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A Close Encounter Through Miraculous Deliverance

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Close Encounters Of The God Kind

A Close Encounter Through Miraculous Deliverance

Exodus 14:21-31; 15:1-21

The whole world seems to be mesmerized with close encounters with aliens.  Accounts of flying saucers and alien abductions have become as common place as air.  Whether you believe these accounts or not, they are becoming far too common place to simply ignore.  So, as I thought about the theme of “Encounters With God,” I began to notice some strong similarities between professed close encounters with aliens and close encounters with God.  Consequently, I felt impressed to use the subject of “Alien Encounters” as a launching pad for our biblical discussion of “Encounters with God.”

        In first three sermons in this series, we worked hard to develop a definition for a “Close Encounter Of The God Kind.”  That definition is

A “Close Encounter Of The God Kind” is a face-to-face meeting with God that cannot be totally explained, but which—when fully experienced—will bring about a response of genuine worship or celebration, which includes the remembrance of a redemptive past and/or the conviction of a liberated future that changes people forever; causing them to move and grow by over-recording the intuitive tapes of their core belief.

In the fourth message in this series, we explored one of the major barriers to experiencing a close encounter with God.  We called that barrier:  “The Brain Barrier.”  “The Brain Barrier” is the American, Greek influenced tendency to separate and exalt the intellect above the emotions.

        We then began to explore twelve “Close Encounters Of The God Kind.”  In the fifth message, we explored Abraham’s first encounter with God.

In the sixth message, we explored God’s encountering of Abraham through a test.

        In the seventh message, we explored God’s encountering of Jacob through a dream.

        In the eighth message, we began to develop a theology of dreams.

In the last message, we saw that God encountered Moses through the miraculous revelation of a burning bush that was not consumed, for the purpose of giving him a God-sized assignment of delivering the Children of Israel from the harsh bondage of Egypt.

(This brings us to the next “Close Encounter Of The God Kind.”)

        In this message, we are going to see God encounter Israel through a miraculous deliverance.  Let’s review the background of the miraculous deliverance we are going to explore today.


        The background of today’s encounter with God actually goes back to the beginning of time.  Somewhere in eternity pass, in the unbeginning beginning, the triune God, in His own infinite wisdom and sovereignty, decided to create Man, to allow him to fall, and to send His only begotten Son to redeem him—all for His glory!  We cannot cover the entire story of redemption, but we can sketch the story of God’s redemption up to this point.

In the fullness of time, God stepped forth from behind the hills of eternity and created the heavens and the earth.  He said,

“Let there be light,”

and the light which had no consciousness or self-will came into being by the sheer power of His personality.  He went on to create all that is in existence, including the plants and animals.  Then God created His masterpiece:  Mankind—and for His own inscrutable, incomprehensible, sovereign purposes He allowed Mankind to fall at the hands of His archenemy, Satan, the serpent himself.  But in the midst of that fall, God prophecies of His ultimate intention.  He says to the serpent in

Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Theologians call this the protevangelium, proto-first, evangel-gospel, i.e. the first mention of the Gospel.  There would be warfare between Satan and the seed of a woman, the One who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ.  The principle battle would take place at Calvary, i.e. the cross, and Satan would bruise Christ’s heal in crucifixion—but Jesus Christ would crush Satan’s head in that same event—providing salvation for His children.

That is what today’s narrative is all about.  It is about Calvary!  The events of the Exodus are a long way from Calvary, in the space-time continuum, but they are at the center of Calvary in the realm of the Spirit.

The narrative today is about how God delivered His earthly people, the Israelites, from the harsh bondage of Egypt to preserve the line of the Messiah Jesus Christ and to picture the deliverance of the New Testament gift of salvation.  But, we also need the background of this encounter of deliverance.

In keeping with His own will and according to His own timetable, God called Abraham from Babylon and gave him fantastic promises.  One of those promises was that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  The word is not plural “seeds,” but singular “seed.”  The seed that God was talking about is Jesus Christ, the genealogical seed of Abraham and the literal seed of a woman, because His Father was God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was genealogically the son of Abraham and heir of the promise.  Matthew proves this through his genealogy, but he asserts it before he recites the genealogy in

Matthew 1:1, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

In Matthew’s first mention of the genealogy, he skips back from Jesus to David, to Abraham.  Matthew is showing that Jesus Christ was the human son of David, as the Messiah was to be, and not merely a real Jew and the heir of the promises to the nation of Israel, but the very promise made to Abraham.  So Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus Christ back to Abraham, while Luke traces his line all the way back to Adam.  God had Jesus Christ in mind from the beginning!!!  Therefore, God would need to create and preserve Abraham’s seed.

Well, miraculously, Abraham had a son named Isaac, and God extended the promise to him.  Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau, and God extended the promise to Jacob.  God eventually changed Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel.  Then Israel had twelve sons, and these twelve sons became the nation of Israel and heir to the literal promises of Jesus Christ.  Okay?  Okay!

Through a long sequence of events, one of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, rose to be the second highest leader in the world.  During his reign, Israel, his eleven sons, and his whole house went to live in Egypt.  While they were down in Egypt God blessed them and they multiplied.  Then there arose another Pharaoh that did not know Joseph, nor that things that he had done for Egypt.  He feared the Israelites and put them under harsh bondage.

But, “Praise God!” that is not the end of the story.  The Israelites began to call upon Jehovah God, because of the harshness of their bondage and God listened to the cries of His people and called Moses to be their Deliverer!

Last week, we touched on Moses’ 40-year leadership course, on the backside of the desert, where God encountered him and commissioned him through a burning bush!

When his course was over, Moses went back to Egypt and began to carry out God’s plan of deliverance.  He initiated ten plagues against Egypt and her gods.  These ten plagues would demonstrate to all the power of the true and living God over and against these false gods!

When these plagues were over, Pharaoh drove Israel out of Egypt.  Egypt was ruined and Israel walked out, through God’s power, with the last remaining riches of this one proud world power.

When Pharaoh saw that Israel was gone, he hardened his heart and God hardened his heart, and he gathered up the army and chariots of Egypt and pursued them.  As they approached the children of Israel, they were hemmed in on both sides by mountains, while Pharaoh was behind them and the Red Sea in front of them.  And when the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army approaching they were frightened and began to call upon the name of Lord.


Then they began to complain against Moses, and it seems that Moses began to complain to God.  The Bible says in,

Exodus 14:15-18, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me?  Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.  And as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.  And as for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.  Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.”

        Then the angel of God that had been in front of the children of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud that had been leading them moved and stood between them.  And they were separated all night.

(This is where we pick up the story.  Please notice with me Exodus 14:21-31.)

        These Israelites had an encounter with God through His miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea.  They saw and experienced the awesome power of God in deliverance.

·        They saw the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night move and stand between themselves and the Egyptians for protection.

·        They heard the voice of Moses and saw him lift his staff.

·        They felt, upon their faces, the wind that pushed back the Red Sea.

·        They walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, by the power of God, and watched the Egyptians, who tried to do the same thing in their own power, drown.

·        They walked along with hundreds of thousands of others.

In this experience, they encountered God, i.e. they came face-to-face with God.  Moses stated explicitly in

Numbers 14:14 (KJV), “And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by daytime in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.”

        This is a face-to-face meeting with God that could not be totally explained, but it was a meeting with God that had to be fully experienced!


        When this encounter was fully experienced, it brought about a response of genuine worship or celebration, which entailed the remembrance of a redemptive past.  Immediately after the event, Moses and the sons of Israel sang a song, and the song rehearsed and remembered what had just happened.  Then Miriam and all the women took tambourines and went forth in a dance of celebration.  And the Bible says in

Exodus 15:21, “And Miriam answered them, ‘Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.’”

