The distinctive call of God.
Grasping the handle on the door that God wants you to open.
tHERE ARE CERTAIN DOORWAYS THAT YOU WALK THROUGH THAT CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR EVER.
There is the doorway of your playcentre or Kindergarten where you enter the world of education and socialisation with your peers on a large scale.
There is the doorway - or in the rural scene - the gateway of your first job where you now are responsible for providing for your own needs.
There is the door to the University or Polytech where you might register for your course.
There is the door of your first car where you are now free to drive without having to say are we there yet/ to some responsible adult.
What about the doorway of the church where you make vows to commit your life to be linked foras long as you both live to one person -
All of these doorways open for us great possibilities and close the door on a much more limited range of options that we previously were experiencing.
Some years ago I remember reading in the paper that a woman had been found in New York whose parents had kept her in the house for 34 years. I don’t remember the full details but how tragic that this woman missed the doorway of education - the doorway of career and all the other doorways that a young woman could expect - all removed because of her parents fears or tyranny.
The truth is God opens for us doors as well - For example for most of us worshipping here today we have walked through the doorway of faith -
Jesus said - in Luke 11 verse 10 So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
By this Jesus is referring to the wonderful opportunity each one of us have before us to accept God’s offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. By receiving him as saviour and lord we come into the inheritance of forgiveness from sins that is so important. sadly many fail to take the opportunity to walk through this door. There are cobwebs over the door and it is unused from birth to death.
so from the time of a persons death we might imagine Jesus standing at the door of the persons life knocking inviting them to come in and to receive their full spiritual inheriatance. By the time the person is ninety years of age jesus still stands patiently at the door of the persons life but we can imagine that door now still firmly closed - paint peeling from it cobwevbs all over it the latch weatherbeaten and rusty but the door still firmly closed.
But this is not the only door the christian faces in their life - if we can just switch from the image from a door to a gate for a moment then it may be helpful to look at Matthew chapter 7 and bverse 13 - Enter through the narrow gate. for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
It has been said that all life concentrates on man at the crossroads.
Having come to the intersection of the cross every one of us must face the intersections that continually present themselves to us - the way of the flesh or the way of God.
It is possible to enter by the way of the cross and then to walk through the wide road of this world which leads to destruction. But if you are one who claims christ as Lord and are walking on that broad way - God will continually provide you with crossroad choices that will take you his way or the worlds.
Moses was such a man.
In Exodus chapter 3 we read about a remarkable turning point in his life a time when God clearly calls him to pass through a small gate and to walk a narrow path for the rest of his days - this is not a, go for a while, then take a free trip to Mayfair card at some point - this is a call to a long and arduous journey that leads eventually to death and Moses is faced with a choice.
Let’s look for a moment at Moses Curriculum Vitae.
Firstly he was an exile - He had been bought up by the royal family of Egypt being saved from death and in return he had murdered an Egyptian and had been in exile ever since.
This is the man who was on Egypts most wanted posters for quite a while and it was forty years since all of that had happened.
You would think age was a problem as well he was eighty years of age although he must have been fit as he was out tending sheep when god spoke to him.
He certainly would not be the kind of man whom you would send back to Egypt as a kind of foreign diplomat to secure the release of his people the Jews. This is especially true when you consider that Moses was not a good speaker.
On top of all of that Moses was a family man - he was married to Zipporah and had a son Gershom and was on good terms with his Father-in- law Jethro.
All of this surely sets the stage for a man who is ready for retirement - taking it easy for a while - looking at lifes regreats but living with the result away from his people tending sheep.
We get a lot of mail about all kind of things in the manse and some of them are obviously circulars - they get oppened but reluctantly because we simply struggle to find time to read about ten or twenty exciting offers and projects at once. But when god communicates he does it in a way that people sit up and take notice.
God uses an audio visual display - using his Holy power that leaves 21st century state of the art struggling in it’s wake.
Let’s read from Exodus chapter 3. . . .
What was Moses doing when something remarkable happened - he was tending his flock - farming - going about His normal day to day business and we are told that There the angel of the Lord appeared to him.
You may be doing any manner of things in life even something that god is displeased with and God will speak into your life in a very clear way.
Matthew was like that he was collecting taxes - and quite possibly if the reports of Jewish tax collectors are correct - ripping off a few of his fellow countrymen when Jesus walks into his life and says two words that are enought to totally change his life - "follow me."
That was enough to get him through the gate that led to a completely new life.
Meanwhile back to Moses.
There’s Moses out with his flock and he comes to Horeb the mountain of God -
He sees a bush on fire but he soon realises that what he is viewing is not a natural phenomenon but the hand of God - God speaks to Moses having got his attention.
When God wants us to go through a new door the first thing he does it to get our attention.
That can happen in many different ways.
When I was considering training for ministry I went up to knox college and asked the principal there - how do you know if you are to go into the ministry.
