SERIES: STONE TABLETS IN A WIRELESS WORLD SERMON: BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH 10-21-18 By Pastor Rhonda Howard Exodus 20:1 – 19(Niv) 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 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.
“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. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” KNOWING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS EXERCISE: One of the purposes in this series is to quote the commandments in their correct order: 1. Hold up pointer finger – point to the sky (no other gods) 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) 6. Hold up hand and make a gun – (don’t murder) 7. Hold up five fingers on one hand and the pointer and middle finger on the other and cross them to show they are bonded together (No adultery) 8. Hold up four fingers on both hands – using one hand grab the other (No stealing) 9. Hold up four fingers on one hand and five on the other – move the four up and down as they face the five to show that they are lying or bearing false witness about others (no lying) 10. Hold up five fingers on each hand and pull them both in toward yourself – (You shall not covet) Vs. 18 -19 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” When the children of Israel stood at Mount Sinai, they were terrified. “They trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance.” It was an awesome sight. Smoke billowed from the mountain and great balls of fire blazed from peak to peak. There were great claps of thunder and mighty blasts from a trumpet and the ground shook under Israel’s feet. Chapter 19 explains the reason for these awesome sights and sounds. Exodus 19:18 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. THE PEOPLE SAW THE VISIBLE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE GLORY OF THE INVISIBLE GOD! Some Bible scholars have wondered why the description of Mount Sinai is repeated in chapter 20. Why does the Bible describe thunder and lightning both before and after the giving of the Ten Commandments? The answer is that it continued the whole time that God was giving his law. By the time he was finished giving his law, the people were trembling with fear; they were shaking in their sandals. I. THE FEAR OF THE LAW OF GOD
Why were the Israelites frightened? One thing the Israelites feared was the law itself. God had just given them his righteous requirements in the form of the Ten Commandments. They could see that God was demanding their total allegiance in every aspect of their life. He required them to worship him alone and to love one another in everything they did and said. They understood that God was making an absolute claim on their worship, time, relationships, possessions, bodies, speech and desires. So the first time they heard the Ten Commandments – even before they learned them all by heart – the Israelites knew that God was giving them one righteous standard for all of life. HE WANTED ALL OF THEM – ALL THE TIME – AND THIS TERRIFIED THEM! Back in chapter 19 they promised that they would do whatever God said, but as soon as they found out what was included, they panicked. THEY WERE AFRAID OF THE TOTAL DEMAND OF GOD’S LAW. They were also afraid of the threat of God’s judgment. Whether they knew it or not, the fire, the smoke, the thunder (all these signs) would appear at the final judgment. The people had come into the very presence of the great Judge of all sin. They were guilty sinners before a holy God and they could sense that this was a life threatening encounter. II. MOSES THE MEDIATOR One of the first things people do when they get into trouble with the law is to hire a lawyer. This is exactly what the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. As soon as they heard the demands of God’s law, they asked Moses to be their legal advocate, their mediator. They said to him…………… Moses 20:19 “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” The Israelites were afraid to deal with God directly. They had heard the commandments of his law, they had seen the fire and the smoke of his glory, and it was all too much for them to bear. So they begged Moses to do the talking: “We don’t want to talk to God; you talk to him!” The Israelites were right to ask for a mediator. They needed one! Mediator: is someone who stands in the gap to bring two parties together; a go between; a middle man; someone who acts as a bridge between two parties. AND THIS IS WHAT THE ISRAELITES NEEDED. SOMEONE TO STAND BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH, TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN GOD’S DEITY AND THEIR HUMANITY. JOKE: The attorney tells the accused, “I have some good news and some bad news.” “What’s the bad news?” asks the accused.
“The bad news is, your blood
is all over the crime scene, and the DNA tests prove you did it.” “What’s the good news?” “Your cholesterol is 130.” Moses began to serve as their mediator, doing two things that a mediator is called to do: 1. He spoke to them for God. 2. He went to God for them. 1: He spoke to them for God. Exodus 20:20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” Later when Moses looked back on this experience, he said… Deuteronomy 5:5 At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of the LORD, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain. When Moses spoke to the people it was to explain the purpose of God’s law. God’s law has four primary purposes: 1. The law reveals our sin. Romans 7:7 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. Illustration: The Law is not sin, because the Law reveals sin. Just as an x-ray is not a tumor simply because it reveals a tumor, the Law is not sin because it reveals sin. That which is good cannot also be evil. 2. The law restrains our sin by threatening us with punishment. Illustration: Law in society. Its penalties act as a deterrent, keeping people from crime and violence 3. The law shows us how to live in a way that brings glory to God. 4. The law reveals God’s grace in that it keeps us safe and blessed. The people needed a mediator to tell them all this. They needed a representative from God to tell them not to be afraid and to explain to them what the law was for. Moses was the mediator. He spoke to the people for God, so that they could hear and obey. 2. He went to God for them. Exodus 20:21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
This is what a mediator does. He enters God’s presence on behalf of God’s people; he draws near to God as their representative. To put it another way, he boldly goes where no one else would dare to go. And Moses did that. While everyone else in Israel was trembling with fear, he alone, went up to meet God, to talk with God and receive the law. He did this on behalf of God’s people so that they would know God’s will for their lives.
