Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Father’s Love

Scriptures: Book of Exodus, Matt 5:48, Matt 22:37-40, Heb 8:8-10

On Sunday, Aug 17th, Pastor Lorne was in Whitewood so our own Maurice Giroux from Montmartre gave the following message:

If you were to ask for a definition of what ‘A Father’s Love’ is, you’d probably get a whole range of what it means. We could call it a parent’s love so it’s not just one gender. I know for a fact as a parent and the love I have for my children that I would spare them any trouble, mishap, pain or illness. I would even stick my neck out and say ‘take me and leave them alone’. We know the concept will really never happen, though.

You take the same concept to the spiritual realm, again, we can’t stand up for anybody else but the difference is that God has already provided us the that loophole – if you want to call it that. Jesus has already taken the hit for us and we can rest assured that hit is going to count for something.

I’m going to take a brief trip through the book of Exodus. You might wonder how I’m going to tie this in but hopefully by the end, you’ll see how I’ve made a complete circle, for in Exodus, everything points to Jesus and the finished work of the cross.

Moses was just an ordinary individual who was asked to do some pretty extraordinary tasks. The question I want to put out is: Can we be a Moses to someone?

The book of Exodus begins with the story of the birth of Moses and how God prepared him to bring the Israelites out of bondage and slavery. Moses received an excellent education in Pharaoh’s court as well as desert training since he was often alone in the desert. This prepared him to lead the Israelites through the wilderness.

In the book of Exodus, there are 4 main events:

  • The Passsover

  • The Crossing of Red Sea

  • The Giving of the Law otherwise known as the Ten Commandments, and

  • Construction of the Tabernacle

Many of the stories in the book of Exodus run parallel with our own stories and experiences. And, quite often with society in general or the secular world. But, it’s also a journey. It was a journey for the Israelites because it was going to last in the neighbourhood of 40 years before they would ever reach the promised land.

What about us? It’s also a journey for us. Being released from Satan’s slavery or bondage and heading for the promised land. If we think back to our own salvation, quite often it’s probably an individual who talked to us or had an impact on us, or someone who used a Moses approach with certain words who was responsible for leading you out of bondage, or Egypt, so to speak.

So Moses led God’s children, the Israelites, out of Egypt – a land of bondage and slavery. But he didn’t do it alone – he did it with the power of God that God had on him.
This also parallels with our own experiences. Our coming to the Lord didn’t just happen; it happened because of the Holy Spirit ministering through the Moses person that led you through as well as on you, that had their hearts on the right time to accept Jesus.

So, I say again: Can we be a Moses to someone?

If you want to turn to Matt 5:48, here’s Jesus talking to His disciples: ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ Now that to me puts the bar pretty high. I’m not suggesting for a minute that we should lower the bar but I’m just giving you something to think about. Maybe the bar is a little low, but if you look at what Moses did with the Israelites and bringing them out of Egypt and how that all ties in with our own personal journey’s, then maybe we can use him as our role model and learn from that.

Pharaoh himself draws a close parallel to Satan and to the world of bondage. He the Israelites in captivity and was not willing to release them to Moses under any circumstances. Satan’s MO or method of operation runs pretty close to that. I heard a story a little while back: Anyone here know Leon Fontaine of the television ministry? Anyway, he was telling the story of a young individual in his early 20’s who had drug addictions and alcohol problems and was on a downward spiral. But as God’s plan would have it, someone was able to intervene in his life and he started going to Leon Fontaine’s church. Through prayer and through a mentorship program, this young man was able to overcome his addiction to drugs and alcohol. And it turned out that he had a musical ability and he soon became a part of the worship team. Before long, he was involved with a youth group and was planning on going to Bible College and become a youth pastor. But what clinched the story for him was that his parents, who belonged to a mainline denomination church said they’d rather have their son the way he was than be involved with the people in his new church.

This is pretty close to what Satan would rather have. Satan would rather have you in a downward spiral than see you headed for the promised land.

You may be familiar with the story of the 10 plagues that God unleashed on Egypt:

  1. Blood

  2. Frogs

  3. Lice

  4. Flies

  5. Disease on the animal

  6. Boils on the people

  7. Hail

  8. Locusts

  9. Darkness

  10. Death of the 1st born

It’s interesting to note that the first 9 plagues were directed at one of the gods of Egypt. This was a country that was all into idol worship and really going nowhere. The 10th plague was directed at Pharaoh himself.

