Summary: Working through the book of Exodus using consecutive expository preaching. Exodus 19:3-6. Teaching Sheet for the bulletin included at end of text.
Sermon Series “Exodus”
“Israel Then & Us Today”
Pastor John Bright
Exodus 19 “3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
Ever hear one of those lists of crazy laws that are still on the books – from long ago? Technically, they are still in effect.
Let's take Missouri for example. Just so you know—you can't drive down the highway with an uncaged bear in your car.
In Illinois, for example, it's illegal to give lighted cigars to your pets—even if they do enjoy a good Cuban from time to time.
Ladies, this one is just for you. Forget about trying to publicly adjust your stockings in Bristol, Tennessee. Performing such a lewd act could land you a sentence of up to twelve months in the state penitentiary.
God’s Love AND God’s Law – these are not the same… but as attributes of God – they are equal. Remember, you can’t elevate one attribute of God above all the others!
There were three types of Old Testament Laws. The civil law deals mainly with relationships between individuals, the settling of disputes, and the description of proper behavior. The ceremonial law deals with the priesthood and the various sacrifices through which the people of the Old Testament were cleansed of their sins. The moral law is based on the character of God and extends from the Old into the New Testament. Therefore, as it was wrong to lie in the Old Testament, it is still wrong to lie in the New Testament.
Today, we get our Civil laws from the state and federal government. Most of our Ceremonial law comes from The Book of Discipline. The Moral law still comes from The Bible – if it was a lie then, it’s still a lie now.
Moses has been God’s agent to bring the Israelites from Egypt to the mountain. They needed to remembers what God did for them. What had God done for you? We all need to come out of slavery to be free in Christ! So, what has God done for you?
First thing we want to take away from this part of Exodus - Our God is a Covenant-Making God
Exodus 2 “24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.”
To keep the Covenant with Abraham, God had to deliver His people from Egypt.
To make a New Covenant with us, Christ had to shed His blood.
Luke 22: 20 “Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.””
This New Covenant paid the penalty for sins and transgressions in the Old Testament Law. There are two parts to those laws:
• The Morality – lying is part of the 10 Commandments. The elephant in the room right now for the UMC is sexual immorality. God’s design is one man and one woman in a marriage covenant and that never changes.
• The Penalty – Jesus paid the penalty on the cross of Calvary. So we do not take an adulterer into the town square for a public execution (stoning).
So, How Does a Covenant Work?
Anybody here married? You know how a covenant works. You both promised to do certain things and not do certain things to stick to the covenant. God explains covenant in Exodus 19:5 “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” Here we read “obey My voice” and “keep My covenant.”
Here is my over-simplified definition of covenant:
GOD does this… now YOU do that
In the next couple of weeks, we will be looking at God’s expectations for the Israelites and us in the 10 Commandments.
Today – God offers each of us unconditional love (agape) that comes without any cost on our part. We can’t earn it or buy it. It doesn’t matter how many times you have washed the dishes after a church meal. It doesn’t matter how much you put in the offering plate.