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God is Fire

By Bobby Blakey on December 1, 2019

Exodus 3:2

God is Fire

By Bobby Blakey on December 1, 2019

Exodus 3:2

EXCERPT

If we read through Genesis and we learn that God is the main character, Exodus is the main character taking center stage and introducing himself to everyone.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript and may be updated. Please check this copy against the video.

I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me to the book of Exodus // We’ll be looking at chapter three this morning, on page 46, if you got one of our Bibles

The ushers are going to come forward right now // keeping in the spirit of Christmas, we have a gift for everyone here this morning // It is a little Exodus booklet that we have put together here at the church // some devotionals that we have written and edited and put together // So as you’re reading through Exodus // because that’s what we’re encouraging everybody to do is read through Exodus // and as you’re reading through, here’s some cross references, some questions that will help you think it through // Maybe you’ve got one of our schedules as we’re reading through the law as a church // the schedule is also on the back of your hand out // so hopefully we’re not just going to hear a sermon from Exodus, but we’re going to read it and talk about it in our fellowship groups together

I’ve been inspired by the fellowship groups response to Genesis // We’ve got 30 fellowship groups meeting together, getting into the words, speaking to one another // In fact, we even have a Vietnamese fellowship group, and a Spanish speaking fellowship group // they inspired me, they translated the entire Exodus booklet into Spanish // let’s encourage them // It was four of them // This is the En Fuego version right here

One of the ladies who helped work on the translation // I got to go to the Spanish speaking fellowship group the other day // she shared with the group // that it was when she first read the Book of Exodus // that’s when God opened her eyes and she truly began to have a relationship with God // is through the reading of this book //

So, if we read through Genesis, and we learned that God is the main character // Exodus is the main character taking center stage and introducing himself to everyone // every sermon that we have in the month of December is going to be God speaking about who He is // revealing himself and we should not be surprised that when God speaks to us who he is it also is going to perfectly tie-in to Jesus being born, who is the very word of God // You’re going to see a lot of crossover actually, between how God reveals Himself in Exodus and the sending of His son Jesus in Christmas //

So this is going to be really exciting and to get us going let’s go to Exodus Chapter 3, and let’s start with another Scripture reading here // That’s right on the first day of December, your pastor gave you two scripture readings here at church this morning // so if you could stand up with me, we’re going to read Exodus 3:1-15 // this is God speaking from the fire // this is the symbol that God uses for himself, is fire, and he’s going to speak to Moses from a burning bush, and reveal who he is // Exodus Chapter 31, please follow along, all the way to Verse 15 // I assure you, if there was fire and God was speaking from it, you would pay attention // So I encourage you to give this your full and undivided attention this morning //

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro the priest of Midian and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb the mountain of God, and the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush he looked, and behold the bush was burning yet, it was not consumed, and Moses said I will turn aside to see this great sight why the bush is not burned and when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see God called to him out of the bush Moses, Moses and he said // Here I Am // then he said Do not come near Take your sandals off your feet for the place on which you are standing is holy ground // And he said I Am the God of your father the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look at God // Then the Lord said I have surely seen the affliction of my people, who are in Egypt and I’ve heard their cry because of their task masters // I know their sufferings and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites // And now behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them // Come I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt, but Moses said to God, Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt // He said But I will be with you and this shall be the sign for you that I have sent to you // When you have brought the people out of Egypt you shall serve God on this mountain, but Moses said to God // If I come to the people of Israel, and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, What is his name, what shall I say to them? God said to Moses, I Am who I Am, I and he said // Say this to the people of Israel, I Am has sent me to you // God also said to Moses, say this to the people of Israel, the Lord, the God of your fathers the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me to you, this is my name forever and thus I Am to be remembered throughout all generations // That’s the reading of God’s Word // Please go ahead and have your seat //

And there’s a lot we could say about this passage, we could talk about Moses’ response // maybe you know Moses as this great man of God who writes these five books // we’re going through the law of Moses // We’re going to see the Moses, he’s just like one of us, who am I to do that and to people? I’m not a good speaker // Moses’ responds like a lot of us might respond if we heard the voice of God speaking to us, telling us to go and represent him to go to Pharaoh of all people, and to tell him let my people go //You can study the response of Moses, but we want to focus in on what God says about Himself //

If I were to fill out a little survey, and I were to go out into the streets of our cities or I were even to go to other churches, this morning and I were to say “God is fill in the blank?” // What do you think most people would put in that blank, right there? God is what? // Love? // What we’re going to see is that’s a little bit different than what God says here today, we’re going to see that that’s a great answer // God is love, and we should praise him for that, we should give him glory, that’s what we celebrate on Christmas is the gift of His love // But there are other things that you could say God is: fill-in-the-blank // There are many other answers to that // In fact, we’re going to get three different answers about God here in Exodus 3 //