This changed the Israelites forever.  It caused them to move on in their journey, by over-recording the intuitive tapes of their core belief.  We don’t have to guess what the intuitive tapes of the Israelites are, because their words are very revealing.  The Bible says in

Exodus 14:11-12, “Then they said to Moses, ‘Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?  Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?  Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’?  For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’”

But now their complaining has been turned into celebration!  And this celebration also brought about a conviction of a liberated future in the Promised Land!

(So what does all of this mean for us?)

        This is a picture of the miraculous deliverance of salvation.  Egypt represents the bondage of Sin.  The Red Sea represents the impassable barrier of death or the flesh.  This is a picture of what happens when God delivers us from the bondage of sin and miraculously opens the way through the Red Sea of death and flesh.  Walking through the Red Sea represents being baptized or buried with Jesus in His death and resurrected to new life, which is represented by the wilderness.

Praise God for the miraculous power that He demonstrates in salvation!  If God did not display His miraculous power, in salvation, there would be no way for us to escape the bondage of sin.  In salvation, God binds the power of Pharaoh, i.e. Satan, and protects us through the pillar of cloud and fire, which is the Holy Spirit.  He blows with the blast of His nostrils and opens up a pathway for us through the Red Sea of salvation, on dry ground.  Then when Satan attempts to pursue us and put us back in bondage, He drowns him in the sea of death by His infinite power.

In addition, all unrepentant sinners, who attempt to effect their own righteousness, will be destroyed in their attempt.


But notice that this picture entails more than a picture of an event, it entails an encounter and experience with God.  Let no one mistake what I am saying or teaching.  Salvation is by faith alone in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, but salvation is more than a set of beliefs, salvation is more than doctrine, salvation is more than ritual, salvation is more than rules.  Believing in the doctrine of Christ’s atonement for sin and trusting Jesus to save you are two different things.  Salvation is faith in and relationship with a Person:  Jesus Christ!  And you experience a relationship with a person.  Therefore, in salvation there is not only doctrinal or positional deliverance—there is also experiential deliverance!

Now I know that some are going to protest, because of man-made standards and expectations with respect to experience.  But, we don’t have to live by any such standards.  Every person’s experience with the true and living God will be unique and different.  We won’t all have the same experience, but we all can get in touch with and experience God’s encounter with us in salvation.

The great Missionary Alliance prophet, A. W. Tozer, wrote in his book Men Who Met God, “The Christ of the Bible is not rightly known unto there is an experience of Him within the believer, for our Savior and Lord offers Himself to human experience.”[1]  “The Spirit of God has impelled me to preach and write much about the believer’s conscious union with Christ—a union that must be felt and experienced.  I will never be through talking about the union of the soul with the Savior, the conscious union of the believer’s heart with Jesus.”[2]

Let me share my salvation experience with you, not as the model or something to be sought after, but as a testimony of the fact that the encounter of salvation is experienced in some way.

When I encountered God through the miraculous deliverance of salvation, I was eight years old.  My mother was running a youth revival at our church.  I had made up my mind that I wanted to trust in Jesus Christ to be saved.  I heard someone say, “If you make one step, God will make two!”  As a child, I really didn’t know what that meant, but I knew that I wanted to trust in Jesus.  So, I began to jump up and down and the Holy Spirit took over.  I hit that old wooden floor and rolled all up under those chairs and pews.  I came up crying and changed.

In that salvation experience, I had an encounter with Jehovah God.  No one can make me doubt that encounter with God.  Even as an eight-year-old child, I remember tremendous excitement and joy.  The sun looked brighter, the air felt cleaner, the atmosphere of the world felt lighter.

This encounter not only produced within me celebration, but it also changed me forever!  It over-recorded the shy, withdrawn, intuitive tapes of my core belief with excitement and the beginning of holy boldness.  On my way to school the next day, I shared with my friend, Harold Hill, that I had gotten saved.  He asked me, “What did you get saved from?”  I had to respond somewhat like the blind man that Jesus healed, “I don’t know what I got saved from, but I know that Jesus saved me!”  That was my expression of verbal acknowledgement and praise to God.

