People Like Us: Tamar and Judah

People Like Us TAMAR

 

People Like Us: Tamar

Week 1

12.4.2022

Introduction:

  1. Have you ever read a story and not connect with the characters?
  2. I think so often we read about Joseph and Mary but we don’t really connect with them.
  3. We don’t sympathize with the virgin Mary.
  4. Maybe we don’t relate to the righteous Joseph.
  5. The Magi and shepherds are colorful people in a world we don’t understand.
  6. This is where genealogy comes in.
  7. Matthew and Luke are the only two Gospel writers to give Jesus’ lineage.
  8. Both genealogies actually vary, showing some differences in how the writers traced the story of Jesus’ earthly family.
  9. Question: Does anyone here have a messed-up family? Photos
  10. Some of our families look like the family from Full-House: well-intentioned adults but the kids run the show.
  11. Or maybe you have an uncle kind of like Tony Soprano: you want to ask him about the family business and what used to happen, but you don’t want to “swim with the fishes” whatever that means.
  12. And we all have a Cousin Eddie, who is crazy, obnoxious and a bad example for the kids.
  13. But, what if I told you that Jesus’ family and lineage was more messed up than yours?
  14. Here’s the good news we get from Jesus’ genealogy:
  15. God used ordinary, flawed, and messed-up people leading up to Jesus’ miraculous birth.
  16. And that means that God can and will use people like us to spread the Gospel to the Nations.

 

Matthew 1:1–6 (CSB)

THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST

An account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

FROM ABRAHAM TO DAVID

Abraham fathered Isaac,

Isaac fathered Jacob,

Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,

Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar,

Perez fathered Hezron,

Hezron fathered Aram,

Aram fathered Amminadab,

Amminadab fathered Nahshon,

Nahshon fathered Salmon,

Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab,

Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth,

Obed fathered Jesse,

and Jesse fathered King David.

FROM DAVID TO THE BABYLONIAN EXILE

David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife,

Genesis 38:1–30 (CSB)

JUDAH AND TAMAR

38 At that time Judah left his brothers and settled near an Adullamite named Hirah. There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua; he took her as a wife and slept with her. She conceived and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er. She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and named him Onan. She gave birth to another son and named him Shelah. It was at Chezib that, she gave birth to him.

Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife. Perform your duty as her brother-in-law and produce offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he released his semen on the ground so that he would not produce offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so he put him to death also.

11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He might die too, like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.

12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers. 13 Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her widow’s clothes, veiled her face, covered herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had grown up, she had not been given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.

16 He went over to her and said, “Come, let me sleep with you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me for sleeping with me?”

17 “I will send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.

But she said, “Only if you leave something with me until you send it.”

18 “What should I give you?” he asked.

She answered, “Your signet ring, your cord, and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 She got up and left, then removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.

20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get back the items he had left with the woman, he could not find her. 21 He asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”

“There has been no cult prostitute here,” they answered.

22 So the Adullamite returned to Judah, saying, “I couldn’t find her, and besides, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’ ”

23 Judah replied, “Let her keep the items for herself; otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”

24 About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law, Tamar, has been acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”

“Bring her out,” Judah said, “and let her be burned to death!”

25 As she was being brought out, she sent her father-in-law this message: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong.” And she added, “Examine them. Whose signet ring, cord, and staff are these?”

26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her intimately again.

27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand, and the midwife took it and tied a scarlet thread around it, announcing, “This one came out first.” 29 But then he pulled his hand back, out came his brother, and she said, “What a breakout you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez., 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread tied to his hand, came out, and was named Zerah.

 

PRAYER:

Lord, help me to tell your story. Through this, may we see your love for us in the midst of our sinfulness. I ask that, through this word, we are encouraged to place our story, with all our hurts and pains and struggles, into your redeeming hands. Remind us that, through Jesus, that the ending of our story is infinitely better than our beginning. God, open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our spirits to feel the power, and the glory, and the honor presented forth in your Word. Jesus name, Amen.

 

1. Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew serves a purpose.

  1. Matthew’s purpose, in large part, is to show Jesus’ credentials.
  2. Matthew is a Jew, writing to Jews.
  3. So he wants to make two things clear:
  4. Jesus can trace his heritage to Abraham (this appeals to Jews and Gentiles).
  5. He also needs to show that Jesus is the heir of King David, and has the necessary Messianic lineage.
  6. The genealogy provides the confirmation that Jesus is the promised Savior, the descendent of David.
  7. Our families’ story is part of our story.
  8. For example: This may not mean much to people not from around here.
  9. But it seems like to me that everyone in this part of the country is somehow related to either Davy Crockett or Jessie James.
  10. Especially when we were kids, we often tell our stories vicariously through our relatives.
  11. As Matthew lists Jesus’ earthly lineage, he is connecting the Jesus story to everyone’s story.
  12. But sometimes it feels as if there is a disconnect, because Our story is messy.
  13. We have a lot more in common with people like Judah and Tamar than we do with Mary.
  14. The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus not only uses people like Mary and Joseph but also the Cousin Eddies.
  15. One scholar points out, “There is no pattern of righteousness in the lineage of Jesus.”[1]
  16. Jesus is the only perfect person in the human story.
  17. Everyone else is, simply, people like us.
  18. The Good News is that God uses the most unlikely of people to carry out His plans and purposes.
  19. The women in Jesus’ lineage point to this truth.

2. In a world dominated by men, the mention of women is significant.

  1. Remember, this is Matthew, the Jewish believer, here.
  2. Christianity revolutionized the role and importance of women, restoring their value closer to the value that God gave women in                         the Garden.
  3. Do not believe the lies that Christianity subjugates women.
  4. When you understand the historical context, the opportunities presented to women in the NT were revolutionary.
  5. Furthermore, consider the much newer religion, Islam founded around 600 AD, that is completely restrictive of women to this day.
  6. Therefore, the mention of these five women in the text should capture our attention.
  7. Most lineages do not include women, so when they do, we should take notice.[i] (in the footnotes of my notes, five reasons are presented)
  8. These names, and especially the women mentioned here, show “the all-embracing love of God”. (NIVAC)
  9. Furthermore, these women demonstrate that salvation was possible for all people and people groups. (in particular, the women mentioned are not Jewish).
  10. Just as important, we see through Jesus’ genealogy that when God’s chosen people are unfaithful, God will use anyone who is willing, even if they weren’t exactly right with God to begin with.
  11. When we read Jesus’ genealogy, we read the story of ordinary but messed up people.
  12. This family of Abraham was chosen not because they were holier than everyone, but because of God’s sovereign choice.
  13. God has the right to choose and use whoever He wants.
  14. God chose the family of Abraham.
  15. And the sons of Jacob (also called Israel), would serve as Jesus’ earthly family.

3. The Story of Judah and Tamar.

  1. Judah is proof that God has plans and purposes for people that I would disqualify.
  2. The family, or tribe, of Judah plays a HUGE part in the Bible story.
  3. God chose this family to bring the Messiah into Earth.
  4. This elite role is viewed in places like Exodus and Numbers where the Tribe of Judah leads Israel in the march to the Promised Land.
  5. God himself declared, “Send Judah first”.
  6. 400 years after Genesis 38, Judah’s tribe is in the lead.
  7. But if this was our story, it would have stopped here.
  8. And it almost did.
  9. God saw the evil of two of Judah’s sons and killed them.
  10. Perhaps, the only reason Judah wasn’t killed was because of God’s promise and plan to Abraham.
  11. Judah’s story is contrasted with his brother Joseph.
  12. 1. Genesis Chapter 37: The brothers, sons of Jacob/Israel, sell Joseph into slavery.
  13. Genesis Chapter 39 is the story of Joseph in Potiphar’s house, where Potiphar’s wife begs Joseph to sleep with her but he won’t and is punished.
  14. Genesis Chapter 38 shows how utterly corrupt Judah and his family were.
  15. Judah marries a non-Jew, and is never named.
  16. Then Judah’s oldest two sons were utterly evil.
  17. Er, the oldest, was so evil that God “put him to death.”
  18. We will look at Onan’s sin in a bit.
  19. Truth is, if we would have picked a great, great, grandfather for Jesus’ family, I would have picked Joseph not Judah.
  20. Tamar’s story is brief but tragic.
  21. Tamar, in Jesus’ lineage, is the first of several women mentioned who had NO right be women of God but were.
  22. We can understand God using someone like Mary, but Tamar is a strange choice.
  23. She isn’t Jewish.
  24. She is married to Judah’s son, Er.
  25. Er is so evil in God’s sight, that the Lord kills him.
  26. We don’t know the sin, but it’s the same phrase used to describe the evil men of Sodom in Gen. 13:13.[2]
  27. This leads to Tamar being “given” in marriage to the next brother, Onan.

Let’s talk about this for a minute.

4. The Sin of Onan.

We do deal with adult content in this section. I don’t apologize for the content, since it is part of the Christian conversation regarding this text. But I do strive to be respectful and proper.

But if you were wondering if/when you should have the TALK with your kids, and they are with you in the service today, then you need to plan on having that talk soon lol You’re welcome

  1. I’ve heard this passage used for all types of purposes.
  2. I’ve heard it used to teach against contraception.
  3. I’ve heard it used in discussion to “self-pleasure”.
  4. But neither of these is the reason for Onan’s sin and judgment.
  5. The context and culture are the key factors here.
  6. Family, and the sustaining of family, was vital.
  7. The only way to ensure a family’s continued existence was to have male children.
  8. Onan had the responsibility to ensure that his brother’s family kept going.
  9. This is called “levirate marriage”.

 

  1. Levirate: It was the duty of the nearest male relative of a deceased man to marry the childless widow and to father her children. Her firstborn son would then be acknowledged as the son of her deceased husband and would inherit his property. This practice is known as levirate marriage (from “levir,” Latin for “husband’s brother”). [3]
  2. This term “Levirate” will apply also to Ruth further in the series.
  3. The enormity of Onan’s sin is in its studied outrage against the family, against his brother’s widow and against his own body.
  4. The standard English versions fail to make clear that this was his persistent 1. practice. When should be translated ‘whenever’.[4]
  5. The sin of Onan, in other words, is that he slept with Tamar often with no intention of fulfilling his responsibilities to her, his brother, his family, or to God.
  6. Onan enjoyed the opportunity with Tamar, without the responsibility.
  7. Therefore, Onan, like his brother, is killed by the Lord.

5. The sins of Judah.

  1. The first sin of Judah is betrothing the youngest to Tamar with no intention of them marrying.
  2. Shelah was next, but was too young.
  3. But just like Judah’s father was super protective of Benjamin after Joseph was thought dead, Judah does the same with Shelah.
  4. Judah sends Tamar back to her family’s home, and tells her to wait.
  5. B. But Tamar’s waiting was more than waiting, it was betrothal.
  6. So technically, Shelah and Tamar were married but not intimate.
  7. Tamar was required by law to remain faithful to a kid that was intentionally being kept from her.
  8. Desperate people do desperate things.
  9. Please remember: Just because something is mentioned and used for God’s glory, that does NOT mean this is how we are supposed to do it.
  10. Tamar, and her family, realizes that she has been set up by her father-in-law, Judah.
  11. By this time, Judah’s wife has died.
  12. So he is sexually vulnerable.
  13. Let’s be honest, we permit many bad things when we are vulnerable.

6. Be sure your sins will find you out.

  1. Two things are clear:
  2. Tamar set Judah up.
  3. But Judah was looking for trouble.
  4. He was INTENTIONALLY looking for someone to hook up with and leave.
  5. Tamar is shrewd here.
  6. She knows deep down that she was destined and called to have children and to bless the family in this way.
  7. She had been robbed of this blessing by an evil husband, an evil second-husband/brother-in-law, and her father-in-law.
  8. She has no legal recourse: no court to apply to.
  9. She does something desperate.
  10. She is DETERMINED to receive what she believes is hers.
  11. That is to have not just any children, but children in the line and tribe of Judah.
  12. In a way, her actions are the desperate moves of a woman with faith.
  13. This faith was not perfect.
  14. Her decisions are justifiable, but not perfect.
  15. But God sees something in her that nobody in this narrative realizes yet.
  16. There was only one more way for that to happen.
  17. Tamar plays on the Judah family weakness: sexuality.
  18. Tamar also knows that, if she does this and gets caught, she would be called an adulterous and killed.
  19. So she demands 3 articles from Judah to “guarantee” payment.
  20. These 3 articles, the ring, the cord, and the staff, are clearly the property of one person and can be traced back to Judah.
  21. So she demands a down-payment.
  22. But she has to hide her identity:
  23. But wouldn’t Judah recognize his own daughter-in-law?
  24. Not necessarily because she was completely covered, face and body, only exposing what needed to be exposed.
  25. In our culture, this seems impossible but was likely far more common in non-western culture than we realize.
  26. After the deed is done, Judah leaves and Tamar goes home, HOPING to be pregnant.

7. Pregnancy, Execution, and a really big OOPS.

  1. News travels to Judah, where he is told “your daughter in law is acting like a prostitute and is pregnant.”
  2. This is a really big deal because she is BETHROTHED to the youngest son.
  3. Here is a woman, found to be pregnant, while legally bound, but not intimate, with another man.
  4. Does this sound like a familiar, Christmas story?
  5. The legal punishment for breaking a betrothal was being stoned to death.

5.. Unlike the righteous Joseph in the Christmas story, Judah pursues the death penalty.

  1. Judah doesn’t just want Tamar dead, he wants her punished.
  2. He doesn’t know she was the one who he slept with.
  3. Yet he wants her not stoned to death, but burned to death.
  4. What is motivating Judah’s extreme hatred?
  5. He is probably blaming HER for his sons’ death, instead of laying the sin and blame upon his sons.
  6. Also, by her dying, it would give Judah opportunity to break the betrothal between her and the youngest son.
  7. Finally, he would be done with this “mistake” that he had made and could start over.
  8. But, then Tamar presents the evidence of Judah’s guilt.
  9. Presented with Judah’s signet ring, and his cord, and his staff, Judah does something that changes the course of his family.
  10. He repents.
  11. Judah confesses that Tamar, and not himself, is “righteous”.
  12. Judah declares her in the right, and himself in the wrong.
  13. The text doesn’t say Tamar marries Shelah.
  14. But it does say that Judah did not sleep with her again.
  15. 6-months after this, Tamar gives birth to twins.
  16. Just like Esau and Jacob (who was Judah’s father), Tamar gives birth to fighting twins.
  17. Just like with Esau and Jacob, the youngest receives the blessing while the oldest misses out.
  18. And, technically, the sons Perez and Zerah carried on the lineage of the evil son Er and not Judah.
  19. And you thought your family was messed up.

8. Result: This incident changed the direction of the whole family.

  1. Sometime after this incident, a famine hits the land where Judah and his brothers and his father Jacob are living.
  2. This story is told in the last chapters of Genesis.
  3. What we see about Judah is a changed man.
  4. It’s a long story, but their brother Joseph who is alive and living in Egypt sets the family up to determine if their hearts are right.
  5. Have they changed?
  6. Or are they still the evil family that he remembers.
  7. After several tests, Judah makes this statement before Joseph:

Genesis 44:16 (CSB)

16 “What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “How can we plead? How can we justify ourselves? God has exposed your servants’ iniquity. We are now my lord’s slaves—both we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.”

  1. From this point forward, Judah’s role changes.
  2. Too often we define our lives by our Genesis 38 moments, instead of Genesis 44.
  3. If you quit at Genesis 38, before repentance, before heart change, before redemption, then you and your family never get to experience the blessings that come much later.
  4. The same, incestuous family of Genesis 38 leads all of Israel in battle 400 years later.
  5. It was through this family that would bring forth the perfect, sinless, Son of God.
  6. It took a while, but God is faithful.

Matthew 1:17 (CSB)

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations; and from David until the exile to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the exile to Babylon until the Messiah, fourteen generations.

  1. It was 42 generations later (so 39 or 40 from Judah), but Tamar is praised for her tenacity and belief in God’s promise.

9. One final Story:

John 8:2–11 (CSB)

AN ADULTERESS FORGIVEN

At dawn he went to the temple again, and all the people were coming to him. He sat down and began to teach them.

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. “Teacher,” they said to him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They asked this to trap him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse him.

Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only he was left, with the woman in the center. 10 When Jesus stood up, he said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”]

 

  1. Look at what Jesus did.
  2. The ONE who traces his lineage to Tamar, and Rahab, and Bathsheba.
  3. The one whose family included immoral moments and lifestyles including Judah, David, and Solomon stands among the scribes and Pharisees, they themselves descendants of Abraham like himself.
  4. Yet, when all the world is calling to kill the Adulterous woman, Jesus does not.
  5. At first he pauses an uncomfortable length of time.
  6. And he writes words in the dirt that we DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY SAY.
  7. But what if…Jesus was writing down the names of those in His story that deserved to die but received grace instead!
  8. What if he wrote in the dust the names:
  9. Judah, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, David, Bathsheba, and even his mother Mary?
  10. What if he wrote in the dust the sins of the men in the group condemning the woman?
  11. What if he was writing MERCY!
  12. You who are without sin, cast the first stone.
  13. In Genesis 38, it was Judah calling for Tamar’s death.
  14. In John 8, the Pharisees called for this woman’s death.
  15. But Jesus called for mercy instead.
  16. The difference between Jesus and his ancestor Judah was that Jesus was perfect and sinless.
  17. Jesus could have thrown the stone.
  18. But, instead, He says “go and sin no more.”

Close: Is there anyone righteous in your family?

  1. That’s the loud question from Judah and Tamar’s story here.
  2. No one in this story is perfect.
  3. And this story is not a great example of what we should do.
  4. But each woman in Jesus’ genealogy teaches us this It only takes 1.
  5. It only takes 1 person to change a family.
  6. It takes 1 person to change a community.
  7. It takes 1 person, used by God, to bring forth God’s power.
  8. The story of Tamar does not commend prostitution.
  9. It does not give us permission to sin so that good might happen.
  10. The end does not justify the means.
  11. But what it does tell us is that God sees us, and our pain and struggles and sin.
  12. God sees us in the midst of our imperfect situations.
  13. God sees us as we are.
  14. And He also sees our faith.

Prayer: Two groups we pray for today.

  1. For those who have experienced so much pain, and heartache, and trouble, and mistakes, know that God sees you.
  2. And He isn’t calling out to you with a voice of condemnation, but a voice to forgive.
  3. Perhaps you have been living with guilt, condemnation, and the belief that God cannot and won’t use you.
  4. Today, I’m here to tell you that you are valuable in God’s eyes.
  5. Your family might have treated you like trash.
  6. Your story be messed up.
  7. But know that Jesus loves to bring order out of chaos.
  8. If you have never accepted Jesus’ forgiveness for your sins, we pray that for you today.
  9. Second, we pray for those who are making a stand for our families, our community, and nation.
  10. We believe that God does use people like us to be used for His glory.
  11. Today, we pray for those who are willing to say to Jesus “Here am I, use me.”

 

 

 

NOTES:

The mention of a mother alongside a father occurs also in Old Testament genealogies; cf. 1 Chronicles 1:32; 2:17–21, 24, 26, etc.   V 1, p 79    p 79  The mention of Tamar as the mother of Perez and Zerah is in fact derived directly from 1 Chronicles 2:4, and that of Bath-sheba in v. 6 from 1 Chronicles 3:5. But the four mothers selected for mention form a striking group. Probably all four were non-Jews (Tamar was a local girl, so presumably a Canaanite, Gen. 38:11, 13–14; Bathsheba was the wife of a Hittite), indicating Matthew’s interest in the universal relevance of Jesus’ coming (cf. the Magi of 2:1–12); and in each case there were at least suspicions of some form of marital irregularity, though all four were in fact vindicated by God’s subsequent blessing. They form an impressive precedent for Jesus’ birth of an unmarried mother from an obscure background. Rahab is otherwise unknown as mother of Boaz; presumably the harlot of Jericho (Josh. 2:1, etc.) is in Matthew’s mind, though this identification poses chronological problems.[5]

[1] Wilkins, Michael J. 2004. Matthew. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[2] Pettus, David D. 2016. “Tamar, Daughter-in-Law of Judah.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by John D. Barry, David Bomar, Derek R. Brown, Rachel Klippenstein, Douglas Mangum, Carrie Sinclair Wolcott, Lazarus Wentz, Elliot Ritzema, and Wendy Widder. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] McWhirter, Jocelyn. 2016. “Marriage.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by John D. Barry, David Bomar, Derek R. Brown, Rachel Klippenstein, Douglas Mangum, Carrie Sinclair Wolcott, Lazarus Wentz, Elliot Ritzema, and Wendy Widder. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Kidner, Derek. 1967. Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 1. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] France, R. T. 1985. Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 1. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[i] Men and women. Most scholars see the inclusion of the five women in Jesus’ genealogy as another clue to Matthew’s emphases. As noted above, women were not always included in Old Testament genealogies. When they were included, there was usually some particular reason. Speculation about Matthew’s purpose has a long history, but he seems to have a variety of reasons for including these women in Jesus’ genealogy. Something positive can be said for each of the following, although it may be difficult to narrow Matthew’s purpose to any one alone.

(1) Women had experienced increasing marginalization and even abuse within Jewish society. Jesus’ line includes Tamar, a woman wrongfully denied motherhood by the deceitfulness of men. The women in the genealogy represent the gender equality that had been denied them within much of Jewish culture. From the beginning Jesus came to restore the personal equality and dignity of women with men.

(2) Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba had reputations for morally indiscreet behavior and character. They are examples of women sinners Jesus came to save, a powerful statement about the offer of salvation to those of either gender.

(3) The first four women may have been Gentiles, although the ethnicity of Tamar and Bathsheba is unclear. It is clear, however, that Ruth was a Moabitess, and to the tenth generation a Moabite was not to be admitted to the congregation (Deut. 23:3). Rahab was undoubtedly a Canaanite. Matthew may thus be indicating that salvation is a possibility for every ethnic group, which is a strong motif in this Gospel (Matt. 8:5–13; 28:18–20). Jesus Messiah, who could not have male Gentiles in his ancestry, nonetheless had   p 68  Gentile ancestors in these women, suggesting his suitability as the Messiah for Gentiles as well as for Jews.

(4) The women mentioned had unusual marriages, sexual scandals, or suspicions of having had illegitimate children. Matthew may be disarming prejudice against Mary’s circumstances by those Jews who might forget their own history, even as he refutes charges of illegitimacy against Mary (1:18–25).

(5) These women each represent a crucial period in Israel’s history when a Gentile displayed extraordinary faith in contrast to Jews who lacked courage and faith: Tamar versus Judah’s disloyalty, Rahab versus the desert generation’s faithlessness, Ruth versus the unfaithful Israelites at the time of the judges, and Uriah versus David’s sinfulness with Bathsheba. The messianic line was preserved, even through Gentiles, when Israel was unfaithful.[i]

 

Prayer for Spiritual Power. 11/20/22

Ephesian sermon 11 PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL POWER

PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL POWER

 

11.20.22

Ephesians Series

Sermon 11

 

 

Ephesians 3:14–21 (CSB)

PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL POWER

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Introduction

  1. Prayer is both simple and complex.
  2. Children can easily pray with prayers that echo heaven.
  3. Adults can also pray an entire lifetime without exploring the great depths that are there.
  4. This prayer for spiritual power ends a section within Ephesians.
  5. Chapter 4 institutes a change in direction for Paul.
  6. The next section begins with Therefore, and talks about believers WALKING with Christ.
  7. The first section was to teach believers how to be SEATED with Christ.
  8. The last section of Ephesians ends with “Stand”.
  9. Sit, Walk, Stand is a helpful lens to study Ephesians.
  10. Today, we dig deep into Paul’s prayer for the believers.
  11. This is the second prayer in Ephesians, ending the section on how believers are “seated” with Christ in the heavenly realm.
  12. Because of Jesus, we not only have access to the Father in prayer, but we can get close enough to know Him.
  13. Imagine: Gentiles who had no opportunity to draw close to God in Judaism or paganism could now not only pray but could grasp the depths of God’s love for them.
  14. My hope is that your walk with Jesus will not only be academic.
  15. I have plenty of colleagues who are brilliant scholars of the Bible and religion but have no relationship with Jesus.
  16. It is possible to sit in this room year after year and hear sermons and teaching and yet not draw close to God.
  17. Neither the Apostle Paul or this Pastor Paul want that for you.
  18. Today, let us look at the kind of access that Paul prayed for these believers to have.

1. You need to know who you are praying to.

  1. Have you ever heard someone pray and it sounds like they don’t know who they are praying to?
  2. I hear people pray who use every name or spiritual buzz word they can find, hoping something sticks.
  3. Some people’s prayers are more like shotgun blasts in the dark instead of a laser pointed at Jesus.
  4. Paul KNOWS who he is praying to.
  5. He just said that “in Christ we have boldness and confident access.”
  6. Now, with boldness, Paul kneels before the Father.
  7. Boldness is not the same as rudeness.
  8. Confidence is not the same as disrespect.
  9. Paul, bold and confident that God will hear and answer his prayers, kneels before the Father.
  10. Even though we are co-heirs with Christ Jesus,
  11. Even though we are seated at the right hand of the Father,
  12. He is STILL the One who is above all names.
  13. When you pray, do you know the one you are praying to?
  14. God answers prayers on the basis of relationship.
  15. Our best prayers are prayed in relationship, with specificity.

 

What did Paul pray for on behalf of the Ephesian believers?

 

2. First, Power for the inner being through the Spirit.

  1. The work of the Holy Spirit is internal before it is external.
  2. Often we focus on the outward expressions.
  3. These outward expressions are good and necessary.
  4. But they are also easier to deal with.
  5. b. Just because we no longer sin with our hands or mouths, that does not mean we have stopped sinning in our heart and mind.
  6. It is vital for all of us to grow IN Christ.
  7. Have you noticed that it doesn’t get easier?
  8. Life does not get easier.
  9. The challenges, at least for me, grow larger and more complex.
  10. The spiritual battles I find myself engaged in grow larger, not smaller.
  11. What is increasingly clear is that I need Jesus more each and every day.
  12. The Apostle understands this.
  13. So he prays for them to be granted the opportunity to grow in Christ Jesus and to be strengthened in their inner being.
  14. I absolutely believe that everyone in this room is being given a chance to grow in Christ Jesus.
  15. Each week you are challenged with the Word.
  16. Each week you are provided opportunity to grow in worship.
  17. Do not waste this.
  18. The only thing holding you back is you.
  19. Paul establishes this request “According to the riches of his glory.”
  20. Remember the difference between giving from your riches and according to your riches?
  21. A $100 from a billionaire is giving from their riches, not according to their riches.
  22. I was incredibly humbled when I watched this body of believers give generously toward paying this property off.
  23. You all gave according to what God has provided.
  24. No one here is wealthy.
  25. Yet many of us gave sacrificially.
  26. The Good News is that the heavenly Father has no limit to His resources.
  27. Because your Heavenly Father is rich, we have no reason to be discouraged.
  28. “In Christ we are given the means and capability to be what we previously could not be.”[1]
  29. In Christ, the excuses for discipleship are removed because there is no limit to His resources.

3. Second, Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

  1. Most of us understand that at salvation, Jesus enters our hearts.
  2. The “heart” is not the physical organ that pumps blood.
  3. Instead, it refers to that innermost part of us that makes us who we are.
  4. It’s our personality, and emotions, and our Spirit.
  5. Paul’s prayer is not only that Jesus will change our hearts, but that He will inhabit our innermost life.
  6. Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior will change every aspect of our lives.
  7. Paul prays that Christ may “dwell”.
  8. The term for dwell (katoikeō) refers to a residing, a habitation, not a temporary stay.[2]
  9. When someone comes to live with you, things change.
  10. When we have people stay over, many of our habits change.
  11. We men may do the same things, but the women in our lives become very focused on meals, and comfort, and making sure things are clean.
  12. Paul is praying that the Ephesian believers might experience Jesus in such a way that their innermost lives are changed.
  13. Paul prays for the inner life of the believers to be a place hospitable to the presence of God.
  14. Not every house is hospitable.
  15. Some structures are simply not safe places to live.
  16. Truth: Even nice homes have the potential to become inhospitable if we fail to steward it.
  17. Julie and I drive by many farm houses and old houses in cities and wonder “I wonder what that place use to look like?”
  18. Ephesians 4:30 says that we can “grieve” the Holy Spirit.
  19. It is possible for us to live in such a way that the Holy Spirit won’t dwell in you.
  20. My grandpa was an old time preacher, who had lots of stories and jokes.
  21. He told the story of a young preacher who went to the house of an older lady.
  22. He was new to the church and was trying to be a good pastor, and was invited to her house for Sunday dinner.

He arrives and the settings were set for him.

He noticed that the plate wasn’t clean, but still had remnants of food on it.

Trying to be polite, he didn’t say anything but she noticed his discomfort.

The lady said, “I’m sorry, but that’s the best cold-water could can do.”

He thought, oh that makes sense: She is poor and doesn’t have a dishwasher and maybe she doesn’t have a hot water heater.

As food is put on his dirty plate, he picked up his fork and noticed the same. I’m sorry, she said but that’s the best cold water can do.

He doesn’t want to offend, so he eats with a smile praying a little extra for the blessing upon the meal.

Dessert is served, and he notices the same thing: The bowl isn’t super clean and the spoon was OK so he eats. Again, the older lady apologizes, “That’s the Best cold water can do.”

After lunch is served and eaten, the pastor offers to help her wash the dishes hoping he could show her a better way.

But the lady stops him and says, “Don’t worry, Cold-water will take care of it.” She then whistles, calling her dog “Come here cold-water, time to wash the dishes: he comes, she puts the plates and bowls down, let’s the dog lick it up and puts the dishes into the cabinet.”

  1. Even the friendliest pastor wouldn’t come back to her house for lunch.
  2. Hopefully, you would never subject your friends or pastor to that kind of behavior, so why do we expect the Holy Spirit to dwell in our lives while we subject Him to all sorts of sin and nastiness.
  3. Paul adds a conditional word “May”.
  4. He prays that Christ “May” dwell.
  5. What are some of the conditions?
  6. First, is faith.
  7. Others include:
  8. Habitual disobedience.
  9. Unrepented sin.
  10. Paul is praying that these believers would live such faith filled lives that Jesus would live, stay, and inhabit every part of their lives.

4. Third, Paul prays for Comprehension of God’s love.

  1. Love brings security.
  2. We do our best in an atmosphere of love.
  3. Many of us were taught God’s wrath before we were taught God’s love.
  4. Fear and Love cause different responses.
  5. People motivated by fear will leave the first chance they get.
  6. People motivated by love will stay no matter how difficult the present moment.
  7. Paul wrote to the pastor of Ephesus in 2 Timothy 1:7 (CSB)
  8. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power,, love, and sound judgment.
  9. God wants us to live in love, not in fear.
  10. Remember that God’s love is different than our love.
  11. Love is not the absence of discipline:
  12. God disciplines those HE loves.
  13. In Junior High and HS, I had a new baseball coach each year.
  14. One coach, however, demanded the absolute best:
  15. We showed up to practice.
  16. We ran, and did pushups and learned the cost of mistakes.
  17. We conditioned and dressed for success.
  18. Several of the other coaches didn’t even have practices.
  19. My first game with one, I didn’t even have a uniform.
  20. The first time I ever pitched wasn’t in practice but in a game.
  21. 20 years later, guess who I still love the most: The one who loved me enough to encourage, discipline, and push me to be the best I could be.
  22. God’s love is also not fickle.
  23. He loves you through thick, thin, and ups and downs.
  24. The purpose of God’s love is to provide safety for you to grow.

‘Being rooted in God’s love provides a stability and security from which to grow.[3]

5. Lastly, Paul prays to know Christ’s love so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.

  1. “the fullness of God includes the infusion both of divine power and of divine love.[4]
  2. 1. Power, without love, is tyranny.
  3. Love, without power, is impotence.
  4. God wants us to be filled with BOTH power and love.
  5. This is not anyone else’s power.
  6. Not the power of Rome.
  7. Not the power of a false-god.
  8. But to know the FULLNESS of God in a personal way.
  9. Paul depicts a life that constantly being filled with God’s love.
  10. I’m so sad that many Christians believe that at Salvation, that is as good as it gets.
  11. Paul described a life with Jesus that grows ever deeper the more we explore and mine the depths of His love.
  12. Thus Paul prays for them to KNOW Christ’s love and to be filled to the measure.
  13. Paul calls us to a relationship of love for Christ, not lust.
  14. Lust is shallow and shrinks over time; whereas love deepens with time.
  15. Paul’s prayer is that we might grow in our love for Jesus!

Close: To Him who is able…

  1. May be this seems impossible.
  2. To grow in love for Jesus seems nice for others but not possible for you.
  3. Other people experience Jesus, and others have encounters, and others receive miracles, and others are used in the gift: but not you.
  4. Paul ends by saying: To Him who is able to Ephesians 3:20 (CSB)
  5. 20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—

 

  1. God is not limited by your prayers or by your thinking or by your power.
  2. Because He is able to do ABOVE our thinking, and our asking, and our ability.
  3. Each week, as we pray, we are not praying to ourselves or to each other.
  4. But we are praying to Jesus!
  5. The One who is seated at the right hand.
  6. The One who conquered death.
  7. The One who all power in heaven and earth has been given.
  8. Thus we pray with boldness and confident access, and to Him be glory in the church and in every generation.

Prayer.

 

 

[1] Bock, Darrell L. 2019. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Edited by Eckhard J. Schnabel. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. London: Inter-Varsity Press.

 

[2] Ibid.

[3] Bock, Darrell L. 2019. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Edited by Eckhard J. Schnabel. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. London: Inter-Varsity Press.

[4] Osborne, Grant R. 2017. Ephesians: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The Big Reveal. 11/13/22. Ephesians 3:1-13

Ephesian Sermon 10 The Big Reveal

 

 

The Big Reveal

 

11.13.22

Ephesians Sermon 10

Ephesians 3:1–13 (CSB)

For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that he gave me for you. The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. By reading this you are able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power.

This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is according to his eternal purpose accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him. 13 So, then, I ask you not to be discouraged over my afflictions on your behalf, for they are your glory.

Introduction. Is anyone here a fan of mysteries?

  1. Many people love mysteries.
  2. A good mystery is fine to watch or read.
  3. But what I hate those mysteries that you know in the first 5 minutes who the bad guy is or who done it, you know like the ones on Hallmark.
  4. I also hate a mystery that tries to surprise you so bad that the result doesn’t make sense.
  5. But a well thought out mystery is pretty entertaining.
  6. The Spiritual life contains real mysteries.
  7. The Greek word for mystery means “a matter to the knowledge which initiation is necessary; a secret which would                    remain unless there is special revelation.” (Mounce 3696).
  8. Humanity is COMPLETELY dependent upon Special Revelation:
  9. In other words, we can only know what God wants us to know and what He reveals.
  10. Examples:
  11. What did Jesus write in the dirt when confronted with the woman caught in adultery: We will never know because God did not reveal it.
  12. What did John in Revelation see, but was told not to tell it? We can’t know because it wasn’t revealed.
  13. When is Jesus returning? We will know just as soon as God wants us to know.
  14. The Good News is, God reveals a LOT.
  15. The even better news is that what God has revealed through Jesus is the best news of all.
  16. Paul is talking about the Great Mystery of Christ:
  17. The mystery is how “Gentiles are coheirs with the Jews to receive the promises we have in Jesus.”

 

 

1. Why was this a mystery?

  1. The fact that God included both Jews and Gentiles seems pretty obvious to us.
  2. But we have the benefit of reading backwards.
  3. When you read a mystery from the back forward, all of the pieces make much more sense.
  4. When we read the Bible from this side, it is much easier to see how God always intended salvation and presence for all people.
  5. But this was not clear then.
  6. The Apostles struggled, wondering if this salvation was for people other than Jews.
  7. When we are introduced to Paul in Acts, he is first completely against Gentiles and anyone who believed that Jesus was the Son of God.
  8. It wasn’t until He had an experience with Jesus Himself that the mystery was revealed to Him.
  9. Education is helpful, but is no substitute for revelation.
  10. English speakers like us are weird.
  11. We believe that everyone can understand English if we speak SlOw eNoUgH.
  12. But if someone does not know English, then speaking it slowly does not help.
  13. We often think that the key to helping people know something is by educating them.
  14. I’m all for education.
  15. But without revelation, education leads to hollow understanding.
  16. Paul had the best education in the world, but still could not understand this UNTIL it was revealed to him through Jesus.
  17. I encourage all of you to read, study, and be diligent in growing in grace and understanding.
  18. But sometimes what you need is not more information but Revelation.
  19. The revelation that Paul had with Jesus radically transformed him.

2. Transformations are not wasted when others benefit.

  1. Often we think of spirituality and religion as very personal.
  2. That’s true.
  3. But experiences with Jesus were never meant to be kept to yourself.
  4. Testimonies are meant to be shared.
  5. Isn’t it amazing how we rarely share great experiences, but have no problem sharing bad reviews?
  6. We have tons of people sharing their bad experiences with religion, but not nearly as many sharing their great experiences with Jesus!
  7. The Kingdom of God is expanded through our testimony!
  8. When we share what Jesus has done for us, we are expanding the Kingdom.
  9. When we point people to Jesus, through Scripture and experience, we are proclaiming the Gospel.
  10. God will use dreams and visions in places where people do not have easy access, but He prefers to use people like you and I to share where sharing is possible.
  11. The Apostle was thankful for his encounter with Jesus.
  12. He had this great insight into a mystery that no one else had understood until this point.
  13. So Paul does what He was supposed to: He shared the message and the experience.
  14. And it wasn’t only Paul who received this message, but the holy apostles and prophets were also being shown the same great message through the Holy Spirit.
  15. Two components to transformation:
  16. The first is the revelation or experience.
  17. Maybe you experienced healing, or God’s provision, or God has taught you or shown you something that is necessary for today.
  18. This is not limited to Apostles or Preachers, but is for every believer who desires to be used by God.
  19. The second component is grace.
  20. Paul, in verse 8, says that “grace was given me-the least of all the saints-to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ…
  21. Paul did not deserve this revelation or knowledge.
  22. Paul, all too well, remembered the wrongs he had done before he met Jesus.
  23. Yet God, who is rich in mercy and in grace, used Paul in a mighty way.
  24. Every one of us is God’s workmanship.
  25. Every one of us is eligible to experience God for ourselves, and share Jesus with others.
  26. When God starts using you, here are a few things to remember:

#1. I’m being used because of God’s grace, not because of my merit.

#2. If I won’t share with others, opportunities will be taken away.

#3. Jesus is the main character in this story: It’s not about me.

  1. This week I was at a powerful conference with 1st Responders.
  2. These 1st responders told their stories of encountering suicide, PTSI and depression and coming out on the other side.
  3. Amazing stories of survival and resilience:
  4. What is different about their stories and ours?
  5. When we tell of our suffering and survival, we point people past ourselves and to Jesus.

3. Paul bookends this section with the truth of affliction:

  1. Paul is a prisoner, but do not be discouraged over affliction.
  2. He starts this section with “I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus.”
  3. He ends with, “So, then, I ask you not to be discouraged over my afflictions on your behalf, for they are your glory.”
  4. What does Paul have in mind here?
  5. The Answer is found in Acts 21.
  6. Paul arrives in Jerusalem.
  7. Paul never travels alone, always bringing fellow workers with him.
  8. The Jewish Apostles are playing some politics, and ask Paul to go and pay an offering at the Temple on behalf of some Jewish background believers.

Acts 21:26–35 (CSB)

THE RIOT IN THE TEMPLE COMPLEX

26 So the next day, Paul took the men, having purified himself along with them, and entered the temple, announcing the completion of the purification days when the offering would be made for each of them. 27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him, 28 shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What’s more, he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.

30 The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul, dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut.

31 As they were trying to kill him, word went up to the commander of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in chaos. 32 Taking along soldiers and centurions, he immediately ran down to them. Seeing the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander approached, took him into custody, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He asked who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing and some another. Since he was not able to get reliable information because of the uproar, he ordered him to be taken into the barracks. 35 When Paul got to the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd,

 

  1. Paul is arrested, goes through years of court, and is presently waiting his day in court because he was falsely accused.
  2. He was falsely accused for permitting an Ephesian into the section of the Temple reserved only for Jews.
  3. The Ephesians are a large part of why Paul is under arrest.
  4. BUT, Paul does not blame them, discourage them, or curse them.
  5. Instead, he suffers so that they may fully appreciate the access they now have in Jesus.
  6. Even if Paul had brought Trophimus the Ephesian into the inner realm of the Temple, that would have been ok with God.
  7. The man-made barriers had been torn down, even though many did not realize that yet.
  8. The mystery revealed to Paul was now being lived out through them.
  9. With Jesus, there is access to platforms and places that we would never have had access to before.
  10. Every believer is seated at the right hand with Jesus.
  11. Every believer is a co-heir with Christ.
  12. Now what Paul said makes sense:
  13. 12 In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him.
  14. Trophimus probably did not enter the court of the Jews.
  15. If he did, he had to hide.
  16. If he did, he had to read the sign that said “Gentiles die who cross and it’s your own fault.”
  17. But Paul says: Forget that sign, and forget that Temple.
  18. Jesus gives us bold and confident access, through faith in Jesus, to the Father.
  19. And that, my friends, is far better.
  20. We have bold and confident access to the Father because we belong there.
  21. This is not arrogance, this is grace.
  22. This is not pride, this is love.
  23. This is Jesus, bringing people like us into the Kingdom saying “No One Belongs Here more than You.”
  24. This is Paul, who can call himself the “least of all the saints” (vs 8), saying we all belong with Jesus.
  25. Jews, Greeks, Male, Female, Slave or Free.
  26. We all have one Person in common: That’s Jesus.

