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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Credo - The Ordinances

7. We believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances to be observed by the church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation.

The church is entrusted with the administration of two important ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Water baptism is a public identification with Christ as Savior and Lord for those who have come to believe in Him (Acts 2:38-41, 8:35-39, Colossians 1:11-12, Romans 6:1-5). It is an outward sign of an inward reality. The mode closest to the biblical example is immersion. The function of the Lord’s Supper is to regularly remind believers of Christ's sacrifice on their behalf and the New Covenant of which they are beneficiaries. This act proclaims Christ until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It should be preceded by careful self-examination and confession of sin (1 Corinthians 11:28). The Lord’s Supper is a very special reminder of the spiritual benefit of Christ's work, but it has no metaphysical connection with the real presence of Christ. And as any work, these two ordinances have no saving merit in themselves.

Part of an ongoing series about what I believe about basic biblical teachings. “Credo” is Latin for “I Believe.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Credo - Salvation

5. We believe that man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is therefore lost and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.

Articles 5 and 6 of the EFCA Doctrinal Statement clearly define the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the heart of the Gospel is the story of God’s love of humankind, our sinful rebellion against Him, Jesus Christ’s gracious self-sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin, and His call to respond in faith, receiving Him as Savior and Lord. This Gospel is that preached by the apostles and which every person in the world needs to hear for rescue from their sin (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Galatians 1:8). In a nutshell, this is the Gospel that I would share with any individual to direct them to Christ. What follows is a more detailed explanation.

Humankind
Man is both a frail and an amazing creature. We were created in the image of God, which is traditionally thought of as emotion, will, and intellect in a moral sphere (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 9:6, James 3:9). We are like God in these ways and many more (including creativity, conscience, relationality, etc.). Unlike another creature, we were created to have a personal fellowship with God.

Our Sin Problem
But man, in Adam, sinned (Romans 5:12-14). And since Adam, we have been born into and continue in rebellion against a holy God. No one is exempt (Romans 3:10b-11). This sinful rebellion introduces a separation between God and us which the Bible calls death (Romans 6:23). We are totally depraved which means that though we do not do everything we can to be bad, nothing we do is totally good or able in any way to restore that fellowship with God. This is humankind’s greatest problem.

6. We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit, and thus become children of God.

The Answer
In the Gospel is the answer to humankind’s greatest problem–the person and work of Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God became flesh–not just because we need an example (and we do)–but because we need a Savior (John 1:14, Luke 19:10, Mark 10:45). Jesus lived a sinless life and then died on the Cross as the sacrifice for the sin of the world (John 1:29). He paid the penalty for the great sin debt that we have accrued and will accrue in human history (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because He is God, His death could pay (atone for) so great a penalty, and because He is Man, He could take on the sin of the world. As a substitutionary sacrifice (like the Old Testament lamb), He took the wrathful punishment for sin necessitated by God's holy nature and satisfied (propitiated) God’s holy demands. This work of Christ is what theologians call the Atonement.

Proof
The great historical fact of Christ’s resurrection proves His claims of Deity and saviorhood. He predicted it (Matthew 16:21), and it marks God’s triumphant victory over the last enemy of death (1 Corinthians 15:1-58). The resurrection secures our salvation presently and for eternity (Romans 4:25, 8:11, 8:34, Philippians 3:10&21).

Means
The way to gain this great salvation is to believe in Jesus Christ (John 1:12). This sole condition means that one must place his faith in Christ alone. Saving faith is not merely intellectual assent to the facts concerning Christ’s death, but it also involves emotions and an act of the will to trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9-13). Saving faith includes repentance: turning from one’s sin and changing one’s mind about who Christ is (Acts 2:38). Salvation is by grace (the unmerited favor of God) alone through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Faith itself is not a work; it is only a channel for God’s work (and another gift from Him!). God does the real work in redemption (Romans 8:29-30). God imparts new eternal life (regenerates) and adopts those who believe into His family (2 Corinthians 5:17, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:3, John 1:12). Once a real part of that family, one’s salvation cannot be taken away. Loving fathers do not get rid of their children (Romans 8:35-39). In fact, God has committed Himself to bringing all His true children safely to glory (1 Peter 1:4-5, Hebrews 2:10, John 10:28-29).

Uniqueness
The way of salvation, outlined above, is unique and necessary for justification (being declared righteous in God's sight: Romans 3:28) and eternal life (spending eternity with God: John 3:16, John 17:3). The Scriptures teach that there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ. Christ must be the conscious focus of all saving faith (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). The clearest teaching of Scripture is that those who have never heard the Gospel are destined for hell (Romans 10:14-15).

Extent
In one sense, salvation is potentially provided for all people. Christ’s death was sufficient for all (1 Peter 3:18). There is no one who is outside of the offer of salvation (John 3:16, John 6:37) and we are called to take it to the world with no distinctions (Matthew 28:19-20, Galatians 3:28). However, because of the hardness of their hearts and the sovereign, inscrutable will of God, not all people receive Christ and His free gift of salvation. Therefore, it is not practically provided to (efficient for) all people. In that sense, it seems to me that Christ’s death was savingly particular and definite in its scope–limited in benefit to the elect (those chosen by God for salvation before the foundation of the world) (Ephesians 1:3-5, Romans 8:32-33, Ephesians 5:25).

Sanctification
The working out of our salvation in holy living is sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which God makes us holy and sets us apart for Him. Ultimately, it is God’s work–in which we actively participate (Philippians 2:12-13). It is helpful to think of sanctification as having three parts. Positional Sanctification involves the believer’s standing or position before God, based on the death of Christ (this occurs at our justification (when we were declared righteous before God because of the imputed righteousness of Christ) (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:21-26, Hebrews 10:10). Experiential Sanctification is the fluctuating experience of holiness that develops throughout the believer’s life after conversion (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 12:14). Ultimate Sanctification is the transformation of the believer into the likeness of Christ which will occur when we all see Him (also called glorification) (Ephesians 5:26-27, Isaiah 40:5, 1 John 3:2, 1 Corinthians 13:12).

Part of an ongoing series about what I believe about basic biblical teachings. “Credo” is Latin for “I Believe.”

Monday, August 29, 2005

Whence Matt?


In this ongoing series of posts, I’d like to write about major influences on me through the years. What people, schools, institutions, denominations, and other influences helped shaped me to be what I am? I won’t write about all of them (who could really come up with all of them, and who would really care?), but I do want to honor those that really helped to form me in significant ways.

("Whence" is an old English word that means, "From Where?")

This is a self-portrait in my favorite place in the world: Cook Forest State Park.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Matt's Messages - God's Son

“God’s Son”
Celebration Sunday
Outdoor Worship Celebration
August 28, 2005
Hebrews 1:1-3


“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (NIV)

Would you open your Bibles with me to the Book of Hebrews, chapter 1? Hebrews chapter 1. We don’t have Pew Bibles out here in what Blair Murray has been calling the “Tent of Meeting.” So, if you don’t have your own Bible, please look over someone else’s shoulder at Hebrews chapter 1.

Last week, we finished the book of Exodus and skimmed over six chapters. Today, we are going to just read three verses. Hebrews chapter 1, verses 1 through 3.

They are the introduction to the book and the introduction to the author’s first argument that Jesus is superior to the angels (that’s picked up in verse 4). We’re not going to get that far and get into his argument today.

We are only going to read the first three verses. Hebrews 1:1-3. Let’s read.

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Let’s pray together.

[prayer]

Today is Celebration Sunday 2005.

And we have a lot to celebrate!

