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Exodus: Willing Hands and Generous Heart

Exodus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:18
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We have about 3 more weeks in our study of Exodus
If you brought your bible today, we are going to be studying Exodus 35-36. You may know the story of the Exodus, Moses and the Red See, the 10 commandments, the Plagues of Egypt. You may know those stories. But we aren’t just reviewing the stories. We are actually looking back to how God’s Redeeming, Rescuing, and Righteousness shaped a people back then and still works today.
So if you are in Exodus 35-36 with me, let’s recap…focus on Redeeming
The people…slaves for 400 years. Building a nation in Egypt. They were the indentured servants of Egypt. The Blue collar industry of the nation. If anything got built, crafted, or designed in Egypt, they did it.
Delivered by God as he passed judgement on their enemy - Pharoah.
They wandered away only to be blocked at the Red Sea with the armies of Egypt closing in, but once again, God Delivered this time through the sea on dry ground
In the desert with what they could carry though, they got thirsty, and again God gave them water from a rock
They got hungry, and God fed them with birds falling from the sky and daily with this miraculous bread from heaven
They were lost and unprotected in the desert, but God led and protected them with with a pillar of fire in the day and pillar of smoke at night.
All this, but when God told them how to live in relationship with him, they rebelled to his law
While God's anger burned against them, MOses made an atonement for them, offering his life - an innocent life - for their guilt.
But God relented, There were consequences to the sin, Judgemnt was passed on those who continued in rebellion, but now it seems that the people are back on track.
They’ve come to recognize how God has blessed them. They have seen God’s grace as he has made them his people and is leading them to the promised land. THy long to see this land flowing with Milk and Honey and want God to dwell with them as he has promised to do in the tabernacle.
Now as they have seen the radiance of Moses’ face after he experienced the Holiness of God, they have come to their senses...
Now it’s time to build the Tabernacle, the dwelling place of God

Construction of the Tabernacle

God had given Moses instructions as to how to build the tabernacle…detailed instructions.
And now it was time to get to work.

Ex 35:4-5

Exodus 35:4–9 NIV84
4 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
These are a bunch of freed slaves. Where did they get all this wealth?
Egypt
Amelikites
You might say they fought for it, they slaved for it…by gosh they earned this wealth.
Or you can say, God blessed them with it. The Egyptians could have just sent them on their way and that would have been amazing enough, but they gave them their wealth just as God had promised they would.
You could say for the wealth from the Amelikites, they won the battle, they deserved it…but if you remember Moses on top of the mountain with his hands raising his staff over his head all day. When he tired and his arms fell, they were beaten back, but as long as his hands were up to heaven, they were victorious…who won the battle? Sure they fought…but who won the battle?
Now God says, bring an offering…
Exodus 35:29 NIV84
All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.
Did everyone give? Apparently not, but everyone who was willing.
This wasn’t the end of the call to generosity.
Exodus 35:30–31 NIV84
Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts—
Exodus 35:34–35 NIV84
And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.
That’s not all,
Exodus 36:2 NIV84
Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work.
Everyone willing to use their skills were called to come and build it.
Where did they learn what was needed? Back when they were in bondage remember.

God redeems their past.

Takign the things they were forced to do for a small g god and using it to build the dwelling place of God among His people.
Men and women put aside their daily tasks and went to work building the temple.
Who took care of their other jobs? Apparently the whole community came together for this. There were some called out to build and the rest supported their work.

Generous God, Generous people

The generosity of the people became as overwhelming as the generosity of God.
Exodus 36:5–6 NIV84
5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more,
They wanted to be a part of what God was doing. IF they had something to give they gave it, if there was something they could do, they did it, as God’s people, they wanted to share in building God’s dwelling place.
It wasn’t just those who built…it was also those who supported their work by filling in the gaps because no one can do everything.

