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Now That Jesus Is Risen April 18, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in Confession, Covenant, Discipleship, Exodus, First Peter, Holiness, Leviticus, Sanctification.
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NOW THAT JESUS IS RISEN
Exodus 19:1-8

I want to address an important question. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Now that he is risen, what now? The answer is found in Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Salvation we understand. We are saved from sin, death, hell, and the devil. What, however, does it mean to believe unto righteousness? This is one of the great themes of the Bible. We through faith in the resurrected Christ become a holy people, that is, we become saints.

A. To be a holy people means we must keep the covenant of the Lord (Exodus 19:3-6). The children of Israel are a good example of what we are talking about. God saved them from slavery in Egypt. God saved them from certain death by parting the Red Sea. God saved them from Pharaoh and his mighty army.

In verse 4 God says, “You have seen what I did to Pharaoh. You have seen that you are the apple of my eye. I have born you on eagle’s wings. All the world is mine but I have made a covenant with you. Keep that covenant.” Put another way, this is your reality, now obey me.

B. To be a holy people means we must honor the salvation of the Lord (Leviticus 11:44-47). These verses indicate how that we keep the covenant of the Lord. At the end of a chapter of rules concerning what is kosher to eat, God says that the reason for these rules is not because bacon is sinful and hamburger is not. It is also not necessarily because oysters are unhealthy and chicken is not. God tells us why he gave them such strict rules. He says that my works prove that I am different from all other gods so you must be different from all other peoples (verse 44-45).

Now we know that these rules don’t apply anymore. Jesus made that clear to Peter in a dream in Acts 10. Since bacon and jumbo shrimp are allowable to us to eat, how do we honor the salvation of the Lord? Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

The world for the most part does not live with this type of attitude. Billy Martin tells how that he and Mickey Mantle went hunting in Texas. Mantle had a friend, who had given them permission to hunt. When they arrived, Mantle went inside and Martin stayed in the car. The friend had a pet mule in the barn, that was going blind, and he didn’t have the heart to put the animal out of his misery; so he asked Mantle to shoot it for him. Mantle came back to the car pretending to be mad and said to Martin, that permission to hunt had been denied and that he was so mad he was going to shoot one of the friend’s mules. Martin said, “We can’t do that!” Mantle said, “Just watch me!” Mantle rushed to the barn and shot the mule. As he was leaving the barn, he heard two shots. He saw Martin with his gun. “What are you doing?” Mantle said. Martin, himself now truly angry, said, “We’ll show him! I just killed two of his cows.” That is the way of the world. Are you longsuffering as a citizen of God’s holy people or do you get even, as is done in the world?

C. To be a holy people means we must pledge our loyalty to the Lord (Leviticus 20:6-8). To be holy means more than being nice. It also means that our loyalty is pledged to the Lord. God uses strong language here. To depend on a medium or someone who communicates with the spirit world is unfaithfulness to God our husband.

Now most of us do not try to communicate with the spirit world, not because we don’t believe in its existence or in the possibility but rather we have understood that God has forbidden it. There is, however, another way in which we can show unfaithfulness to our groom, Jesus the Christ. It is found in James 4:1-4, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? …You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever there wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

D. To be a holy people means we will not follow the world (Leviticus 20:25-27). God says, “I have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (verse 26). He is not talking about isolation here. Israel was never isolated from the nations. In fact, Israel was intended to be a witness of God’s power to the nations. Rahab, Ruth, Namaan, the city of Nineveh, the Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius are all examples of how Israel as the nation of God drew individuals from within the nations to God. If we are not to isolate ourselves from the world, what does it mean not to follow the world?

First John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

E. To be a holy people means we will hope in the coming of the Lord (1 Peter 1:13-21). Peter is saying, because the world will not last and our salvation is eternal, you need to “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance… ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

To hope in the coming of the Lord implies being very careful in this world. Max Lucado tells about an Indian walking up a mountain when he met snake who wanted to be carried up the mountain. The Indian said, “No, you’ll bite me.” “No, I won’t,” said the snake, “I just need a little help.” The Indian picked up the snake and carried him to the top of the mountain. At the top the snake bit him. The Indian fell and the snake began to slither away. “You lied!” he gasped, “You said you wouldn’t bite me!” The snake stopped and looked back and said, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

F. To be a holy people means we proclaim the praises of the Lord to the world (1 Peter 2:8b-10). We have been delivered. We are now a holy people. Let’s proclaim his praises, let’s shout from the housetops that there is mercy to be found in Jesus Christ.

This is one of the reasons I believe in eternal security. How can I preach the mercy of God when I am not sure that His mercy is sufficient to forgive me not only of what I have done but also of anything I might do. There is a warning here though. Paul put it this way in Romans 11:20-22, “Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches (ethnic Israel), He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” If I say I am in the faith and I do not live accordingly, then, like Israel, I prove am not in faith and that I am doomed to destruction.”

Next Week’s Sermon: Does God Hate Some People?