God has been faithful to this church for 113 years. We are growing. We have exciting things happening in our ministries. We have new people coming to visit and to join us. We have a good reputation in the community. We are praying for a second ministry staff person and a possible church plant in Philipsburg.

We have a lot to celebrate.

The Ark Park has been used by countless kids over the last five years since we dedicated in to the Lord on August 27th in the year 2000.

Now, we look out at a brand-new paved parking lot and sports court. We need to pray that God would fill these new ministry tools with cars and athletes that need to be brought to a love-relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have a lot to celebrate.

And the most important thing that we need to celebrate on August 28, 2005 is the Person Who is the reason that we exist.

The most important thing for us to celebrate on Celebration Sunday is the Person Who not only gave us all these good gifts but is Himself the greatest gift of all.

The most important thing for us to celebrate on Celebration Sunday is the Person Who would be worthy of our celebration even if we had not even one of these blessings that we are celebrating today.

The most important thing for us to celebrate is the most important Person in the universe:

“God’s Son.”

God’s One and Only Son–the Lord Jesus Christ.

On Celebration Sunday 2005, we need to celebrate God’s Son.

And I as thought about what passage of Scripture to do this in, my mind ran right to Hebrews chapter 1 verses 1 through 3.

These verses are a celebration of God’s Son. In just three short verses, there is a powerful celebration of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. These verses draw you to and focus you up on Jesus.

Let’s get into them right now. If you want to take notes, there is a place to do that right inside the back cover of your bulletin. I have three things I want to point out to you about God’s Son.

#1. GOD’S SON IS GOD’S WORD. V.1 again.

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son...” Pause there.

There are two distinct era’s in God’s progressive revelation of Himself and His will.

There is (v.1) “in the past.” And there is (v.2), “In these last days.”

God speaks. Isn’t that good news?! God wouldn’t have to speak.

But God speaks. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways...”

What does He mean? Anyone?

God spoke in the Old Testament at many times and in many ways. What were some of the ways? [Burning bush, smoking fire pot, direct words, law, history, proverbs, prophets, etc.]

But there has been a change. All of that revelation, all of that speaking, has been completed and fulfilled and superceded by a superior, confirming, wonderful, complete and fresh and powerful new way of speaking. V.2

“...in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son...”

God’s Son is God’s Word.
Jesus is God speaking to us.

Application? Listen to Him.

Jesus is God speaking to us. We need to listen to Him.

When God wanted to tell us Who He is and what He wants and what He has planned for us, He did it by not just any means. He did it by speaking through His very own Son.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

“The Word” was God’s Son.

Listen to Him.

Are you listening to Jesus? Is the revelation of God through the Son (which is what the New Testament is, really) the primary basis for which you interpret your life?

We are all interpreting our lives, do you know that?

We are all interpreting what is going on all the time. We are always thinking. We are always making sense of things. We are always interpreting our world.

What role does the revelation of God through the Son of God play in your interpretation of your life?

Are you listening to Jesus?

He is God speaking to you.

God’s Son is God’s Word.

That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?

#2. GOD’S SON IS GOD’S HEIR. H-E-I-R. Not oxygen or atmosphere but inheritor. God’s Son is God’s Heir. V.2

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things...”

God’s Son is God’s Heir.

Heir of all things.

All things belong to Jesus. All things were made for Jesus. All things are moving towards Jesus.

God’s Son is God’s Heir.

Psalm 2. God says, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” And the King says, “I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

And the Lord Jesus fulfills that Psalm. He asked! And the Lord makes the nations His inheritance. The ends of the earth are His possession.

God’s Son is God’s Heir.

Application? Live for Him.

You belong to Him. Live for Him.

Do you think of yourself as belonging to someone?

Do you think of yourself as someone’s inheritance, someone’s possession?

You belong to God’s Son. Live for Him.

What a difference it would make if we consciously thought about our actions bringing honor or dishonor on our owner!

If we thought of ourselves as Christ’s possessions.

What do you have to do this week? What decisions do you need to make? What choices will you be facing? Some of them, you know, many you do not know.

Can you make a commitment right here and right now to live for the Heir of all things? For His glory. For His fame. For His pleasure. As His possession.

God’s Son is God’s Heir.

That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?

#3. GOD’S SON IS GOD’S TOOL.

I didn’t know what one word to use to sum up the next phrase. God’s Son is God’s Creational Tool. V.2 again.

“But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”

“Through whom he made the universe.”

God’s Son is God’s Creational Tool.

John chapter 1 again. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

God’s Son is God’s Tool for Creating.

I don’t know how that worked. I don’t know how it is that God’s Son was the means by which God created all things. But that’s what it says right here.

And it says in Colossians 1 as well.

“By [Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (1:16)

Do you remember my list for this verse when we went through Colossians?

Wind. That’s invisible. Wood? That’s visible.

Metal? Stars! Hot. Cold. Wet. Moist. Fire. Nuclear Fission. Atomic Particles. Brain Cells. Mountains. Weather. Blood Vessels. Continents. Snow. Mice. Microbes. Blue Whales. Tomatoes. Eggs. Galaxies. Moons. Meteors. Tidal Waves. Northern Lights. Dirt. Milk. The Big Dipper. Softness. Scratchiness. Lukewarmness. Humanity. Grasshoppers. Gender. Sexuality. Light Waves. E=MC2. Gorillas. Giraffes. Deserts. Palm Trees. Mexican Jumping Beans. Caves. Windstorms. Ponds. Fresh Air. Falling Leaves. Corn Cobs. The Milky Way. Combustion. Eyelashes. Uranium. The Smell of Skunks. The Color Purple. The very Fabric of Reality.

“Through whom he made the universe.”

God’s Son is God’s Tool for Creation.

And more than that (jump down to v.3), it says that God’s Son is, “sustaining all things by His powerful word.”

He is not just God’s tool for creating but God’s tool for sustaining all things!

Everything in the world would bust apart if it wasn’t for Jesus’ word!

One author (John MacArthur, Hebrews, pg.17) writes this, “Consider what instant destruction would happen if the earth’s rotation slowed down just a little. The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If it were any closer to us we would burn up; if it were any farther away we would freeze. Our globe is tilted on an exact angle of 23 degrees, providing us with four seasons. If it were not so tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice. If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth the ocean tides would inundate the land completely, twice a day. After the first flooding, of course, the others would not matter as far as we would be concerned. If the ocean floors were merely a few feet deeper than they are, the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance of the earth’s atmosphere would be completely upset, and no animal or plant life could exist. If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now harmlessly burn up when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us. We would have to live underground or in meteor-proof buildings. How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance? Jesus Christ sustains and monitors all its movements and inter-workings. Christ, the preimenent Power, maintains it all.”

Wow!

God’s Son is God’s Tool for Creating and for Sustaining All Things.

Application: Marvel at Him!

The creation that we are enjoying outside today exists to raise our attention to the marvel of God’s Son’s Power!

You feel that breeze? You see those trees over there? You see that blue sky that was all dark and grey and rainy yesterday?

All of this was created and is sustained by Jesus Christ.

Marvel at Him!

God’s Son is God’s Tool for Creating and for Sustaining All Things.

That’s something to celebrate isn’t it?

#4. (We’re getting even more amazing here.) GOD’S SON IS GOD’S RADIANCE. V.3

“The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

God’s Son is God’s Radiance.

What does He mean?

He means that Jesus Christ shines God to us. He relates to God like the beams of the sun relate to the sun.

They are one with the sun. And they shine the sun to us.

He is the extension of the glory of God to us.

