Summary: This sermon examines God’s Holy nature and the awe that His nature creates in believers lives.
All of us have seen "No Trespassing" signs. Those signs warn us to stay out. Those signs can also be a protection against harm. Our minds could run wild considering the implications of a "No Trespassing" sign. However, what if that "No Trespassing" sign stands between us and God. This is true in our realtionship with God!
When Moses went up Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments God told Moses to erect a "No Trespassing" sign. We find this recorded in Exo. 19:12. "You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, `Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death." God’s "No Trespassing" sign was placed there for two reasons. One, it was to teach them to respect His Holy nature. Two, it was to protect them from death. Moses told the Israelite people that you cannot see God’s face and live. However, there was a very real danger that those people would develop an unhealthy fear of God because of the "No Trespassing" sign. Moses addressed this fear in Exo. 20:20 "And Moses said to the people, ’Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.’" Moses explained the reason for keeping their distance. However, he also explained God’s desire relative to His people. In Exodus 19:18-20 we find three beliefs God’s people need as they stand in His presence.
1. We need a sense of Awe. In 20:18 we read " Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off."
A. Awe causes us to respect God’s Holy nature. In Exodus 3 when God called Moses, He told Moses to take off His shoes because the place where he stood was Holy.
B. Awe causes us to respect God’s word. The revelation of the "Ten Commandments" was accompanied by thunder, lightning, trumpet blasts and a smoking mountain. These mighty displays were given to highlight the importance of God’s word and to emphasize the value of obeying them.
2. We need Assurance. In Exodus 20:19-20 we read "Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear."
A. We need an awe of God’s person. However, we need an assurance that God cares for us. He may be Holy and Sovereign but he also cares for His people.
B. We need an assurance that God will support us as we face the challenges of life. In our text the Israelites were about to embark on a journey as a nation. They needed to know that God would be with them.
Illustration: A few months ago I received a telephone call from our Mastercard company. They were inquiring about certain charges on our card. After that call I told Judy it was reassuring to know that our card company is looking out for us.
3. We need God’s assistance. In Exo. 20:21 we read "So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was."
A. A child of God feels unworthy to approach the throne of our Holy God. I am reminded of Isaiah’s experience as recorded in Isaiah 6. He had a vision of God. That vision caused Isaiah to feel overwhelmed. He said "Woe is me."
B. Our unworthiness causes us to see the need for a mediator. Moses fulfilled the same role for the Israelites that Jesus fulfills for us. He interceded for the people. Our unworthiness causes us to feel the need for a mediator.
Every believer needs a sense of awe before God. Every believer needs assurance that God cares about him/her. Every believer needs assistance in his/her relationship with God. Each of these beliefs are essential to a healthy relationship with God. There is a need for the "No Trespassing" sign in our relationship with God. It is there for a reason.