4. It’s time to make this Good News Known.

  1. It’s time for the Big Reveal.
  2. How is this happening?
  3. The answer is Verse 10:
  4. 10 This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens.
  5. First, the inclusion of Gentiles is not a mistake, it’s wisdom.
  6. The proper use of knowledge and information is wisdom.
  7. Paul is reminding his readers: God did not make a mistake, and the inclusion of people like us is not a correction; it’s part of the plan.
  8. Not only is it wisdom, but it’s multi-faceted.
  9. Paul uses a Greek word that points to the beautiful, intricate detail of a flower or embroidered pattern.[i]
  10. God’s plan, and the wisdom involved, is not simple, but requires the creator to point out the intricate details so that the person admiring may appreciate the complexity.
  11. Second, this wisdom is being made known through the Church.
  12. Who is the Church?
  13. It’s Jesus’ body of saints, joined with Him.
  14. It’s the gathering together of people like us.
  15. The Church is the assembling together of people who share a common story: I was lost, but Jesus found me.
  16. The Church are the people that is loved like Jesus’ body, His Bride, and His Temple.
  17. The Church is God’s chosen instrument to reveal the message of the mystery!
  18. Third, the rulers and authorities in the heavens are put on notice.[ii]
  19. Remember, that Ephesus was a city full of magic and darkness.
  20. Because of the centrality of magic in the Roman province of Asia (the result of the temple of Artemis and its influence), Paul places great emphasis in Colossians and Ephesians on the defeat of the cosmic powers.[1]
  21. Many of the believers in Ephesus would never go to the Temple in Jerusalem, look at the sign that forbid their entrance and say “That no longer has any power over me.”
  22. But every one of them would walk outside the door of the house, and walk along the streets, and see the temples of Artemis or the idols cast in her image and say “not today Satan.”
  23. There are real demonic forces.
  24. Just as there is a positive hierarchy with angels, there is also a hierarchy in the demonic.
  25. There are spiritual forces at work over nations, mindsets, and cultures.
  26. But the news the Church is to proclaim is “You are defeated!”
  27. They may still be at work, but they can’t win.
  28. They may still fight, but they are also doomed.
  29. We are the messengers of the message that Jesus wins, Satan loses.

Close: Today, I believe it to be appropriate that we reflect on the win.

  1. I love time around the altars.
  2. A time that we confess our need to Jesus and to each other.
  3. They are usually times of surrender to Jesus, and prayers for healing, all of which is appropriate.
  4. But today, I want us to take a few moments to profess the message that Jesus wins, and Satan has lost.
  5. What would it look like for us to live within that power?
  6. Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, never forgot that He has already won.
  7. We are not victims to circumstances, but we are more than conquerors.
  8. Today, can we gather around the front for a few minutes and remind the enemy that he is defeated?
  9. A few minutes to speak the name of Jesus over our lives and families and communities!
  10. This week, Licking was on KY3 news for all the drug deaths in the prison, we need to remind the enemy that his days are finished.
  11. Prayer.

 

 

[1] Osborne, Grant R. 2017. Ephesians: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[i] It is polypoikilos (the simple form poikilos is used in 1 Pet. 4:10), a word that means ‘variegated’, and that was used in classical Greek writers with reference to cloth or flowers, and so here it suggests ‘the intricate beauty of an embroidered pattern’ (Robinson) or the endless variety of colours in flowers. Such, the apostle says, is the wisdom of God that the church declares.[i] TNTC commentary on Ephesians 3:10

 

[ii] Because of the centrality of magic in the Roman province of Asia (the result of the temple of Artemis and its influence), Paul places great emphasis in Colossians and Ephesians on the defeat of the cosmic powers. The language of “making known” here does not mean that the church is to evangelize the demonic forces. They have made an eternal decision to oppose God (Rev 12:4, 7–9) and are beyond redemption. Rather, the church reiterates Christ’s preaching to the spirits in prison (1 Pet 3:19) and tells the cosmic powers they have lost. It does so through its victorious ministry in the world. Though they have rejected God, the fallen angels are supremely aware of his wisdom, for   p 90  they know the Scriptures and see God’s wisdom worked out every day in the lives of his victorious people.[ii]  Osborne Commentary

11/6/2022 “Aliens, A Peacemaker, and a New Family”. Ephesians Series

Ephesian Sermon 9 Aliens a Peacemaker

 

Aliens, a Peacemaker, and a new Family.

11/6/22

Ephesian Sermon 9

 

 

Ephesians 2:11–21 (CSB)

11 So, then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. 12 At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, 15 he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death. 17 He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

Aliens, a Peacemaker, and a new Family.

Introduction: Have you ever been in a place and knew that you didn’t belong there?

  1. I’ve felt this way several times, and mostly in a city’s Union Station.
  2. The first time was in 2003 in Union Station in Washington D.C.
  3. I was in high school, from Podunk Missouri.
  4. It was the first time ever seeing homeless people or being around a bustling city.
  5. Another time, in 2019, I was in Denver at Union Station.
  6. I enjoyed Denver.
  7. But it’s so liberal and legal marijuana was everywhere.
  8. As nice as it was downtown, and at Union Station, I just felt like I didn’t belong.
  9. But I will never forget in 2017 being at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.
  10. I had meetings in Anaheim and I wanted to go to a Dodger Game.
  11. No Big deal.
  12. I told a friend I was traveling with and said I would take the bus. They told me I was too country to ride the bus to LA. So a friend from there drove.
  13. We go downtown, toured Azusa Street, and made our way to Union Station to park our car and hitch a bus to the stadium.
  14. When I stepped into Union Station, I knew I was not in MO anymore.
  15. The people didn’t wave. They didn’t smile as they walked by. They were either in a hurry or strung out.
  16. They looked different, smelled different, and saw the world very differently for me.
  17. I loved the Baseball game, but I couldn’t wait to get out of Union Station.
  18. We’ve all experienced being out-of-place.
  19. Another word for that is alienated.
  20. But one of the most powerful gestures a human can do is to make someone feel welcomed and at home.
  21. To make someone feel like they belong, that is an amazing gift.
  22. Many times, Julie and I have been invited to your family gatherings and treated like “one of the kids”.
  23. What we strive to do here at this Church is to help people feel like they belong through friendliness and hospitality.
  24. We have room to grow in that area, especially as we grow.
  25. But if you’ve ever walked into a church and felt like you didn’t belong or were interrupting their private, family get together, then you know how important a welcoming church is.
  26. This desire to be welcoming and inclusive stems from the heart of Jesus.
  27. We were all sinners, aliens apart from the family.
  28. But Jesus brings diverse people together in a way that reflects the God’s original plan for people like us.

First, let’s talk about Aliens.

1. God’s original plan always involved people like us.

  1. Genesis 1-11 tells the story of God interacting with all of humanity.
  2. Genesis 12 and the rest of the Old Testament tells of God selecting Abraham and blessing the world through the descendants of Abraham.
  3. Abraham is both the Father of all Jews while still being a Gentile.
  4. Abraham received all of the promises and the Covenant of God before accepting circumcision as the sign.
  5. LONG before the Law was given.
  6. God’s word to Abraham: Through you, all the nations will be blessed.
  7. Although the Old Testament is strictly focused upon the descendants of Abraham, there were always people like us in the mix.
  8. Women like Rahab and Ruth were not Jewish, yet participated in God’s blessings and promises AND become part of the lineage of Jesus.
  9. But there was always a wall and division between Jew and Gentile.
  10. That wall got bigger over the centuries.
  11. By the time of Jesus and Paul’s day, there was a major division between Jews and everyone else (gentiles).
  12. The Jews were very concerned with who was in and who was out.
  13. People always want others to be inclusive, until they are in.
  14. And then they want to be exclusive.
  15. We want people to invite us, but no one else.
  16. We want God to forgive us for our sins, but not that other person.

 

  1. We see a good example of this exclusivity in the example of Peter, who did not want salvation or the Holy Spirit to come upon the Roman Cornelius’ house.

2. The Ephesians began life separated from God.

  1. Paul says all of the ways the Ephesians did not belong:
  2. Not circumcised.
  3. Without Christ
  4. Excluded from citizenship of Israel.
  5. Foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God.
  6. But Jesus changed all of that.
  7. The Ephesians, and Gentiles, might have started off as aliens.
  8. We were foreigners as far as the Jews were concerned.
  9. But Jesus changed that.
  10. BUT NOW IN CHRIST JESUS (vs. 13).
  11. We who were far have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
  12. This is why Paul talks about us being saved by grace through faith just a few verses before.
  13. We had NOTHING going for us.
  14. But when you have Jesus, you have more than enough.

We were aliens, apart from the promises and blessings. But Jesus is our peacemaker.

Let’s talk about Jesus as Peacemaker.

3. For He is our peace (Vs. 14).

  1. Jesus was born a Jew.
  2. He was the perfect fulfilment of the Law and Commandments.
  3. There was no sin in Him, thanks to the virgin birth.
  4. He committed no sin, and thus was sinless and perfect.
  5. Upon the Cross, the sinless Son of God became sin who knew no sin. (2 Cor. 5:21).
  6. The Gospel John saw Jesus as the Lamb of God, that would shed His blood as the only perfect sacrifice.
  7. Hebrews tells of Jesus ascending into heaven and offering his sinless blood upon the altar making atonement for our sins.
  8. Thus, Jesus, the perfect Son of God, whose body was pierced by the sinful Romans, shed His blood so that you and I might experience peace and wholeness.
  9. Paul has a very specific picture in focus.
  10. In Jerusalem, between the temple proper and the Court of the Gentiles, there was a stone wall on which there was an inscription in Greek and Latin: ‘No one of another nation to enter within the fence and enclosure round the temple. And whoever is caught will have himself to blame that his death ensues.[1]
  11. In other words, there was a physical wall that represented the Jews’ view of inclusion and exclusion.
  12. Jews alone could draw close to God.
  13. The Gentiles would always be limited and restricted.
  14. But Jesus abolished such practices and brought peace through the Cross.
  15. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law, creating a new level of peace.

4. Jesus made no effect the law…

  1. If you remember back to Exodus and Leviticus, there are a lot of commandments.
  2. Those commandments were given to guide Israel in living a God honoring, holy life in the midst of Canaan.
  3. The Law and Commandments pointed people to the holiness of God and their sinfulness.
  4. Every sacrifice and offering pointed forward to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
  5. Once the perfect sacrifice was made, no more were needed.
  6. The good news to the Ephesian believers was: you don’t have to be Jewish to follow Jesus.
  7. Because of Christ’s work, we Gentiles do not have to live by the Law.
  8. We don’t have to be Jewish to be loved by Jesus.
  9. The Law didn’t bring peace.
  10. The Apostle Paul said it was the Law that showed us our sin but could not save us from our sin.
  11. You don’t have to become more Jewish to be loved by Jesus.
  12. There is a dangerous element in American Christianity that is pushing people to become “Messianic Jews”, sometimes called Hebrew Roots Movement.
  13. Examples: You say the name YESHUA instead of Jesus.
  14. You say YAWHEH instead of God.
  15. They demand you celebrate all the Jewish Feasts.
  16. Might even wear a Tallit or prayer shawl.
  17. I know this because I went down the Messianic Road pretty hard in High School.
  18. I love the Jewishness and the history of Scripture.
  19. I learned some of the prayers.
  20. I attended a few conferences.
  21. I love seeing Christ in the Tabernacle and in the Feasts.
  22. Someday, I would love to go to Israel and walk where Jesus walked.
  23. This was dangerous because, of my personal love of history and rule following, it made sense.
  24. There is value in understanding the Jewishness of Scripture but that does not result in Salvation.
  25. If being Jewish, and following the Law, was what God intended then there would have been no need for a Cross and the Jewish people would not have crucified Jesus.
  26. If this is what we were to follow the Law and become Messianic Jews, then Paul would have told the Ephesians to get in line and start looking like him.
  27. Instead, Paul focuses on how Jesus, the Great Peacemaker, made peace where there was no peace.
  28. Jesus took two separate and distinct pieces and made a unified whole with the Cross at the center.

Biblical peace is more than a personal sense of tranquility and well-being. It carries the idea of harmony, first with God and then with those around us. It includes the idea of order and wholeness, of disparate areas of life and people groups coming together with a cessation of conflict and a sense of security.[2]

  1. This same peace is proclaimed to those who were near (Jews) and those who were far (everyone else).
  2. Jesus is the Savior of both Jew and Gentile.

Jesus, the great Peacemaker, brings the aliens into the fold and creates a new family.

5. One, Unified, Family.

18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. [3]

  1. Paul stresses the unity, where there used to be division.
  2. One Body
  3. One Kingdom (citizens)
  4. One Building.
  5. All made possible through One Spirit and One Cross.
  6. We sin against God when we add division where God has declared unity.
  7. Diversity is different than unity.
  8. It is possible to be distinct and still unified.
  9. Marriage is a great example:
  10. Two individuals become One flesh, yet have distinction.
  11. Julie and I are one, yet have different tastes, likes and desires.
  12. This week was a great example:
  13. We went to Texas Roadhouse and had amazing steaks.
  14. I ordered mine Medium…she ordered hers WELL-Well done.
  15. Yet, we both were in unity that we loved the experience.
  16. We did not replace the Jewish people, but joined with them through Jesus.
  17. We are distinct, yet unified through Jesus.
  18. Before the Cross, only the Torah and circumcision would bring unity.
  19. But now, through Jesus, we are unified.
  20. Jesus tore down the old dividing walls to build a new Temple, the Church.
  21. Jesus is the cornerstone.
  22. Cornerstones had to be perfect, because if they weren’t the building would not be right.
  23. Jesus is perfect and we build upon and from him.
  24. The foundation is the apostles and prophets.
  25. This is not the Law or Torah, but the Word and ministry given to the Apostles and prophets and the other offices.
  26. He emphasizes this again in chapter 3 and 4.
  27. What is in view here does not seem to be only Scripture, but the gifts that God gives the church.
  28. Ephesians 4 says “and God gave some to be Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the saints and “build up the body of Christ”.
  29. Again, we see the building analogy.
  30. Jesus was serious when He told Peter “Upon this rock I will build my Church.”
  31. God is still building and perfecting the body and building we call the Church.
  32. What’s the purpose?
  33. Notice Vs 21-22:

21 In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

  1. For God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
  2. Just as the Tabernacle and Temple of old held the Spirit and presence of God, now through Christ we are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
  3. This is not an individual promise:
  4. In view is not our individuality.
  5. In view is the unity of the corporate body.
  6. Do we need the Church?
  7. Absolutely, because we are being built together for God’s dwelling.
  8. To reject the fellowship of believers is to reject the body of Christ and His dwelling.

Conclusion: No One Belongs Here More than You.

  1. For the past several years, this phrase has been on our door and our wall.
  2. I have seen other churches use similar phrases, but I remember when Whitley Hart told me that she believed that should be our motto.
  3. We try to live that out, because it reflects the heart of Jesus.
  4. In our natural state, we are aliens.
  5. We were excluded because of our sin.
  6. But Jesus made forgiveness and salvation possible and available.
  7. He has seated us at the right hand of the Father, a platform we did not deserve.
  8. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.
  9. Jesus brought peace and gave us a new family.
  10. This morning, I’m reminded that one of the attacks of the enemy is to remind you of your past.
  11. By doing so, we forget what Jesus has done for us.
  12. When that happens, we stop living with Jesus and start living for ourselves.
  13. Perhaps the past few weeks have been brutal for you.
  14. Crisis after crisis.
  15. Tragedy after tragedy.
  16. Pain upon pain and disappointment upon disappointment.
  17. If so, I remind you who you are in Jesus.
  18. The enemy’s attacks are real, but so too is the victory in Jesus.
  19. Only Jesus can bring peace where there never was peace.
  20. Today, I want to pray prayers of encouragement, strength, and hope for you.

 

 

 

 

[1] Foulkes, Francis. 1989. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[2] Osborne, Grant R. 2017. Ephesians: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Christian Standard Bible. 2020. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Sunday 10/30/22. ” Raised and Seated.”

Ephesian Sermon 8 Raised and Seated

 

Raised and Seated

 

Ephesians Sermon 8

10/30/22

 

Ephesians 2:4–10 (CSB)

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

 

Intro. Our New Life begins with Resurrection.

  1. People are not basically good.
  2. Every two-year-old proves this truth:
  3. Tell a two-year-old to mind, and they won’t.
  4. Two-year-olds are gifts from God to remind people that we can be cute, and guilty.
  5. Even old people can be cute but sinful.
  6. I once watched a couple women at the Senior citizens get in a fight over who made better gravy for the biscuits.
  7. The worst day of the week to shop at Wal-Mart is when the seniors get their checks.
  8. Joking aside, we have all seen enough to know how dark and sinful people can be.
  9. The Apostle Paul was not immune.
  10. He knew how sinful he was, and he reminds all of us that we were all DEAD in our trespasses and sins.
  11. But it doesn’t have to end there.
  12. You do not have to stay “dead”.
  13. Because GOD who is rich in mercy makes resurrection available to those who were once dead.
  14. It’s a shame we only talk about Christ’s resurrection and Ascension once a year.
  15. Because Jesus’ resurrection and Ascension set the pattern for us.
  16. When you give your life to Jesus, you too are raised from dead to life.
  17. But, there is one more aspect:
  18. When we give our lives to Jesus we are raised from death to life and SEATED at the right hand of the Father with Jesus!
  19. Though you may feel like you are just hanging in limbo, Paul says that our spirit person is already seated with Jesus in heaven.

1. Have a seat.

  1. Before we appreciate where we are sitting, we do well to remember where we used to sit.
  2. Illustration; Has anyone ever had really good seats to a ball game?
  3. Growing up, I always loved the top rows and the bleachers at Busch Stadium.
  4. I have been in the cheap seats in 2 Busch Stadiums, Coors Field in Denver, and Dodger Stadium in LA.
  5. And all of those tickets have something in common: I paid for them.
  6. But It was a thrill just to be there.
  7. But on two occasions, I had the opportunity to sit in really good seats.
  8. Twice, I’ve had seats where you could actually see the baseball.
  9. Once you’ve had really good seats, the cheap seats lose their thrill.
  10. However, The bad seats helped me appreciate the good seats.
  11. Ephesians tells us that Jesus gives us access to a platform that we could have never expected.
  12. Kings, power brokers, and even Satan have tried for these seats, but they have never sat in the position of God’s right hand.
  13. Then, Jesus ascends to heaven to reclaim his position.
  14. But the next part is what I can’t grasp.
  15. Paul says, through Christ Jesus, we are then seated at Christ’s right hand.
  16. If this wasn’t in the Bible, I would say NO WAY.
  17. How could it be possible that people, like you and I, are seated at the right hand of the Father because of Jesus?
  18. Jesus is at the position of power and authority with the Father.
  19. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
  20. Yet, this is exactly what Scripture says happens.
  21. And it’s not just an invitation (I had to be careful with language).
  22. At salvation, Jesus does not just invite us to this spiritual platform, He seats us.
  23. You don’t have to do anything or earn your spot, because we are saved by Grace, lest we boast about our work ethic.
  24. Therefore, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same one that brought us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
  25. It’s the same Spirit.
  26. It’s the same power working.
  27. It’s all the same.
  28. There isn’t a 1st Century version of the Spirit and a 21st Century version of the Spirit.
  29. There isn’t a New Testament power and a lesser, modern-day power.
  30. The Same Father, the Same Jesus, the Same Holy Spirit, the Same Power has raised us to the right hand.
  31. The position of sitting signifies that the work is done
  32. To be seated means that your part is done.
  33. The work is done.
  34. The show is about ready to begin.
  35. Have a seat, Jesus says, while He brings to pass the victory He has promised and ensured through His blood.

2. Because of this, Jesus’ enemies are our enemies.

  1. When we face attacks, you aren’t the ultimate aim.
  2. It’s because of the God you love.
  3. The attacks are because of who you serve.
  4. Following Jesus puts in the crosshairs of Satan.
  5. Satan can’t hurt God, so he hurts God’s people.
  6. The Good News: Jesus’ victory is our victory.
  7. We, too, wait until the final enemy is defeated.
  8. Revelation tells of Satan’s final days.
  9. Soon, there will be a day when the believer experiences no more pain, sorrow, or tears.
  10. Soon the day will come when every knee bows and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord.
  11. But until that day, every so called “win” of the enemy is a hollow victory.
  12. Because Satan cannot stop God or hurt Him.
  13. And you and I are seated at Christ’s right hand in the heavenly places.
  14. Yes, the pain you feel is real.
  15. The consequences are painful.
  16. The struggle is real.
  17. The Apostle Paul knows, because he writes this under arrest.
  18. In a few years, his life would end at the hands of a Roman soldier and his sword.
  19. Paul knew ALL about how Satan fights and attacks, but he also knew that Satan could not touch his spirit.
  20. Because his spirit man was already seated at Jesus’ right hand, and Jesus’ victory was his victory.

3. All because God is rich in mercy.

  1. Paul doesn’t linger long on this thought.
  2. He considers what he says next to have great importance.
  3. I know most of us want to more detail here.
  4. What do the thrones look like.
  5. What kind of power comes with it?
  6. The focus is not upon us.
  7. Paul uses all sorts of prepositional phrases to remind us who is in focus here:
  8. Over and over: in Christ is the theme.
  9. Apart from Jesus, there is no benefit or blessing.
  10. But in Jesus, all things have been made available and access granted.
  11. Reminder: Apart from Jesus, none of these promises are true.
  12. It’s not because you are a good person.
  13. It’s not because you have saved yourself.
  14. For we are saved by Grace, through faith and you have no reason to boast.
  15. So why does God does this?

4. So that He might display and make known the immeasurable riches.

  1. Paul declares, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.”
  2. The person you are becoming because of Jesus gives God glory.
  3. Your story may be riddled with pits, holes, and very dark places.
  4. But in Jesus we are able to point people to the miracle, life changing power of God.
  5. We are proof that Jesus changes lives.
  6. We are His workmanship.
  7. Paul’s uses this illustration elsewhere including 2 Timothy 2:20, the pastor of Ephesus.
  8. Every house had noble and non-noble vessels.
  9. They called them honorable and dishonorable.
  10. I learned years ago that just because you can wash something, some dishes should never be used for certain purposes.
  11. I might have been guilty of uses one of Julie’s nice dishes to bail water out of the toilet (years ago).
  12. Many of you have the fine-china and the paper plates.
  13. Both get the job done but in very different ways.
  14. But remember, that both the person who gives their life to Jesus and the person who suffers the wrath of God’s righteous judgment BOTH bring God glory but in very different ways.
  15. The Apostle says we are created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD works.
  16. Notice whose workmanship this belongs to.

1.We are God’s workmanship.

  1. Humanity is created in the image of God.
  2. Intricately and beautifully made.
  3. Sin mars the image of God and makes us look unrecognizable.
  4. That is what sin does.
  5. All around us we see the beauty of God’s workmanship being maligned and marred, and messed up.
  6. How is that happening?
  7. The enemy says, “If god created them male and female, let’s destroy Gods distinction.”
  8. The enemy says, “If God made life as something precious, let us kill and destroy as many as possible.”
  9. The enemy says, “Let there arise monsters, like Jeffrey Dahmer and encourage people to watch his life story on Netflix and further the degradation God’s image in humanity.
  10. The enemy says, “Let’s cheapen God’s image in humanity through pornography and let’s throw it in the trash like an aborted fetus. “
  11. Because we are created in Christ’s image, if we are his workmanship, then we have a job to do.
  12. We have the responsibility of showing the world the beauty of Jesus.
  13. We have the responsibility to expose Satan’s plan to destroy and blame God.  (What he has done since the beginning).

Close: In the coming days God is going to use you to display His kindness, mercy, and power.

  1. So don’t forget.
  2. You are God’s workmanship.
  3. You are created for good works.
  4. The enemy cannot eternally hurt you because you are spiritually seated at the right hand of the Father.
  5. All of this is true when we stay “in Christ Jesus”.
  6. Let’s Pray

 

Resurrected, not Resuscitated

Ephesians Sermon 7

Resurrected, not Resuscitated

10.16.2022

Ephesians Sermon 7

Ephesians 2:1–10 (CSB)

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Introduction: Paul has talked about the victory, now he talks about the battle.

  1. The first chapter is beautiful.
  2. It exalts Jesus and all that He provides for us.
  3. Jesus is victorious, seated at the right hand of the Father.
  4. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension are the reasons for celebrating.
  5. Now, Paul shifts to talking about how Christ’s victory brings us victory.
  6. To talk about victories, we have to confess that we went through battles.
  7. I’m afraid that in our desire to have a positive confession, as some call it, we live in denial of the battles that we have endured and that Christ has overcome.
  8. Paul never tells us to deny our obstacles or our struggles.
  9. By denying what we are going through, we deny the reality of Jesus’ power to overcome.
  10. If the struggle isn’t real, the victory isn’t real.
  11. Before we can know our position in Christ, we need to know where our position was in sin.

1. I was Dead in my sin, not just dying in it.

  1. There’s a difference between dead and dying.
  2. I wasn’t dying in my trespasses and sin; I was DEAD in them.
  3. I didn’t need CPR, resuscitating me. I needed resurrection.
  4. Spiritually speaking, without Jesus we are dead in our sins.
  5. Physical death is an event, and we can mark it with a gravestone.
  6. Spiritual death is a state of existence, and it is the default mode of humanity.
  7. The only way out of this mode is to experience a spiritual resurrection.
  8. Paul says we were dead in our trespasses and sins.
  9. Paul is using these two words almost as synonyms to stress the significance of the distance between us and God.
  10. We are just wrong, we are wrong TWICE!
  11. We were hopelessly lost, Paul wants us to remember.
  12. The word trespasses or transgressions has a legal tone: to take a false-step.
  13. In our old life, we are walking falsely against God.
  14. He says “step right”, we “step left”.
  15. He says “up” we go “down”.
  16. He says “here is the boundary, do not pass”, we step across the line and violate God and His Word.
  17. The great theologian, Bugs Bunny, once faced a terrible dilemma to hit someone in the face with a pie: He says “If I doood it, I get a whoopin: I doood it.
  18. The first sin was the trespassing of a God ordained boundary.
  19. Sins are taking false-steps against God, often as we take false-steps against each other.
  20. The word used for sins pictures the missing of the mark.
  21. Regardless of what name or title we attach to it, we all were dead in our trespasses (plural) and sins (plural).
  22. It didn’t matter if your story was like the Apostle Paul’s, or like the Ephesians, we all were dead and                                            need of resurrection.
  23. The longer you are a Christian, the easier it is to forget how sinful you were.
  24. Time and distance has a way of sugar-coating and whitewashing the truth.
  25. They were not necessarily the “good-old” days.
  26. We easily forget the depths of the pit that Jesus saved us from.
  27. One of my favorite attributes of the Apostle Paul is that he remained clear on how lost and sinful he was.
  28. Paul knew who he was in Christ, but he never forgot who he was without Jesus.
  29. That’s why he could call himself the chief of sinners.
  30. That’s why Paul consistently pointed to who he used to be, “the wretched man” of Romans 7.
  31. Please do not forget what God has brought you out of.
  32. Your past tells a glorious story when viewed through the lens of Jesus’ saving work.
  33. The story of where God has brought you gives glory to God and hope to others.

2. Dead in our sins and walking according to the ways of this world.

  1. Paul adds to the analogy a bit: he says we were dead, yet walking according to the ways of this world.
  2. Paul is talking about us spiritually.
  3. Spiritually we were dead.
  4. Nothing in us wanted God.
  5. We couldn’t save ourselves because we were dead.
  6. While we were dead to God and separated from Him, we were still walking around.
  7. What we were walking in was according to the ways of this world.
  8. Years ago, I watched the movie The Green Mile.
  9. In it is a scene where a man is being led to the electric chair.
  10. One of the guards leading him kept proclaiming:
  11. Dead man; we have a dead man walking here.
  12. Even though he was still living physically in that moment, his fate was secured.
  13. He WAS going to die, and that was a fact.
  14. There was no appeal.
  15. There was no hope.
  16. And the guards, on the day of his execution, walked the man down the Green Mile, and led him according to that way which led to death.
  17. Before Jesus saved us, we were being led down the path of death.
  18. We were, in a way, alive but also fully dead.
  19. Without a pardon or intervention, we were dead in our walk.
  20. We were being led, according to the ways of the world which led to death.
  21. Every step was a trespass and transgression against God.
  22. Apart from Christ, there is no life.
  23. That’s Paul’s point.
  24. In the next sentences, he celebrates what Christ has done for us.
  25. But before we can appreciate what Christ has done, we have to remember where we were.
  26. One of the most dangerous beliefs we have today is the belief that good people go to heaven.
  27. Jesus said that No one is good, except God.
  28. There is no good in us.
  29. We are dead apart from Jesus: and dead things stink.
  30. The right question is not: Are you a good person?
  31. Because, without Jesus, we are dead in our sins.
  32. The right question is, “Have you given your old, dead life to Jesus and experienced resurrection with Him?
  33. If we are not walking with Jesus, then we are walking with the Devil.

3. Paul then shows the spiritual forces that were walking with us in death.

Verse 2b:…walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.

  1. Those who are not with Jesus walk, “according to the ruler of the power of the air”.
  2. This reference is to Satan in Scripture.
  3. Even though we may not realize it, there is always spiritual activity happening in the background.
  4. And it isn’t as far away as we think.
  5. In fact, it is working in the disobedient.
  6. Other versions say, “sons of disobedience”.
  7. Who are the disobedient?
  8. It refers to all who do not serve God.
  9. If you are not walking with Jesus, then you are walking with Satan, who is the ruler of the power of the air.
  10. There is no middle-ground in Ephesus.
  11. Either you are walking with Jesus or you are walking according to the ways of this world.
  12. Either you are being led down the “green mile” to your eternal death or you are walking toward eternal life with Jesus.
  13. Most Americans would never admit or agree that they are walking with the Devil.
  14. They may describe themselves as not religious, or they may not believe in Jesus, or they may confess that they aren’t right with God.
  15. But very few people would say they are being led by Satan.
  16. Sam Storms writes: The fact is, all people, young and old, male and female, belong to one of two kingdoms: the kingdom of light or the kingdom of darkness. If people are not “in Christ,” they are “in the power of the devil”—even if they have no visible, sensible awareness of being in the devil’s grip. Thus, not to serve God is to serve Satan, whether you are conscious of it or not.[1]
  17. Scripture talks often about the prevalence of the devil’s influence on our thinking:
  18. Paul told the believers in 1 Cor. 2:16 that they have the mind of Christ.
  19. Phil. 2:5, Paul said we are to adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.
  20. Romans 12 tells us not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
  21. Before Christ, we carried out the “inclinations of our flesh and thoughts”.
  22. Have you ever wondered why people can’t see how sinful some ideas are?
  23. One church member this week texted: “Why can’t simple logic bring the educated yet clouded minds to sensible conclusions?”
  24. Then he asked, “how can so many opinion leaders be perfectly possessed” referring to all of them having such bad and sinful ideas.
  25. The answer is ancient:
  26. Without Jesus, we are pulling from the same thought database.
  27. Without Jesus, our thoughts are sinful, wicked, and place us under wrath.

4. The Solution? But God who is rich in mercy…

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with the conjunction “But”.
  2. But connects two opposing ideas.
  3. But inserts a change in direction.
  4. You are a hard worker, but we are going to have to let you go.
  5. You’re a nice guy, but I’m not interested.
  6. Your hair looks beautiful, but your face is a wreck.
  7. Yet, when Scripture says “But God…” I like what comes next.
  8. Paul describes how sinful and hopeless we were.
  9. BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy…
  10. This has been a common theme already: inheritance, possession, down-payment.
  11. And now, mercy.
  12. And God is rich in it.
  13. And because of God’s great love for us, we receive mercy.
  14. Mercy means we do not receive what we deserve.
  15. Mercy is a gift you do not deserve.
  16. Mercy is a gift you did not earn.
  17. Mercy is initiated by God and from God through Jesus.
  18. Even though we deserve death, God makes mercy available for all who will receive it.

Close: Let us Pause this morning to reflect on God’s Word to us.

  1. Many of us are dealing with spiritual warfare but didn’t realize it.
  2. Then enemy had a hold and claim on you for so long, he is not relinquishing that easily.
  3. Perhaps the people you love are undergoing terrible attacks and you don’t know how to help.
  4. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.
  5. Through believing the Word, prayer, worship, and other spiritual disciplines we endure and overcome the enemy.
  6. This morning is a time for us to pray four ourselves and each other.

 

 

 

[1]        Storms, Sam. Understanding Spiritual Warfare (p. 10). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

 

10/9/22 Jesus is not sitting at the Kiddy Table (PART 2)

Sermon 6 Jesus is not Sitting at the Kiddy Table part 2

 

 

Jesus is not Sitting at the Kiddy Table

Part 2

Ephesians Sermon 6

 

Ephesians 1:20–23 (CSB)

20 He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens—21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given,, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he subjected everything under his feet, and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Introduction. Jesus is the Greatest.

  1. We live in a world full of options.
  2. There are over 1,000 brands of cereal in the world.
  3. There are 4067 coffee companies in the United States in 2022.
  4. One store in Washington state has 114 brands of root beer in the same place.
  5. There are more than 37 million YOUTUBE channels, and more being added.
  6. There are 3,000 brands of mustard in the world.
  7. We live in a world full of options, and most are unnecessary.
  8. We live in a world that wants options for their worship as well.
  9. There have always been options for worship.
  10. Each religion and each civilization had their own pantheon of gods.
  11. In fact, what makes Judaism, Islam, and Christianity so unique and different was they were the first religions who proclaimed there is only ONE GOD.
  12. In our desire to announce that there is only ONE GOD, we have also denied the existence of other spiritual influences.
  13. There is only ONE GOD, who is above all.
  14. But that does not mean there are not other spiritual influences that oppose the One true God.
  15. The Apostle Paul, and the believers in Ephesus, understood this.
  16. The Ephesians confronted the reality of other spiritual powers every single day.
  17. That is why Paul’s words here are so important.

 

1. Paul reminds the Ephesian believers that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

  1. Because all power belongs to Jesus, and because He conquered death, He is elevated to the right hand of the father.
  2. This was not a new position for Jesus.
  3. Jesus is not created.
  4. He is eternal, with no beginning or end.
  5. Jesus was not a new god, elevated to a new position.
  6. Before the world began, Jesus was sitting at the right hand of the Father.
  7. Sorry LEFITES: The right hand is the position of power, authority, and privilege.
  8. This was Jesus’ original seat in eternity.
  9. But when Jesus submitted Himself, and came to Earth as a baby, and put on human flesh, He temporarily gave up that seat.
  10. But when the Father, through the Spirit, raised Christ from the grave, and Jesus ascended to heaven, He took over his seat.
  11. And now, He is seated far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given.
  12. The ancients understood something that we miss:
  13. There are real, spiritual influences in this world.
  14. Every civilization and every culture has manifested these real influences in some way or form.
  15. In Ephesus, they worshipped the Emperor, which gave them Roman privilege.
  16. They also worshipped Artemis which gave them sexual pleasure and promised fertility.
  17. Today, the activity of principalities, powers, and the supernatural is just as real.
  18. Have you ever wondered why every culture has a fascination with the supernatural, paranormal, and the occult?
  19. It isn’t limited to the continent of Africa or majority world countries, but even here in America we are fascinated and affected by these powers in heavenly places.
  20. I profess I do not fully understand how these principalities and powers work.
  21. But I know that when you visit certain cities or communities, you can feel the darkness.
  22. I’ve walked into homes here in Licking and I just knew that there were ungodly things happening that I couldn’t see.
  23. To deny the reality of principalities, powers,          dominions and authorities is to deny Jesus his rightful                               place above and over these things.
  24. The reality is, we have a lot of options to choose from.
  25. Test me in this: Just pay attention to the entertainment and focus upon this month here in the US, and you will see a great interest in the supernatural.
  26. Furthermore, where do you think the ideas for mass-murder come from?
  27. The same spiritual forces that we read about in the Bible are still active today.
  28. And they will be until Jesus returns.
  29. My question for you and I: is Jesus in the rightful place in your life?
  30. This is a consistent and constant battle for me.
  31. Too often, we play a spiritual game like the Elf on the Shelf.
  32. Every day, we put the Jesus Elf somewhere else in our lives and, on Sunday, we put him in the forefront for a couple of hours
  33. Then on Monday, we put him somewhere else, somewhere less conspicuous.

 

2. The Good News: Jesus is not sitting at the kiddy table.

22 And he subjected everything under his feet, and appointed him as head over everything for the church,

  1. Everything is Subjected under his feet.
  2. This phrase is bold ink in most translations.
  3. The bold means this is a direct quotation from the OLD Testament.
  4. Psalms 8:6 and Psalm 110:1.

Psalm 8:5-6

You made him little less than God,

and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;

you put everything under his feet:

Psalm 110:1 (CSB)

This is the declaration of the Lord to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

  1. The picture here is of the ancient practice of stepping on a defeated enemy.
  2. The books of Joshua and Isaiah describe times when the vanquished foe would be brought before the leaders.
  3. The victor would either step on the neck of the enemy, or…
  4. They would cause the enemy to lie down and walk from one point to the next on top of their bodies.
  5. The Psalmists and the Apostle depict Jesus as both putting the enemy under His feet AND anticipating the enemy becoming his footstool.
  6. There is an element here that is “already, not yet”.
  7. The result is already: It’s done, and guaranteed and secure.
  8. Yet, there is still coming a day in the future when the enemy is completely, utterly defeated and cast out.
  9. So Jesus’ victory is already, and still yet to come.
  10. Let this be confirmed by these two passages:

Hebrews 2:5–9 (CSB)

JESUS AND HUMANITY

For he has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about. But someone somewhere has testified:

What is man that you remember him,

or the son of man that you care for him?

You made him lower than the angels

for a short time;

you crowned him with glory and honor

and subjected everything under his feet.

For in subjecting everything to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.

1 Corinthians 15:20–27 (CSB)

20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death. 27 For God has put everything under his feet., Now when it says “everything” is put under him, it is obvious that he who puts everything under him is the exception.

 

  1. What does this mean?
  2. First, we have nothing to fear.
  3. It is very easy for us to give into fear because fear is the primary language of the enemy.
  4. Ladies and Gentlemen, do you not notice how consistent the message of fear is today?
  5. But we do not have to give into this message, because Jesus is victorious.
  6. Jesus has the victory, and we are partakers in that.
  7. Christ’s power guarantees victory, not ease.
  8. Second, when we forget who Jesus is, we forget who we are.
  9. I’ve covered much Scripture today.
  10. Perhaps this message has been less “practical” than usual.
  11. But what if we aren’t called to walk in the practical, but instead we are called to walk in the presence and power of Jesus?
  12. For the saints in Ephesus, the power and presence of Jesus was practical because, without it, they could not live or survive.

Notice22 And he subjected everything under his feet, and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

3. Jesus is the head over everything.

  1. Paul was adamant: Jesus is the head, we are not.
  2. Jesus is the boss, the leader, and the priority.
  3. Through Christ the church has everything it needs from God to be what it is called to be. Victory over these hostile forces will not only come one day; it is possible now, whatever they throw the church’s way, provided the church draws on the enablement Christ gives.[1]
  4. The way for us to live in this victory is by remembering that Jesus is the head, not the tail or feet.
  5. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
  6. Paul says that we all have parts in the body, but we are never the head.
  7. When we forget that, we get in trouble.
  8. “When your feet are over your head, something has gone wrong.”
  9. The way for you and I to live in victory, and to experience this victory in our world, is by keeping Jesus in the rightful place.

4. There are a lot of names vying for our attention.

  1. Daily, you and I must decide whose name we are going to worship.
  2. There are still various voices, calling for our allegiance.
  3. It may not be an Emperor or a goddess, but there are still lesser gods crying for our attention.
  4. That which has our attention has our worship.
  5. But there is only one King, and One Lord, and in Him we find fullness and joy, peace and provision.
  6. This morning, I know many of us find ourselves in storms.
  7. Storms at work and at home.
  8. Storms attacking our bodies and our families.
  9. All of these storms have two voices:
  10. One voice calls us to focus on our self or on our problem.
  11. The other voice calls us to Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, the Head of the Church, systematically making his enemies footstools of His glory.

Close. Jesus receives the Glory either way.

  1. Both the victorious overcomer and the defeated enemy bring God glory.
  2. The overcomer brings God glory as a demonstration of Christ’s power to save, redeem, strengthen and restore.
  3. The defeated bring God glory as a demonstration of Christ’s power over all forces that oppose Him.
  4. To the one who overcomes, Jesus gives eternal life.
  5. The defeated are made the footstool of the conquering Christ.
  6. Today, as I look around this room, I see testimonies of God’s power to save, change and transform.
  7. Today, is a great time to respond through prayer.
  8. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the benefit of coming to the front for prayer.
  9. By coming to the front, we express our belief in Jesus and we express our love and need for the saints.
  10. In just a moment, I’m going to ask any who will to come to the front for a few moments to pray and to be prayed for.