“The Son is the radiance of the God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”

Do you want to know what God is? Look at Jesus. He is the image of God. He is a xerox copy.

But better than that, He is the beam of the sun of God’s glory!

Wow!

Application? Worship Him.

Jesus is God!

Worship Him.

Jesus is God streaming down to us in radiance!

Worship Him!

As Long as I Have Breath I Will Praise You
As Long as My Heart Beats, I Will Sing
As Long as Life Flows Through My Veins, I Will Bless Your Name!


Worship Him.

God’s Son is God’s Radiance.

That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?

#5. GOD’S SON IS GOD’S SACRIFICE. V.3 again.

“The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

The phrase is in that last sentence, “After he had provided purification for sins.”

God’s Son acted as priest and made purification for the sins of His people.

Remember all that we learned about priests, last month, back in Exodus?

Jesus acted as a priest, presenting a sacrifice to atone for the sins of God’s people.

What was that sacrifice?

Bulls and goats? Sheep and lamb? Rams? Bread wave offering? No.

1 Peter 1:18, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Jesus, Lamb of God, Worthy Is Your Name
Jesus, Lamb of God, Worthy Is Your Name


God’s Son is God’s Sacrifice for Sins.

Application: Trust in Him.

You need to be purified from your sins. We all do.

We are all sinners deserving God’s wrath.

But Christ has made purification for our sins. With the most precious commodity in the universe–His own blood!

And for those who put their trust in Him, we can be purified.

That’s what was going on at the Cross.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)

If you trust Him.

You have to turn from your way of doing life.
You have to turn from trying to do it on your own.
You have to turn from trying to earn your way into God’s favor.

And you have to trust solely in Him and His perfect sacrifice, His finished work.

God’s Son is God’s Sacrifice making purification for those who trust in Him.

Have you done that?

Have you put your faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life?

If you have not, I invite you to do that today. Make that the greatest reason for us to celebrate Jesus on this Celebration Sunday by putting your trust in Jesus and His sacrifice for your purification.

I invite today, right where you are, to admit to God your need of cleansing and ask Him to cleanse you because of what Jesus has done on your behalf. Declare to Him your trust in His CrossWork and His sacrifice. And He will save you now.

God’s Son is God’s Sacrifice making purification for those who put their trust in Him.

Isn’t that a great reason to celebrate?

#6 (and last). GOD’S SON IS GOD’S CO-RULER. Last sentence of verse 3 again.

“After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

He sat down at God’s right hand!

That means two things. First, He was finished with His work. There was no more work that needed to be done. He sat. He was done. It was finished.

And second, it means that He is ruling beside the Father. Co-regent. Co-ruler. The place of honor in the whole of God’s Kingdom is God’s right-hand. And Jesus sits there in majesty and glory and honor as God’s co-ruler.

There is no question in the universe where Jesus is in relation to God. There is no estrangement over sin. There is no misunderstanding between them. No power-struggle. No problems between God the Father and God the Son.

They are perfectly in-sync and together. Jesus sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven.

God’s Son is God’s Co-Ruler.

Application: Thank Him.

Do you have to work for your salvation. No. Jesus sat down.
Do you have to earn your way to God? No. Jesus sat down.

It is finished. Thank Him.

Do you know what Jesus is doing there at the right hand of God?

He is praying. He is interceding for you.

Thank Him.

He is also ruling the universe in such a way that all things that happen will be for His glory and your good.

That’s something to celebrate!

Thank Him.

Thank God’s Co-Ruler.

Thank Jesus that He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high.

God’s Son is God’s Co-Ruler. Thank Him for it.

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son [God’s Word. Listen to Him.], whom he appointed heir of all things [God’s Heir. Live for Him.], and through whom he made the universe [God’s Tool. Marvel at Him!]. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being [God’s Radiance. Worship Him!], sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins [God’s Sacrifice. Trust in Him], he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven [God’s Co-Ruler. Thank Him].”

Thank Him. And sing, Great Is Thy Faithfulness unto me!

We're Not Twins...



...We just play them on TV.

Peter (2) and Isaac (1) playing in a sunlit corner. Posted by Picasa

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!



Last Saturday, I took Drew to his first ball-game. A bunch of men and boys from the church went to see the Altoona Curve pulverize the Reading Phillies. We had a blast. Posted by Picasa

Aw, Shucks!


Heather didn't have to shuck one ear of corn. They even threw out the husks in the woods. Isn't family-life grand? And the corn was sweet and good, too! Posted by Picasa

A Bird and a Fisch


Robin and Tom Fisch, a family friend. Posted by Picasa

To Blog Or Not to Blog #7

"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain."

- 1 Timothy 5:3-6

Credo - The Holy Spirit

4. We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for godly living and service.

Person and Deity of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. He is pictured in the Scriptures as possessing attributes of personality (ex. intellect/knowledge in 1 Corinthians 2:11, emotions in Ephesians 4:30). Pronouns used only for persons are used of Him (John 14:26, 15: 26, 16:13). He possesses the attributes of Deity (eg. omnipotence in Luke 1:35). He is equated with God in Acts 5:3-4. These and other teachings of the New Testament prove His personality and Deity (Matthew 28:19).

Ministry of the Holy Spirit
In everything, the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). Among unbelievers, He is convicting people of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11).

Once one becomes a believer in Christ, the Spirit is busy regenerating (giving one a new nature: Titus 3:5-6, 2 Corinthians 5:17), sealing (marking one as genuine and guaranteeing their arrival in glory: Ephesians 4:30), indwelling (permanently coming to live inside the believer: 1 Corinthians 6:19), baptizing (identifying the new believer as Christ’s and incorporating them into the body of Christ: Romans 6:4, 1 Corinthians 12:13), guiding and instructing (John 14:15-17), filling (bringing the believer under His controlling influence: Ephesians 5:18), empowering (2 Timothy 1:7-8) and gifting for edification (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-14:25, 1 Peter 4:10-11).

One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit in my life is sanctification. He is the Holy Spirit and desires to bring His holiness into my life. Over time, He is reshaping my character into the image of Christ. He does this by cultivating in me (by faith) the Christlike qualities of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). As this fruit grows in me by the Holy Spirit’s prompting and power, I am transformed into Christlikeness with ever-increasing glory (1 Corinthians 3:17-18).

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit guarantees that Christ’s Church has all of the resources it needs to function and to fulfill Christ’s commands. So that the ministry of the Church is supernaturally effective, the Holy Spirit sovereignly enables each member of the Church to function in an equally important role for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). These enablements are often called “spiritual gifts” (carismata, perhaps better translated “grace-gifts”).

The Spirit does not give everyone the same gifts (1 Corinthians 12:29-30) or the same strength of gifts (Romans 12:6, 1 Timothy 4:4, 1 Corinthians 14:18). He wisely chooses who gets what gift and for how long (1 Corinthians 12:11). Some gifts are more miraculous than others (eg. “miraculous powers” and “gifts of healings” vs. “teaching” and “serving”) though all are supernaturally empowered (1 Corinthians 12:11). The gifts are designed to work together as a “unit” on the analogy of a body with many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-31) and are to be exercised with love as the primary motivation and goal (1 Corinthians 13:1-14:1).