The first one we see is that God is fire, that’s what we see // the fire is going to be the symbol that God is going to use to express himself, not just from this burning bush but on the mountain of fire through the pillar of fire, as a devouring fire, that’s how God’s going to be seen throughout the book of Exodus // So go back to verse 2, and look what it says here, and the angel of the Lord appears but when the angel of the Lord speaks it speaks as if it were God // which makes many people think that even here in Exodus 3, this could be a Jesus before Christmas appearance here to Moses // as we would say a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ //

And so, this bush // Moses turns to see it because behold, look at this bush if you can picture it, there’s a fire, a flame of fire is coming out of the midst of a bush and we would expect that when the bush is burning the bush will burn up but yet this bush is not consumed // So I don’t know if Moses sees it from a distance and he notices it and then over time it’s still burning just as much and he’s intrigued // Why isn’t that Bush burning up? Why does it keep on burning? //And so, he approaches it //

Now God is going to speak regularly in Exodus as a voice coming out of the fire // in fact, go back to verse 12 and you’ll see there in verse 12, God made a promise to Moses // It’s a prophecy that gets fulfilled in Exodus // that when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain // it’s called here Horeb // you’ve heard of Mount Sinai // this is known as the mountain of God // and God speaking to Moses right now, but he’s telling Moses, you’re going to bring all the people here and then I’m going to speak to all the people // and we’re going to get there in chapter 19 and 20 when the whole mountain is going to be covered and smoke and fire and thunder and lightning and people aren’t even allowed to touch the mountain or they will die and God is going to speak to all of his people from that mountain the 10 commandments //

So this is like the introduction to Moses and later on God’s going to speak from this same mountain // speaking as a voice from fire to all of these people

The image that God wants to use when he is introducing himself // Okay, this is not what you and I think about God // making him in our image // this is God introducing himself // telling you how you should think about him // the first picture that God wants you to think about is that he is a God of fire // and he speaks from fire and it’s a fire that does not burn out // the burning one never burns out, that’s how he wants to be known // A fire that is not yet consumed //

We understand fire, maybe especially this time of the year, the benefits of fire, the warmth, the comfort, the life, and heat that it can give to us // But we’re used to having to stoke the fire, to having to kindle the flame // God wants to be seen as a fire that never diminishes

And really, when Moses retells these events // go to Deuteronomy // turn with me to Deuteronomy // That’s the second telling of the law // So this is now Moses commentary on all that happens in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers // Now Deuteronomy is basically Moses’ big speech, his big sermon, his teaching his commentary on the law // going through it now a second time // and here in Deuteronomy 4 // before Moses is going to retell the 10 commandments // this is what he gets back to //

Deuteronomy 4:15 // page 149 // we’re going to work our way to Deuteronomy // we’re going to hopefully learn that it’s the climax of the law as Moses really explains it to the people // and in Deuteronomy 4:15 it says // therefore watch yourselves very carefully since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire // so he’s going on to say Beware, lest you act correctly by making a carved image for yourselves in the form of any figure the likeness of male or female the likeness of any animal // Hey don’t go make an idol of God // don’t go carve an image of God // Hey remember when God spoke to you on the mountain of God // he spoke to you from The Fire // Fire is the image God wanted to use to represent himself // Don’t go make an image or form something about God // that’s not how God appeared to you // he didn’t appear to you in a form or an image // he appeared to you in the fire // In fact it goes so far that later on Moses says this // Jump down to verse 24 // he just summarizes it like this // for the Lord your God is a consuming fire //a jealous God // God is a fire // don’t forget how you saw him //

This is now God // what we’re going to see in Exodus is this God introducing himself // this is God speaking for himself // This is much more important than what you think about God // this is more important than what you hear other people say about God // The reason every single one of us need to read the book of Exodus and study it is because this is God explaining Himself to us //

You want to hear it straight from the source // you want to have a first-hand account // That’s what the book of Exodus is // God saying I will be known to my people // Let me introduce myself // And he introduces himself as fire //

Now, this isn’t just some Old Testament image // Turn with me to Hebrews 12 // I need everybody to flip in your Bible over to the Book of Hebrews chapter 12 // the point of the Book of Hebrews was written to the Jews who were still living in the old covenant saying that the New Covenant we have in Jesus is better // We live in the New Covenant // we live in the post-Christmas era // we know the story of Jesus, the good news of great joy that is the gospel // our eyes have been open to see Jesus // that he shed his blood to pay for our sins // that He rose again to give us new life // we believe in Jesus // we’re the people of Jesus // better to be one of us in the New Covenant than to live in the old covenant // That’s what Hebrews is saying // what we have in Jesus is greater than the law of Moses // But look what he says here in Hebrews 12:18 // we have got to follow the logic we have got to understand what the writer of Hebrews is saying //

Yes, it’s better to be a part of the church of Jesus than to be a part of the people of Israel under the Law of Moses // But think about it like this // Hebrews 12:8 // For you have not come to what may be touched a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest // This is the image that we’re going back to now // this picture of God speaking from fire // this is now the reference point here // this is what he’s bringing up // you guys aren’t coming to a mountain here today // we’re not coming to blazing fire to hear the word of God spoken to us // There’s not the sound of a trumpet // and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them // for they could not endure the order that was given // if even a beast touches the mountain it shall be stoned indeed // So terrifying was the site that Moses said I tremble with fear //