He said that people hear from God in a variety of ways -
some just get an ongoing impression that - that is what god wants them to do -
He then went on to say that still others hear an audible voice telling them that God wants them in the ministry.
For still others there are burning bush experiences. Experiences that however they happen they are so profound that God is able to speak into the persons life in such a way that they totally change direction and reprioritise:- The following were "borrowed from Sermon Central."
If you’ve ever read missionary biographies, they’re full of stories of
people who have given up a normal life, and in many cases
extraordinary careers, to go to other parts of the world to tell people
about Jesus. I guess most of us are familiar with the film Chariots of
Fire: about Eric Liddell, the runner who refused to compete on the
Sabbath and so was unable to win the 100 metres Gold Medal in the
Olympics. A couple of years later he went off to China as
a missionary, giving up his athletic ambitions altogether. There is an obscure
man named Fraser,
who was a brilliant musician, able to memorise whole symphonies and
concertos, yet who gave up all thought of fame and fortune on the
concert stage in order to serve God in preaching the gospel to the
people of China.
Moses was undoubtably a competant farmer looking forward to retirement when God spoke clearly into his life.
Many people who are called by God are doing ordinary things when chosen.
The message for us here is clear - Be alert - be ready - listen for the voice of God for he may speak at the most inopportune of times as far as you are concerned.
The other point is - hasd been holding a door open for you for a long time that you have refused to walk through?
The first lesson we learn from Moses is to be Alert to the voice of God.
The second point that we learn about doors God might want to open for us is just who God is.
read verses 5 and 6 of Exodus chapter 3.
Here Moses encounters the awsome Holiness and beauty of God.
In such an environment Moses can only turn away - this is the case for us - because of our separation from God through sin. it is only the blood of Jesus that causes us to be able to be reunited with God.
When you encounter the Holiness of God like this then I believe God gets your attention - you become aware of just who God is and just hwho you are in relation to him.
Only a fool would not pay attention when they have encountered God in this way.
A few weeks ago Girlie Tayles was in our Waikaia church just two or three weeks before she died.
I was preaching that week on the need for the church to get out into the world with the good news about Jesus.
Girlie shared with me later how she had a vision during the sermon - As I remember it - it was a picture of Christ being in the Church and the whole church was bathed in red - after a while the presence of Christ left the Church and went out into the world.
For me personally I saw this as a confirmation - that God is calling our church to go out into the world and to share the good news about Jesus with whoever will listen.
It seemed to me at least a clear message and in light of what has followed one that we must take very seriously.
The whole process of obtaining a vision for ourt church which we are embarking on and the coming of Youth with a mission to our area are - I am sure - ways in which God is encouraging us to do just that.
When God speaks into our lives we do need to pay attention -
It was the Apostle paul who was travelling along to Damascus with the single purpose of opposing the gospel - wasn’t it - when he was touched by a searing light from heaven and heard the voice of God - the encouter with god changed his mind completely - he went to Damascus and preached the gospel - this encounter with God led him through a door - that changed his life completely - forever. God will do the same for you.
The next thing that happens is that Moses needs to be convinced that he is the man for the job.
God begins by telling Moses about the plight of the people of Israel - I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt.
Last week I rang a big church in Dunedin and asked them about which churches in Otago and southland were winning people for Christ on a regular basis and the Pastor there told me that he did not know of any with one possible exception - He told me that I would need to go to Christchurch before I would find such a church.
Now I don’t know how accurate that Pastor was but doesn’t that suggest that we are not as concerned about the plight of God’s people as we should be?
It’s not as if no-one is coming to faith but it is that we are not taking it seriously enough -
Moses was concerned about the plight of his people - he had rtried doing something about it his own way by killing an Egyptian but that didn’t achieve anything.
But this time God says I am going to do something about it and I am going to do it my way and I am going to use you.
Do you know that is what God has chosen to do in our community and our country - if you are a christian then you are the one god has chosen to reach out to the people that you and I call neighbours. Why he even tells us to preach the gospel in season and out of season. There is never a wrong time to tell people about Jesus.
God wants you to be involved in that now.
Then Moses raises up a whole series of objections.
HE WAS UNWORTHY - etc
Are we making excuses about the things that God has called us to be doing or are we full on to what God has for us.
Friends God is looking today for people who will walk through the doors that he is opening in front of them.
You see Moses is one of the great men of the bible - he is God’s man - He is not God’s man because he found it easy to say yes to the door God was opening - He is God’s man because in the end when push came to shove he couldn’t say no.
This morning this passage asks questions of us.
Questions like? Has God opened a door for you to walk through recently or even a long time ago that you know he wants you to walk through - a door that means giving up your smaller vision for god’s big vision for your life?
Or - How are we currently responding for the call of God on our lives to go out and make disciples of all nations - how are we responding to that call.
When Moses walked through the door God opened for him he bought freedom for his peopl- when we do the same we to in our own way can bring freedom for others.
Feel free to comment or discus this sermon.