February 11, 2018 Sermon

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We often think if God as being mean for  giving us the law to obey but he had thoroughly demonstrated his love long before the law was given.  The law itself is a reflection of his love, providing a set of common-sense rules for living in the household of God.  Jesus gives us the only example of someone who kept the law perfectly but he does not fit our model of someone who keeps the law.  He seemed to be relaxed and focused on others unlike the Pharisees who were supposed to be the best at keeping the law in their day.  Jesus satisfied the requirements of the law so that we no longer need to be slaves to it but it remains the loving, household rules for the family of God.

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Wake discusses our propensity to turn away from God as seen through the Israelites creation of the golden calf.

Discussion questions:

  • What could have protected the Israelites from falling into temptation?
  • What protects you from temptation to doubt God today?
  • What keeps God' righteous anger and judgment from consuming you and I today?
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The theme of fear is woven throughout the story of the Exodus and crossing the Red Sea.  There are three large categories of response to God: no fear (Pharaoh), superstitious fear without yielding to his Lordship (some Egyptians) and true fear of the Lord (Moses, Rahab, etc).  Fear of the Lord is a natural response to his awesome nature.  It is the source of wisdom because it puts things in their propoer persepective.  It causes us to see that the Lord is in control and is more awesome/fearful that anything else that might concern us.  It leads us to worship.

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In the tenth plague that God brought against Egypt, death came to all of the first born.  It did not discriminate based on race.  The Israelites were only protected by the blood of the lamb.  The natuse of our sin is such that we deserve death.  God's nature is holy (he can not tolerate sin) and just (he must punish sin) but his plan, due to his love for us, was to sacrifice his first-born son.  The Lamb of God shed his blood so that the death angel would pass over us and we would not have to pay the price.  Don't miss the opportunity to benefit from God loving plan of protection and forgiveness for us.  

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In Exodus 5, Pharaoh asks, "Who is Yahweh that I should obey him".  In chapters 5-10, God answers that he is the Lord God Almighty but repeatedly showing his superiority over the Egyptian gods.  The process also brings hardship for the Israelites.  God's path for our lives does involve trials (I Peter 1:3-7).  However, in Exodus 6 God comforts Israel with the reminder that he is the almighy God who keeps his covenant.  He also promises liberation, redemption, adoption and an inheritance, all of which are foreshadowing of his promises to all believers.

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Joseph would have had plenty of reasons to say that God's way was not working very well.  However, he continued to live a life of obedience and faith in that face of hardship and God ultimately revealed his plan to save Joseph's family and many others through his suffering.  God wants us enough to allow suffering to bring us into deeper relationship with him.  Although Joseph was obedient and God used him significantly, it was Judah, Joseph's brother with the sordid past, that God chose to be the ancestor of Jesus.  Our shame is real but God's plans are not thwarted.  

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Do you want God's will no matter the consequences?  God wants us and suffering is often the best way to get our attention.  We want blessing but the blessing often comes through a forest of suffering.  Joseph modeled this and Jesus was the ultimate example: the suffering servant described in Isaiah 53.

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Jacob was a deceiver but he valued God's blessing, likely from wrong motives.  God was able to use that more than Esau's disinterest.  God intervened in Jacob's life to try to change his heart but it took a crisis before he was ready to wrestle with God to bring about the transformation of his character that resulted in his name being changed to Israel.  God calls us to be Israel as well - to be people who wrestle with God to bring about his desired change in our lives.

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Abraham lived out great faith and God promised to bless him and his descendents and the world through them.  That covenant was dependent on God's faithfulness, not the faithfulness of Abrahams descendents.  God's promises are sure.  His word is true and can be trusted.

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