So you see, we’re going to get there // God’s going to speak to his people from the mountain of fire and the people are going to say We can’t handle God speaking to us // Moses you speak to us // and even Moses is trembling in the presence of God // and it says here you have come to Mount Zion // so we’re not going to Mount Sinai //we’re going instead it says here to Mount Zion // Look at how it describes it // to the city of the living God // the Heavenly Jerusalem // we don’t come to worship God at a mountain // we come to worship God on His throne in Heaven // and to innumerable angels in festal gathering // to the assembly of the first born who are enrolled in heaven // and to God the Judge of all // and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect // and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant // and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel //

So what does he doing here // He says Hey we’re not going to the mountain of fire // we’re in the New Covenant, we’re not going to Mount Sinai // we’re going to Mount Zion // we’re going to straight to God’s throne in Heaven where there’s all these angels worshipping him // Where the saints of old are worshipping Him // where Jesus is at the right hand of the Majesty on High //

Is he saying Hey it’s not intense, like it used to be, we’ve brought it down and notch // Or is he saying, where we’re going is actually greater than where they went // See the logic of what he’s saying here // if you think it was a big deal when they approached the mountain of fire and they couldn’t even handle it // how big of a deal is it for you and I to come to worship God in His presence when he’s on his throne in heaven right now // it says in verse 25, See that you do not refuse him who is speaking // you need to listen to the voice // If they couldn’t even handle listening to the voice from the mountain of fire how much more should you and I be listening to God speak to us through His Word when he sits on His throne in Heaven //

For if they did not escape when they refused to him who warned them on earth, much less will we, escape if we reject him, who warns from heaven // at that time, his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, yet, once more, I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens // This phrase yet once more indicates the removal of the things that are shaken // that is the things that have been made // We’re talking about the final judgment // The end of the world as we know it // in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain //

Here’s the conclusion of this comparison between Mount Sinai God speaking from the fire and Mount Zion, God speaking from heaven // therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus, let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire // You and I should see God exactly this way // We should have such a high, view of him //

It says you need a worship with reverence and awe // Let’s get that down for point number one // That’s how it’s describing us // New Covenant people who know the blood of Jesus Christ to cover our sins // We should still when we approach God, we need to learn from the example that we have in Exodus and we need to approach God, we need to come to offer our sacrifices our offerings to him, and we need to do it in an acceptable way //

There is no real worship of God unless it includes reverence and awe // God is and always has been and will always be a consuming fire // This is one of the things that we should know about God // this is how he introduces himself, and the response to a God who is fire // is reverence in awe //

Can you say When you worship God you are in awe of all that he is of who he is // Can you say that there is this profound sense of gravitas as you come to worship God // there’s this sense of heaviness of the weight of the glory of God as you come to Him with reverence // or do you come to God in a very casual and familiar way //

So we have to be very careful // There’s two ways that people deal with the fact that God is so high above us, he’s so high and lifted up, on His throne in Heaven // We can’t fully comprehend God // That’s what’s going to be difficult about this sermon today // I can try to explain what God saying in his word, but only God can make himself known to you // only God can reveal himself // like God has to let you know who he is because we, in our thinking, can’t figure God out // He’s above us, he’s beyond us and so it’s hard for us to really deal with this high view of God // And so, one thing that people do is we act like we can be righteous and we make ourselves very religious and we act like we could somehow operate on the same level of God with this kind of inflated puffed up view of ourselves // or what’s much more common in our day is we don’t keep God as a God of fire // speaking to us in a way that can’t be refused // worshipping Him in reverence and awe // We just bring him down to our level // we make him our buddy // we make him our friend //

It’s like // Oh yeah, God’s right there, for me, I can talk to him anytime I want // Hey, if I sin, it’s not that big of a deal // I’ll just go to God and He’ll forgive me // Hey, I can just go into the presence of God // Like it’s no big deal, Hey, it’s nice to have a fire place where it’s warm, it’s cozy // but you don’t go into the fire place //

See, that’s how God is // He’s fire // he’s above us // he’s beyond us // we just don’t waltz into the presence of God // God’s going to tell you how you get to come to him // You don’t get to decide how you approach God // you have to approach Him and worship Him in a way that’s acceptable and the way that’s acceptable is with this reverence and this awe // because you see God as a consuming fire // And there is a sense that I don’t want to be consumed, so when I approach God in heaven, I let my words here on earth be few because I understand that He is high above me // and I have that sense that profound sense of awe and wonder at the glory of God // Do you have that in your soul? // Do you really know God in the way that he’s revealing himself?

Moses was so afraid when he saw the burning bush, and he heard the voice speaking from the fire that he hid his face and would not look at God // Have you ever felt like that as you’ve tried to approach God // as you’ve been convicted about Your sin // as you’ve been literally in awe of his glorious splendor // has there been this view that wow, God is fire and I don’t want to get burned // Have you ever thought something like that?

That’s how God’s introduced in himself // and the writer of Hebrews is saying yes, we are in the new covenant // yes, we have access straight to God’s presence in heaven // but no, do not lose the high view of God, because God always has been and always will be // He is fire // that’s who our God is //

Go back to Exodus now because look what the instruction is that he’s going to give to Moses and it’s not going to be like Hey Moses, come on over here, let’s be friends, Buddy // that’s not what He says to Moses // even though he’s calling him by name // even though he’s calling him for a purpose // even though he’s going to make this man Moses, famous in every nation in the world history this man, Moses is going to be known this guy love him // Does He care for him? Absolutely, but look what he says to him in Exodus 35 // then he said “Do not come near // Take your sandals off your feet for the place on which you are standing is holy ground //

So this is the beginning of our introduction to holiness // it’s the first time in the scripture, if you’ve been reading with us through Genesis // here we are now // we’re going to get into Exodus // And here’s God now introducing this idea that He is holy // and so Moses don’t just come up to the burning bush // Moses’ take your sandals off your feet show some reverence and awe // don’t come near because this right here where I Am, this is a holy ground // this is a holy place, right here, see holiness equals // If you’re taking notes // holiness this equals separation // that’s what we should think of when we hear the word holiness // this idea of being set apart // there is a separation // God is introducing himself as one who is separate from us // Moses I’m calling you by name // Hey, Moses, don’t come near because this is my holy ground that I’m on here // So holy, means a separation //

One of the things that should definitely come to your mind // if there was a God is fill in the blank // one of the things that we should be pondering and thinking about if we want to set our mind on the things of God // the things of heaven // is that everybody on earth seems to want to say, God is love, and everybody in heaven, seems to want to say God is holy, holy, holy // They say it three times // in fact, they say it in Isaiah 6, the Cherubim and the seraphim, the elders who are bowing down before the throne // They say it in Revelation 4 // It seems like even spanning over what would seem to us a long period of time, in heaven, there’s still focused on one thing, the center piece, the focal point // It’s all on the throne, it’s all on God and if you’re in heaven and you get a glimpse of his glory, the word you come away with is God is holy //

That would be the main thing that comes to our mind when we think about God\ // if we’re going to have a heavenly perspective here on planet Earth that we know him to be a separate God // There is no one like our God // that’s what it means He is set apart from everyone else // he is unique nothing that has been created is like who God is // he’s separate from us // literally throughout Exodus we’re going to use space to show that there is a distance between God and us // and God is a consuming fire // and you can’t go into his space and survive // That’s one thing that Exodus is going to teach us // that there is a holy space //

So we’re going to have to really learn about holiness // the question that really we need to ask ourselves is do I think of God as holy and does that then give me a passion for holiness in my life // because holiness is something that is unique to God // he is alone in it, he’s in, in his own space with it // And yet, one of the things that’s going to become a theme // in fact it’s going to be the theme of the whole Book of Leviticus is God’s going to say Over and over You Shall Be holy, because I Am holy And if I’m the Lord, your God, and I’m holy then you should be holy //

When was last time you were with a bunch of brothers and sisters, people that you love in the Lord Jesus Christ, your fellowship group at somebody’s house at a coffee shop and one of your brothers or sisters lean forward and you could tell they had this passion and they were like guys I just need to grow in my holiness // When was the last time you heard somebody just have this driving passion for personal holiness // Somebody saying to you, I just can’t stop thinking about how holy God is, I can’t get my mind around it //

See, that’s the kind of thoughts, if you’re going to say I know God, I want to have a personal relationship with God // There is no such thing as a personal relationship with God without a passion for personal holiness // you don’t get to come into God’s presence however you want // He’s going to tell you how he wants to have a relationship with you // and He is going to demand that every one of his people be holy as He is holy //

And this is going to become something that we’re going to start to see in Exodus and it’s going to manifest itself in two different ways // If you want to write this down // we’re going to see holiness in two different ways // One is we’re going to see it in the law // the Moral commands that he’s going to give his people to do // and the other way we’re going to see His holiness is in the Tabernacle // this space that he is going to have the people build so that he can have a holy place where he is separate and set apart //

So point number two, we need to rediscover His holiness // That’s one of the things we need to ask God to reveal to us // to make known to us // to teach us // because holiness is not something that people are talking about a lot here in Southern California churches // and it’s not something that for a lot of people, is a priority passion in their life to be holy because our God is holy and that’s the way it needs to be // and so we’re going to have to re-discover who God is, and His holiness, and then how he’s calling us to be holy // And when we start reading these laws, you have got to think, What is God trying to say that he wants us to live, what is this about what, how does this reflect His character and how does he want that to become my character // then when we read all these chapters in Exodus about the Tabernacle, and why is God giving such vivid specific details about how they need to build this place and how they need to sacrifice and worship him // It’s because he has a holy space // And we’re going to have to learn holiness and we’re going to have to come to it Like maybe we don’t fully understand it // like maybe we’ve lost some of the meaning to the fact that God is holy // and it’s going to spill over into Exodus //