I believe that the Holy Spirit intends to give these gifts to the Church as He sees fit until Christ returns (1 Corinthians 13:8-13, 1 Corinthians 1:7). We are to “eagerly desire” them (1 Corinthians 14:1, 39), and church leaders are to oversee their practice in a “fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

In recent decades, there has been much controversy over a few of the more miraculous gifts such as tongues (prayer or praise spoken in syllables not understood by the speaker), prophecy (a report of what God has spontaneously brought to mind, including things which could not have been otherwise known), and healing. I believe that most of the excesses and abuses of the experience-based “Pentecostal” Movement can be avoided by simply following the strictures of 1 Corinthians. For example, tongues are not given to every believer (12:30), tongues are not the sign of “the Baptism of the Holy Spirit” (12:13), and tongues must be spoken one at a time and be interpreted in the public gathering of the church (14:26-28). In the public gathering of the church, prophecy should be limited to two or three; if a revelation is given to someone else, the first should stop for the second; all prophecies should be weighed and sifted carefully by the leadership (14:29-31); women should not weigh prophecies out loud (14:34-35); and all should be done in order (14:33, 40) with the primacy of love as the most excellent way (13:1).

Healings are a temporary and occasional foretaste of the blessings of the age to come and are not guaranteed (in this life) by the Atonement or by great faith (Matthew 4:23, 8:16-17, 10:7, Luke 7:20-23, Acts 4:30, Mark 6:4-6). The experience of sufferings and miraculous healings are both to be expected in this period of time between Christ’s comings. Because God is a loving Father who only gives His children good gifts (Matthew 7:11), He often uses the faith-filled prayers of His children to heal them (James 5:15-16). Moreover, James 5:14 teaches that if someone is sick, they should call the leadership of the church to pray over them in the name of the Lord. It seems likely to me that those with “gifts of healings” are those who experience frequent and more thorough success in prayer for healing (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28). Also, God often uses the skills and talents He has given the men and women in the medical profession to bring healing. Good medicine is a good gift from a great God. Though He doesn’t always heal His people, God always offers comfort, peace, and His presence in the face of suffering.

We should not seek signs from God to doubt God’s glory or make Him jump through hoops before we will trust and obey Him (Matthew 12:39), but with the apostles and early church, we should pray now for signs and wonders to bring God’s glory and advance the Gospel powerfully (Acts 4:29-31).

Part of an ongoing series about what I believe about basic biblical teachings. “Credo” is Latin for “I Believe.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Credo - The Lord Jesus Christ

3. We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Advocate.

The center of the Christian faith is not the Bible or even the doctrine of God. The center of our faith is the person of Jesus Christ. We love Him, believe in Him, rejoice in Him, and follow Him in our daily lives (1 Peter 1:8).

The Son of God eternally existed as the Word of God and took on the all the essential qualities of humankind to become the one and only God-Man whom the Scriptures name as Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18 (especially 1:14), John 8:56-58). He is undiminished Deity with true and lasting Humanity united together in one person for the rest of eternity. Everything that is true and essential in God and Man is true and resident in Jesus (John 1:1, Hebrews 2:14). He was born of a virgin named Mary, having been conceived by the power of the Most High (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:34-35). This is the unanimous declaration of the historic creeds of the Christian faith, the claim of Christ Himself, and the picture of Jesus in the Scriptures (John 14:9, 20:28, Titus 2:13).

This glorious God-Man died a sacrificial death on a cruel instrument of torture (2 Corinthians 5:21, Luke 23:46). This gracious God-Man physically and supernaturally came back to life to the vindication of His glory (Luke 24:6, 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, Philippians 2:9-11)! After a short time on Earth giving proof of His resurrection and final instructions for His followers, Jesus ascended into heaven where he now intercedes for believers as High Priest and Advocate (Acts 1:9, Hebrews 5:5,10, 6:20, 7:26, 8:1, 1 John 2:1). Not only did He die for me, but He prays for and pleads for me even now.

Part of an ongoing series about what I believe about basic biblical teachings. “Credo” is Latin for “I Believe.”

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Credo - The Triune God

2. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The object of our existence is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Westminister Larger Catechism, Question #1). For all eternity, believers will grow in our knowledge and enjoyment of His glory. This knowledge and enjoyment begins with an understanding of His nature and attributes.

God is subject to no limitation and is without fault in every way according to His nature. He alone is complete and totally non-dependent. His perfection is the basis and standard for all other perfection (Acts 17:25, Deuteronomy 32:4, Job 36:4, 37:16, Matthew 5:48).

God is singular. We do not worship three gods (Deuteronomy 6:4, 4:35, 1 Kings 8:60). However, the Hebrew word for “one” in Deuteronomy 6:4 can indicate a composite unity (see the same word in Genesis 2:24 of husband and wife). Though God is one in essence, He has revealed Himself in three eternally existing persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three members of the Godhead each have all the attributes of Deity but different personalities (emotion, intellect, and will). They are all three equal and fully God but have different roles (Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, 1 Peter 1:2, Jude 1:20-21, 1 Corinthians 11:3). This understanding of God’s being is called the Trinity (one God, three persons) and should be understood as distinct from modalism (one God, one person, three “faces” or “modes”), Arianism (one God, one person, the Son not God, the Spirit not a “distinct” person), and tritheism (three separate Gods). The Trinity is a great mystery, difficult to explain (as human analogies all fail at some point). But the glorious fact of the participation of each member of the Trinity in achieving our salvation should cause us each to worship in awe of our great, majestic, and unfathomable God (1 Peter 1:2, Ephesians 1:3-14, 2 Corinthians 13:14)!

Attributes are the essential, distinguishing characteristics of a person. God's attributes include but are not limited to spirituality (John 4:24), self-existence (Exodus 3:14, John 5:26), immutability (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17), immortality (1 Timothy 6:16), unity (Deuteronomy 6:4), incomprehensibility (Isaiah 55:8-9), truthfulness (Psalm 31:5), holiness (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8), eternality (Psalm 90:2), omnipresence (Psalm 139), omniscience (Psalm 147:4), omnipotence (Genesis 18:14, Matthew 19:26), mercifulness (I Peter 1:3), gracefulness (Ephesians 2:8), and righteousness (Genesis 18:25). Love is a key attribute of God which I want to emphasize in my ministry (1 John 4:8). Love should characterize my philosophy and approach to ministry as it did our Lord’s (John 13:34-35).

God’s willful choice brought the world and humankind into existence (Genesis 1:1-27). The Bible teaches that this occurred during a period of six days. Because of this act, God is named Creator and we, as His creatures, should live our lives in glad, perfect obedience to Him (Colossians 1:16).

Part of an ongoing series about what I believe about basic biblical teachings. “Credo” is Latin for “I Believe.”

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Matt's Messages - Exiting Exodus

“Exiting Exodus”
August 21, 2005
Exodus 35:1-40:38


I invite you to turn in your Bibles with me to the Book of Exodus, chapter 35. The Book of Exodus, chapter 35. You can find Exodus 35 beginning on Pew Bible Page #89.

The title of today’s message is: “Exiting Exodus.”

And that’s because we are done. We are on our “way out” of this book. Today’s sermon is the 26th message this year on the book of Exodus, and we are going to finish the book this morning. Exiting Exodus.

And as we exit Exodus, I think it’s important for us to draw some big-picture observations about what the book of Exodus says about the Main Character of the book of Exodus.

By the way, who is the main character of the book of Exodus?

Is it Moses the great mediator between God and Israel?
Is it Aaron the “great” high priest?
Is it Pharaoh the evil ruler of Egypt?
Is it the people of Israel, so wise and powerful?

You know that it is not. The main character of the book of Exodus is YHWH, the LORD–the God of Exodus.

And as we exit Exodus, I want to point out 4 things about the person of God that Exodus has revealed to us these last 8 months.

Let’s pray and then I’ll tell you number one.

[prayer]

#1. THE GOD OF EXODUS IS A MIGHTY, MIGHTY SAVIOR!

