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Bricks in the Wall Don't Matter Without the Mortar

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The Bible Guide The Golden Calf (32:1–33:6)

Moses has been away from the camp for more than a month. The Israelites begin to assume that he has had an accident, or simply gone away and left them. They were never very impressed with him anyway.

Bricks in the Wall Don’t Matter without the Mortar

PRAY WITH ME AND FOR ME PLEASE
Think about the shell of this building and about each and every brick on the outside. Do those
Think about the shell of this building. Think about each wall that you see on the outside and about every single brick in those walls. Is there something special or spectacular about those bricks allowing them to constitute those walls as a protective shell around what happens on the inside? No, there is not is there, and in fact if the builders of our current church building would have simply stacked them one on top of the other, we more than likely would have no church building standing would we. What keeps those walls standing and those bricks together is the cement mortar place ever so carefully and skillfully in between each brick. If it were not for that mortar, the bricks would not matter, and the contents of the building would not be protected.
Translate that into a spiritual context. Christians are the church building. We are the bricks in the wall and our ministries to others and service for Christ are the contents. What then is the mortar that keeps the bricks held together and protects the contents? Intercessory Prayer. Christians/church members who are an intercessor, who are the people who intercede for one another, for the country and for the lost.
The word "intercede" comes from the Latin "inter" meaning "between" and "ced" meaning "go". So it literally means "go between". To stand in/fill in the gaps.
God searches for , but, even though everyone should, not every Christian answers.
Ezekiel 22:30 NASB95
I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.
Is there a need for intercessors in our church, and for our country?
Church members in America have gone from attending 3-4 times a week to attending 1-2 a month. Churches in America are closing at a rate of 900+ per year and climbing because of members leaving for unbiblical reasons or refusing to change in order to reach the lost. About 6,000 plus in Union County who claim no religious affiliation. 8 million lost people in Illinois. 7 out of 10 Americans no relationship with Christ. All of this, yet we rarely baptize anyone in that pool behind me. Church members have gone from attending 3-4 times a week to attending 1-2 a month. Churches are closing at a rate of 900+ per year and climbing. I would say yes we need more intercessors praying in JFBC for our church.
Bill’s girlfriend, Karen, got a job at a local hardware store. Karen told Bill, "The owners don't want us hanging out with our friends. If you stop by, tell them you're my brother." On Bill’s first visit, he walked to the customer service desk and asked an older woman there, "Is Karen around?" When the woman looked at him quizzically, Bill added, "I'm her brother." The woman smiled and said, "What a nice surprise. It's so nice to meet you; I'm Karen's mother!"
More people than ever are decrying - publically denouncing the moral decline of our country - 77%. Yet they do not recognize sin anymore.
91% - say its morally acceptable to use birth control
73% - say divorce is morally good
69% - have no problem with pre-marital sex
63% - see nothing wrong with someone being in a gay/lesbian relationship
62% - believe having a baby outside of marriage is no biggie
57% - think that people should be allowed to have assisted suicide
36% - feel viewing porn is acceptable
Each one of these figures are all time highs. Many of these people who answered the survey are more than likely Christians. I would say yes we need more intercessors praying in JFBC for our country.
One of the best biblical examples of being an intercessor is Moses. He goes between God and the people on several occasions. The passage we will read tonight is in . The type of praying we are going to find that we should emulate of Moses is his humble “Saving Prayer.”

“Saving Prayer”