The Feast of Unleavened Bread – How Best to Declare the Glorious Works of God October 12, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Exodus, Gospel, Religion, Sermons.
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THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD – HOW BEST TO DECLARE THE GLORIOUS WORKS OF GOD (Exodus 13:3-10)

A couple of weeks ago, we set out a vision that has as its purpose the declaration of the glorious works of God to this community. We have discussed some of the things that we can do and should do. I would like for us to once again remind ourselves of the need to declare the glorious works of God and then to show how that best can be done.

The glorious works of God are best declared regularly (verses 5-7, 9-10).

Regular remembrance underlines the importance of God’s works (verses 5-7).

A sermon on Passover from Exodus 12:12-37 September 7, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Exodus, Passover, Religion, Sermons.
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WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS SERVICE?

Exodus 12:12-37

During the next couple of months, we are looking at the various feasts of the Jews that are mentioned in Leviticus 23. We are not going to look at them in chronological order but we are going to begin with the first of the feasts of the Jews, Passover.

Now the first question we need to ask ourselves is actually the title of this sermon. This is the question that God expected that children might ask when observing future Passovers.

A couple of years ago, Steve Rutledge, a missionary to the Jews in New York City was with us and explained the various parts of the Passover Seder. Integrated into the Seder were the questions that the children are supposed to ask.

 

(Excerpt from the Seder that we observed a couple of years ago.)

Child: Why is this night different than all other nights? Why on all other nights do we eat bread with leaven, but on this night we eat only unleavened bread? Why on all other nights do we eat of all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat bitter herbs? Why on all other nights do we not dip herbs at all, but on this night we dip them twice? Why on all other nights do we eat in the normal way, but on this night we eat with special ceremony?

 

Later we are going to read the answers to these questions but I want us first of all to look at the Scriptures on which the answer is based. In doing this, I trust that you will better understand not only why the Jew celebrate Passover but also why we do many of the things which we do, including Communion.

It is a memorial, that is, it is intended to remind us of a great event, the 10th plague against the Egyptians and the resulting Exodus from Egypt of the Israelites (12:14; 13:9). There are two things that Exodus 12:27 tells us they are to remember.

God strikes those who oppose Him (12:27). Exodus records for us how that God smote Egypt. In Exodus 4:21-23 we find that when God called Moses, He made it plain that He was going to do more than just deliver His people from slavery. He had plans to humble the land of Egypt so that they might know that He is the true God. There are two things interesting about God’s dealings with Pharaoh.

First, it was never intended to bring them to faith but rather to realization of the greatness of God (14:4, 23-28).

Secondly, it was a complete judgment. When you read the Scriptures and see the occasions when God judges a people, they most often are significantly different from the natural disasters like hurricanes or diseases like AIDS. When God judges it is devastating. Not one blade of grass is left, not one stone is left standing on another, no one is able during the judgment of God to stand before Him.

God delivers with a mighty hand (12:17). God intended for Israel to remember that He delivered them, He snatched them from slavery and set them free. Look again at Exodus 13:9. God wanted them to learn His law, His direction, His instruction through the remembrance of the mighty work which He did in passing over them, separating them from the Egyptians, and delivering them from Egypt. We see this practiced in Psalm 78. Let us look at verses 1-8 and if you would please stay open to this psalm. In verses 4-5 we see again that the law is simply the expression of the mighty works of God. Now it is true that there are many more principles expressed in the law of Moses but those moral principles are worthless without the delivering power of God. Now what was this instruction in the power of God, this law, supposed to accomplish?

They were to develop a true knowledge of God (verse 6). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person thinks.

They were to develop a true hope in God (verse 7a). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person feels.

They were to develop a true obedience to God (verses 7b-8). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person does.

How then does this apply to us as Christians, we who are not Jews? Turn to Galatians 1:2-3, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…”

You see, when Christ died for our sins, He snatched us from this evil age that humankind finds itself in. Our sins enslave us, holding us captive to this evil world. Since the time of Adam and Eve, humankind has been captive, but Christ died to free us from our sins and to free us from this world. John Wesley described his own conversion this way, like a brand snatched from the burning. That is the deliverance that Christ has provided for all of us who have put our faith and trust in Him.

Have you trusted Christ? He came to deliver you and me from sin and this evil world but unless you are willing like the Israelites were to believe the message of God, you will be struck by God, smitten of God, rather than delivered by Him. What is the message of God. Galatians 1:6-7 calls it the gospel of Christ, the good news of Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:12-15 clarifies both what the message of Christ is and what the alternative is.

You can try to please God through your flesh and be smitten of God in eternity or you can trust Christ and be crucified to this world and become a new creature.

 

Conclusion: I would like for us to read responsively the answers to the questions that the child would ask.

Leader: We will now answer the four questions concerning Passover that you have asked.

People: Once we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord in His goodness and mercy brought us out of that land with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

Leader: Had God not rescued us from the hand of the destroyer, surely we and our children would still be enslaved, deprived of freedom and human dignity.

People: Once we worshipped idols and were enslaved by our sins, but God in His goodness and mercy forgave our transgressions and called us to be His people.

Leader: Therefore, tonight is different than other nights because we have gathered to remember who we are, what God has done for us, and to tell to our children the story of God’s grace and deliverance.

People: Praise be to God who is everywhere. Praise be to God who has brought us freedom and has delivered us from all that enslaves us!