When we think back over the last 34 chapters, what stands out for you? What are the “defining moments” of the book of Exodus?

Well, it all begins with the bleak story of Israel’s oppression in Egypt. They are in slavery to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh is concerned about their growth as a people. So, he decides to exterminate the Jews by killing their baby sons!

But a rescuer is rescued!

Moses is saved from death and brought up in (ironically) Pharaoh’s own household.

And then the rescuer is rescued again!

Moses flees to Midian where he is in training in desert life.

And then the rescuer is raised up at the Burning Bush to go back and say to Pharaoh, “the LORD says, ‘Let my people go so that they can worship me.’”

And Pharaoh said? No!

And God said, “Oh yes, I will.”

Pharaoh said, “I don’t know YHWH.”

And God said, “You will when I am done!”

And the Rescuer (capital R), rolls up His sleeves and saves His people from Egypt.
With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm!

10 Creational Warfare Plagues.

Water to Blood in the Nile and Throughout the Land.
Frogs from the Nile, Covering Everything.
Gnats Everywhere.
Flies Ruining the Land.
Pestilence on the Livestock
Boils on Everyone
Hail Bombing That Decimated Egypt.
A Locust Swarm That Took Everything That Was Left.
Darkness That You Could Feel.
And the 10th Plague: The Death of the Firstborn. But Israel was Passed-Over.

The God of Exodus is a Mighty, Mighty Savior!

And then Pharaoh said, “Please go! Please go!”

And Israel left Egypt laden with sliver and gold and plunder without fighting even one battle for themselves.

But then Pharaoh changed his mind. And he chased Israel and pinned them to the Red Sea.

And then what happened?

Red Sea Rescue!

The waters parted and the people crossed over on dry ground! Then a divine tsunami wiped out Pharaoh and his entire army. And Israel celebrated with the Song of Moses and Miriam on the other side: YHWH is a warrior! YHWH is His name! The horse and its rider, He has cast into the sea!

The God of Exodus is a Mighty, Mighty Savior!

And then it looked bleak again! Bitter water, no water, no food, attacks from the Amalekites. Will they make it to Sinai?

The God of Exodus is a Mighty, Mighty Savior!

Sweet water, manna and quail, water from the rock, and victory over the Amalekites.

God brings them all the way to Himself at Mount Sinai.

The God of Exodus is a Mighty, Mighty Savior!

And that’s why He begins the 10 Commandments like this, “I am YHWH your God who brought you out of the Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

And He lays down the law. And He gives His people a covenant. And He promises to be their God. And He provides blueprints a tabernacle–a home among His people. And He provides instructions on establishing a priesthood–a way of connecting Israel with God and covering over their sin with sacrifices.

The God of Exodus is a Mighty, Mighty Savior!

And then, they sinned with a great sin! They chose to worship a golden calf instead of YHWH and broke their covenant with Him.

But because of the mediator He had supplied and because He is a “YHWH, YHWH the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin” He graciously forgave them and renewed the covenant.

And here we are standing with Israel at the base of Mount Sinai and we have to agree:

The God of Exodus is a Mighty, Mighty Savior!

And He still is today. Amen?

One of the key reasons that God saved Israel in this mighty, mighty way was to give us a pattern, a picture, a key to understanding what Jesus did on the Cross.

Jesus is the New Moses who leads His people out of bondage to sin and self and Satan.

Jesus is the Rescuer of Rescuers!

He is a mighty, mighty Savior! And He deserves our faith.

If you are not yet a Christian this morning, I invite you right now to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He is the embodiment of the saving power of the God of Exodus.

He is a mighty, mighty Savior and He can rescue you from yourself, your sin, and Satan’s grip today.

Put yourself in His hands. And see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today (Ex 14:13).

If you are already a Christian, rejoice and sing every day to the One who rescued you from yourself, your sin, and Satan.

He is a mighty, mighty Savior and greatly to be praised!

Last week, Moses came down from the mountain, and his face was glowing. He had seen the aftereffects of the glory of God and been changed by it.

Now, we get to chapter 35. God has renewed the covenant. And it’s time to actually put it into effect.

That’s why chapter 35 begins with the sign of the covenant–the Sabbath. V.1

“Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, ‘These are the things the LORD has commanded you to do: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.’”

The covenant is now in effect. The sign of the covenant stands. No work on the Sabbath. God works for us. We trust in Him.

And now, we gather the resources to build the tabernacle. V.4

“Moses said to the whole Israelite community, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded: the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; the ark with its poles and the atonement cover and the curtain that shields it; the table with its poles and all its articles and the bread of the Presence; the lampstand that is for light with its accessories, lamps and oil for the light; the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the curtain for the doorway at the entrance to the tabernacle; the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the bronze basin with its stand; the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; the tent pegs for the tabernacle and for the courtyard, and their ropes; the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuary–both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests.”

What’s all that? It’s time to actually build the tabernacle and establish the priesthood.

Everything that we read about back in Exodus 25 through 31 is now going to be actually collected and built. [Slap up overhead.]

I’m not going to explain all of it again or read all of the next few chapters. They are almost word for word a repetition of Exodus 25 through 31 in a little bit of a different order with a few extra details thrown in. If you want to know what it all means, ask me, and I’ll explain things to you or you could go back and read or listen to the messages I gave in July on the blueprints.

But just because I’m not reading all of these repeated verses doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

In fact, because they are repeated, it shows just how important they are!

Why are they repeated? Why is that important?

Because the God of Exodus is a mighty, mighty Savior!

This is a second chance. This is what was supposed to have been done in Exodus chapter 32 when they were having their golden-calf party.

They should be toast strewn about around the base of the mountain.

But God has been gracious. And they are now doing what they should have done already.

And they do it up right this time! V.20

“Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses' presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD. Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or hides of sea cows brought them. Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the LORD, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun–blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do. Then Moses said to the Israelites, ‘See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts–to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others [The best of the of the best!.] He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers–all of them master craftsmen and designers. [Chapter 36] So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.’ Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work and said to Moses, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.’ Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” Stop there.

Stop giving! That’s enough! That’s a great problem to have, isn’t it?

The people gave of themselves in thanksgiving for the mighty, mighty rescue that they had received.

And they showed the second thing about the God of Exodus:

#2. THE GOD OF EXODUS IS A WORTHY, WORTHY TREASURE.

Israel understood at this point in their story that God was worth this kind of sacrificial giving. He is the pearl of great price. Sell everything to get Him.

The God of Exodus Is a Worthy, Worthy Treasure.

The furnishings for the Tabernacle remind us of God’s worth, His value, His desirability. In chapter 38, there is a count of all of the materials that it took to build the tabernacle.

There is over one ton of gold in the tabernacle and its furnishings.
Two and half tons of bronze.
Four tons of silver to make the thing!

Is God worth that? And so much more!

The God of Exodus Is a Worthy, Worthy Treasure.

He, in and of Himself, is so precious!

We need to worship Him.

My Sunday School Class has been studying the book, Don’t Waste Your Life!

It is a waste of your life to give your life for a lesser cause or person that the Lord.

But it is not a waste of your life to give your life or even give up your life for the Lord Jesus. Because He is a worthy, worthy treasure.

Later this year, I hope to have a movie-night here at church where we watch a DVD of the life of the “Auca Five” Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and their friends.

They were five missionaries who were killed by the Waorani tribe in Equador in the 1960's.

Jim Elliot is famous for saying, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”


The Lord Jesus is worthy of giving up everything to gain Him.

What are you worshiping? What compels you to give like Israel did?

The God of Exodus–revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ–is a worthy, worthy treasure.