One of the things we have to start seeing is the law is not really five books // I know it’s broken down into five scrolls and we think of it as five books // but really it’s all the law of Moses // It was all one book in the mind of the Jews // and the excitement of God showing his wonders in Exodus // It leads right into Yes, Leviticus everybody //

Let me just say that this church as of January 1, 2020, will be a Leviticus slander-free Zone //, there will be no more Ha-ha funny jokes of Christians making fun of Leviticus //

I’m not going to mention any names // I was with my guys in my fellowship group and we were having some breakfast // we were talking some Genesis together, // I revealed to them The Exodus booklet // I said Hey guys, here’s the new booklet // It’s got fire all over it // and I don’t want to bring my brother down because I love him dearly, and I believe he’s a brother in the Lord Jesus Christ, but one of the guys he’s like Yeah, what’s going to be on the cover of Leviticus // A bunch of leprosy // a bunch of skin problems, // We have got to stop it //

Okay, but think about it, you want to take it serious // Now, think about how ironic this is // that the church today, likes to poke fun at a book that is all about the holiness of God // There’s nothing funny about that //

You see what I mean // this is God saying // You can’t come near me, because I Am on holy ground, // immediately Every one of us should be thinking, what does that mean, what does that mean that you’re holy and how do I get holy so that I can come near you and have a relationship with you // Like, there should be this curiosity // this sense of intrigue // Like what do you mean? I can’t just come near you // What do you mean you’ve got this space that if anybody touches your mountain, they die // you’ve got this holy place in the tabernacle // If anybody walks in there, they die // What do you mean that you are so set a part, you’re so separate from us that we can’t even approach you or we would perish // What do you mean by that? That’s what we should be wanting to know and we should be pouring over these pages // What does it mean that I could be holy // Like you are holy because it sounds like you’re unique // you’re one of a kind, but then you’re commanding me to be like you // How is that possible, how does that work out // That should be our response //

Turn with me after that introduction to the Book of Leviticus // joyfully gladly turn with me to page 90 // everyone peel the pages apart from one another, start freshening them up // Leviticus chapter 11:44-45 is a chapter here where he’s talking about clean and unclean animals // Maybe that’s what we’ll put on the cover bro // We’ll put some clean and unclean animals on there for you // And then, look why we’re talking about this // Don’t miss what’s really going on // There might be cultural ancient things that we don’t fully understand, but this is what we should understand // God saying this Leviticus 11:44 // for I Am the Lord your God, consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy for I Am holy // You shall not defile yourselves with any of the swarming things that crawls on the ground // Why are all these things about these animals important // for I Am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt // to be your God // You shall therefore be holy for I Am holy // and this command of God to his people // that we must be holy, because He is holy // we cannot lower God to our standard // He is calling us to live out his standard // and this is not an Old Testament command // it says in Hebrews 12:14 that every one of us should strive for holiness without which no one will see the Lord //

Maybe the reason a lot of people today don’t feel very personally close to God is they’re not personally pursuing holiness because you have to have holiness to see God //

in 1 Peter Chapter 1 verses 14 to 19 // Peter makes it very clear that even though we have been ransomed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ we should still conduct ourselves to be holy as He is holy // this is a permanent command for all of God’s people // that if we’re going to walk in His ways we must become like him // so when God tells us something to do, the reason is, it reflects who he is and that’s what we’re called to be here on planet Earth //

But we’re also going to see // there’s a sense where we’re going to see holiness is something that God is in His character // but you cannot just say holiness means God doesn’t sin // that’s a part of holiness // that’s what part of what God is set apart from his sin // But there is more to holiness, than just being sinless // It is beyond that, it’s a bigger thought that // So, yes, there’s going to be a part of God’s holiness, we we’re going to be called to be holy // that’s going to lead us to reading chapters of laws // but there’s also going to be // go to chapter 16 of Leviticus // There’s also going to be this idea that God has a space // a holy place // and you can’t just walk into God’s fire place // you can’t just approach the consuming fire // it is going to say here in the Leviticus 16 // this one day of the year // the Day of Atonement // Yom Kapoor // this day that the high priest can go in // one man one day of the year can actually go in to the presence of God // That’s how he set it up and he says here Leviticus 16:1 // The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of his two sons of Aaron when they drew near before the Lord and died // That’s right, we’re going to read about people who go before God in the way that God doesn’t command them and they are killed for approaching God and inappropriate way //

So here’s the follow-up commentary on that // I know Aaron’s sons died because of the inappropriate way that they drew near before the Lord and the Lord said to Moses tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the holy place inside the veil before the mercy seat that is on the ark so that he may not die // Make sure Aaron knows that if he just walks in here he’ll died too // You cannot just approach the holy presence of God // God is going to tell us what it means to come into his presence and even then not everybody’s just going to be allowed to walk right into the Holy Place of God // and so we’re going to see how important it is that God has a set a part separate space where he can dwell in His holiness //