III. THE LIMITS OF THE LAW Anyone that thinks that he can keep God’s law should go ahead and try. We soon discover how impossible it is to keep the Ten Commandments. We are sinners by nature, and we are unable to obey God in everything. IF THERE IS ONE THING WE LEARN FROM THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IS THAT WE ARE NOT ABLE TO KEEP THEM. We are the kind of people who like to serve other gods, use bad language, resist authority, lust after sexual pleasure, take other people’s stuff and say things that tear people down. IF WE TRY TO KEEP THE LAW ON OUR OWN WE ARE DOOMED TO FAILURE AND FRUSTRATION. 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. James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. IF WE CANNOT KEEP GOD’S LAW THEN IT IS A THREAT TO US – A DEADLY THREAT! WE KNOW WHAT WE HAVE TO DO – THAT’S NOT THE PROBLEM. GOD HAS TOLD US WHAT TO DO IN HIS LAW. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE CAN’T DO IT! IF WE WERE ABLE TO KEEP THE LAW THEN WE WOULD BE SAVED BY IT. BUT SINCE WE CANNOT KEEP IT, WE CAN ONLY BE CONDEMNED BY IT. LIKE THE ISRAELITES, WE ARE STANDING AT A DISTANCE, TREMBLING WITH FEAR.
IV. A BETTER MEDIATOR The reason the work of Moses as a mediator matters is because we need a lawyer, too. What we need is a good lawyer! The Law condemns us for our sin so we start looking for some kind of legal remedy, and then we discover that God has provided one for us in Jesus Christ. Jesus can do what the law cannot do, and that is to save us.
Romans 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. The New Testament teaches that the Son of God is our mediator. In fact, he is the only mediator we will ever need……………. 1 Timothy 2: 5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. The book of Hebrews describes Jesus as our mediator by comparing him to Moses……………………………. Hebrews 3:3-6 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,”[a] bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. Hebrews 12:18-20 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: In other words, we are not back in Exodus 20. We have to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant. THINGS ARE DIFFERENT FOR US BECAUSE WE HAVE A BETTER MEDIATOR – JESUS CHRIST!
V. JESUS DOES EVERYTHING A MEDIATOR IS SUPPOSE TO DO 1. He goes to God for us. HE IS ABLE TO DO THIS MUCH MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN MOSES EVER DID BECAUSE HE IS GOD AS WELL AS MAN. JESUS HAS BOTH A DIVINE NATURE AND A HUMAN NATURE. Hebrews 4:15-16 we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. HE UNDERSTANDS US. HE IS COMPASSIONATE TOWARDS US. HE CARES.
HE HAS BEEN WHERE YOU ARE. He is more than capable to represent us before God. And as he approaches God on our behalf, Jesus does something that Moses could never do: he offers perfect obedience to the law. Whatever mediation Moses offered was limited by the fact that he was a lawbreaker. He was not able to offer perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments. But Jesus could do it. When he presented himself to God Jesus said… Hebrews 10:7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’” And then he did it! He worshiped God alone, honored God’s name, kept the Sabbath holy, obeyed his parents, loved his enemies, told the truth and did everything else God commanded him to do. All we have to do is trust in Jesus, and this is absolutely necessary because the Day of Judgment is coming. Since we are in trouble with the law; we will need a lawyer. If we don’t have one, we will have to face the justice of God’s wrath all on our own, and what will happen to us then? Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 2. He speaks to us and tells us not to be afraid. This is because the law holds no fear for those who are safe in Christ. Jesus has suffered the penalty that we deserved for our sin, and the law can no longer overwhelm us with fear. Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3. Jesus teaches us God’s law. Matthew 5:17-18 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. Jesus teaches us to obey the will of God. He explains God’s law and applies it to our hearts so that we can live in a way that is pleasing to him. IF YOU DO NOT RELY ON JESUS AS YOUR MEDIATOR, YOU WILL BE AFRAID TO DRAW NEAR TO GOD. YOU WILL STAND AT A DISTANCE. THE LAW WILL SEEM HARSH. IT WILL BE OVERWHELMING AND COMDENMING. IT WILL SEEM AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK.
BUT WHEN WE SURRENDER TO CHRIST HIS STRENGTH AND HIS POWER IN YOU FULFILLS THE LAW. JESUS IS THE BRIDGE FOR US BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH.