Beauty from Ashes
CCCAG Jan 9h, 2019
Scripture- Exodus 3
Today is the first Sunday service of 2019.
This time of year is a time of reflection and looking back at the last year and seeing where we may have gone well or look at ways we could have done better.
It’s our feeling that we need to do better that leads to us making NY resolutions.
Has anyone here made any new years resolutions?
According to an Internet survey these are the top 10 new years resolutions for this year
1. Diet or eat healthier (71 percent)
2. Exercise more (65 percent)
3. Lose weight (54 percent)
4. Save more and spend less (32 percent)
5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26 percent)
6. Quit smoking (21 percent)
7. Read more (17 percent)
8. Find another job (16 percent)
9. Drink less alcohol (15 percent)
10. Spend more time with family and friends (13 percent)
It's hard to argue with any of those but if you notice that there is one common theme among all of them
They all have to do with making our lives better here on this earth.
Surveys like this or fun to take and to look at, but for us as Christians we shouldn't be asking ourselves how can I make my life better here on earth but rather how do I make myself more productive for the Kingdom of God.
When I speak to people who really have never committed their lives to Jesus Christ and I bring something up like this most of them tell me that they could never be used by God because of their past. They feel they have messed up so bad that they have been permanently disqualified being saved, getting to heaven, or being used by God.
This feeling is not one that just comes on people outside of the church but often it also comes to us within the church.
New Year’s is the time that you look backward upon your life. Some of us, or even many of us, look back and feel a sense of shame about what we have done or about what we have left undone. Many of us may feel like we have blown it and are outside of God's grace and the best we can hope for is an easy death and hopefully that God lets us into heaven.
If that’s you- you’re not the first person to feel that way. The Bible has many examples of men and women who have blown it big time with God. This morning we're going to study God's call on one of these men and through it we're going to see how even our failures cannot stop the plan of God in our Lives.
Turn to Exodus chapter 3 and we're going to start by reading God’s call to a man named Moses. Moses once held what was one of the most powerful positions in the most powerful Kingdom of that time.
Then he messes up big time and ends up spending the last 40 years banished to the backside of the desert.
When we find Moses in Exodus 3, he is like many people today- marking time. Moses has no real hope for anything great in his life, and he figures that his best years are behind him.
But God has other plans. Let's read about that
Scripture: Exodus 3
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”
At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Prayer- that we can see our worth in God’s sight despite our failure
There is a truth that I want the word of God to impart to you this morning. It is one of the most powerful points that you and I can ever incorporate into our thinking.
It is the thought that as long as you're still breathing God ain't finished with you yet.
It does not matter what you have done. it doesn't matter what you have left undone. If you're listening to this message this morning God wants to renew a call, a plan, and a destiny within your life.
The second and most important point I want us to leave with today is this-
Proposition- “Let God deal with your past and allow Him to use it to define your future”
God is in the business of taking what the world has broken and making it into something HE alone can use. In fact- God allowing the things of this life to leave you broken is part of the plan.
Let me show you this- Let's go a little backward in time in Moses is life and see the incident that led him to be banished to the backside of the Sinai Peninsula
flip your Bible one page back to exodus chapter 2
I. Moses the murderer
Exodus 2:11 11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”
14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”
15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian,
A little background of the story of how Moses came to live in the house of Pharaoh, the King of Egypt and the most powerful man in the world at that time. Prior to this, Pharaoh had ordered all Hebrew males to be killed to keep the slave population at a manageable level as the Hebrews were about to outnumber the population of the Egyptians in their own country. Moses’ mother had given birth and placed him in a basket and sent him down the Nile River to where she knew that Pharaoh’s daughter would be bathing. Pharaoh’s daughter sees the boy, has compassion on him, and takes him into her house to be raised as a prince of Egypt.
All this was according to the plan of God on Moses’ life. God even arranged it so that Moses’ mother was his wet nurse to ensure that Moses knew where he came from.
Moses lives as a prince of Egypt until he is 40 years old when God moves in his life. We know from Hebrews 11:24 that God calls him to help the nation of Israel which is still in slavery to Egypt. At this time of his life, Moses has very little knowledge of the God of his forefathers. He knows that he is a Hebrew. He knows about the Hebrew God, but really has no idea what the requirements or nature or character of this God. Moses has been living as an Egyptian, so all his thinking has been shaped by his education in Egypt, that culture, and that religion and the way the Egyptians worshiped all their gods.
This matters. He has both a wrong worldview and the wrong view of God.
All of this Egyptian living shaped his thinking and lead Moses to have a very worldly and human understanding of God.
So when Moses gets a call from God, Moses is thinking- “I got my orders, now I’ll just do it my way. I don’t need any further direction from God. After all, God’s lucky to have me on His team. He sees everything I am bringing to the table-
I’m a prince of Egypt, I’m a master at military strategy, I’m one of the most gifted leaders and educated people in the known world- God, I got this!”
That’s why Moses takes matters into his own hands when he sees a fellow Hebrew being abused. All that stuff Moses thought he was bringing to the table to benefit God was actually hurting him in obeying God.
Bringing this home to our message today- What this part of Moses is life shows us is this.
God will often give you a call or an assignment but will withhold opportunity for that call to be fulfilled.