#3. THE GOD OF EXODUS IS A HOLY, HOLY, HOLY GOD.

We’ve seen that again and again in the book of Exodus, haven’t we?

And it’s very clear in the structure of the Tabernacle. [overhead up again]

In chapter 36, they begin to actually build it. Verses 8 through 38 talk about making the tent with the curtains and the frames and the crossbars, and everything. It’s just like God said to Moses in the blueprints. And it highlights the holiness of God.

In chapter 37, Bezalel makes the ark of the covenant (verses 1-9), the Table of the Presence (verses 10-16), the Lampstand (verses 17-24), the Altar of Incense (verses 25-29). In chapter 38, they make the Altar of Burnt Offering (the Bronze Altar, verses 1-7), the Basin for Washing (verse 8), and the courtyard and the outer curtains and entrance (verses 9-20). And verses 21-31 say how much it all cost.

I would read these all of these verses to you if I had time, and I would point out again and again how this structure communicates the holiness of God.

No one enters the courtyard without a sacrifice. You are presented with an altar of burn offerings right at the door. Come no further unless you are atoned for. Then you must wash. You must be cleansed.

And no one enters the actual Tent unless they are a priest. And no one enters the Most Holy Place (a perfect cube) except the High Priest and him only once a year with blood and incense to put on the Atonement Cover under the Cherubim.

And the materials used as you get closer and closer to the Most Holy Place are more and more precious–signifying more and more holiness.

And no priest enters into the Holy Place or Most Holy Place without the Garments that communicate His Holiness and Israel’s representation before Him.

Chapter 39 says that they made all of those pieces of clothing for Aaron and his sons.

The ephod, the waistband, the onyx stones, the breastpiece with its 12 stones, the pomegranates and bells, the tunics, the sash, the turban (verses 1-29).

And in chapter 39, verse 30, “They made the plate, the sacred diadem, out of pure gold and engraved on it, like an inscription on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. Then they fastened a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban, as the LORD commanded Moses. So all the work on the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses.”

“Holy to the LORD” because the LORD is holy, holy, holy.

The God of Exodus is a holy, holy, holy God.

What do we do about that?

Again, we tremble in joy that we are saved from His holy wrath.

And we work by faith at trying to be holy ourselves.

We do that by trusting obedience.

If I had time to read chapter 39 to you, I would point out the refrain (seven times!) in verses 1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, and 32.

“As the LORD commanded Moses.”

That’s obedience. Doing what the Lord commands as He commands it.

We can get awfully slack with our obedience.

We obey the commands of God that we feel like obeying.

But that is actually disobedience. And a holy, holy, holy God deserves our complete obedience–not half-way.

“As the LORD commanded Moses.”

The God of Exodus is a holy, holy, holy God.

And it’s time for the inspection. The construction is done it’s time to see the inspector. V.33

“Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses: the tent and all its furnishings, its clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; the covering of ram skins dyed red, the covering of hides of sea cows and the shielding curtain; the ark of the Testimony with its poles and the atonement cover; the table with all its articles and the bread of the Presence; the pure gold lampstand with its row of lamps and all its accessories, and the oil for the light; the gold altar, the anointing oil, the fragrant incense, and the curtain for the entrance to the tent; the bronze altar with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the basin with its stand; the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; the ropes and tent pegs for the courtyard; all the furnishings for the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting; and the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuary, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when serving as priests. The Israelites had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded. So Moses blessed them.”

Do you want that kind of blessing?

I would love to have said of me, I did just as the LORD had commanded.

Is there something in your life right now where you are dodging obedience?

“Just as the LORD had commanded.”

Do you pass inspection?

The tabernacle did. Now it’s time to put it together. Chapter 40. Exiting Exodus. Verse 1.

“Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘Set up the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the first month. [One year since the Exodus from Egypt.] Place the ark of the Testimony in it and shield the ark with the curtain. Bring in the table and set out what belongs on it. Then bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. [Put it together. Something big’s going to happen!] Place the gold altar of incense in front of the ark of the Testimony and put the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. Place the altar of burnt offering in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting; place the basin between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it. Set up the courtyard around it and put the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. Then anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar, and it will be most holy. Anoint the basin and its stand and consecrate them. Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest. Bring his sons and dress them in tunics. Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue for all generations to come. Moses did everything just as the LORD commanded him.”

What is going to happen? Do you know? Can you feel it? V.17

“So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year. When Moses set up the tabernacle, he put the bases in place, erected the frames, inserted the crossbars and set up the posts. Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering over the tent, as the LORD commanded him. He took the Testimony and placed it in the ark, attached the poles to the ark and put the atonement cover over it. Then he brought the ark into the tabernacle and hung the shielding curtain and shielded the ark of the Testimony, as the LORD commanded him. Moses placed the table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of the tabernacle outside the curtain and set out the bread on it before the LORD, as the LORD commanded him. He placed the lampstand in the Tent of Meeting opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle and set up the lamps before the LORD, as the LORD commanded him. Moses placed the gold altar in the Tent of Meeting in front of the curtain and burned fragrant incense on it, as the LORD commanded him. Then he put up the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. He set the altar of burnt offering near the entrance to the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, and offered on it burnt offerings and grain offerings, as the LORD commanded him. He placed the basin between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing, and Moses and Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and feet. They washed whenever they entered the Tent of Meeting or approached the altar, as the LORD commanded Moses. Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.”

What’s going to happen? God is going to move in.

“Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. [How glorious? How holy?] Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out–until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.”
And we exit Exodus.

They enter into their travels.

God has come to take up residence in the midst of His people!

#4. THE GOD OF EXODUS IS A GLORIOUS, PRESENT, RIGHT-HERE LORD!

God has come to live with His people.

He’s home. It’s a tent. It’s temporary. It’s temporary for everyone. But it’s real.

God is in relationship with His people. He is there in the midst of them.

The glory of God is so amazing! So wonderful and full that Moses can’t enter the tent himself!

And it’s here! Right here. Right among God’s rebellious, stiff-necked people.

God is home with His people.

Absolutely holy, holy, holy. And at the same time near, near, near!

The God of Exodus Is a Glorious, Present, Right-here Lord!

And He still is today.

But even more so. Because of Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t a cloud.

He is flesh and blood like you and me.

And John 1:14 says that He came to tabernacle among us.

And we have seen His glory–the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of Grace and Truth.

And He has given us His Holy Spirit.

So that we are now the Tabernacle of God!

He has taken up residence within each of us who believe!

Isn’t that the most amazing truth?

The mighty, mighty savior God,
The worthy, worthy treasure God,
The holy, holy, holy God,
Has made a home within you and me.

The God of Exodus Is a Glorious, Present, Right-Here Lord!

And wherever we go as we exit Exodus, He goes, too!

May the Lord give us grace to follow Him.

Credo - The Scriptures


1. We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of his will for the salvation of men, and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life.

The basis for understanding the whole of doctrine and theology is the Word of God. God has chosen the Scriptures as the chief means to reveal Himself and His purposes to humankind (Psalm 19:7-14, 2 Timothy 3:15-17). No other writing or person (save Jesus Christ Himself or the Holy Spirit) have the same authority or inspiration as the Scriptures. When other sources (books, churches, leaders, etc.) contradict the teaching of the Bible, the standard of Scripture should always be followed (1 John 4:1-6, Psalm 119, 2 Peter 3:1-2).

The very words of Scripture are inspired. Inspiration means "God’s superintending human authors, so that using their own individual personalities, they recorded and composed without error His revelation to man in the words of the original manuscripts" (Charles Ryrie’s popular definition). Inspiration extends down to the very words of Scripture (in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) because words are what carry the meaning of any idea (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21, Galatians 3:16).