 

[1] Bock, Darrell L. 2019. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Edited by Eckhard J. Schnabel. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. London: Inter-Varsity Press.

 

Ephesians 1:18-23 Jesus is not at the Kiddy Table

Sermon 4 UPDATED Jesus is not at the Kiddy Table

 

Jesus is Not Sitting at the Kiddy Table

 

10.2.2022

Ephesian Series

Sermon 4

 

Ephesians 1:18–19 (CSB)

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.

Ephesians 1:20–23 (CSB)

20 He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens—21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given,, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he subjected everything under his feet, and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Introduction:

“imagine this question. There was a human being in the first century who was called “Divine,” “Son of God,” “God,” and “God from God,” whose titles were “Lord,” “Redeemer,” “Liberator,” and “Savior of the World.” Who was that person? Most people who know the Western tradition would probably answer… Jesus of Nazareth. And most Christians probably think that those titles were originally created and uniquely applied to Christ. But before Jesus ever existed, all those terms belonged to Caesar Augustus. To proclaim them of Jesus the Christ was thereby to deny them of Caesar the Augustus. Christians were not simply using ordinary titles applied to all sorts of people at that time, or even extraordinary titles applied to special people in the East. They were taking the identity of the Roman emperor and giving it to a Jewish peasant. Either that was a peculiar joke and a very low lampoon, or it was what the Romans called majestas and we call high treason.”[1]

  1. The people of Ephesus were, first, people of their world.
  2. Before some believed in Jesus, they worshipped the Emperor and the goddesses Diana and Artemis.
  3. Many made their livings from crafting idols.
  4. The worship of other gods was a focal point of their life and their city.
  5. It is a fallacy, a lie, that a person can separate their religion from the other parts of their life.
  6. Our worship is always intertwined with our business, the way we raise our family, our politics, and our play.
  7. Who we really worship will be demonstrated in and throughout our lives.
  8. There is no middle ground in Ephesus.
  9. No one understood this better than the people in Ephesus.
  10. The lives of the Ephesians changed when they heard about Jesus.
  11. At first, it was the story of a man in Israel who was crucified and arose from the dead and ascended.
  12. Then they learned that He was actually the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and not the Roman Emperor.
  13. Quickly they had to decide to stop worshipping other gods, because there was only One God, manifest in three persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
  14. Now they had to decide: Was Jesus worthy of all their worship?
  15. Just like the Israelites coming out of Egypt, the Gospel in Ephesus demanded a relinquishing of old gods and the acceptance of Jesus alone.
  16. For the Ephesians, the call to follow Jesus meant their weekends would never be the same.
  17. Where they earned their livings would have to change.
  18. When their city gathered at the temples, they would stand out from the crowd.
  19. The call to follow Jesus was the trading of one life for another.
  20. But was it worth the trade?
  21. Paul thought so.
  22. The saints in Ephesus agreed.
  23. Therefore, Paul uses exalted language to paint a picture of how much greater Jesus is over everything and everyone else.
  24. For you and I today, we still must decide if we will give Jesus the place in our life that He deserves.
  25. When we watch the news, and see the horrors, do we still believe that Jesus is above all else?
  26. When the bad report comes, or a difficult situation arises, do we still lean upon the name of Jesus that is above every name?
  27. Are there words, diagnosis, or situations that tempt us to bring Jesus down to our level and elevating the problem to an unholy place?
  28. The words of Paul help remind us EXACTLY where Jesus belongs.

Today, notice how Paul reminds saints like us of Jesus’ power, victory, and place in the universe.

1. Toward us who believe, there is the immeasurable greatness of his power. Vs. 19

  1. Time and again, we are told that there is power in and through Jesus.
  2. To the pastor of Ephesus, Timothy, Paul wrote that God did not give us the spirit of fear but of power…
  3. To the saints of Ephesus, Paul reminds them that God makes known his immeasurable power to them through Jesus.
  4. For believers everywhere, we are reminded that Jesus is not the God of the wimps, but the God who is the source of all power.
  5. Not only does God have this power, but He demonstrates that power in and through us.
  6. Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “and you shall receive “power” after the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
  7. Christ’s victory over sin and death is our victory too.
  8. Jesus never intended to hog all the power and victory, but desires to pass that power and victory to those who Believe.
  9. Jesus’ victory is our victory too.
  10. For example: Some of you here today have fought to for your sobriety.
  11. By doing so, you are not just fighting for your victory but for your kids and grandkids.
  12. You victory isn’t just for you but for those who come after you.
  13. Christ passes His victory onto us.

 

2. The Father exercised this Power by raising Jesus from the dead.

  1. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus are two of the most important events in the New Testament.
  2. “To Paul, and in the New Testament generally, the cross, the resurrection and the ascension are considered as three parts of one great act of God.”[2]
  3. The message of resurrection and ascension is not only for the Easter season, but it is for every season.
  4. That’s because the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us!
  5. The New Living Translation of Ephesians 1:19–20 (NLT)
  6. 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
  7. Paul told the saints in Rome:

Romans 8:11 (CSB)

11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.

  1. “Thus the resurrection and ascension, as well as indicating that the work of Christ on earth was finished, express the measure of the Father’s power made available to humanity.” [3]
  2. It’s important that we do not separate the crucifixion from the resurrection and the resurrection from the ascension.
  3. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension is meant to impact our everyday life.
  4. It is through this power, we overcome sin.
  5. It is through this power that the saints will be raised from the dead.
  6. It is through this power that we can live in victory on this Earth, not defeat.
  7. In Ephesus, Rome had the power to bring death, but she did not have the power over death.
  8. Think of it this way: Rome was merely a tool of death.
  9. Rome knew how to use and be used by death to bring to terror and destruction.
  10. But Jesus defeated death and passed that power on to us.
  11. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

3. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

  1. Because all power belongs to Jesus, and because He conquered death, He is elevated to the right hand of the father.
  2. This was not a new position for Jesus.
  3. Jesus is not created.
  4. He is eternal, with no beginning or end.
  5. Before the world began, Jesus was sitting at the right hand of the Father.
  6. The right hand is the position of power, authority, and privilege.
  7. This was Jesus’ original seat.
  8. But when Jesus submitted Himself, and came to Earth as a baby, and put on human flesh, He temporarily gave up that seat.
  9. But when the Father, through the Spirit, raised Christ from the grave, and Jesus ascended to heaven, He took over his seat.
  10. And now, He is seated far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given.
  11. The ancients understood something that we miss:
  12. There are real, spiritual influences in this world.
  13. Every civilization and every culture has manifested these real influences in some way or form.
  14. In Ephesus, they worshipped the Emperor, which gave them Roman privilege.
  15. They also worshipped Artemis which gave them sexual pleasure and promised fertility.
  16. Today, the activity of principalities, powers, and the supernatural is just as real.
  17. Have you ever wondered why every culture has a fascination with the supernatural, paranormal, and the occult?
  18. It isn’t limited to the continent of Africa or majority world countries, but even here in America we are fascinated and affected by these powers in heavenly places.
  19. Test me in this: Just pay attention to the entertainment and focus upon this month here in the US, and you will see a great interest in the supernatural.
  20. Furthermore, where do you think the ideas for mass-murder come from?
  21. The same spiritual forces that we read about in the Bible are still active today.
  22. And they will be until Jesus returns.

4. The Good News: Jesus is not sitting at the kiddy table.

22 And he subjected everything under his feet, and appointed him as head over everything for the church,

  1. Everything is Subjected everything under his feet.
  2. This phrase is bold ink in most translations.
  3. The bold means this is a direct quotation from the OLD Testament.
  4. Psalms 8:6 and Psalm 110.

Psalm 8:5-6

You made him little less than God,

and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;

you put everything under his feet:

Psalm 110:1 (CSB)

This is the declaration of the Lord to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

  1. The picture here is of the ancient practice of stepping on a defeated enemy.
  2. Both the books of Joshua and Isaiah describe times when the vanquished foe would be brought before the leaders.
  3. The victor would either step on the neck of the enemy, or…
  4. They would cause the enemy to lie down and walk from one point to the next on top of their bodies.
  5. The Psalmists and the Apostle depict Jesus as both putting the enemy under His feet AND anticipating the enemy becoming his footstool.
  6. There is an element here that is “already, not yet”.
  7. The result is already: It’s done, and guaranteed and secure.
  8. Yet, there is still coming a day in the future when the enemy is completely, utterly defeated and cast out.
  9. So Jesus’ victory is already, and still yet to come.
  10. Let this be confirmed by these two passages:

Hebrews 2:5–9 (CSB)

JESUS AND HUMANITY

For he has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about. But someone somewhere has testified:

What is man that you remember him,

or the son of man that you care for him?

You made him lower than the angels

for a short time;

you crowned him with glory and honor

and subjected everything under his feet.

For in subjecting everything to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.

1 Corinthians 15:20–27 (CSB)

20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death. 27 For God has put everything under his feet., Now when it says “everything” is put under him, it is obvious that he who puts everything under him is the exception.

 

  1. What does this mean?
  2. First, we have nothing to fear.
  3. It is very easy for us to give into fear because fear is the primary language of the enemy.
  4. Ladies and Gentlemen, do you not notice how consistent the message of fear is today?
  5. But we do not have to give into this message, because Jesus is victorious.
  6. Jesus has the victory, and we are partakers in that.
  7. Christ’s power guarantees victory, not ease.
  8. Second, when we forget who Jesus is, we forget who we are.
  9. I’ve covered much Scripture today.
  10. Perhaps this message has been less “practical” than usual.
  11. But what if we aren’t called to walk in the practical, but instead we are called to walk in the presence and power of Jesus?
  12. For the saints in Ephesus, the power and presence of Jesus was practical because, without it, they could not live or survive.

Notice22 And he subjected everything under his feet, and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

5. Jesus is the head over everything.

  1. Paul was adamant: Jesus is the head, we are not.
  2. Jesus is the boss, the leader, and the priority.
  3. Through Christ the church has everything it needs from God to be what it is called to be. Victory over these hostile forces will not only come one day; it is possible now, whatever they throw the church’s way, provided the church draws on the enablement Christ gives.[4]
  4. The way for us to live in this victory is by remembering that Jesus is the head, not the tail or feet.
  5. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
  6. Paul says that we all have parts in the body, but we are never the head.
  7. When we forget that, we get in trouble.
  8. “When your feet are over your head, something has gone wrong.”
  9. The way for you and I to live in victory, and to experience this victory in our world, is by keeping Jesus in the rightful place.

6. There are a lot of names vying for our attention.

  1. Daily, you and I must decide whose name we are going to worship.
  2. There are still various voices, calling for our allegiance.
  3. It may not be an Emperor or a goddess, but there are still lesser gods crying for our attention.
  4. That which has our attention has our worship.
  5. But there is only one King, and One Lord, and in Him we find fullness and joy, peace and provision.
  6. This morning, I know many of us find ourselves in storms.
  7. Storms at work and at home.
  8. Storms attacking our bodies and our families.
  9. All of these storms have two voices:
  10. One voice calls us to focus on our self or on our problem.
  11. The other voice calls us to Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, the Head of the Church, systematically making his enemies footstools of His glory.
  12. Today, is a great time to reprioritize through prayer.
  13. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the benefit of coming to the front for prayer.
  14. By coming to the front, we express our belief in Jesus and we express our love and need for the saints.
  15. In just a moment, I’m going to ask any who will to come to the front for a few moments to pray and to be prayed for.

 

 

 

 

[1]        Crossan, John Dominic. God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now (pp. 28-29). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

[2] Foulkes, Francis. 1989. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] Foulkes, Francis. 1989. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[4] Bock, Darrell L. 2019. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Edited by Eckhard J. Schnabel. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. London: Inter-Varsity Press.

 

9/11/2022 Ephesians 1:15-19 Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Insight

 

PDF:  Sermon 4 Prayer for Spiritual Insight

 

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Insight

 

9.11.2022

Sermon 4

Ephesians Series

 

Ephesians 1:15–19 (CSB)

PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL INSIGHT

15 This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit, of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.

 

Introduction. Paul shares his pastoral and apostolic heart for the believers in Ephesus.

  1. Paul helped found the church and stabilized it in its beginning.
  2. He invested 3 years of his life there, which was a long time for Paul.
  3. The best ministers always leave part of themselves wherever they go.
  4. They also take a piece of that place and people with them.
  5. On this occasion, Paul reflects on the great people serving and loving Jesus in Ephesus from house arrest.
  6. Are they ok?
  7. How are they facing the struggles?
  8. Who has been added to the kingdom?
  9. Is the man down the street saved yet?
  10. Has sister so-so received the Baptism since he was away?
  11. How’s Timothy doing (the same Timothy of the letters is the pastor)?
  12. Paul thinks of them often and prays for them continuously, and now he pulls back the curtain for a moment to reveal the kinds of prayers he is praying for them.
  13. This week especially, I found myself praying similar prayers for many of you.
  14. This may sound strange, but the heaviness of what you all face lands upon Julie and me.
  15. We do not feel it the same as you, but we do feel for and with you.
  16. Midweek, I found myself thankful that I was preaching this passage because the timing, for me, is perfect.
  17. Paul’s writings helped provide language for my own prayers.
  18. When I don’t know what to pray for, Paul gives me some examples.

When Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus, what did he say?

 

1. First, Paul prayed, “THANK YOU”!

15 This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.

  1. The word Paul used for “thank you,” you may have heard before.
  2. It’s the word eucharist.
  3. If you were raised Catholic or in a liturgical church, you have maybe heard that word before.
  4. We usually don’t say the “eucharist” but instead say “communion” or the “Lord’s Supper.”
  5. eucharist means “to give thanks.”
  6. On the night Jesus was betrayed, “And when he broke bread, he gave thanks and said….”
  7. Jesus gave thanks, amid trial in the midst of betrayal and strife
  8. Paul, unable to leave or move as he wanted, cannot stop “giving thanks” every time he remembers them in his prayers.
  9. One of the most powerful prayers we can pray is the prayer of thanks.
  10. Not just thanking God for the tangible blessings, but for the people blessings.
  11. Unfortunately, I do not get to talk to everyone on Sunday.
  12. But if we talk even for a few minutes together, I find myself saying this phrase a lot:
  13. There is a lot of good people here.
  14. This is a great place.
  15. I’ve never been part of a church with such wonderful people.
  16. As your pastor, I’m thankful and appreciative of the building, and solid finances, and all of the blessings God has provided.
  17. But first, and foremost, I’m thankful for you!
  18. When we choose to bless those God has put in our lives, we experience the benefit of that blessing returning back to us.
  19. When you curse what you should bless, you cause good things to die.
  20. Don’t curse the people around you, and wonder why they leave or turn toxic.
  21. But instead, let us give thanks to God in our prayers for each other!

PRAYER of Blessing for each other.

2. Second, Paul prayed for them to receive the Spirit of knowledge and wisdom.

  1. What Paul is praying for here is, first of all, only possible through Holy Spirit.
  2. Notice that the English is capitalized, referring to a specific Spirit.
  3. There is only ONE way to know and experience God: through the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus.
  4. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that as Paul desires the believers in Ephesus to know God more fully, that He would pray that God would give them the Spirit of Wisdom and Knowledge.
  5. The wisdom and knowledge here is not merely for information.
  6. Many wise and knowledgeable people do not know God or grasp the “mysteries” of salvation.
  7. There are also plenty of people who do not have much earthly knowledge or education, yet who are deep and wise in the things of God.
  8. The purpose of wisdom and knowledge is to know Christ.
  9. It is to have a personal knowledge of God.
  10. You do not have to live off someone else’s knowledge and experience: You are called to have your own experience, wisdom, and knowledge of who Jesus is and the glorious riches of His grace.
  11. Paul’s prayer was for each believer to have their own knowledge and experience with Jesus.
  12. That is my prayer for you as well.
  13. That EACH of you will have a ever deepening relationship with Jesus, the ONE who loves you, redeems you, and grants you an inheritance and a share in eternal life.

3. Third, Paul prayed that they would WAKE UP to what God has provided through Jesus.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.

  1. The “eyes of your heart” is more than an emotional understanding.
  2. The “heart” in ancient writing refers to the center of the personality.
  3. It’s the inner man in its entirety[1].
  4. Paul is praying for the Ephesus believers to not only to feel God, or to understand God, but to fully grasp all that God has provided through Jesus.
  5. Paul prays for them to fully know 3 things:
  6. First: The hope to which he has called you.
  7. This is the hope of present salvation and our eternal inheritance.
  8. Hope is always present, never future.
  9. What you may be hoping for may lie in the future.
  10. But the HOPE is always present.
  11. For example: I HOPE the Cardinals when the World Series:
  12. The result is in the future, but the hope, the feeling, the anticipation is PRESENT.
  13. Paul wants them to know the “hope of his calling.”
  14. This is not just something future, although there is an anticipation of a future event.
  15. But the HOPE is for today!
  16. Jesus’ future return is called “THE BLESSED HOPE.”
  17. We LIVE in the hope of Jesus’ soon return.
  18. Many of us today are fighting to stay in hope.
  19. Fear pushes away hope.
  20. Hope is the first casualty of fear.
  21. Life, without hope, is deadly.
  22. Maybe today you are in need of HOPE!
  23. HOPE: Living in anticipation of God’s moving, providing, and His restoring.
  24. Paul prays that those who read will know the hope of his calling.
  25. Second, Paul prays they may know the wealth of Christ’s glorious inheritance in the saints.
  26. Paul has in mind the special relationship God wants to have with us.
  27. We are Christ’s inheritance, we are the prized possession, His portion.
  28. When we realize that Christ wants us, and died for us, we realize our worth in God’s eyes.
  29. Third, Paul prays they know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.
  30. God is all-powerful, whether we admit it or not.
  31. But for those who believe, we can beautifully experience that power.
  32. Consider the many men in this room:
  33. Many of you have had the joys of holding your babies or wiping the tears from your child’s eyes.
  34. Yet, those same hands that wipe away tears or cradle a loved one are the same hands that are prepared to protect that family and do harm to any threat that may threaten them.
  35. Same hands, same person, different response.
  36. The same hands that will wipe away every tear from the believer’s eyes is the same hands that wields judgment’s sword.
  37. For those who believe, we may know the immeasurable greatness of his power.
  38. My prayer for you is that you will KNOW God, and His power, and His might.
  39. That He will anchor you in the storm.
  40. That He will be your shield when under attack.
  41. May the Devil’s challenge be God’s opportunity to demonstrate the immeasurable greatness of his power in your life.

 

Close: Thank You, Eucharisteo.

  1. In a few moments, we will give thanks to God through the Eucharist.
  2. But first, I cannot help shake the idea that many of us need precisely what Paul was praying for.
  3. You need God’s power in your life.
  4. You need wisdom and knowledge of Him.
  5. You need your life enlightened, because life is getting increasingly dark.
  6. This morning, I want to provide opportunity to pray with you and for you.
  7. I believe that this prayer of Paul is still in force today.
  8. God wants you to have and experience these very things.
  9. I’m going to pray, and have you remain seated.
  10. In just a moment, if you would like prayer for any reason at all, would move from your seat to the front so this body of believers might give thanks to God for you and pray for your healing, your growth, and for God’s presence to be demonstrated in your life.
  11. This will allow us to fulfill the first part of Paul’s opening:
  12. He had heard of the Ephesian believer’s faith in Jesus AND their love for all the saints.
  13. When we come around the front to pray we demonstrate these things: OUR FAITH in Christ AND our love for the saints.

 

[1] The verse   V 10, p 69    p 69  speaks specifically of the eyes of your hearts and we need to remember that in biblical expression the heart is not simply the seat of the emotions, nor the seat of the intellect or ‘understanding’ (av), but as Masson puts it ‘the centre of the personality’, to which God speaks, ‘the inner man in his entirety[1]

Ephesians Sermon 3 According to His Riches. 9/4/2022

PDF is AVAILABLE HERE:    Sermon 3

 

According to the Riches of His Grace

 

9/4/2022
Sermon 3
Ephesians Series

 

Ephesians 1:7–14 (CSB)

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ 10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.

11 In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory.

13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.

 

Introduction: Are there any professed “procrastinators” here?

  1. Some people are simply wired to always be late and to always put off until the last minute what they should have done beforehand.
  2. Thankfully, God isn’t a procrastinator.
  3. Paul, in Ephesians, uses the highest language possible to talk about His God in these first verses of Ephesians.
  4. In these verses, Paul reminds us that God is never late.
  5. Paul talks about the “fullness of time”, “mystery”, and “predestined” throughout these verses.
  6. These words do not describe a God who is “playing” catchup.
  7. He is not late, or behind, or surprised.
  8. Instead, God is purposeful, intentional, and planned in what He is doing.
  9. That includes what God is giving.
  10. Today, Paul’s verses speak to what God has planned for and provided His people.
  11. Redemption, Inheritance, and a down-payment are some of                   what Paul describes in these verses that God has given us.
  12. Let’s look at: What God Gives, The Measure He Gives with, and the Means of His Giving.

1. God Gives Redemption

  1. This is one of several words Paul uses in this passage that has a legal tone, with a financial coloring.
  2. Before redemption was a theological word, it was a common word.
  3. Often, we think of “redeem” as a verb: I redeem a coupon for a discount or I redeem a ticket for entrance into a concert.
  4. To redeem is viewed as an action to “ransom”, with the replacement of one thing for another.
  5. But in this text, Paul uses a noun instead of a verb.
  6. A verb is an action word.
  7. A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea.
  8. Here, Paul is talking about the “NOUN” of Redemption.
  9. In other words, Paul is not referring to what was enacted, but what was given.
  10. “In him we have redemption”…
  11. Through Jesus, and in Jesus, we have redemption.
  12. Redemption from what?
  13. Sin.
  14. Paul would have had in mind the 3 great redemptions in human history.
  15. The first was the redeeming of Israel from Egypt through the Exodus.
  16. Israel was enslaved in Egypt for 400 years.
  17. But God “redeemed” them from their slavery and set them free.
  18. The second was the redeeming of Israel from exile and slavery to Babylon.
  19. Because of Israel’s sin, she was “sold” into bondage to Babylon for 70 years.
  20. But at the appointed time, God redeemed Israel once again and returned her to her land.
  21. The third great redemption: The sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross to free humanity from the bondage of sin and death.
  22. To have in our possession this redemption in Jesus means we are no longer enslaved to sin, but free to live for Jesus. (Romans 6)
  23. Through Jesus, you are in possession of redemption,
  24. Your “freedom” ticket has been punched and given to you, to live for Jesus.
  25. This is why we must be careful how we live!
  26. Because, through Jesus, we have been redeemed from sin, and have redemption in Christ Jesus.

2. God gives an Inheritance

  1. God doesn’t stop with redemption, but He also gives us an inheritance.

Ephesians 1:11–12 (CSB)

11 In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory.

  1. 1. Inheritance is all about relationship.
  2. We do not inherit from people we do not know.
  3. In fact, there are many instances when people bypass their own blood family and give to someone else because that person had a relationship with them, when blood family did not.
  4. We receive our inheritance on the basis of relationship.
  5. The language Paul uses refers to a mutual benefit.
  6. In fact, the Greek refers to language referring to “a person’s lot or portion”.
  7. It’s the same language used in Deuteronomy and elsewhere that declared that Israel was God’s portion and prize.
  8. Far from this being solely about the recipient, the inheritance is first of all about the giver.
  9. Paul uses all sorts of language that gives praise and glory to God and Jesus, not us.
  10. We did not earn the inheritance.
  11. We did not deserve God’s grace and blessing.
  12. We did nothing but receive what was offered, through Jesus.
  13. The greatness of the gift is not dependent upon us!
  14. Think of this:
  15. God gives us redemption, and then gives us an inheritance that is reciprocal: He is OUR God and we are His People.
  16. And then, to make prove that the inheritance was real and true, He gives us a down-payment of that inheritance.

 

3. God Gives the Spirit: The Seal and Down Payment

13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.

  1. Paul gives two images or illustrations to demonstrate what the Holy Spirit does at salvation.
  2. When we give our lives to Jesus, God gives us redemption and freedom from sin.
  3. He brings us into the family of God, and thus the inheritance.
  4. Then the Holy Spirit is given as both a seal and an earnest deposit.
  5. What does the seal mean?

“In the ancient world the seal was the personal sign of the owner or the sender of something important, and thus, as in a letter, it distinguished what was true from what was spurious.”[1]

  1. The personal sign of the owner…
  2. How do we experience our redemption, and blessing, and inheritance here on Earth?
  3. The Holy Spirit living in us is a seal that says this is FROM God and this salvation is genuine.
  4. Holy Spirit in your life is God’s proof that this is true and real.
  5. The Holy Spirit is God’s stamp of ownership on you.
  6. The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s seal. The experience of the Holy Spirit in their lives is the final proof to them, and indeed a demonstration to others, of the genuineness of what they have believed, and provides the inward assurance that they belong to God as children[2].
  7. b. When the world looks at you, they should see the mark of the Holy Spirit upon your life, knowing you are the real deal.
  8. Deny the Holy Spirit, you deny the authenticity of what Jesus has done.
  9. The Holy Spirit is also an earnest deposit or down-payment.
  10. Again, we see a financial image here.
  11. When buying property, we have to put down money in earnest:
  12. It means we are serious and there is more coming.
  13. One writer says, “The gift of the Spirit, then, is the guarantee of coming immortality.[3]
  14. How do I know Jesus is real, and that Eternal life awaits me?
  15. Because I’m enjoying a down-payment of that eternal life NOW.
  16. There is also another image connected with this “guarantee”.
  17. In it’s earliest usage, the word we use for down-payment was related to the idea of an engagement ring (footnote in Bruce).
  18. When you put a ring on it, you come back for it!
  19. Scripture is full of wedding imagery:
  20. Jesus said “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and bring you to myself.”
  21. The Holy Spirit reminds us that Jesus is coming back for us.
  22. And when He comes back, we will be united in a much fuller and beautiful way than ever before.
  23. You see, this is the down-payment, the guarantee, the earnest deposit, but don’t wait: EVEN MORE IS COMING.

4. How God Gives:

  1. Paul says that God gives “according to the riches of his grace”.
  2. I came across this illustration that help

Think of it this way: John D. Rockefeller was the richest man in the world, the richest man America had ever produced. If Rockefeller wished to give of his riches there were two ways he could — according to his riches, or from his riches. History records that he most often did the latter, giving from his riches. The most famous picture of Rockefeller shows him as a wizened old man, dressed in a top hat and cut-away coat giving a dime to some little waif. Rockefeller reportedly did this again and again for the press to dutifully photograph. One wonders how many boys were truly set on the road to wealth and moral excellence by a wonderful gift from Rockefeller’s fortune.

But think what it would have been like had he given according to his riches. If he had done that, he would have perhaps given a grand home, say the famous greystone Kykiut on the family estate Pocantico, and for the living room a Gilbert Stuart or George Washington, a Rodin for the lawn, and a forest, and a Dusenberg for the carriage house.[4]

  1. God does not give “From” his riches.
  2. God gives according to them.
  3. “When God gives “in accordance with the riches of [his] grace” he gives from his unlimited treasure-house.”[5]
  4. What we have to give is limited.
  5. But what God gives is unlimited:
  6. He isn’t running out of grace.
  7. He isn’t overwhelmed with miracle requests.
  8. He isn’t trying to balance heaven’s budget to make sure you get what you need.
  9. Not only that, He does not give in a limited manner.
  10. Luke 6:38 says that God gives us a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.
  11. We have to stop treating God has if He has the same limitations you do.
  12. When God gives, He gives ACCORDING to His riches.
  13. Nothing expresses this better than the means with which God provided all of this:

5. The Means: Through His Blood

  1. Notice the means Paul talks about:
  2. “In him we have redemption through his blood…”
  3. The Apostle Peter said : 1 Peter 1:18–19 (CSB)

18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.

  1. The most precious resource ever given is not gold, diamonds, platinum, or anything of that sort.
  2. But the most precious substance was the blood of Jesus that was shed for me.
  3. Sinless, perfect, pure, and it, alone, could provide forgiveness of our sins.
  4. Only the blood of Jesus can give us repentance, setting us free from slavery to sin and death.
  5. Only the blood of Jesus can give us an inheritance that is far grander than anything any earthly father can pass along.
  6. Only the blood of Jesus opens the doors to eternal life and relationship with God.
  7. There is no blessing or anything good apart from the sacrifice of Jesus.
  8. But BECAUSE JESUS HAS DIED, and BECAUSE HIS BLOOD WAS SHED, we can experience every blessing that God has provided.
  9. And it is not an imposition for us to ask God and to lay hold upon those blessings, because God has provided them as our inheritance!!!

Close: An old hymn of the church says:

1.Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child, and forever, I am.

Refrain:

Redeemed, redeemed,

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

His child, and forever, I am.

2 I think of my blessed Redeemer,

I think of Him all the day long;

I sing, for I cannot be silent;

His love is the theme of my song. [Refrain]

3 I know I shall see in His beauty

The King in whose law I delight,

Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,

And giveth me songs in the night. [Refrain]

 

  1. I really think that many of us underestimate God’s love for us.
  2. If nothing else, may this sermon catch us off guard so that we may pay attention to all that has already been done for us.
  3. May we not take for granted Christ’s love for us.
  4. May we not be ignorant of the blessings and benefits made available through the Blood of Jesus.
  5. What do we do from here?
  6. Today, I want to invite all who would like prayer today to come to the front in just a minute.
  7. If you are tired, and a nap won’t fix it, I want to pray for you.
  8. If you are struggling, I want us to pray for you.
  9. If you need healing in your body, would you come to pray this morning.
  10. If you want to draw closer to Jesus, I invite you to pray for a few moments this morning.

 

[1] Foulkes, Francis. 1989. Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 10. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[2] Ibid.

[3] Bruce, F. F. 1984. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Hughes, R. Kent. 1990. Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[5] Hughes, R. Kent. 1990. Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Blessed for Wherever you Are

 

Ephesians Sermon 2

Blessings for wherever you are.

 

8/28/2022

Message 2

Ephesians Series

How to Get the Most out of a sermon (SLIDES)

Introduction: Have you ever found yourself in a place that surprised you?

  1. Sometimes, we find ourselves in surprisingly good places.
  2. I love those moments where you look around and think, “this is amazing!”
  3. Moments that you are thankful and joyous and simply amazed that you are where you are.
  4. Sometimes, we find ourselves in surprisingly tough places.
  5. Often, through no fault of our own, we arrive in challenging places.
  6. Sickness, loss of a job, a wayward child, or unfair criticism and persecution are some of the tough places almost all of us find ourselves in.
  7. Question: Do you feel just as blessed in challenging places as in good places?
  8. When you are in a difficult season, can you still call yourself blessed?
  9. The Apostle Paul, under arrest, is writing to a group of Christians in a hostile environment.
  10. Yet, he cannot stop writing about all of the blessings that they all have in Jesus.

 

Ephesians 1:3–6 (CSB)

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him., He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.

 

1. Paul writes this from a Roman prison or house arrest.

  1. Paul is imprisoned in Rome.
  2. We know this because of the timelines that Acts and church history provides.
  3. We know Ephesians is one of several letters Paul wrote while awaiting trial before Caesar.
  4. As I read this, I wonder, What would I write if I was in prison?
  5. Many Christians, over the years, have written from prison.
  6. The Chinese Christian, Watchman Nee, wrote from prison.
  7. German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote many letters and prayers for fellow prisoners while awaiting execution in a Gestapo prison cell[1].
  8. The Puritan John Bunyan also wrote in an English prison, eventually writing the classic “Pilgrim’s Progress.”
  9. The History of Jesus’ Church is full of stories of people experiencing hardship, persecution, and even prison.
  10. I’m not talking about the people who did wrong and got caught.
  11. But faithful saints who found themselves in difficult and trying places.
  12. The furnace of affliction perfects our faith in these difficult and trying places.
  13. CIRCUMSTANCES DON’T CREATE OUR SPIRIT, THEY REVEAL IT!
  14. Paul refused to be a victim of circumstance.
  15. Instead, he Blessed the saints in Ephesus and encouraged them to walk in that blessing regardless of their surroundings.
  16. There is no middle ground in Ephesus.
  17. And for Paul, there was no middle-ground in blessing:
  18. Either we are blessed, or we are cursed; there is no in-between.
  19. If I had been mistreated in a city like Paul had and was writing them a letter, what would the tone be? What would I say?
  20. The truth is that I would not have written what Paul wrote.
  21. For most of us, it’s hard to talk about glory and blessing when our surroundings look more like a prison than a palace.
  22. But that is what Paul does.
  23. He blesses God while he is in chains.
  24. He blesses the believers in a city that abused him, persecuted him, and rioted because of him. (Acts 19)
  25. Paul lays claim to his adoption as a son through Jesus, even though he did not look or feel like a son at the moment.
  26. Consider this: Paul, an adopted son of God through Jesus, was presently in prison.
  27. Yet, Paul’s circumstance could not touch his identity.
  28. Whatever you are going through, please do not let your circumstances touch your identity.
  29. Whatever your experience, please do not let your circumstances go to your heart.

2. Understanding “Blessing”.

  1. Blessing is a word we use A LOT in Christianity, but the definitions are often unclear.
  2. What blessing is “not”.
  3. Blessing is not “good vibes” or thoughts.
  4. Blessing is not a cute slogan on a T-shirt.
  5. Blessing is also not conditional: if you have been given a check for a thousand dollars or a bill for $10,000, your position of blessing has not changed.
  6. Blessing in the NT “conveys the idea of being especially favored:” (Mounce)
  7. In the OT, blessing denotes the pronouncement of good things on the recipient or the collection of those good things themselves.[2]
  8. To Bless others is to express God’s favor for them.
  9. To be blessed is to receive the pronouncement of good made by God or through Jesus by others.
  10. Blessing is serious business, and the OT and NT writers took this very seriously.
  11. The word “blessed” implies something that is spoken.
  12. How do we bless and receive blessings?
  13. It starts with something spoken, something verbal.
  14. Paul, through the longest sentence in the Greek language, is conveying the blessing, the favored position, of the believers in Christ Jesus.
  15. This blessing was already reality; Paul is simply reminding them of what Jesus has done.
  16. When you “bless” someone, you are not creating a new condition.
  17. When I bless you at the end of the service, I am simply stating what Jesus has already done for you.
  18. Protection, provision, completeness, wholeness, peace, and grace: they don’t come from me they come from Jesus.

3. Paul is adamant that blessing is only from God through Jesus.

  1. The other day, I started reading a book called “The 5am Club”.
  2. Personally, I’m disciplining myself to start my day earlier so I can be more productive.
  3. This book had great reviews and a title that intrigued me.
  4. So I bought it, hoping I could glean a few things.
  5. I knew it wasn’t a Christian book, but that’s ok.
  6. But I noticed that there was a ton of spiritual language in it.
  7. In fact, it used language that many of us might use in our personal life or at church.
  8. But something was really missing.
  9. Then it hit me:
  10. This author was declaring peace, and blessing, and completion, and wholeness for his readers.
  11. BUT, the difference was that, instead of these blessings coming from the Father through Jesus, they were coming either from “self” or from the “cosmos.”
  12. There is No blessing APART from Christ.
  13. In fact, apart from Jesus, there is only the pronouncement of the Curse.
  14. Even though a person may appear highly successful, healthy, productive, or wealthy, apart from Jesus, they are not a BLESSED person.
  15. Additionally, a person may struggle financially, be surrounded by opposition, and endure struggle, and still be BLESSED.
  16. Blessing comes from Jesus, nothing else.
  17. Paul is thankful to God for the blessing of Jesus.
  18. With Jesus comes every spiritual blessing.
  19. And, first and foremost, these blessings are held for us in heavenly places.
  20. Paul doesn’t even describe all of the spiritual blessings in this.
  21. For me, I want to know everything Paul has in mind here.
  22. I also want to know more about them being in the “heavenly places.”
  23. But Paul moves past this pretty quickly.
  24. Perhaps Paul moves quickly because the focus is never on the “what” and always on the “who”.
  25. These verses are ALL about Jesus.
  26. And they are all about being IN Christ.
  27. If you are in Christ, everything else is a bonus.
  28. Christ is the prize, and everything else is a perk.
  29. The perks are amazing, but Jesus is the prize.

4. What does it mean to be “chosen”?

For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him., He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.

  1. An imperfect analogy:
  2. A way I picture this is that every name of every person is on a list.
  3. And God selects every name of every person to be on His team.
  4. Unlike choosing teams in school, where we pick two team captains and they pick the best people for their team, with the best going first and leaving the worst to last.
  5. Instead, God the best of the team captains, chooses everyone to be on His roster.
  6. But then this imagery switches:
  7. The people on the list, however, get to pick the team they want to be on.
  8. Every person was picked, chosen, and predestined to be on God’s team, but not everyone chooses God.
  9. This understanding is very important.
  10. There are many doctrines out there relating to salvation, election, and the sinfulness of man.
  11. And it’s all confusing, even for me.
  12. But this is vitally important for us to grasp.
  13. An incomplete view of salvation, or misunderstanding of “election” is very dangerous and leads to excess.
  14. I’ve heard several of you mention you were taught “once saved, always saved”.
  15. Actually, that isn’t what anyone calls that doctrine.
  16. They will call it “Unconditional Election” and “Perseverance of the Saints” and “Supralapsarianism.”[3]
  17. Some people claim license to live however they choose, flaunting the grace and glory of God.
  18. But Paul is not arguing for a God who random chooses some to save and others to damn.
  19. The Romans, at times, practiced “decimation.”
  20. Decimation was the choosing at random every 10th person and scourging them and executing them to punish an army for rebellion or defeat.
  21. When a group or army rebelled or failed to perform well, the leaders would decimate them, hoping the 90% left would be scared to not fail again.
  22. God is not practicing eternity like the Romans practiced “decimation’.
  23. God is not marching through eternity, marking random people for destruction.
  24. Yes, many people will be punished with eternal death.
  25. But it is because of their sins that they receive eternal death, not God’s active choice.
  26. For God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but desires for everyone to come to a saving knowledge.
  27. Notice that Paul does not say this choosing of love was a response to sin:
  28. God chose to love us BEFORE he created humanity.
  29. Before the Garden, before the Fall, before Abraham, before Jesus, God had chosen humanity as the subject of his greatest affection.
  30. As much as God enjoys the rest of His creation, humankind is His favorite.
  31. Anything that distracts from that love is dangerous.
  32. It was humanity that God has chosen.

5. Being chosen by God is a good thing.

  1. “The life of a Christian depends on a love that never began as well as a love that will never end.”
  2. Before you ever made your first dollar, said your first prayer, or anything else, God chose you as an object of His love and affection.
  3. He chose you as someone to bless, with every spiritual blessing on the heavenly places.
  4. Paul, writing from under arrest, is praising the name of Jesus for how great it is to be chosen by God,
  5. Being chosen, in Christ Jesus, is greater than any earthly reward.
  6. None of us watch award shows, but so often, nominees for the Emmy’s or the Golden Globes will say:
  7. It’s an honor just to be nominated.
  8. Better yet, in Jesus, you are not just nominated, but you are BLESSED and Adopted.

6. We are not nominated, we are adopted into the family.

VERSE 5: He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself

  1. The Roman cultures loved adoption.
  2. Adoption happened at every level, and many influential leaders were adopted when they were younger and given access and privilege that they would never have on their own.
  3. The word for “adoption” (hyiothesia) means “sonship,” and it refers to the process in the Roman world by which a child was brought into a new family, receiving all the rights of a natural child and taking the name of the new family.[4]

2.In Paul’s world, the males received a greater inheritance.

  1. But through Jesus, everyone receives the greater inheritance and portion.
  2. My grandma use to tell the story of growing up as the youngest child during the depression.
  3. One of my favorite stories her portion of the meal, her dinner, was nothing more than chicken feet.
  4. The men and boys had been out working all day, so they were served first.
  5. Then the adult women and older sisters were served.
  6. She was the youngest, so by the time she got to eat, the only thing left was the chicken feet.
  7. But these sort of things do not happen in God’s kingdom.
  8. Through Jesus, we receive the son’s portion.
  9. Not a girl’s portion, not a step-child’s portion, but the sons portion.
  10. There are no step children in the Kingdom.
  11. And God has chosen YOU, and has invited YOU to be adopted into the family, with all the benefits and blessings.
  12. What are we chosen for?
  13. We are chosen to be holy and blameless.
  14. We are chosen to be set apart and to live by a different family dynamic.
  15. Every family has certain behaviors that are encouraged or despised.
  16. Perhaps there were certain actions or behaviors that you were punished for, but other families thought was fine.
  17. My family did not belch out loud: ever.
  18. My family also didn’t encourage sports, even though I played baseball.
  19. But my dad and mom would sacrifice greatly to make sure that I had books and access to instruments and music lessons.
  20. In God’s family, He calls us to a new family dynamic: one characterized by holiness and being blameless.
  21. “The Christian life contains both privilege (the gift of salvation) and responsibility (the demand to live life God’s way).”[5]
  22. When we accept adoption into Christ’s family, we no longer live for ourselves but for God and the family.
  23. But, this is no sacrifice: It is a blessing that includes every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Application: Where do I go from here?

