Faithlife
Faithlife

What's Your Calling?

Exploring Exodus   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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When you look in the mirror what do you see? A simple enough question but a question that makes so many people nervous. Questions likes these make us stop in our tracks and reflect on who we are, what are we doing, more importantly where are we going and what are we made for? Come and join us at Mosaic for our worship service at 10:30am this Sunday as we discover from Exodus Chapter 19:1-6 what God has made us for and what we are all called to do!

Notes & Transcripts
Be Delivered Chapter Eight: Hear the Voice of God (Exodus 19:1–20:21)

When God spoke to His people, by His grace He called them to a very special life.

1. A life of maturity (Ex. 19:1–4)

If freedom doesn’t lead to maturity, then we end up imprisoned in a bondage worse than what we had before, a bondage from within and not from without. It’s bad enough to be enslaved by an Egyptian taskmaster, but it’s even worse to enslave yourself and become your own taskmaster.

Moses went up to meet God on the mountain, and what God told him he came down and shared with the people.3 The image of maturity that God used was that of the eagle, bearing its young on its wings and teaching them the glorious freedom of flight. Moses used the same image in the song he taught Israel at the close of his life. Read carefully Deuteronomy 32:10–12. What do eagles teach us about the life of maturity?4

At a certain stage in the development of their young, the parent eagles break up the comfortable nest and force the eaglets to fly. The young birds may not be anxious to leave the security of the nest, but they must learn to fly if they’re going to fulfill their purposes in life. The adult birds stay near the fledglings and, if they fall, carry them on their strong wings until the young birds learn how to use their wings, ride the air currents, and enjoy the abilities God gave them.

The eaglets illustrate three aspects of freedom: freedom from (they are out of the nest, which to us is redemption); freedom in (they are at home in the air, which to us is maturity), and freedom to (they can fulfill their purpose in life, which to us is ministry). True freedom means that we’re delivered from doing the bad, we’re able to do the good, and we’re accomplishing God’s will on the earth.

From God’s point of view, Egypt was a furnace of affliction for Israel (Deut. 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jer. 11:4), but the Jews often saw Egypt as a “nest” where they at least had food, shelter, and security (Ex. 16:1–3; Num. 11:1–9). God delivered them from Egypt because He had something better for them to enjoy and to do, but this meant that they had to “try their wings” and experience growing pains as they moved toward maturity.

When we’re maturing in the Lord, life becomes a series of open doors that lead to more and more opportunities for responsible freedom. But if we refuse to let God mature us, life becomes a series of confining iron bars that limit us. A baby is safe and comfortable in the mother’s womb, but at some point the baby must be born and enter a new and demanding world of growth and maturity. From birth to death, the “turning points” of life usher in new freedoms that bring with them new privileges and new responsibilities: walking, instead of being carried; riding a bicycle and then driving a car; working at a job and earning money; learning to use that money wisely; making friends; getting married; raising children; retiring. At each “turning point,” we lose something as we gain something; and this is the way the maturing process works.

Whenever the Jews complained about God’s dealings with them and yearned to go back to Egypt, they were acting like little children, so God had to discipline them. The statement I quoted earlier from George Morrison needs to be quoted again: “It took one night to take Israel out of Egypt, but forty years to take Egypt out of Israel.” How long is it taking the Lord to get us to fly, or are we nestlings who don’t want to be disturbed?

2. A life of dignity (Ex. 19:5–8)

In Egypt, the Jews were nothing but weary bodies, slaves who did their masters’ bidding, but the Lord had better things planned for them. They were to be His special people, and He would use them to be a blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12:3).

God’s treasured possession (v. 5, NIV). All the nations of the earth belong to the Lord, because He’s their maker and their sustainer (9:29; Pss. 24:1; 50:12; Acts 14:15–17; 17:24–28), but He’s chosen Israel to be His treasured possession (Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps. 135:4; Mal. 3:17). This choice was not because of Israel’s merits, because they had none (Deut. 26:5–11), but because of God’s love and sovereign grace (7:6–8).

That the Jews are God’s chosen people doesn’t mean they’re better than any other nation, only that they’re different, set apart by the Lord for His special work. Romans 9:4–5 reminds us of some of the spiritual treasures God has given Israel that they might be a blessing to the whole world, for “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Because Israel has these treasures and privileges, they also have a greater responsibility to love and obey God; for “from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48, NIV).5

A kingdom of priests (v. 6). Aaron and his sons would be consecrated later to serve as priests to the nation (Ex. 28–29), but it was God’s intent that all Israel live as priests, manifesting His truth and sharing His blessings with the world. Israel was to be God’s “showcase” to the Gentiles, proving to them that there is but one true and living God and that serving Him is the way to fullness of blessing (Isa. 42:6; 49:6). Unfortunately, instead of Israel influencing the nations to worship Jehovah, the nations influenced Israel to worship idols! The Jews adopted the religions and lifestyles of the Gentiles and so desecrated themselves, their land, and the temple that God had to chasten them severely and send them into Babylonian Captivity. The day will come, however, when Israel will see her Messiah, be cleansed of her iniquities (Zech. 12:10–13:1), and become a nation of holy priests to serve the Lord (Isa. 61:6).

A holy nation (v. 6). “You are to be My holy people” (22:31), that is, a people set apart for God, a people who are different. “Be holy, for I am holy” is found at least six times in Leviticus (11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:8) and is repeated twice in 1 Peter 1:15–16. In every area of life, Israel’s activities were governed by the fact that they belonged to God, and that included what they ate, what they wore, who they married, how they buried their dead, and especially how they worshiped.

During the plagues in Egypt, God put a difference between them and the Egyptians (Ex. 11:7), because the Jews were not to live like the pagan Gentile nations. The Jewish priests were to set the example and also teach the people to “put a difference between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean” (Lev. 10:10; 11:47). The priests failed to do this (Ezek. 22:26; see 42:20; 44:23; 48:14–15), and their sin helped to lead the nation into defilement and destruction (Lam. 4:13).

When Moses shared this good news with the people, they enthusiastically promised to obey everything God told them to do (Ex. 19:7–8). They may have been sincere, but God knew that their hearts were prone to do evil (Deut. 5:27–29). The fact that they repeated this vow two more times didn’t change their hearts or strengthen their wills (Ex. 24:3, 7), and it wouldn’t be long before Israel would succumb to the idolatry that lurked in their hearts and make a golden calf and worship it (Ex. 32).

God’s people today (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Peter borrowed the imagery of Exodus 19:6 and called the church today “a holy priesthood … a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:5, 9, NKJV). Like Israel of old, God’s people today must point people to the Lord and reveal by their words and deeds how wonderful He is. We’re to be “living advertisements” of the grace and power of God. Are we?

3. A life of sanctity (Ex. 19:9–25)

Be Delivered Chapter Eight: Hear the Voice of God (Exodus 19:1–20:21)

When God spoke to His people, by His grace He called them to a very special life.

1. A life of maturity (Ex. 19:1–4)

If freedom doesn’t lead to maturity, then we end up imprisoned in a bondage worse than what we had before, a bondage from within and not from without. It’s bad enough to be enslaved by an Egyptian taskmaster, but it’s even worse to enslave yourself and become your own taskmaster.

Moses went up to meet God on the mountain, and what God told him he came down and shared with the people.3 The image of maturity that God used was that of the eagle, bearing its young on its wings and teaching them the glorious freedom of flight. Moses used the same image in the song he taught Israel at the close of his life. Read carefully Deuteronomy 32:10–12. What do eagles teach us about the life of maturity?4

At a certain stage in the development of their young, the parent eagles break up the comfortable nest and force the eaglets to fly. The young birds may not be anxious to leave the security of the nest, but they must learn to fly if they’re going to fulfill their purposes in life. The adult birds stay near the fledglings and, if they fall, carry them on their strong wings until the young birds learn how to use their wings, ride the air currents, and enjoy the abilities God gave them.

The eaglets illustrate three aspects of freedom: freedom from (they are out of the nest, which to us is redemption); freedom in (they are at home in the air, which to us is maturity), and freedom to (they can fulfill their purpose in life, which to us is ministry). True freedom means that we’re delivered from doing the bad, we’re able to do the good, and we’re accomplishing God’s will on the earth.

From God’s point of view, Egypt was a furnace of affliction for Israel (Deut. 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jer. 11:4), but the Jews often saw Egypt as a “nest” where they at least had food, shelter, and security (Ex. 16:1–3; Num. 11:1–9). God delivered them from Egypt because He had something better for them to enjoy and to do, but this meant that they had to “try their wings” and experience growing pains as they moved toward maturity.

When we’re maturing in the Lord, life becomes a series of open doors that lead to more and more opportunities for responsible freedom. But if we refuse to let God mature us, life becomes a series of confining iron bars that limit us. A baby is safe and comfortable in the mother’s womb, but at some point the baby must be born and enter a new and demanding world of growth and maturity. From birth to death, the “turning points” of life usher in new freedoms that bring with them new privileges and new responsibilities: walking, instead of being carried; riding a bicycle and then driving a car; working at a job and earning money; learning to use that money wisely; making friends; getting married; raising children; retiring. At each “turning point,” we lose something as we gain something; and this is the way the maturing process works.

Whenever the Jews complained about God’s dealings with them and yearned to go back to Egypt, they were acting like little children, so God had to discipline them. The statement I quoted earlier from George Morrison needs to be quoted again: “It took one night to take Israel out of Egypt, but forty years to take Egypt out of Israel.” How long is it taking the Lord to get us to fly, or are we nestlings who don’t want to be disturbed?

2. A life of dignity (Ex. 19:5–8)

In Egypt, the Jews were nothing but weary bodies, slaves who did their masters’ bidding, but the Lord had better things planned for them. They were to be His special people, and He would use them to be a blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12:3).

God’s treasured possession (v. 5, NIV). All the nations of the earth belong to the Lord, because He’s their maker and their sustainer (9:29; Pss. 24:1; 50:12; Acts 14:15–17; 17:24–28), but He’s chosen Israel to be His treasured possession (Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps. 135:4; Mal. 3:17). This choice was not because of Israel’s merits, because they had none (Deut. 26:5–11), but because of God’s love and sovereign grace (7:6–8).

That the Jews are God’s chosen people doesn’t mean they’re better than any other nation, only that they’re different, set apart by the Lord for His special work. Romans 9:4–5 reminds us of some of the spiritual treasures God has given Israel that they might be a blessing to the whole world, for “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Because Israel has these treasures and privileges, they also have a greater responsibility to love and obey God; for “from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48, NIV).5

A kingdom of priests (v. 6). Aaron and his sons would be consecrated later to serve as priests to the nation (Ex. 28–29), but it was God’s intent that all Israel live as priests, manifesting His truth and sharing His blessings with the world. Israel was to be God’s “showcase” to the Gentiles, proving to them that there is but one true and living God and that serving Him is the way to fullness of blessing (Isa. 42:6; 49:6). Unfortunately, instead of Israel influencing the nations to worship Jehovah, the nations influenced Israel to worship idols! The Jews adopted the religions and lifestyles of the Gentiles and so desecrated themselves, their land, and the temple that God had to chasten them severely and send them into Babylonian Captivity. The day will come, however, when Israel will see her Messiah, be cleansed of her iniquities (Zech. 12:10–13:1), and become a nation of holy priests to serve the Lord (Isa. 61:6).

A holy nation (v. 6). “You are to be My holy people” (22:31), that is, a people set apart for God, a people who are different. “Be holy, for I am holy” is found at least six times in Leviticus (11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:8) and is repeated twice in 1 Peter 1:15–16. In every area of life, Israel’s activities were governed by the fact that they belonged to God, and that included what they ate, what they wore, who they married, how they buried their dead, and especially how they worshiped.

During the plagues in Egypt, God put a difference between them and the Egyptians (Ex. 11:7), because the Jews were not to live like the pagan Gentile nations. The Jewish priests were to set the example and also teach the people to “put a difference between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean” (Lev. 10:10; 11:47). The priests failed to do this (Ezek. 22:26; see 42:20; 44:23; 48:14–15), and their sin helped to lead the nation into defilement and destruction (Lam. 4:13).

When Moses shared this good news with the people, they enthusiastically promised to obey everything God told them to do (Ex. 19:7–8). They may have been sincere, but God knew that their hearts were prone to do evil (Deut. 5:27–29). The fact that they repeated this vow two more times didn’t change their hearts or strengthen their wills (Ex. 24:3, 7), and it wouldn’t be long before Israel would succumb to the idolatry that lurked in their hearts and make a golden calf and worship it (Ex. 32).

God’s people today (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Peter borrowed the imagery of Exodus 19:6 and called the church today “a holy priesthood … a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:5, 9, NKJV). Like Israel of old, God’s people today must point people to the Lord and reveal by their words and deeds how wonderful He is. We’re to be “living advertisements” of the grace and power of God. Are we?

3. A life of sanctity (Ex. 19:9–25)

A Life of Maturity:

Be Delivered Chapter Eight: Hear the Voice of God (Exodus 19:1–20:21)

When God spoke to His people, by His grace He called them to a very special life.

1. A life of maturity (Ex. 19:1–4)

If freedom doesn’t lead to maturity, then we end up imprisoned in a bondage worse than what we had before, a bondage from within and not from without. It’s bad enough to be enslaved by an Egyptian taskmaster, but it’s even worse to enslave yourself and become your own taskmaster.

Moses went up to meet God on the mountain, and what God told him he came down and shared with the people.3 The image of maturity that God used was that of the eagle, bearing its young on its wings and teaching them the glorious freedom of flight. Moses used the same image in the song he taught Israel at the close of his life. Read carefully Deuteronomy 32:10–12. What do eagles teach us about the life of maturity?4

At a certain stage in the development of their young, the parent eagles break up the comfortable nest and force the eaglets to fly. The young birds may not be anxious to leave the security of the nest, but they must learn to fly if they’re going to fulfill their purposes in life. The adult birds stay near the fledglings and, if they fall, carry them on their strong wings until the young birds learn how to use their wings, ride the air currents, and enjoy the abilities God gave them.

The eaglets illustrate three aspects of freedom: freedom from (they are out of the nest, which to us is redemption); freedom in (they are at home in the air, which to us is maturity), and freedom to (they can fulfill their purpose in life, which to us is ministry). True freedom means that we’re delivered from doing the bad, we’re able to do the good, and we’re accomplishing God’s will on the earth.

From God’s point of view, Egypt was a furnace of affliction for Israel (Deut. 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jer. 11:4), but the Jews often saw Egypt as a “nest” where they at least had food, shelter, and security (Ex. 16:1–3; Num. 11:1–9). God delivered them from Egypt because He had something better for them to enjoy and to do, but this meant that they had to “try their wings” and experience growing pains as they moved toward maturity.

When we’re maturing in the Lord, life becomes a series of open doors that lead to more and more opportunities for responsible freedom. But if we refuse to let God mature us, life becomes a series of confining iron bars that limit us. A baby is safe and comfortable in the mother’s womb, but at some point the baby must be born and enter a new and demanding world of growth and maturity. From birth to death, the “turning points” of life usher in new freedoms that bring with them new privileges and new responsibilities: walking, instead of being carried; riding a bicycle and then driving a car; working at a job and earning money; learning to use that money wisely; making friends; getting married; raising children; retiring. At each “turning point,” we lose something as we gain something; and this is the way the maturing process works.

Whenever the Jews complained about God’s dealings with them and yearned to go back to Egypt, they were acting like little children, so God had to discipline them. The statement I quoted earlier from George Morrison needs to be quoted again: “It took one night to take Israel out of Egypt, but forty years to take Egypt out of Israel.” How long is it taking the Lord to get us to fly, or are we nestlings who don’t want to be disturbed?

2. A life of dignity (Ex. 19:5–8)

In Egypt, the Jews were nothing but weary bodies, slaves who did their masters’ bidding, but the Lord had better things planned for them. They were to be His special people, and He would use them to be a blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12:3).

God’s treasured possession (v. 5, NIV). All the nations of the earth belong to the Lord, because He’s their maker and their sustainer (9:29; Pss. 24:1; 50:12; Acts 14:15–17; 17:24–28), but He’s chosen Israel to be His treasured possession (Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps. 135:4; Mal. 3:17). This choice was not because of Israel’s merits, because they had none (Deut. 26:5–11), but because of God’s love and sovereign grace (7:6–8).

That the Jews are God’s chosen people doesn’t mean they’re better than any other nation, only that they’re different, set apart by the Lord for His special work. Romans 9:4–5 reminds us of some of the spiritual treasures God has given Israel that they might be a blessing to the whole world, for “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Because Israel has these treasures and privileges, they also have a greater responsibility to love and obey God; for “from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48, NIV).5

A kingdom of priests (v. 6). Aaron and his sons would be consecrated later to serve as priests to the nation (Ex. 28–29), but it was God’s intent that all Israel live as priests, manifesting His truth and sharing His blessings with the world. Israel was to be God’s “showcase” to the Gentiles, proving to them that there is but one true and living God and that serving Him is the way to fullness of blessing (Isa. 42:6; 49:6). Unfortunately, instead of Israel influencing the nations to worship Jehovah, the nations influenced Israel to worship idols! The Jews adopted the religions and lifestyles of the Gentiles and so desecrated themselves, their land, and the temple that God had to chasten them severely and send them into Babylonian Captivity. The day will come, however, when Israel will see her Messiah, be cleansed of her iniquities (Zech. 12:10–13:1), and become a nation of holy priests to serve the Lord (Isa. 61:6).

A holy nation (v. 6). “You are to be My holy people” (22:31), that is, a people set apart for God, a people who are different. “Be holy, for I am holy” is found at least six times in Leviticus (11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:8) and is repeated twice in 1 Peter 1:15–16. In every area of life, Israel’s activities were governed by the fact that they belonged to God, and that included what they ate, what they wore, who they married, how they buried their dead, and especially how they worshiped.

During the plagues in Egypt, God put a difference between them and the Egyptians (Ex. 11:7), because the Jews were not to live like the pagan Gentile nations. The Jewish priests were to set the example and also teach the people to “put a difference between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean” (Lev. 10:10; 11:47). The priests failed to do this (Ezek. 22:26; see 42:20; 44:23; 48:14–15), and their sin helped to lead the nation into defilement and destruction (Lam. 4:13).

When Moses shared this good news with the people, they enthusiastically promised to obey everything God told them to do (Ex. 19:7–8). They may have been sincere, but God knew that their hearts were prone to do evil (Deut. 5:27–29). The fact that they repeated this vow two more times didn’t change their hearts or strengthen their wills (Ex. 24:3, 7), and it wouldn’t be long before Israel would succumb to the idolatry that lurked in their hearts and make a golden calf and worship it (Ex. 32).

God’s people today (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Peter borrowed the imagery of Exodus 19:6 and called the church today “a holy priesthood … a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:5, 9, NKJV). Like Israel of old, God’s people today must point people to the Lord and reveal by their words and deeds how wonderful He is. We’re to be “living advertisements” of the grace and power of God. Are we?

3. A life of sanctity (Ex. 19:9–25)

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