Summary: The Making of an Outstanding Church: A Place where God Rules through Jesus Christ
Ex 32 The Golden Calf
GOD’S OUTSTANDING CHURCH
The Making of an Outstanding Church: A Place where God Rules through Jesus Christ
Grace to you, and peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you heard the story of “The Golden Calf” from Exodus 32? It couldn’t walk or talk or do anything. The dumb thing is that people worshipped it. Actually, it is an anticlimax to the Exodus story. God had summoned Israel out of slavery in Egypt with many miracles, particularly the Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea. He gathered them together at His Holy Mountain. He had one singular purpose in mind. That purpose was that they be free to worship Him before the watching world in order that ALL COULD COME TO KNOW THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD.
That part of the story is repeated in our lives today. God has summoned each one of us out of slavery to sin through the miraculous provisions of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. He gathers us together today at this Holy place of worship. He still has one singular purpose in mind. That purpose is that we worship Him unashamedly before the watching world, so that all can come to KNOW THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD AT WORK IN OUR MIDST.
The gathering of God’s people at Mount Zion was a Holy and momentous happening. Our being here today is a Holy and momentous happening. God has come here today with this purpose in mind that we, here at St John’s, take our place in this world as HIS OUTSTANDING CHURCH. I like the sound of that. Don’t you want to be a part of a Church that stands out in the community for all of the right reasons?
I wish to talk to you about The Making of an Outstanding Church: A Place where God Rules through Jesus Christ; and how you can be an outstanding individual for God.
He wants to make an outstanding man of you - a man who stands out in the crowd!
He wants to make an outstanding woman of you - a woman who stands out in the crowd!
God wants each and every man, woman and child here to stand out in the crowd!
It is not for play or entertainment that we are here today. Our faith is not some sort of “make it up your-self religion”. We do not get to tell God what He should do or be like or how He should run our lives. If that were the case, the only thing that we would stand out for would be sinfulness. Then the response of the watching world would rightly be: “What makes you so different from us that we should join with you?”
Let me ask you these questions:
• What sets you apart from your non-Christian friends?
• What gives you your identity?
• What determines (constitutes) what you believe?
• What determines your constitution as a person?
• Who makes the rules about how you are to live?
We can ask these same questions of our Church:
• What sets our Church apart from the world?
• What constitutes what we believe as the people of God?
• Who determines our constitution?
• What gives us our identity as the people of God?
The answer to all of these questions is given to us by God Himself. When He gathered the Israelites at His Holy Mountain He gave them a constitution to live by. It was to be a defining moment for them individually and as a community. The 10 Commandments are a summary of God’s constitution for His people – they are not the sum/total constitution. Their purpose was simple. It was to establish an outstanding group of people among whom God rules, who get their identity from Him and what He does for them, and who know how to live – to really live and love life and God and others!
The story of “The Golden Calf” represents Israel’s breaking of the 1st Commandment. It is given to us as a reminder as to what happens when we do not keep the 1st Commandment.
How easily it happens!
We are called to a distinct allegiance to God, not just any god, but the Creator God who reveals Himself to us personally in His Word.
We are called into a personal relationship with God who has revealed Himself down through history. History has always been His story. He has and always will be the central actor in history. He is actively concerned for individuals and nations alike. He is involved in the course of history. He has never left the scene. He has never left your life, or mine, or the stage of world history. He has always been there, deeply involved in our suffering in Egypt, in the Wilderness, on the mountain tops and in the valleys of deepest darkness.