SERIES: STONE TABLETS IN A WIRELESS WORLD SERMON: SETTING THE TABLE 8-5-18 By Pastor Rhonda Howard Media: Thunder, lightning, smoke effects Exodus 19:1-22 thru Exodus 20:1-18 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain[b] trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. [c] 20
The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the LORD said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish. 22 Even the priests, who approach the LORD, must consecrate themselves, or the LORD will break out against them.” Chapter 20: And God spoke all these words: 2
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and
the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. OPENER: I wanted to begin our series called “Stone Tablets in A Wireless World” with some help from our media team to help us capture in a small way what it must have been like for God’s people to be at the foot of Mount Sinai. After being enslaved for 400 years in Egypt the Israelites were set free and traveled in the desert for three months. After three days of preparation where they were told to wash and keep away from the mountain and abstain from intimacy, everyone in the camp “trembled.” The trumpet blast which was the sound of a shofar, was “exceedingly loud” and it grew “louder and louder”. Along with thunder and lightning and a thick cloud representing God’s Shekinah glory, there was smoke rising up as if from a bellowing furnace. We read that if the people didn’t follow what God said, He would “break out against them.” The people were petrified. The last time God had manifested himself like that was in Genesis 19 when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. It is a very serious thing to approach God Almighty. We cannot and must not be irreverent or bored or passive or come to Him on our own terms. Most of us are way too casual with God and we don’t take His commands or His word serious enough. Before you think that is just how people in the Old Testament were to worship God, let me remind you of a passage in the New Testament………..
Hebrews 12:28-29 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will
certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. 28
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.
Joke: A preacher visits an elderly woman from his congregation. As he sits on the couch he notices a large bowl of peanuts on the coffee table. "Mind if I have a few?" he asks. "No, not at all!" the woman replied. They chat for an hour and as the preacher stands to leave, he realizes that instead of eating just a few peanuts, he emptied most of the bowl. "I'm terribly sorry for eating all your peanuts, I really just meant to eat a few." "Oh, that's all right," the woman says. "Ever since I lost my teeth all I can do is suck the chocolate off them."
JOKE: A mom was preparing pancakes for her young sons. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their Mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, "Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait." The oldest boy turned to his younger brother and said, "You be Jesus." I. SETTING THE TABLE OBJECT LESSON: Setting the table. My home economics teacher, Ms. Bower, (Mrs. Smiley now) taught me how to set a table the right way. I know some of us just throw things out there or pile it up in the middle and everyone grabs whatever they need. And nothing is wrong with that, but it sure is helpful when you know the right way. You can go to a five star restaurant and know which fork to use. Over the next few weeks we are going to be eating a very hefty meal, so today I want to set the table for our new Sunday series of studying the stone tablets called the Ten Commandments. But I don’t want to be sloppy about it. I want to lay some things out, putting the utensils in the right place so you can dig into a fabulous meal over the next few weeks. I WANT US TO EMBRACE THESE STONE TABLETS IN A WIRELESS WORLD
I WANT US TO EMBRACE THE TANGIBLE IN AN INTANGIBLE WORLD We live in a very intangible world. We communicate with countless people all day long that we never see. We order products for our work or our home that we never touch. We call people “friends” that we have never met. We conduct all kinds of business without a handshake or a meeting. We carry on day to day relationships with people that we have never even hung out with. We spend money without ever holding it in our hands. THIS INTANGIBLE WORLD WE LIVE IN HAS AFFECTED OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH A TANGIBLE GOD. It has weakened our relationship, our commitment, our level of respect and awe of God. Tangible – defined - perceptible by touch synonyms: touchable · material · physical · real · substantial · solid · concrete · visible · noticeable (Reach over and touch someone) When something is tangible, you can touch it. ALL OF THIS INTANGIBILITY HAS MADE GOD OUT TO BE LESS REAL AND OUR COMMITMENT TO HIM LESS CONCRETE AND SOLID. In their book “The Day America Told The Truth” James Patterson and Peter Kim wrote these words: “God is alive and very well. But right now in America, fewer people are listening to what God has to say than ever before. 90% of the people we questioned said that they truly believe in God. It would be logical to think that God is meaningful in their lives. But we reached a different conclusion when we dug deeper with our questions.” 75% will steal from those who won’t miss it 64% will lie as long as no one gets hurt 7% of the respondents say they would kill a stranger for $10 million America is making up their own laws… only 13 percent of us believe in all of the Ten Commandments. We’ve moved from what is right and what is wrong to “if it feels good, do it.” Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. WE HAVE THROWN AWAY THE KING AND HIS COMMANDS There is such a thing as right and wrong and it’s found in the Ten Commandments.
