Talk 10

AUDEE VILLARAZA:

We want to honor and give reverence to the holy, immutable, powerful Word of God.

May I invite you to lift your hands, altogether we sing:

Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet And a Light unto my path.

We’re going to break open the Word in a moment. I want you to place your hands over your chest and say this with me:

Father in Heaven, I need You. I need You in my life. Speak over my situation, over my doubts, over my confusion, over my hopelessness. Speak, Your servant is listening. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

One more time, let’s sing. Give honor to the Lord. Thy Word is a Lamp unto my fee And a Light unto my path.

Three Significant Events in a Christian’s Life

We are in our final talk of Leviticus. To say that this book has been difficult to understand- – and challenging– is really an understatement. But you know that’s really how the Holy Spirit works: that the Holy Spirit has the power to bring the message down to the level of our understanding and make the lesson so practical. Isn’t God amazing?

So, today, we are in the final stretch of studying the book of Leviticus– and I’ve got a Word and a message for you. I want you to preach this to at least three persons beside you, and say the Good News today. Say to three persons beside you: Jubilee is coming!

Kids are excited: “Mama, Jollibee is coming!” No, no. It’s Jubilee. Okay.

How many of you are familiar with the word jubilee?

We had the Jubilee Year in year 2000. You remember that? The only thing I remember about the Year of the Jubilee is the Jamie Rivera. Remember that song?

It’s the time of the great jubilee…

But the Year of the Jubilee is Biblical. It’s a very, very important celebration that God commands His people to do. But I know that this is probably one of the most misunderstood events. Because not many know about the Jubilee.

Let me tell you the three significant events that happen in a Christian’s life:

  1. Sabbath Day. The Sabbath Day is the seventh day of the week. That’s Sunday where you get to commune with You go to church. You get to receive the Holy Eucharist.

You go to The Feast.

  1. Sabbath Sabbath Year refers to the seventh year. And that’s also very interesting.
  2. Jubilee It happens every seven cycles of seven years.

So, 7 x 7 is 49. But then you add one more year and we celebrate the Jubilee Year—it happens every 50 years.

But did you know this: The Catholic Church actually decreased it—made it lower. Instead of celebrating it every 50 years, we celebrate it every 25 years.

So, the next Jubilee Year will be in 2025.

Why is that? Because not everybody gets to be 100 years old. So, at least we get to celebrate the Jubilee Year every 25 years and that’s amazing.

But it’s Biblical. To find out about the Jubilee Year and the Sabbath Year– that’s what we’re going to study today.

The Sabbath Year

What God is saying is that for six years, you work. But on the seventh year, you stop from working.

Now, I’m going to show you how this applies to all of us today.

In Leviticus 25:8-11—this is now talking about The Jubilee Year:

Why God Called for a Sabbath Year

You know, there is this farming terminology:

It’s a concept where farmers would plow the land, the soil, but they would leave it untouched. They would not plant seeds, they would not sow. They would just leave the soil untouched for a cycle. And you know, there is a scientific benefit when you do that.

When you allow the land to rest:

  1. It increases soil It brings the essential nutrients back to the soil— like the phosphorus, and potassium, and nitrogen. It’s beautiful.
  2. It eradicates the buildup of pests. Usually, when the land is busy, when you’ve got all these crops, what happens? Pests come; insects So, when you allow the land to rest for a cycle, it removes the pests.

They migrate to a different land.

  1. It increases the soil structure. To fight against wind erosion or water erosion. This is good for people who plan to start And that’s a good principle: letting the land rest.

But did you know you can practice the same principle when it comes to your body? They have this lab medical exam, or this test called food sensitivity test— where they draw your blood and they’ll be able to tell what excess food you have been eating. They could find out you’ve been eating too much Sisig or too much chicharron. They’ll just draw your blood.

Bro. Bo took the test himself and they found out he had an excess, a surplus, of peanuts in his body. He loves peanut butter. So, what did he do? For the next three months, he abstained from peanut butter.

You know it’s good because when your body has too much of something, it becomes toxic. So, now your body is trying to achieve balance all over again.

Bro. Alvin also took the test. You know what he found out? He found out that he had an excess of egg in his body. So, for three months he stopped eating eggs.

Why God Called for a Sabbath Year

God commanded His people that on the seventh year—on the Sabbath Year— check it out: all debts must be cancelled.

This is good news for people like you and me– you know– who have mortgages, amortizations to pay for, we’ve got bills to pay, we’ve got credit card bills. It’s good news for us.

But for people who lend money, not so very good news, right? But there is a spiritual significance and I’ll tell you about it later.

We’re turning to Deuteronomy:

Leviticus 25 also says:

Friends, this is a reminder from the Lord that there is no human being who has absolute authority over another person. God designed all of us to be free. From the moment that God you and me, we are destined to be free. We’re not meant to be subjugated. But there was such a thing called slavery. That’s why God commanded His people to be free. On the Sabbath Year and the Jubilee Year.

Here is the fourth reason. This is the most radical demonstration that God wanted His people to do. God commanded that on the Jubilee Year, every 50 years, all the land must be returned to the original owner.

All the land. The land you’re living in now. If we’re going to apply this in modern context, God commands on the 50th year, you return that to the original owner.

Leviticus says this:

Isn’t that incredible? I’ll explain this…

During the time of the Israelites, when they entered into the Promised Land, Joshua, their leader at that time, he divided the land equally to the different tribes. So, imagine this: Everybody had land. Nobody was poor. Everybody had land.

It was equal.

But over time, as what usually happens in society, some people managed their blessings well, some people didn’t. So, eventually, some became rich but some became poor. And the poor eventually sold their land to the rich people. So now, it was no longer equal. It was not fair.

So, God commanded that every 50 years—this is crazy—when the trumpet would blow on the Day of Atonement, the original landowners could retake possession of the land they once owned.

So, the practical significance of this is that no family would forever be without land.

For instance, you became poor because you mismanaged your property.

You sold it to somebody. After 50 years, you could own your land back.

That’s the practical significance.

What It all Means

The spiritual significance—which is much more powerful– is that God was simply telling everybody: You don’t focus on land. Because your real home is not here in this world. You’re not just a citizen of the world. You’re a citizen of Heaven. Your eternal home is with the Lord.

That’s the spiritual significance.

But here’s the question: How do I apply this in my life today?

Does it mean that when I turn 50 years old—I, personally, 15 years from now– you can compute my age based on that—does it mean that I can call my bank and expect them to cancel all my debts? Is that it?

Does it mean that the land you’re living in now, that you recently bought, that you’re still paying for, at the end of 50 years, you give that back

to the original owner? Is that what it means?

Trivia: There is no historical evidence in the Bible that even the Israelites practiced this. There was none. But actually, it was not just because of that—but there was a spiritual significance. Because there was a reason God even commanded that. There’s a purpose.

Even if we cannot literally apply this in our modern society today, I mean this is what we dream of. We want our debts to be cancelled. How many of you want your debts to be cancelled? How many of you want poverty to be lifted?

How many of you want bondages to be broken?

We want this.

So, now, how do we apply this in our life?

I believe that God wants us to wrestle with this text today.

This question: How can I experience, or how can I let others experience the Jubilee here and now?

That is the question that God wants us to ask today.

Three Ways to Experience Jubilee Now

I’ll give you three ways — three heart-wrenching ways —that if you do these, you’ll be able to experience the Jubilee here and now:

If you want to experience the Jubilee Year, you must declare that everything belongs to God. Everything belongs to the Lord. God says on the Sabbath Year:

Check this out: What is the most sought-after investment in our country today? Real Estate.

Why? Because land is limited. Did you know that in our country, Philippines– in Metro Manila alone—we are one of the most expensive cities to live in?

