Three Essential Elements Required in Serving God! (2)
Last Sunday evening, we were exploring the even by which God called Moses to serve Him. That event is often known as the Burning Bush Event. This evening I want to finish out that message. If you recall, I stated that God’s appearance to Moses in the burning bush produced 3 Essential Elements that are required to serve Him. The first one I gave you last Sunday was this.
In order to effective serve the Lord, we must see Him for Who He is. The great things is that God has already REVEALED Himself to us. We hold in our hands the preserved Word of God. It is sufficient of itself for showing us the nature of God and what He expects of us as His servants. God did the same for Moses. He revealed to Moses several important characteristics about Himself that is important to serving Him. He revealed His power, holiness, grace, and eternal existence. Again, all are pertinent to serving Him. By revealing His power, He assured Moses that nothing was impossible. God is quite capable of handling any situation or circumstance that may come our way as we serve Him. As he revealed to Moses His holiness, he taught Moses the importance of living a clean and pure life in service to Him. God desires to use us, but He must have clean vessel to use. Then, as He revealed His grace, Moses understood just how much God loves His own. Today, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are God’s adopted children and joint heirs with Christ. Thus, we are His own. He loves us and pours out the bounty of His grace upon us every day. The last but not least, God revealed His external existence by stating His work in the past, present, and future. What encouragement it is to know that God is eternal. He transcends time. He knows our past. He is currently seeking to help grow right now in present time. And, He is promised many wonderful blessings for us in the future. Our job is do what Paul did.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
We need move on from the past and not linger there. The past is the past. Look to it only when you need to see how God has always come through for you. Instead, right now and right here, reach forth. Get moving. Be busy for Him. We are reaching forth to those thing which lie ahead of us. We are to press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. In other words, don’t be idle, be moving ahead for God as you serve Him.
Now, tonight, I want to give you the two remaining elements required to serve the Lord successfully.
Heres is the second element. The first was a revelation of God. Now, we have...
Reverence for God
Reverence for God
The word “reverence” is pretty much lost in today’s society. I will come back to Moses in just a moment. But for now, I want to establish Scripture’s rendering of the word “reverence.” Look with me at Hebrews 12:28
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
You will note that this verse speaks about serving God. We serve God acceptably when we do it with “reverence” and “godly fear.”
In Greek, this word “reverence” means self-conscious modesty. It has the idea of having a fear that you will act unworthy of someone or in representation of someone. Basically, it is the fear of messing up so bad that it brings shame and reproach to yourself or someone you represent. If you look up this word in Webster’s Dictionary of American English (the 1828 version), Noah Webster defines “reverence” this way.
1. Fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration.
The fear acceptable to God, is a paternal fear, an awful reverence of the divine nature, proceeding from a just esteem of his perfections, which produces in us an inclination to his service and an unwillingness to offend him.
Going back to Exodus 3, note again verses 4 and 5 which we considered last Sunday evening.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
You will note that God’s calls Moses by name. He instructs Moses to remove his shoes for he is standing in God’s presence and on holy ground. Then note Moses response in verse 6.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy 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 upon God.
Moses refused to look upon God. He recognized immediately that he was standing in the presence of the Mighty Creator of the Universe. And, as such, Moses showed great reverence for God. He knew that God was powerful, holy, full of grace, and transcended time. For those reasons, Moses hid his face realizing that who God was as God revealed Himself to him.
I believe one of the biggest issues among many is how much men and women have lost their reverence for God. I am not talking about society. We are often quick to point out how much American society as gone down the toilet morally and spiritually. Yet, we are also quick to forget that it was God’s grace that allowed America to be the nation it has become. Our forefathers had a great reverence for God. Their reverence for Him was born out of a great faith in Him and the principles of His Word. If you recall, long before the Puritans, Baptists, and others landed upon these great shores, the reigning societies were without God living in darkness. It was the missionary spirit of many in the early days before our nation was formed that sought to reach the native peoples with the Gospel. Over time, as Christian believers were blessed of God and America was formed they develop a government based upon God’s Word. Had that not been the case, our nation would have begun like so many others as a nation of darkness and not light. Now, here we are and America is quickly descending into the same state so many other nations exist. We are not longer a Christian nation. We are now a heathen nation. What happened? What changed? We stop reverencing God. Even churches today no longer reverence God.
Remember that reverence of God is driven by the fear of bringing great shame to His name. God instructed Moses to remove his shoes for he was standing on Holy ground. Moses then hid his face understanding who was addressing Him. Do we still have that same reverence? Do we live each day praying and pleading with God that we don’t mess up so that we bring shame upon Him? What would happen if more believers had that kind of reverence once again? Is it possible that we see revival in America again?
Now, remember we are talking about reverence in conjunction with service to God. I read for you Hebrews 12:28 which stated clearly that acceptable service to God is service born out of reverence. As I was studying for this message, I looked up the word “reverence” and how it was used in Scripture. My research revealed that the word “reverence” is only used 13 times throughout the entire Bible. However, I noticed one particular act that seemed to reoccur with its use especially in the Old Testament. I give you one example of that act.
6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!
Note that Mephibosheth “fell on his face, and did reverence.” That thought led me to look up the Hebrew word for reverence and note how it is used in the Old Testament. Here is what I discovered. The Hebrew word for “reverence” is found 172 times in the Old Testament. However, it is predominantly translated as “bowed” (the act of bowing before another) and has “worshipped.”