STAND WITH ME IN HONOR OF OUR HOLY GOD AS WE READ HIS HOLY WORD
STAND WITH ME IN HONOR OF OUR HOLY GOD AS WE READ HIS HOLY WORD
Exodus 32:30–35 CSB
30 The following day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a grave sin. Now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I will be able to atone for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves. 32 Now if you would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book you have written.” 33 The Lord replied to Moses: “Whoever has sinned against me I will erase from my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about; see, my angel will go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will hold them accountable for their sin.” 35 And the Lord inflicted a plague on the people for what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
Exodus
The Context: Look back at - Moses has been away from the camp for more than a month. The Israelites begin to assume that he has had an accident, or simply gone away and left them. They were never very impressed with him anyway. They call upon his less faithful brother to help them commit a rebellious act of idolatry only days or at least a couple week after declaring commitment to all that God says.
Read it.
They want Aaron to make for them “real” gods they can see and touch for themselves. In Aaron’s defense, as a leader, he did not initiate the rebellion, but the people’s rebellion comes from their issues with leadership - God’s leadership through Moses.
In , his own people did not want him acting on their behalf. They confront him, questioning his right to do something to help and his actions.
In , after reluctantly returning to Israel to help them Exodus from Egypt, Moses own people won’t Moses gone and they ask God to get rid of Him.
In , many of the people were so blinded by their selfishness they doubted whether God had truly called him to lead them.
After successfully making an exodus, the people show their fickleness - proving that their loyalties and commitment change with their comfort and preferences.
We see that in and -
Exodus 14:31 NASB95
31 When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.
Exodus 15:24 NASB95
24 So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
They are miraculously rescued by God through the leadership of Moses, and they celebrate greatly. They go a short distance or a couple days later, and find themselves in a difficult and uncomfortable place and they turned on Moses.
Fast forward to Mt. Sinai: Moses is gone for 40 days, the people have a crisis of anxiety, and they place their focus on themselves and not God. They willfully and blatantly sin against God. God tells Moses, Hey let’s just start over, me and you, but we see here one example of why the Bible says Moses was the most humble man to ever live.
Imagine Moses refuses Gods offer of being the start of the next great nation of God.
Imagine what that was like. Yet, Moses refuses Gods offer of being the start of the next great nation of God.
As one of God’s ultimate intercessors, a prototype of Jesus, we can learn from and emulate:
The Life of Moses
The Leadership of Moses
The Love of Moses
In the leadership of Moses, we find he had a double responsibility as an intercessor: 1) He had to identify with God (How God felt as the offended) and 2) He had to identify with God’s people (putting himself in the place of the ones who did the offending) When we stand in the gap, going between God and others we have the same responsibility whether it is praying for someone in the church, whether its the pastor, SS leader, Music leader, volunteer or fellow attender.
From the life of Moses, we learn to serve others more than ourselves. Moses was given to helping others. It is what lead to his trouble as a young man. When he travels into the desert, we find at the end of where he helps the 7 daughters of the Midianite who were attacked by shepherds at a well. God appeals to this sense of service in calling him to return to Egypt and lead the Exodus of the people. Jethro, has to help Moses take some stress off himself with a plan to have other men hear the smaller cases of the people, because Moses was running himself thin trying to serve 2 million people. Moses’ whole life is given to helping others which is the catalyst for his saving prayer.
The lesson God taught me about my frustrations being selfish - from a long housing buying process
The lesson God taught me about my frustrations being selfish - from a long housing buying process
You will find yourself more prone to pray for others when you take on this mindset and life of serving other more than self. The life of Moses translated to his leadership.
In the leadership of Moses, we find he had a double responsibility as an intercessor: 1) He had to identify with God (How God felt as the offended)
v.30 - God was angry because the people had offended His holiness. He had every right to be offended. The rebellious sin was against his repeated grace. Moses, in his leadership laboured to move the people to take responsibility, and he sought to move them to repentance.
Looking back in we find the 3,000 or so guilty ones who actually had the calf made and participated in the orgy were killed by the Levites. The consequences of their open rebellion was immediate death. At times that still happens. It happened in - and we would be naive to believe that God doses not still bring this judgement if a believer’s rebellious willful sin is so severe that it threatens the Holiness and integrity of the church. James and Paul both speak of people dying in the church because of sin.
Who Moses is dealing with here is the go along to get along crowd. These people are the ones who did not oppose the rebellion against God and His leader. Sin has a corporate affect just like the church has a corporate accountability to deal with sin in its camp. Moses identified with God by holding the sinful accountable, but he also had to do something else.
Who Moses is dealing with here is the go along to get along crowd. These people are the ones who did not oppose the rebellion against God and His leader. Sin has a corporate affect just like the church has a corporate accountability to deal with sin in its camp. Moses identified with God by holding the sinful accountable, but he also had to do something else.
WheWe find no problem in our ability to
2) He had to identify with God’s people (putting himself in the place of the ones who did the offending) When we stand in the gap, going between God and others we have the same responsibility whether it is praying for someone in the church, whether its the pastor, SS leader, Music leader, volunteer or fellow attender.
We find no problem in our ability to identify with God. It is often too easy for us to feel offended. God is always justified in His anger because He is perfect and sinless, never taking offense where none is to be taken. The same cannot be said of us however, because their are times where you and I take offense to something someone does yet have no right to do so.
We find no problem in our ability to identify with God. It is often too easy for us to feel offended. God is always justified in His anger because He is perfect and sinless, never taking offense where none is to be taken. The same cannot be said of us however, because their are times where you and I take offense to something someone does yet have no right to do so.
Even if we do have a right to be offended, we are to pray for the one who has offended. Now before you think that their are some things in some people that just cannot be forgiven by you, allow yourself to take on the 2nd responsibility of Moses.
Even if we do have a right to be offended, we are to pray for the one who has offended. Now before you think that their are some things in some people that just cannot be forgiven by you, allow yourself to take on the 2nd responsibility of Moses.

