Faithlife Sermons

Recognizing Authority

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Introduce with 60 sec. clip from the music “Gonna Fly Now” (“Rocky” theme song)

You know something exciting is going happen don’t you? In this corner wearing self-righteousness, agnosticism, and hatred with all his demons, and blasphemers around him is the challenger Satan. And in this corner wearing love, power and authority with all his saints and angels around him is the Lord! It’s very important that we be found waiting and praying in the winning corner. I intend in setting out before you that God’s power and authority are final. Friend I want to assure you that with Jesus Christ we are on the winning side and we will rise again when we feel completely defeated. We will rise again when our trials and troubles are more than we can bear. Be assured of this with God we are on the winning side.

Can I take you on a journey to show you how this is true? To show you how God defeated the Pharaoh we need to travel back in time 3500 years ago. To show you how God defeated Baal (1 Kings 18) we need to travel back in time 2800years. And to see how God defeated Satan we need to travel back 2000 years. However, even after we have seen time and time again that God’s power and authority are final we still question his authority don’t we? Often this happens because of the extremities of man. And so when trials and troubles are mounting up and you are considering on changing corners then I challenge you to remember these words,

2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)

9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Here is a famous quote that rings true. “It’s not sufficiently considered that men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.” For example, last week we learned of Moses’ reluctance to obey God’s call. Before that we learned about the suffering of the Hebrew people in Egypt and how God called a shepherd named Moses to deliver them from their oppression. Please go with me in your Bibles to Exodus 5 and while you are doing that I want to recognize all the fathers on this day we call “father’s day.” For all of us who have repented of our sins and been baptized I want to say something about our Father. And if you are yet to become a follower of Christ then I urge you to listen because ideally when we hear the word father security, comfort, and protection should come to mind; however, this may not be the case for some of us. Nevertheless, my favorite name for God is Father. And when we come to fully realize that God’s power and authority are final we call out “Abba Father.”

Moses and Aaron have convinced the Israelite people suffering in Egypt that God is concerned about them. This is what has happened just prior to what I am about to read.

Exodus 5:1-5 (NLT)

After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.”

2 “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.”

3 But Aaron and Moses persisted. “The God of the Hebrews has met with us,” they declared. “So let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can offer sacrifices to the LORD our God. If we don’t, he will kill us with a plague or with the sword.”

4 Pharaoh replied, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! 5 Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.”

A great battle is being set, one between the God of the Hebrew people and Pharaoh the god of the Egyptians. Sometime between Moses and Christ a great battle was waged. This one was between Baal and the Lord. In this story God would consume with fire the water soaked sacrifice; therefore, showing to all that there is none like him that he is the One True God! Before this the 450 prophets of Baal tried everything they could to have their god consume with fire the sacrifice they had set out but there was no reply. This is one of my favorite inspirational stories in the Bible why don’t you familiarize yourself with it in 1 Kings 18:19-40.

Agnosticism is what Satan wears in this great battle. Look in Exodus 5:2 at the agnosticism of Pharaoh.

Exodus 5:2 (NLT)

2 “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.”

Pharaoh is a true agnostic for he not only disbelieves in God he has no desire to seek him out. Are you with me? Pharaoh is going to get what’s coming to him. However, greater than Pharaoh, more exciting then the battle waged in 1 Kings 18, bigger than what is taking place over in Afghanistan, even bigger than Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed is what? Listen up because the greatest battle ever waged was between Jesus and Satan. Satan tried everything in his power to knock out Jesus; however, it was Jesus that dealt the knock out blow to Satan when he rose from the dead! Are you with me, now!

Satan, was defeated one day on a hill outside Jerusalem. Now go with me to Exodus to see the Pharaoh’s retaliation for Moses’ visit.

Exodus 5:6-9 (NLT)

6 That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: 7 “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! 8 But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ 9 Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!”

“Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity of helping and saving.”

Living in a way that recognizes God’s power and authority ain’t easy! It wasn’t easy for those people of God back then and it ain’t easy for us today! It won’t ever be easy until we die a physical death, or Christ should come back which ever happens first. In the meantime I would like to suggest some books that I think will help us rise again when we feel completely defeated, when our trials and troubles are more than we can bear. This first book is called “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonheffer was among the martyrs of Flossenberg. President Barack Obama visited one of these German concentration camps recently on June 5th. Bonheffer believed it was his duty as a Christian to work for Hitler’s defeat. For general questions regarding the Christian faith I recommend C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity,” also see how a son wrestles with his father’s questions about Christianity in “Letters From A Skeptic.” There are many more books that I believe will help you find and remain on the winning side. I want to mention just a couple more. “If there is a loving God then why is it that…” You fill in the blank with your own personal extremity—Philip Yancey “Where Is God When It Hurts.” And a book I just started reading “Beyond Opinion—Living the faith we defend” by Ravi Zacharias.

May I share a winning story? In God’s sight this is a winning story. George Atley, a young Englishman with the heart of a hero, was engaged in the Central African Mission. He was attacked by a party of natives. He had with him a Winchester repeating rifle with ten loaded chambers. The party was completely at his mercy. Calmly and quickly he summed up the situation. He concluded that if he killed them it would do the mission more harm than if he allowed them to take his life. So, as a lamb to the slaughter he was led; and when his body was found in the stream, his rifle was also found with its ten chambers still loaded.

—Heart and Life

This is a journal entry dated October 28th 1949 by Jim Elliot a Christian missionary martyred in Ecuador. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Revelation 12:11

11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb

and by their testimony.

And they did not love their lives so much

that they were afraid to die.

Moses thought he had been obedient to God by going and asking the Pharaoh to let his people go; however, only to find severe retaliation towards the very people he was trying to save. Please go back with me in your Bibles to Exodus 5:22-6:1 (NLT)

22 Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”

6 Then the LORD told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!”

Don’t you feel for Moses? He is resisted by sinners (vv. 1-14) and saints (vv. 15-21) too!

Moses needed strengthening after the resistance and his strength comes from God. Look at the various ways God strengthens him in chapter 6:

a. by God’s name (vv. 2-3, 6, 29)

b. by God’s promises (v. 1, vv. 6-8)

c. by God’s covenant (vv. 4-5)

d. by God’s command (vv. 10-13, 28, 29)

e. by association with the people of God (vv. 14-27)

God gave Moses strength; God will give you and me strength too. Hopefully the books I mentioned and this sermon have pointed to our Father.

God reaches down to us as individuals, to his church and displays to us that his power and authority are final. God made his “mighty hand” known to that false god who said to Moses “who is the Lord, I don’t know the Lord.”

On my icebox I have a magnet that reads 10 things God wants you to remember. You probably already know them; however, least we forget here they are:

1. I will give you rest

2. I will strengthen you

3. I will answer you

4. I believe in you

5. I will bless you

6. I am for you

7. I will not fail you

8. I will provide or you

9. I will be with you

10. I love you

The extremities of our worldly battles fall short because God wins. Who’s side do you choose? God and his church have won. And in this great battle of life may we be found waiting and praying in his corner. Let’s pray…In Jesus Name. Amen.

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