The Story - Chapter 4
October 3, 2010
I heard about a story about a very wealthy lawyer from Chicago who came to Indiana to do some dove hunting. He was out hunting and he shot a dove and killed it and it landed on the other side of a fence. So, the wealthy Chicago lawyer went to get his dove and as he climbed over the fence the farmer who owned the field drove over on his tractor and told him this is my land, and now this is my dove, get out of here.
Well, the wealthy Chicago lawyer was also a little arrogant and he started yelling at the old farmer and told him he’s going to sue the farmer for everything he has, and he’s not only going to lose the dove, he’s going to lose his farm, as well.
Well, the old farmer said, ‘that’s not how we do things here in Central Indiana. And the lawyer calmed down and said, ‘how do you settle things here?’ The old farmer said, “we have the Indiana 3 kick rule.’ The lawyer asked him what that is, and the old farmer said, basically, I kick you 3 times and you kick me 3 times and we keep doing it, until someone finally gives up, and that’s how we determine the winner.
The lawyer looks at the old farmer and decides, I can take this guy and he agrees to this fight. So the old farmer gets off his tractor and comes down and gets ready to throw the first kick. The wealthy Chicago lawyer braced himself and took the first kick from the old farmer. And boom, the old farmer kicked the Chicago lawyer and he fell backwards and thought, “wow, this old farmer has some kick in him.”
Before he could come to his senses, the old farmer came up to the lawyer and nailed him with another big kick and he fell to the ground rolling in excruciating pain. And before he can even regain his senses the 3rd kick comes and gets him upside the head and now the wealthy Chicago lawyer is seeing stars and the earth is spinning. He almost passes out, lays there for a few moments, then with the strength and courage of a Chicagoan, he stands up, puts his hands on his hips and looks at the farmer and says, “okay, get ready, because it’s my turn.”
And the farmer looks back at the wealthy Chicago lawyer and says, “naw, I give up, you can have the dove.”
You know we all solve problems differently. So, I want to throw a problem up to you and see if you can solve it. Here it is, ‘each one of us was conceived in our mother’s womb with a sin nature, now listen, that sin nature is the single barrier between us and God. That sin nature keeps us from a relationship with God and it’s also the cause of our death. Here’s our problem, how are we going to remove that sin nature so we might get back to a relationship with God and enjoy the vision He had to be with us? How are you going to do that? Your boots aren’t going to help you with this problem. Because only God has the solution to this problem.
And that is what the story is all about. God’ relentless pursuit to cleanse us of the sin nature which prevents us from a relationship with Him. Today, as we move into chapter 4, we’re going to see God’s plan a little more clearly.
In chapter 3 you may recall the nation of Israel was saved through the power of God and the leadership of a man named Joseph. The nation of Israel was moved to Egypt to enjoy the fertile land. As we move into chapter 4, we find that the Israelites are still in Egypt and 400 years have passed. During these 400 years, Israel has become a great nation. There are now 1000's and 1000's of Israelites living in Egypt. So, as we open the story in Exodus 1, Joseph has died and a new pharaoh arrives who didn’t know what Joseph did for the nation, plus, the Egyptians were becoming fearful at the strength and numbers of the Israelites.
So, they decided to oppress the Israelites and put them into slavery. To take this a step further, the pharaoh decided to slow down the growth of the Israelites and to emotionally cripple them, they were to throw the newborn sons into the Nile River; for one and only one reason . . . to stop the growth of the Israelites. But this turn of events, which seemed devastating to the unfolding of God’s plan is a great opportunity for God to reveal 3 things.
1. His name
2. His power
3. His plan
And God was going to do this through one man, an unsuspecting guy named Moses. We quickly learn Moses is a little reluctant. He feels unqualified for the job. He tells God, “pardon your servant Lord, please send someone else.” This is the kind of person God is looking for. God gave Moses the task, “go to the mighty pharaoh and tell him, let my people go.” God said this to Moses 6 times.
Can you picture being Moses, you stutter, you’re nervous and God is telling you, go to the most powerful man, with the most powerful army and tell him to let a bunch of slaves go free? How would you say that? “Help?!”
Well the first thing God is going to do is reveal His name. When God is talking to Moses at the burning bush, Moses asked this question in Exodus 3,
13 "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"
14 God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "
Isn’t that a strange name. I mean no disrespect to God, but when we think of names, we thing of something catchy, something that will be remembered, but when we talk about God, we really don’t talk about God, we don’t pray “Dear I AM . . .” So, what does His name mean?
If you look at the Hebrew, YHWH. Some of you maybe didn’t know where the name Yahweh came from.
Throughout the Old Testament we use lots of different names for God. But here the name of God, some say it as Yahweh, some as Jehovah, literally means “the self existent one who always was and always is and always will be, the faithful and dependable God. He calls Himself I AM.
Moses is going to reveal the name of God to the Israelites and to the Egyptians. He’s going to let them know that everything they experience and see is coming from Yahweh. It is Yahweh’s power at work. Everything should be credited to Him, and when you see all these things, you will know who Yahweh is.
