Follow That Angel! [Exodus Pt.23]

Follow That Angel!

Being a Christian is not just a choice. It is not just saying that we believe something. Being a Christian is a life of submitting ourselves to the authority of God and living in obedience to His commands.  NOT as a means to GAIN His favor, but as a RESPONSE to His favor FREELY GIVEN, though not deserved. There is no covenant relationship to the God of the universe that does not include submission to His authority and obedience to His commands!

Follow That Angel – SERMON AUDIO

And I can hear the cries now, “Don’t go all leagalist on me!” “You think you can earn God’s grace!?” And yet, I read in the New Testament as the Apostle John writes to the Believers in Ephesus and tells them how to know whether or not they are in Christ. He says;

1 John 2:3-6  Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  4  He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  5  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.  6  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

What is your gut reaction to hearing about or thinking about rules in your relationship to Christ? Most of our culture (in the US) cringes at the thought. But there is no relationship without rules! Try not keeping the rules (or boundaries) of your other relationships (i.e. marriage, boss, even your neighbor). This anti-rule mentality is pervasive in our culture. We are brainwashed with these notions to the point that we have lost all discernment.

One popular restaurant chain has been using this slogan for years; “No Rules, Just Right!”  Would you go to a restaurant that really had no rules? No one in charge of cleaning up the place? No one to make sure that the food was fresh and fit for sale? No one to make sure the people who work there are doing their jobs correctly? Of course not! It is an illusion designed to allure us by our sinful desire to be self-governing.  Not only are there rules at this particular steak house, but there are groups of people, managers, who enforce them and who instruct and guide the employees to keep them in order for the restaurant to succeed! If you think that restaurant is completely uninterested in rules, try using their slogan for you own business and see how quickly they resort to the rules of commerce as governed by the law of the land and sue you for using their copyrighted slogan!

What does all of this have to do with Exodus and better yet, with us, as Christians, living 3,500 years after Moses?

Well, We are commanded to look back at the Exodus and see in it a type, or a picture of ourselves as New Testament Believers. We are to take from it warnings about our own obedience (or lack of it).

1 Corinthians 10:1-11  Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,  2  all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,  3  all ate the same spiritual food,  4  and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.  5  But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  6  Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.  7  And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY.”  8  Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;  9  nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;  10  nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.  11  Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Hebrews 3:12-19  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;  13  but exhort one another daily, while it is called “TODAY,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  14  For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,  15  while it is said: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION.”  16  For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?  17  Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?  18  And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?  19  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Both of these New Testament passages call us to examine the Exodus and learn from the faults of the ancient people of Israel. From it, we learn that true faith produces obedience to God. Faith is not merely believing in God,  but believing Him, taking Him at His Word. If our faith does not produce personal holiness and love for God and neighbor, we have no right to claim that we have any faith at all!

As God gave His Law the His people of old, he gave them the Moral Commands (the 10 Commandments) in Exodus 20. He gave them the statutes, or rules as to how they should be applied, in what is called The Book of the Covenant in Exodus 20:22-23:19. But He did not stop with mere lists of rules and written codes of conduct. He also gave His people personal guidance;

Exodus 23:20-23  “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.  21  Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.  22  But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.  23  For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.

This Angel is no ordinary Angel! He has God’s Name in Him (Exodus 23:21). He is the pre-incarnate Christ. (Listen to the audio of the sermon for the Scripture proof of this!)  The Angel of His Presence (Christ) as well as the Cloudy/Fiery Pillar (The Holy Spirit) and the Presence of the Father between the Cherubim on the Mercy Seat are all with the ancient People of God. God’s own Triune Presence is there amidst His people to guide and lead them.  This is a type or picture of our relationship to God as New Testament Believers, just as the Apostle has written.

Hebrews 3:12-19  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;  13  but exhort one another daily, while it is called “TODAY,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  14  For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,  15  while it is said: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION.”  16  For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?  17  Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?  18  And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?  19  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Does your faith move you to obedience? Does it make you desire to honor God through obedience, even difficult obedience?
What does God give His people today, to help us along in our obedience? His Son as our example. His Spirit in our hearts to guide and teach us and move us along in our sanctification. The Presence of God is not only among us, but in us! The weight of the Law has been lifted by Christ as He took our punishment for all the times that we have broken it. His perfect righteousness is credited to our account by faith. And yet, we are also commanded to demonstrate our redeemed state by a life of submission and obedience. This is the essence of the New Covenant.

Ezekiel 36:25-27  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Romans 8:3-14  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,  4  that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  5  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  6  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  8  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  9  But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  10  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  12  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  13  For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

And so, Christian, how is your obedience? Are you walking after the flesh or following the Spirit? Are you caught up in sin or following Christ in a life of righteousness? Your obedience is the gauge of your faith. “18  And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:18-19)

I encourage you to listen to the sermon audio and examine your own heart and life in light of the Exodus, just as the Apostle does in 1 Corinthians 10 and Hebrews 3-4). Your entrance into the Promised Land of heaven depends upon it!

Follow That Angel – SERMON AUDIO

In Christ!

Kevin

This entry was posted in Sermons and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *