Sermon Sunday May 9, 2021 Mountain Top Experiences Part 3

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Exodus 19

How do you prepare to go to church?

Let’s admit it, most people like to sleep in on Sunday. It is a day when the routine of the week is thrown out and we rush around trying to find our shoes that we only wear once a week.

However, if we think about it, how we prepare speaks to how much we value and expect the presence of the Lord as we worship.

The events of Exodus 19 on Mount Sinai are one of the most incredible accounts of the presence of God in the whole Bible. The mountain where God spoke to Moses and gave the children of Israel the Law. Can you imagine the scene, the thunder, the earthquake, the deafening trumpet, the smoke, and the voice of God?

The events at Mount Sinai were monumental in the history of the world. God was creating for Himself a new nation with new laws and a new way of life. God showed Himself as the one who desires relationship and communion with His people. Unlike any other world religion, our God came down to His people. He is the initiator of the relationship.

God gave the Israelites the Law, that became known as the Law of Moses. It revealed the holiness of God and clearly defined sin once and for all. God was preparing this nation to be the nation that would host the presence of God in the form and flesh of Jesus the Messiah.

The giving of the Law is remembered by the Jewish Holiday, Shavuot, which is 50 days from the Passover. The Law was in effect the constitution of the nation at a time when they were celebrating their freedom from Egyptian slavery. Shavuot is also known by the ancient Greek word for fifty, Pentecost.

Over the course of almost a year Moses went up Mount Sinai several times (as many as eight) to meet God as recorded between Exodus 19 and the end of the book. Not bad for an eighty-year-old man!

The first time Moses went up the mountain, God told him that He is offering a blessing to the people of Israel if they will keep the covenant (Exodus 19:5-6). By saying this, God was confirming the covenant He had made with Abraham.

A priest was a mediator between God and man. By making the nation of Israel a Kingdom of Priests, the whole nation would act as a mediator of the presence of God to the whole earth as God promised Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3).

Moses reported the message to the people, and the people respond by saying, “We will do everything the Lord has said” (Exodus 19:8). God spoke to Moses so that all the people could hear Him. By doing this God elevated Moses in the sight of the people (Exodus 19:9).

This is a picture of what would happen during the life of Jesus. When Jesus was Baptized, God spoke from heaven giving His approval of His son in front of the crowd (Matthew 3:16-17).

In verse 10 God told Moses to instruct the people to consecrate themselves, to get ready for His meeting with them on the third day. They had not yet received the ceremonial laws, but they did know enough to clean their clothes and prepare themselves. It isn’t that God demands clean clothes, rather it is the value of preparation, taking time to prepare to meet God.

The third day arrives and verse 16 says, “On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.” Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been? Verse 18 says that the whole mountain trembled as God descended on it. The mountain is covered in a thick cloud to protect the people from the full glory of God. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, terrifying the people, Moses speaks. He simply speaks and God answers him in thunder (Hebrews 12:28-29).

Over the period of almost a year, the people camped at the base of the mountain. During that time God gave Moses the law, he established the Mosaic Covenant and officially made the children of Israel the nation of Israel.

Our God is an awesome and powerful God, but here is our incredible privilege, we have access like Moses, we can speak directly to God because of what Jesus has done for us. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice that paid for our sins once and for all, we can come boldly before the Lord. Jesus is our High priest and mediator.

There is another incredible connection between the Old and New Testaments.

This was the first Pentecost celebration, and we have another Pentecost celebration that stands out in the Bible. In Acts chapter 2, God poured out the Holy Spirit and established the Church during Pentecost.

But there is a further connection. As the people waited for Moses, they grew impatient and had Aaron form them a golden calf to worship. Moses furiously broke the stone tablets as we read in Exodus 32 and the resulting judgement for the sins of the people cost about 3000 men their lives. 3000 people died at the time when they were receiving the law.

Fast forward 1400 years, the disciples gathered at Pentecost as the Holy Spirit comes on them.  They go out into the streets of Jerusalem and Peter preaches a powerful evangelistic sermon, and the result is that about 3000 people are saved! The law leads to death, but the Spirit brings life. The apostle Paul refers to the law of sin and death in Romans 8:1–2.

So, how do you prepare yourself for worship on a Sunday?

Preparation starts all through the week. God repeated over and over, consecrate yourself, get ready, be prepared! Do we prepare ourselves before coming to church on a Sunday? Or do we spend Saturday night watching immoral shows and then wonder why we don’t “feel” God on Sunday morning.

