“I AM” – Exodus 2:23-4:31 – Sermon Notes

The Lord has not forgotten his people (2:23-25) and the Lord calls Moses (3:1-10). He made sure Moses has all the experience he needs to speak to the Egyptians. However Moses has been living for 40 years in Midian. The Lord had guided him to the mountain of God. Moses has an encounter with the living God when he sees the burning bush.

The Lord patiently answers Moses’ questions (3:11-4:12)

  • “Who am I to go?” (3:11-12)
  • “Who are you?” (3:13-22)

Whenever the Lord is written in capital letters, it refers to this name – “I AM” – the one who always has been always will be. “Milk and honey” comes up a lot and refers to plenty. The Lord is the God of the whole earth and of the past, present and future and is the one who is sending Moses.

  • “They won’t believe me.” (4:1-9)

The Lord gives Moses three signs to show he’s not making this up and to help the Israelites believe he has been sent from the great I AM.

  • “I’m not a good speaker.” (4:10-12)

The Lord will help Moses speak. He is patient.

The Lord expects obedience and worship (4:13-31)

Moses asks the Lord to send someone else. He’s now disobeying and the Lord is angry, but he’s still patient and says he’ll help both him and Aaron. Aaron will be Moses’ messenger. Moses now has to go and the Lord reminds him to take his staff. We are reminded how seriously the Lord takes obedience. The Lord’s anger is stopped when Zipporah circumcises one of their sons.

Jesus is the Lord

Jesus was often criticised. He said “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” Jesus is the great I AM, the only eternal God. He has not forgotten us. If you’re a Christian you are one of God’s people. Jesus calls all people to follow him and he calls all Christians to be witnesses for him, wherever they are. Are we praying that we’d see the opportunities he gives us? Just as with Moses, sometimes our questions aren’t really questions, they’re excuses. There are consequences for disobeying Jesus. If we turn to him, he is a loving father.

Rescuer – Exodus 2:1-22 – Sermon Notes

The Lord has provided a rescuer for his people (v1-12)

God is telling us about this baby because he is someone significant. This baby is going to be a priest. With him, this is a new beginning for God’s people. Pharaoh uses the Nile to kill all baby boys but God uses the Nile as his rescue of this baby.

The Lord is at work in Pharaoh’s daughter as she has compassion on the baby she finds in the river. We don’t know how many years go by between verses 9 and 10 but Moses was old enough to know about his heritage. Spending years in the palace didn’t blind Moses to who his people are.

The Lord’s rescuer is also ruler and judge (v13-22)

The Lord raised Moses up for this purpose. That’s not what the people want. Pharaoh tried to kill Moses. He probably knew he was a Hebrew boy but also hoped he would stand with the Egyptians instead of the Israelites. This isn’t God’s rescuer being stopped. God takes him to where he needs to be. He rescued seven foreigners and was invited in for food. Moses married one of the daughters and had a family in a new space. This isn’t the end of the story. He named his son “an alien here.”

What the Lord does for his rescuer, he will do for his people

This is a glimpse of what God will do through Moses to rescue his people. Moses was brought up with the Egyptians but as the Israelites are rescued by the Lord, they will plunder them. The Lord is going to bring them all out to safety.

Moses, the Lord’s imperfect rescuer, points us to Jesus, the Lord’s perfect rescuer

When Jesus is born, Herod wants all the Israelite boys killed. He comes down from the glory of heaven to stand with his people in weakness and humility. As he’s rescuing them, he is oppressed and rejected. We can have confidence we can follow Jesus as he’s been there before us. Moses is a glimpse of the better rescuer that Jesus is. Jesus says that he will forgive you but you must live with him as your ruler. His rescue helps us to see the kind of ruler that he is. The more we rejoice in his rescue, the more we can trust that his rule is for our good.

Slavery – Exodus 1:1-22 – Sermon Notes

God’s plan has always been to save sinful people. He promised Abraham people, land and blessing (Genesis 12:2-3). As the people grow, they shape the promises of the Bible.

