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