The over-recording of the intuitive tapes of my core belief has brought to the present point of standing for Bible truths that many are unwilling to preach for fear of reputation, reprisals, and loneliness.  But I like what the Apostle Paul said in

2 Tim. 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

Now your experience will not be exactly like mine or anyone else’s, but

·        Did you fully experience the miraculous deliverance of salvation?

·        Did you feel the wind of the power of the Holy Spirit in your spirit?

·        Did you see God, in your imagination, open up the Red Sea?

·        Did you walk over on dry land?

·        Did you see God drown Satan in the Red Sea?

·        Did you talk about your salvation?

·        Did you sing about your salvation?

·        Did you go forth in the dance?

It’s not too late!  You can sing today!  You can dance today!

        In addition, every time God miraculously delivers us, we ought to fully experience that deliverance and wholeheartedly worship God!!!

(Now remember that wherever there is good news, there is also bad news.  Let me give you some bad news, before I give you some more good news.)

        The bad news is that there was a group of people that went up with the Israelites that were not really changed by this encounter at the Red Sea.  When trouble would arise, they would complain and talk about going back to Egypt.  They were still slaves in their minds.

Many of us, though miraculously delivered from the bondage of sin and the barrier of death and the flesh, did not and are not experiencing that encounter, exulting in celebration, nor realizing any over-recording of the intuitive tapes of our core belief.  Once again, A. W. Tozer said, “Perhaps you will agree with me when I say sadly that the average evangelical Christian is without this radiance.  Instead of an inner witness, he or she too often is found substituting logical conclusions drawn from Bible texts.  There is no witness, no encounter with God, no awareness of inner change.”[3]

All believers in Jesus Christ have been miraculously delivered from sin to salvation, and yet many still have the slave mentality.

·        Slaves don’t know how to feel free to experience an encounter with God.

·        Slaves don’t know how to feel free to celebrate an encounter with God.

·        Slaves have enslaving intuitive tapes, which are sometimes not transformed by the most miraculous of all deliverances:  salvation.

        But I’ve got good news for you!  God encountered you, in salvation, that you might obtain positional and experiential salvation.  He saved you to encounter you for the purpose of giving you the God-sized assignment of being a witness for Him.

·        He wants to free you to experience your salvific deliverance.

·        He wants to free you to celebrate your salvific deliverance.

·        He wants to over-record the negative intuitive tapes of your core belief with an internal witness of the Holy Spirit and the blessed hope of the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He wants to do all of this so that He may use you in His kingdom!

(In just a few minutes, I’m going to give you a chance to sing, shout, dance, and celebrate your encounter with God in the miraculous deliverance of salvation.  But before I do, I must address those of us who are not saved.)

If you are not saved, you are in bondage to Satan, sin, and self.  Your bondage is harsh, because Satan, sin, and self bring misery.  You are no doubt experiencing a great deal of confusion, depression, and meaninglessness.  In addition, if you are not miraculously delivered you will surely die—both physically and eternally!

        But, I’ve got good news for you, today.  Jesus Christ wants to meet you face-to-face in the encounter of salvation!

·        He wants to deliver you from the bondage of sin.

·        He wants to miraculously open up an escape route through death and the flesh.

·        He wants to drown the devil who is trying to hold you in sin.

        And when you trust Jesus in your heart and make that public by coming down to the front today, you will sing, dance, or praise God, today or later, because of what you experience in the encounter of salvation!

        I’m going to ask the choir to come up and help me sing a song of celebration.  While they are coming, I want those who are saved to get ready to celebrate.

        If you are not saved, I want you to come to the front and place your faith in Jesus Christ.  I want you to understand that

(Now is the Day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

To come to Jesus it takes a miracle!  Trust Jesus now for that miracle!

Call to Discipleship

For us who are saved, we should remember that it took a miracle!

It took A Miracle!  Jesus, I’ll Never Forget!  I Just Want To Thank You Lord!


----

[1] A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God, Christian Publications, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, 1986, p. 9.

[2] A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God, Christian Publications, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, 1986, p. 15.

[3] A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God, Christian Publications, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, 1986, p. 16.

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