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For God’s Glory

Published: 11 months ago- 7 May 2023
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SERMON TRANSCRIPT

Big Idea: Yahweh rescues his people from the bonds of slavery through redemption and sacrifice.

Flying to Melbourne the other week just served to reinforce in my mind that the most redundant task of any airline steward must be performing the actions to the emergency spiel. I mean who pays any attention to that??? Have you noticed? No one listens. Maybe everyone holds onto the hope that the unlikely event of an emergency will really be a non-event. It’s not going to happen. I was more likely to have an accident in the Uber on the way to the airport. I don’t need this information. That’s how it looks as the vast majority of the passengers play the game of “who can look the most distracted or the least attentive while the life-saving details are being shared just a few metres away.”

I wonder if that is you on the aeroplane? I wonder if that is you in life? Our passage says, “Listen!” The day of emergency will come. You should listen. I want to highlight three reasons from the passage today why you should listen to the life-saving, life- giving message from this section of Exodus! First.

BECAUSE GOD IS CONCERNED FOR HIS GLORY.

Everything God does is for his glory. That might seem un-Christian or inappropriate. You might be thinking that sounds very arrogant. If that was how I approached life that would be inappropriate. I am not the glorious, majestic, holy, creator and sustainer of all things and neither are you. But God is. And it is only right and true that he be glorified.

WCF Shorter Catechism, Question 1. “What is the chief end of man?” “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” And that is what is happening here. God is revealing his glory through the rescue of his people, those whom he calls His firstborn Son (4:22), Israel, so they may worship Him.

Read 11:1

Now the LORD had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.

The people of Israel have been in Egypt for the past 430 years. They are suffering slavery and oppression under the wicked hand of Pharaoh. They have cried out, wailed. And God has heard and come down to rescue them. God says to Moses one more plague, literally one more strike/blow on Pharaoh and Egypt and my people will be set free. In fact, just as another show of my glory, (v1b) Pharaoh himself will drive you out. This will be the tenth plague. In chapters 7-10 the first 9 plagues are described. We haven’t looked at them but each plague; or more accurately each wonder was a painful lesson for Pharaoh and Egypt that their gods were not glorious but Yahweh is; glorious and victorious.

This weekend we have the NRL magic round – hosted right here in our city. Each team of the NRL competition (except the Newcastle Knights) are in town to compete at Suncorp Stadium. All the teams in the same arena over the same weekend. A little slice of footy heaven – although last night’s game didn’t feel that glorious!

Each of the plagues in Exodus is a match between the gods of Pharaoh and Egypt verses Yahweh the God of glory. The arena is Egypt’s home ground and Yahweh is systematically going through all the opposing teams, all the gods of Egypt and displaying his absolute dominance. It is not the Egyptian gods who controlled the River, Land and Sky, it’s Yahweh. It is not Pharaoh who determines environmental harmony and agricultural prosperity, it’s Yahweh. It is not right to worship/serve Pharaoh or anything or anyone else, only Yahweh. Nine times Pharaoh tapped out, but each time, having received relief he refuses to admit defeat. But here (v2-3) God tells Moses that it’s team Yahweh who will walk home with the trophy. They will plunder the Egyptians. They will leave the land of slavery to worship Yahweh. And this is the blow that God will strike on Egypt and Pharaoh. Read v4-8

So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight

The time when in Egyptian mythology the gods go out to fight. Yahweh is not going to fight but walk unhindered

I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

This is a message of judgement. Just as Pharaoh sort to kill Yahweh’s firstborn, Israel, God will strike back in judgment.

6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt-worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.

At the start of Exodus Israel were wailing due to oppression and slavery; now Egypt is under judgment. The bone-chilling truth is that they have no one to wail to!?! Those judged by God have no hope as they wail into the darkness. There is no one to rescue them. I wonder if you have considered that awful truth?

7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’

Basically Egypt will suffer terribly but Israel will not be disturbed or confronted in any way – milk run before school, forever warding off dogs – it’s nerve-wracking, but none of that for Israel

Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.

We’ll see that distinction in a minute.

8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.”

The defeat will be complete.

Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh

Reflecting God’s anger that Pharaoh through his stubborn pride and rebellion would subject his country to judgment. God will bring judgment to bear on all who rebel and on all who refuse to glorify him, but his heart is that they would turn and be saved. This is a warning. Pharaoh has time. The hour is coming, judgment is coming, and there will be those who survive but not you if you continue in this direction if you continue to refuse to listen. True for Pharaoh then, true for you know. Are you listening?

9 The LORD had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you-so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”

That my anthem, my song, my praise may be sung in the arenas of my enemies.

10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

Know this, even as people refuse to listen and suffer judgment it will serve to display God’s glory. What is true in Egypt will be true for all people. There will come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confesses His glory. It will be a day of distinction, some to rescue some to judgment. But in every way, God’s actions will be seen as good and right and true. I wonder where you will stand on that day? Are you listening? The second reason to listen …

BECAUSE GOD IS THE FINAL JUDGE.

Read 12:12-13.

