Onlline Sermons

We have posted a lot of sermons from our Universal Life Church ministers. Some are Christian and some are not. You are welcome to use them or just enjoy them as you like.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Online Sermons

God's Revelation to Moses
Universal Life Church
Min. Johnathan Hester

Exodus 3:1-3:15 

Imagine you're taking a walk on a lonely hillside on a hot summer day....

 A furze bush catches fire, but instead of burning up it just keeps on ,,, burning! 

That,,that  would take your attention and make you think, 

"What's going on? 

Is someone trying to say something to me?"------------ 

It could be a CALL OF GOD - to know him in a deeper and more intimate way and which could change the direction ,,, of your life....

 It's something which we need to have,,,, often,,, more than once,,,, in,,,in  our Christian pilgrimage – that call of God. 

There's,,,there's  a fine example of this in the life of Moses as he encountered God at the Burning Bush,,,, (amen) from which we can draw some valuable lessons. The phenomenon of the bush which kept on burning isn't the important's  of it - it was just the means that God chose to get Moses' undivided attention...huh ...

 You see here in the 21st century,,, it,,,  it could just as easily be some disruption from our routine lives  -such as  a news flash on TV,,,,an,,, an accident or illness; perhaps an unwelcome change of circumstances, such as a loss of a job, even the Mother of the church who's 81 years old ,,,body in pain,,,, bout too loose her leg ,,,,but she praise him any how,,, God,,,God,, God can speak to us in strange ways....

 God will often,,, get our attention by causing uncommon events to occur. 

We may call them coincidences but these are not chance events....

 They are God's way of tapping us on the shoulder so that we'll sit up and take notice of what he has to say........ He can also do so in less dramatic ways ,,,,,,,,,- as we read the Scriptures or even listen to a sermon! I've known all of these as prompts,,,,, in hearing God. 

What is God like?

This is a question, which has exercised the minds of mankind.

 It reminds me of the story of the little girl who was in deep concentration over her drawing. Her mother asked her what she was drawing and received the curt reply, "God." Her mother protested, "But no one knows what God looks like!" The little girl replied, "They will now!" 

The story of the Burning Bush tells us a great deal about God.... Let's see When, Why, How and Where God revealed himself to Moses, and What it meant to him - and what it can mean to us.You see I've often said to glean a better understanding of the scripture  you must ask yourselves  when ,,,,why ,,,, how ,,,, and where ....

His first 40 years had been anything but humdrum,,,, He'd been a prince of Egypt,,,, but he'd known the first stirring of the Spirit,,,,or perhaps through a pang of conscience,,,, when he contrasted his life of privilege with the poverty and pain of his fellow countrymen ,,,as the Hebrew slaves. 

The trouble was that Moses had wanted to serve God and had tried to do it in his own strength, only to find that his attempts had failed and had ended in disaster!!!!! He had acted in good faith but rashly, and had to flee for his life.... His lifestyle had radically altered from the luxury of the palace to the harsh existence of the desert....

The storyteller recounts that "Moses was content to dwell with his father-in-law and kept his sheep" (Ex 2:21). There's every reason to believe that these years were the happiest in his life. Perhaps he had prayed the ancient prayer, "God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." It's good counsel that we would be advised to take. God had given him a wife; God had given him security. But it's possible to take contentment too far and for it to slip into complacency.

Moses had settled down and accepted that his plan of being a blessing to his people was only a faded dream, which could never be realized. Day in and day out he did his shepherding duties, living with his thoughts and memories of what might have happened and his failure. Perhaps in the first years he had hoped that somehow he could salvage something from his ruined career.

The 40 years in the desert slowly went by and there had come no summons from his people, no call from his God. He resigned himself to have been forgotten by both – he was yesterday's man - and must content himself with his lot. It's possible for us, too, to have the same feeling as Moses, of being in a spiritual rut. Moses had now been doing the same thing for about 40 years. After that time you don't expect much to happen - but that's without reckoning on God. You see, he has plans for each one of his people; he had plans for Moses as he knew he had potential, but nothing had happened. This leads us to think of:

The circumstances of life must be taken as God's training school for his people. This is why God drew Moses from the finest academic training possible in Pharaoh's court to teach him other things that would qualify him as God's shepherd to lead theIsraelites to their Promised Land
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us, "The Lord disciplines those he loves ... " And also that they might "endure hardship as sons".... The writer goes on, too say "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful,,, later on,,, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained in it"------ (12:6,7, and 11). 

