The Story, Chapter 4: Deliverance

February 5, 2016

The Story, Chapter 4: Deliverance

Romans 3:23-26


Children’s Sermon: “Let My People Go!”

What did you learn about Moses in Sunday School today?  

God wanted Moses to get his people out of Egypt but they had to get permission from Pharaoh to leave.  Did he want to let them go?  NO!  So God went to work through Moses, sending plagues upon the people of Egypt.  Do you remember some of them?

And every time, Pharaoh would tell Moses, “If you make it stop, you can go!” and every time Moses would make it stop and Pharaoh would change his mind!  Until the last time.


God was going to have to do a terrible thing to the families in Egypt, but he didn’t want to hurt the Israelites - the people he had chosen for his own.  So he had them do something that might have at first seemed strange but today makes a lot of sense.  God told them to get a lamb and then kill it so that they could eat it but he tells them to do something special with the blood.  Does any one know what that was?  They marked the door frame of their home and God said when he saw it he would pass over that home and not do the horrible thing to that family.  Phew!


Every year after that, the people of Israel practiced the Passover - Jewish people today still remember and celebrate as well! And we remember this time as we celebrate communion like we will today.  But the blood we remember isn’t from a lamb.  Whose blood do we remember and give thanks for today?  Jesus!  Because he sacrificed his life on the cross so that we could escape God’s anger and receive his grace and forgiveness.  Let’s pray and thank God for that.


Sing:  Pharaoh, Pharaoh


Intro:  It’s important that we have a remembrance of our history.  Sometimes so that history doesn’t repeat itself but mostly because our history helps us to understand who we are and where we came from.  That history needs to be accurate or we won’t have the whole story, the true story.  


For instance, it can be really important to know our medical history.  You know that every time you go to see a new doctor you have to fill out a form sharing all of your past medical information and also that of your parents. Well, imagine my horror when I found out I had been filling those forms out all wrong because I had given the wrong history of my father.  I had been taught, correctly, that my maternal grandmother had glaucoma and that put me at risk.  I had assumed that my father died of lung cancer because he smoked and so that didn’t concern me.  It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I learned the truth.  My father died from a brain tumor so that’s a cancer perhaps I should be more aware of.  Fortunately none of his medical history has come in to play, but I’m glad I know it!


Knowing our family history is important - to know where we came from, what sort of stock we are from, to know about the heroes and black sheep of our families can be helpful and interesting.  To know who our early influencers were even if they are no longer living, may help to know why we think the way we do, the opinions we form, etc.


I want to run through the 17 chapters of Exodus that The Story was based on this past week - focused on the life of Moses and the departure of Israel from Egypt.  And I want to look at the importance history remembered as well as forgotten, can have on our lives.


Ex. 1:6-10 (pg. 43)

When we forget history it skews our understanding of the present.  

It had been over 350 years since Joseph had rescued his family, the nation of Israel form famine and moved them into Egypt. Perhaps Egyptians were not as faithful history keepers or story tellers as the Israelites and they forgot about Joseph, how he came to be in Egypt, the great service he did to the Pharaoh of his day and many other nations during the time of famine.


There was not gratitude but fear that rose up between the Egyptians and their neighbors the people of Jacob and Joseph.  In their fear, they decided that these people, whom they’d been living at peace with, should now be treated as slaves.


Ex 1:11-12 (p. 43 last P) The more they were oppressed the stronger they grew.  Like the underground churches in oppressed countries today - Syria, Iraq, China, Iran. Hang on to that truth of history.  If we as a church begin to feel oppressed and silenced here, it may be an invitation to grow.  


Ex 3:7-10 (p.46) This is the time in history in which Moses, the murderer, the runner, becomes the rescuer of a nation - the answer to their prayer.  How crazy is that?  Once again, God uses an imperfect human to carry out his will. The kingdom of God is totally upside down. Knowing the history of who God works with, can anyone here doubt that God might want to use you too?


So God calls Moses to carry out his will, to speak as a prophet to Pharaoh.  With God backing you up, you expect things to go smoothly, right?  But that’s not what Moses experienced!  Look:

Ex 5:22-6:1 (p. 48)

It was not going as Moses had thought it would.  How often do we begin to obey God and then get hung up because it’s not going the way we had thought it would go?  Learn from history!  Our task is to be obedient!  Forever in my mind is ingrained this quote regarding evangelism: Evangelism is sharing the gospel and leaving the results to God.  Phew!  That takes some stress off!  We are called to share what we know about Jesus with others - that’s fulfilling the Great Commission.  It is not our task to make sure everyone believes what we share.  That is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit.  So let’s be faithful.  It might be frustrating as it was for Moses, but God is after our faithfulness.  It gives him space to work.


Now onto the final verses I want to look at this morning and for me what has been the most exciting “A-ha!” of the week.  


Ex 12:12-13 (p. 51) This is some powerful stuff.  God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”  The blood of the passover lamb was the symbol God looked for to know whom to spare in his judgment over Egypt.  Well, that reminds me of other blood spilt in order to save.  


Think about it.  A day will come, Scripture says, when every human being will have to stand before God at the time of judgement.  Those who have received the sacrifice of Christ on their behalf we say are “washed in the blood”.  When God sees the blood he will pass over you.  Why did Jesus have to die?  Because God required a sacrifice for redemption just as he required the sacrifice of a lamb at Passover, and Jesus became that sacrifice for you, for us.  


Listen to these NT references!

Colossians 1:19-20

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled

everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Revelation 5:6-14

Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth.  He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne.  And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 

And they sang a new song with these words:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it.

For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God

    from every tribe and language and people and nation.

And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God.

And they will reign on the earth.”

Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders.  And they sang in a mighty chorus:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—

    to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”

And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:  

“Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne

    and to the Lamb forever and ever.”

And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.


When we come to the table this morning we come with thanksgiving, because the blood of Christ has allowed God to look at us without wrath!  What does that stir up in you?  What part of your past week’s history does that connect with? Does it cause you to be sorrowful and lead to repentance?  Does it cause you gratitude and joy?  Think about these things as we soon approach the table.


For many years, Moses was the leader of the Israelites in the desert.  He was complained about and to.  He heard a lot of whining.  He heard the people wanting to go back to Egypt.  He heard them express their lack of trust in God and where God was leading.  They forgot their history.  They forgot that they were being led by God. They forgot the Passover and how God passed over them to save them and bring them out of captivity. Do we forget why Jesus died for us? He died to set us free, too!  To bring us out of our captivity to sin and bring us into the light of his grace love and redemption.  What will you celebrate as we receive the sacrament of grace this morning?