Hearing from God
God Speaks Today (22)
Exodus 20:22 “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.’”
God speaks to us in His Word. He has given us the Scriptures - Old and New Testaments. How do we know that this is true?
· It is an ancient Book, preserved in reliable manuscripts.
· History and archeology attest to the general veracity of this Book.
· Faith determines whether or not you will believe that it is the Word of God.
Israel may have heard the voice of Moses and even the voice of God, believers today have the Holy Spirit. God confirms in the believer’s heart that the 66 books of Scripture are indeed His Word.
Until the middles 1700s, nearly all Christians agreed that the Bible was fully inspired, without error, and absolute in its authority. Man entered the so-called Age of Enlightenment and all of sudden became skeptical of everything. While I believe that the Bible is the Word of God by faith; I also have good reasons for believing so.
1. All mankind has an inherent desire to know God. Because of sin, our thinking processes are corrupt. If God did not reveal Himself in His Word, He would not be knowable by corrupt man.
2. General revelation is God revealing Himself through His creation and through His dealings with mankind. I can know that God exists and that I need to be right with Him through this form of revelation. All men have a conscience that tells them there are moral principles that govern creation.
3. Special revelation refers to God making Himself known to certain people at definite times and places. The 66 books of the Bible contain the written revelation of God given in the person of Jesus Christ. Mankind cannot be saved apart from this form of revelation.
a. God gave us His Word so that we might be rightly related to Him.
b. The Word of God reveals our origin, how we became sinners, and the Way of salvation in the work of Christ.
a. Some believe God inspired the thoughts of Scripture but left the wording to the human author. But a God-breathed message must be made up of God-breathed words. We have the very words of God.
b. Some believe that the human authors of Scripture were secretaries taking dictation from God. But the authors had different literary styles and vocabulary abilities.
c. We believe in full (plenary) verbal inspiration. The Bible we hold in our hands this evening is fully inspired. God guided the human authors in selecting the proper words to express His meaning.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
2 Peter 1:21 “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
d. The human writers of Scripture were chosen by God. God chose a specific personality, background, and vocabulary according to His specific will and purpose.
e. These men were holy men, moved by God to communicate specific words for their context and ours.
f. These men were guided by the Holy Spirit. The turn of a phrase, the choice of a word, and even the arrangement of a book was guided by the Spirit of God. It was done is such a way that the human author’s particular style and strength was used.
g. The language of Scripture is language that is normal and literal.
h. The language of Scripture is restricted to the expressions and points of reference used in the day in which it was written.
5. I know the Bible is the very Word of God because…
a. God does not lie. Jesus promised that the words of God would be fulfilled and would never fade away.
b. 40 different authors penned 66 books through about a period of 1500 years and the yet the books are bound into a cohesive unity unparalleled.
c. Men could not have come up with the pristine character of the teaching of God’s Word.
d. There are more portions of the Bible’s manuscripts in existence than that of any other ancient book. The external evidence is staggering.
e. The Bible is the most translated book and bestseller of all time.
f. Honestly assessed archeological evidence will always uphold the accuracy of Scripture.
g. 25% of the Bible was prophecy at the time it was written and that prophecy has been or is being fulfilled literally.
But when push comes to shove, it takes faith to believe that we have the very words of God preserved in faithful translations of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. Israel may have had Moses, we have the Spirit of God!
Transition: While God speaks today, many things in this world compete with His voice. Exodus 20.23 reveals the constant danger we face as believer.
God Will Not Tolerate Silver and Gold Idols (23)
Exodus 20:23 “You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.”
· Verse 23 restates the 1st and 2nd Commandments. God would have to repeat His commands concerning idolatry many times throughout the history of Israel. We need repeated warnings as well.
· What truly gives your life meaning? When you need comfort, where or to whom do your turn? We know the answer should be God, but let’s be honest.
· God is not tolerant of competition. He will not share His glory with anyone or anything.
· Television, Internet surfing, and an unwholesome addiction to just having fun are common forms of idolatry today.
· Nothing competes with the satisfaction of pursuing and knowing God.
Transition: God speaks and idols compete. Yet the anchor that keeps us firm is found in…
The Simplicity of Worship (24-26)
Exodus 20:24-26 “An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.”
· Why an altar of earth? Why rough stone instead of smooth stone? Why a caution concerning modesty?
· People in Canaan worshiped on ornate altars of square and smooth stone. The heathen built the ziggurats and worshiped naked (even allowing prostitution in their temples).
· The high places were not Israel’s invention but rather something they duplicated from the heathen. Canaanite worship was grossly obscene. God was so concerned about priestly modesty He said…
Exodus 28:42 “And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs.”
Purity and simplicity are godly forms of worship.
1. God determines the way in which we worship Him. Human creativity and desire are not factors. The simplicity of singing hymns tonight, prayer, and even the way we do the Lord’s Supper come from the will of God in the Word of God. Reading and hearing the Word of God and Scriptural giving are Scriptural methods of worship.
2. Those leading in worship services must be sexually pure. Scandal that comes from being caught in sexual sin damages the testimony of Christ. God demands that preachers maintain their purity.
3. God states that in everyplace His name is recorded, He will come and bless in v. 24. Israel was a nation on the move. The house doesn’t make the home nor does the literal church building make this a meeting place of God. We just need tow or three people gathered in the name of Jesus (see Matt 18.20).
Conclusion: [Hebrews 13] Of course, the most important element in worship for Israel was the altar.
The writer of Hebrews states that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (13.7). Christ is the altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat (13.10). Jesus suffered outside the gate and saved us with His own blood (13.12) just as the animals were burned outside the camp (13.11).
Therefore, we should go forth to Jesus outside the camp, bearing His reproach (13.13). We seek a city yet to come (14) and continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. God is well pleased with the sacrifices of doing good and sharing (16).