The education Moses had received in Egypt was priceless, but there were qualities that can't be gained by reading textbooks or sitting at the feet of professors......... His 40-year-stay in the desert was not to be wasted. The Lord was beginning to move in Moses' life - just like he may well be doing so with you and I,,,, - in preparation for a new sphere of service and usefulness in his kingdom.... Sometimes, in God's plan for us, enforced learning is inevitable.... Here we see Moses had some rough edges in his life which had to be dealt with ---- his arrogance, his quick temper - and it required many years of reflection before he learned the lesson that God's work must be done in God's way. 

Enforced learning is one of God's ways of getting our attention.... Like with Moses, it may be that God appears to withdraw from us, or even allow some disaster to happen in our lives. As with the apostle Paul, God may allow a "thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor 12:7) to bring us into the place where he can reveal himself to us and prepare us for useful service.... Charles Spurgeon  said, and I like to quote him ,,, he's a good writer ordained by God but,,,but he say's "If I knew I had twenty-five years left to live, I would spend twenty of them in preparation."

Most of us don't like preparation. We want to get on with things. But God's timing of these matters is sovereign. I read that a good film director shoots the last scene first, then he goes back to the beginning and makes every scene move towards it. God is the Supreme Director because his word tells us that "I make known the end from the beginning" (Isa 46:10) but sometimes we don't understand his preparation for our next step....

 When the time is right, God's moves can be sudden and dramatic, as we consider:

The day started like any other day. Moses called his sheep, rounded them up and led them to fresh pasture in the Sinai Peninsula. It was extremely hot, and suddenly, something caught his eye,,,,, A bush had,,,had burst into flame.... Of course it had happened before as bushes often caught alight in the intense midday heat, as the sun's rays magnified some of the quartz crystal lying on the ground. But normally the fire would have burned itself out in a few minutes leaving only a pile of ashes,,, But ahh,,,, this one was different ,,, because we're told (*I told Pastor Carter ....) As I said  this one was different ,,, "the bush was not consumed".

Moses was intrigued and he thought to himself, "I'll go over and see this strange sight - why the bush doesn't burn up." Anything to relieve the boredom of the routine! But as he approached the bush, he was stopped in his tracks. The bush spoke! It called out his name, not once but twice. 

Was the heat playing tricks on his mind? Then he realized ,,, what was happening.... This was God.... It had to be. The man who had settled down to a complacent life was suddenly startled and awakened to the presence of God. (That's a good a place for shout ....)  

God will often get our attention by causing uncommon events to occur.... We may call them coincidences but these are not mere chance events.....

 They are God's way of tapping us on the shoulder so that we will sit up and listen ,,,, to what he has to say. 

What happened that day saint's  changed everything for Moses - it's something, which can happen to us when God becomes real in our lives ,,,, Like when Saul met Jesus on the Damascus road; like when John Wesley received the assurance of sins forgiven at the meeting in Aldersgate Street; like when William Booth saw the degradation of East London and when Thomas Barnado was touched by the plight of orphans. The Spirit of God can touch you and me as well! 

If you don't believe me ,,, let me show ,,,, listen to how,,,,,

We're told that "the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush." The voice that came from the bush was God's,,,, There followed an amazing conversation,,, God called to him, "Moses, Moses!"

 It's significant that the call was personal - by name. There are millions of Christians living now, and it's wonderful to know that God knows each individual,,,, and when he speaks to a person, that person knows that the word is for him or her personally....(come on somebody shout with me)

Our responsibility is to recognize the authentic message and trust him sufficiently to obey it,,, If we don't,,,, we might let an opportunity,,, pass us by,,, because we weren't in tune to his wavelength,,, we didn't know his voice,,,, Fortunately,,,, Moses had already built up a relationship with his God,,,, ahh ,,,ahhh  amid the silence and pain of the years in the wilderness. That's why he was able to respond to it at theburning bush with little hesitation. The story tells us, "And Moses said, "Here I am." 

This was the most crucial meeting of his life,,, but he had no advanced warning of it.....

 How appropriate it was that Moses replied "Here I am" without going into the "why's" and "wherefore's" of the situation,,,, Moses had a lot of baggage of his past life, but now it was all to be put behind him ,,,, 

When God speaks to us it's time for us, like Moses did , to turn aside from prejudices, complacency, memories of past failures and hurts. It's God's agenda, not ours, that matters.

 And ,,,and God immediately ,,, took the initiative in the dialogue. "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground ...." It was important that Moses had a clear understanding from the start that he was dealing with a holy God ,,,,with whom there could be no compromise.... Moses was being called to lead his countrymen who had been living in an alien society....
 Many of them had been infiltrated by the multi-god culture of Egypt.... He was going to raise the standard of holiness in the Hebrew nation, but first had to be sure of it himself. 