You’re going to see the instructions that start to get given here on what it’s going to take for one man // just look at the introduction here in verse 3 // but in this way, Aaron shall come into the holy place // You want to come into the holy place, one man, one day of the year, here’s what he’s have got to do // with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering // he shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarments on his body // he shall tie the linen sash around his waist and wear the linen turbine // these are the holy garments // he shall bathe his body and water and then put them on and he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering // And then it’s going to keep going from there // a whole chapter worth of instructions // so that one man can come before God one day of the year //

So you have got to see what God is communicating to Moses from the beginning and then throughout this to his people as he has his own special place // the fire place // the Holy Place where you and I cannot just approach God anyway, we want to // And so we have to learn how God commands that He would be approached // And so that’s what we need to be looking for throughout these pages //

Now go back to Exodus 3 // because there’s another thing that God reveals about himself // he tells Moses His plan here // Even though Moses is so afraid he’s not even looking at the burning bush at this point // God reveals that he wants to do a great work of deliverance, and bringing his people out of slavery in Egypt, and leading them to the Promised Land // God is very clear that the goal that he has in Exodus is to show His wonders in Egypt // And even in our generation there have been movies // here in America and pop culture they make movies about the story of Exodus // it is a story that has spanned languages and cultures and times // it is God introducing himself and showing off // That’s what we’re going to read here in the Book of Exodus // and when he’s saying this, that Moses you’re going to be the guy who’s going to go to Pharaoh and deliver my message to let my people go // Moses is like // Who am I to do that? // No, I’m going to go with you, Moses // It’s going to work, you’re going to bring them all back here // Verse 13 // Then Moses said to God, Okay Moses is having a hard time processing this // You’re going to see Moses // He responds like a lot of people // It’s Christmas time, let’s go tell people the good news of Jesus // nah that’s not really for me // that’s exactly how Moses responds, here // I’m not really your guy // A big problem // I’m not good at speaking to people, right?

Well, he’s going to say here, if I come to the people of Israel, and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you // Okay, so I’m going to come and I’m going to say // Hey God sent me and they asked me // Well, who is this God what is his name // what shall I say to them? // Alright, so here’s Moses’ asking God, how do you want me to introduce you?

Verse 14, God said to Moses // I Am who I Am // and I and he said Say this to the people of Israel // I Am has sent me to you // now, he goes on to elaborate // God also said to Moses, say this to the people of Israel // the Lord, the God of your fathers the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you // This is my name forever // And thus I Am to be remembered throughout all generations // so the main thing that God wants Moses to communicate is this sense that he is // he wants to give this idea of His active presence // Okay, he says You can call me by my name Yahweh // and if you want to write down // whenever you see LORD there in Exodus // with all four capital letters // there LORD, that means it’s the name Yahweh // You could write down Genesis 4:26 // that’s when they started referring to God as Yahweh all the way from the beginning // and then we read through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob // but God’s wanting to say Hey, I’m not just the God of the past // I’m not just the God of ancient tradition // I’m not just the God, you’ve heard about in the history books // I Am right now // and I Am to be known by every generation // I’m the one who always has been, who always will be I Am // God is trying to communicate here a sense of his active presence // Don’t go tell on the people of Israel // I’m some old God, when I say The God of your fathers // I don’t mean I’m old now and I’m not as fresh as I used to be // no, tell them I Am right now // Give them a sense of my active presence right now in this day, at this time //

Now when God says this // basically that I Am // just this idea of existence // I don’t know that Moses fully understands what God’s saying // in fact, when Moses goes // and you’ll see if you read this week // when Moses goes to Pharaoh and He says // Let my people go // Pharaoh just says No, I’m not going to do that // In fact, I really don’t like how you’re bringing that up // So now, I want all the people to make their bricks without straw // then Moses walks away stunned by that and then he goes to the people of Israel and they’re like Moses You just mess this whole thing up // now, it’s all harder // Why did you go and say that to Pharaoh // and then Moses goes to God, he basically says // Yeah why did I go say that to Pharaoh // because now everything is worse // That’s how this goes down // So Moses isn’t like // Oh I get it, you’re the I Am // Hey guys, he’s the I Am and everybody’s like // Oh yeah, the I Am okay, got that and then it’s like, Oh now we’re all a team // It goes over everybody’s heads //

What this is, it’s God trying to say that he is right now that he has that he has this sense of eternity // that he has always existed not only as he always existed throughout the span of time // but He exists right now in this time // and it’s hard for us to comprehend the eternal, self-sufficiency of the Almighty God // it’s hard for us to understand that God is so sufficient, he is in and of himself // that God even has relationship in and of himself // that God has existed Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all of eternity, so God is // And there’s even a sense of community and relationship within who God is // we can’t even fathom that in our mind // So we’re talking about things that we literally cannot comprehend with the brains that we have //

