Sermons

Summary: Many people avoid God, because they don’t believe He can be known, others stay away because they don’t think they would like Him if they knew Him! Still others would rather hold on to the temporal pleasures of a sinful life, assuming that the way of God is less than fulfilling or meaningful!

West Greeley Baptist Church

March 18th 2001

"Approaching God”

Exodus 20: 18-21

Pastor Mark Hensley

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was”

Introduction: The story is told that after Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, had given her the names of physical objects in sign language, Miss Sullivan attempted to explain God and tapped out the symbols for the name "God." Much to Miss Sullivan’s surprise, Helen spelled back, "Thank you for telling me God’s name, Teacher, for he has touched me many times before." Helen Keller knew something of God’s signature from nature, but it was wordless. Source Unknown

Transition: God can be known! He is personable. Yet we must know that while God is approachable, we must enter his presence with awe and humility! In the Old Testament book of Exodus chapter’s 19-20 we read about Moses and His encounter with God. God met Moses on Mt. Sinai. Moses was instructed to keep the people at the base of the Mountain. For them to come up would have resulted in their death! Why? You ask. Because God is Holy and to approach Him with no thought of his majesty is presumptuous and dangerous! Yet, they could have known Him, just as Moses did. God is approachable! In verse 18-21 of Chapter 20 we read these words.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was”

People often remain at a Distance from God

Some avoid God, because they would rather sin.

God can be found

I. People often remain at a Distance from God

“ The people remained at a distance”

Why? If you could draw close to God, if His magnificence was so close wouldn’t you want to experience Him? The reason the people wanted to remain at a distance is found in verse 18.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."

To their credit the Israelites recognized the majesty of God! They saw God’s power and trembled, Moses saw God’s power and worshiped! They wanted…they needed a mediator someone to stand between them and God. A role filled by Moses, later to be filled by prophets, priests and kings…ultimately to be filled by the Lord Jesus Christ!

A small boy had been consistently late for dinner. One particular day his parents had warned him to be on time, but he arrived later than ever. He found his parents already seated at the table, about to start eating. Quickly he sat at his place, and then noticed what was set before him--a slice of bread and a glass of water. There was silence as he sat staring at his plate, crushed. Suddenly he saw his father’s hand reach over, pick up his plate and set it before himself. Then his dad put his own full plate in front of his son, smiling warmly as he made the exchange. When the boy became a man, he said, "All my life I’ve known what God was like by what my father did that night." Homemade, May, 1989

Sadly so many stay away from God, because they think He is unapproachable they assume (wrongly) that He could never love them after all they have a sinned so many times.

The people of Israel had been delivered God, had supplied their needs! God had told Moses, in Chapter 19:4-5

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles wing’s and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession”

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