Building God's Kingdom

The application of this to our lives should be pretty clear.
Salvation is the motivation for our generosity as well. Not just financially, but just like the willing workers, generous with our skills to build the kingdom.
I want us to day to think of our generosity in terms of service - not just our money. But all our resources, all our gifts/talents, all we are and all we have at our disposal. That we are using all of us to build the kingdom of God.

Saved People Serve

But not everyone who was saved came forwards then and not everyone here serves either. In fact, you if you were a fly on the wall, you would see there is a group of folks who do most things.
Now that might be because they don’t let anybody serve…or it might be that those not serving don’t know what needs to be done:
Reasons for not serving:
It's not the right time…when things slow down, when our finances are straight…generosity is about what you do with what you have now…not what you might have one day.
They don't need me…How do you know unless you get involved?
There is nothing I can do…Often times we don’t even know what all needs to be done.
Overwhelmed with needs…there’s too much to be done, where do I start…maybe, right in front of you
Tried before…and didn’t like it
No one has contacted me…saved people serve…Jesus gave us an invitation…he contacted you. Serving is our response to what he has done.
I'm looking for something more significant...
I can't make a difference...

Love is our motivation

The real reason...you aren't convinced by Jesus's call on your life...that there is something that he feels is significant that is waiting on you to accomplish.
Not everyone built the tabernacle. Not everyone got to build the pieces of it...not everyone got to weave the curtains. But everyone was able to contribute in some way....everyone was invited, but not everyone responded.
Love is our motivation, but I want you to get understand clearly what happens when you serve. You see many of us think of serving as a sacrifice…and it is, but God blesses our obedience to serve. And his blessings more than make up for any sacrifice we might make.

God blesses our service.

Serving allows us to discover and develop our gifts.
1 Corinthians 12 compares the church to a human body. Each part shaped uniquely for a unique purpose. If you never serve, you may never discover the purpose for your shape. What a blessing it is to know why you are here…your purpose
Serving allows us to experience the joy and peace that comes from obedience.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms... so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
Serving is a form of worship, a way to express gratitude for what Jesus has done for us, and to share the love and grace we've been given.
Serving helps us to be more like Jesus.
You see, when we shift our focus off of ourselves onto others through serving, we begin to see others as Jesus sees them. Becoming more like Jesus is our goal right? That happens when we serve.
Mark 10:45 NIV84
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
So it should come as no surprise that studies have shown that serving is so good for the mind and body as it tends to relieve the symptoms of stress and depression.
I say it all the time, the Disciple John wrote it first...
Jesus said he came that we might have life and life to it’s fullest…teaching us to serve is big part of this full life.
Tapping into our gifts and passions builds self-confidence, energy, and strength. Serving others can also be the best distraction from our own worries.
Serving surrounds us with other Christians who can help us follow Jesus.
When we’re working side by side with other people, a bond inevitably forms. This was part of God’s plan for how the church is supposed to work. That’s why Hebrews 10:24-25 instructs us to
“spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together… but encouraging one another.”
Serving grows our faith.
When we step out to serve, God reveals to us the potential in ourselves and in His Church. WE start to see what He can do in and through us so we start looking for new places he is at work.
Serving allows us to experience God’s presence in new ways.
Encouragement and healing go hand in hand. As we encourage others and they find healing, we’re encouraged. It’s the reason so many people who go on mission trips say they came home feeling like they got more than they gave.
Jesus taught us this in Matt 25:40
The New International Version (1984) The Sheep and the Goats

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

When you came in today, you were given a poker chip. Now poker chips aren’t much good unless you are playing poker…These are generic, but if you had one from a casino, and you took it home as a souvenir, what would it be worth? nothing. The only way it’s worth something is if you took it to the casino and cashed it in or used it to buy dinner, or something like that. If it’s just at your house in a drawer, it only has value if you use it. I want you to think of your gifts just like that poker chip. You didn’t earn them, they were given to you. You can keep them to yourself and they might be fun to look at, but the only way they have real value is if you use them. I want to help you use them.
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