them was the foretaste, a little picture, of all He had in His heart for them.
I jumping way ahead, because I want to mention the tabernacle and that’s at the end of Exodus and we’ll get to that, but let me give you the essence of the tabernacle; it was a house made out of skin in which God wanted to dwell and fill with His glory. Don’t miss it brothers and sisters. The house made out of skin that He wants to fill with His glory and travel all over this wilderness in you, and in me. If I’m a pilgrim and I’m going to let Him manifest Himself, I’ve got to begin to live in the foretaste; the life of God, the life of the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to study the pilgrim life. I don’t need to study the shortness of life. I don’t need to study the vanity of this world. I don’t need to study some way to overcome Satan and have spiritual warfare and victories. I need to look to Jesus; and enjoy the inheritance. The more I enjoy the foretaste, the more I live as a pilgrim.
I can’t develop this, but it ends up in 2 Corinthians 5:20; if live as a pilgrim, that’s His renown; His testimony on earth, and I become an ambassador. Do you know what an ambassador is? He’s somebody from another country that has been sent here to reach non-pilgrims. 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that God would open their eyes, that they might know His inheritance in the saints. That takes a revelation; not your inheritance in Him. You say, “Oh the Lord is my inheritance.” Yes, and you are His inheritance. You say that He’s my portion. I can understand that, but you are His portion, and He wants to live in you as a pilgrim, so that you become an ambassador, so non-pilgrims can join in. May God help us!
He has opened my eyes to my home in the skies, where the Lord is my portion and part. I only appear as a settler here; I’m a pilgrim down deep in my heart.
Father, thank You for such a down payment, way beyond our ability to comprehend, but not to pursue; way beyond our ability to fully appropriate. We can’t handle with our present capacity the down payment. Oh Lord, our hearts are so full. No wonder those saints were pilgrims when they looked for the full payment. Enable us to keep our eyes on Christ, and then, Lord, we know. And one day, and one day soon, You’re going to give us the full payment. Bless Your name! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
(This transcript can be downloaded in a Word document at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)