  1. For some here today, the place I have to start is with reminding you that Jesus loves you.
  2. He doesn’t love you because of what you have done, but in spite of it.
  3. Jesus loves you because He loves you.
  4. Maybe you have been beet down so much over the years that you don’t know the height, the depth, or the width of God’s love for you.
  5. Would you take a moment this morning and tell yourself “Jesus loves me.”
  6. Forget about the buts.
  7. Not Jesus loves me, but…
  8. Simply: Jesus loves me.
  9. I am loved.
  10. I am chosen, and I am adopted into the family, and I am blessed.
  11. Next: In light of that love and blessing, now choose to walk in that understanding.
  12. You are not defined by what you used to do but who Jesus says you are.
  13. You are a Saint, called to live a holy and blameless life.
  14. Because God chose me to be part of His family, I will live like it.
  15. Prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

[1]        https://thebonhoefferproject.com/weeklycolumn/bonhoefferinprison

[2] Mounce, William D. 2006. In Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, 70. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3]  The doctrine that God decreed both election and reprobation prior to creation and then allowed the fall of man as a means of carrying out his divine purposes.

[4] Osborne, Grant R. 2017. Ephesians: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Osborne, Grant R. 2017. Ephesians: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

No Middle Ground in Ephesus

Sermon 1

No Middle Ground in Ephesus

 

8/21/2022

Ephesians Series

Message 1

 

Ephesians 1:1–3 (CSB)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will:

To the faithful saints in Christ Jesus at Ephesus.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

1. Preaching a book like Ephesians is a challenge.

  1. It’s different from a book like Exodus.
  2. In Exodus, you deal with big picture stuff.
  3. You can read multiple verses, and there is really just a few key concepts that we should walk away with.
  4. The letters that Paul wrote are really different.
  5. Each sentence is pregnant with meaning.
  6. Each word is loaded and full of information being transferred.
  7. Paul’s writing style makes it even more a challenge.
  8. If you were to study Greek at seminary, they do not start you off with Paul’s writings because his writings are terribly complex.
  9. For example, “Ephesians 1:3–14 constitutes the longest sentence ever discovered in the Greek language…[1]”.

2. Ephesians is one of the most beautiful and important books in the NT.

  1. I’ve noticed tons of preachers and ministries focusing on Ephesians lately.
  2. Why?
  3. One reason is that I believe Holy Spirit is convincing people of the importance of their identity in Jesus.
  4. Another is the importance of having a high view of God!
  5. When we read Ephesians, we are confronted with some of the highest words of praise ever used.
  6. There is a time to talk simply about God.
  7. Jesus himself told stories and parables to connect with ordinary people.
  8. Jesus looked and walked like an ordinary man, and it was prophesied that there would be nothing special about his appearance to attract people to Him.
  9. There is a time to speak about God in plain language.
  10. Then there are times when even the best of human language can never be enough.
  11. Ephesians chapter 1 is written like Paul is trying to find a way to adequately address and praise God and, yet, finds the human language falling far too short.
  12. Ephesus plays an important role in the early church.
  13. Ephesus is mentioned in Acts and in Revelation.

Asia occupied the western third of modern-day Turkey. It was a very pro-Roman province and quite wealthy as a result. Pergamum was the capital, but Ephesus was the leading city and center of Christian activity. It was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire (behind Rome and Alexandria), with about a quarter million in the city and its environs. It was the major port city of the region and a trade center for the whole province and was home to one of the seven wonders of the Roman world, the temple of Artemis (her Greek name; her Roman name was Diana). Because of this temple it was the religious center of the province; it also boasted three temples to the emperors, making the imperial cult (the worship of the emperor as a deity) especially prominent. Magic was also prominent there, as attested by the interconnected stories of the sons of Sceva and the burning of the magic books in Acts 19:13–20. Because of this fascination with the occult, the war against the cosmic powers was especially relevant to Ephesus.[2]

  1. Ephesus existed at the crossroads of the demonic and the Gospel.
  2. As people came and went through the city, one thing was sure:
  3. They would be confronted with the powers of light and the powers of darkness.
  4. They would encounter warfare, and wrestle against “principalities and powers in heavenly places”.
  5. There is no middle-ground in Ephesus.
  6. As we journey through Ephesians together, we will learn what it means to live for Jesus in the middle of hostile territory.
  7. Paul, the prisoner surrounded by guards, is writing to believers surrounded by pagan Temples.
  8. Will the Ephesian believers influence their surroundings or will the surroundings win over the faith of the believers?
  9. There is not middle-ground in Ephesus, and there is no middle-ground in our culture today.

Let’s look at Acts 19 which tells of the Apostle Paul’s first extended encounter with the people of Ephesus.

 

Acts 19:1–7 (CSB)

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

“No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

“Into what then were you baptized?” he asked them.

“Into John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. Now there were about twelve men in all.

 

3. Nothing wrong with John’s Baptism, but it wasn’t complete.

  1. Today, several are following in the footsteps of Jesus, the Disciples, and all the Saints in submitting to water baptism.
  2. It is a baptism of repentance.
  3. A public declaration that the old me has died, and a new me lives.
  4. Water baptism is a beautiful and necessary moment in the life of believers.
  5. The Baptism of John, a baptism of repentance, was the front door to a grander and more powerful encounter with God.
  6. To be Baptized only in water is much like buying tickets to a great theme park, entering the front gate, and going no further.
  7. I’ve been to the doors of both Disneyland and Disneyworld, but I’ve never actually gone into either.
  8. I’ve also spent time in the airport in several cities and a few countries, but never stepped outside to explore.
  9. So, although technically, I’ve been to those places, my experience is very different than actually touring those places.
  10. In a sense, this is what had happened to the Ephesus believers.
  11. Notice, that the writer of Acts calls them “disciples’ and asks about when they believed.
  12. Some scholars and groups say these people were not “saved”.
  13. They dismiss the language, and consider this experience their salvation experience.
  14. But Paul treated them like they were fellow Christians.
  15. He called them disciples, followers, just like he was a follower of Jesus.
  16. And he asked them specifically about what they received when they believed.
  17. The word for believed is the same word for faith that is used throughout the New Testament.
  18. In other words, these believers WERE followers of Jesus.
  19. This is why Paul takes immediate action after he learns they had not received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  20. Paul could not grasp or comprehend of followers of Jesus who did not receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit also.
  21. When we read Ephesians, we are reading a letter penned to Spirit filled people.
  22. These were people who had been filled with the Spirit, and spoke in tongues, and prophesied.
  23. Ephesians, just like every New Testament letter, is a Pentecostal letter written to Spirit-filled people.
  24. What does that mean?
  25. To get the most from the Book of Ephesians, we need to experience Jesus like Paul and the Ephesians did.
  26. When we walk in the fullness of the Spirit baptism, we can appreciate the 3 benefits or declarations that Paul mentions in these first few verses.

 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will:

To the faithful saints in Christ Jesus at Ephesus.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

4. Paul opens his letter with 3 declarations:

  1. He was sent from God, by the will of God.
  2. Apostles are messengers sent on a mission.
  3. Paul was certainly that kind of guy.
  4. How could Paul boldly know what his mission was and what God’s will was?
  5. Paul experienced Jesus in a meaningful way, and stayed connected to Jesus in meaningful ways.
  6. Our identity and confidence in God’s will comes from exposure and experience.
  7. Exposure to God’s word.
  8. Experience with God’s spirit.
  9. Paul knew who he was and what he was about because of his intense relationship with Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
  10. Paul knew he could call these people the “faithful saints in Ephesus.”
  11. Faithful and saints.
  12. Sainthood is not a position of perfection but of relationship.
  13. Paul could call the believers in these cities “saints” not because they had it all together but because they were together in Jesus.
  14. Catholocism messed up the biblical view of sainthood as someone who is dead and who did miracles during or after their life.
  15. Biblically, saints are those who are in relationship with Jesus.
  16. The word “saint” is “holy”, means separated for a godly purpose.
  17. Every “saint” should strive to be faithful.
  18. We are faithful when we do not stray in our worship.
  19. When we make Jesus our everything, and strive to honor him with our lives, we become faithful saints.
  20. Every one of us here are called to be faithful saints “in Christ Jesus”.
  21. Apart from Jesus, you are neither faithful nor a saint.
  22. In Jesus, you are both.
  23. Through the Father and Jesus, we receive grace and peace.
  24. Grace and peace are two of the greatest benefits for every believer.
  25. Grace is unmerited or undeserved favor.
  26. Grace is unearned acceptance.
  27. Peace is an expression of completeness in God: wholeness, wellbeing, tranquility in the midst of a storm.
  28. Paul prays that the believers might receive exactly what you and I need today:
  29. We all want acceptance and wholeness.
  30. Our culture is striving to be accepted and to be whole.
  31. And Paul speaks those very possibilities over them as he writes this letter.

5. As we close, I again mention this concept: There is no Middle-Ground in Ephesus.

  1. Everything about this letter and Paul’s experience in Ephesus, is pushing them AND us toward a life fully committed to Jesus.
  2. Acts 19: Don’t merely repent of sins, but be TRANSFORMED and FILLED with the Holy Spirit.
  3. Paul in the first verses tell them what they are and should be in Jesus:
  4. They are not loveable losers, they are faithful saints.
  5. They are not “in “Ephesus” or in the “Diana” or “in the cult of the Emperors” but they are IN JESUS.
  6. Even though they experience persecution, attacks, and spiritual battles that manifest in physical forms, they can also lay claim to the Grace and Peace that only God provides through Jesus.
  7. This morning, can you sense God leading you to get out of the middle and into a relationship with Him?
  8. As we pray this morning together as a response, my prayers are for this:
  9. If you are not Baptized with the Holy Spirit, then you will be.
  10. Second, if you are struggling with God’s will then you will know exactly what that is, just as Paul knew.
  11. Third, that you will walk in faithfulness and sainthood.
  12. Lastly, that each of you will know God’s grace and peace in an amazing way.
  13. Let’s pray.

 

 

 

[1] Osborne, Grant R. 2017. Ephesians: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Osborne, Grant R. 2017. Ephesians: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

End of the Age Part 2 August 7, 2022

 

End of the Age part 2

 

End of the Age part 2

 

8/7/2022

1. This Summer we have talked about eternity.

  1. When we leave this life, we will end up in eternity.
  2. Those who believe in and love Jesus enter eternal life.
  3. Those who ignore and reject Jesus, eternal death.
  4. Eternal death is not what we were made for.
  5. That is not God’s heart towards humanity.
  6. However, Rejection of God on Earth leads to rejection by God in eternity.
  7. This morning, I want to share one more biblical glimpse into eternity.
  8. Revelation grants us a beautiful, but complicated glimpse into eternity.
  9. This morning, I hope to leave you with a better understanding of what God has prepared for the Saints, specifically, after this Age is over.
  10. We will briefly several key themes connected to eternal life.

 

Revelation 21:1–27 (CSB)

THE NEW CREATION

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:, Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples,, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.

Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. But the cowards, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

THE NEW JERUSALEM

Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 He then carried me away in the Spirit, to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a precious jewel, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 The city had a massive high wall, with twelve gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; the names of the twelve tribes of Israel’s sons were inscribed on the gates. 13 There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The city wall had twelve foundations, and the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb were on the foundations.

15 The one who spoke with me had a golden measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out in a square; its length and width are the same. He measured the city with the rod at 12,000 stadia. Its length, width, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall, 144 cubits according to human measurement, which the angel used. 18 The building material of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of jewel: the first foundation is jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates are twelve pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl. The main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 I did not see a temple in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it., 25 Its gates will never close by day because it will never be night there. 26 They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it., 27 Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

Revelation 22:1–15 (CSB)

THE SOURCE OF LIFE

22 Then he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s main street. The tree of life was on each side of the river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever.

THE TIME IS NEAR

Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

10 Then he said to me, “Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. 11 Let the unrighteous go on in unrighteousness; let the filthy still be filthy; let the righteous go on in righteousness; let the holy still be holy.”

12 “Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to repay each person according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

2. The New Covenant requires a New Home.

  1. The first heaven and earth “passed away”.
  2. This is not “passed away” as in died.
  3. The Greek means to “go away” or depart.
  4. God moved the first heaven and earth out of the way to make room for the new one.
  5. Behold, I am making everything new.
  6. This is the anthem of eternal life.
  7. The people of God become “new creations” in Christ Jesus.
  8. That which was tainted and tormented by sin is no more, replaced by that which is perfect and untainted.
  9. Revelation stresses the vast difference between the way things presently are and the way it will be.
  10. One of the greatest differences is the central role God’s presence has in eternity.
  11. God’s presence in eternity will be unmistakable, as His throne is in the center.
  12. As the sun gives way to God’s glory, the moon is needed no more for there is no longer night.
  13. The greatest benefit and blessing of Heaven is the presence of God

3. Eternal life is described by both what is missing and what is present.

  1. What is missing is the pain and tragedy brought by sin.
  2. Verse 4: “Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.”
  3. Eternal life means that What was dying has died, and will die no more.
  4. Grief, crying, and pain are all the result of sin and sin’s decay.
  5. But that will be no more for those who enter eternal life.
  6. Sin is no more, which means no more sinners.
  7. Notice the absence of sinners.
  8. But the cowards, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
  9. God draws a strong dividing line between those who receive eternal life and those who do not.
  10. What is a “sinner”?
  11. Anyone who is apart from Jesus.
  12. If we do not receive forgiveness for our sins through confession, repentance, and faith, we are not part of Jesus.
  13. Without Jesus, our identity is still tied to our sin.
  14. Through Jesus, our identity is no longer tied to our sin but to Christ.
  15. But we have to remain in Christ.
  16. What separates us from Jesus?
  17. The simple answer is “sin”.
  18. All sin separates.
  19. All sin needs Jesus’ forgiveness.
  20. But praying a solitary prayer when we are young isn’t what salvation is.
  21. Salvation is the inbreaking of eternal life in the here and now.
  22. It is a radical change in a person’s life because of what Jesus has done in us and to us.
  23. The promise of Eternal Life requires us to live for Jesus here on Earth.
  24. When we do not live for Jesus, we have no other sacrifice!
  25. Hebrews 10:26–31 (CSB)

WARNING AGAINST DELIBERATE SIN

26 For if we deliberately go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who disregarded the law of Moses died without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, who has regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the one who has said,

Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay,,

and again,

The Lord will judge his people.,

31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

  1. Living with our eyes on eternity must lead us to live in a manner worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice.
  2. Here’s the Good News about salvation.
  3. For those of us who are scared about “losing” our salvation every time we cross our eyes wrong, we are far more secure than we realize.
  4. For those of us who live for the Devil but expect a Saints reward, be careful lest you hear Jesus’ words, “depart from me, I never knew you.”
  5. Some of Jesus’ last words recorded in Scripture are found in Rev. 22:14
  6. Jesus’ last words:

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

 

  1. The key here is the word “wash”.
  2. Wash is a verb.
  3. There is an action here.
  4. It also means that all of us are clothed in that which is dirty.
  5. But the difference between someone who is with Jesus or apart from Jesus is “have you washed your robes in the blood of the Lamb”?
  6. In other words, have you admitted that your life is dirty?
  7. Have you come to the only One who can make you clean?
  8. And are you walking in the realization that only Jesus saves, and only Jesus cleanses, and only Jesus satisfies?
  9. Or are you walking around with a dirty robe, unfit for entrance into the Kingdom?
  10. If your robes, your actions, deeds, and lifestyle, have not been washed in Jesus’ blood, then you are positioned with the dogs.
  11. Jesus told several parables about guests being invited to a banquet but not being dressed for it.
  12. In those parables, the one who isn’t dressed appropriately is thrown out where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  13. Weeping speaks to pain, and the gnashing of teeth speaks to anger, especially directed to God.
  14. But the people who are still known by their sin will not inherit the Kingdom.
  15. To put it bluntly, “Are you a Saint or are you a Sinner?”
  16. If you are a sinner, walking in sin, dressed in sin, living in sin, and known by your sin, you are not entering into Eternal Life.
  17. If you are saint, someone who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who has washed their life/robes in the Blood of the Lamb, who has been created as a New Creation in Christ Jesus, then you are Saint and saints have privileges.
  18. Salvation was never meant to be kept “past tense”.
  19. Yes, there was a day when we made a decision to follow Jesus.
  20. But every day since then, we walk in that salvation and that newness of life.
  21. Jesus said that He came to “give life and life abundantly.”
  22. That is something you live in, not remember.

4. The saints are given the privilege to access the Tree of Life.

  1. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had access to the Tree of Life.
  2. But their rebellion, to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil cost them the right to this tree.
  3. Why?
  4. If they had eaten of the Tree of Life in their now sinful state, they would have remained forever sinful.
  5. But God, in His mercy, banished humanity from that Tree so that He could redeem them and restore the right.
  6. This is the restoration of Eden.
  7. What was restricted due to sin, is now unrestricted. The cherubim have been removed and access restored.
  8. Therefore, in Eternity, the Nations will eat from this tree and delight in it.
  9. Revelation beautifully depicts the restoration of Eden.
  10. What sin destroyed, God restores.
  11. What was lost because of sin is returned through Jesus.
  12. Not only that, the one Tree in Genesis is now an unlimited number of trees.

Revelation 22:1–3 (CSB)

THE SOURCE OF LIFE

22 Then he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s main street. The tree of life was on each side of the river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him.

5. Lastly, eternal life is an invitation to a marriage.

  1. The Old Testament is full of wedding language.
  2. Often it is negative, accusing Israel of infidelity and unfaithfulness.
  3. This is because God had committed to “marry” Israel.
  4. Repeatedly, God uses the formula “I will be your God, and you will be my People”.
  5. This Old Testament language is brought full force in Revelation.

Revelation 21:3 (CSB)

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:, Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples,, and God himself will be with them and will be their God.

Revelation 21:9 (CSB)

Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

  1. A confusing part of Revelation is the mixing of the imagery.
  2. John describes both God’s people and the New Jerusalem as the bride.
  3. But this is consistent with other portions of Scripture.
  4. The Apostle Paul calls the Church the Bride of Christ, and he is right.
  5. But John uses the language of the prophets to show God’s delight in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 62:1–2 (CSB)

62 I will not keep silent because of Zion,

and I will not keep still because of Jerusalem,

until her righteousness shines like a bright light

and her salvation, like a flaming torch.

Nations will see your righteousness

and all kings, your glory.

You will be given a new name

that the Lord’s mouth will announce.

Isaiah 62:3–5 (CSB)

You will be a glorious crown in the Lord’s hand,

and a royal diadem in the palm of your God’s hand.

You will no longer be called Deserted,

and your land will not be called Desolate;

instead, you will be called My Delight Is in Her,

and your land Married;,

for the Lord delights in you,

and your land will be married.

For as a young man marries a young woman,

so your sons will marry you;

and as a groom rejoices over his bride,

so your God will rejoice over you.

Isaiah 62:11–12 (CSB)

11 Look, the Lord has proclaimed

to the ends of the earth,

“Say to Daughter Zion:

Look, your salvation is coming,

his wages are with him,

and his reward accompanies him.”

12 And they will be called the Holy People,

the Lord’s Redeemed;

and you will be called Cared For,

A City Not Deserted.

 

  1. What do we do with this mixed imagery?
  2. We embrace God’s excitement about the future eternity He has prepared for His people.
  3. God is excited about the New Jerusalem, and the people that will fill it.
  4. God is excited to show off what He has been working on, fulfilling John 14 “I go to prepare a place for you…”
  5. God is excited that, finally, redeemed and sinless humanity will again enjoy full fellowship with God.
  6. Jesus isn’t merely excited for the beauty of the city, but for the enjoyment He and His people will have there.
  7. Sin separated humanity from God’s presence.
  8. Jesus’ sacrificial death undid this separation.
  9. Eternity with Jesus ushers in a new age, where humanity is restored to God’s presence.
  10. This new relationship is symbolized in both the City and in Marriage.
  11. That’s why Revelation 19 talks about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!
  12. It is the bringing together of what has been two, distinct, parts into a new and unified whole.
  13. The consummation of the Marriage, the uniting, points to more fun to come.
  14. “To think about the new heaven and new earth as though there might not be sufficient contrast to make it interesting would be as foolish as a single man being worried that after the wedding day there is nothing left to which to look forward.”[1]
  15. The Wedding Day is not meant to be the high point of any marriage.
  16. The Wedding Day is designed to be the first of many great days and times together.
  17. And Revelation really only describe the first moments of this new relationship between God and the Saints.
  18. What lies beyond that is yet to be known.
  19. But that which awaits the believer is greater than anything yet known.

Close: Eternity with Jesus is going to be amazing.

  1. The picture of this beautiful future is intended to bring hope and encouragement to believers.
  2. This picture gives me hope of infinitely better days, where Jesus is before us and he wipes the tears from the corners of our eyes.
  3. In that place and that time, death will no longer wreak havoc upon our bodies, our minds, and communities.
  4. In that place, we will experience life the way God fully intended.
  5. Today, if you are tired and weary; if you are tired of the struggle, wondering if it is worth it, think about these things.
  6. Jesus is preparing a place for all of us, and that includes you.
  7. Now is not the time to give up.
  8. Now is the time to draw closer to Jesus, and let Him minister to your soul.
  9. Question: Are you ready?
  10. If Jesus was to return today, are you ready to meet Him?
  11. What about your, your friends, and your neighbors?
  12. Eternal life is too good to not share, and hell is too harsh to not warn about.

 

 

 

 

[1] Hamilton, James M., Jr. 2012. Preaching the Word: Revelation—The Spirit Speaks to the Churches. Edited by R. Kent Hughes. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 382-383.

The End of the Age Part 1

The End of the Age part 1

 

The End of the Age part 1

 

7/31/2022

 

Intro. The question of what happens immediately after we die is complex.

  1. The Bible uses several words to describe this stage of existence.
  2. Words like Gehenna, Hades, Hell, and Sheol all depict judgment and a holding place for those who died apart from God.
  3. We also learn of terms such as paradise and Abraham’s bosom to describe existence after death for those who lived for God in this life.
  4. However, any understanding of these terms still do not describe what happens AFTER this age.
  5. This AGE ends when Jesus returns and commences the final judgment.
  6. At this time, Heaven and Hell pass away.
  7. Heaven gives way to New Heavens and New Earth, with the New Jerusalem in the middle of the New Earth.
  8. Hell is cast into a Lake of Fire.
  9. Heaven and Hell are not the Final Destinations of the righteous or the wicked.
  10. These final destinations are described in Revelation.

1. A quick primer on Revelation.

  1. The Book of Revelation is pretty complex.
  2. It’s written like a letter.
  3. It addresses itself to the Seven Churches of Asia.
  4. This makes it a letter.
  5. But it contains many elements that are apocalyptic.
  6. Apocalyptic is not a modern word, but very ancient.
  7. The word “apocalypse” means an “unveiling”.
  8. It is also prophetic, revealing what will happen in a manner that only Jesus could reveal.
  9. John’s vision is tied very closely to visions given earlier to prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel.
  10. We believe that ALL of Scripture is inspired according to 2 Tim 3.
  11. That means not only the words but also the form and genre.
  12. Revelation has its own, unique, and inspired form.
  13. It uses various images that must be interpreted biblically and intelligently.
  14. With that understanding, this week and next we are looking at two passages that depict what awaits all of humanity and creation at the end of this Age.
  15. With Jesus’ return, certain events will take place that have been ordained long before.
  16. Resurrection, Judgment, reward, and restoration are the key words for these passages.

This week, we focus upon resurrection and judgment.

 

 

Revelation 20:1–15 (CSB)

SATAN BOUND

20 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan,, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the abyss, closed it, and put a seal on it so that he would no longer deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time.

THE SAINTS REIGN WITH CHRIST

Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.

This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

SATANIC REBELLION CRUSHED

When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They came up across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the encampment of the saints, the beloved city. Then fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT

11 Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. 13 Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

2. The End of the Age involves epic battles between Good and Evil.

  1. It looks like there are two “Final” Battles.
  2. There is one at the end of Revelation 19 that results in the false-prophet and the beast of Revelation being thrown into the lake of fire.
  3. In this battle, Jesus triumphs and Satan is bound for a thousand years.
  4. This thousand year period is called the Millennial reign of Christ.
  5. A time where Satan is powerless for 1,000 years (which I believe is literal and not figurative).
  6. During this time, the saints reign with Jesus on Earth without the effects or influence of sin.
  7. At the end of this 1,000 year reign, Satan is released and leads one last rebellion.
  8. The first rebellion Satan led was of the angels in heaven.
  9. Satan’s second rebellion was in the Garden of Eden, leading Adam into rebellion with God.
  10. This is the FINAL rebellion of Satan’s existence.
  11. This is the battle of Revelation 20.
  12. Satan deceives the nations, especially called “Gog and Magog”.
  13. These names have been on Facebook recently.
  14. Specifically, people are talking about the alliances between China, Russia, and Iran.
  15. Could this be Gog and Magog?
  16. Maybe.
  17. True, Satan will deceive real nations and real people to rebel against God.
  18. But each generation has tried to predict who Gog and Magog were, who the AntiChrist might be and all sorts of details that God has hidden behind a mystery.
  19. When reading Scripture, and especially Revelation, we must be clear where Scripture is clear and vague where Scripture is vague.
  20. What is absolutely certain is that God does not need you to figure this out before He can do it.
  21. He is not waiting for you to unlock the puzzle.
  22. He is asking for your to be faithful to the mission, and to trust God with the process.
  23. When the time comes, it will be clear to all of God’s people what is happening and taking place.
  24. In the meantime, be faithful.

What happens when it is all over?

3. Two Resurrections are mentioned in Revelation.

Revelation 20:4–6 (CSB)

Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.

This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

 

  1. Resurrection is a major theme in the New Testament.
  2. Not only do we live here on Earth,
  3. But we also live in eternity.
  4. Those who follow Christ are raised to eternal life and those who do not are raised to eternal death.
  5. At Jesus’ return, the first resurrection belongs to those who have died in Christ.
  6. Even though it specifically references those who were martyred, it seems that this does include all the saints.

2.That was the picture Daniel saw in Daniel 7: (CSB)

Daniel 7:21–22 (CSB)

21 As I was watching, this horn waged war against the holy ones and was prevailing over them 22 until the Ancient of Days arrived and a judgment was given in favor of the holy ones of the Most High, for the time had come, and the holy ones took possession of the kingdom.

 

27 The kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey him.’

 

  1. The “second” resurrection is not even called a resurrection here.
  2. Those who rise with Christ are called blessed and holy.
  3. Those who do not rise with Christ, however, are considered cursed because a second death awaits them.
  4. “believers experience the first resurrection while unbelievers experience only the “second death”[1]
  5. The language of Revelation makes it clear that there is no purgatory or second chance in the afterlife.

4. The resurrection of the believer leads to amazing opportunities.

  1. After believers are united with Christ, either through resurrection or rapture, they get to reign with Jesus on Earth for a thousand years.
  2. It is a time when Satan is bound.
  3. At the very least, this means that Satan can no longer deceive people.
  4. The deceptive power of sin is removed for a thousand years.
  5. Honestly, you and I cannot grasp or imagine what this reign will be like.
  6. Scripture provides a brief sketch.
  7. But it will be an age like none other, with Jesus and His saints ruling the nations.

Isaiah 65:17–25 (CSB)

A NEW CREATION

17 “For I will create new heavens and a new earth;

the past events will not be remembered or come to mind.

18 Then be glad and rejoice forever

in what I am creating;

for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy

and its people to be a delight.

19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem

and be glad in my people.

The sound of weeping and crying

will no longer be heard in her.

20 In her, a nursing infant will no longer live

only a few days,

or an old man not live out his days.

Indeed, the one who dies at a hundred years old will be mourned as a young man,

and the one who misses a hundred years will be considered cursed.

21 People will build houses and live in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 They will not build and others live in them;

they will not plant and others eat.

For my people’s lives will be

like the lifetime of a tree.

My chosen ones will fully enjoy

the work of their hands.

23 They will not labor without success

or bear children destined for disaster,

for they will be a people blessed by the Lord

along with their descendants.

24 Even before they call, I will answer;

while they are still speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,

and the lion will eat straw like cattle,

but the serpent’s food will be dust!

They will not do what is evil or destroy

on my entire holy mountain,”

says the Lord.

 

  1. Notice a few things:
  2. There is incredible peace.
  3. There is work and labor, but with success and fulfilment.
  4. There will be births, but it will be as God meant in the Garden of Eden.
  5. There will be death, but no tragedy.
  6. This 1,000 year reign can be compared to the restoration of the Garden of Eden.
  7. But then, Satan is released once again.
  8. What does this prove?
  9. One writer says that it fulfills all the prophecies that God had made to Israel such as the promises of land, and relationship, and such.
  10. Certainly, the release of Satan after the Millennium proves the guilt of sinners.
  11. For a thousand years, Jesus reigns perfectly.
  12. The people who live are those who were resurrected with Christ and those who survived the epic battle and were born during Jesus’ perfect reign.
  13. But as soon as humanity is given an opportunity to rebel against God, many take the chance.
  14. In a way, Satan’s release proves God’s justice in the judgment to come.
  15. No one can say “I didn’t have a chance”.
  16. No one can accuse God of being unfair.
  17. No one can accuse God of stacking the deck against people.
  18. The Millennium reign and Satan’s release proves that people, if given the chance, will rebel against God.
  19. This is the last rebellion, which leads to the last judgment.

5. The Final Judgment of the Wicked.

Revelation 20:11–15 (CSB)

THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT

11 Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. 13 Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

  1. Notice that nothing prevents resurrection.
  2. I have heard of people who were generally concerned by cremation, organ donation, or those who were buried at sea.
  3. Please know that nothing can prevent the future resurrection.
  4. It is important for you, as a family, to discuss what your wishes are for after you die.
  5. But these decisions are for the sake of your family, not to determine if your body is resurrected or not.
  6. If you are not judged through Christ, you will be judged by your works.
  7. For the believer, our sins are judged through Jesus.
  8. According to Revelation, it appears that by this point, the believer has already been resurrected.
  9. But this is called the second death, where the unbeliever is judged by God through their works.
  10. And no one passes on their own merit.
  11. God never says “oh, you lived such a good life and so, even without Jesus, you are good enough.”
  12. If your name is not in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you go to eternal death.
  13. The Lamb is ALWAYS Jesus.
  14. The Lake of Fire is the final destination.
  15. Death, Hell, Hades: this is where all of these elements are cast into.
  16. It is the same destination for Satan, and his false prophet and his beast.
  17. Unfortunately, it is not a picture of punishment until their sin is paid.
  18. Scripture says this:

10 The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

  1. The unbeliever experiences the same final destination as the devil.

6. What do we do in light of this Scripture?

  1. We do whatever it takes to overcome and stay connected with Jesus.
  2. Next week, we will look at the next passages that specifically exclude certain people from heaven.
  3. Those are people who neither confess Jesus or live for Him.
  4. There are people who believe they are assured heaven but live only for the devil.
  5. Ask yourself, “are you living for Jesus?”
  6. Does your life reflect His values, His fruit, and His forgiveness?
  7. Second, we make sure we take someone with us.
  8. Please, do not go to heaven alone.
  9. We must take others with us.
  10. Have those hard conversations, walk across that street, do what needs to be done to make sure that your friends, family, neighbors, and children know Jesus.
  11. Lastly, remember that Jesus wins.
  12. The book of Revelation would have been very encouraging to its original audience.
  13. If you were in one of the Churches this letter was written to, under the iron fist of Rome and experiencing persecution, you would have needed hope.
  14. And the hope was this:
  15. Jesus wins.
  16. For the modern-American, Revelation may be scary or discouraging.
  17. It predicts persecution, trials, and difficulties before Jesus wins.
  18. But if you are in the middle of a trial, knowing that Jesus wins is good news.
  19. We must be mindful to live in the knowledge that Jesus’ wins.
  20. Jesus is the focus of eternity.
  21. Jesus is the focus of End-Times events.
  22. Jesus is the victor, the Groom, and the Architect of the New Jerusalem.
  23. And if you are with Jesus, you win too!

 

PRAYER

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Osborne, Grant R. 2016. Revelation: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Jesus’ Favorite Word July 24, 2022

Adult Service Matthew 11 REST

Jesus’ Favorite Word

 

7.24.22

Matthew 11:28–30 (CSB)

28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1. This is not the message I thought I would preach today.

  1. But one thing I’m learning is to make plans, but be flexible.
  2. I actually prepared this message for Friday night.
  3. But I noticed in my preparation that this seemed to me to be the message that God was blessing for this weekend.
  4. I love preaching through series, but God has a different message for us today.
  5. This morning is my attempt to listen to God’s voice and to speak what He is wanting to say.
  6. Both Friday night and this morning, I feel that God wants to minister to our weariness.
  7. Our younger generations are anxious, stressed, depressed, and oppressed.
  8. And they are learning that from their parents and grandparents.
  9. They are internalizing what we are externalizing.
  10. The fact is, we are really good at doing things for Jesus but not good at “coming” to Jesus.
  11. We are doing a great job of teaching people how to work for Jesus, but not how to rest in Jesus.
  12. In our passage, I’m struck by Jesus’ invitation to come and learn from Him.
  13. First, the fact that He invites people like me at all is amazing.
  14. Then, Jesus invites people to learn from Him.
  15. He’s willing to teach us what we don’t know.
  16. He’s willing to show us what we can’t see.
  17. He’s willing to move us to where we couldn’t go.
  18. Jesus offers us the opportunity to learn how to live our lives with Him.
  19. And Jesus isn’t stressed out.
  20. Jesus isn’t frantic.
  21. Jesus takes naps.
  22. Jesus gets away from crowds to pray and rest.
  23. Jesus offers to teach us His ways, and His ways lead to a life that is characterized by rest and calm.
  24. Why does Jesus do this in this passage?
  25. Because Jesus knows how burdened they were.
  26. Jesus sees the cares that we try to hide from everyone.
  27. He sees the weight on our shoulders, and He gives us an invitation.

3. Jesus sees how stressed and burdened His people are.

  1. Jesus is teaching a crowd, and He knows that they are stressed and burdened.
  2. Most of their burden came from their religious culture.
  3. They were taught that to be a “good Jew”, to be a good person, they had to fulfill all of these extra requirements.
  4. Not just the requirements of the Old Testament.
  5. I’m talking extra requirements that their rabbis required.
  6. The Jewish people weren’t trying to please God, they were trying to please their religious leaders.
  7. It was exhausting
  8. And they were failing.
  9. So Jesus calls out to them:
  10. Come to me all who are weary and burdened.
  11. An older Bible says, “all who are heavy ladened”.
  12. That’s a picture of people with a huge burden on their back.
  13. It’s carrying a load you weren’t meant to carry, for a longer time than you can stand.
  14. It is the picture of someone hunched over from the weight, ready to fall down and not get back up again.

4. Jesus offers them a different “yoke”.

  1. A yoke was a piece of equipment that tied two animals together.

PICTURE

  1. A wooden piece that the necks go into.
  2. It tied the animals to the load and to each other so the animals could pull them together.
  3. Over time, the yoke would rub and fit the animal more perfectly.
  4. Kind of like wearing a pair of shoes will mold it to your feet.
  5. The Wrong yoke or unequal yokes are painful and                                      frustrating.
  6. When the yoke wasn’t right, the work to be done would either take a lot longer or couldn’t be done.
  7. Last night I did an Illustration with Boys doing pushups.

1 with minimal weight. (no friend)

1 with medium weight (one friend)

1 with enough weight to guarantee failure. (3 friends)

  1. Pushups are hard enough.
  2. But trying to carry unnecessary weight makes it impossible.
  3. Jesus didn’t come to make your life impossible.
  4. Jesus said, My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
  5. Two things:
  6. If you are in one side of the yoke, who is on the other side?
  7. It’s Jesus.
  8. Jesus would be in the other side.
  9. But this is only true if you and Jesus are in the same yoke.
  10. It isn’t the yoke you brought with you.
  11. That one doesn’t fit Jesus.
  12. It fits your friends, it fits your worldview, it fits what everyone else is doing.
  13. But it doesn’t fit Jesus, so He brings His own.
  14. Next, it is you and Jesus pulling the load together.
  15. There is a load.
  16. There is a yoke.
  17. BUT you are pulling it WITH Jesus.
  18. And that load is not unnecessarily heavy.
  19. I’m always amazed at the size of the purses and bags some ladies carry.
  20. Some of you ladies carry a bag BIGGER than you.
  21. Question: How many wives carry stuff in your purse for your husband?
  22. Can I help you out for a minute:
  23. Men’s pants have pockets, use them.
  24. Women carry all kinds of stuff.
  25. Then you wonder why your neck hurts, back hurts, and shoulders hurt.
  26. You go through life, carrying all of this stuff that you weren’t designed to carry every single day.
  27. Jesus offers what no one or nothing can offer.
  28. “Jesus doesn’t promise escape from reality, but he promises the right equipment to deal with it.”[1]
  29. There is something to carry, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to feel like work.
  30. God certainly calls us to do hard things.
  31. He certainly calls us to challenging things.
  32. But it isn’t crushing

5. Let’s talk about the wrong yokes.

  1. What are some of the wrong yokes we put on?

#1. Wrong relationships.

  1. They add more stress.
  2. It is so important to surround yourself with people who encourage you to follow Jesus.
  3. Wrong relationships create “unequally yoked” situations.

Picture ILLUSTRATION

  1. When the partners are not yoked equally, one of the partners really suffers.

#2. Wrong expectations.

  1. Expectations are so important.
  2. How we view the world and how the world views us.
  3. When expectations are not even, and do not meet reality, resentment builds.
  4. And Anxiety.
  5. And Depression.
  6. And Anger.

#3. Doing it alone.

  1. These yokes are designed to be run in teams.
  2. Some of you aren’t in bad relationships or using drugs or nothing like that.
  3. Nope, you are doing it all by yourself and it doesn’t work.
  4. The yoke you were designed to pull was designed to be done as a team, with Jesus.

6. Jesus’ favorite word: Come.

  1. My favorite word is probably Go.
  2. When I go and I’m busy, I feel better about myself.
  3. When I tell my dog “do you want to go for a ride, even she loves it.”
  4. But my dog also loves it when I say,
  5. “Come here”!”
  6. Not angry, like when I’m mad at her for running off.
  7. But she loves it when I’m excited about her presence and I want her to come spend time with me.
  8. My dog knows the difference when I ask her to “come”.
  9. Jesus isn’t angry with this group.
  10. He isn’t angry that they are tired, or weary, or stressed, or burdened.
  11. Sometimes, I get frustrated with people who are tired or stressed.
  12. I’m not always the most patient with those who are hurting or frustrated.
  13. That doesn’t bother Jesus.
  14. He sweetly says “Come to me, ALL who are weary.”
  15. Did you notice who are invited?
  16. Jesus said ALL.
  17. That means you.
  18. Before you can “go” for Jesus, you have to “come” to Jesus.

7. Jesus gives real rest.

  1. The presence of rest means that there is work.
  2. The reality is that your work looks very different than mine.
  3. But my work looks different than other peoples.
  4. My work is very mental and relational.
  5. Maybe your work is very physical.
  6. Jesus doesn’t invite you to a life of sitting around.
  7. I bet some of you feel tired all the time.
  8. Even when you sleep late, or don’t do anything but watch YouTube or play video games.
  9. That’s because those things do not provide real rest.
  10. They provide an illusion of rest but not the real thing.
  11. Jesus invites you to a life of productivity but also rest.
  12. The idea of “rest” is more like “peace”.
  13. Not striving,
  14. Not trying to “earn” your keep.
  15. This is where I am at.
  16. When I’m not frantically running from meeting to meeting, and call to call, and emergency to emergency, I don’t feel like I’m doing enough.
  17. I act like that it is a sin to NOT BE STRESSED and overwhelmed.
  18. Jesus offered “rest” as a badge of honor, and we offer “stressed”.
  19. Rest is a completeness and belonging.
  20. I bet many of you wish you could just “belong”.
  21. Jesus offers a rest that you can’t find anywhere else.
  22. And HE says, COME.
  23. IF you are tired, COME.
  24. If you are burdened, COME.
  25. IF you are worried, NO problem, COME.
  26. If you haven’t been living right, COME.
  27. Jesus’ favorite word is “COME” and He is talking to you.

 

Close: Today, I invite anyone who is overloaded to come to Jesus.

  1. In just a moment, I’m going to ask you to come to the front and pour your heart out to Jesus.
  2. And know that, when you come to the front of a church, you aren’t coming to the preacher.
  3. You are coming to Jesus.
  4. I really feel like today is the time for you to pour your heart out to Jesus.
  5. Some of you are so overwhelmed.
  6. You are anxious and stressed all the time.
  7. You wouldn’t normally say that you were “weary and heavy ladened” but you carry such a heavy load all the time you just wonder how much more you can take.
  8. I feel like today is a time to unburden your soul.
  9. Today is a time to unpack your backpack and remove some of the extra burdens you have been carrying.
  10. Some of you are carrying loads you weren’t intended to carry.
  11. Just because someone else can carry it, it doesn’t mean you are supposed to.