But I’ll tell you what // the way you should think about when God says I Am // This is one of the greatest set up lines of all time // and really the one that is speaking from the fire // the Angel of the Lord if it’s a pre-Christmas appearance of Jesus // this is really Jesus saying I Am // and that’s why John when he wrote the Gospel of John, he was so careful to record Jesus showing up and saying I Am the bread of life // I Am the living water // I Am the good shepherd // I Am the way the truth and the life // Jesus over and over throughout the gospel is saying // I Am the resurrection and the life // he keeps saying I Am // and then he expounds on who he is // but he keeps saying over and over again I Am //

Go to John chapter 8 and let’s look at one of those statements where Jesus takes this name for God // He doesn’t just apply it to himself // he says it’s who he is // John 8:12 is one of these statements where Jesus says, I Am, and then he communicates something about himself, he kind of says I Am // So one of the things that we need to process is not only is God love // God is love // God is fire // God is holy // but if you have God is fill in the blank, you could just leave it alone, you could just walk away right there, God is // Yes, that’s what he wants us to know // that he is actively present in this time right now // and He exists outside of time in all of eternity God is //

And Jesus says here in John 8:12 // page 894 if you got one of our books // one of the famous statements of Jesus just owning this festival of light that they had // this whole celebration of light where they would remember God leading the people of Israel as a pillar of fire by lighting up the night sky of Jerusalem with fire during this feast of Booths as they remembered their traveling in the wilderness // and Jesus shows up when they’re remembering the pillar of fire and they’re lighting up the temple at night with all of this fire Jesus masters the moment it says I Am the light of the world // He’s claiming to be the pillar of fire // he’s claiming to be I Am that I Am // now It goes over a lot of people’s heads // and so he gets into this argument here with the Pharisees and the Pharisees he’s saying // Verse 13 // the Pharisee said to him You are bearing witness about yourself // your testimony is not true //

So what we’re going to see here is a debate // you can read through the whole debate here in John chapter 8 // it’s an intense debate between two interpretations of the law // the Pharisees think they know the law as a bunch of rules that they have puffed themselves up to think that they can do // that’s how they think the law is // and Jesus is claiming that the law is all about him and the whole reason Moses wrote it all down is so that he could come and fulfill it // that it’s all just a big set up // And so there’s two interpretations of the law that are going to debate one another here in John 8 //

And Jesus answered Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true // I know where I came from and where I Am going, but you do not know where I come from, or where I Am going //

When Jesus says, where he came from and where he’s going, where is he talking about everybody? // He’s not talking about a manger in Bethlehem // Jesus has pre-existence to being born // he’s got something that you and I don’t have // We start when we’re born // we start at conception // Jesus Christ, No, he was before he was born // he came from heaven and he’s going back to heaven // And they don’t know that they don’t see that //

He says in Verse 15 // You judge according to the flesh // I judge No one yet // Even if I do judge My judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father // here he is now going back to his eternal relationship between them and the father // In your law // He’s quoting the law now // it is written that the testimony of two people is true // I Am the one who bears witness about myself and the Father who sent me bears witness about me // and they said to him, therefore, where is your father? // And then then the debate rages on //

They’re not acknowledging that his father is God in heaven // they’re going to start slandering his father and his mother here on earth // Jesus, he’s going to get into it with these guys, and he’s going to say Well let me tell you about your father the devil who’s a murderer and a liar, from the beginning // I mean, this is a real name calling kind of a debate right here // it’s getting a heated But just go to the end of the debate, right here in verse 54 // Where Jesus answered // and now he’s going to go to the second part because they’re not getting the I Am part //

We have got to go back to Verse 24 // look at some of the things that Jesus says in this debate // Look how good this is // Look how this going over their heads // I told you that you would die in your sins for unless you believe that I Am he // or unless you believe I Am you will die in your sins // there he is right there saying unless you believe that I Am God // unless you know me as the Son of God // unless you lift high my name and put it right there // With God, I mean, John 8 is one of the greatest passages // If somebody has a hard time believing that Jesus is God, here’s the argument right here // unless you believe that I Am he, you’re going to die in your sins // look at verse 28 // So Jesus said to them // When you have lifted up the son of man // and this is the phrase in the Gospel of John for when they crucify him // when he dies on the cross, // then you will know that I Am He and I do nothing on my own, authority, but speak just as the father taught me // which is what happened when Jesus died // and after he rose again, some of the Pharisees ended up believing in the gospel of Jesus and acknowledged Him to be the Son of God // That’s what he’s saying here, after I die, then some of you are going to know who I Am // so he is claiming to be the I Am, but it’s going over their head, so now he takes it here to Abraham //

Look what he says in verse 54 // If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing // It is my father, who glorifies me of whom you say He is our God // but you have not known him, I know him // man, he’s saying, You guys don’t really know God // I know God // if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word // Your father Abraham, rejoiced that he would see my day, he saw it and was glad // You guys aren’t getting the I Am so let’s go back to Abraham // let’s see if you guys get that // Abraham saw me and was glad when he saw me //