A man named John Oglethorpe, in talking to John Wesley, once made the comment, “I never forgive.” Mr. Wesley wisely replied,

“Then, Sir, I hope that you never sin.”516

v.32 - Moses knew himself to not be sinless. Moses knew himself to be in need of forgiveness, so he went before the Lord on behalf of the sinful people and sought theirs. Moses pleads the peoples case. Moses assuming that their sin would result in death wishes to save them from it. Moses had identified with the people, and the love of Moses for the people drives his prayer for their forgiveness. Moses loved the people enough to ask God to take his life over theirs.
Rather than having these other people die, Moses says remove me from the book of life.
Book of Life is not the Lamb’s Book of life.

In one of Billy Graham’s evangelistic films, Shiokari Pass, a young Christian became a hero. He was working with a railroad company, far away from his fiancée. He worked hard every day and finally the time came to go back to his fiancée and marry her. On the way back home, just before the peak of a steep hill, the train suddenly shook hard and stopped. When the young man went to the front of the passenger car on which he was riding, he found that it was disconnected from the rest of the train. It then began to roll backward down the steep slope. Since he had worked on the railroad, he knew there was a sharp curve behind them that the passenger car could not handle. It would be thrown off the tracks, killing the passengers. He tried to stop the car with the hand brake, but he failed. Our hero then remembered his favorite verse in the Bible: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Although this man had everything to live for, he jumped on the train tracks and stopped the passenger car with his body. He literally laid down his life to save the lives of many.1329

I am not going to lie to you. I do not know if I am there yet as a leader, of actually offering my life up for someone who sinned to keep living, but the example of Moses tells me I should be. It tells you that you should be.
Moses’ selflessness, dedication and love for sinful people are seen in his prayers. The same should be said of us all. How often do you pray for others in the church who have offended you? How often do you pray to forgive them, and how often do you pray to see lost people be saved like you were? I believe we all have plenty of room to grow in our love being Christlike in our willingness to die so another can live.
Conclusion: A man took his small son with him to work one day. When lunch time arrived, the two of them went to a familiar diner for a sandwich. They ordered lunch, and when the waiter brought the food, the father said, "Son, we'll just have a silent prayer." Both bowed their heads.
b. They ordered lunch, and when the waiter brought the food, the father said, "Son, we'll just have a silent prayer." Both bowed their heads.
Dad got through praying first and waited for the boy to finish his prayer, but he just sat with his head bowed for an unusually long time. When he finally looked up, his father asked him, "What in the world were you praying about all that time?" With the innocence and honesty of a child, he replied,
d. When he finally looked up, his father asked him, "What in the world were you praying about all that time?" With the innocence and honesty of a child, he replied,
"How do I know? It was a silent prayer."
We are all Christians, prayerfully so, and if we are we know we make up this church, our church. We have important ministries to others. We need to see souls saved and church members reclaimed to attend again. We need revival and repairing of the moral walls of the country. We are the bricks in the spiritual walls of this church and country, yet if our prayers are silent, the bricks won’t matter without the mortar. Our saving prayers will be what repairs the walls and builds new ones.

Invitation to Respond

Let’s all come to the Altar tonight.
Let’s all come to the Altar tonight. Let’s flood the throne room of heaven with saving prayers.
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