The first one is Hong Kong. The second one is Singapore.

Why? Because land is limited.

What Do I Own?

You know how much it costs to live in a posh village in Makati called Forbes Park?

I’ll tell you this—this is my industry that I work in. For you to be able to buy just one square meter in Forbes Park, it will cost you P650,000.00. Right?

I told my wife we can live in Forbes Park. We buy one square meter, plant a tree, put up a house on that tree. Live in a park right in the middle of Forbes Park, Makati.

You get Grab to deliver food to your house. Address: Block 5, Lot .5.

Half a lot. Not even a lot—It’s square meter.

Land is the most desired value in our country today. That’s why this– God’s mandate– changes your perspective. Because God was simply telling the Israelites: After 50 years, return the land to the original owner.

Question: Who is the original owner?

Is it your parents? Your grandparents? Your ancestors—who got it from the Spanish, who got it from somebody else? No.

The original owner is who? God.

So, God was simply telling everybody: I am the landowner. I’m the landlord.

You’re just foreigners and tenants.

And at the end of your life, yes, you may have your name on that title. But make no mistake, that land belongs to God. It will return to God long after you’re gone from this world.

So, declare that everything belongs to the Lord and you will experience abundance. You will experience Jubilee like no other.

On our own, my friends, we own nothing. Titles, names, positions—they are really nothing. Everything really belongs to the Lord.

Here’s the second way for you to experience the Jubilee:

Trust that God will provide.

I want you to tell this to someone beside you who needs this message: God will provide. God will really provide.

Remember how God told the Israelites to stop planting crops on the seventh year?

So, quick practical question: What in the world will I feed my family if I stop planting crops? I mean, they didn’t have KFC Delivery back then. They didn’t have Food Panda back then. What am I going to feed my family?

That’s a practical question. What am I going to do if I am not going to plant and harvest?

God answers here in Leviticus 20:

Did you know this, my friends, that when God blesses you with an abundance, when God gives you a bonus, when God gives you a little extra—God is not just providing for you in the present. God is actually providing for you in the future.

God is preparing you. God’s role is to bless you. Your role is to manage that blessing. That’s why I really believe this: That God doesn’t fail in blessing us. We’re the ones failing in managing the blessing that God gives us.

Declare: ‘I Lack Nothing!’

I mean God gave us all the same time in this world.

How many hours do you have in a day? 24. How many days do you have in a week? 7.

You know what common thing that you have with people like: Jeff Bezos, American business magnate, founder of Amazon multinational technology company; Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft (largest vendor of computer software); and Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, founder of SpaceX (rockets and spacecrafts), architect of Tesla (electric cars, solar and clean energy), and Twitter (online microblogging service).

You know the one thing we have in common with them?

Time. We all have the same time. But what’s the difference? The management of time.

You watch overnight the entire season of Glory (historical war drama) and you’re complaining in the morning you can’t go to work…

It’s the way that we manage the blessings that God gives to us that really dictates how successful we will be in Life.

God gave you the wisdom. Are you applying that wisdom? If you’re not, hey, it’s a lesson for us: You can get training. You can get mentors. You can get stronger. You can get wiser. It’s really managing the blessings.

That’s why we’re failing—when we mismanage our blessings.

And for some of you who might be complaining, “But yes, Bro. Audee, I grew up poor. I didn’t have the same opportunity as these other people had …”

Here’s what I want you to declare… And I do this every time I feel like there’s a shortage in my life… I declare that my God will provide. In my shortage, my God will provide.

Can everybody shout: God will provide!

That’s beautiful. You set gratitude in motion.

For instance, when my family and I have any meal, we come before the Lord and we say, “Lord, thank You for putting food on our table.”

You set in motion that gratitude every time you feel you’re unhealthy. You thank the Lord that you even have air in your lungs: “Lord, thank You for making me breathe in and out.”