The commentator, Matthew Henry, writes that Moses was encouraged to draw near "for his conscience to be satisfied, but not his curiosity. 

He was told to show reverence by putting off his shoes, a token of respect and submission.,,, Like with Moses, the invitation comes from God to draw near to him, yet the Scriptures, both the Old and the New, enter a caution that we come not rashly, but thoughtfully and humbly,,, How essential it is that we approach God "with reverence and Godly fear" - 

He is the Almighty not the "Almatey". From this time on, Moses had a face-to-face friendship with God, but he never lost that sense of fear and respect for him. Having received the revelation of God, Moses learned:

The words spoken by God were essentially a self-disclosure to Moses of his name and his status. God was revealing to Moses, first of all: 

The God who WAS
"The Lord said, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." Moses was being assured that this God hadn't just come on the scene. He was the God of his forefathers, the one who had met their needs in past centuries....

 God had stood by Abraham and had rewarded his faith. He had been the companion of Isaac and the helper of Jacob. They all had known times of adversity and oppression and just as he did not fail them, so likewise he won't disappoint Moses.

This is something of great importance to us, for we have the historical record, going back thousands of years of God's providential care of his people,,, Let's not be shy of bearing testimony to God's faithfulness in the past. But not only did God reveal himself to Moses as the God who WAS, but also as:

The God who IS
Moses asked,"What is (your) name?" "God said to Moses, I am who I am." This new revelation by God of his name is significant. He was declaring the name by which he would be known; he was "I am whom I am". 

It speaks of his existence: he is, he lives. 

It speaks of his nature: he is the source of all being and life.

 He is self-sufficient and all other life is dependent on him. 

He is eternal and unchangeable in his promises. 
During Gladys Aylward's harrowing journey out of war-torn China during the Communist take-over, she faced one morning with no apparent hope of reaching safety.... A 13-year old girl tried to comfort her by saying, "Don't forget what you told us about Moses in the wilderness," to which Gladys Aylward replied, "Yes, my dear, but I am not Moses."And the young girl replied,,,, "Yes, but God is still God." 

God is still I AM today. He still wants to be present, eternal, self-sufficient and active in the lives of his people....( Ya'll don't here me ...) *****I know I was supposed too teach this thing,,, buttttt 

 As history unfolded, the number of his names increased to reflect more facets of his nature,,,, The revelation of God the "I AM" was completed in the Incarnation of his Son,,,, Jesus Christ,,,Somebody say Jesus !!!!

 We now know him as the Bread of Life,,,, the Good Shepherd,,,, the Rest Giver,,,, the Provider,,,, the God of Peace,,,,, the Healer,,,,, and many other things besides. He is the God who WAS, the God who IS, and also:

The God who WILL BE
The words used in the Hebrew to disclose God's new name are closely linked with the most powerful verb in any language - "to be". They not only mean "I am who I am" but also "I will be who I will be." The context in which these words were given was the call of Moses to deliver the young nation of Israel from Egyptian oppression - and what a task that proved to be.,,, Already he shrunk from the prospect of confronting Pharaoh and pleaded that someone else should go in his place.

The story of the Exodus is God's confirmation that he is as good as his word.... When Moses was powerless in his own strength ,,, God provided supernatural means of support,,,, and so throughout the history of Israel

When the apostle John was exiled as a lonely prisoner on the island of Patmos, the same reassurance of words of grace and peace came from Jesus,,,, described as "Him which is, which was and which is to come". All this means that God will be what we need him to be in any situation that we face in life. In the words of a hymn, "How good is the God we adore, our faithful and unchangeable friend: whose love is as great as his power, and knows neither measure nor end...." 

What did the Burning Bush experience mean for Moses? God wanted to get him up out of his comfortable existence to do the work for which he was destined.... Moses was never the same again....

 He had a new intimacy with God; he knew him as friend to friend,,,, The experience gave him a new motivation;,,, his past lifestyle was forgotten,,,, He received a new power for his call to service.... 

The same principle applies to us when God's call comes. The job description that God has for you and me won't be the same as for Moses but it will be real ,,, and challenging all the same. 

God wants us, who name the name of Christ, to get involved, by our living,,,, by our praying,,,,, by our giving,,,,, and by our caring. ....

God looks not for our ability but for our availability.

 Let's be sure to be receptive to his call and, when it comes, to obey it.

Min. Johnathan Hester


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