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They Walked with God: Moses

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Moses walked with God, but the victory of faith does not come without a fight.

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Text: Hebrews 11:24-28
Theme: Moses walked with God, but the victory of faith does not come without a fight.
Moses walked with God. But it wasn’t always so. Of the Prophet Moses, D.L. Moody, the great evangelist of the 19th century, said, “He spent 40 years in Egypt thinking he was a somebody. He spent 40 years in the wilderness finding out that he was a nobody. And he spent another 40 years finding out what God could do with a somebody who found out that, without God, he is a nobody.”
Moses is one of the great men of faith in the Old Testament. We all know that. A postscript at the end of the book of Deuteronomy says of him: “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,” (Deuteronomy 34:10, KJV).
But when we look at the life of Moses, we discover that he is something of an irony. On one hand he was a man who walked with God. He was obedient and faithful and courageous. On the other hand, he was often rash and impetuous and initially tried to weasel his way out of God’s calling. His life teaches us many lessons.
Most of us know the essential story of Moses’ life; his miraculous deliverance as a baby from Pharaoh’s edict to kill all the Hebrew male children; his spiritual preparation for becoming the deliverer of his people; his call to service, and his sundry excuses for not heeding God’s call. And we know that the God Moses served was bigger than any of the false gods the Egyptians served. This morning, I’d like for us to consider the faith of Moses and how it affected his life.
In the Book of Hebrews, chapter 11, we find a roll-call of the faithful from the Old Testament era. In vv. 24-30 Moses has a prominent place in that roll-call. We read repeatedly the phrase, By faith Moses ... . Moses belongs in this pantheon of the faithful, because his faith was the victory. The one common experience he shares with the others mentioned in this chapter is that their victory did not come the easy way, but in every case involved hardship, difficulty, and sacrifice.
The life of Moses is a good example of the requirements for victorious living.

I. GOD CALLS A PERSON TO MAKE A BREAK WITH THEIR PAST AND TO MAKE A NEW BEGINNING WITH HIM

"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin." (Hebrews 11:24-25, ESV)
1. the title son of Pharaoh’s daughter was prestigious in Egypt and entailed power and privileges
a. to break his tie with the daughter of Pharaoh and to choose to be identified with the Hebrew slaves called for faith and courage
b. for Moses, breaking this tie, meant leaving the security of ...
1) his adopted homeland
2) his adopted his family
3) his adopted friends
4) his adopted legacy
c. I’m sure many of his Egyptian family, friends, and acquaintances were stunned by his decision
ILLUS. I can just imagine the wagging tongues ... “Did you hear about Moses? I thought he was one of us.”
2. in spite of his ties to Pharaoh’s family, Moses put his faith in Israel’s God and severed his ties with Pharaoh’s daughter — his adoptive mother
a. he refused to be recognized as an Egyptian prince, because he knew himself to be a descendant of Abraham, and a son of the covenant that God had made with the patriarch
3. Moses could have taken a compromise position
a. as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, he might have concluded that his influence would be invaluable in setting the Israelites free
1) after all, father Joseph, 400 years before, had wielded his power and authority in the interests of his kinsman
2) Moses could have concluded that it was God who had providentially placed him where he was
3) why, then, would he forsake such an advantageous position?
b. why not retain his position of power and use his great influence with Pharaoh on behalf of the oppressed Hebrews?
1) in retrospect Moses could have been the William Wilberforce of the ancient world
4. what was it, then, which prompted Moses to make this noble sacrifice?
a. was it a patriotic impulse?
b. was it a fanatical love for his brethren?
c. was it guilt over his pleasure verses their plight?
d. the Bible gives us a simple answer – he was guided neither by reason nor sentiment nor guilt but by faith
"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter," (Hebrews 11:24, ESV)

A. GENUINE FAITH ALWAYS INVOLVES ‘LEAVING’ BEFORE ‘CLEAVING’

"choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin." (Hebrews 11:25, ESV)
1. by faith Moses makes several important renunciations
a. First, he refused Egypt’s fame
1) he was the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter and therefore assured of a place in the social elite, perhaps even in line as Pharaoh’s successor
b. Second, he repudiated the pleasures of Egypt
1) humble association with the suffering people of God meant more to him than the transient gratification of his appetites
c. Third, he recoiled at the treasures of Egypt
1) Egypt was the dominant superpower of the day
2) wealth and tribute poured in to the nation from around the Mediterranean world
3) as a prince of Egypt, Moses would have worn rings on his fingers; necklaces of gold, ivory and precious stones hung around his neck: his body was perfumed with costly oils and clothed in the finest linen
4) faith enabled Moses to see that the fabulous treasure houses of Egypt were worthless in the light of eternity
d. Fourth, he renounced Egypt’s monarchy
1) because of faith Moses did not fear the wrath of the king
e. Fifth, he rejected Egypt’s religion
1) in worshiping the one true God of his fathers — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — Moses flung down the gauntlet in defiance of the religious establishment
2. Moses left all of these things behind, and he turned in faith to the true God
a. Moses had to make a clean break with his past before he could walk with God by faith
b. Moses had to ‘leave’ before he could ‘cleave’