Okay, now they’re starting to get it // Verse 57 // so the Jew said to Him // You are not yet 50 years old and have you seen Abraham? // And this is one of the boo-yah statements of all time, right here, John 8,:58 // Jesus said to them, Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was I Am // drop the mic walk off the stage literally, that’s what He does // Verse 59 // so they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple //

At that moment they understood what he was saying by saying that he was the I Am that he was claiming to be the God of Abraham, the Eternal One, the self-existent, one // and you know what the response of the Jews was when they finally got who the I Am was // they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy //

So this is one of the great passages that you should use to prove to people Jesus is God // because even his enemies, the Pharisees, who had the wrong interpretation of the law who didn’t see the law as what was going to be fulfilled by Jesus // they saw as something for themselves // even they understood that Jesus was claiming to be the I Am and they wanted to kill him because they know he was claiming to be God //

See if it’s hard for us to know God, if it’s hard for us to understand a God of fire and a God who is holy // there’s only one way that we could really come to this God and that’s through faith in His Son Jesus Christ // Can I get Amen from anybody on that?

Jesus is the one who reveals God // so we’re reading things in Exodus and it’s hard to understand what does it mean I Am that I Am, what we’re going to have to celebrate Christmas to really understand what it means // That’s how these books // the idea of Exodus and December Christmas // they’re going to go together so well // it’s going to blow our minds that all the things God is showing to his people in Israel about who he is are the things that Jesus then reveals to us when He comes //

And so, point number three, you have got to know what it means to have eternal life // See, this is what it’s about really, here at our church, this is why we want everybody to read through the law // or this is why we say, Hey, well, I don’t know if you read through Genesis with us, but will you read through Exodus with us? // Maybe you’re visiting from out of town // you should read Exodus // you want to know why // because you have got to know who God is // we’re not just trying to get people to morally improve their lives // we’re not trying to get people to just believe in something or come to church on a Sunday or be good Christians who read the Bible and do good things // No, the point of being a Christian is to know God // the only true God and Jesus Christ, who he said This is what it means to have eternal life // it means your eyes are open // the veil is lifted // and you get to go into the presence of God and see Him for who He really is // and you know him // and it makes all the difference // Yeah, your life changes // Yeah, you’re going to heaven // But that’s not what it’s about // it’s about you know God because of Jesus // and you worship him with reverence and awe // you respond to him with holy living, because of His holiness // Is that what you’re about? Do you know eternal life? // I’m not asking if you’re going to heaven when you die, I’m not asking Is God doing good things in your life right now? // I’m asking, do you know God // do you know who he really is //

We’re going to give you a chance to respond to him right now // the worship team is going to come up and we’re going to sing about right here, on earth What they’re singing about, in heaven, that our God is holy // we’re going to give you a moment right now to worship Him, in reverence and awe // And I just have got to ask you, Do you know that you really know him? // Do you know who he is?

You can’t figure this out for yourself // God has to make himself known to you // you have to see His glory in Jesus Christ // And so I know there’s some people here in this room right now who are hearts are just stirred up by the reminder of how awesome our God is // Hey, let me tell you, brothers and sisters // Let’s get into Exodus this is going to fire you up, alright? // This is going to stoke the flame of your love for God // as you are reminded of His holy majesty and you want to worship Him //

But if you know right now that you don’t know God // let me tell you, just because you have not been consumed does not mean that God is not a consuming fire // and you want to come to God in the way he commands you now rather than just meet him by ending up in his presence later // if you know you don’t know God, now what a great time this would be this Christmas for you to get to know God through His Son Jesus Christ // To start to enter into this eternal life // to start to see a life outside of space and time outside of this body // the things of the spiritual realm of heaven where God is // how amazing that would be for you to experience the active presence of God in your life //

Don’t just walk out these doors if you don’t know God // talk to somebody after the service // pray to Him right now, ask him to reveal himself // to make himself known to you // to show you his awesome wonders // We are now together as a group of people, we are going to approach Mount Zion and we are going to go to a God who is a consuming fire who is on his holy ground and we are going to worship Him right now in reverence, and awe // Let me pray for us

Father, we come to you and Father we confess that we often want to lower you down to our standards // we want to make your attribute something that we have the ability to understand // And God, I pray that you would reveal yourself to us so that we would have that high view of you // that we would see you as a fire that cannot be touched // as a holy God being worshiped // as one who is separate set apart free from the sin that drags us down // is one who is actively present in this moment // You’re not an old God // you’re not an ancient God // you’re not a traditional God // you are our God and you’re here with us right now //

God thank you for not consuming us in your anger for our sins // It is through your mercies that we wake up this morning // it is through your love in Jesus Christ that we can have the good news of really knowing you // Oh God, I pray that this church you would make yourself known // you would lift high and hallow your name // That we would be a group of people who come to you acceptably // That we would worship you with reverence and awe // God please make us that group of people that you could use // people who come to you in the way that you tell us // People who see you and the way that you introduce yourself // let us know you as you want to be known // Now, that is respond we pray // Amen //

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