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A Year of Jubilee

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How the principles of the year of Jubilee apply to us in Christ

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I came across an article on the internet recently that caught my attention because it was talking about what it is like to turn 50 years old
Now because this is the first time that I have ever been this old I thought that maybe I should read up on it and know what to expect
Now I can’t tell you much of what the article said but I can tell you what the opening sentence was, “A 50th birthday is popularly known as the Golden Jubilee Year.”
Now I’m not sure if that’s true or not, although come to think of it, I read it on the internet so it must be true
But whether or not it’s true it did get me thinking and in light of my recent birthday combined with our upcoming Passover Dinner, this morning I thought that I would take some time to talk about the year of Jubilee
As God led His people out of bondage and into the promised land, He commanded them to observe 3 “sabbaths”
The first one we all know as the 4th commandment that God’s people would remember the Sabbath, or 7th day of the week, and keep it holy because on the 7th day God rested
Then in God instructs the people to observe a Sabbath year
Leviticus 25:2–5 NIV
“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.
Leviticus 25:2-
But it’s the 3rd Sabbath that I am interested in today and the instructions for that are also in immediately following God’s command regarding the 7 year Sabbath year
Let’s begin reading at verse 8 of ,
Leviticus 25:8–13 NIV
“ ‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. “ ‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.
Leviticus 25:8-
Now if you have the passage in front of you, you may notice that the instructs for this Jubilee continue all the way down to verse 55 but we’re going to halt at verse 13 for now
Now you may also notice that according to verse 8 I am actually a year late with this message if it is to be related to my birthday but I hope that you will allow me a little creative licence because I have decided to accept what that article stated and declare this to be my Golden Jubilee Year based on
I also want each of you, regardless of your age or when your birthday is, to declare today that these next 12 months are for you your year of jubilee
The reason I want you to do so is because of what God designed and directed the year of Jubilee to be
God knew that His people, and people in general, have short memories and are easily enticed to walk away from God’s ways and so He designed the year of Jubilee as a way where every so often, 50 years was what He said, the people could stop and reset, that things could return to how God first ordered them to be
In the year of Jubilee certain things had to take place, in the lives and society of God’s children and by asking you to declare this as a year of Jubilee in your life and in the life of our church I am saying that I want to see these same resets happen in me and in you
So let’s get to the 3 things that kind of summarize the year of Jubilee
The first of these 3 things is that the year of Jubilee as a part of its DNA included a reprieve from debt
The following passage is from Deuteronomy 15
Deuteronomy 15:1–2 NIV
At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.
Deuteronomy 15:1-
Don’t you wish that the banks would adopt a policy like this?
I know that if they did I would run up a lot of debt at about the 6.5 year mark
Leviticus 25:39-41
Leviticus 25:14-16
Leviticus 25:14–16 NIV
“ ‘If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops.
Leviticus 25:39–41 NIV
“ ‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors.
But what does that mean for us today by declaring this a year of Jubilee in our lives
Well this reprieve from debt has 2 parts to it;
The first part is that we all have a debt of sin for as tells us
Romans 3:23 NIV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Let me see if I can explain it this way; What we do by sinning is we try and make happen now what God has planned for us later
Romans 6:
Romans 6:16 NIV
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Let me see if I can explain it this way; What we do by sinning is we try and make happen now what God has planned for us later
Kind of like those signs I’ve seen, ‘Travel now and pay later’ or ‘Get it now and do not pay for _______ months.’
In doing this, trying to get now what God wants to give us later on, we become indebted to the one who has leant us that experience
Jesus Christ paid the debt that we owed as a result of our sin and in doing so He assumed our debt, like a collection agency buying up the bad debt of a bank
Fortunately Paul continues on to say,
Romans 6:
Romans 6:20–23 NIV
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus Christ paid the debt that we owed as a result of our sin and in doing so He assumed our debt, like a collection agency buying up the bad debt of a bank
But the difference is that instead of chasing us down for payment of this debt, God the Father us forgives the debt and considers it paid in full because of what Jesus did on the cross
You may be familiar with some of the last words that Christ spoke on the cross, “It is finished” but do you understand what it was that He was saying?