There needs to be a time of training and character building first. The call is given to you first so that you can have it in front of you and use it to guide and shape your decisions regarding your life.
Let me illustrate this a little.
Most of you know that I'm in college right now taking courses that will eventually allow me to become a registered nurse.
I have learned a few ways to accomplish goals in life, and the most important way is that I keep that vision in front of me at all times.
It helps me to be willing to endure all the studying, all the work, and just the grind of schooling and all the clinical time I have next year.
Having a vision and a set goal makes all the difference in life.
This is why something like 95% of New Year's resolutions fail within the first 2 weeks because there is no actual goal set. It really just comes down to a couple of wishes to do better at a few things but no actual goal is defined set and planned for.
If you have a personal goal or even better a God given goal in your life you can't just sit back and wait for it to happen.
You have to stop and ask God-
“OK Father what do I have to do to make sure that this calling you have given me will come to pass”.
“What do I need to do in my own life to help speed up my coming into the destiny you have for me?”
2 critical questions you need too ask God today.
See Moses had received his calling but never got his training. He was like a soldier who just completed his physical at the recruiting station, he's been sworn in and now runs down to the airfield and wants a jump out of a plane.
It's probably not going to go well for him.
Another great example of this is the Apostle Paul. In Acts Chapter 9 Paul receives his calling directly from Jesus Christ.
Looking at Paul you would think that he really doesn't need a lot of training as he is one of the top theologians alive. He has been trained by the best of the best the Harvard and Yale of his time. If anyone is ready to hit the ground running it's the Apostle Paul.
But is that what happens?
No. Paul disappears for 3 years. We know later on that he spent 3 years in Arabia allowing God to reshape his character, reshape his knowledge, reshape his education so that everything he does and says and in the future will write reflects the gospel perfectly.
Let me ask you- is this where you're at today?
Maybe you have received the calling of God upon your life at one time but because of laziness, or because of life's distractions, or even because of sin you think you've disqualified yourself from the calling.
If that's you I have good gospel news for you! The Bible says (Romans 11:29/Rev 13 that the Gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”
God doesn’t call the qualified- God qualifies the called.
It is a permanent status. The only thing your sins, your mistakes or you ignoring the call will do is limit the amount of influence that you may have in the Kingdom at a future date, but it doesn't change the plan of God on your life and what he wants you to do.
That leads us to the next truth that God wants us to understand in this new year
II. How to deal with Doubt
The devil’s first and primary tactic in everything God related is to make you doubt God’s word to you- whether its here in the bible or spoken supernaturally or prophetically over your life.
Genesis 3 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
Moses lays it out before God.
He is saying God I'm a murderer
He is saying God I'm a coward (I’m not the same guy at 40 that I am today)
He is saying that no one even remembers me anymore
He lists all of the limitations and all the reasons that he thinks God can't use him.
One of the ways that I make major decisions in life is to make what I call a pro/con list. Take a piece of paper draw a line down the middle on the left side is the pro’s and the right side are the cons. The pro side is all the positive things this decision can bring, and the cons are all the negative things this decision can bring.
Moses is trying to use a pro con list with God. And Moses has no pros listed- only the negatives.
Maybe those are the thoughts that are going through your mind right now. That there are way too many obstacles in place for God to ever use me.
I'm too old
I'm too young
I have no skills
I'm not very well educated
I'm not well liked
I can't speak publicly
I'm too afraid to make a public stand for Jesus Christ during this time in history
Whatever reasons are ending up in your con list I want you to stop for a moment and drink in this truth from the scriptures.
1 Cor 1 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.
The beauty of the Gospel and of the Kingdom of God is this-
All the negative things that are landing on your con list, God sees as positive attributes. Those shortcomings will keep you humble, they will keep you dependent, and they will keep you needing him.
And therefore, they are beautiful in his sight. And that leads us to our last point today
III. Let God be God
Genesis 4 10 Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
One of the hindrances in the modern church is something a former pastor of mine called stinking thinking.
A definition of stinking thinking is to refuse to acknowledge God for who he is.
I heard a saying once that is very true spiritually. You cannot fill a Cup that is already full. What this same means is that as long as you're full of your own doubt God cannot pour in his overwhelming faith and confidence.
You got to let it go.
The God who created you knows you better than anyone else in existence. God knows your pros and he knows your cons. He knows your thoughts and your intentions. He knows your successes and he knows your failures.
Knowing all of that he still wants to use you.
As we look back on our lives, any one of us could come up with dozens of reasons why God can't use us or shouldn't use us. But Our ways are not God's ways.
God can see the end from the beginning And even having that absolute knowledge
God still wants you. That’s the reckless love of God.
My prayer for all of us in 2019 is that we truly understand the love that God has for us. God loves every part of us the good the bad and the ugly. That doesn't mean he wants the bad and ugly to stay there but he is faithful and just to help us to work out our Salvation.
I said in the beginning of this message that the truth God wants us to live in 2019 is this-
“Let God deal with your past and allow Him to use it to define your future”
Let’s all rise
I’m going to read this over you as a church family, and ask that the Holy Spirit burn it into our hearts and believe it today.
Romans 8:28 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Some of you might be in the midst of sin or failure. Maybe some of you have given up all hope in ever living a life that pleases God or of being used for the Kingdom.
“Let God deal with your past and allow Him to use it to define your future”