B. THE LESSON

1. Hebrews 11:24-25 describe the primary characteristics of saving faith
a. the faith of Moses shows us that saving faith does something more than merely “believe” or “accept Christ as personal Savior”
1) Moses reveals that faith is a definite decision of the mind, it is an act of the will, to follow God, and love Him with all your heart
2) it reveals the fundamental fact that saving faith includes, yea, begins with, a deliberate renunciation or turning away from all that is opposed to God
3) the Bible calls it repentance and it is a vital part of the Gospel message
"From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17, ESV)
"For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death." (2 Corinthians 7:10, ESV)
b. saving faith is a determination that denies self and elects to submit to what ever trials may be part and parcel to a life of faith and piety
1) listen to the apostle Paul’s testimony to the Christians at Philippi
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death," (Philippians 3:7-10, ESV)
2. the denying of self is essential in walking with God, and where it does not exist, grace is absent
a. faith in Christ that is not willing to give up everything — including one’s right to self — is not true faith
ILLUS. The ever-growing worldview of our era is that of absolute personal autonomy. The sinful nature craves independence, and in a culture that encourages radical independence, the spirit of this age — radical autonomy — is witnessed in the sexual revolution, the absorption in one’s own 4-6 electronic view screen, and the pro choice movement that asserts, “My Body, My Choice.” It is a worldview that says, “I, and only I, have the right to determine the course of my life. No one — and I mean no one — has any right of authority over me.”
b. this worldview is the antithesis of Jesus’ instructions to his disciples
"And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" (Luke 9:23-25, ESV)
1) you don’t get much blunter than that
2) the prodigal must leave the far country, before he can come home and cleave to the father
ILLUS. G. K. Chesterton had it right when he said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
3. God Calls a Person to Make a Clean Break with Their past and to Make a New Beginning with Him

II. GOD DOES NOT PROMISE THAT THE LIFE OF FAITH WILL BE AN EASY LIFE

1. in a sense, Moses faced a greater test and more severe trials after bringing the people out of slavery, then he ever faced in his confrontation with Pharaoh
a. often it is easier to live by faith as we journey toward an unseen goal or promise then to do so once we receive it
2. it is after Moses leads the people out of Egypt that we see his faith faltering at times
ILLUS. Life is like two turtles were crossing a busy freeway. One turtle stayed the course, believing that despite all the obstacles he had to overcome, despite not knowing what was coming next, he would make it to the other side. The other turtle became frightened halfway across the road and retreated into his shell, saying, "I knew all along I wouldn't make it. I never should have started this journey." And his prophecy was self-fulfilling.
3. God calls on us to stay the course, to keep the faith even when times are difficult
a. God calls us to stay out of our shells, so that we might experience victory
4. what does Moses’ faith teach us?

A. THE LIFE OF FAITH EXPOSED MOSES TO HARDSHIPS, TRIALS AND SACRIFICES

"When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘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.” (Exodus 14:10-12, ESV)
1. it doesn’t take long before the Hebrews are questioning their decision to leave Egypt and are seriously questioning Moses’ leadership
ILLUS. George Muller, a great man of faith, once said, "God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means. I say, and say it deliberately trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith."
2. if Moses thought Pharaoh was a stiff-necked a rebellious man, just wait until he had to deal with his very own kinsmen!
a. here was a situation that would test to the limits Moses’ faith in God
1) but God always comes through for His people in unique ways
"The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” 19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left." (Exodus 14:15-22, ESV)
b. the victory of faith won out and Moses obeyed knowing the power of God would prevail
3. the Christian life is also like this
a. we are to trust in the power of God to do great and mighty things
"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV)

