A Letter from the Pastor

Dear Visitor,​

I want to welcome you on behalf of the Elders and leadership at Mt Carmel Church ​OPC. Our goal at Mount Carmel is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and to love our neighbor as our self. (Matthew 22: 37-39). As the Presiding officer here, I take very seriously all our efforts in this direction, whether its teaching or preaching, prayer or worship, community service or sharing a meal, nursery or Sunday School, we seek to love God and neighbor through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

He demonstrated the ultimate in love by laying down His life to save the eternal souls of those who would believe in him. That’s why Jesus said: “ Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This is exactly what Jesus did for those who trust in his great sacrifice for them. And so we seek to serve Him and you in all we do, because He also said, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Only Jesus by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross could redeem us and pay the immense penalty we owed to God because of our sin. Yet as Jesus served us in love, so we are called to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13b). 

My hope is that you will know and receive God’s love for you in Christ and be enabled to share it with those around you. My prayer is that we would always be “Growing in Knowing God” (Colossians 1:10), through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Serving because Christ served us,

Pastor Gregory Pilato

Mount Carmel Church OPC

Honey & Oil from the Rock (Deuteronomy 32:13)

(A meditation from the Holy Bible to nourish us with the sweetness and power of the Word of God)

As we seek to encourage one another in our homes, what can the Passover celebration teach us?

God intentionally designed the Passover to illustrate and commemorate the magnificent drama of God redeeming and rescuing His people out of Egypt. Almighty God redeeming a people for Himself, foreshadowed the sending of Messiah Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The Redemption Event of Exodus is packed with many lessons of Christ our Redeemer. These are meant to be shared, explained and taught to the believing family, as well as any sojourning with the family. The children, and even the grandchildren, are to hear of God’s awesome signs and judgements against Egypt and her false gods: 

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them, that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.” Exodus 10:1,2

A. Unleavened Bread. Eating unleavened bread is a reminder, to be told to the children, of the haste of leaving Egypt during the Passover, and the necessary ridding the house of sin and hypocrisy. Jesus exhorted us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).

“Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’” Exodus 13:7, 8

B. The Passover Lamb. A lamb for each household was to be selected on the tenth day of the month and kept until the fourteenth day and then slaughtered.

“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.” Exodus 12:3, 6, 7

It would be hard for a family not to get attached to the lamb soon to be slaughtered. Smaller households were to share a lamb with their nearest neighbors. The lamb was to be without defect, pointing ahead to the sinless sacrifice of Jesus the Lamb of God. John the Evangelist makes a point of telling us that Jesus Himself was slaughtered during Passover (John 19:31), at the time of the slaughter of the lambs. He also notes that none of His bones were broken (19:36), fulfilling Exodus 12:46, “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

C. The Mark of Blood. God commanded the marking of the doorframes of the homes of the children of Israel with blood. He promised, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (Exodus 12:13). This was to be remembered and recounted from generation to generation (Exodus 12:14, 26, 27). Peter reminds us that us we were not redeemed by gold or silver, “but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect” (I Peter 1:19). The Lords Supper, a proclamation of Jesus’ death, and Jesus’ blood of the New covenant, is a perpetual remembrance of Him, until He returns:

“This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (I Corinthians 11:25, 26).

There are countless rich parallels between the Old Testament Passover and the New Covenant. These graphic illustrations of our need to be redeemed, as well as Gods provision of a Lamb provided for sacrifice, provide a wealth of discipleship lessons for the believing household. I encourage heads of households to lead their families in celebrating a Jesus-centered Passover meal this April 8th, 2020. Let’s take advantage of this rich feast which the Lord provides! See the link below for a Passover Seder Haggadah (Order of Service), that can help you begin to unpack these riches. * This resource is copywritten by Pastor Fred Klett of CHAIM Ministry, with permission for personal use, but not to reproduce.

We do well to heed the Apostle Paul, who exhorts us as the people of God:

“Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” (I Corinthians 5:7).

Be blessed in Messiah Jesus,

Pastor Greg Pilato