[1] O’Donnell, Douglas Sean. 2013. Matthew: All Authority in Heaven and on Earth. Edited by R. Kent Hughes. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.

 

The “Right” Side of Eternity. Eternity Week 2. July 17, 2022

Message 2 Eternity Series

 

The “Right” side of Eternity

 

Eternity Series

Week 2

7.17.22

Matthew 25:31-46 (CSB)

THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels, with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations, will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35 “ ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?’

40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger and you didn’t take me in; I was naked and you didn’t clothe me, sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of me.’

44 “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

1. The “Right Side” of History.

  1. I hate that phrase.
  2. If you haven’t heard this before, it refers to people making decisions now that will be judged by the future.
  3. However, it seems to always be used by people with an agenda.
  4. One way it is used refers to the issue of American slavery.
  5. I am saddened that, for centuries Christian people used Scripture to justify the sin of slavery.
  6. Unfortunately, many within our country now uses this phrase “right side of history” in arguing for relationships that are contrary to Scripture.
  7. Their argument is that, someday, we will finally grow up and realize that we were reading the Bible wrong and we will openly accept their accepting views.
  8. And if we don’t, history will judge us.
  9. It isn’t history that I’m worried about.
  10. Let’s be honest, Americans do not like history.
  11. Furthermore, we write and rewrite history to our whims and our desires.
  12. What concerns me is not being judged by history but being judged by God.

2. Matthew 25 is all about judgment.

  1. Jesus tells 3 parables in Matthew 25.
  2. The first is about ten virgins.
  3. Five are ready for the groom’s arrival.
  4. Five are not.
  5. The five who are not miss out on his coming and miss the banquet.
  6. The second parable tells of three servants, each given some talents.
  7. A talent was worth about 6,000 Roman denarii, or 20 years wages.
  8. The wicked and lazy servant buries the master’s money, losing any growth.
  9. This servant was “thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
  10. The parable of the sheep and goats forms the 3rd parable emphasizing the same point.
  11. The point: Judgment is certain.
  12. The Biblical letter of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 9:27–28 (CSB)

27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment—28 so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

  1. This is what, I believe, bothers people today.
  2. We don’t like the idea of judgment.
  3. Even within the Church, we are very touchy about the theme of judgment.
  4. Judgment necessitates clear TRUTH.
  5. To honestly judge, there has to be a right and wrong.
  6. And that truth cannot be relative.
  7. Relative judgment is not righteous judgment.
  8. The reality of judgment is not the same as hate.
  9. On Earth, A good judge does not hate people, but loves the law.
  10. God does commit people to hell out of hate, but out of His love for His own righteousness.

3. What does God have against goats?

  1. The answer is nothing.
  2. God loves goats, but he is only keeping sheep.
  3. When we apply this analogy to Christians and Sinners, the Bible is clear that God doesn’t hate sinners.
  4. In fact, in several places in the Bible it is said that God does not want anyone to perish and go to eternal death.

Ezekiel 33:11 (CSB)

11 Tell them, ‘As I live—this is the declaration of the Lord God—I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live.

 

  1. But because of God’s holiness, He will only allow those that accept Jesus and their Lord and Savior into eternal life.
  2. Those that reject him are allowed to go to eternal death.
  3. God is not sending people to hell.
  4. Often we get this picture of an angry God throwing people into a place of fire and torment and laughing the whole time he is doing it.
  5. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
  6. God is not looking forward to the day that he can send you or anyone else into eternal damnation.
  7. In fact, he his holding back his righteous judgment so that we might receive another chance.
  8. 2Pe 3:9 NIV – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
  9. God is not sending us to hell, sin is.
  10. The consequence of sin is eternal death.
  11. God is offering to save you from that death but if you reject him, hell is your eternal destiny.

4. What does Matthew 25 say about “the Right side of history”?

  1. Jesus’ parable says that the Shepherd will separate sheep from goats.
  2. “He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
  3. Picture: You and I are facing the throne of God.
  4. He is separating the righteous from the unrighteous.
  5. He is sorting them, not because he loves one and hates the other.
  6. God doesn’t “hate” goats, but he is only collecting sheep.
  7. The herds start moving.
  8. But guess what? They aren’t moving the way you thought.
  9. Your right is God’s left.
  10. Jesus didn’t say they moved to our right or our left.
  11. We are facing a different direction than God is.
  12. So His left is my right.
  13. My left is His right.
  14. It’s possible to believe you are on the right side of eternity and ultimately realize you were facing the wrong direction.
  15. It isn’t my direction that matters but God’s.
  16. That is why repentance is so important.
  17. Repentance faces us in the right direction.

5. Eternity shows up in our actions.

  1. Jesus points out that eternal life is connected to what we do here on Earth.
  2. He said that there will be those who inherit eternal life because they served God through the least of people.
  3. And there will be those who receive eternal death, and their indictment is their refusal to do good.
  4. How does this work?
  5. We are not saved by works.
  6. We cannot work hard enough to earn our way to heaven.
  7. But good deeds ARE PART of the Christian life.
  8. Faith without works is DEAD.
  9. My love for Jesus will flow through me in acts of love and service to others.
  10. Jesus does more than question the salvation of those who claim to love God but hate fellow man.
  11. Jesus says that those people who refuse to love the “least of these” will go away to eternal punishment.
  12. People who have been radically affected by the love of Jesus will love other people.
  13. People who love Jesus do not want others to miss out.
  14. People who love Jesus overflow with compassion.
  15. People who have grasped eternity want others to grasp it as well.

Close: Jesus said that a day of separation is coming.

  1. He will separate God’s people from those who rejected Him.
  2. And at that day Matthew 25:46 (CSB)

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 

  1. We have a responsibility to share this hope of eternal life with all we come in contact with.
  2. Today, we must first ask “Am I on the right side of eternity?”
  3. Let me tell you this story;

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local newspaper: “Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.”

Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died; a newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph.

But the account had a profound effect on Nobel. He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process. So he initiated the Nobel Prize, the award for scientists and writers who foster peace.

Nobel said, “Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.”

Few things will change us as much as looking at our life as though it is finished.[1]

  1. Today we apply this message to in a few ways:
  2. First, if judgment was today, where would you land?
  3. It’s possible to think you are on the right and realize you were actually on God’s left.
  4. But you don’t have to stay there.
  5. In fact, that can all change for you today.
  6. Second, may be you are wondering how YOU can change the eternity of others around you.
  7. Two key ways: Prayer.
  8. Love.
  9. Today, you won’t argue someone into the Kingdom, but you might be able to love them into it.
  10. Let us ask God for a clearer view of eternity and the empowerment to tell others about Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Larson, Craig Brian. 2002. 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

July 10, 2022: Good and Bad Seed. ETERNITY SERIES

Message 1 Matt 13

Message 1: Good and Bad Seed

 

Eternity Series

Message 1

July 10, 2022

Main Idea: Eternity is real.

 

Matthew 13:24–30, 36-43 (CSB)

Introduction: Why this series?

  1. Back on January 2 of this year, I was in bed reading and studying.
  2. That night, I believe the Lord dropped this message into my heart:
  3. The Spirit said “Paul, prepare these messages for when the time is right.”  1/2/2022.
  4. He then added this instruction:
  5. This sermon series can’t be pithy.
  6. No play on words or puns.
  7. Must be preached with tears, With longing and, With sincerity and desperation.
  8. In other words, this is not a joke. It’s serious.
  9. Two weeks ago, I was sitting at my kitchen table studying.
  10. These days, I’ve been studying more at home so I can focus on the Word and Prayer.
  11. During this preparation, there was a nervousness and a heaviness upon my life.
  12. Preaching is always a serious task.
  13. But sometimes the anointing lays heavy upon a person’s body and mind.
  14. When this is true, the servant must pay close attention.
  15. I believe that this simple series of messages are to capture our attention.
  16. Why this message?
  17. Because we have lost sight of eternity.
  18. Furthermore, Jesus believed in hell and warned us of its dangers.
  19. Yet, I’m afraid, the American Church no longer believes in hell or eternity.
  20. We do not want to live in fear of hell, but we do not want to forget that the “wages of sin is death.”

1. Jesus taught on eternal death often.

  1. R.C. Sproul said, “Jesus talked more about hell than he did about heaven.”
  2. For those inclined to believe in eternity, nobody doubts that there is heaven.
  3. But doubting the existence of hell makes sense.
  4. Not believing in “hell” feels right.
  5. Not believing in “hell” makes us feel superior than all of the ignorant people who came before us, we think.
  6. That’s why this is a tough topic and it’s confusing.
  7. Why is it confusing?
  8. Because it deals with eternity.
  9. Because Christians do not agree on this doctrine.
  10. Because Satan has made a mockery of hell in music and movies.
  11. Because we hope hell isn’t true.
  12. Part of the reason there are many theories about hell is not because Scripture isn’t clear, but because we hope it isn’t true.
  13. I wish nihilism (also called conditionalism) was true: where the good live forever with Jesus and the evil simply cease to exist.
  14. I wouldn’t mind believing in purgatory.
  15. But these are not true biblical doctrines.
  16. What did Jesus say about eternity?

2. Jesus uses strong language to emphasize the reality of eternity.

  1. Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 13

Matthew 13:24–30, 36-43 (CSB)

THE PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND THE WEEDS

24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’

28 “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he told them.

“ ‘So, do you want us to go and pull them up?’ the servants asked him.

29 “ ‘No,’ he said. ‘When you pull up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but collect the wheat in my barn.’ ”

JESUS INTERPRETS THE PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND THE WEEDS

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He replied, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world; and the good seed—these are the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom all who cause sin and those guilty of lawlessness., 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Let anyone who has ears listen.

  1. At first, Jesus teaches about eternity with a parable.
  2. Parables are great.
  3. Parables are images that illustrate a truth.
  4. But surely Jesus didn’t not mean that there would be a harvest and a reckoning.
  5. If Jesus had not interpreted this parable, we could interpret this however we saw fit.
  6. But Jesus interprets His own parable.
  7. He tells His disciples exactly what this means.
  8. People are the seed.
  9. There are righteous people.
  10. There are sinful people.
  11. Actually, the imagery is more like: There are sons and daughters of God and there are sons and daughters of Satan.
  12. They are sown together, and grow together, in the same field.
  13. When harvest comes, there is a separation.
  14. God keeps the good crop, “the children of God”.
  15. He burns the bad crop “the children of Satan.”

3. Jesus believed there would come a day of reckoning.

  1. We all believe in death.
  2. Every person dies.
  3. All of us adults have been to a funeral or have known someone to pass away.
  4. We do not question that death is a reality.
  5. We do question the reality of eternity.
  6. Part of the reason we question eternity is because both life and death seem unfair.
  7. Overtime, we may start to question how eternity works, why it is the way it is, and how could God allow a place like Hell to exist.
  8. These are not bad questions.
  9. Questions are not sins.
  10. The problem arises when we look for answers to questions that God has already answered.
  11. When our answers to these questions come from philosophers, fiction writers, athletes, influencers, and YouTubers, we are opening up ourselves to the wrong answers and the wrong way of thinking.
  12. A helpful question for us is, “What did Jesus believe?”
  13. It is obvious that Jesus believed in eternal life and eternal death.
  14. Notice verses 42-43

42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Let anyone who has ears listen.

  1. Jesus saw the righteous shining like the sun.
  2. Jesus saw the unrighteous weeping and gnashing teeth.
  3. These comparisons are side-by-side.
  4. In other words, if Life is eternal, Death is eternal.
  5. Jesus compared Life and Death equally.
  6. We cannot believe in an eternal heaven if we do not also believe in an eternal hell.
  7. Either humanity lives eternally after we die or we do not live at all after we die.
  8. In this day and time, we need reconvincing of eternity’s reality.

4. Where did the unrighteous or bad seed come from?

  1. Jesus said it was from the enemy.
  2. This is interesting.
  3. Jesus doesn’t say “oh, they are good at heart but got a little lost on the way”.
  4. He actually says that the bad seed comes from HIS enemy.
  5. The devil isn’t our enemy.
  6. Satan is God’s enemy.
  7. Satan attacks us because that is how he strikes at God.
  8. God created humanity in HIS IMAGE.
  9. What Satan is attacking is not my image but God’s image within me.
  10. God is not some disinterested observer in this cosmic warfare.
  11. The main battle is between God and Satan, and we are in the middle.
  12. The seed the enemy planted was designed to look just like the wheat and to be indistinguishable until it was growing.
  13. The hope of the enemy is to ruin the harvest.
  14. The enemy sows bad seed in hopes that the harvest will be lost.
  15. Some believe that Jesus had a “bearded darnel” seed in mind.

This weed looks rather like wheat when young, but matures to have a black seed and plays host to a fungus that can be quite toxic to humans. The verse starts and ends with the features that mark the invisibility of the act: the enemy acts while others sleep and after a busy night does not stay around to be seen afterwards.[1]

  1. What we know about the seed:
  2. There is good and bad seed.
  3. The seed represents people.
  4. The “bad” seed is indistinguishable from the good, at least initially but is obvious after it starts producing after its kind.
  5. At harvest time, the crop is gathered.
  6. The wheat stays while the tares are destroyed.

5. Didn’t you buy the good stuff?

  1. This was the question of the servants who were sowing the fields.
  2. The seed could have come from two places.
  3. First, the farmer could have held seed over from a previous harvest.
  4. Or, the farmer could have bought the seed from elsewhere.
  5. Either way, the servants noticed that the quality was very mixed after they planted.
  6. But, if they dealt with the bad seed NOW, they could pull up the tares and save the crop.
  7. This sounds wonderful, doesn’t it!
  8. In the 1956 short story “Minority Report”, which became a movie starring Tom Cruise, we see this kind of thing happen.
  9. There is a “precrime” unit that is able to stop crime BEFORE it happens.
  10. If we HAD OUR WAY, stopping sin and crime BEFORE it happens by eliminating the evil people sounds like an amazing deal.
  11. But this isn’t what the master in Jesus’ story does.
  12. Because this is a parable, Jesus is teaching an aspect of the Kingdom here.
  13. It is true God could eliminate all the bad people and evil people from the start.
  14. It is true that God could take the nuclear option, so to speak, and eliminate what is wrong before the seed produces the tares..
  15. But the Master in this story says “NO! you might also harm the wheat.”
  16. Why the delay?
  17. The Gospel according to Barney Fife says, “Nip it in the bud.”
  18. The Gospel according to Jesus says, “Wait a little longer, I don’t want anyone lost.”
  19. The Father is willing to allow weeds to thrive, for a season, so that His seed may flourish.

2 Peter 3:9–11 (CSB)

The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief;, on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed., 11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness

 

6. Do not confuse love for weakness.

  1. The Master refusing to immediately deal with the problems is not a sign of weakness.
  2. It’s an act of love.
  3. It is also an assurance of His ability.
  4. The Master knows that, when it is time for harvest, He and his servants know how to properly sort the good from the bad.
  5. God’s patience is for our benefit.
  6. At the end of the age, God isn’t going to miss a thing.
  7. Every sin will be punished, either through the Blood of Jesus or through the fires of eternal death.
  8. Nothing good goes unnoticed and nothing evil is eternally rewarded.
  9. When the End comes, and the angels are sent to gather humanity, God’s love will be on full display.
  10. The love that rewards the Righteous is the same love that condemns the Unrighteous.
  11. The presence of Hell does not make God unjust or unloving.
  12. The presence of Hell means that God is just and good.
  13. A good God could not allow sin to go unpunished.
  14. That is why He sent His Son to receive the punishment for our sin.
  15. So that everyone who believes upon Him will be saved.

Conclusion:

  1. Reflecting upon Jesus’ parable, notice that He lets both seed grow and produce.
  2. He doesn’t judge the seed until it produces its crop.
  3. The seed that produces righteousness is saved.
  4. The seed that produces unrighteousness is burned.
  5. James 1:15 says it this way: (CSB)

15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.

 

  1. This of this through the imagery of seed again:
  2. Conception is because of a “seed”.
  3. The “seed” produces whatever it was designed to produce.
  4. The Good News is that Jesus changes this!
  5. Because Jesus was not of human “seed”, He breaks the cycle of desire, sin, and death for all who believe in Him.
  6. Even though all of us have been tainted with sin and, left to our own will produce death, we can be changed.
  7. PRAYER: Two areas of prayer for us this morning.
  8. If anyone here today does not know Jesus, this is the first place we must pray.
  9. Please do not wait to confess your sins to Jesus.
  10. Please do not take a chance on entering eternity without knowing Jesus.
  11. Second, Let us pray for boldness to tell others about eternity.
  12. We all have friends and neighbors who may not know.
  13. No one is guaranteed tomorrow!

 

 

[1] Nolland, John. 2005. The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press. 545

June 18, 2022. Father’s Day

PDF Link

Joshua 5 Picking up what our father’s put down

Picking up what our Fathers laid down.

 

6.19.2022

Father’s Day 2022

Joshua 5:1–9 (CSB)

When all the Amorite kings across the Jordan to the west and all the Canaanite kings near the sea heard how the Lord had dried up the water of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, they lost heart and their courage failed because of the Israelites.

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelite men again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelite men at Gibeath-haaraloth. (NAME MEANS CIRCUMCISION HILL) This is the reason Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males—all the men of war—had died in the wilderness along the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out were circumcised, none of the people born in the wilderness along the way were circumcised after they had come out of Egypt. For the Israelites wandered in the wilderness forty years until all the nation’s men of war who came out of Egypt had died off because they did not obey the Lord. So the Lord vowed never to let them see the land he had sworn to their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. He raised up their sons in their place; it was these Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised, since they had not been circumcised along the way. After the entire nation had been circumcised, they stayed where they were in the camp until they recovered. The Lord then said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the disgrace of Egypt from you.” Therefore, that place is still called Gilgal today.

Introduction: Joshua starts 40 years after leaving Exodus.

  1. The people who were at the foot of the Mountain in Exodus 40 are dead.
  2. They died because they refused to believe God.
  3. God led them to the edge of the Promised Land, and they balked.
  4. Because of this, God had them march around for 40 years, 1 year for every day they scouted the promised land and refused to believe. (Numbers 14:33-34).
  5. When the 40 years was over, no one who was fighting age at the time of the disobedience was alive except Joshua and Caleb.
  6. In reading this passage this past week, I feel both hopeful and worried.
  7. I’m worried about our failure to be obedient to God.
  8. Worried about all the opportunities we are missing.
  9. Worried about the generations that we are raising.
  10. YET, I see hope.
  11. Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction.”
  12. There is also hope that, within one generation, we can see things turn around.
  13. I’m believing that I’m part of that generation.
  14. Let’s look at this passage and see how a generation addressed their parents’ rebellion and tried to change.

1. The enemies are not God’s focus, Israel is.

When all the Amorite kings across the Jordan to the west and all the Canaanite kings near the sea heard how the Lord had dried up the water of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, they lost heart and their courage failed because of the Israelites.

  1. We humans like having someone to blame.
  2. Common enemies unite us.
  3. Having a common enemy also allows us to ignore our issues while focusing on the other.
  4. Passing blame is easier than examining our own lives.
  5. Jesus recognized this when He said, “Why focus on the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in yours?”
  6. While you and I like to focus on the enemy, God focuses on us.
  7. We love focusing on the enemies.
  8. The enemy is not an obstacle for God.
  9. He is not worried about defeating them.
  10. God is focused on preparing Israel.
  11. God allows the enemy to live in dread for a while so that He can prepare the Israelite men.
  12. If we only focus on the external problems, we miss the internal problems that will derail us.
  13. Too many of us here are so focused on what’s happening out there that you give no intention to what is happening inside you.
  14. This is human nature.
  15. But we aren’t called to live by our human nature anymore.
  16. Isn’t it time that you and I start working with the Holy Spirit to do the hard work of our inward life?
  17. When we fail to deal with OUR problems, we pass those problems on to others.

2. Circumcision: A pattern of Disobedience

  1. This passage addresses the failure of Israel to circumcise a whole generation.
  2. The oldest men would have been 59 or less (military age was 20 and over, and they were in the wilderness for 40 years).
  3. All the men who came out of Egypt were circumcised.
  4. Even in slavery, the older generations kept this promise.
  5. Even when they could not feel God’s presence, they practiced the Covenant sign of Abraham.
  6. Their parents knew that the only way out of Egypt was through God’s Covenant with Abraham.
  7. Because God promised Abraham, God would deliver them.
  8. The sign of that Covenant: Circumcision.
  9. No circumcision, no covenant, and no deliverance.
  10. But for 40 years, Israel did not practice the Covenant sign.
  11. Here’s the crazy part: Their parents believed, even without seeing or sensing God, for 100 generations of slavery.
  12. This generation disbelieved for a whole generation while GOD WAS IN THEIR MIDST!
  13. Millions died in Egypt without ever seeing the Presence of God. But they still carried the Covenant with them,.
  14. But this generation died in the unnecessarily in the Wilderness while GOD’s Presence led them.
  15. Never underestimate the foolishness of a rebellious people.
  16. Unfortunately, this rebellious spirit started in Moses.
  17. God almost killed Moses in Exodus 4 for failing to circumcise his son.
  18. Early on, Moses failed to obey God AND bring his son into the Covenant with God.
  19. While Moses was leading His family to go deliver Israel from Egypt, Moses DID NOT circumcise his kid.
  20. And God got angry and almost killed them because of their rebellion.
  21. No Covenant, no deliverance.
  22. No Covenant, no Salvation.
  23. No Covenant, no Mercy.
  24. That’s why Jesus said “This is a NEW COVENANT in my blood.”
  25. Moses failed to walk in obedience to this covenant sign.
  26. In fact, his wife Zipporah circumcised Moses’ son.
  27. Moses did not do it.
  28. TRUTH: If we are not intentional with our obedience, we pass on our patterns of sin.
  29. During the wilderness wanderings, Moses again fails to ensure that the sons of Israel were circumcised and brought into the Covenant.
  30. This was Moses’ job to enact the Covenant.
  31. Moses was an amazing prophet, but he was not perfect or sinless.
  32. Therefore, Moses passed on this disobedience.
  33. Furthermore, he led the fathers of the land to pass this disobedience down to the sons.

3. You cannot walk in victory AND disobedience.

  1. God called upon Joshua to circumcise the sons that God raised up in place of the disobedient fathers.
  2. Joshua was circumcised.
  3. But he could not move Israel forward if he and Caleb were the only obedient men.
  4. Joshua was the bridge.
  5. He bridged the generation of the disobedient to the generation of promise.
  6. In this way, Joshua foreshadows Jesus, who bridged sinful humanity with the sinless God.
  7. In fact, both Joshua and Jesus are practically the same names, meaning “Save us.”
  8. The next stage in Israel’s journey was to conquer Jericho.
  9. As long as Jericho held, Israel would not be secure.
  10. Jericho was to be the first physical battle of the Promised Land.
  11. But the first spiritual battle was the battle with disobedience.
  12. Before you slay spiritual giants or conquer enemy territory, you have to deal with your disobedience and rebellion.
  13. We cannot expect God’s blessing to be seen in public obedience to his commands if there is hidden compromise in the private world of the self and the family.[1]
  14. Hidden compromise doesn’t stay hidden forever.
  15. A good excuse is never a reason for disobedience.
  16. “My parents didn’t teach me.”
  17. “I’m too old to obey now.”
  18. “Won’t this hurt?”
  19. “The enemy will attack me while I’m vulnerable.”
  20. “we must never attempt to justify our disobedience by speculating about what the consequences might be.”[2]

4. Spiritual preparation precedes conquest.

  1. Another author said it this way:
  2. That such spiritual preparations preceded the actual “conquest” of the land illustrates the priorities we have noted: God was going to give Israel the land, and Israel’s task was to be sure it obeyed and was adequately prepared spiritually.[3]
  3. Before the victory came spiritual preparation.
  4. If Joshua had not led Israel in obedience, he would have led them in defeat.
  5. If you do not lead your family in obedience, you will lead them in defeat.
  6. You can’t walk in disobedience and rebellion at work and expect to live in victory at home.
  7. Disobedience will follow you until you deal with it.
  8. If you won’t walk in obedience, God will raise up someone in your place.
  9. 1. Israel chose rebellion over presence and walked away from their position as sons.
  10. So God raised up sons in their place.
  11. Sons that are obedient.
  12. Sons that will pick up the call of the Covenant and walk in it.

5. How can we start walking in Victory for our families?

  1. Stop the disobedience.
  2. The only people who could stop Israel from walking in disobedience was the men.
  3. That’s a heavy idea and not real popular in America today.
  4. And I cannot fix the issues that are “out there”.
  5. But I can speak to you and implore you to pick up what other generations have left behind.
  6. Lead your families in worship!
  7. Pray aloud and pray often.
  8. Don’t be loud for a football game but silent for prayer.
  9. Read your Bible in front of your family.
  10. Let others see you in the altars, let others see you lifting up holy hands, let others see your tears of repentance.
  11. What you are doing is not just for you or your blood kin.
  12. There are many who are “spiritual orphans” who are looking for someone to follow.
  13. Stop the disobedience so others can find freedom!
  14. Start with the obvious.
  15. The obvious first step may be the most painful.
  16. Don’t ignore the pain, name it.
  17. Joshua named their pain: The hills of circumcision.
  18. If I was writing my history, I would have ignored it.
  19. They could have completely ignored this painful story in their journey, but they didn’t.
  20. Instead they named it!
  21. Can you imagine what this would have looked like?
  22. What about the smell of rotting flesh?
  23. There was pain in their obedience, but that pain was necessary to walk in future victory.
  24. Some of us today KNOW what we should do, but it is painful to consider.
  25. Yet, if you know what God is asking, you must do it.
  26. Disobedience is ultimately more painful than obedience.
  27. Make Circumcision hill a memorable place:
  28. Gilgal became a place of significance.
  29. It was where the Lord “rolled away” the disgrace of Egypt.
  30. I can see 4 ways Circumcision hill became memorable:
  31. A place of confession “our fathers were disobedient”.
  32. That’s a tough confession.
  33. To confess “my parents failed.”
  34. My father or mother did not lead me so well.
  35. The purpose here is not shame but acknowledgement.
  36. But instead of perpetuating our sin further, we start our victory by confessing our defeats, our sin.
  37. A place of contrition.
  38. Contrition means “the state of feeling remorseful and penitent”.
  39. This passage carries a sense of remorse.
  40. Remorse for what happened.
  41. Remorse for what could have been.
  42. Why is contrition important?
  43. We rarely change what we are proud of.
  44. If we are proud of our sin and rebellion, we will never confess or change.
  45. To start walking in victory God’s way, there must be moments that we are not proud of.
  46. We do not find victory over sin by denying that we have sinned, but by bringing that sin under the blood of Jesus through confession and contrition.
  47. 1 John 1:8–10 (CSB)

If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

  1. A place of change.
  2. True confession must lead to change.
  3. Admitting we sinned, while making no plans to change, is not repentance but bragging.
  4. When we decide to put away the sins and rebellions of our past, Gilgal becomes the place where we irrevocably change and move in a different way.
  5. Think about how powerful it would be for you to point your family, friends, and neighbors to a moment in your life where your life forever changed!
  6. People can’t celebrate what they don’t know about.
  7. But some of you here today are in a point where it’s time to show people your Gilgal.
  8. It’s time for you to testify of what God has done, what He has changed, and where He has brought you from.
  9. You aren’t declaring that you are perfect, you are declaring that you are changed!
  10. Some of the most painful moments of our lives can become places of great testimony.
  11. A place of Covenant.
  12. As Israel stopped here in the Promise Land, more is at stake than perhaps realized.
  13. The next part of this Chapter says that the newly circumcised men celebrated Passover for the first time in the Promised Land.
  14. And then they ate from the crops of the land.
  15. It was here, at the doorsteps of Jericho, that the manna ceased.
  16. And it was here that the Covenant is picked up by the wandering generation.
  17. By putting aside their parents’ rebellion, this generation was able to march into victory in the Promised Land.
  18. Unfortunately, they were not able to keep it.

Close: We are on the precipice.

  1. Lately, I’m feeling a burden that hadn’t previously been mine.
  2. I use to be the youngest in the room, but no longer.
  3. I’m in the midst of my adulthood and some of the prime years of life.
  4. With the wisdom, experience, and energy that God has given me at this point in life comes a responsibility.
  5. Lately, I’m feeling burdens that used to belong to those older than me.
  6. Now, those burdens are being passed on.
  7. God is raising up a generation to pick up what the Fathers had dropped.
  8. Do you remember that quote from Ronald Reagan?
  9. Perhaps you have heard that quote before, but here is the rest:
  10.  Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.  And those in world history who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.
  11. Governor Reagan was talking about American Freedom, and he was right.
  12. But I can’t help but see spiritual applications.
  13. Freedom, or victory, but be fought for and defended for each generation.
  14. In words of our message, “each generation must be circumcised.”
  15. Now, as believers, we take part in a circumcision not of human flesh but of the heart.
  16. But if you do not undergo this painful blessing, you have no part of the Covenant.
  17. In other words, if we do not give our lives to Jesus, we cannot claim the benefits that only Jesus can give.
  18. I want to take this application one step further.
  19. In our attempts or our parents attempt to make sure that the next generation has more than we had, we have done them a disservice.
  20. We don’t want to see our kids in pain, so we ignore the painful places of obedience.
  21. We don’t want our kids to do without, so we shield them from consequences and discipline.
  22. We think that we are doing them a service, but instead we are teaching them how to disobey and pushing back the price that always comes due.
  23. Can you imagine:
  24. Baby boys were to be circumcised 8 days after birth: painful but forgettable.
  25. But because of a generation’s rebellion, adult males and teenage men had to fix where their parents disobeyed.
  26. I want to show you a video clip from Coach Aaron McKie.
  27. McKie played in the NBA and now coaches at Temple.
  28. At his coach’s funeral, Aaron McKie related this story that should cause us all to think: VIDEO
  29. When blessing and success lead us to disobedience, we fail those coming after us.
  30. The generation who marched victoriously out of Egypt, died in the wilderness just short of the Promised Land.
  31. The next generation entered the Promised Land and obeyed.
  32. But after Joshua and this generation died, notice what is said about them.

Judges 2:6–13 (CSB)

JOSHUA’S DEATH

Previously, when Joshua had sent the people away, the Israelites had gone to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. The people worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had seen all the Lord’s great works he had done for Israel.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. They buried him in the territory of his inheritance, in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel.

11 The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals 12 and abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They angered the Lord, 13 for they abandoned him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths.

 

  1. The generation that was circumcised at Gilgal wasn’t perfect.
  2. But they lived for God and led Israel to follow God.
  3. But their kids had to make the choice.
  4. And they disobeyed.

CLOSE: We can’t change the past, and we cannot control the future.

  1. But we can lead today!
  2. This morning, I want to pray for this body to be empowered to lead boldly and well in this day and time!

Prayer.

 

 

 

[1] Jackman, David. 2014. Joshua: People of God’s Purpose. Edited by R. Kent Hughes. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.

[2] Jackman, David. 2014. Joshua: People of God’s Purpose. Edited by R. Kent Hughes. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. PG 61

[3] Howard, David M., Jr. 1998. Joshua. Vol. 5. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers. PG 144

6/12/2022. A PLACE FOR GOD AMONG MEN. Exodus 40

 

Message 13: A Place for God among Men

6.12.2022

Exodus Series

13/60

 

Exodus 40:1–38 (CSB)

SETTING UP THE TABERNACLE

40 The Lord spoke to Moses: “You are to set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month., Put the ark of the testimony there and screen off the ark with the curtain. Then bring in the table and lay out its arrangement; also bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. Place the gold altar for incense in front of the ark of the testimony. Put up the screen for the entrance to the tabernacle. Position the altar of burnt offering in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting. Place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. Assemble the surrounding courtyard and hang the screen for the gate of the courtyard.

“Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it along with all its furnishings so that it will be holy. 10 Anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar so that it will be especially holy. 11 Anoint the basin and its stand and consecrate it.

12 “Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water. 13 Clothe Aaron with the holy garments, anoint him, and consecrate him, so that he can serve me as a priest. 14 Have his sons come forward and clothe them in tunics. 15 Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so that they may also serve me as priests. Their anointing will serve to inaugurate a permanent priesthood for them throughout their generations.”

16 Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him. 17 The tabernacle was set up in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month., 18 Moses set up the tabernacle: He laid its bases, positioned its supports, inserted its crossbars, and set up its pillars. 19 Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent on top of it, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

20 Moses took the testimony and placed it in the ark, and attached the poles to the ark. He set the mercy seat on top of the ark. 21 He brought the ark into the tabernacle, put up the curtain for the screen, and screened off the ark of the testimony, just as the Lord had commanded him.

22 Moses placed the table in the tent of meeting on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the curtain. 23 He arranged the bread on it before the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded him. 24 He put the lampstand in the tent of meeting opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle 25 and set up the lamps before the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded him.

26 Moses installed the gold altar in the tent of meeting, in front of the curtain, 27 and burned fragrant incense on it, just as the Lord had commanded him. 28 He put up the screen at the entrance to the tabernacle. 29 He placed the altar of burnt offering at the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, and offered the burnt offering and the grain offering on it, just as the Lord had commanded him.

30 He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing. 31 Moses, Aaron, and his sons washed their hands and feet from it. 32 They washed whenever they came to the tent of meeting and approached the altar, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

33 Next Moses set up the surrounding courtyard for the tabernacle and the altar and hung a screen for the gate of the courtyard. So Moses finished the work.

THE LORD’S GLORY

34 The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

36 The Israelites set out whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle throughout all the stages of their journey. 37 If the cloud was not taken up, they did not set out until the day it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and there was a fire inside the cloud by night, visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey.

 

 

Introduction: The Work and the Book are Finished.

  1. Israel has been delivered.
  2. Egypt is in the past and the Promised Land in the future.
  3. God has performed miracles, signs, and wonders.
  4. God has spoken.
  5. For the better part of a year (8-9 months), Israel has camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
  6. After they received God’s commandments, they devoted themselves to the creating of a sacred space where God would dwell.
  7. Now, all of the arrangements are complete.
  8. As we conclude our series, I’m amazed at the timing of where we are as a church.
  9. Much like Israel, there is Promise in front of us.
  10. What we decide to do in the coming days will greatly determine if we experience and realize the plans God has for us.
  11. You see, God can place Promised Lands, victories, and blessings in front of us.
  12. These things can be God’s will for our lives and our destinies.
  13. However, if we walk in disobedience, we miss out on what God had planned for us.
  14. I know how Israel’s story goes.
  15. I know of their disobedience at the cusp of the Promised Land.
  16. I know that a generation dies short of the Promise.
  17. I know that the future generations of Israel will struggle with the unbelief of their parents, resulting in gross idolatry and exile.
  18. And it’ easy for us to sit back and judge Israel from afar.
  19. But I sense that we are in a similar place.
  20. You and I are on the cusp of experiencing what God is wanting to do.
  21. But I do not know how we will respond!
  22. Will we respond with obedience and willingness?
  23. OR will we say, “this is a step too far” and walk away?
  24. Exodus ends with God’s presence coming down in the middle of Israel.
  25. Yet, the last words regard the “stages of their journey”.
  26. In other words, they haven’t arrived, they’ve only just begun.
  27. I feel this for our church: We have not arrived, but the “stages of our journey” has just begun.

Let’s dive into this passage this morning.

 

1. The Established Tabernacle was the work of a Prophet.

  1. Once all of the furnishings were finished, it was Moses’ task to put them in their place.
  2. Going forward, the Levites and the priests would be responsible for maintaining and running the Tabernacle.
  3. But this first time, it was the job of a prophet not of a priest to set the House of God in order.
  4. Moses was a prophet, not a priest.
  5. Moses spoke with and for God.
  6. Moses was tasked with charging ahead, declaring God’s Word, and ensuring that the Commandments of God were obeyed.
  7. Deuteronomy 34:10–12 (CSB)

10 No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. 11 He was unparalleled for all the signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do against the land of Egypt—to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to all his land— 12 and for all the mighty acts of power and terrifying deeds that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

 

  1. Moses’ prophetic ministry was what we call a “TYPE”.
  2. A “Type” is an Old Testament allusion to a New Testament fulfillment.
  3. In other words, Moses’ ministry, as great as it was, pointed toward the ministry of Jesus.[i]
  4. Moses glimpsed the hope of a greater prophet in his prophetic prayer of Deut.

Deuteronomy 18:15–19 (CSB)

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 This is what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’ 17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name.

  1. Moses’ ministry points us to One that was far greater than anything or anyone.
  2. Jesus is the fulfilment of that.
  3. Jesus is simultaneously Prophet, Priest, and King.
  4. Because the role of prophets is to declare truth and enact covenants, Jesus is the greatest of prophets.
  5. The life and ministry of Moses causes us to look forward to the life and ministry of Jesus, the Greatest Prophet.
  6. Through Jesus, we have received the Words that God has called us to live by.
  7. Through Jesus, we are held accountable for our obedience or disobedience.
  8. And if people were judged by disobeying the words of Moses and commandments written on stone, how much more will we be held accountable for disobeying Jesus?
  9. Because of Moses’ unique role, only he could set up the Tabernacle this first time.

Now Notice,

2. Moses ordered the Tabernacle from the inside out.

  1. Moses started with the holiest of places, and worked his way outward.
  2. Moses started with the holiest places so that they would not be defiled by the lesser activities.
  3. As a person moved away from the center, the access increased as the “holiness, set apartness” diminished.
  4. The closer you came to the Holy of Holies, the more exclusive it became.
  5. Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch, but I couldn’t help but picture the workings of God in our own lives.
  6. The exterior of our lives is the easiest to work on.
  7. It’s the exterior everyone can see and most people have access to.
  8. Thus, it receives the first and majority of our attention.
  9. But the internal, hidden work is the most important.
  10. It’s what happens inside that matters most and needs the most attention.
  11. We can change our behaviors.
  12. But only Jesus can change our hearts.
  13. Jesus said, “out of the abundance of our hearts, a man speaks.”
  14. Out of our hearts comes all sorts of wickedness.
  15. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Salvation sets its first sights upon our inward life.
  16. And it should be no surprise that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit deals first with our minds and tongue.
  17. Religion has spent millions of hours and words correcting the outside of man.
  18. The Jews practiced circumcision, but only through the lens of an outward connection to God.
  19. But the New Testament says that true circumcision is of the heart.
  20. The heart, the mind, the will, and the emotions, are that part which only God can deal with.
  21. As we yield our lives to God, we should not be surprised that He invests much of His attention to the inward workings.
  22. Moses set the stage for God to dwell on the inside before He ordered those parts which everyone could see.
  23. What good are the outer curtains if the inside is empty?
  24. What good is an outward appearance if the inward life is dead?
  25. Jesus accused the religious leaders of being whitewashed tombs: Clean on the outside, dead on the inside.
  26. As we prepare for God’s glory, don’t neglect the most essential work.

3. “Glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

  1. In just a few words, Moses describes what must have been an amazing moment.
  2. The Cloud and Fire that had been with them from the beginning moves.
  3. The Spirit of God moves to the center of the camp, (the heart of the camp), taking up residence in the newly dedicated Tabernacle.
  4. From this day forward, the Pillar and the Fire were over the Tabernacle day and night.
  5. The Glory of the Lord filling the Tabernacle points us forward to two future events.
  6. Dedication of the Temple.
  7. When God allowed Solomon to build a Temple, a permanent place of worship, He followed a similar pattern.
  8. After the work is finished, Solomon then dedicates the Temple.
  9. At that time, the glory filled the Temple and, just like Moses, no one could approach God at the dedication.
  10. God marked that Temple as a place of holiness and presence.
  11. Much later on, however, the Tabernacle and the Temple were replaced by the Dedication of the Believer.
  12. On the day of Pentecost, God’s presence came upon them.
  13. There, God made His presence known in cloven tongues of fire and the Presence of God filled not only the PLACE but the PEOPLE.
  14. From that day forward, each believer becomes the Temple of the Holy Spirit, a place where God speaks and His presence and Glory abides.
  15. God inhabits prepared places.
  16. Exodus ends with God’s presence.
  17. Early in Exodus 1 & 2, it seems God is absent.
  18. But then He sees their plight and hears their cry.
  19. Then, for almost 40 chapters, God is working out the details so that He could “Be their God, and Israel His people.”
  20. And now that the Commandments are given and the place prepared, God comes among them in an unmistakable way.
  21. The Story of Exodus is not about the plagues, the miracles, or other signs and wonders.
  22. The Story of the Exodus is about God’s Presence coming among His people.
  23. It’s all about God being WITH Israel.
  24. Part of that process is preparing for God’s presence.
  25. The same is true for the Holy Spirit.
  26. We are not accidentally filled with God’s Spirit.
  27. We do not accidentally stumble upon Holiness.
  28. We must prepare our lives for God to dwell.