Even if you experience shortage, here’s what you declare: “The Lord is shepherd, there is nothing shall I want. I lack nothing.”

Trust that God will provide. He is a good God.

Here is the third way you can experience Jubilee. And this is actually the radical message of the Jubilee: Care for the suffering.

The crazy message of the Jubilee is that it’s not a celebration just for you.

It’s not a celebration just for your loved ones. The Jubilee is meant to be celebrated by everybody.

But here’s the thing: Not everybody is abundant. You look around and there are people suffering. You can look around and see there are people who are broken and people who are in poverty.

So, how do you let others experience the Jubilee?

Two ways:

1. You help eradicate And I’m not talking about just poverty in the pocket. But poverty in the mind. Poverty in the spirit. Poverty in relationships. You help eradicate those. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 25:

For when I was hungry you gave me something to eat. For when I was thirsty you gave me to drink. For when I was stranger you opened the door and you welcomed me in. For when I was sick, you took care of me. When I was in prison you visited me.

That’s why here at The Feast, we have 10 Mercy Ministries for the poor and the broken of society.

To name a few:

Grace To Be Born for unwed pregnant Women in crisis—to prevent abortion and, yes, give their baby the chance to be born

Light of Jesus Prison Ministry

Light of Jesus Pastoral Care ministry for the emotionally and spiritually wounded

Anawim Home for Abandoned Elderly

We believe in this mission. We thank all those who support our Mercy Ministries.

2. You follow the law. The second way to help others experience the Jubilee is you follow the

God says in Leviticus 26:

Nowadays, when you hear the word decree, let’s be honest, when you hear the word law, sometimes, we tend to think that it’s optional, it’s negotiable— especially if you don’t like the person giving the law, the decree. If I don’t like this person, if it’s not good for me, I’m not going to follow that decree. I’m not going to follow the law.

But here’s one thing you need to understand: That following the law actually will lead you to something bigger, something better, Sometimes, because you don’t see where the law leads you, you don’t understand its importance. I’ll give you a classic example:

If you pay your taxes, right, you know where your taxes will go.

It will create more livelihood programs for the poor people–social justice. It will create more opportunities for the poor people and the economy will go up. We will have progress.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: “Bro. Audee, what if there are people in government who steal our taxes?”

Have you ever asked that question? That’s in your heart. You don’t have to say that out loud. There are people who steal the very coffers of our taxes. We fight against it. But at the end of it all, there is a God who is just. That’s between them and their God.

Our role, my dear friends, is that we do our part.

Some of you are thinking: “Well, you know what, I’m not in government.

I don’t have influence. I don’t have impact. I don’t have power.” That’s okay. Because you know where you need to start?

Start with yourself. Change starts with you, my friend.

That’s why I really believe what Michael Jackson said: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.

I’m asking him to change his ways.”

It starts with you.

God’s Warning

If you don’t follow the law, here’s God’s warning… Something happens on the land. And this is what we’re witnessing. There is an exile.

Leviticus 26: 33-34 says:

God forces us. You think about the ways we experienced the COVID Pandemic and I wonder if that was God’s way of letting the land rest.

But you know, if you follow the Lord’s law, if you follow the decree of God, it will set in motion abundance like no other.

Do you believe that? That actually obeying God’s commands will set abundance in your life?

Leviticus 24:10 says:

How many of you want new harvest? New harvest in your life? New crops?

That’s what God promises when you follow the law. It’s hard to follow the law. Yes?

What Is Right?

You know, I was driving here to Aliw. I was late– because of the Fun Run on Roxas Boulevard.

You know what? There was a chance for me to counterflow there. And I was almost tempted to go.

But you know what? I made the decision – because my son was sitting in front of me, he was asleep—to go the long way. You know, where it took me?

All the way to Macapagal Boulevard, all through the Mall of Asia area. I was complaining in my heart. But you know, my heart spoke to me: When you follow the Lord, there’s protection.