In Exodus 1, we see slavery. That doesn’t seem like things are going the way of the promises. The people are in a horrific situation. We’re not told how many baby boys are killed, but it’s likely that there were a lot. Doesn’t our experience seem far from God’s promises? Christians are the true family of God. Has God abandoned us when things don’t go well? Our temptation could be to think that we need to help ourselves. We can distract ourselves, but it doesn’t last.

God is keeping his promises

Their experience is despite the situation, God is showing them, through his word, that he is keeping his promises. This isn’t the end of the story. God does rescue his people from slavery in Egypt and that is good news. God was waiting for his perfect moment to display his might in all of the world. We know the end of the story if we’re Christians. Jesus has already secured victory and is bringing us safely home. We are given glimpses of grace along the way. God won’t always help in the way we want him to, but he helps in the way that’s best for us.

The midwives feared God. Despite the struggles of their lives, they trust God. They know he is God and Pharaoh is not. God was kind to the midwives and gave them families of their own, even though they lied. God blessed them as they made a choice to keep living for God.

Keep living for Jesus

We can choose to keep living for Jesus through the struggles of our lives. The truth of the Bible is that God is good, even when he doesn’t do what we think is best. He’s told us how the story ends. It might mean a hard life now, but one day everything will be as it should be. We run the Christian race longing for Jesus, knowing he will bring us safely home.

Living with a Holy God – Exodus 19-20 & 32 – Sermon Notes

These are notes from the fifth part of a Bible overview series.

Recap last week. We looked at how God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt. We saw his power at work, as well as his holiness and judgement.

Exodus 19-20

Summarise. Focus on the commandments.

There are three legal collections in the second half of Exodus (second – Book of the Covenant – laws related to community life; third is the book of laws in chapters 25-31 – concerned with worship).

1. Why is 20:2 important when understanding the context of the Ten Commandments?

It refers back to Egypt. These laws are for people who have experienced his past and are expecting his future (and therefore live in his present).

2. What are some of the main principles outlined in the commandments?

Respect. A healthy, holy society is built on respect.

Responsibility. We’re responsible before him for how we live with regard to this law.

Retribution.

3. How does the last commandment differ from the others?

Most of them are about acts or words but the last one is about feelings. When we desire something we don’t have, our problem is with our inner life.

4. What does Moses mean in 20:20? What does it mean to fear God?

A right fear of God will lead us not to sin.

Exodus 32

Summarise. Focus on Moses’ prayer.

5. What went wrong? What’s happened? How is Aaron’s behaviour similar to Adam and Eve’s?

People have quickly forgotten the commands. Aaron blames others instead of taking responsibility for his actions.

6. What was Moses’ role?

He acts as a mediator between a just God and a sinful people but also shows righteous anger at their sin.

7. What do you notice about Moses’ attitude?

He’s not going to sit back and do nothing. He pleaded.

8. Looking at the content of the prayer, what characteristics of God does Moses talk about?

  • Grace (brought out of the land of Egypt)
  • Glory (God being discredited among the nations)
  • Goodness (asks God to keep promises to Abraham, Isaac and Israel)

9. Looking at v14, it could be easy to think that God changes his mind. How do we know that this isn’t the case?

God didn’t destroy Israel and he knew he wouldn’t destroy it. He deliberately put Moses in that position so that he would show God’s heart for the people. He prayed in the way God wanted him to.

10. What can we learn about prayer?

God wants us to pray. We don’t have less privilege in prayer than Moses had. We don’t have less access to God. We should pray in a way that reflects God’s character and the love that he has for his people.

11. What do the glimpses of judgement tell us?

A warning of the final judgement to come.

Pray.

Under Pressure – Exodus 1:1-2:11 – Sermon Notes

God seems to be completely absent. Pharaoh gets his people to engage in a massacre of the innocent. The apparent absence of God is a big problem for us and it was a big problem 3,500 years ago for the Israelites.

