Summary: A backdoor look at the Five Purposes of the Church.
Not Very Far
28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.
You know, it’s really always been the plan of the enemy. And his strategies haven’t changed very much. It’s never so cut and dry. It’s never BLACK or WHITE with the devil. Satan loves to meld the extremes to muted shades of gray. He loves to see the distinct become ambiguous, and the clean-cut become hazy. There is a fiendish strategy to it; a diabolical design.
“Pharaoh, we’ve been commanded by God to take a three day journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our God…” That’s BLACK AND WHITE. It was cut and dry for the Lord, and for Moses His servant. “We WILL go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.” (Exodus 8:27)
But for Pharaoh… it wasn’t so. “I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away…” That’s vague. That’s what the devil always does. He’ll give a little. He gives you a false sense of security that somehow you’ve gotten one up on him. You’ve gotten some leeway. But in getting THAT step up, there is only a shallow victory, because it’s not what God commanded.
So he says, “I’ll let you go, only I don’t want you to go all the way.” I’ll let you go part way. “I will let you go; only ye shall not go very far away…” He still does it today. Tonight, we’ll explore this idea, “NOT VERY FAR.” Places where the enemy will allow you to take a step, but not go all the way.
I. The first area where the enemy doesn’t want you to go VERY FAR is into the area of EVANGELISM.
The enemy works feverishly to HIDE the Gospel.
2 Cor 4:3
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
He mutes its relevance. People get a plethora of different answers, rather than the piercing truth that there is only one way to heaven.
2 Cor 4:4
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
And what’s more, he works to keep us from sharing it. He puts people under the burden of fear, and shame. People afraid to tell anyone what they believe. Now, don’t get me wrong. Satan doesn’t mind the Gospel. He doesn’t mind it, as long as it is hidden the walls of the church. It doesn’t bother him, as long as the Gospel stays in your vessel and doesn’t spill out. As long as your Gospel is only affecting YOU, it’s fine with Him. As long as your Gospel doesn’t take you TOO FAR, you can have it. As long as your Gospel doesn’t carry you anywhere, it’s fine with the devil.
And you can almost hear the devil’s words resound in your ear when you start talking about the Gospel. “I’ll let you go… only I don’t want you to go off too far. “ That’s the first area where the devil doesn’t want us to go very far… EVANGELISM
II. The second area where the enemy doesn’t want us to go very far is into FELLOWSHIP
The author of Hebrews is unknown. Many view the style and candor of it like that of the Apostle Paul. However, Paul’s customary authoring generally included his own introduction –something like he said in Ephesians:
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:”
So most agree that it is unlikely that Paul wrote Hebrews. However, it is believed to be amongst one of the earliest written Epistles. It’s in Hebrews where we find this exhortation:
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Don’t give up getting together. Don’t cease in fellowship. Don’t stop spending time with one another. But that’s exactly what has happened. People have abandoned smaller churches with intimate fellowship, and have frequented the Mega churches where one can fall in and disappear.
I personally believe Satan doesn’t mind superficial fellowship; the fellowship where we just get the shallow “Hi, how ya doing?”