Not only was I protected. Not only was my son protected. But the bikers as well who were on that lane. I could have run over them – if I counter flowed.

You don’t know what following the law leads you to.

So, I hope you will always continue doing the right thing. You always do the just thing. Because God sees what you do.

What’s in Your Mind?

The questions in everybody’s mind:

Is the Jubilee possible? When will this come? Is this going to come in my lifetime? Is this something that I’m going to experience here and now?

And I’ll tell you, from the book of Luke.

Jesus could have done this in different ways but He chose to start His public ministry by reading a specific passage about the Jubilee, and Luke wrote about this in Luke 4:16-19.

One Sabbath Day when Jesus was in His hometown, in the synagogue in Nazareth…

Do you see what Jesus is trying to point out here? Let me say it again:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor… to proclaim freedom for the prisoners… recovery of sight to the blind… to set the oppressed free… and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Jesus Is Saying: ‘I Am the Jubilee’

Everything the Jubilee was pointing to was really about Jesus. It’s really about Jesus— to set the captives free.

I said it earlier: Why must we cancel all the debt? Isn’t that what Jesus did? He cancelled the debt on the Cross—for you and me.

In His public ministry, He healed the sick.

He restored the sight of the blind.

He proclaimed freedom for the prisoners. He set those who were oppressed free.

Jesus was already doing the Jubilee.

Now, here’s something very, very interesting: When Jesus was up on that Cross, He cried in a loud voice and then something strange happened– one kilometer away:

The veil of the inner sanctuary of the Temple was torn in half.

Jesus was up on the Cross and across, in a distance, the veil in the inner sanctuary of the Temple was turn in half. It broke.

Remember: We’ve been studying in Leviticus all this time that the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, that Temple was a very sacred place –

that nobody except the high priest could enter into. Nobody else could go in there. When the veil of the inner sanctuary split in half, it was an announcement to the entire world—this is beautiful—it was a proclamation that now, the land is cleansed. Now, you get to enter into God’s Presence every time you want to.

I don’t know about you, but that excites me so much: To know that every time I want to have an encounter with my God, I can just be in His Presence—without being cleansed. I can be unclean and still be in the Presence of Jesus.

There was a separation between God and man. So, what Jesus did was that He not just bridged the gap—He closed the gap.

If that is something that you’re blessed with, clap your hands. Because what that means is that God dwells in your midst right now. God is in your presence right now. You don’t have to go to a special place to be cleansed, to sacrifice an animal. But you can just approach Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And through Him, you can be in God’s Presence.

‘Lord, Help Us Experience the Jubilee’

So, if you’re somebody right now who’s got your heart broken and you’re in a different place. and there’s a mess in your life you’re trying to get rid of, and you want God to enter into your home, into your life, and you feel like it’s impossible because you’re unclean, Jesus is the perfect sacrifice – the Lamb that was slain so that we can have life with the Father.

May I invite you to close your eyes at this moment.

Heavenly Father, while all of our eyes are shut right this moment, I pray that You open the eyes of our heart to see You for Who You are.

To fall in love with You even more, to appreciate all that you’ve done— so that we can have life with You.

The length that You took to win us back is something that we will never even comprehend in our lifetime. But it’s something that we just have to embrace and accept. And I pray for every person here today, Lord, who is longing, and seeking to have a life with you. I pray that You open their eyes, to remove the veil so that they can see You and understand that You love them so much, oh, God.

There is nothing that shall separate us from Your love. Nothing in this world, Lord—neither death, nor life, neither angels, nor principalities in this world … will ever separate us from Your love, Lord.

And we receive Your love in this moment. Help us to experience the Jubilee. Help us to let others also experience this abundance that You want for us so that we can all in this Eden that you’ve called us to be in. In this Paradise where there is life with You, where there is abundance, where there is love, where there is healing, where there is compassion, where there is understanding.

We want that Jesus.

Let that moment be set in motion right now. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Published by THE FEAST (April 2, 2023)

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