Even when it looks like God is absent, there are signs that he is present.

God multiplies his people

The more they were oppressed, the more of God’s people there were. God was keeping his promise, but his people were growing at an unexpected moment. After Jesus’ resurrection, the church really started to grow when the authorities launched a great persecution. People were driven out of Jerusalem and the gospel spread everywhere around the Mediterranean. Similar thing has happened in China.

God’s people face down evil powers

The midwives take no notice of Pharaoh as they fear God. Maybe the midwives deliberately delayed getting to the mothers and therefore avoiding killing the babies. The real reason is that they fear God more than Pharaoh.

There are a few places in the Bible where people seem to lie and God commends them for it. The Bible teaches that in most situations we should tell the truth. We lie for personal gain. Telling the truth to get someone in trouble might be a wicked thing to do if your motivations aren’t right. Pharaoh is behaving in such a way that he doesn’t deserve the truth. The circumstances where it’s ok to lie are very rare.

God’s saviour is miraculously preserved

Moses’ mother places him in the river which is where he is rescued rather than drowned. God rescued Moses as he wanted to use him to save others. God shows us the rescue of the saviour as a sign of the rescue that will come to everyone who trusts him. The resurrection of Jesus is a sign of what will happen to everyone of God’s people when he returns.

How to Have a Party – Exodus 23:10-19 – Sermon Notes

These chapters explain the ten commandments. Festivals and celebrations are an important part.

What God’s people celebrate: material and spiritual blessings

The first party lasted a whole year. The different farmers took it in turn to have a sabbath year. There was still work to be done but it was a change of pace. The second party is shorter but more frequent. Every week, a day is set aside for refreshment. A day of doing stuff at a different pace. The other three involve the whole nation gathering for a celebration. All five are different. They all celebrate both material and spiritual blessings. There is a pattern of one rest, six work. None of these separated the spiritual from the material. There is no place in the NT that tells us to have a sabbath. When we have our celebrations, we should follow the principles God gave to Israel. Any festival or celebration should be ‘to the Lord’. We are always enjoying every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Who benefits: everyone, especially the poor

There is a benefit to having material stuff for parties. When Christmas becomes all about material things, people feel left out. Reminding our friends that there is more to life than the stuff we have is a good thing to do. God’s strategy for these parties is that they give away extra to those who have less. Our feasting is based on other people’s work. Shopping is the biggest leisure pastime in the UK. Do the poor benefit from our celebration of God’s goodness?

How we stand out: by rejecting pagan partying

People used to bake blood to make it nicer. God doesn’t want his people to engage in this. God wants the best of the first fruits.

The pagan thing we are in danger of believing turns out to be sympathetic magic. Hanging out with great people in the hope that their glory will rub off on you. Exclusivity. We recreate the same thing on a smaller scale. Who do we invite to parties? People who make a good party, people who will make it look more impressive.

Whenever we celebrate, we’re thanking God for spiritual and material blessings. The way we do that is shown by who we choose to party with. We should live with a presumption that we start to glorify Jesus. Taking communion is an example of a celebration that is for anyone who trusts in Jesus. Sounds exclusive but that’s still open for anyone. God has invited us to join in his party.

Men at Work – Exodus 5:1-21

We learn four things that happened in which God challenges the world.

His word is ignored

Moses is full of confidence when he goes to see Pharaoh, but he takes no notice at all. He doesn’t care about the Lord. God’s words created the universe but Pharaoh ignores it.

His children are persecuted

Pharaoh ups the workload. The slave drivers torment the Israelites. The Israelites weren’t lazy and had been working for several centuries without rebellion. Pharaoh didn’t recognise God’s word so he had no moral constraints. Intolerant is a word used a lot against Christians. The root of persecution is always the same, it’s the failure of recognising God’s word.

His people are divided

Pharaoh plays a political blinder. Their response to turn on Moses and Aaron is the wrong one. They show us how rebellious we can be when things aren’t right, complain to the church leaders, easy to blame them. Things were outside of Moses’ control when he went to speak to Pharaoh.

He will rescue his people just as he planned (see Ex. 7:1-7)

Even Pharaoh’s response of not listening was under God’s control. When Jesus came, Pilate rejected him. Jesus said he has prepared a place for us and will return. When people complain to us, it’s tragic for them, not for us.

We won’t be surprised when we see Christians being given a hard time. God’s plan won’t be changed by sin and people ignoring him. We should be compassionate towards other people.

How to Have a Relationship with God – Exodus 40:1-38 – Sermon Notes

True worship…

…is not possible unless God initiates it

We want to believe we can worship God in any way we like. There’s no way for any of us to work out what God is like. There’s no chance of worship unless God starts it. Unless he reveals himself to us, we can’t even know he’s even there. He does make it possible though to know him.

…requires total obedience

Every time Moses does something, it’s ‘as the Lord commanded him’. Lots of repetition. Moses ensures that every detail were exactly as God instructed them to be. It wouldn’t be possible for the people to worship if this wasn’t done. Moses is starting again. God had initiated a new covenant and provided a way for people to know him.

We have a problem that looked as though it might have been overcome by Moses. He wasn’t obedient enough and never arrived in the promised land. What hope is there for true worship for all of us?

…is available to us only through Jesus Christ

Without Jesus, there could be no true worship. The temple Jesus spoke of was his body. Jesus is the bringer of the Spirit. He is the truth. Only Jesus has been obedient. By his blood all those who trust in him can truly worship. Good deeds should be an expression of gratitude. It is personal faith in Jesus that brings true worship.

Make Jesus the centre of your worship. Each of us can have a fresh start.

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Exodus 13:17-14:31 – Sermon Notes

The heart of the problem is that they were not yet serving God.

Freedom from judgment is only half a rescue because…

Your enemy must be destroyed

They were in groups of 50 and very few would’ve had experience of leadership. God’s people weren’t equipped or trained. God leads them on another route, he takes the Israelites so that they’re stuck between the Egyptians and the Red sea. Moses tells them not to panic and to trust that God will fight for them. God created a pathway while the Egyptians were struck with darkness. God doesn’t just rescue, he also judges. The world of the Egyptians returns to a state of watery chaos and judgment. He is showing that he’s in control of the world and no one else. Our idols threaten us with destruction if we abandon them. Jesus defeated the devil when he died.

You are only free when you serve the God of glory

Like the Israelites we are always serving something. The things that we serve don’t have emotions. God doesn’t depend on the Israelites for anything. God isn’t needy. The things he asks of his servants are never things he needs. True freedom isn’t being forgiven and then doing what we want. The only way to freedom is by serving and living for Jesus.

The Winner Takes It All – Exodus 2:15-27 – Sermon Notes

God is a soldier – praise him for your security (v1-21)

Moses composed this song that was an instant hit. Cover versions released throughout the Bible. The song celebrates the great battle won by the Lord as a warrior.

God is a patient soldier. People see suffering and ask why doesn’t God do something and when he does, people say he is vile. God takes on those who seek to destroy the defenceless. He exalts himself by saving others. God could demand honour by his creative power but he also exalts himself by doing good and rescuing people. The option to be rescued by God was there for everyone. Revelation 15 – song of Moses.

God is a doctor – trust him for your health (v22-27)

The Israelites treat Moses badly. Instead of judgment God gives them sweet water to quench their thirst. He also gives them a warning in that they need to listen to what he says. Each one of us is an enemy of God the soldier. God showed them that his intentions were kind and good. God heals everyone who recognises the sickness of their sin. He cures us by taking the disease on himself. He heals anyone who comes to him. He just asks for our trust.

We need the healing and forgiveness that only God can offer.