 

 

4. The Presence of God prepared them for the “Stages of their journey”

  1. God’s presence was visible throughout all the stages of their journey.
  2. This is not the end of God’s plans but a continuing.
  3. There were Promises to receive, giants to slay, and fortified cities to conquer.
  4. Israel’s Promised Land was still inhabited by the enemy.
  5. BUT NOW! God’s presence was with them and among them.
  6. A year before, they were a group of enslaved people who could not defeat the enemies along their path (remember that from earlier?)
  7. But now, they were equipped and prepared to dispossess the enemy.
  8. Just as Israel did not leave that place until the Glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle, Jesus told His followers not to leave the Upper Room until they received the Promised Holy Spirit.
  9. I dare say that many of us are different than we were a year or two ago.
  10. Our walk with Jesus is so much closer.
  11. Our hearts are purer.
  12. We are drastically different than before.
  13. So what is the next stage in our journey?
  14. Perhaps God is calling many of us to go to where the enemy is and to give Him is eviction notice!
  15. Perhaps there are areas of your life and world that God has promised but the enemy has its hold.
  16. The time is coming to proclaim the name of Jesus over those places and to see the victory.
  17. But to do that, we must have the Presence and the Power of God in your midst.
  18. This summer, on Wednesday nights, we will be looking at Church history and hearing the stories of whole cities closing for prayer meetings, cities like Denver and Portland.
  19. We will hear stories of coal mines needing new mules because the miners stopped cussing, and the mules couldn’t understand language without profanity.
  20. Perhaps many of us have never pursued God’s power and presence because we have underestimated what God can do with people who are fully committed to Him!
  21. I remind you that The 120 in Acts were saved.
  22. They had known Jesus personally.
  23. There was a world for them to save and to compel to come to Jesus.
  24. There were false gods to confront and kingdoms to be changed.
  25. But they could never have changed the world UNTIL they were empowered with the Promise from on high.
  26. We all need a relationship with Jesus AND the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  27. Many Christians are ok with Jesus and scared of His Spirit.
  28. What they don’t realize is all that they missing.

 

Close: We can’t move on until the Spirit moves!

  1. We have become so comfortable with the Spirit not moving, that when He does we are scared and don’t know what to do.
  2. Can I declare today that we need the empowering and help of God’s Spirit today!
  3. There are battles to be fought that YOU WILL LOSE without the Spirit’s empowering.
  4. We cannot choose the battles we have to fight.
  5. But we can choose how we fight.
  6. Not by might nor by Power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.
  7. Last week, I did not have you come to the front.
  8. I wanted to show you another way to seek God.
  9. But today, I feel it necessary to invite everyone who will to join me across the front.
  10. And may we pray, “Fill me with your Spirit.”
  11. Seek God for the sake of your family.
  12. Seek God for the sake of America
  13. Seek God for the sake of this region.
  14. Seek God for the sake of your victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[i] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/jesus-prophet-moses/ accessed 6/8/22

 

Message 12: A Holy and Significant Space.

A Holy and Significant Space

6.5.2022

Pentecost Sunday

Exodus Series

12/58

 

Before Dr. Rinne reads our passage for us, would you turn your attention to this video reconstruction of what scholars believe the tabernacle could have looked like, recorded in the Middle East.

 

Exodus 36:8–37 (CSB)

All the skilled artisans among those doing the work made the tabernacle with ten curtains.

14 He made curtains of goat hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven of them.

20 He made upright supports of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 21 Each support was fifteen feet long and twenty-seven inches wide.

31 He made five crossbars of acacia wood for the supports on one side of the tabernacle, 32 five crossbars for the supports on the other side of the tabernacle, and five crossbars for those at the back of the tabernacle on the west.

35 Then he made the curtain with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and finely spun linen. He made it with a design of cherubim worked into it. 36 He made four pillars of acacia wood for it and overlaid them with gold; their hooks were of gold. And he cast four silver bases for the pillars.

37 He made a screen embroidered with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and finely spun linen for the entrance to the tent,

 

Exodus 37 (CSB)

37 Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood, forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. He overlaid it with pure gold inside and out and made a gold molding all around it.

He made a mercy seat of pure gold, forty-five inches long and twenty-seven inches wide. He made two cherubim of gold; he made them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat, one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end. At each end, he made a cherub of one piece with the mercy seat. They had wings spread out. They faced each other and covered the mercy seat with their wings. The faces of the cherubim were looking toward the mercy seat.

10 He constructed the table of acacia wood, thirty-six inches long, eighteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. 11 He overlaid it with pure gold and made a gold molding all around it. 12 He made a three-inch frame all around it and made a gold molding all around its frame.

17 Then he made the lampstand out of pure hammered gold. He made it all of one piece: its base and shaft, its ornamental cups, and its buds and petals.

24 He made it and all its utensils of seventy-five pounds of pure gold.

25 He made the altar of incense out of acacia wood. It was square, eighteen inches long and eighteen inches wide; it was thirty-six inches high. Its horns were of one piece with it. 26 He overlaid it, its top, all around its sides, and its horns with pure gold. Then he made a gold molding all around it.

29 He also made the holy anointing oil and the pure, fragrant, and expertly blended incense.

 

 

Exodus 38 (CSB)

38 Bezalel constructed the altar of burnt offering from acacia wood. It was square, 7½ feet long and 7½ feet wide, and was 4½ feet high. He made horns for it on its four corners; the horns were of one piece with it. Then he overlaid it with bronze.

He made all the altar’s utensils: the pots, shovels, basins, meat forks, and firepans; he made all its utensils of bronze.

He made the bronze basin and its stand from the bronze mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

Then he made the courtyard.

21 This is the inventory for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, that was recorded at Moses’s command. It was the work of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. 22 Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything that the Lord commanded Moses. 23 With him was Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a gem cutter, a designer, and an embroiderer with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.

24 All the gold of the presentation offering that was used for the project in all the work on the sanctuary, was 2,193 pounds, according to the sanctuary shekel. 25 The silver from those of the community who were registered was 7,544 pounds, according to the sanctuary shekel—26 one-fifth of an ounce per man, that is, half a shekel according to the sanctuary shekel, from everyone twenty years old or more who had crossed over to the registered group, 603,550 men. 27 There were 7,500 pounds of silver used to cast the bases of the sanctuary and the bases of the curtain—one hundred bases from 7,500 pounds, 75 pounds for each base. 28 With the remaining 44 pounds he made the hooks for the posts, overlaid their tops, and supplied bands for them.

29 The bronze of the presentation offering totaled 5,310 pounds. 30 He made with it the bases for the entrance to the tent of meeting, the bronze altar and its bronze grate, all the utensils for the altar, 31 the bases for the surrounding courtyard, the bases for the gate of the courtyard, all the tent pegs for the tabernacle, and all the tent pegs for the surrounding courtyard.

 

 

Exodus 39:32–43 (CSB)

MOSES’S INSPECTION OF THE TABERNACLE

32 So all the work for the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was finished. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 33 They brought the tabernacle to Moses: the tent with all its furnishings, its clasps, its supports, its crossbars, and its pillars and bases; 34 the covering of ram skins dyed red and the covering of fine leather; the curtain for the screen; 35 the ark of the testimony with its poles and the mercy seat; 36 the table, all its utensils, and the Bread of the Presence; 37 the pure gold lampstand, with its lamps arranged and all its utensils, as well as the oil for the light; 38 the gold altar; the anointing oil; the fragrant incense; the screen for the entrance to the tent; 39 the bronze altar with its bronze grate, its poles, and all its utensils; the basin with its stand; 40 the hangings of the courtyard, its posts and bases, the screen for the gate of the courtyard, its ropes and tent pegs, and all the furnishings for the service of the tabernacle, the tent of meeting; 41 and the specially woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary, the holy garments for the priest Aaron and the garments for his sons to serve as priests. 42 The Israelites had done all the work according to everything the Lord had commanded Moses. 43 Moses inspected all the work they had accomplished. They had done just as the Lord commanded. Then Moses blessed them.

 

Introduction: Exodus 36-39 is boring for most readers.

  1. I confess, it is not the most exciting passage I have ever preached.
  2. Yet, non-exciting passages are good for me, because they require me to invest more time in prayer and asking God “what are you saying to us here?”
  3. What God is leading us to today is to a position where we are expecting and ready for God to move.
  4. But we must learn, “God moves in ways that we don’t often expect.
  5. In this large passage, a few elements spoke to me:
  6. The responsibility to “create” a holy and significant space.
  7. The small offerings added up to a large value.
  8. The dimensions were smaller than I imagined it would be.
  9. Building God’s way brings God’s blessings. Ex. 39:32-43

1. The responsibility to “create” a holy and significant space.

  1. A recurring theme throughout this section: “And they made it just as the Lord commanded Moses”.
  2. This was not some ethereal, paranormal situation.
  3. God could have spoken the tabernacle into existence, but He stopped His word short of that.
  4. Instead, God shares the word to Moses in perfect detail.
  5. Then Moses must communicate that Word perfectly to the leaders and artisans.
  6. Then those people take the Word and fashion what was commanded.
  7. Israel had a responsibility and opportunity to “create” a holy space.
  8. God’s idea,
  9. But Israel’s sweat.
  10. If we read Exodus with a 30,000-foot view, we see this pattern:
  11. The people brought the gifts. Exodus 35
  12. The artisans crafted the gifts. Exodus 36-39
  13. Moses ordered the gifts. Exodus 40:1-33
  14. The Spirit made the gifts holy. Exodus 40:34-38
  15. What is evident is the participation of Israel in the process of creating a holy and significant space for God.
  16. These former slaves of Egypt had built sacred spaces before.
  17. While slaves, some or many of them would have participated in building various buildings or monuments to the many gods of Egypt.
  18. Previously, their sweat and blood had facilitated the worship of false-gods.
  19. But now! They are no longer slaves building their master’s religion but now they are Priests building the space for their God to reside.
  20. What does this have to do with me?
  21. We are not invited to participate in holy things, as if it is an invitation that we can take or leave. We are commanded to participate in the Holy.
  22. Notice that Jesus commanded His followers to have a Pentecostal experience:

Acts 1:1–5 (CSB)

I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

While he was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”

  1. Just as God commanded Moses and Israel to build the tabernacle for Him to dwell, Jesus commanded His followers to create space so that the Spirit of God could empower them.
  2. When we view the spiritual life as optional, we walk in disobedience to what God has commanded us to do.
  3. What are you doing to create holy space in your life?
  4. If you are wanting God to move, but keep yourself so busy and distracted that you never stop, then how will you ever hear the voice of God’s Spirit?
  5. If God hears and answers the prayers of His people, could it be that we have not had an experience with God because we haven’t been asking for one in prayer?
  6. Scripture says that “God inhabits the praise of His people”, but we have to offer “praise” for Him to dwell.
  7. The building of the Tabernacle demonstrates God’s willingness and desire to walk with His people, if they will create the space for Him to dwell.

2. The small offerings of necklaces, earrings, and such added up to a large value.

  1. Here are the weights of metals used in the tabernacle.
  2. 2,193 pounds of gold ($58,950,000 todays value)
  3. 7,544 pounds of silver.
  4. 5,310 pounds of bronze,
  5. much of this came from the mirrors the women gave.
  6. Egypt was known for the quality of their bronze mirrors.
  7. That’s a lot of metal.
  8. But, that isn’t a lot per person.
  9. Actually, verse 25 says that each man gave 1/5 ounce.
  10. All men from 603,550 men over the age of 20.
  11. What would happen if each believer would do the “little” that God requires of them?
  12. We all want to do something BIG for God, yet we are not willing to be obedient in the small things.
  13. We dream of stewarding great talents and great wealth, but we mismanage what we have now.
  14. We chase “great” gifts instead of developing the giftings we already have.
  15. My friends, our community and our nation would be drastically different if each of us would do what we are being asked to do!

3. The dimensions were smaller than I imagined.

  1. Notice these dimensions:
  2. The altar of incense: 18”x 18” and 36” high. Ex. 37:25
  3. The altar of burnt offerings: 7 ½” by 7 ½” by 4 ½” . Ex. 38:1
  4. The Ark of the Covenant: 45”x27”x27” Ex. 37:1
  5. The Courtyard: 150 feet long on the north and south sides, 75 feet on the west and east sides.
  6. PICTURE of Tabernacle compared to a Football field.
  7. To our American culture, where bigger is better, this passage challenges my thinking.
  8. If I could build for God, BIGGER is not only better, it is holier.
  9. The bigger I can build something, the more glory it brings to God, right?
  10. Yet, these were the dimensions God laid out for Himself.
  11. In a world of “go big or go home”, God doesn’t always demand big.
  12. Jesus started His Church in the same manner.
  13. 1 Corinthians 15 says that 500 were invited to wait for power on high after Jesus’ resurrection.
  14. Acts 2 says that 120 stayed.
  15. If it was you or me, we would have begun with a much larger crowd.
  16. Acts says they met in an upper room.
  17. It could have been the same place where the last-supper was held.
  18. It definitely seems to have been a small room near the Temple.
  19. Pentecost did not begin in an arena, or a large auditorium but in a small, borrowed room.
  20. The Azusa Street revival in 1906 began in small buildings, some that were condemned or fell down because of their poor condition. (Paul’s pic)
  21. Yet, from those humble roots, God’s Spirit moved in a way that is STILL changing the world.
  22. My friends, we should never tell God that something is too small or too insignificant for us to do.

4. Building God’s way brings God’s blessings. Ex. 39:32-43

  1. Notice the difference between the creation of the golden calf verses the actual, legitimate tabernacle.
  2. We often build golden calves because they go up quickly.
  3. Whereas, what God wants to build takes time.
  4. What God wants to build requires greater sacrifice.
  5. What God wants to build requires skill and detail.
  6. What God wants to build leads to blessing (vs. 43) and what we build leads to a curse.
  7. After all of the Tabernacle items were furnished, Moses blessed them.
  8. It was the job of the craftsman to build the elements.
  9. It was Moses’ job to arrange and prepare them.
  10. It was God’s job to inhabit them.
  11. Let us not be so busy making space for false gods and leaving no space for the One True God!

Conclusion: Creating a Holy and Significant Space.

  1. How do we do this?
  2. By the renewing of our mind.
  3. By the transformation of our life through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  4. By intentionally seeking the Holy Spirit.
  5. By declaring and speaking Jesus over our areas of influence.
  6. By yielding our hearts and lives fully to His plan:
  7. Wherever you are, you have to start somewhere and today is the best day for that.

 

  1. Prayer Time: Two Areas:
  2. If you find yourself far from God, today is a day for salvation.
  3. If you have repented of sin and given your life to Jesus, today is the day to be filled or refilled with the Holy Spirit.
  4. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the ONLY way we are going to do what God has called us to do.
  5. This morning, it’s time for us to create space in our lives to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit!
  6. Here is how I want us to pray and it is different than you would expect:
  7. If you are like me, you’ve usually expected people to be standing to receive salvation, or Spirit Baptism, or divine healing.
  8. But the Greek, along with the King James and the ESV translation, all point out that the 120 on the day of Pentecost were SITTING when the Holy Spirit arrived.

Acts 2:1–4 (ESV)

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

  1. We are going to create holy space this morning by sitting still and praying.
  2. This is the posture of the First Day of Pentecost.
  3. They didn’t stay seated, but when the Spirit came, they were sitting, waiting for what God had promised.
  4. They had created space for God to move.
  5. The business was finished.
  6. Their pacing had ceased.
  7. They were in a position to receive whatever the “promise” was God had for them.
  8. This morning, I’m going to lead us in prayer and in a time of us receiving whatever God has for us.
  9. No hype, no pushing, nothing of the sort.
  10. When you have a real experience with God, there will be no looking back and wondering “was that real?, Did I get caught up in the moment?”
  11. What God has for you is very real, and I hope you will create room in your life to experience that right now.

 

 

 

Sunday 5.29.2022. The Gift is in your Midst

Message 11: The Gift is in your Midst

 

5.29.2022

Exodus Series

Message 11/57

 

Exodus 35:1–36:7 (CSB)

THE SABBATH COMMAND

35 Moses assembled the entire Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do: For six days work is to be done, but on the seventh day you are to have a holy day, a Sabbath of complete rest to the Lord. Anyone who does work on it must be executed. Do not light a fire in any of your homes on the Sabbath day.”

BUILDING THE TABERNACLE

Then Moses said to the entire Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Take up an offering among you for the Lord. Let everyone whose heart is willing bring this as the Lord’s offering: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen and goat hair; ram skins dyed red and fine leather; acacia wood; oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx with gemstones to mount on the ephod and breastpiece.

10 “Let all the skilled artisans among you come and make everything that the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle—its tent and covering, its clasps and supports, its crossbars, its pillars and bases; 12 the ark with its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain for the screen; 13 the table with its poles, all its utensils, and the Bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand for light with its utensils and lamps as well as the oil for the light; 15 the altar of incense with its poles; the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the entryway screen for the entrance to the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grate, its poles, and all its utensils; the basin with its stand; 17 the hangings of the courtyard, its posts and bases, and the screen for the gate of the courtyard; 18 the tent pegs for the tabernacle and the tent pegs for the courtyard, along with their ropes; 19 and the specially woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary—the holy garments for the priest Aaron and the garments for his sons to serve as priests.”

20 Then the entire Israelite community left Moses’s presence. 21 Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its services, and for the holy garments. 22 Both men and women came; all who had willing hearts brought brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewelry—everyone who presented a presentation offering of gold to the Lord. 23 Everyone who possessed blue, purple, or scarlet yarn, fine linen or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or fine leather, brought them. 24 Everyone making an offering of silver or bronze brought it as a contribution to the Lord. Everyone who possessed acacia wood useful for any task in the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun yarn with her hands and brought it: blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen. 26 And all the women whose hearts were moved spun the goat hair by virtue of their skill. 27 The leaders brought onyx and gemstones to mount on the ephod and breastpiece, 28 as well as the spice and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense. 29 So the Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts prompted them to bring something for all the work that the Lord, through Moses, had commanded to be done.

BEZALEL AND OHOLIAB

30 Moses then said to the Israelites, “Look, the Lord has appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 He has filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every kind of craft 32 to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, 33 to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every kind of artistic craft. 34 He has also given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all the work of a gem cutter; a designer; an embroiderer in blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen; and a weaver. They can do every kind of craft and design artistic designs. 36 Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the skilled people are to work based on everything the Lord has commanded. The Lord has given them wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work of constructing the sanctuary.”

So Moses summoned Bezalel, Oholiab, and every skilled person in whose heart the Lord had placed wisdom, all whose hearts moved them, to come to the work and do it. They took from Moses’s presence all the contributions that the Israelites had brought for the task of making the sanctuary. Meanwhile, the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning.

Then all the artisans who were doing all the work for the sanctuary came one by one from the work they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than is needed for the construction of the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

After Moses gave an order, they sent a proclamation throughout the camp: “Let no man or woman make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people stopped. The materials were sufficient for them to do all the work. There was more than enough.

 

1. Introduction to the Text:

  1. When God gives you a Word, you have to determine if it is a “now” word or a “later” word.
  2. Moses knew that this was a Word from God that needed immediate attention.
  3. Numbers 9 tells us it was 1 year from the departure from Egypt till the time the Tabernacle was set up.
  4. One year, and a large bulk of that time was devoted to following through with the Word that God had given them.
  5. One of the harder parts of following Jesus is knowing when a “Word” is for now and when it is for later.
  6. We want to be obedient, but we often get the timing wrong.
  7. It reminds me a lot of marriage.
  8. You have the right intentions, but the wrong timing.
  9. For example, I forgot Julie wore a veil at our wedding.
  10. I would have been forgiven if I said that when I was 96 but I said it when I was 36 so I got in trouble.

 

  1. Now that Moses has the Word from God, it is time to build what God has said.
  2. Moses communicates this word to the people.
  3. Because if he held it to himself, nothing would have been built.
  4. Good leaders communicate what God is saying and show where He is leading.
  5. This applies for church leaders and those leading businesses and families.
  6. How can your family obey if they haven’t been told?

2. The Tabernacle and its furnishings were complex and intricate.

  1. What was being built was for God.
  2. Everything about it pointed people toward God.
  3. In fact, the Book of Hebrews says that the earthly Tabernacle was a replica of the one in heaven.
  4. I always cringe when people say that God doesn’t care how we worship.
  5. Reading through these passages demonstrate that God cares greatly about how He is worshipped.
  6. The ministry done before the Lord matters and should be given the best of our time, attention, and energy.
  7. I have a high view of Church.
  8. In fact, outside of the family, the Church is the most important institution God has created.
  9. One of the great temptations today is the belief that we can be “the body of Christ” without actually being part of the body of Christ.
  10. Jesus stressed that “where two or three are gathered together”, not just wherever I decide to read my Bible.
  11. b. “I” am not the Church: “we” are the Church, with each one of us having a role to play.
  12. God gave the Tabernacle plans to Moses for Israel to build.
  13. The building of the Tabernacle was a national and community effort.
  14. Moses received the plan, the artisans did the work, and the people brought the supplies.
  15. Within this passage, 4 key principles show how God works in and through all of us to accomplish His task.

3. Take inventory, what we need may already be in the house.

  1. Some of us have boxes of stuff in the house from the last time you moved.
  2. But we don’t want to throw anything way, because:
  3. I might need that someday.
  4. I’ll be honest, I having to rebuy things that I use to own and then got rid of.
  5. In the case of Israel, they had been carrying with them the makings of the Tabernacle with them for since they left Egypt.
  6. When Israel left Egypt, the Egyptians paid them to leave and brought all kinds of jewelry and valuables.
  7. Scripture says, “In this way, they plundered the Egyptians.”
  8. Catch this:
  9. God had a purpose and plan for what they had been given.
  10. When the Israelites left, they had no idea that they were carrying with them the seeds of something holy.
  11. They have already messed this up once, when they gave jewelry to make a golden calf.
  12. Now they have an opportunity to repent and do it right.
  13. Consider this: Have you ever been learning something or doing something and think “when will I ever use or need this?”
  14. What you may not realize is that what you are picking up today may be the seeds of something that is holy tomorrow.
  15. The giftings, talents, skills, and lessons you are learning today can be used for God’s glory tomorrow.
  16. What seems normal, or even what seems to be “extra” may be exactly what God wants from you down the road.
  17. Also consider: everything needed to complete the Tabernacle was already in the people’s possession.
  18. This one excites me, particularly because of where we are at as a church.
  19. When I look around at the talent and abilities within this body, I can’t help but think “What is God up to?”
  20. God doesn’t give to us to hoard.
  21. He gives so we can be generous and faithful.
  22. Jesus tells the parable of the Rich Fool in Luke:

Luke 12:16–21 (CSB)

16 Then he told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.” ’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’

21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

 

  1. The man’s sin was not that he made plans or built infrastructure.
  2. His sin was his unwillingness to share and to be generous.
  3. Gifting are meant to be used.
  4. The only thing lacking in the Body of Christ is our willingness.
  5. A friend told me the other day, “When the iron in your blood becomes lead in your pants, we have a problem.”
  6. What is lacking in Christ’s Body is not His gifting but our willingness to get up and go.
  7. Because, I believe, that what we need to move forward is already in the house.

4. God calls some to excel in giving, some in working, and some in both.

  1. It is helpful to recognize that not everyone in Israel was called to build or to craft for the tabernacle.
  2. Some people were simply called to give.
  3. We don’t see that the craftsman gave materially, but they gave of their professional skills.
  4. Everyone had a part in establishing the tabernacle.
  5. Ministry is cyclical, meaning that there are seasons where it is our turn to lead and other seasons where it is our turn to serve and give.
  6. Actually, this cyclical nature was woven directly into the ministry of the Tabernacle.
  7. I find it interesting that in Numbers we are told that Levite the men serving at the Tabernacle could only serve from the ages of 25-50.
  8. Then another generation had to take over while the older generation stepped back.
  9. Partly, this ensured that the next generation was always participating in the worship of God.
  10. It also meant that the Levites gave the best of their time and their energy to worship of God at the Tabernacle.
  11. My question for each of us today is: What is God calling you to do in this season?
  12. Please don’t confine that question to only this building and this place.
  13. The Kingdom is bigger than this facility and this church.
  14. Instead: how are you serving and advancing the Kingdom where God has placed you?

5. Small but consistent giving adds up over time.

22 Both men and women came; all who had willing hearts brought brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewelry—everyone who presented a presentation offering of gold to the Lord.

  1. It is possible that there were some really big givers.
  2. But if so, they are completely overshadowed by ordinary people who were giving ordinary gifts.
  3. I don’t know how big a brooch is, but earrings, rings and necklaces are relatively small.
  4. The power in the gifts wasn’t their size.
  5. Never discount the value of small offerings, over time.
  6. Maybe you don’t make the most money.
  7. Maybe you are not the most talented.
  8. Maybe what you have seems small and inconsequential.
  9. But small and seemingly inconsequential gifts add up over time.
  10. When we add our gift to God’s blessing, He can do whatever He wants.
  11. I want to encourage you not to hold back, simply because you don’t think you bring much to the table.
  12. It’s possible that exactly what you have is exactly what is needed.
  13. Think about those who brought acacia wood:
  14. I imagine that as people brought this wood, that the craftsman looked at the grain and each piece and fitted them exactly where they would look and fit best.
  15. It could be that what you bring is exactly the piece the craftsman needed to finish the project.
  16. Or the women who brought the yarn and thread.
  17. In the hands of the craftsman, these pieces and lengths were woven together.
  18. What if all you had was a small selection, but that piece was what was used to make the hem of Aaron’s robe?
  19. All of these elements came from somewhere.
  20. They had all been carried out of Egypt.
  21. They had all been entrusted by God, to the people, until the appropriate time.
  22. And when that time came, what was needed was for the people to give generously.

6. Our hearts make the difference.

  1. When you are a slave, you aren’t use to being able to give but you are used to be taken from.
  2. Part of the transformation in the life of Israel was changing from the slave mentality to the priest mentality.
  3. People take from Slaves.
  4. But priests give.
  5. I caution you, and I, to not view our tithes or offerings as a tax.
  6. It is not a tax, required for us to enter heaven.
  7. Tithes and offerings are not the price of membership, like getting a Sam Club or Costco membership.
  8. Giving is worship.
  9. I am not a slave, so that I HAVE to give so that it isn’t taken.
  10. Tithes and offerings are not a tax, with the Federal government threatening my livelihood or jailtime if I don’t pay.
  11. Giving is worship.
  12. And the difference between a believer giving a tax to God or worship to God is the willingness of our hearts.
  13. Strangely, when Peter and Jesus were required to pay the Temple tax, Jesus didn’t give it from His heart but provided a miracle from the mouth of a fish to pay it.
  14. Taxes can be paid from anywhere.
  15. Tithes and generous offerings come from the heart.
  16. In this passage, we are not told who the greatest and biggest givers were.
  17. We are simply reminded that the people all brought and there was more than enough.
  18. Here’s the good news: There was more than enough for the work to be accomplished and that means that there was more than enough for the people.
  19. I don’t see where they had to “give until it hurts”.
  20. After they gave, they kept giving.
  21. They gave until the craftsman asked them to stop!
  22. If you give what God has put upon your heart, there will be enough for the work to be done and you keep the rest.

Two Questions: What is God asking you to give, and where is He asking you to give to?

  1. Giving is not limited to money.
  2. Money may be the easiest thing to give.
  3. Our time is more valuable than our money.
  4. What has God given you to hold onto, and now is asking you to give it?
  5. It might be money.
  6. It also might be some talent and time.
  7. It could be your testimony and story.
  8. God gives us gifts to steward and to hold in trust.
  9. Second, where is God asking you to give yourself?
  10. I love this church.
  11. We have amazing ministries.
  12. And we are constantly in need of help with kids, or janitorial, and various other ways to serve.
  13. But this isn’t the only place to serve.
  14. In fact, the Lord is dealing with me to work towards developing leadership gifting and skills in the body so that the body can go and influence our community and world.
  15. In other words, we aren’t here to only build Licking A/G, we are here to build the Kingdom.
  16. And the Kingdom of God is grander than what we do here.
  17. So where is God leading you?
  18. For me, the Lord has asked me to pour out the best years of my life in Licking.
  19. And in the process, He is allowing me to overflow and influence other groups and organizations.
  20. That’s what I’m learning: When I give my best to Jesus, there is more left than when I started.

 

 

 

Transformational Encounters. 5/15/2022 Exodus 34:29-35

Message 10: Transformational Encounters

5.15.2022

Message 10/50

Exodus Series

Introduction:

  1. One of our main purposes is to encourage transformation.
  2. Jesus didn’t live, die, and resurrect so that we would stay the same people we were when He found us.
  3. We were not given the Holy Spirit to maintain status quo.
  4. The Spirit is given to change and transform us for the better.
  5. This morning, I want to share with you Moses’ transformation.
  6. Encounters with God must lead to transformation.
  7. Otherwise those experiences are wasted.

Exodus 34:29–35 (CSB)

29 As Moses descended from Mount Sinai—with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands as he descended the mountain—he did not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord., 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone! They were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called out to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community returned to him, and Moses spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he commanded them to do everything the Lord had told him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever Moses went before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. After he came out, he would tell the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 and the Israelites would see that Moses’s face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil over his face again until he went to speak with the Lord.

1. Encounters with God should lead to transformation.

  1. Notice, I said should.
  2. Unfortunately, too many people will experience God or seek God and have a real experience.
  3. But they don’t allow that experience to lead to transformation.
  4. Furthermore, one experience with God is not enough.
  5. The Bible and history are full of people who had real encounters.
  6. But they never built off that encounter by meeting with Jesus daily through prayer, worship, Scripture, and community.
  7. The GOAL is not encounter, its transformation.
  8. Moses’ encounter with God on the Mountain resulted in a dramatic transformation.
  9. Exodus 34 says that from this point forward, Moses’ face shown after each time Moses went and met with the Lord.
  10. God’s glory and goodness had a physical change on Moses.
  11. Salvation will ultimately lead to changes in every-part of your life.
  12. Your face might glow, but it might. (Sister Dolly sure glows after she was saved).
  13. Encounter and transformation will change your attitude, your habits, and your perspective.
  14. But Israel couldn’t stand to even gaze upon the reflected glory of God.
  15. Exodus says that Moses had to put on a veil because he radiated with the Glory of God.
  16. If this was too much for Israel, imagine the result of them actually being in God’s presence.
  17. God knew that Israel, in her present state, could not handle what Moses could handle.
  18. But what terrified Israel, excited Moses.
  19. There are people all over who claim to love Jesus and follow God.
  20. But are terrified of actually being transformed by God.
  21. At first, Moses was surprised by the change but then he embraced it.
  22. The veil was for Israel’s sake, not his.

2. God’s transformation of you will be hard for some people to handle.

Two groups of people will have problems with you being transformed and changed by God.

  1. First, the unsaved around you will be challenged.
  2. This makes sense.
  3. When you start turning down opportunities to party or to gossip or other things you use to do, some will question.
  4. When an alcoholic starts refusing drinks, their friends will question the transformation.
  5. When we start drawing lines in the same sand we use to cross, people will start to question our transformation.
  6. That is when we point people to where we are going and who we are chasing.
  7. It’s a powerful opportunity to say “I’m not perfect, but I’m changing and Jesus is my new role-model.”
  8. When encounter leads to transformation, our friends and neighbors are watching to see if it’s real.
  9. If it only lasts a week, that’s not transformation.
  10. If it only lasts a year, that’s not transformation.
  11. But when we can point to a past self, and testify today of what God has done, then that is transformation.
  12. I celebrate people like Josh Kane, who not that many years ago was caught up in drugs and other pursuits but has been clean, sober, and saved for several years.
  13. I celebrate Pastor Ben whose story of homelessness and addiction has resulted in transformation and being ordained with the A/G.
  14. I celebrate what God has done in Pastor Larissa, who has overcome many things to be where she is at.
  15. Transformation is REAL through Jesus.
  16. Second, the religious will challenge your transformation.
  17. This one impacts us all.
  18. It’s too easy to sit in a church year after year and not be transformed.
  19. That isn’t always the preacher’s fault.
  20. Sometimes, it’s because we don’t want to be transformed or don’t know we need to be transformed.
  21. Where some of you are at now, is you are at a place where transformation is starting.
  22. Transformation isn’t subtle.
  23. I’m not trying to become a better version of myself, I’m becoming like Jesus.
  24. The Apostle Paul in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 uses a word for transformation that is from the Greek Metamorphous.

Romans 12:2 (CSB)

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

  1. To morph is to change from one thing to another.
  2. Same word we use to describe a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
  3. Guess what: A caterpillar looks very different from a butterfly.
  4. As many of you chase after God harder than ever before, know that these encounters will facilitate transformation.
  5. And as you transform, you will have critics.
  6. You’ll be too radical, too spiritual, or too dangerous.
  7. People will demean your worship, just like the disciples demeaned the woman who washed Jesus’ feet.
  8. People will question your experiences, just like Eli questioned Samuel.
  9. People will judge your expression, just like David’s wife judged David who danced before the Lord.
  10. And you have to decide: will you let God change and transform you or will you insist on fitting the mold of the world?

3. The Apostle Paul used Moses’ story in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18.

  1. Listen how Paul interprets and applies Exodus 34

2 Corinthians 3:7–18 (CSB)

Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory, the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was set aside was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious. (My translation: If that which could not transform you had glory, how much more glory does that which does transform have?)

12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness. 13 We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from gazing steadily until the end of the glory of what was being set aside, 14 but their minds were hardened. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. 15 Yet still today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at, the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

 

  1. Moses’ veil hid both the glory and the fading of that glory from Israel.
  2. When we believe in Jesus, the veil that separates us from God is set aside.
  3. Many modern weddings do not include a veil; but when they do, the bride never lifts her own veil.
  4. According to etiquette, either the father lifts the veil after walking the bride down the aisle, or the groom lifts the veil when it is time for the first kiss.
  5. Either way, the bride does not lift the veil.
  6. In the same way, you cannot remove the veil by yourself.
  7. The transforming work of the Spirit is God’s work.
  8. Only by turning to the Lord is the veil removed.
  9. We do not do the removing, God does.
  10. Paul says that the removing of the veil brings the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
  11. Freedom from what?
  12. Not just freedom from, but freedom to be.
  13. Free from something is not complete freedom.
  14. The kind of freedom the Spirit brings leads us to be free from the Law and sin, and free to encounter God.
  15. When we often talk about “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”, we usually are thinking about being free from addiction, or depression, or striving, or any number of obstacles.
  16. This is true. Freedom through Jesus diminishes the power of the old things and results in our ultimate victory over them and from them.
  17. But the context of this verse is not freedom from external and internal pressures but freedom from the Law that did not lead to our ultimate transformation.
  18. The Law could only show us our sin, but it couldn’t forgive it.
  19. The Law could only show us our downward spiral, it could not set us free from it.
  20. Let me speak pastorally: There is a strong and vocal movement in the church that is insisting that Christians acting Jewish.
  21. This group insists that for us to be Godly, we must start calling God YHWH and Jesus YESHUA and we need to keep all of the elements of Judaism such as observing the various feasts and elements.
  22. This sort of teaching strikes against the freedom Paul told the Gentile believers in Corinth that Jesus came to provide.
  23. You are not going to become more loved or more righteous or more spiritual by adding some Hebrew to your vocabulary and by calling Jesus Yeshua.
  24. True transformation comes by entering into God’s presence and allowing Him to remove the veil put up by sin, religion, and culture.
  25. the Apostle Paul said that Moses glowed after meeting with God but he could not show off that glow to the Israelites.
  26. He didn’t have the freedom to express that transformation, and therefore hold back.
  27. This holding back was not freedom.
  28. True freedom results in us being in the Presence of God and then displaying that Presence to our world.
  29. True freedom is not permission to do whatever we want, but the opportunity to approach God and to be transformed by Him.

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at, the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

  1. If your experience with God does not result in transformation, then you must still be wearing your veil.

Apply: We must move from information to transformation.

  1. A danger of being in church:
  2. You can gain all kinds of information, but neglect transformation.
  3. You can have all the facts, and the quiz answers, and random pieces of information that makes you fun at Christian parties.
  4. But information does not inevitably result in changed lives.
  5. The Law was a schoolmaster.
  6. By Paul’s day, the Jews new the OT better than anyone.
  7. Yet, all that information did not permit them to see Jesus as the Messiah.
  8. Even today, we are discovering that Education is not the savior of nations like we had hope for 50 years ago.
  9. It is possible to have all the information and to never allow that information to form and change you.
  10. Please, do not merely hear preaching or read your Bible for the sake of “learning stuff”.
  11. But instead, strive to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
  12. Instead, pray “God I want to be transformed into your image from glory to glory.”
  13. We are not here to merely learn about God, we are here to be changed by God.
  14. May we all be changed and transformed by a glory that does not fade.

Prayer

 

How to Lose in a Generation or less

 

Message 9: How to Lose in a Generation or Less

 

Exodus Series

5/8/22

Message 9/54

Introduction: Today is not a Mother’s Day Message.

  1. During my preparation, there was a special level of somberness to my preparation.
  2. While reading my text, I was also reminded “Hey, kids will be in this service.”
  3. So that means, I can’t really describe what Asherah poles are at least not in clear terms (and be careful about what you google here because they are wooden depictions of male genitalia).
  4. But as I reflect upon today’s passage, I can’t help but think that this is a great opportunity for you, as parents, to model Christian worship and response to your kids.
  5. You see, we have a great children’s program.
  6. I’m thankful for the ministry of Pastor Brenda and her team who create a fun and interactive environment for your kids to grow and worship and play.
  7. But that also means that your kids may have never watched you lift your hands in worship before, unless you do that at home.
  8. Your kids go to the altar almost every week, it’s what they do and part of the culture we are creating, but they may have never witnessed their parents or grandparents go to the altar or up front to pray before.
  9. So, may be today’s passage and topic is more appropriate than I initially realized.
  10. Today, we are looking at God’s instructions to Moses on how to live successfully in the Promised Land.
  11. The Promised Land was the goal.
  12. It was an amazing and blessed place, but it wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t heaven.
  13. It was a place of blessing, but there were obstacles and traps before Israel.
  14. It seems to me that the enemy likes to boobytrap God’s blessings.
  15. God sees the obstacles and pitfalls that await Israel in the Promise Land.
  16. So He tells them what to do and what not to do so that they may enjoy the blessing.
  17. Unfortunately, Israel loses it all.
  18. First, the generation that is being given these instructions fail at the edge of the Promise Land.
  19. We must enter the Promised Land by faith, or not at all.
  20. Israel panicked and this whole generation died in the wilderness.
  21. At this point, they are merely days away from the Promised Land.
  22. Instead, it cost them 40 years and their lives.
  23. When Joshua and the new generation finally enters, it was just as amazing as God promised.
  24. However, the obstacles that God said awaited them were still there.
  25. After Joshua dies, Judges says “there arose up a generation who did not know the Lord.”
  26. That secular generation fathered the generations that ultimately lost the land through God’s judgment and experienced exile.

Here is what the text said, and I’m going to quickly get into the core of today’s message:

Exodus 34:10–28 (CSB)

10 And the Lord responded, “Look, I am making a covenant. In the presence of all your people I will perform wonders that have never been done in the whole earth or in any nation. All the people you live among will see the Lord’s work, for what I am doing with you is awe-inspiring. 11 Observe what I command you today. I am going to drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hethites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land that you are going to enter; otherwise, they will become a snare among you. 13 Instead, you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, and chop down their Asherah poles. 14 Because the Lord is jealous for his reputation, you are never to bow down to another god. He is a jealous God.

15 “Do not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land, or else when they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 Then you will take some of their daughters as brides for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves with their gods and cause your sons to prostitute themselves with their gods.

17 “Do not make cast images of gods for yourselves.

18 “Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread. You are to eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, as I commanded you, for you came out of Egypt in the month of Abib.

19 “The firstborn male from every womb belongs to me, including all your male livestock, the firstborn of cattle or sheep. 20 You may redeem the firstborn of a donkey with a sheep, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

21 “You are to labor six days but you must rest on the seventh day; you must even rest during plowing and harvesting times.

22 “Observe the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the agricultural year. 23 Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory. No one will covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God.

25 “Do not present the blood for my sacrifice with anything leavened. The sacrifice of the Passover Festival must not remain until morning.

26 “Bring the best firstfruits of your land to the house of the Lord your God.

“You must not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

27 The Lord also said to Moses, “Write down these words, for I have made a covenant with you and with Israel based on these words.”

28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat food or drink water. He wrote the Ten Commandments, the words of the covenant, on the tablets.

 

1. Covenants have mutual components.

  1. God is entering into a renewed covenant with Israel.
  2. They broke the first one, already.
  3. Because it was broken, it had to be renewed and redrawn.
  4. For 40 days and 40 nights, God gives Moses the words of the Covenant, the Commandments, and probably most of the material for the first 5 books of the Bible.
  5. Yet, this covenant had obligations for the people to follow through.
  6. I’m afraid that most Christians know just enough about Covenant and God’s promises to get them in trouble.
  7. For example, we profess the promise “God will never leave us nor forsake us.”
  8. Yet we expect Him to walk with us into that strip-club or to redeem the lies we told our spouse or boss.
  9. We profess “God shall supply all of our needs” while failing to tithe, budget, and steward the supplies.
  10. The Promised Land BELONGED to Israel.
  11. God had given it to them.
  12. It was theirs, but it was possessed by former inhabitants.
  13. Israel was responsible for dispossessing and evicting the former inhabitants and taking possession.
  14. But there was a proper procedure for taking possession.
  15. Failure to do so would result in Israel losing their possession.
  16. The loss would not be immediate, but would happen over a generation or so.
  17. The seeds of loss and rebellion are sown by the parents and the elders, and reaped in their children.
  18. God outlined a few of the ways Israel could lose the Promised Land after they arrived.
  19. Notice, this was not BEFORE.
  20. This was while they were at their destination.
  21. As believers read and hear this ancient message, I feel its impact upon our situation today.
  22. The parallels between Israel and us are there.