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

God is the judge and we need to be clear; when he says that he will judge there will be a time when he will enact his judgment. It may feel like it’s taking a long time. Might seem like he forgot. He has not. He will judge. God never told Moses how many plagues there would be, or how long the ordeal would go for. But things did get to the pointy end. But notice that here God is saying it is coming, judgment is coming. There will be a day of reckoning. Graciously warning people.

He still does. We are destined to die once and face judgment (Heb 9:27). Are you listening? You’ll also hear, that in his grace and mercy, God is revealing how to avoid the destruction of that judgment. God’s judgment is on all people because all sin. Look at v12.

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals [the curse of sin – death on creation], and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.

The threat of death is on all people and animals in this statement, Israelites and Egyptians alike. As well as judgment on the pretender gods of Egypt. There are rumblings of the curse from Gen 3. Notice when God enacts his judgment all sin of all people will be judged. And the wages of sin is death. No one is exempt. But some will be shielded.

Read v21-23

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them [the people of Israel], “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

Everyone is exposed to the judgment of God because of their sin. The people of Israel were not exempt from judgment. They had questioned God and responded to him with unbelief.

But there is a way to be shielded. You are shielded by the blood of the Passover lamb. For Israel, they were to select a lamb (v2-6), a year old and perfect. It was to live in their house for four days and then on the evening of the Passover feast, Dad would kill it, paint its blood on the doorposts and the family would eat it.

One of my brothers in preparation to host our family Christmas bought a pig. He kept it in a pen at the end of their garden and the kids fed it scraps and pig food. His name was Christmas. Just to be clear.

When it came to the Passover there was no doubt about the identity of the lamb on their plate and whose blood it was that dripped from their doorposts. This life had been given for theirs sacrifice. A display of trust in God’s word that it was through the blood of the lamb spilt that their family would be shielded from judgment.

Do you reckon you’d believe the promise, do you think that you’d paint the blood? This promise comes from God to Moses; is passed on from Moses to the elders and from the elders to the people. This is the first plague where the people of Israel have some active involvement. There is a level of faith in this action. Could it be true? What we see is that life is determined by the blood.

I had a health check-up the other day. As a part of the check, I had my finger pricked and dabbed blood on a few test strips to measure cholesterol and glucose. Life is in the blood. And so blood is the payment of sin. For the wages of sin is death…

Salvation comes to God’s people through redemption and sacrifice. The firstborn bears the weight of God’s wrath, and the blood of the lamb covers the debt of sin. So the people of Israel are shielded from the destroyer and can walk free as God’s people. God the judge does not sweep the offence of sin and the cost of sin under the carpet. He does not ignore it. The price must be paid. But provides a way for it to be dealt with. That promise is not only for ancient Israel. That assurance is not only for that time. It is also for you … The final reason you should listen …

BECAUSE THE PASSOVER POINTS US TO JESUS.

The Passover feast was to be an annual feast, an annual remembrance which reminded and taught God’s people the basis of their identity and their hope.

Read v14

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD-a lasting ordinance.

The Passover festival was a reminder that God is the rescuer of His people. When we arrive at the New Testament we learn that the Passover looked forward to, pointed forward to God’s ultimate rescue of his people in Jesus. The ultimate plan of salvation was always Jesus. God’s offer of rescue out of the slavery and oppression of sin and death. Because of God’s love, grace and mercy he offers you eternal life on the basis of the sacrifice of His (firstborn) Son.

John 6:40

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

God’s will is that you would have eternal life. You don’t need to convince him or coerce him. Another reason to declare his glory. But you do need to listen to and trust Him. This life is only through faith in Jesus.

v53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

Jesus is not talking about some strange form of ritualistic cannibalism. He is talking about faith. Taking God at His word. And persisting in that faith, to keep feeding on that truth. To have your life shaped by that truth.

One thing that struck me this week as I worked on this sermon was the deception of sin and the seriousness of my sin. It doesn’t always feel like oppression and slavery. But that’s the deception. We think we have found life outside of Christ like Pharaoh thinking that he was in control. But in fact it is a path that God says will lead to death. Examine your life. Seriousness. That it took the death of Jesus to achieve forgiveness. In my better moments I am cut to the heart by how flippant I am about sin, and how easily I slip into it, how ready I am to excuse it. I pray that God to work in me by his Spirit that I might walk in a manner worthy of my calling. I look forward to heaven when this daily struggle will be over.

One of my siblings reckons that the aircraft safety position is a big conspiracy. It doesn’t do anything to save your life it just makes identifying the corpse easier after the accident.

This is no conspiracy. There is no other position, no other way to gain eternal life than through faith in Jesus. To take God at His word through trusting in the death of Jesus – who took our place under the full weight of God’s wrath and gained our forgiveness through the spilling of his blood so that we might have eternal life. When the crowd heard Jesus talk about eating his flesh and drinking his blood many walked away. It’s a hard saying. But Peter understood the truth.

v68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

In the unlikely event of an emergency do you know where the life vest is and how to fit it? Do you know what to do when the oxygen mask appears in front of you? In the coming day of judgment do you have assurance? If it is not in Christ Alone then you have not been listening.