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Epiphany 4 (2)

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Deuteronomy 18:15–22 NIV
15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” 17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
A spokesperson is someone who speaks on behalf of another in order to convince you as to what you should do. The most common is the person who is hired by a company to do a commercial for their product. If a celebrity endorses a product, the theory is that we are more likely to purchase it.
Let’s see if you can identify what product the following celebrity’s are endorsing.
Aaron Rodgers: State Farm Insurance (Discount double check)
William Shatner: Priceline and Hupy and Abraham
Jennifer Aniston: Aveeno
Betty White: Snickers
Lynn Dickey: J N L Tires
Randall Cobb and Brett Hundley: Homan Auto Sales
Peyton Manning: Nationwide, Gatorade, Direct TV, Papa John’s, OtterBox, Reebok.
Using celebrities to promote products must work or companies would not invest so much money in doing it.
But one has to use a little common sense too. Why should the fact that someone is a celebrity in one area give them more credence or authority in another? It would be like going to Alan Alda for a surgery because he played a surgeon on MASH. He wasn’t really a doctor. He only played one on TV. Statements about the value and quality of a product should be based on more than just name recognition and popularity of the spokesperson.
When the Lord God chose in biblical times to use spokesmen, those who would become his prophets realized that the veracity and authority by which they would speak did not come from themselves but from Him who chose them.
Examples of reluctant prophets: Moses: (NIV)
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
Gideon: (NIV)
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Jeremiah 1:4–8 (NIV)
Amos, JeremiahJeremiah 1:4–8 (NIV)
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. ,
Isaiah. Most of the Lord’s prophets came from very humble backgrounds. But they all had one thing in common. They were chosen by the Lord to be his spokesperson’s.
The most prominent of these was Moses (quick biography). He led the children of Israel for 40 dramatic years during some of the most dramatic years in its history. He is described as the “friend of God” (see reference).
But Moses’ leadership would not last forever. Several things happened so that God would continue to lead his people.
First. The writing down of God’s Word. Most scholars agree that Moses is the one who began to write down the Bible as we know it. Although we no longer have the autographs, we have reliable copies of copies of what God inspired him to write.
Second. God would raise us other prophets who would be his spokespersons. This is a prophecy concerning this which finds it ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. (NIV)
17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ 24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
Test: How can you tell that the person was not a false prophet? What he prophesied came tru.
How can you tell that Jesus is the prophet? (NIV)
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
Importance of God’s Word for us today.
What about people who tell us what the Bible says? Can you trust me because I have diplomas on my office wall? (It would be like trusting a doctor because he has a medical degree) Certainly you should be able to trust a pastor who speaks about God just as you trust a doctor to do surgery on you than Alan Alda? But the real test is one of comparison. Prophets were proved to be true if what they predicted happened. Spokespeople for God today prove to be true if what they teach is in accordance with what has been recorded in the Bible. (But as for you continue in what you have learned. Other passages on comparing.)
We are to “test the spirits” and to be like the Bereans who consulted the Scriptures to discover is what Paul was saying was true.
Conclusion: Perhaps you have seen tests which seek to verify the claims of commercials — proving that what they say is either true or false. Since God’s spokespeople are speaking to us about eternal matters, it stands to reason that we will use the standard of God’s word to verify that what they are saying to us is true. And if it is true, to respond as we heard last week and to listen to the Lord speaking through them. Amen
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