2. We lose when we have the Wrong allies. (10-12)

10 And the Lord responded, “Look, I am making a covenant. In the presence of all your people I will perform wonders that have never been done in the whole earth or in any nation. All the people you live among will see the Lord’s work, for what I am doing with you is awe-inspiring. 11 Observe what I command you today. I am going to drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hethites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land that you are going to enter; otherwise, they will become a snare among you.

->15 “Do not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land, or else when they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices.

  1. The people of the land were bigger, stronger, and more powerful than Israel was.
  2. There were giants in the land.
  3. Other portions of Scripture tell us that they had better weapons.
  4. They had walled cities, like Jericho, that were so large chariot races could be held on the top of the wall.
  5. The inhabitants were the perfect treaty partners, and terrible enemies.
  6. However, Israel had the promises and the power of God.
  7. The battles before them were to be the Lord’s battles.
  8. He was going to drive them out with miracles and plagues.
  9. The original plan was for God to do the fighting, and Israel was to march behind and take possession.
  10. Of course, in the book of Joshua, we read about the battles the next generation had to face.
  11. But these were not battles they were meant to fight; they were battles leftover because their parents acted in unbelief.
  12. When we fail to fight the battles we were designed to fight, we set the next generation up for failure by making them fight battles they were not meant to fight.
  13. Today’s Principle: The wrong allies will lead us away from God’s Word.
  14. This doesn’t mean we do not have friends or relationships with unbelievers.
  15. Jesus himself ate with the outcasts and the fringes.
  16. What’s the difference between fellowship or friendship and an ally?
  17. Allies “combine resources or commodities for mutual benefit”.
  18. To use biblical language:
  19. Israel could not make a Covenant with the people of the land because it would be in violation of their covenant with God. It was against God’s word.
  20. We cannot Bless what God has Cursed.
  21. Unholy alliances have unholy results.
  22. This is a hard word, for a hard season.
  23. Please be careful in how you apply this word, because it could lead to legalism and hatred if not applied with the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  24. Then again, I’m afraid that America is reaping what she has sown through unholy alliances, and our generations are paying the price.

 

3. We lose when we worship at the Wrong altars. (13-17)

13 Instead, you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, and chop down their Asherah poles. 14 Because the Lord is jealous for his reputation, you are never to bow down to another god. He is a jealous God.

15 “Do not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land, or else when they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 Then you will take some of their daughters as brides for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves with their gods and cause your sons to prostitute themselves with their gods.

  1. An Altar is any place that prayer or worship is offered.
  2. Many people all over the world have worshipped their gods through physical, iconic means.
  3. This could include poles of wood or stone, fashioned to represent their gods like an Asherah pole or a Native American totem pole.
  4. It may be a small idol that sits on a shelf at home or in a special building where locals would gather and offer prayer and incense.
  5. Israel was markedly different.
  6. Outside of the Tabernacle, there were NO created images allowed.
  7. Israel was to be very different in her worship.
  8. The problem with false gods is that they attract false worship.
  9. For example, all throughout the OT and even the NT, people who gathered at ancient shrines or these poles were not just praying or singing songs.
  10. What happened at the Asherah poles in Canaan or at the Temple of Artimis in Ephesians was worship through sex, cult prostitution, drugs, and all sorts of sinfulness.
  11. When we worship at wrong altars, we worship wrong gods with the wrong things.
  12. Furthermore, we lose the capacity to worship the One True God.
  13. When you and I worship at the wrong altars during our week, we discover we have nothing left to worship Jesus on Sunday.

4. We lose when we practice the Wrong priorities Vs. 21-24

21 “You are to labor six days but you must rest on the seventh day; you must even rest during plowing and harvesting times.

22 “Observe the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the agricultural year. 23 Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory. No one will covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God.

  1. Sabbath was to be a defining sign of Israel’s relationship with God.
  2. Nobody else did this.
  3. The Sabbath was a weekly witness that God was Israel’s provider and sustainer.
  4. The Sabbath was not a convenience.
  5. Israel was to Sabbath during busy weeks and during slow seasons.
  6. Israel was to Sabbath in the Wilderness and in the Promised Land.
  7. The great temptation was to see the Sabbath as conditional or optional.
  8. Notice the text: you must even rest during plowing and harvesting seasons.
  9. When you are an agrarian people and live or die by the harvest, it would be a good reason not to stop and worship one day a week.
  10. God warned His people to not be confused with where their blessings come from.
  11. Hard work and common sense are not substitutes for God’s blessings.
  12. If the people worked hard, but disobeyed God, they would eventually lose the blessing.
  13. Next, notice that they were to go to the festival and not fear someone taking their land.
  14. That would make sense:
  15. If you had to travel a far distance to worship 3 times a year, and left your land empty, it would be easy for someone to covet and take your land.
  16. Furthermore, lots of things can happen to your property while you were away.
  17. It would seem reasonable to forgo the time, the expense, and the effort to go and worship God.
  18. The danger was to prioritize Land over presence and obedience.
  19. God promised to provide and to protect if we put Him first.
  20. When our priorities align with God’s, we experience His blessings and favor.
  21. We don’t have to live in fear or dread.
  22. But we cannot expect God’s blessings if our priorities are not right.
  23. Whatever we elevate above or before God will be taken from us.
  24. Because God is jealous, He will allow nothing in His place.
  25. Money, families, jobs, and possessions are poor substitutes and they are wrong priorities.
  26. Time and again, I have seen people put good things ahead of God and then lose those things.
  27. The danger before those of us in this room is not outright sin.
  28. Our greatest danger is misplaced priorities.
  29. Work, family, and fun are important.
  30. Not only are they important, they are good.
  31. But they cease to be good when they rob God of worship.

5. We lose when we offer the Wrong Sacrifices Vs. 25-26

Vs 20b. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

25 “Do not present the blood for my sacrifice with anything leavened. The sacrifice of the Passover Festival must not remain until morning. 26 “Bring the best firstfruits of your land to the house of the Lord your God. “You must not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

  1. When reading all of the laws and commandments in the Old Testament, we realize that there was a right and wrong way to worship God.
  2. This brief section teaches that it was wrong to worship:
  3. Empty-handed, because God has given everyone something they can worship with.
  4. With leaven, which represents sin.
  5. It is wrong to worship with anything less than our best.
  6. It was wrong to worship God in the same way that Canaanites worshipped their gods (it appears that boiling a young goat in milk was a fertility right).
  7. Israel was told to be careful with how they worshipped.
  8. This not only protected them.
  9. It also reminded their world that there was One, True God and He was YHWH.
  10. Jesus told the Woman at the Well that there was coming a day when we would worship God “In Spirit and in Truth”.
  11. When we ignore the Spirit and pervert the truth, we are offering the wrong sacrifices and we lose our witness.
  12. Furthermore, without Spirit and without truth we pass down a form of religion but denying its power.
  13. We have raised a generation that loves superheroes and the supernatural but who will never pursue the God of their parents and grandparents.
  14. We are raising a generation who lives amongst God’s blessings, but have no idea about the miracles that brought them there.

How do we lose in a generation or less:

  1. We sacrifice our families on the altars of drugs, or pleasure, or success.
  2. We live out the wrong priorities, the wrong passions, with the wrong worship, to the wrong gods, on the wrong altars.
  3. We teach kids how to solve algebraic equations, but don’t teach them right from wrong.
  4. We drag our kids to church and expect the youth pastor or the kid’s pastor to undue in 90 minutes a week’s worth of influence.
  5. We lose in a generation when we leave battles unfought, giants unslain, and generational curses alive.
  6. Mom and Dad: Grandpa and Grandma: Big Sister and Little Brother:
  7. I’m asking you to fight what needs to be fought, and don’t wait.
  8. I’m asking you to lead so that your kids and grandkids have something to follow.
  9. Some of us are here today because we had a praying mom or grandma or dad or grandpa.
  10. But perhaps they aren’t with us anymore, but there are people running around who call you grandma or grandpa.
  11. I’m imploring you to live and lead so your kids and grandkids will one day testify “I’m here because I had a praying mom or grandma.”
  12. I’m asking you to teach those around you how to prioritize, worship, and win.
  13. I’m asking us to not go the way of Israel.
  14. I’m calling us to be Spirit filled and Spirit-led so that those around us may see Jesus.
  15. I’m imploring us to do whatever it takes to make sure we don’t lose in this generation or the next.

 

Prayer

May 1, 2022 “All My Goodness” Exodus

Follow along with this PDF link or scroll below:

Message 8 All My Goodness

 

 

Message 8: All My Goodness

5.1.2022

Exodus Series

8/54

 

Exodus 33:18–34:9 (CSB)

18 Then Moses said, “Please, let me see your glory.”

19 He said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name ‘the Lord’ before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But he added, “You cannot see my face, for humans cannot see me and live.” 21 The Lord said, “Here is a place near me. You are to stand on the rock, 22 and when my glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.”

NEW STONE TABLETS

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be prepared by morning. Come up Mount Sinai in the morning and stand before me on the mountaintop. No one may go up with you; in fact, no one should be seen anywhere on the mountain. Even the flocks and herds are not to graze in front of that mountain.”

Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. He got up early in the morning, and taking the two stone tablets in his hand, he climbed Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him.

The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed his name, “the Lord.” The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:

The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.

Moses immediately knelt low on the ground and worshiped. Then he said, “My Lord, if I have indeed found favor with you, my Lord, please go with us (even though this is a stiff-necked people), forgive our iniquity and our sin, and accept us as your own possession.”

1. What I love about Moses is that he wasn’t easily satisfied.

  1. No matter how many times Moses encountered God, he always wanted more.
  2. All of us are born with a desire for more.
  3. But too often, we try to satisfy that desire with things, relationships, and experiences.
  4. But that desire was meant to be directed toward God, not stuff.
  5. Most of us would be happy with one of Moses’ experiences.
  6. Yet, the man who had spent all of this time with God longed for one more great encounter.
  7. This time, Moses wants to see all of God.
  8. The relationship between Moses and God is kind of confusing:
  9. Scripture says that no one had a relationship with God like Moses.
  10. God knew Moses, and Moses knew God.
  11. Yet, as great as Moses was, even he couldn’t stand to be fully in God’s presence.

2. God answers Moses’ request differently than he wanted.

  1. That’s the thing about God:
  2. He always shows up and does differently than we think He will.
  3. The greatest example of this is in Jesus.
  4. The Jews weren’t looking for their Savior in a manger.
  5. The Jews weren’t looking for someone who would cast out demons and forgive Roman soldiers.
  6. The Jews were looking for victory over Rome, not victory over sin.
  7. I would dare say, that every person who has ever had a great encounter with God has been surprised.
  8. We imagine what it must be like, but God does not bow down to our imagination.
  9. We try to picture God, but God cannot be brought down to that level.
  10. This is why the commandments prohibit graven images: Anything we “create” is tainted by sin and limited.
  11. As this Church anticipates the next move of God, I dare say that whatever we might be envisioning will not compare with what will be.
  12. There is a temptation to copy what has been, because what has been is easy for us to envision.
  13. But God is calling us to look for Him merely with the eyes of the past but with eyes of faith.
  14. Moses’ desire was to see God’s glory.
  15. Of all of his experiences and encounters so far, Moses still had not seen all of God.
  16. Think about it:
  17. God’s magnificence wasn’t fully displayed in the burning bush, the plagues, the miracles, the covenantal meal, or even 40 days on the Mountain.
  18. Moses understood: THERE IS MORE TO GOD THAN I’VE Experienced thus far.
  19. I believe many of us here are feeling this same thing:
  20. You’ve been around Church all your life, yet there is something fresh happening now.
  21. You thought you were living the life Jesus died to give you, yet now you are realizing that you settled for far less than what has been provided.
  22. You find yourself no longer satisfied with simple songs, pithy sayings, and cheap entertainment.
  23. You are digging deeper, praying harder, and worshipping with more passion than ever before.
  24. The closer we get to God, the more we want of Him.

3. God shows Moses His goodness.

  1. Instead showing Moses is “face”, He of allowed all His goodness to pass in front of him.
  2. God answers Moses’ prayer, but differently than Moses expected.
  3. God knew that Moses couldn’t grasp the fullness of God’s presence and glory.
  4. God knew what Moses could handle, and that was the train or back of His presence.
  5. Furthermore, God told Moses “I will cause my goodness to pass in front of you, and proclaim the name.”
  6. Think about how God chose to reveal Himself.
  7. He chooses to show him His goodness and proclaim the Divine Name.
  8. It could have been anything.
  9. God could demonstrate whatever He wanted, but it was His Goodness that God put on display.

4. What did God reveal to Moses?

#1. God is compassionate and gracious.

  1. If you or your people had just committed the greatest sin of all time, wouldn’t you be thankful for a God who was compassionate and gracious?
  2. When we forget how sinful we were, we forget how good God was to us.
  3. Christians should be the most compassionate and gracious people, yet unfortunately Christians are often hateful and mean.
  4. But if we would consistently reflect upon the God that we serve and love, it will lead us to be compassionate and gracious.
  5. I didn’t say “more compassionate”… because more speaks of degree.
  6. Jesus isn’t more compassionate than us, He is Compassion and Grace.
  7. Our goal isn’t to be more compassionate than the world, our goal is to be like Jesus.

#2. Slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.

  1. I’m thankful God isn’t a hot head!
  2. Not only is God not hot-headed; He is slow to anger.
  3. It doesn’t say that God doesn’t get angry.
  4. There are some loud voices in Christianity today that says God never gets angry over sin, or pain, or our depravity.
  5. It doesn’t say God doesn’t get angry, but He is slow to anger.
  6. This speaks to God’s goodness and rightness in being angry.
  7. God has a right to be angry.
  8. And when God is angry, He is just and right in being so.
  9. God has every right to be angry when we walk in rebellion and sin.
  10. Yet, he abounds in faithful love and truth.
  11. This faithfulness is Coventental faithfulness.
  12. In other words, God keeps His promises and has enough love and truth to abound and overflow.
  13. In a world desperately needing love and truth, God has more than enough to share.

#3. God is forgiving.

  1. Moses is desiring God’s glory.
  2. Instead, God declares to Moses that God is forgiving.
  3. I know many of us are praying for God to reveal Himself to our community and our nation.
  4. Maybe you are picturing a great judgment on sin.
  5. Maybe your picture of a revelation is an angel in the sky, or an earthshattering event.
  6. What if God wants to reveal Himself, again, as the God who forgives?
  7. This is what Jesus did: Father forgive them…
  8. Jesus told His disciples that we all must forgive as God has forgiven us.
  9. What if the next great move of God did not remove the people we hate but featured their forgiveness?
  10. Those of us who are forgiven must not forget that we, too, were in need of forgiveness.
  11. We must not deny forgiveness to others, in light of what God has done for us.

#4. God is just in bringing judgment upon the guilty.

  1. Not only is God good, and slow to anger, and abounding in love, and forgiving, but He does dispense righteous judgment upon the guilty.
  2. God can be both loving and a righteous judge.
  3. There is coming a day when God will judge all of humanity.
  4. We were all guilty.
  5. What matters is did we accept forgiveness through Jesus?
  6. The only difference between forgiven and guilty is the sacrifice of Jesus.

5. An encounter with God awaits us.

  1. Maybe you are sitting here thinking: This is fine and good but what about me?
  2. Sure, God is good.
  3. I’m glad He forgives us.
  4. But so what?
  5. What I really need is to see God or something.
  6. Yet, as amazing as Moses’ experience was, it doesn’t compare to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!
  7. It’s possible for us to mope around thinking “I wish God still did stuff like that” and forget that what God has given us through the Holy Spirit is ALREADY amazing.
  8. When Jesus came, that was amazing.
  9. But He told His followers that something BETTER awaited them.
  10. That “better” was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  11. God still desires to reveal Himself to our day and time.
  12. The ministry of the Holy Spirit makes Jesus alive in us.
  13. As great as Moses’ experience was, God did not dwell in Him like the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

6. As we long for God’s glory and goodness, can I encourage you to start where God tells us to start?

  1. We are to start with salvation through Jesus and Spirit Baptism!
  2. God wants to use you!
  3. God wants you to draw close to Him.
  4. You have to be obedient to start where God told you to start.
  5. Moses had to be obedient to God’s instructions before he would encounter His presence.
  6. We must be obedient by:
  7. Loving Jesus.
  8. Worship, Pray, Devour Scripture.
  9. Be filled with the Spirit.
  10. Yield to the Spirit’s leading and Gifts.
  11. Let God use you!
  12. Let us not miss out on what God is wanting to do in and through His people and in this time and place.

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2022: Exodus 33:1-17

Follow along with Pastor Paul’s sermon: Click the link for a PDF or scroll to read along.

Message 7 Exodus 33

 

 

Not Without Your Presence

Message 7/53

Exodus Series

4.24.2022

Introduction:

  1. Exodus 33 is a rich passage of Scripture.
  2. The struggle for a preacher is to hear from the Holy Spirit to know what He wants to focus upon today.
  3. I don’t have time to preach everything in this passage, but I do have time to preach everything the Spirit wants to say.
  4. The primary focus of today’s message is simple:
  5. Without God’s presence, it doesn’t matter.
  6. It is my prayer that, when this sermon is over, that all of us will desire to live out our week in God’s presence and then we will seek Him and find Him here.
  7. Because, without God’s presence, what we do here today doesn’t matter.
  8. But when God is present, nothing else matters.

Exodus 33:1–17 (CSB)

THE TENT OUTSIDE THE CAMP

33 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go up from here, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying: I will give it to your offspring. I will send an angel ahead of you and will drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hethites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go up with you because you are a stiff-necked people; otherwise, I might destroy you on the way.” When the people heard this bad news, they mourned and didn’t put on their jewelry.

For the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: You are a stiff-necked people. If I went up with you for a single moment, I would destroy you. Now take off your jewelry, and I will decide what to do with you.” So the Israelites remained stripped of their jewelry from Mount Horeb onward.

Now Moses took a tent and pitched it outside the camp, at a distance from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult the Lord would go to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would stand up, each one at the door of his tent, and they would watch Moses until he entered the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 As all the people saw the pillar of cloud remaining at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up, then bow in worship, each one at the door of his tent. 11 The Lord would speak with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend, then Moses would return to the camp. His assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent.

THE LORD’S GLORY

12 Moses said to the Lord, “Look, you have told me, ‘Lead this people up,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor with me.’ 13 Now if I have indeed found favor with you, please teach me your ways, and I will know you, so that I may find favor with you. Now consider that this nation is your people.”

14 And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 “If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here. 16 How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.”

17 The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and I know you by name.”

 

 

1. Sin has consequences.

  1. Exodus 32 was a great failure and a grave sin.
  2. What Israel did several thousand years ago was so bad, people are still talking about.
  3. The sin of a golden calf is part of our language and understanding.
  4. With every sin, there are consequences.
  5. The greatest consequence of sin is separation from God.
  6. When we receive and accept salvation, sometimes we still have to pay the earthly price of our sin.
  7. For example, someone who receives salvation in prison still serves their prison term.
  8. The most important benefit of receiving forgiveness is restoring the relationship between you and God.
  9. Sin separates, while Salvation restores.
  10. The greatest ramification for Israel was not the plague and the death, but the separation from God and His presence.
  11. God is done with Israel, the text shows.
  12. He has been cheated on.
  13. He has been violated.
  14. God’s love for Israel resulted in miracles, and deliverance, and His protection.
  15. What did Israel give back to God? Idolatry and adultery.
  16. So, at this point, God tells Moses He is done.
  17. God said, I won’t go up with these stiff-necked people…
  18. Essentially, God is saying “get out of my presence”.
  19. This reflects another time when sin separated humanity from God: Genesis 3.
  20. In the Garden, sin led to separation between God and humanity.
  21. In the Wilderness, sin threatened to separate God from Israel.

2. The unbearable news of separation.

  1. This announcement made its way back to the people.
  2. Although God and Moses are speaking, Moses hasn’t gone back up the mountain.
  3. It actually appears that Moses and God are having an open conversation that can be heard by others.
  4. Because, when the people heard it, they mourned and they took off their jewelry.
  5. Mourning expressed their sorrow of our sin.
  6. True mourning and repentance must impact both our hearts and our minds.
  7. We must not only know that we have sinned but feel that we have sinned.
  8. It’s much like someone saying they are saying it.
  9. If their countenance doesn’t demonstrate what they are saying, then it doesn’t carry the same weight.
  10. True repentance impacts EVERY part of us.
  11. When we repent, it changes everything about us.
  12. That’s why I’m not the biggest fan of people doing “repeat after me” prayers at church.
  13. Repentance is much more than speaking, it changes every part of me.
  14. That’s because sin and salvation impact EVERY part of us.
  15. Sin and salvation are not mere intellectual exercises.
  16. Our sin and salvation does not only affect our minds.
  17. But it also affects our bodies and our souls (mind, will and emotions).
  18. At the end of it all, God resurrects not merely our minds but also our bodies.
  19. Therefore, repentance and salvation should not only be with our mind and our words, but also our bodies and our emotions.
  20. Jesus came to save EVERY part of us, because sin condemned every part of us.
  21. It was important that Israel not only SAY they had sinned.
  22. They also FELT the weight of their sin.
  23. Then they demonstrated their repentance.
  24. This repentance was demonstrated by the removing of their jewelry.
  25. It was with their jewelry they made the calf.
  26. Where did their jewelry come from? Egypt.
  27. In Egypt, jewelry represented self-adornment and social status.[1]
  28. The removal of their jewelry reminded Israel of their sinfulness, and of their sinful status.
  29. Far from having it all together, at this moment, Israel recognized that she was far from perfect and far from holy.
  30. Could it be possible that you are still carrying around some of your “jewelry” from your sinful seasons?
  31. Maybe you’ve ground up and burned your golden calf but you are still keeping the necessary ingredients around, just in case!
  32. After God deals with your heart, what use to be acceptable may no longer be acceptable.
  33. Israel wore their Egyptian jewelry through the Passover, and through the Red Sea, and through flowing of water through the rocks.
  34. But there came a point where they weren’t permitted to wear it anymore.
  35. The giving up of the jewelry was an easy sacrifice:
  36. Because it was necessary in order to keep God’s presence with them.
  37. This is where we turn next.

3. God’s presence is what made Israel special.

  1. Verse 3, God said He will not go with them because they are rebellious.
  2. Here’s why that is a big deal:
  3. Quote: Yahweh’s assertion is clear; the tabernacle will not be built, the vestments will not be made, the holy nation and the kingdom of priests will not become a reality. Israel will merely be another people (cf. 33:15–16). The sacrificial systems and the festivals will be impossible, for Yahweh will not be there to receive his people and their sacrifices. There will be no ark, no mercy seat, no holy of holies.[2]
  4. There was nothing special about Israel.
  5. What made Israel special was her relationship with God.
  6. It was the promises, the covenants, and the presence of God that made Israel special.
  7. Without God’s presence, Israel was just any other tribe in the Middle East.
  8. God’s presence and favor is the difference maker.
  9. This is true for you and I.
  10. This is true for our country.
  11. This is true for our church.
  12. Without the presence of God, we cease our right to exist.

4. God’s presence was the most important thing for Moses.

  1. Moses was so desperate for God’s presence, that He refused to move or go without Him.
  2. After God seems to relent, God says He won’t go with them.
  3. They could have the promised land,
  4. They could have the victory.
  5. But they couldn’t have God’s presence.
  6. Moses knew that without God’s presence, they were nothing.
  7. When you have tasted of the Great, the good will never satisfy.
  8. Moses had been in God’s presence.
  9. Moses met God at the burning bush, and then stood in His presence at the base of the Mountain.
  10. Moses had just spent 40 days with God up on the Mountain.
  11. Moses knew what it meant to be in the Lord’s presence, and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
  12. In fact, the Presence of God was so important, that Moses built a temporary tent called the Tent of Meeting.
  13. Before the Tabernacle was constructed, Moses still wanted to meet with God.
  14. The presence of God was so important to Moses, that he would do whatever it would take to make sure that God’s presence remained with Israel.
  15. Reaching the Promised Land, without God’s presence was unacceptable.
  16. Winning over our enemies, but without God’s presence, is not enough.
  17. Having good music or a nice sermon isn’t enough, without God’s presence.
  18. Having a beautiful family, or a successful career is no substitute for God’s presence.
  19. No people, no matter how religious they are and for whatever reasons, can be a people of God without the Presence of God.[3]

Apply: What does this teach us as believers?

#1. If it costs you God’s presence, the price is too much.

  1. Often, we discuss what we can or cannot do as Christians and still go to heaven.
  2. The reality is: If it costs me the presence of God, then I shouldn’t do it.
  3. Because we are all in different levels of maturity, there may be a difference between me and you.
  4. We call these things “convictions”.
  5. There are certain things that, if I did them, they would be sin for me.
  6. I don’t drink, smoke, or cuss because I have strong convictions that these are not things for me or for others.
  7. But there are also TV shows or movies, that when I watch them I am aware that I’m not pleasing God.
  8. As you grow in your relationship with Jesus, there will be things, persons, and places that are no longer good for you.
  9. You might have been ok earlier on wearing that “Egyptian” jewelry, but there reaches a point when the Spirit says “stop”.
  10. We call this maturing.
  11. Just as certain elements are acceptable for babies, or for kids, or for teens, there reaches a point where we must put away childish things.
  12. When the Spirit asks you to give something up, you have a choice.
  13. To tell the Spirit no results in a diminished awareness of the Spirit’s presence.
  14. Say no long enough, we may be like Samson and not realize that God’s presence and Spirit had left

#2. God’s presence is the difference maker.

  1. The harsh reality is: If we thought we could be successful, happy, and healthy without JESUS, many of us would try.
  2. What we don’t realize, until it’s too late, is that the only thing that matters IS the presence of God.
  3. If God’s not happy, it doesn’t matter if I’m happy or not.
  4. If God doesn’t approve, it doesn’t matter how many followers I have or how much money I have in the bank.
  5. When I’m in the Presence of Jesus, everything else is extra.
  6. Moses didn’t want wins, or victories, lands, or anything else IF that meant He missed out on the presence of God.
  7. Each one of us is being called to this level of relationship.
  8. The Rich young ruler wouldn’t give up his money in exchange for the opportunity to follow Jesus.
  9. But the other disciples traded careers, opportunities, and livelihoods for that very same opportunity.
  10. Jesus doesn’t always ask us to walk away from those things, but He does invite us to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness THEN all of these things are given to us.”
  11. American and the Church must realize that the only thing that makes us special is the Presence of God.
  12. When you remove God’s favor, we are left with emptiness and futility.
  13. If we want to make America Great again, then seek the Presence of God in your life.
  14. Invite God’s presence into your home.
  15. Invite God’s presence into your workplace.
  16. Seek the Kingdom of God first and foremost.
  17. Furthermore, we must move past being easily satisfied.
  18. We are so easily satisfied in life these days.
  19. This has spilled over into our spiritual walk.
  20. When we are content to live without God’s presence, we will stop seeking God’s presence.

#3. Make plans to meet God.

  1. Before Moses went back up the mountain, and before the Tabernacle was finished, Moses prepared a place to meet God.
  2. The Tent of Meeting was a place where people, like Moses and Joshua, could go to meet with God.
  3. Moses was not a priest, so he couldn’t go into the future tabernacle just anytime he wanted.
  4. But Moses endeavored to meet with God every time it was possible.
  5. And he wanted others too as well.
  6. My friend, are you making plans to meet with God?
  7. Not just someday when you die.
  8. But did you make plans to meet Jesus today? During this service? This evening at bed?
  9. Do you have plans to meet Jesus this week?
  10. Where? House, prayer closet? Walk in the park?
  11. When? Morning? At night? Lunch break?
  12. We schedule what is important.
  13. What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.
  14. Make Plans to meet God!!!!

Close: Today, I’ve made plans to meet with Jesus here.

  1. And those plans involve you.
  2. In fact, I even imagined many of you in this altar meeting Jesus as well.
  3. This morning, I’m going to ask us all to stand.
  4. After I pray, I’m going to ask everyone who will to come.
  5. This is for those who are wanting more of Jesus in their lives.
  6. This is for those who have been carrying around the makings of false altars and golden calves, and you are ready to throw them away.
  7. This is for those who are desiring a supernatural reprioritizing of priorities, families, churches, and personalities.
  8. Let’s pray, and then let’s flood the altars!

 

[1] Carpenter, Eugene. 2012. Exodus. Edited by H. Wayne House and William D. Barrick. Vol. 2. Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Carpenter, Eugene. 2012. Exodus. Edited by H. Wayne House and William D. Barrick. Vol. 2. Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Durham, John I. 1987. Exodus. Vol. 3. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

Resurrection Sunday: Exodus 32-The Greater the Sin the Greater the Sacrifice.

To follow along with Pastor Paul’s sermon in a pdf, please click this link

Message 6 Easter 2022

 

Message 6: The Greater the Sin, the Greater the Sacrifice.

4/17/2022

Message 6/52

 

Exodus 32:30–35 (CSB)

30 The following day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a grave sin. Now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I will be able to atone for your sin.”

31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves. 32 Now if you would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book you have written.”

33 The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will erase from my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about; see, my angel will go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will hold them accountable for their sin.” 35 And the Lord inflicted a plague on the people for what they did with the calf Aaron had made.

 

1. A grave, and serious, sin.

  1. The past two weeks, we have talked much about sin.
  2. This isn’t anyone’s favorite topic.
  3. Yet, confronting sin is an important part of Christianity and church.
  4. It is not the world’s job to confront with sin; that is the job of Christ through His Word and Spirit.
  5. The Golden Calf incident was a serious and grave sin.
  6. It broke a Covenant, a Marriage, and God’s heart.
  7. The seriousness of the sin led to death and a plague by God.
  8. We do not help anyone when we deny the gravity of sin or try to cover it up.
  9. A mistake is a mistake.
  10. An accident is an accident.
  11. But sin is sin and requires atonement.

2. All sin separates us from God. But not all sin is the same.

  1. I get kind of sick about how people talk about sin.
  2. A preacher says something is sin and people respond “well so is gluttony, or being lazy, or all kinds of things.”
  3. But that ignores a fundamental and spiritual reality.
  4. For example:
  5. In the American code of justice, we have different punishments for different offenses.
  6. We recognize that some crimes are more serious or heinous than others.
  7. This week, a man was sentenced to 375 years for killing a woman and her 2 children over a Facebook post.[i]
  8. The headline after that one says “Florida man arrested for possession of drugs, guns, and an alligator.”[ii]
  9. No one would say that these crimes are the same or deserve the same punishment.
  10. Scripture teaches that ALL SIN separates us from God.
  11. But not all sin is the same.
  12. The Apostle Paul laments the drastic nature of sexual sin.
  13. This is why the sacrificial system was tiered:
  14. The greater the sin, the greater or more costly the sacrifice.
  15. All sin separates, and requires a sacrifice.
  16. Sacrifices for the sins of the nation and for the priests was more costly than everyday uncleanness issues.
  17. Moses knows this, because he had just received the Commandments detailing sin and sacrifice.
  18. Israel hasn’t heard that yet.
  19. Now, the nation of Israel has committed the greatest sins: the breaking of a Covenant, a Marriage, and even God’s heart.
  20. From where would forgiveness come?
  21. What or who could possibly be sacrificed to atone for Sin.

3. Moses understands that the sin is great, therefore the sacrifice must be greater.

  1. Moses, understanding one of God’s principles, declares “perhaps I will be able to atone for your sin.”
  2. We do not use the word “atone” a lot.
  3. Biblically, the Hebrew has several ranges that try to capture the meaning.
  4. To atone is: (MOUNCE)
  5. make amends,
  6. pardon,
  7. release,
  8. appease,
  9. forgive.
  10. Moses is hoping that he can go up the moment and atone, make amends for, or receive pardon, forgiveness and release from God.
  11. If Moses cannot atone for the sin, all of Israel may die.
  12. How bold is Moses’ conversation with God!
  13. Notice he starts with confession “the people have sinned”.
  14. He then specifies the sin “made a god for themselves”.
  15. Then Moses asks for forgiveness!!!
  16. Now if you would only forgive!!!!
  17. God doesn’t have to forgive.
  18. God doesn’t have to save.
  19. But Moses calls upon God’s mercy, love, and faithfulness.

4. How far would Moses go for his people?

  1. The “idea” behind atone means to offer something in place.
  2. As Moses goes up the Mountain to meet again with God, Moses is prepared to offer his life for them.
  3. Moses tells God, “If you will not forgive their sin, then erase me from the book you have written.”
  4. This book of “eternal life” tells of who will enter eternal life and who will enter eternal death.
  5. This is the same book we read about in Revelation, “The Lamb’s Book of Life.”
  6. Notice what Moses is saying:
  7. My life for theirs.
  8. I didn’t sin, but I will die so that they might live.
  9. Moses was not guilty, but He was willing to give his life so that Israel might live.
  10. God won’t accept this.
  11. God declares that, whoever has sinned, that God would erase from His book.
  12. No penance, no purgatory, no shortcut.
  13. Each man and woman must answer for their sins.
  14. Each man and woman is responsible for their own accounts, and God will hold each one of us responsible.

5. Moses was not the right man to die for the sins of Israel.

  1. But Moses was on to something.
  2. Moses wasn’t the one to die for Israel’s sin.
  3. Moses wasn’t the one who was to ascend and atone for humanities’ sins.
  4. That’s because God had another plan.
  5. At a distant time, God would send His son to Earth.
  6. And Jesus, the perfect, sinless, Son of God would take upon His shoulders the weight of the world’s sin and He would atone for their sin.
  7. Moses wasn’t the savior, he was the foreshadower.
  8. Moses wasn’t the perfect sacrifice, Jesus is.
  9. Moses wasn’t the right person to die so others might live, because Jesus would come and He would atone for our sins.
  10. And all the way back in Exodus, we see God pointing us to the Cross.

Apply: God still has a book.

  1. Revelation 20:11–15 (CSB)

11 Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. 13 Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

  1. There is coming a day in the future, when all of us will stand before God.
  2. Whether we think we committed big sins, small sins, or no sin, we will all stand before God.
  3. And at that point in eternity, the thing that matters is: Had Jesus atoned for your sin?
  4. Had we confessed our sins and asked for forgiveness?
  5. Had we given our lives to Jesus, and followed Him?
  6. Had we trusted Him in this life?
  7. It doesn’t matter how hard you work:
  8. No matter how much stress, worry, or condemnation you carry.
  9. No matter how much of a good person you try to be.
  10. Try as you might, you cannot ascend the mountain and pay for your sin or the sins of your family.
  11. But there is one who can, and He did.
  12. Jesus has already provided for your forgiveness; you just need to accept it.

Close: Today is a great day to follow Jesus.

  1. My sincerest hope for everyone of us is that we are all right with God.
  2. Just like Moses, I hate the idea that there might be one of my people who must pay the price for their sin.
  3. As pastor, I pray for you and think about you all far more than you may realize.
  4. When I don’t see you for a long time, I worry.
  5. If I see on social media that you are not living for Jesus, I am grieved.
  6. No matter how much I love you, I can’t save you.
  7. But I can point you to the one who can save you.
  8. This morning, If you’ve been trying to carry the load by yourself, would you be so bold to surrender that all to Jesus today?
  9. Perhaps your life has been full of many things, but Jesus isn’t one of those things, would you today be so bold to ask Jesus to forgive you, change you, and help you to live for Him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[i] https://www.foxnews.com/us/nj-man-375-years-sentence-2016-killing-spree-woman-kids-facebook-post

[ii] https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-man-arrested-baby-alligator-guns-drugs-truck

The Tablets Were Broken: Exodus 32 4/1/2022

Click the link below for a PDF of Pastor Paul’s notes or scroll down to follow along.

Message 5 The Tablets were Broken

Message 5: The Tablets were Broken

 

4.10.2022

Palm Sunday

Message 5/51

 

Exodus 32:7–29 (CSB)

7 The LORD spoke to Moses: “Go down at once! For your people you brought up from the land of Egypt have acted corruptly.

8 They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, ‘Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ ” 9 The LORD also said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone, so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God: “LORD, why does your anger burn against your people you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He brought them out with an evil intent to kill them in the mountains and eliminate them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger and relent concerning this disaster planned for your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel—you swore to them by yourself and declared, ‘I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and will give your offspring all this land that I have promised, and they will inherit it forever.’ ” 14 So the LORD relented concerning the disaster he had said he would bring on his people.

15 Then Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides—inscribed front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets.

17 When Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.”

18 But Moses replied,

It’s not the sound of a victory cry

and not the sound of a cry of defeat;

I hear the sound of singing!

19 As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became enraged and threw the tablets out of his hands, smashing them at the base of the mountain. 20 He took the calf they had made, burned it up, and ground it to powder. He scattered the powder over the surface of the water and forced the Israelites to drink the water.

21 Then Moses asked Aaron, “What did these people do to you that you have led them into such a grave sin?”

22 “Don’t be enraged, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know that the people are intent on evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 24 So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, take it off,’ and they gave it to me. When I threw it into the fire, out came this calf!”

25 Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them get out of control, making them a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. 27 He told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every man fasten his sword to his side; go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance, and each of you kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’ ” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand men fell dead that day among the people. 29 Afterward Moses said, “Today you have been dedicated to the LORD, since each man went against his son and his brother. Therefore you have brought a blessing on yourselves today.”

 

Introduction to a challenging passage:

  1. It is easy for most of us to read this passage and have a lot of questions:
  2. First, why does God give up so quick on Israel?
  3. Why is God so angry?
  4. Why is Moses so angry?
  5. Why do the Levites kill a bunch of people?
  6. How can this be the same God we worship in the New Testament who is doing these sorts of things (I’ll answer that one better next week on Easter Sunday).
  7. What we do with challenging passages is really important to our faith.
  8. What we will see today is that not only is God not harsh, He isn’t harsh enough.
  9. In fact, God’s reactions are so much more loving and gracious than anyone of us would act.

1. Israel deserves to die for her sins.

  1. While Moses is spending time with God, Israel is committing adultery and idolatry.
  2. Israel is breaking every commandment, every promise, and every shred of trust that has been given in the recent days.
  3. From God’s position, He sees what Moses doesn’t.
  4. He sees their sin and their heart.
  5. God calls them stiff-necked.
  6. Stiff-necked refers to a “beast of burden that is too stubborn to wear its master’s yoke or do what its master says.”
  7. This is the first time this phrase is used in Exodus.
  8. But it will become one of the primary ways God describes His people in the Prophetic books.
  9. Why does Israel deserve to die?
  10. So what if they got drunk?
  11. So what if they had a million-person sex-party?
  12. So what if they sacrificed sacrifices on a false-altar to an image of an Egyptian God.
  13. Sure, these are all bad, but doesn’t God forgive?
  14. Isn’t God love?

God’s anger, Moses’ anger, and the killing of some of the people stemmed because Israel broke 3 important concepts.

2. First, Israel broke a covenant.

  1. Just 50 days before, Israel had agreed to a Covenant with God.
  2. They heard the terms, summarized in the Commandments.
  3. They agreed to them “In all things we will do and be obedient.”
  4. Then they offered sacrifices to celebrate and to seal the covenant.
  5. Israel’s behavior and choice to follow a false-god broke this covenant.
  6. Part of the covenant ceremony involved the cutting of an animal.
  7. They would cut it and sprinkle the blood on the parties, signifying “if I break this covenant” then I should die in like manner.
  8. When Moses comes off the Mountain, and he asks:

Exodus 32:26–29 (CSB)

26 And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. 27 He told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every man fasten his sword to his side; go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance, and each of you kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand men fell dead that day among the people. 29 Afterward Moses said, “Today you have been dedicated to the Lord, since each man went against his son and his brother. Therefore you have brought a blessing on yourselves today.”

 

  1. What about the Levites killing their neighbors?
  2. The key to understanding this is the Covenant Israel had just entered.
  3. Moses is asking “who will help God keep the Covenant and its terms.”
  4. When the Levities stepped forward, they declared “we will fulfill the terms of this Covenant that we agreed to.”
  5. This obedience resulted in this tribe being entrusted with the articles of the Covenant by assisting the priesthood.
  6. We should never use this passage to justify murder or genocide.
  7. What we need to glean from this passage is the seriousness of God’s promises and Covenant.
  8. God could have killed them all, but He doesn’t.
  9. He could have also “overlooked” their sin.
  10. But if He had, he would have violated His own covenant and would have been a liar.
  11. Because God keeps His Covenants, we know He also keeps His promises.