And that brings us to one of the colossal events of the Old Testament: Through His servant Moses, God commanded His people to sprinkle blood on the doorposts of their houses and to prepare a special meal of lamb with unleavened bread. It was the Passover Supper.

The Passover parallels the picture of the cross by sacrificing a lamb without blemish and using the blood of that animal on the doorposts. The Angel of Death would pass over the land, darkening Egypt with the death of its firstborn who were slain. The Israelites, by a simple act of faith, were perfectly safe.

As it was then, as it is now, salvation is accomplished by that act of faith, believing it is as it is and it was as it was. And trusting God that his provision of a Saviour has dealt with our sin issues. Try to imagine if you can, roughly 2 million people, and Moses had to get this message out to everyone because this plague was about to happen in a very brief time. They had no telephones, email or any communication devices of any kind. This message had to be transferred to millions of people just by word of mouth – and then to have them convinced and believing that by doing this act, they were going to be protected – and there’s no reason to believe the Holy Spirit wasn’t in with this right from the very beginning.

As it was then as it is now, the Angel of Death passes over those who are covered by the Blood of the Lamb.

For the second major event in the book of Exodus, let’s take the story back to Pharaoh. He finally relented and released the people and they left the safety of their homes and went out into the wilderness and walked to the shores of the Red Sea. But by now, Pharaoh had once again hardened his heart and was going after them with his armies. And when the people saw what was happening, they cried out to Moses, why he had them brought out to the water bed just to have them killed? Moses answered them with this: Stand firm and you will see the deliverance that the Lord will bring to you. And we all know what happened next: Moses put out his rod and his hand and the waters parted. Here again, if you can picture 2 million people walking through the Red Sea and the 2 walls of water on both sides. It would have to have been an impressive sight to say the least. But here, you would’ve seen God in action through Moses who was able to make these things happen.

It’s important to note here that both the Passover and the Red Sea experience were acts of faith. The Passover was an act of faith that required them to believe. It didn’t require too much work on their part other than killing the lamb and sprinkling the blood on the doorposts. The Red Sea experiences was also an act of faith. This one required everyone to walk it out by putting one foot in front of the other. Again, there’s a parallel here that connects right to us today. Not too much has changed. We too must walk it out to be obedient in faith by putting one foot in front of the other.

The third major event in the book of Exodus was the handing down of the Ten Commandments, or the giving of the law. The law remains the law in both the Old and the New Testament. This portrays God’s unchangeable nature and His unchangeable standard. Moses took a trip to the mountain where God gave him the stone tablets. Upon Moses return, the stone tablets were broken and there were all kinds of issues and problems that spread through the people. Sometime later, Moses returned to the mountain and he was there for 40 days this time. But while he was gone, the people made their own instruments of worship – the golden calf. Moses had given specific instruction on not worshipping any other gods but the one true God.

Here again, you can draw a parallel because how many people in our society worship this thing or that thing or you know – anything that puts God in 2nd or 3rd place is the same thing as the golden calf of back then. Like material goods, money, jobs, movie stars, land or cars. The New Age religion says that God can be anything you want Him to be. That opens the door to a whole bunch of other stuff.

Back to the Israelites – by then, God is pretty upset with all that’s happening and He decides to bring a judgment down on the people at that point because they were a stiff-necked people. Lucky for them, Moses interceded on their behalf and was able to keep things rolling.

Some may argue that the 10 Commandments aren’t even mentioned in the New Testament. And, some may even argue that they’re no longer the 10 commandments but only 10 suggestions.

But, turn to Matt 22:37-40 - Here again, Jesus is speaking to His disciples. “Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

And, if you turn to Heb 8:8-10, we read, ‘But God found fault with the people and said: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people....I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ So, this clinches it right there – we’re not outside the law by any means.

The 4th and last major event is the construction of the tabernacle. God gave Moses some very specific instructions for the construction of the tabernacle right down to the kind of wood they were to use. This is symbolic of what God is really like: He is exact. He is precise. And, He is unchanging. The temple and the tabernacle were the focal point of their worship and their animal sacrifices. It was designed to focus their attention to faith and to cleanse their lives so they could be brought into God’s presence.

The Old Testament tabernacle is a shadow of the New Testament. We as believers and followers of Jesus Christ are the temple and walking tabernacle. This points back to the beginning where the work of the cross was complete and where Jesus took the hit for you and for me, so we can spend eternity in God s eternal kingdom.

If you would like to speak to Maurice about this, please email me and I'll pass your msg along.

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