Are we as the church preparing ourselves? Asking God to strip away from us the idols that are keeping us from experiencing His presence.

Lessons from the life of King David Part 1; April 03, 2016

King David part 1 Title.2-01

1 Samuel 16

The world is full of many rags to riches stories. We love these stories, we make movies about the characters, and we teach our children to look at them as role models.

But the truth is that we only recognize greatness once it has been achieved in man’s eyes. The process, the humble beginnings, the hard work and the pathway of insignificance is mostly ignored by the world.

In the same way a person that God is forming for his purposes is often ignored and sometimes even ridiculed for their humble position and low standing in society. But God knows and God is working in all of us if we would just let him, to become someone that can be greatly used by Him.

This week we are starting a five part series on David, the warrior king of Israel, who was used by God to firmly establish and expand the nation. David was also the only person in the Bible who had the title; “a man after God’s own heart” as we see in Acts 13:22.

David came from humble beginnings, yet God saw him and called him to serve as King. In this narrative we have three main characters.

Saul was the king that God had given to Israel, but after Saul’s disobedience God rejected him (1 Samuel 15). Samuel is the great prophet of God and was more than simply a seer, he was regarded as a judge, highly respected and highly feared as well. And then we have David, his father Jesse was a man who lived in Bethlehem. Jesse had eight sons and David was his youngest son.

These events took place in 1024 BC, David himself was somewhere between 20 and 25 years old. The first time we see David in the story, he is described in a remarkable way (v 12). But he was the baby of the family and didn’t have much respect with his older brothers.

When Samuel went to Bethlehem, the leaders of the town trembled when they met him. They wondered if he was coming in judgment. I am sure that all the town of Bethlehem knew that the great prophet was in town and that he had chosen to invite Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice. Something was up! The seven older sons of Jesse were probably eager to be in the spotlight. Samuel told them to consecrate themselves in preparation for the sacrifice. This was a ritual washing and probably putting on clean clothes. I can imagine them dressing in their Sabbath best trying to impress the great leader coming to town. But where is David the youngest son? He is still tending the sheep, he knew about the sacrifice, but he faithfully kept on doing what was required of him. This is key, David didn’t try to arrange to be in the presence of Samuel. He didn’t ask someone to do his chores for him, he didn’t try to promote himself.

After all the brothers are rejected, finally as a last resort, David is thought of. Oh, yeah… there is one more son.

As they call David in he is probably covered in dust and smells of sweat and dirty sheep. Notice that he is not consecrated, because in God’s eyes he is already consecrated. He has a pure heart and God looks on the inside, where man looks on the outside.

Samuel sees him and God tells him that David is the one. So Samuel anoints David. As Samuel anoints David, he is filled with the Holy Spirit (V13). Something supernatural happened, the Spirit of the Lord came in power as David was anointed. The ESV bible says, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David.

It must have been a surprise for his father and brothers. It is unlikely that Jesse, or anyone else in the family, including David completely understood what had just happened. But the Lord was preparing David to be the leader of the nation. From a humble shepherd boy to a mighty warrior king.

David was already a man of integrity and courage, but now God added the power of His Spirit on him. David began to shine and he began to be noticed. Notice how Saul’s attendant recommends David in glowing terms in verse 18. David’s recognition quickly gets him favor and promotion in the service of King Saul. He rises to be one of the Kings Armor bearers.

Notice the progression here, from humble shepherd, to being selected, to being anointed and empowered by God, this humble shepherd is recognized and finds favor in the Kings courts. David was rejected and put down by his brothers, yet he was chosen by God. God had planned for David to be the next King even before he had been born. He was destined for this. (See Psalm 139:16)

What is remarkable in this chapter is David’s humility, not once do we read that David stood up and called attention to himself. He did not promote himself, rather he was recognized by God and man.

What a contrast to the world we live in. Our world says; “be noticeable, promote yourself, market yourself, tell the world how good you are.” But David is silently confident, trusting in the Lord.

It is much better to be promoted by God than to be recognized and promoted by man.

Too many people today try to push themselves into prominent places without first proving themselves at home in the small matters. Character that God uses is developed in the life of obscurity.

God was preparing David while he was faithfully doing his work as no one noticed. But isn’t it interesting that what we do when no one notices, becomes what everyone notices.

People notice the outward manifestation of our inward life.

Our time spent with the Lord each day prepares us for the plans that God has for us.

What is God preparing you for? As God is preparing you, remember that how you serve today is just as important as what you will be doing in the future.