Here is my point! When we have a proper view of who God is, it should drive us to our knees. I think of Isaiah’s reaction in Isaiah 6.
1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: The whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; And see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, And make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
Note that Isaiah saw God’s might and holiness. What was Isaiah’s reaction? He claimed, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for MINE EYES have seen the KING, the LORD of hosts.”
If I might paraphrase, Isaiah was saying, “Dread upon me! I am a sinful man with corrupt lips and live among sinful people for I have seen the king, the Jehovah of hosts.” In other words, God is pure, holy, and without sin; yet, here am I a sinful man in His presence. But wait, there is more. For after all that, God sends a seraphim to cleanse Isaiah removing his sin and iniquity. Praise God He sent us a “live coal” (a fire aka the Lord Jesus Christ) who took away our sins by taking our sin upon Himself at the Cross of Calvary! Now, once again, consider the sequence of events here. Sin is cleansed. God speaks of His people’s need to hear the message of salvation. He needs someone to serve Him as His mouthpiece. Do you see service to God here? What was Isaiah’s reaction? Isaiah surrendered saying, “Here am I; send me.”
In order to effectively serve the Lord, it must begin with a clear revelation of who God is. Such revelation not only reveals God’s holiness, but it shines a bright light upon our sin and iniquity. A true servant of God will respond to that light by seeking God’s cleansing. When we are cleansed, we are then in a position to serve Him. However, there is one last response God desires from us. He desires our full and complete surrender to the task at hand. We are to bow the knee in reverence and surrender. When we do, then we become effective vessels for Him.
Now comes the last element from the Burning Bush. Not only must we have a revelation of God and a reverence for God, we must also have a...
Readiness to Obey God
Readiness to Obey God
Look again at Exodus 3 and the burning bush event.
10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
Let me ask you this question. Was God’s call to Moses clear and distinct? There is no doubt that Moses knew exactly what God was asking Him to do. Was there any confusion about God’s will for the near future? There was no confusion. God specifically laid out His call, His will, and His course of action for Moses. What was Moses reaction? Moses responded with reluctance and hesitation. What was Moses problem?
Look again at verse 11 and note the first words to come out of Moses’ mouth. “Who am I?” In fact, as you look at his response he uses the word “I” three times as he questions God’s choice. Moses ends up giving God three different excuses in response to God’s call upon His life.
Three Excuses Often Used in Response to God’s Call
Three Excuses Often Used in Response to God’s Call
11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
We often use the same excuse. I am not worthy to be used of you. Hey, guess what? The last time I checked none of us are worthy. We are sinful people whose righteousness is as filthy rags. It is not about our worthiness. It is about a God who makes us worthy. He is the One who qualifies us and makes us what we need to be so that we might serve Him.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.
Let me ask you another question in light of this excuse. Is it our job to make them believe? Did God call Moses or us, for that matter, to do a work in other’s hearts? The answer is, of course, no! God called Moses to simply be His mouthpiece. God will do the rest. We are not to assume the responsibility that belongs to God. God is quite capable of doing whatsoever is in His mind to do. Our job is to obey. We must not be concerned with how the message is received. No, we must be concerned with did I do what God asked me to do.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Again, our job is obedience and nothing more.
Here is the third excuse offered by Moses and even us today.
Look at Exodus 4:10
10 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
I am quite sure that God already knew Moses’ abilities and his infirmities. Moses acts as if God didn’t know. He reminds God of them. Too often, we do the same. We say the Lord, “Hey Lord, now look, I am can’t do this or that because look at me. I can’t speak. I can’t walk. I can’t (fill-in-the-blank).” Guess what? Just as God already new Moses infirmities, God knows yours. Additionally, God can use anyone for His service.
Let me give you one example from today. There is lady named Joni Eareckson who was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1949. On July 30, 1967, when she was 17 years old, she dove into the Chesapeake Bay misjudging the shallowness of the water. She suffered a fracture between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae becoming a quadriplegic for life. She was paralyzed from her shoulders down. In her autobiography, she details her won struggles with anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, and even doubting God. However, as she so often testifies on her radio spot, she learned that God can use anyone even her as a quadriplegic. Over the course of her life, God has used the woman who cannot do anything with her hands, arms, and legs to write over forty book, record several musical albums, and even star in an autobiographical movie about her life. Even today, she still is heard on radio in a five-minute program titled “Joni and Friends.”
Here is my point! God is quite capable of using anyone. God used Moses even in spite of speech impediments. Scripture is full of examples of people God used in mighty ways. The bottom line is this. God can use you. No matter what infirmities or issues you face, God can use you. In fact, God loves using the weak and the foolish to confound the wise.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
God only wants to use us. However, what He really likes is when we come to Him ready to be uses instead of citing all our problems as excuses. Moses may have not been ready for God use him, but God was ready. And, in spite of Moses’ excuses, God did use him.
Let’s not be believers who shrink back from serving the Lord. Instead, let’s get a fresh vision of Who He is knowing that He is powerful, holy, gracious, and eternal. As we do, let’s fall on our knees before Him seeking His cleansing. Let’s surrender our will for His. May we live lives of reverence everyday fearful of shaming His name. Let us be ready to serve Him by not making excuses. Instead, let us be the vessels that He so desires to use.