The Scriptures, as originally recorded, are inerrant. That is, they teach no error of any kind, whether doctrinal, ethical, historical, scientific, or other. All of the things they intend to teach are in perfect harmony with reality (John 17:17). The Scriptures, however, may accurately record a lie, have phenomenological language, or display a variety of styles in reporting events or quoting sources and still remain inerrant.

The utter trustworthiness of the Scriptures is foundational for effective ministry. Because the Bible can be trusted upon in all of the Christian life, its systematic teaching and application should become the center of our ministry. While not to be venerated as God, the Scriptures should be studied, read, preached, interpreted, proclaimed, and distributed widely (2 Timothy 4:2). Every ministry of the church should be measured against the contents of these 66 books (Matthew 7:24-27, John 5:39-40). Just as the early church fathers and councils recognized the divine authority of the canon, so we today must recognize the Bible’s claim upon our lives. "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8, Matthew 24:35, Hebrews 4:12-13).

Credo(s)


In this new and ongoing series, I am going to be posting some of my beliefs ("credo" is a Latin word that means "I Believe") on biblical doctrines of the Christian church. Hopefully, there is nothing original here, just a restatement in my own words of what the Bible teaches on important subjects (though not everyone will agree with my interpretation). These posts are taken, in large part, from my explanation of the EFCA Statement of Faith from my ordination paper (presented first in October 2001).

Theology matters. I hope these credos remind us of what really matters: our holy, trinune, gracious, sovereign, redeeming, glorious God. May our theology lead to doxology. To Him be praise!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

To Blog Or Not to Blog #6

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

- Ephesians 4:29

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Matt's Messages - The Renewed Covenant

“The Renewed Covenant”
August 14, 2005
Exodus 33:1-34:35


Last week, in Exodus chapter 32, we read about a terrible day in the history of God’s people: Israel broke her covenant with the LORD.

While Moses was on top of Mount Sinai receiving the blueprints for the tabernacle and the instructions for establishing the Aaronic Priesthood, Aaron and the people of Israel were at the bottom of the mountain constructing and worshiping and partying around a golden-calf-idol.

Israel broke her covenant with the LORD.

And the LORD saw it. His wrath was kindled, and He got angry at the people and threatened to wipe them all out and start again with Moses.

But Moses, acting as mediator, interceded for Israel. And the LORD relented! He did not wipe them out as He had threatened. Israel was hit with a plague, but they were not destroyed.

However, the status of the covenant (where we left off last week) is still unclear.

It is still unclear whether or not the LORD is “in covenant” with Israel as they had established in Exodus chapters 19-24.

The covenant still seems broken. Israel has forsaken the LORD with a great sin. Will the LORD forgive? Will the LORD have mercy and compassion on Israel? Or will they be left to their own devices (an awful prospect!)?

Will the covenant be renewed?

At the beginning of Exodus chapter 33, it sure doesn’t look like it.

We’re going to read 2 chapters this morning (Exodus 33 and Exodus 34), and as we go along we’re not only going to read about the renewal (or not) of the covenant, but we’re going to read about the glory of God. And that glory of God will provide us with three points of application this morning.

Let’s pray and then start in on Exodus chapter 33.

[prayer]

Exodus chapter 33. The LORD speaks to Moses. And He has some really bad news. V.1

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your descendants.' [That doesn’t sound bad. Sounds like Genesis!] I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. [All right!] Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But [!] I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.’ [That’s bad news!] When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. [Good thing. Their ornaments have been getting them into trouble!] For the LORD had said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.'’ So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.” Pause there.

The status of the Mosaic covenant is in jeopardy.

God is promising (in some way) to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant and send whatever portion of Israel that survives into the Promised Land. But He is not promising to go with them.

That’s a tragedy in the making.

Even with an angel going before them, Israel will be finished if they try to go into Canaan without the presence of YHWH.

And so the people mourn. They strip off their ornaments and cry and grieve at the base of the mountain. All seems lost.

There is only one glimmer of hope. And it’s in the intercession of Moses. V.7

“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. [The key word there is “outside.” The LORD is not in their midst. His “connection” with them is outside the camp in this “tent of meeting.” Is this the tabernacle? No. It has not yet been built. Is it going to be built? We’re not sure yet! This may be their only chance. V.8] And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. [Will YHWH come?] As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. [Yes! God is here. God has not forsaken us. Perhaps He will spare us. Perhaps He will renew our covenant! V.11] The LORD would speak to Moses face to face [that means intimately], as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. [Perhaps to guard it.]”

And at one such meeting, Moses interceded for Israel. V.12

“Moses said to the LORD, ‘You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me [I think he means, “Will there be any people left in Israel?”]. You have said, 'I know you [Moses] by name and you have found favor with me.' [I know that I am in your good graces and can expect to carry the promise into Canaan, but will there be any Israel left by the time we get there? V.13] If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.’ The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you [Moses?], and I will give you rest.’ [“Yes, Yes,” Moses says, “But we all need you to go with us. Please renew your covenant. V.15] Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us [all of us], do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’”

Moses is interceding for Israel. He is crying out to YHWH to have mercy on them as a whole. And to renew the covenant. And the LORD says, “Yes.” V.17

“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’”

God is saying, “Because of our relationship, Moses, I will go with Israel into the Promised Land. Because I know you and you have faith and I am pleased with you and know you by name, I will go with Israel into the Promised Land.”

And then, Moses asks for something absolutely amazing. V.18

“Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’”

In many ways, Moses is saying, “I want some further knowledge that this is your plan. I am requesting this (“in writing,” so to speak). And I want to see your glory.”

Every time the LORD has done something major in the book of Exodus, He has shown up in His glory. The Burning Bush, the Red Sea Rescue, the Storm on the Mountain, the glimpse of His footstool at the Ratification of the Covenant.

Moses asks for something like that again.

Show me your glory!

I want to see your glory.

I need a reassurance of your good plans for our people. And I want to go further in knowing you than I ever have. I want to see your glory.

Show me your glory!

What a request! I think there is a mingling here of unbelief and stunning faith.

Part of me thinks that Moses should have just taken God at His word. But there is also a part of this that is stunningly good. He should want to see God’s glory.

We all should.

Point #1. SEEK GOD’S GLORY.

What is God’s glory?

God’s glory is the beauty of the radiance of the sum of his perfections.

It is the beauty of God’s “godness.” It is the shining forth of His holiness.

It is the sum-total of all of His excellencies in all its beauty.

And Moses wanted to see it. He wanted to taste it. He wanted to experience, to know, to see the glory of God.

He was seeking the glory of God.

It’s like his prayer in v.13.

“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”

Show me your glory!

Is that your heart’s prayer?

Does your heart skip a beat when you hear those words?

Do you want to see God? Do you want to know Him?

“Show me your glory! I want to see you.”

To See You High and Lifted Up!
Shining in the Light of Your Glory (Open the Eyes of My Heart)

Show me your glory!

Seek God’s Glory.

Want God’s glory.

My favorite author is John Piper. And He has just finished a new book that has this provocative title, “God is the Gospel.”

So often we think that the gospel is that which keeps us out of Hell (and it is).

We think that the gospel is that which forgives us of our sins (and it is).

We think that the gospel is the good news of eternal life (and it is).

But all of that is secondary to the gospel being the good news that introduces us to God Himself!

God is the Gospel!

The reason we don’t want to go to Hell, ultimately, is that God is not present in Hell. (To bless.)