The next thing God is going to do is reveal His power. God is going to reveal that He is the one true God by His display of power, and we see that by the unleashing of the 10 plagues. Most are familiar with it, if we’ve watched the ten commandments, we’ve seen them in the movie.
Moses goes to pharaoh and says, “let my people go.” And pharaoh says No way! Moses tells pharaoh God will make it clear to you that He is the one true God. We see 9 plagues unfolding before the eyes of pharaoh and the people of Egypt. But the heart of pharaoh remains hardened against Moses, the Israelites and God. In fact, he makes life harder for the Israelites, there’s no giving in by Pharaoh.
Exodus 7-13 lists the plagues. They were —
1. The Nile river is turned into blood.
5. Livestock is diseased
9. Darkness 24/7
Then comes the 10th plague, it’s not only the display of God’s mighty power, but it’s a display of His plan. Let me read to you from The Story, page 41-42, or in the Teen version, bottom of page 49. I’m going to start at the paragraph . . . But the Lord hardened the pharaoh’s heart. . .This will be portions of Exodus 10 - 12.
Read the rest of pages 41, all of 42, first sentence of 43.
Now what I want you to do is take your copy of the Story and open it to the map on the inside cover and draw a picture of Moses, make it as elaborate or as simple as you need to, but you only have 5 seconds to do it. Now, draw a line from Moses to right below where it says Sinai. As the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. They temporarily end up in what we would now call the Sinai Peninsula.
If you’ve been mapping all along, then your map should start to look something like this.
How do the children leave, what route do they take? We see another undeniable miracle and act of God’s power to help the children of Israel cross the Red Sea to find safety. I’m not going to tell you the story, but watch the movie The Prince of Egypt or The Ten Commandments.
Now, what I want to talk to you about is really, really important, so all joking aside. Close your Bibles, it’s not often you’ll hear that in church, but for now, close your Bibles and focus on me for a little bit.
We try talking about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, but every now and then, we need to make sure every person knows with real clarity how it is we cleanse the sin nature and come into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I want to teach us what God is teaching us in chapter 4.
Chapter 4 teaches us that we are in the same situation as the Israelites. While we are not in slavery, we are enslaved into sin. The sin nature that is in each one of us keeps us from a relationship with God. It keeps us from being the people God calls us to be, it keeps us away from living the abundant life God offers us.
And God is looking sin square in the face. And He’s saying, “let my people go.” But in order for us to be released we must have the blood of the lamb over the doorpost of our soul. This is serious business. Because if the destroyer were to visit your home today and you didn’t have the blood on the doorpost of your soul, then I tell you with all sincerity and graciousness that you will die in your sins and you will not be delivered.
There is a thing going on in American Christianity where we teach what Jesus has done for us, but if we’re not careful we accidently give the impression that everyone’s got it, but in reality not everyone’s got it. So, where do you get this blood of the lamb from?
Well, if you look over in the NT, you will find in John 1:29 — The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
And in 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul said, For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.
It’s not that hard to see where this is all going, is it? Way back in chapter 4 of The Story or in Exodus, we see God’s ultimate plan revealed in the NT. Jesus is the lamb, the lamb without defect, the lamb without sin. It’s His blood poured out on the cross which needs to be spread on the doorpost of our souls.
It is the blood poured out by Christ at the cross which needs to be applied to the doorpost of your souls. Do you get it? This causes the lamb to be applied to us, and for the Passover to be applied to us. So, how do you apply the lamb of the blood of Jesus onto your soul?
It’s not because you’ve worked for it. We can’t do anything to earn Christ. You can’t pay for it. It’s something you have to ask for, it is a gift. You have to admit you’ve been captured by sin. It may not be one particular sin, it’s an accumulation of all of the sinfulness which is in us. Even though we would consider ourselves good people, the sin nature has been passed down to us from the time of Adam and Eve, and it can’t be extracted with surgery or taking vitamins.
Then, after you’ve admitted you’ve been caught by the sin, you need to ask God to apply the blood of Jesus onto the doorframe of your soul so that death passes over you. Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t want that? Well today I want to make sure you understand this, and if you want it, you can get it, as a gift to you.
I want to ask you this question. Sometimes we need to make sure and be very clear what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have never applied the blood of the lamb of Jesus on the doorpost of your soul, please understand, nobody can do it for you. Your spouse can’t do it, your mom or dad, your bff can’t, your minister can’t do it for you, I would if I could, but I can’t. Only one person can do it for you, you must choose to do it for yourself. Take some courage and make that decision today. And if you want to apply the blood of Jesus, the lamb of God on the door frame of your soul, I would like to lead you in prayer right now . . .
I would invite you to pray this prayer with me.
God, I need you to deliver me. I admit, I am captured by sin. I can do nothing in myself to deal with it. I am a lamb with defect. I am sorry for my sin and desperately want to be restored to a relationship with you. Today I apply the blood of Christ, the sinless lamb of God to the doorpost of my soul. This is the decision of my heart. Please do it now. I thank you for forgiving my sins and making me part of your family and securing a place for me in your kingdom, the promised land. Take my life and have your way with me.