Abortion is not a right that a woman has over her body. It is not a harmless choice! It is a violation of the sixth commandment: You shall not murder. Marriage is between a husband and wife for life, no matter what a politically correct view happens to be. Or what new law in our country that is passed. II. KNOWING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: One of the purposes in this summer series is to quote the commandments in their correct order: 1. Hold up pointer finger – point to the sky (one God) 2. Hold up two pointer fingers – have one bow before the other (no idols) 3. Hold up three fingers – place over mouth (don’t take God’s name in vain) 4. Hold up four fingers – place on cheek as if to nap (Sabbath rest) 5. Hold up five fingers – place hand over heart (honor parents) I realize that just quoting the commandments does not mean that we’re any closer to keeping them. But we must first know them before we can grow in our understanding of them.
III. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS? As we set the table today, let’s listen to what the Scriptures say about these commands: 1. THESE ARE LIVING WORDS, NOT A DEAD DOCUMENT Acts 7:38 Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God’s people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us. 2. THEY ARE NOT NEGATIVE – THEY ARE GIVEN FOR OUR GOOD Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORD your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good. 3. THEY ARE NOT JUST LIFE PRINCIPLES – THEY ARE LIFE Deuteronomy 32:46-47 When Moses had finished reciting all these words to the people of Israel, 46 he added: “Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. 47 These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.”
AS WE SET THE TABLE LET’S AVOID TWO EXTREMES 1. LEGALISM 2. HYPER GRACE
Law or Grace? We take one side or the other. 1. We say, “We are not under law, but under grace.” From Romans 6:14 Salvation is by grace and grace alone. 2. We say, “The law will never go away.” as we quote Jesus from Matthew 5:17-18 It is Law AND Grace. LAW AND GRACE SCRIPTURES: Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 7:7-8 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[ Matthew 5:17-187 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Romans 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Matthew 3: 8-10 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. James 2:26 Faith without works is dead. OBJECT LESSON: Like looking into a mirror shows that you are dirty, but the mirror itself cannot clean you up. The law reveals our dirtiness, but the law cannot clean you up. Grace it what cleans you up. In order to be cleaned up we need a mediator. That mediator is Jesus. Between law and grace is Jesus. He bridges the gap between the law and grace. But we have to choose him out of our will. Once we are convicted of looking into the law then by our own will we choose Jesus. Then grace pours out upon us through the washing of his blood and cleans us up.
When we look into the law it reveals our wrong doing. It convicts us. It judges our actions. It shows us our dirtiness. And when we look at grace it shows us Jesus. So, in the middle where our will is, is what brings the law and grace together. GOD IS THE SAME GOD WHO GAVE US THE LAW AND GAVE US GRACE AND JESUS. THE LAW SHOWS US WHAT GOD WANTS AND GRACE GIVES US THE POWER AND THE DESIRE TO DO IT!
CLOSING: Jeremiah 31:33 This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. ILLUSTRATION: Moses went to meet God. When he went up to the mountain to meet with God, the Spirit of God etched the Ten Commandments in stone. Before God’s law can be written on your heart you must meet with God. You must have an encounter with God. You must have a Holy Spirit experience with Him. When Moses came down from the mountain he was changed. He had an encounter with the Holy One. He had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who writes the laws of God on our hearts. GOD CAN ONLY PUT HIS NAME ON WHAT YOU ARE WILLING TO GIVE HIM. GOD’S NAME IS HIS LAW. HE IS LAW. GOD WILL CARVE HIS LAW ON YOUR HEART IF YOU GIVE IT TO HIM. GOD’S NAME IS HIS GRACE. HE IS GRACE AND LOVE.
ALTAR: Let’s ask God to write his law on our hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit. COMMUNION