The Greek word translated as this expression is the single word, “Tetelestai” which is an accounting term meaning that a debt has been paid in full and no longer stands on the books
If you have never asked Jesus to do this, this is your time, acknowledge that your sin has created a debt that you are incapable of paying and ask Him to apply His work on the cross to your account
And if you have done that before, make this the year that you stop visiting those old accounts, the year that when the enemy brings up those debts you remind him that Jesus purchased those debts and you are now forgiven and they are no longer held against you
Romans 8:1 NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Romans 8:1
Romans 8:1–4 NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1-4
Secondly as a part of your year of jubilee you must reprieve others from whatever debt you have against them
You must forgive just as you have been forgiven, you must let go of grudges, and in doing so free yourself from the bondage of not forgiving
The parable of the unmerciful servant in gives us a stark glimpse into what awaits those who receive God’s forgiveness but refuse to forgive their brother,
Matthew 18:32–35 NIV
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Matthew 18:32-
The second application of the year of Jubilee to our lives is very closely related to the first one and that is that in the year of Jubilee, there was a release from bondage
During that time the custom was that when a person incurred debt and could not pay it off they became the property of the one to whom they were indebted until such a time as they could either pay back the debt or work it off
Because sin caused us to be indebted to the one who led us there and because we were not able to pay that debt, the result was that we then become his property, we become his slaves and the slaves of sin which just keep driving us deeper in debt
But in the year of jubilee as the debts were cancelled, those of God’s children who were in slavery because of their debts were to be set free
Verses 40 and 41 state,
Leviticus 25:40–41 NIV
They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors.
as was often the case when someone fell on hard times their debt would be paid out by them becoming a slave to the person that they were indebted to
Leviticus 25:40-
So how does this relate to us?
Because sin caused us to be indebted to the one who led us there and because we were not able to pay that debt, the result was that we then become his property, we become his slaves and the slaves of sin which just keep driving us deeper in debt
Many people though they have asked for forgiveness of past sins still live as though they are servants of sin instead of living in the freedom that is theirs
Romans 6:18–23 NIV
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:19-
Romans 6:18-
Romans 6:19–23 NIV
I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Did you get that, “But now you have been set free from sin!”
Did you get that, “But now you have been set free from sin!”
Did you get that, “But now you have been set free from sin!”
We read earlier, now let’s read the next verse as well
Romans 8:1-
Romans 8:1–2 NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
I am declaring this to be my Jubilee year because this is the year that I am going to walk in freedom, freedom from the bondage of sin, freedom from the grasp that it seems to have at times, freedom from the lure of the enemy and freedom to walk in freedom
Paul told the Galatians,
Galatians 5:1
Galatians 5:1 NIV
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Make this your jubilee year, the year that you are no longer controlled by that old human nature but are instead lead by the Spirit of life that dwells within you
Be freed from whatever bondage it is that holds you by the power of Jesus Christ and walk in freedom
Which brings up my third point, during Jubilee there was to be a restoration of what God had given
Leviticus 25:28 NIV
But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property.
Leviticus 25:23-28
Leviticus 25:23–28 NIV
“ ‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land. “ ‘If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. If, however, there is no one to redeem it for them but later on they prosper and acquire sufficient means to redeem it themselves, they are to determine the value for the years since they sold it and refund the balance to the one to whom they sold it; they can then go back to their own property. But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property.
Because of things done in the past, some people have given up the rights to things that God has given them
We touched on this earlier when we talked about allowing those things from your past to come under the cover of the cross and not living under guilt and condemnation any longer
But for far too many it is not as simple as that, they can’t forget what they’ve done or seen, or heard and as a result the enemy takes from them the joy, the peace, the contentment
That’s what he does, he tries to take from you what God has given
But just as during jubilee the land was to be returned to those to whom God had provided it in the first place, likewise let this be the year where God restores to you all that the enemy has taken
John 10:10 NIV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 7:37–38 NIV
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
John 7:
Let Jesus restore to you the joy of His salvation, the peace that passes understanding, Let Him stir up that spring of living water
We may not be 100% sure of exactly when the year of Jubilee is supposed to happen according to the Jewish calendar, and I may be a year late being in my 51st year now, but one thing I know is this, that regardless of a date on a wall, this can be my jubilee year and it can be yours as well
The year that we are reprieved from our debts
The year that we are released from our bondages
The year that we have restored to us all that God originally intended for us
And how do I know this? Because I have given my life over to Jesus Christ the Son of God and in we read,
Luke 4:17–19 NIV
and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:
Let’s pray
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