3. Second, Israel broke not only a Covenant but also a Marriage.

  1. Over the past few months, I’ve been coming across more and more the theme of “wedding” and our “marriage” to Christ.
  2. It’s a theme I hadn’t seen before.
  3. But just like when you buy a car and notice that EVERYONE drives that car now, when the Lord started showing me the theme of Jesus and Groom and the Church as Bride, and the great wedding, I see it everywhere.
  4. Apparently, I’m not alone and this isn’t a new theme:
  5. One writer declares:
  6. From the perspective of the biblical prophets, what happened at Mount Sinai was nothing less than a divine wedding.[1]
  7. This makes sense when we read books like HOSEA, that is an enactment of Spiritual adultery.
  8. Or all the passages in the prophets that talks about “unfaithful Israel”.
  9. Or then in the New Testament, how John the Baptist declares the Bridegroom is coming.
  10. Here’s the question: If Israel was committing adultery, then when was the wedding?

[Thus says the LORD:] “Therefore behold, I will allure her [Israel], and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.… And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.” (Hosea 2:14, 15)

The word of the LORD came to me [Jeremiah], saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, ‘Thus says the LORD,’ I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the first fruits of his harvest.” (Jeremiah 2:1–2)

I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the LORD God, and you became mine. (Ezekiel 16:8, NRSV)

 

  1. It makes sense that the events at Sinai was not only a Covenant ceremony but also a wedding.
  2. This was where “YHWH became their God, and Israel became His people.” (Sounds like wedding language).
  3. Furthermore, after the ceremony and the promises were made, the leadership went up the Mountain and had a dinner in the presence of God.
  4. Sounds kind of like a wedding banquet, and a foreshadowing of the future Marriage Supper of the Lamb, doesn’t it?
  5. If we view the events at Sinai has a wedding, a choosing of one spouse and one God, then what Israel does was spiritual adultery.
  6. This helps explain why God was so mad, and even why Moses was angry.
  7. Left to a few days by herself, Israel bound herself to another god in the image of a calf.
  8. Israel gave her love to this god.
  9. Israel gave her hopes to this god.
  10. Israel gave her worship to this god.
  11. Israel was unfaithful, and God was the spurned and jealous lover.
  12. By understanding this passage through the lens of marriage, then God was more than just to leave Israel and to start fresh with a new marriage.
  13. God could have started over again with Moses, and still kept His promise.
  14. God would have been right and correct to have gone another direction.
  15. But God didn’t.
  16. Here is what this tells us:
  17. God’s love for you is greater than you can imagine.
  18. The enemy lies and says you are too far gone to be saved.
  19. But GOD is merciful and gracious.
  20. And His love endures forever.

4. Lastly, they broke God’s Heart.

Exodus 32:15–16 (CSB)

15 Then Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides—inscribed front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets.

 

  1. Anyone who has ever written something knows that part of you is inscribed in the writing.
  2. Whether I’m writing sermons or research papers, there is part of me in that writing.
  3. The writer of Exodus provides great description of the Tablets in Moses’ hands.
  4. Inscribed front and back.
  5. They were the work of God.
  6. The writing was God’s writing.
  7. This was by no means the kind of writing that shows up on digital downloads or purchases that we click at the bottom just to move on.
  8. When I bought my house last year, all my paperwork was digital.
  9. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I read everything on those papers.
  10. I wanted the house, so I digitally signed the paperwork.
  11. The Law represented more than words but the heart of God.
  12. As Moses comes off the mountain, in a moment of anger, he breaks the tablets of stone.
  13. The breaking of the tablets signify the breaking of the covenant, the marriage, and the heart of God.
  14. When we break God’s heart, excuses don’t matter.
  15. Moses asked Aaron “what did these people do to you to lead them to this.”
  16. But no matter what Aaron would have said, it wouldn’t have undone the damage.
  17. Romans 1 tells us that all of humanity is without excuse before God.
  18. We might justify our sin.
  19. We might relabel our sin to sound more appealing:
  20. Adultery becomes an “indiscretion”.
  21. Theft becomes “financial mismanagement” or “misappropriation of funds”.
  22. Gossip becomes “just tellin it the way I see it”.
  23. Humanity is really good about reclassifying our sin.
  24. Yet, the reality is “sin known by any other name is still sin”.
  25. All sin requires the grace and mercy of God.

5. Even in the midst of great sin, there is still grace.

  1. Moses sought the favor of God.
  2. Next week, we focus on Moses ascending up the Mountain to “atone” for our sin.
  3. But this week, you need to know, “Sin cannot take us where grace cannot reach us.”
  4. No one is too hopeless or too far gone for God to save and redeem.
  5. Romans tells us “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God”.
  6. We all stand condemned before the just God.
  7. We all deserve eternal death.
  8. Yet, God in His mercy has made available forgiveness and redemption.
  9. Last week, I preached hard on sin.
  10. I can preach hard on sin and hard on grace because I know that, through Jesus, we find forgiveness of all sins.
  11. Because of Jesus, I don’t have to atone for my own sin.
  12. Instead, I can live for Jesus instead of against Jesus.

Apply: We live in a world that champions sin and vilifies righteousness.

  1. But that is nothing new.
  2. This is not a new phenomena.
  3. So what are we to do?
  4. Call sin what it is.
  5. Michael Hyatt once said a mistake is pushing the gas when you meant to hit the break.
  6. We can’t call our sin anything less than sin and expect to receive God’s forgiveness.
  7. Then, receive forgiveness.
  8. Stop thinking that your sin is too great or too costly to forgive.
  9. Stop walking in condemnation and accept the gift of God already.
  10. Then live for Jesus.
  11. This is easier said than done.
  12. But God has sent His Spirit to help you live for Jesus.
  13. The sinful nature helps you live against Jesus.
  14. The new nature, the Holy Spirit, helps you live for Jesus.
  15. The Holy Spirit will help keep you from worshipping Golden Calfs.
  16. The Holy Spirit will keep you from rising up to “play”.
  17. The Holy Spirit will empower you to stand up for righteousness when even your own family is celebrating sin.
  18. The Holy Spirit will lead you away from the pull of sinful influences and towards Godly influences.
  19. Living for Jesus may not always be easy, but it’s always doable.

Prayer:

This morning, some of us need to confront our sin by confession and repentance.

Some of us need empowerment to live for Jesus, because that old nature wants to show its ugly head and you know you aren’t called to that.

All of us need empowerment to live for Jesus.

 

[1] Pitre, Brant James. Jesus the Bridegroom (p. 9). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

April 3, 2022 Help I’m Falling Fast

Click below for a PDF of Pastor Paul Richardson’s notes.

Message 4 Help Im Falling Fast

 

 

Help! I’m Falling Fast

4.3.2022

Message 50/4

Exodus 32:1–6 (CSB)

THE GOLD CALF

32 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make gods for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!”

Aaron replied to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf.

Then they said, “Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: “There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.” Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to party.

 

1. While Moses is having an amazing time in God’s presence, the people are being stupid.

  1. This is part of the human story.
  2. When we are seeking God and doing things right, it seems that the people around us go crazy.
  3. Our proudest moments seem to be followed by moments of abject failure.
  4. 40 days before, God spoke and all of the people agreed to obey.
  5. 100 days ago, they were walking on dry ground through the Red Sea.
  6. Just that morning, they ate manna from heaven.
  7. Yet, in the midst of what should have been their best days, they were getting ready to have the worst day in their history.
  8. I want to take a moment and speak to some of you today.
  9. I don’t know, by name, who God is speaking to but I know He is speaking.
  10. Someone here is really down because you sinned or failed recently and feel really down.
  11. You are walking under condemnation, which tells you to quit, that you aren’t worth saving, that you will never change.
  12. That isn’t the voice of the Holy Spirit:
  13. The Spirit brings conviction which leads to repentance and change.
  14. Where the Spirit convicts, He brings the power to change and to be changed.
  15. The voice telling you to quit, to give up, to take your life, or anything like that is not the voice of God.

 

 

2. Delay doesn’t have to be deadly.

  1. The people panicked during God’s delay.
  2. They equated delay with death.
  3. The “wait” sign was interpreted as a “no” sign.
  4. Like most people, we panic when God says “wait”.
  5. What we do during the “delay” can have long-term ramifications.
  6. When it appeared that Moses was delayed, Israel turned to the wrong person.
  7. Aaron was the priest, not the leader.
  8. He was the helper, not the boss.
  9. His calling was important and significant, but his calling was not to lead the people.
  10. It was never Aaron’s calling or responsibility to lead Israel.
  11. A friend of mine pointed out a difference between Aaron and Moses.
  12. Same parents, but they were raised differently.
  13. Aaron was raised as a slave, while Moses was raised as a prince.
  14. Unfortunately, when the stress was on, Aaron led the people back to the only thing he knew which was slavery to idols.
  15. When the stress is on, where do you turn?
  16. Some of you here are in a season of delay and waiting.
  17. Call it your Midian, or a wilderness, or a dry place.
  18. There is nothing wrong with being in those places.
  19. But in the moment, you are tempted to turn back to the only thing you’ve ever known.
  20. Your stressed, so you start inching closer to the prescription meds that you DON’t Need.
  21. You are worried, so you start asking your old friends what to do instead of leaning into Jesus and the community of believers you are part of.
  22. People give advice according to their kind.
  23. Sinful people will give you sinful advice.
  24. But what they say sounds familiar.
  25. Familiar is comfortable.
  26. Comfortable is good.
  27. The next thing you know, you are worshipping your old idols.
  28. D. When it seems as if God is delayed, where does your “panic” take you back to?
  29. You will fail to the level of your training is an axiom in the emergency services realm.
  30. When we are under pressure, we will be tempted to go back to what was familiar.
  31. This is the source of “relapse”.

3. The golden calf represented something familiar.

  1. Remember, I’m always talking about context.
  2. Context helps us figure out why Israel and Aaron created a calf.
  3. Have you ever significantly wonder “why a golden calf?”
  4. Some info from some commentaries:
  5. “Presumably this golden calf, as it is usually called, was made in the Egyptian style. The Egyptians worshiped any number of bovine deities. They worshiped Hathor, who was represented by the head of a cow, and Isis, the queen of the gods, who had horns on her head. Then there was Menwer, the sacred bull of Ra, whose skin was covered with gold.2 But according to John Mackay,

The ultimate in bull worship was probably the Apis bull, considered to [be] the manifestation of Ptah, the creator god worshipped at Memphis in lower Egypt. The bull lived in palatial quarters in the precincts of the temple; only the higher echelons of society were allowed to view it from special windows; its death was treated on a par with the death of pharaoh; and the remains were mummified. Images of calves or bulls were associated with the strength and power of the deity, and the idols as well as certain live animals came to be regarded as embodiments of the god.[1]

  1. Notice this:
  2. This calf/bull was seen to be the creator.
  3. The real bull, and its incarnations, was kept hidden in a secret part of the temple where only the elite of society could peak in.
  4. Israel created their own Golden Calf/bull, their own god, to take the place of the One true God.
  5. God declared Himself to be the creator.
  6. God declared Himself to be so holy that normal people could not gaze into the Holy of Holies, but only the High Priest once a year.
  7. But during this delay, the people gave God’s glory away to another God.
  8. This was not only idolatry, but also adultery.

4. How do people fail and fall so quickly?

  1. First, we look to the wrong people.

“Come, make gods for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!”

  1. Notice: “the man who brought us up from Egypt.”
  2. Moses was God’s representative.
  3. When Moses spoke or acted, it was usually on behalf of God.
  4. It was through Moses’ words and actions that God did the miracles.
  5. But the people couldn’t look past Moses.
  6. In other words, they failed to realize it was God who had done these things and Moses was the conduit.
  7. But before we condemn Israel, we must recognize that we too often are guilty of the same thing.
  8. We elevate people far beyond the platform that God has given them.
  9. We take people’s words and actions to be equivalent to the actions of God Himself, and then we lose hope when those people do peopally things.
  10. Just because people are used by God, it doesn’t mean they are God.
  11. This is true for pastors.
  12. This is true for former presidents.
  13. This is true for any person regardless of how anointed or successful.
  14. To quote our friend Tommy Riley, “Spiritual giftings work outside of righteousness.”
  15. Second, we look to the wrong things.

Aaron replied to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf.

  1. It is shocking that in the heat of the moment, the first High Priest of Israel immediately thought, “Give me your jewelry.”
  2. He didn’t pray.
  3. He didn’t seek council.
  4. He immediately asked for enough jewelry to make a golden idol.
  5. Interestingly, it seems that Aaron made this and not the craftsmen, Bezalel and Oholiab, the men who are were anointed to create the Tabernacle furnishings.
  6. No, this was Aaron leading where he wasn’t called to lead.
  7. And this was Aaron leading people to look for hope where there never was any hope to begin with.
  8. When we are under-pressure, we look for hope where there was never any hope.
  9. Americans have been looking for hope in Government, but Government never was the source of our hope.
  10. People look to YouTubers, TikTok, or other elements of cultural influencers for hope, for clarity, and for guidance; but there is no hope there, only confusion.
  11. In times of trouble, we turn to old habits, old skills, and old friends for hope forgetting they were never the source of hope to begin with.
  12. When we look to the wrong people and the wrong places, we fall and we fail faster than we ever can imagine.
  13. Third, we cover up our sin with religion.

Exodus 32:5–6 (CSB)

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: “There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.” Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to party.

 

  1. Aaron somehow believed that if they bring God’s name into the situation, and declare the “party” to before the Lord, then it made everything alright.
  2. Maybe Aaron honestly believed this.
  3. It’s possible Aaron had the best intentions: but the people didn’t and the result was sin.
  4. Ultimately, Aaron took something vial and used it to worship God.
  5. Notice that this did not “redeem” what was evil.
  6. This did not make it right or holy.
  7. The Apostle Paul used the argument: Should we keep on sinning to glorify God or multiply grace? OF course not.
  8. False gods and false-altars do not result in God being glorified.
  9. You cannot put Christian language on Satan’s thing and expect God to bless it.
  10. Just because you put Jesus’ name on things, doesn’t mean it brings glory to God.
  11. Aaron tried to cover up sin by using God’s name, but God wasn’t fooled.
  12. The people were fooled.
  13. They probably believed what they were doing was ok because their priest blessed it.
  14. But just because a religious leader blesses something, that does not mean God blesses it.
  15. As your pastor, may I encourage you:
  16. Read the Bible for yourself.
  17. Pray and commune with God yourself.
  18. Worship God, yourself.
  19. Do not place your hopes, your understanding, and your relationship upon the shoulders of others.
  20. The Gifts and Offices, like pastors, teachers, and prophets, are given by God to edify, to build up, and to support the people of God.
  21. But we are not God.
  22. Just like Aaron, even the best fail.
  23. In the news are the very public moral failures of men like:
  24. Brian Houston.
  25. Perry Stone.
  26. Bill Hybels.
  27. Mark Driscoll.
  28. Carl Lentz.
  29. Just like Aaron, their intentions may have begun as honorable, but they ended up in terrible and sinful places.
  30. This leads us to our fourth and last point:
  31. Fourth, when we start falling, we go all in.
  32. We never sin in isolation.
  33. It’s nigh impossible to sin in just one way, and not in many others.
  34. Sin isn’t just a downward facing hill, it’s a sheer cliff.
  35. A person may think they are in control of their destiny and will, but sin doesn’t play fair.
  36. The tools of the enemy are addictions, and strongholds, and increased depravity.
  37. This is why Israel could go from “Oh no, where’s Moses” to, let’s get drunk, have a wild orgy, and act like there is no tomorrow.
  38. “When we have no hope for the future, we are willing to make a mess of today.”
  39. So we run as far and as fast as we can towards sin.
  40. We forget that sin has a price-tag and that price comes do.
  41. Sometimes the cost of our sin takes years or decades.
  42. Sometimes, the cost of our sin shows up like a Will Smith hand across Chris Rock’s face.
  43. But be sure, that your sin will find you out.

Apply: Where do we go from here?

  1. If you are in a sinful place, You must first call it out.
  2. I’ve been pastoring a long time:
  3. I know that people what people do.
  4. Although I don’t know everything that happens behind the scenes, I do know that some in this room are living or participating in sin and lifestyles that God is not happy with.
  5. If that happens to be you, the first thing you must do is confess.
  6. To confess means to say the same thing about your sin as that God does.
  7. People do not go to hell because they made a mistake, so don’t call your sin a mistake.
  8. Don’t “shrug” your shoulders and say, “I messed up”.
  9. Before real change can happen, you have to confess your sin.
  10. Scripture says, “If you confess your sin, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive.”
  11. After you confess, you have to burn the calf down.
  12. Throw out the porn, clean out the booze, break off the illicit affair, go tell the truth, payback the money, refuse to hate.
  13. Whatever has become your golden calf, you have to get rid of it.
  14. You have to clean your house and put it in order, whatever that might mean.
  15. You cannot let sin live, you cannot give it a second chance.

Daniel Kolenda tells the story: In January 2018 an article in National Geographic was published with the following headline: “Why an 8-Foot Pet Python May Have Killed Its Owner.” It goes on to tell of how a man in England was killed by his yellow African rock python named Tiny. At one point this deadly serpent had been a cute little snake. Its coils could have easily been broken even by a child. But as it grew, fed and nurtured by the man it would eventually kill, no one realized the tragedy the man was inviting.[i]

  1. You cannot give the enemy a foothold, otherwise it will gain hold over you.
  2. But once you put things in order, there is one more vital step:
  3. Confess, destroy the idol, and find a greater replacement:

Luke 11:24–26 (CSB)

AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT’S RETURN

24 “When an unclean spirit comes out of a person, it roams through waterless places looking for rest, and not finding rest, it then says, ‘I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’ 25 Returning, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that person’s last condition is worse than the first.”

  1. Jesus taught that when a person gets clean, puts their house in order, and deals with the problems that there becomes great opportunity and a great struggle.
  2. The struggle is, that if you do nothing else, you will find out that not only are your demons back but they brought friends.
  3. The addiction you had comes back worse than ever.
  4. The fights with the spouse is worse than ever.
  5. The cravings are worse than ever.
  6. Jesus taught this as a spiritual truth: An empty life will soon be filled.
  7. And it won’t fill up with good things, it will fill up with junk, trash, and demons.
  8. That is why you must be filled with the Holy Spirit!
  9. This is not optional.
  10. Failure to be filled with the Holy Spirit leaves you open to be filled with spirits that are not of God.
  11. We can no longer treat as optional what Jesus considered mandatory.
  12. The days before us necessitate all of us to not only to receive salvation and forgiveness, but empowerment to live for Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Ryken, Philip Graham, and R. Kent Hughes. 2005. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. 972-973

[i] Kolenda, Daniel. Slaying Dragons: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Warfare (p. 117). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.

 

March 20, 2022. When Strivings Cease

Follow along with Pastor Paul:

Click the link for the PDF.

Entering into Glory Message 1:47

 

God’s Glory: Where Strivings Cease

 

Exodus 31:12–18 (CSB)

12 The Lord said to Moses, 13 “Tell the Israelites: You must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am the Lord who consecrates you. 14 Observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Whoever profanes it must be put to death. If anyone does work on it, that person must be cut off from his people. 15 Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord. Anyone who does work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. 16 The Israelites must observe the Sabbath, celebrating it throughout their generations as a permanent covenant. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the Israelites, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.

18 When he finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God.

 

1. Context:

  1. “The Lord said…”
  2. This is the 7th time this phrase is used in Exodus 25-31.[1]
  3. The first 6 times all had to do with God’s instructions for building the Tabernacle.
  4. The 7th time was the command to Sabbath and rest.
  5. Where else in the Bible does God speak 6 times about creating something and then, the 7th time, declares a time of rest?
  6. Genesis 1, and the creation narrative.
  7. The creation of the tabernacle echoes the creation of the universe.
  8. . Just as God created everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th, now God is presenting Israel as his new creation with the tabernacle and worship at the center of that creation.
  9. Think about what God created:
  10. Sure, He created heavens, earth, animals, plants, and people.
  11. But far from being distant, it says that God walked with Adam in the Garden.
  12. At the center of the Garden of Eden, was God’s relationship with man.
  13. At the center of Israel’s journey was God’s presence with man.
  14. Very simply, worship and delighting in God was to be at the center of Israel’s life and existence.
  15. Just as the Tabernacle was in the middle of Israel’s camps,
  16. So God was to be at the center of Israel’s life and activity.
  17. Sabbath reminded the people who and what was most important.
  18. This teaching on Sabbath is located in a strategic spot.
  19. God had just given all the details for making the Tabernacle and the clothing for the priests.
  20. A project like this would be life consuming.
  21. Yet, right after God gives the instructions to build, he gives this commandment: Don’t forget the Sabbath!
  22. We must fight the temptation of being so busy doing and working that we forget that God has called all of us to pause, reflect, and worship.
  23. Consider this: If all of the craftsman had worked all day on the Sabbath, creating perfect objects for the worship of God, yet disobeyed God’s call to rest and worship, their work would have robbed from God’s glory.
  24. I’ve heard many times the phrase, “I’d rather burnout than rust out for Jesus.”
  25. I understand the sentiment.
  26. Better to do too much instead of too little.
  27. But here is the reality: Either way, you are out.

2. Why Sabbath mattered to Israel.

  1. #1 Sabbath was a sign for Israel.
  2. God told Moses “this is a sign between me and Israel.”
  3. Every week, when Israel was to Sabbath, it was a sign that they belonged to God.
  4. Because they belong to God, God promised to protect and provide for them.
  5. Weekly, Israel was reminded of the special relationship that God had for them.
  6. The command to Sabbath was a blessing not a curse.
  7. Its funny, parents make little kids take naps who do not want them.
  8. But as adults, there are days when all we want is to take a nap!
  9. Making a kid take a nap is intended for the good of the child, not to their detriment.
  10. God gave the command to stop, cease, and rest not as a curse but as a blessing.
  11. Resting was a sign for Israel of God’s presence and His love for them.
  12. #2. Sabbath set them apart from the rest of the world.
  13. Wherever Israel went, the neighbors would notice that they did not work on the Sabbath.
  14. Their rhythms of life was drastically different than their neighbors.
  15. No one else practiced a Sabbath.
  16. Most cultures were expected to work every day.
  17. Yet here Israel was expected to cease their labor one day a week.
  18. By doing so, they brought glory to God.
  19. If you are always fighting and striving to make stuff work, you aren’t bringing God glory because you don’t give God room to move.
  20. Have you ever been part of a work project and they had you working as part of a “team”?
  21. But there was one or two people who did everything and you were sitting there wondering, “why am I here?”
  22. Too often, we say we want God’s help but then we still do all the work.
  23. #3. Neglecting the Sabbath had drastic consequences for Israel.
  24. Two things are mentioned: Cutoff from community and death.
  25. Both are bad.
  26. The message is that God was serious.
  27. Just as God worked 6 days and rested/ceased on the 7th, you are to do the same thing.
  28. Israel was to tell the message of God’s glory and power every week when they paused on the Sabbath.

2. Why Sabbath matters to us.

  1. #1 Resting in Jesus is a sign for believers.
  2. I think every believer should have intentional days where they pause, worship, and reflect.
  3. But more than that, a weekly day of rest and worship points us forward to an even greater day.
  4. Hebrews 4 talks about believers entering a Sabbath rest.
  5. This rest is more than a day a week.
  6. It’s a rest that influences every part of our life and world.
  7. To enter into God’s rest for us, means we:
  8. We receive salvation, because we stop trying to save ourself.
  9. We operate in God’s power and provision instead of doing it all alone.
  10. To enter God’s rest is to enjoy a level of relationship and access to God that we cannot have in the midst of the hustle and bustle of normal life.
  11. #2. Resting in God, sets us apart from the rest of the world.
  12. Just as the Sabbath made Israel distinct, resting in Jesus separates us from everyone else.
  13. What would it look like for our friends and neighbors to look at Christians and see them full of faith, trust, and calm in the midst of this crazy world?
  14. Someone who is at rest in Jesus will have a calmness under pressure that is not normal or natural.
  15. When we have entered into this rest, our identities are more secure.
  16. When we have entered into this rest, our focus remains upon Jesus.
  17. When we have entered into this rest, people will notice that something is very different.
  18. #3. Neglecting this rest has consequences.
  19. Spiritually, Hebrews says that if believers fail to rest and trust in Jesus, and instead try to earn their own salvation, that you will fall into the same disobedience as Israel and miss out on what God has for you.
  20. Physically, when we neglect rest, we wear our bodies and minds down opening ourselves up to sickness and disease.
  21. According to Cleveland Clinic
  22. Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression, impairment in immunity and lower sex drive.[2]
  23. What we must remember is that God created the rhythm of 6 days to work and 1 day to rest and worship BEFORE the Law, Before Moses, and Before the Old Testament.
  24. What this means for us is that, although we no longer have to keep Sabbath like the Jews did,
  25. We neglect God’s created rhythm and order to our own detriment.

3. Sabbath creates a holy place and a holy time.

  1. “The Sabbath was “a tabernacle in time,” as Göran Larsson calls it. It was God’s way of making sure that his people would take the time to get to know him.”[3]
  2. We all need a Holy Place and a Holy time.
  3. “the tabernacle is holy space. The Sabbath, by contrast, is holy time. By building the tabernacle and setting apart one day in seven, God is truly recreating heaven in space and time. Weekly Sabbath worship is on holy ground in holy time.[4]
  4. This issue for you and I isn’t so much about what Sabbath or the Lord’s Day should look like.
  5. This main issue is are you setting aside time and space for God to be in the center of your life?
  6. A great place to start is 1 day a week, worshipping with brothers and sisters at a local church.
  7. But during the week, how are you making Jesus the center?
  8. How are you participating in God’s glory on a daily and weekly basis?
  9. Next, in what areas might you be resisting the rest and space God is calling you to?
  10. Just like a kid fighting a much needed nap or bedtime, are there areas where you are fighting that God is saying “be still”?
  11. Are there doors you are determined to kick down, when God is saying let me open that for you?
  12. Does your disposition reflect God’s working in your life, or are you just as stressed, just as worried, and just as fearful as everyone else around you?

Prayer:

  1. I want to pray for you all this morning:
  2. And I specifically want to pray for those of us who are saying, “Yes I want more of God’s presence and glory at the center of my life.”
  3. For anyone who feels overwhelmed, I want to pray for you also.
  4. Not just that you will be delivered from the situation, but that you will experience the presence and peace of God in your life and situation.
  5. If you would stand:
  6. I want to pray,
  7. Then anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or anyone who is desiring to put God at the center of their life, I want to ask you tom come to the front and pray for you to enter into God’s rest and peace and promise.

[1] Together the tabernacle and the Sabbath put God at the center of Israel’s time and space. The Sabbath looked back to creation, when God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Peter Enns develops this point by showing how Exodus uses the phrase “Then the Lord said” to echo the story of creation, when God said certain things and they were so (Gen. 1). By using this phrase, the Bible is presenting Israel as God’s new creation. The words “Then the Lord said” appear seven times in Exodus 25–31. The first six times all relate to building the tabernacle (Exod. 25:1; 30:11, 17, 22, 34; 31:1). The seventh comes in Exodus 31:12, where God tells his people to rest. So Exodus repeats the creation pattern: There are six “days” to build the tabernacle, and then it is time to rest.  p 961  [1]

[2] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/happens-body-dont-get-enough-sleep/#:~:text=Some%20of%20the%20most%20serious,can%20even%20affect%20your%20appearance.

[3] Ryken, Philip Graham, and R. Kent Hughes. 2005. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[4] Enns, Peter. 2000. Exodus. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Bringing God Glory Through our Calling. Exodus 31

 

Message 2:48 Bringing God Glory Calling

Bringing God Glory through our Calling

Message 2/48

3/6/22

Introduction to the Text:

  1. These are the chapters of Exodus where Bible Reading plans go to die.
  2. A couple of weeks, I could tell where many of you were in your reading plan because I had several messages regarding Leviticus.
  3. My interactions with most Christians point to a similar realization.
  4. You know this is important.
  5. You know there has to be some kind of “glory” here, but where is it?
  6. It’s like taking part in someone’s favorite hobby or obsession and wondering “what’s the big deal!”
  7. What I love about us here is that, even though we may not understand what a Scripture means or if it even applies, we all appreciate that somehow, God has revealed some of Himself in this portion of the story.
  8. Next week, a friend of mine named Doug Carmel will be reviewing the passages I skipped.
  9. He is going to be teaching on “Showing Christ in the Tabernacle.”
  10. His family is from Israel, and he has served as a missionary to Jewish non-believers.
  11. Today’s passage serves as a summary passage.
  12. Down the road, perhaps on a Wednesday night, we will go into more detail about the priestly garments.
  13. Today, I want to show how God reveals His glory through us.
  14. When all of the task before us looks impossible to complete, when the job too big or the obstacles seem insurmountable, God has a method to accomplish His work through His people for His glory.

 

Exodus 28:3 (CSB)

You are to instruct all the skilled artisans,, whom I have filled with a spirit of wisdom, to make Aaron’s garments for consecrating him to serve me as priest.

Exodus 31:1–11 (CSB)

31 The Lord also spoke to Moses: “Look, I have appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every craft. I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be with him. I have put wisdom in the heart of every skilled artisan in order to make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony, the mercy seat that is on top of it, and all the other furnishings of the tent—the table with its utensils, the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, the basin with its stand—10 the specially woven garments, both the holy garments for the priest Aaron and the garments for his sons to serve as priests, 11 the anointing oil, and the fragrant incense for the sanctuary. They must make them according to all that I have commanded you.”

 

1. Building a place for God.

  1. Within the previous chapters, we see God’s details for His tabernacle.
  2. The Tabernacle was a mobile temple, where God would dwell with Israel.
  3. This was not even a temporary step.
  4. It isn’t like God was saying “let’s put a mobile home on the property until we can build a house.”
  5. This was God’s idea.
  6. But God was very specific.
  7. I am not a detail person for most things.
  8. But the things I really care about, the details matter.
  9. God is always a detailed person and He gave exact details for where He would be worshipped and how he would be worshipped.
  10. God wasn’t looking for something that was just “good enough”.
  11. It may be good enough for government work.
  12. I laughed the other day when I received, in March, some IRS tax documents that were due January 31.
  13. They violated their own laws by 2 months.
  14. Good enough for government work.
  15. Remember the military motto, “Never forget your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.”
  16. We do not serve as God of “good enough.”
  17. We serve a Holy God.
  18. He is perfect in all His ways.
  19. Where God steps, chaos is dispelled, and order reigns.
  20. It makes sense that God cared about His dwelling.
  21. If you do not understand anything else about those passages that seem mind-numbingly dull, just remember that God is greatly concerned with the smallest of details.
  22. If God, in Leviticus was concerned about bodily fluids, God has vested interest in EVERY part of your life.
  23. God invests where He has an interest.
  24. This morning, we will discuss how God uses impossible tasks to bring Him glory through us.
  25. When the details matter, the Spirit matters.
  26. Furthermore, because God has an interest in you, He has invested in you.

2. The Calling of God

  1. Sometimes we over-complicate this:
  2. Calling is all about what God has asked us to do.
  3. Some callings or aspects will be public.
  4. Others behind the scenes.
  5. Even though some people are called to serve or minister in very prominent ways, those callings are not more valuable but more prominent.
  6. The value of your calling is not bound up in what you do but who called you.
  7. When my leadership invites me to a committee or to do a task, the value is not in what I’m doing but that they asked me to do it.
  8. If the Governor of MO called and called and asked me to clean the toilets at the Mansion, it would be an honor to serve.
  9. If the President of the United States called and offered me the same thing, I would happily fly to DC and clean up his mess.
  10. What God has for you is holy and will bring him glory.
  11. This must involve every aspect of life.
  12. Please do not separate secular and sacred.
  13. This is a false dichotomy.
  14. When believers engage and are called to something, we are called either because it is holy or we are to be agents to make it holy.
  15. If it isn’t holy, or can’t become holy, then I’m not supposed to do it.
  16. Holy doesn’t mean glamorous, it means set apart for God.
  17. Ethan and Brandi dedicated their kids today because what they are doing in raising a family is holy.
  18. Brother Shawn ministered to me this week by taking the trash out of my office. That blessed me and blessed the Lord.
  19. Some callings are personal and some are corporate:
  20. As a people, it was the calling of every Israelite to worship the Lord and to be a Nation of priests.
  21. As a Church, we all share in a calling to make Jesus known.
  22. We all share in a calling to serve our community.
  23. We all share in a calling to see the blind see, lame walk, and the sinners saved.
  24. Reminder: I need some people who will help with Foster gifts this month!
  25. We also have callings that are personal and meant just for you.
  26. By name! God called Bezalel and Oholiab.
  27. God doesn’t always ask the most talented person in the room.
  28. God usually doesn’t put spiritual leadership up for a vote.
  29. In Acts, we see that Peter and Paul and John had the most amazing gifts and fruitful ministries.
  30. But it was James, the brother of Jesus, who pastored and led the Church in Jerusalem and the Council of Jerusalem.
  31. Your calling is Not a popularity contest.
  32. You don’t need a clear calling to pick up trash in the parking lot or to do what anyone can and should do.
  33. We live in a world that talks much about:
  34. What are you passionate about.
  35. Do what gives you bliss.
  36. Often, God uses the natural giftings and passions we have as launching points for our callings.
  37. This is not about “following your passion”.
  38. Calling is about being obedient to what God is asking you to do.
  39. Where there is God’s Call, there will be God’s supply.
  40. God’s supply is not limited to money.
  41. Money is often the easiest part of the equation.
  42. Let’s see how, when God asks us to step out and obey, He also gives the supply.

3. Where there is a call, God supplies:

  1. #1 The Spirit is the first supply mentioned.
  2. First mention means most important.
  3. Whatever your calling, don’t even try without the Spirit of God.
  4. Spirit empowerment is distinct from Salvation.
  5. True: When you are saved the Holy Spirit lives in you.
  6. But there are a lot of Christians out there that are living underwhelming, un-victorious lives because they haven’t sought to be Spirit-filled and empowered.
  7. Jesus told His followers to wait for the Promise: and you will receive POWER after the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
  8. The 120 in Acts 2 were already believers, but they needed empowerment,
  9. Acts 8:15-17, Philip goes to Samaria and tons of people get saved.
  10. Then Peter and John come to make sure that the reports was true.
  11. It was true that they accepted Jesus, but they were Spirit-filled.
  12. In Acts 19, Paul asks some Ephesian believers “did you receive the Spirit when you believed?”
  13. We didn’t even know there was a Spirit.
  14. Illustration: Do you even lift?
  15. Paul didn’t stop and say, “I’m so glad you have the Holy Spirit and now you are going to heaven. That’s good enough.
  16. Paul wanted them to experience the same empowering he had.
  17. For you to do what God is calling you to do, you must be filled with the Spirit.
  18. Unfortunately, we have made optional what God considered essential.
  19. The Empowering of the Spirit was not optional for the craftsman entrusted with the holy things of God.
  20. How much more important for us who are also entrusted with the Holy things of God.
  21. And when you discover that raising your family is a holy opportunity, you won’t want to raise your kids with the Spirit’s help.
  22. When you discover that text messages, prayer requests, and even conversations are holy moments and holy opportunities, you won’t ever want to give casual or flippant advice you will want Holy Spirit empowered help.
  23. When we understand that everything we do we are called to do for the Glory of the Lord, then we won’t want to live another minute of our life without God’s enablement and power.

Colossians 3:23 (CSB)

23 Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people,

  1. Without the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, you will not have sustained victory or success.
  2. #2. Then God Supplies Wisdom.
  3. True wisdom is associated with God’s Spirit, and can even be translated “a spirit of wisdom.”
  4. Wisdom is the application of knowledge.
  5. Not just knowing what to do, but how to appropriately apply it.
  6. Immature people know the mechanics of what to do, while wise people know how to apply the information in a way that honors God and blesses others around them.
  7. You can be right without being wise.
  8. A lot of Christians have this calling, and they have received the empowerment and enablement, but they haven’t received or applied any wisdom.
  9. That’s why Paul forbid immature and new Christians from entering leadership:
  10. they have the passion but not yet the wisdom.
  11. Passion and calling without wisdom is dangerous.
  12. The GOOD NEWS, is that Wisdom is available.
  13. The Book of James says, if anyone lacks wisdom…ask for it.
  14. God wants to empower the Calling He’s given you, and the Spirit He’s given you with the Wisdom.
  15. Picture this:
  16. Picture a divine puzzle.
  17. On the box is this incredible scene.
  18. It’s a picture of what God wants to do, fix, heal, accomplish, whatever.
  19. This is what precedes or necessitates the call.
  20. God could snap His fingers and make it come to pass, but He chooses to use people to bring this to pass.
  21. Then imagine God says, “start putting this together.”
  22. When we start putting it together, we notice that God has many of the pieces still in His hand.
  23. Maybe grow frustrated because we don’t have everything we need, right now.
  24. So we start blaming God.
  25. We start accusing Him of withholding what we need to do what HE told us to do (sounds like the Exodus story, right).
  26. But God is not some sibling who is throwing away the pieces to frustrate us.
  27. God is holding on to the pieces not because He’s a jerk, but because He’s waiting for you to ask for what you need.
  28. God, I need a corner piece.
  29. God, I need this edge piece.
  30. God I need wisdom.
  31. I need understanding.
  32. I need ability.
  33. You know what His response is: Yes son, Yes Daughter.
  34. Could it be that you are not operating with the wisdom, understanding, or ability that you need because you haven’t asked!
  35. #3. God has promised Understanding and Ability.
  36. In our culture, we distinguish wisdom, understanding, and ability more than the Hebrews did.
  37. That’s why different translations all phrase this a little different.
  38. ESV translates this “and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship,”
  39. this refer to what the artist is thinking in his mind and feeling in his heart as well as to what he is making with his hands.[1]
  40. Has God called you to something that you don’t understand?
  41. Ask for understanding and discernment.
  42. Has God called you to a task but your gifts are presently lacking?
  43. Then develop those skills through spiritual and practical disciplines.
  44. No one wants this to work more than God.
  45. All the ingredients are here.

4. God had supplied everything Israel needed to do what God had called them to do.

  1. The project needed a tremendous amount of goods.
  2. Lots of God.
  3. Lots of dyed yarn and thread.
  4. The incredible truth is that, before God told them to build this, He had already “plundered the Egyptians” and all of the material needed was with the people.
  5. Later, we will see, that when they called for the people to give they gave so much they had more than enough.
  6. But God had planned ahead for what He was asking them to do.
  7. God planned the materials ahead and along with the needed people.

Exodus 31:6 (CSB)

I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be with him. I have put wisdom in the heart of every skilled artisan in order to make all that I have commanded you:

  1. Here is what I noticed:
  2. God didn’t have to wait for some craftsman from somewhere else.
  3. God didn’t have someone else do this (although Solomon used foreign labor to build the Temple).
  4. God used PEOPLE who were already there to do what God was calling them to do there.
  5. Many times as Pastor, I’ve said “I would love to do something, but I don’t have the right people.”
  6. Here’s what I realized:
  7. When the timing is right, the people will be there.
  8. When the timing to fulfill that part of the journey is right, the right people will be there.
  9. And they, too, need to be filled with the Spirit.
  10. It isn’t enough for the Pastor to be Spirit filled.
  11. Here’s what I’ve seen:
  12. Churches who have a pastor who is Spirit filled, but refuse to be filled themselves will lose that pastor.
  13. Pastors who are not spirit filled or led, but their Church is, will lose that Church.
  14. But when a group of people who are all seeking the Spirit and Wisdom of God will prove to be unstoppable.
  15. Not perfect, (nothing is ever perfect when people is involved).
  16. But a called, empowered, and committed people will accomplish what God has called them to.

5. Stir up the Gift.

  1. I can’t help but see that Calling and Empowerment are two parts that both must be mixed.
  2. Like a cake mix: the ingredients are there but some assembly is required.
  3. If the pictures on the box are the calling, the potential, the future, the end goal,
  4. and if the individual ingredients is the Spirit, Wisdom, and Understanding, and the Ability,
  5. then what is next?
  6. It’s the “stirring up the gifts that God has given you 2 Timothy 1:6–7

2 Timothy 1:6–7 (ESV)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:6–7 (NKJV)

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

  1. In other words, God has given the ingredients to fulfill the call.
  2. Stir it up and Fire it up and DO WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO.

 

  1. You can have all the ingredients and still miss out on your calling.
  2. Tonight we have dessert.
  3. I’m going to be TICKED if you bring the box, and the eggs, and the milk, and set them on the table and expect us to eat them.
  4. The ingredients do not automatically become the result.
  5. We stir up and we fan into flame the gifts and calling through:
  6. Prayer,
  7. Worship,
  8. Fasting, Solitude, Silence, and
  9. DRAWING CLOSE TO GOD.

Close:

  1. I look around this room and see calling.
  2. I see God bringing the ingredients from all over the US.
  3. I see God preparing to bake a cake like we’ve never imagined.
  4. There’s a divine puzzle God is putting together and it’s beautiful.
  5. The Calling is here.
  6. Now seek the empowerment.
  7. The God who empowered the artisans of Exodus is the same God who is empowering us.
  8. We must seek Spirit empowerment.
  9. If you lack wisdom, ask for it.
  10. If you lack knowledge, learn and receive it.
  11. Whatever it is God is calling us to do as individuals and as a Church, it will require ALL of us to be Spirit empowered.

 

 

 

[1] Ryken, Philip Graham, and R. Kent Hughes. 2005. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 

Message 2:48 Bringing God Glory Calling