The reason we need our sins forgiven is that they would keep us from God.

The reason we would want eternal life is because eternal life is knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent!

God is the Gospel.

And if we really believe the gospel, then we will want to see God.

We will want His glory. Want to see His glory.

Seek God’s Glory.

That’s what Moses does. ... Does God do it? V.19

“And the LORD said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you (that’s what His glory is!), and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence (that’s what His glory is!–His name!). I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’ [God reserves the sovereign right to choose, on His terms from His own being and wisdom, whom to show compassion and mercy to. That’s part of His glory, too! V.20] ‘But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’ [What’s going on here?] Then the LORD said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.’”

Here we go again with the mystery of God’s glory being seen. God uses words like “hand” and “back” and “face” to communicate things that are impossible for us to understand. God doesn’t have a literal hand, face, and back (except in the incarnation of Jesus) but He uses words like this to give us a taste of what He is like so that we have some categories, at least, to talk about Him with.

Moses has seeked to see God’s glory.

Moses is going to get a taste of the glory of God.

Just a taste!

Anything more would kill him.

Glory of God is going to pass by Moses while he’s in the cleft of a rock (a tight little hole or crack in the wall) hidden by God’s hand. And then God will (whatever this means!) take away His hand so that Moses will get a glimpse of the after-effects (that “back” whatever that means!) of the goodness of God as He passes by.

What an amazing thing!

Anything more would kill him. And He’s the person on Earth who is closest to God.

This kind of language always shows up when God shows up in His glory. There is just no real way to describe it!

God is indescribably glorious! Anything more than a glimpse would be deadly.

And you know what else He’s doing? He’s renewing the covenant. This is the covenant “take 2.” Chapter 34, verse 1.

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Chisel out 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 ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.’”

Is this deja vu for you? Where have we heard something like this before?

Exodus chapter 19, right?

This is the making of the covenant all over again. The covenant is being renewed on the strength of God’s glory. V.4

“So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’”

This is God’s glory.

And He is making it known.

Point #2. KNOW GOD’S GLORY.

Don’t just seek it. Know it.

He has revealed it right here. This is what God is like.

God’s glory is not just an amazing, beautiful, shining radiance.

It is the glory of His perfections.

Perfect in Power, You Control All Things
Perfect in Wisdom, You Know Everything
Perfect in Goodness, Jesus, You’re So Good To Me, So Good To Me

(Sovereign One)

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger [a slow fuse], abounding in love and faithfulness [just abounding, pouring out everywhere!], maintaining love to thousands [of generations], and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin [forgiving!]. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished [He’s holy! Where there is no genunine repentance]; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation [of those who hate Him].”

That’s God’s glory! Do you know God like this?

The whole rest of the Old Testament is founded upon this description of the character of God.

Does anyone know where these words show up again in the Bible?

Numbers 14:18, 2 Chronicles 30:9, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 111:4, Psalm 112:4, Psalm 116:5, Psalm 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2, Nahum 1:3 (at least!)

This is Who God is.

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

Do you see the twin attributes of grace and holiness?

Compassion, grace, longsufferingness, love, faithfulness, forgiveness.
And yet, justice, punishment, unwavering commitment to what is right.

That’s God. That’s right!

That’s God’s glory. We should know it.

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness...”

Remember the Burning Bush? How God revealed this name to Moses and explained that it meant that He was going to rescue Israel from their bondage?

The LORD.

Here He repeats it for emphasis.

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness...”

You know what He is going to do, don’t you?

He’s going to renew the covenant!

Based on His grace, God is going to renew this covenant with His people.

Because that’s the kind of God He is.

He chooses whom He will show mercy and compassion to! He is not beholdened to anyone based on their own merit and goodness!

But He loves to forgive wickedness, rebellion, and sin.

Even sin with a golden-calf!

Do you know this God?
Do you know this glory?

This description of God’s character is not just the foundation for the whole rest of the Old Testament. It is the basis for the New Testament, as well.

It is a description of the Cross.

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. [That’s what happened when Jesus Christ died on the Cross for sinners like you and me.] Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

That’s what happened on the Cross, as well.

Jesus became sin for us. The “guilty” did not go unpunished!

He became the “guilty” for us!

Do you know this God? Moses did.

And He recognized what an glorious being He is. V.8

“Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. ‘O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes,’ he said, ‘then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.’ [As you have described yourself.]

“Then the LORD said: ‘I am making a covenant with you. [It’s really the same one renewed.] Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. [I am renewing the covenant.] Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. [You are to have a covenant with Me alone!] Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. [No more idols, Israel! This is what God’s glory is like. It is jealous. Know God’s glory. It is jealous for your affections.]”

“Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same. Do not make cast idols. [And don’t have festivals to them. Observe My festivals!] Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt. The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest. Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. [Sovereign One!] I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God. Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning. Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. ‘Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.’”

Does this stuff sound familiar?

God is renewing the covenant. It’s the same covenant. It’s still in force. God is going to go with them into the Promised Land.

The covenant is no longer a broken covenant. God has been gracious and compassionate to Israel! V.27

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.’ Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights [again] without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant–the Ten Commandments. [To go into the Ark of the Covenant as a symbol of the covenant God is renewing with His people.]

Know God’s Glory.

It is full of grace.

Today, you may be here thinking that you have totally blown it with God. There is no chance for you and God to get together again.

You feel too unworthy for God. Too sinful. Too out of the reach of His hand.

You are not. If you will repent, God can restore you.

He is Jealous, Yes! And He will not leave sin to go unchecked.

But He is “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

You are not too bad for God to restore.

Turn to Him.

Seek His Face.
And Know His Glory.

Now, here’s the question. It’s been another 40 days and 40 nights. What will Moses find at the bottom of the mountain this time?

Will they be having another party?

Will they disregard Moses again? V.29

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai.”

And in the next five chapters, they began to carry them out.

The covenant is renewed.

And God is glorified.

Moses came down with dose of God’s glory still on His face!

Enough to scare the heebie-jeebies out of Aaron and the Israelites!

But then, He talked to them. And they could see that it was Moses. And they listened to him. And the radiance continued. V.33

“When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the LORD's presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.”

Point #3. REFLECT GOD’S GLORY.

Moses saw something of the glory of God, and He became like it in His person.

Moses sought the glory of God, knew the glory of God, and reflected the glory of God.

You say, that’s fine for Moses, but I’ve never seen that bright light.

No, but on this side of the Cross, we see God’s glory much more clearer than Moses ever did.

We (by faith) see Jesus.

And we (by faith) are to reflect Him, becoming more and more and more like Him

The New Covenant is so much greater, more glorious than this Old One that was renewed in Exodus 34!

The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 7:

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses [catch this!], who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. [Have you turned to the Lord?] Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. [And here it is! 2 Corinthians 3:18] And we, who with unveiled faces all [all of us!] reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory [King James: “from glory to glory!”], which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

We, like Moses, are known by God.
We, like Moses, should seek God’s glory.
We, like Moses, should know God’s glory: He is gracious and just at the same time.

And we, like Moses, should reflect God’s glory.

But, we are not like Moses. We have unveiled faces before God. In Christ, His glory is not fading in us–it is increasing!

We are to reflect more and more and more and more and more and more for all eternity from glory to glory the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are to grow in Christ-like-ness. And never stop.

And reflect God’s glory to the watching world.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Are you reflecting the Lord’s glory?

Are you growing in Christlikeness?

Our covenant with God is greater than the last. It is a covenant of increase. Forever and ever growing in Christ’s likeness.

Let’s seek God, know God and reflect God’s glory forever.