B. THE LESSON

1. the life of faith is not an easy race
a. it takes some spiritual endurance
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," (Hebrews 12:1, ESV)
2. God has decreed that the general state of His people on earth shall be one of hardship, opposition, and persecution
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV)
3. why does God allow hardship, opposition and persecution of his people?
a. 1st, to arouse us to spiritual diligence
1) God, speaking to the Prophet Micah, said: "Arise and go, for this is no place to rest, because of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction." (Micah 2:10, ESV)
2) this world is no place for the Christian to find rest—it is full of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction
3) nevertheless there is a tendency in us to settle down in this world—this world that is not our home because we are just pass’n through
4) again and again God bids us to watch and pray, to be sober and vigilant, alert and active
"for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14, ESV)
4. why does God allow hardship, opposition and persecution of his people?
a. 2nd, to wean us from the world
1) there is that in us which still loves the world too much
2) in His mercy God seeks to stir up in us a loathing for the pleasure of Egypt
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17, ESV)
5. why does God allow hardship, opposition and persecution of his people?
a. 3rd, to conform us more fully unto the image of Christ
1) God has granted us permission to use the things of this world, but has forbidden us to abuse them
2) temporal blessings become a curse if they are allowed to hinder us from our walk with Christ
"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it." (Proverbs 15:16, ESV)
3. God Has Not Promised the Life of Faith Will Be an Easy Life, but it Will Be a Victorious Life

III. THE REWARDS OF FAITH ARE WELL WORTH THE COST

"Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses." (Exodus 14:30-31, ESV)
1. because of Moses’ faith the Hebrews were free, the Egyptians were defeated, God was glorified, and the people believed
a. faith
2. because of his obedience, a nation was born who gave us God's Messiah and the savior of our souls

A. THE REWARD OF FAITH IS FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE

"By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27, ESV)
1. here is the key to all that has been before us
a. Moses endured the attractive honors and alluring pleasures of Egypt’s court
b. Moses endured the repeated compromises of Pharaoh
c. Moses endured the misgivings and criticisms of his people
d. he endured them all because he had seen him who is invisible
2. long before the Apostle John penned the words in his Gospel, Moses had experienced the great truth of our Lord’s admonition to His disciples
John 15:10 "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love."
a. Moses leaned that real commitment to him who is invisible brings true contentment

B. THE LESSON

1. living in fellowship with him who is invisible is the most important thing you will ever do with your life
a. it is worth any hardship, any opposition, any persecution you may endure
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." (2 Corinthians 5:10, ESV)
ILLUS. If we were to pen a new “roll call of faith” Karen Watson would be one of the name on that list. In 2004, Karen was one of three U.S. missionaries killed in a drive-by shooting in Mosul, Iraq. She was just 38 years old. She was a member of the Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA where she taught Sunday School, and worked in the church’s women’s ministry, and single’s ministry. Over the years she had been on church mission trips to El Salvador, Mexico, Macedonia and Kosovo. Feeling called to full-time vocational mission work she applied to our Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board, and was appointed to Iraq. Karen sold her home, her car, and virtually all of her possession. All she had left fit into a single military-style duffle bag. The day before she left for Iraq, she gave her pastor a letter. On the envelop it read, “Open only in the case of my death.” A year later her pastor had to open that letter. Here is what it said:
March 7, 2003
Dear Pastor Phil,
You should only be opening this letter in the event of death.
When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the Nations. I wasn't called to a place. I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory was my reward, His glory is my reward.
One of the most important things to remember right now is to preserve the work. ... I am writing this as if I am still working among my people group.
I thank you all so much for your prayers and support. Surely your reward in Heaven will be great. Thank you for investing in my life and spiritual well being. Keep sending missionaries out. Keep raising up fine young pastors.
In regards to any service, keep it small and simple. Yes simple, just preach the gospel. If Jason Buss is available or his dad have them sing a pretty song. Be bold and preach the life saving, life changing, forever eternal GOSPEL. Give glory and honor to our Father.
The Missionary Heart: Care more than some think is wise. Risk more than some think is safe. Dream more than some think is practical. Expect more than some think is possible. I was called not to comfort or success but to obedience.
Some of my favorite scriptures are: Isaiah 6, you know the one. 2 Cor. 5:15-21, 1 Peter 1:3, Col. 4:2-6, Romans 15:20, Psalm 25 and 27. You can look through my Scofield and see where it is marked. Please use only what you want or feel is best. There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you two and my church family.
2. was Karen Watson’s untimely death a waste?
a. not in God's plan
b. her message was simple, When God calls there are no regrets
c. Watson lived out Jesus' words, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt.1:39)
3. The Rewards of Faith Are Well Worth the Cost
God has always accomplished His works in history through ordinary men and women who were possessed of an extraordinary faith. The victory of their faith did not come easy, but only with a fight--the fight to remain loyal and obedient to God in the face of great trials and sometimes uncertain circumstances. This morning, God asks you to be loyal to him and to fight the good fight of faith. What does that mean?
1) It may mean making a clean break with your old life and starting a new life that centers on God.
2) It may mean struggling though difficult times. It may mean asking questions for which God does not immediately give you the answer. It may mean letting go of that which is most precious to you — your children — so that God can move and work in their lives.
3) The rewards of faith are always worth the cost.
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