Faithlife Sermons

Where Are We Going

Bill Isaacs
Where Are We Going  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:37
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WHERE ARE WE GOING? (Exodus 12:37-42) That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock. For bread they baked flat cakes from the dough without yeast they had brought from Egypt. It was made without yeast because the people were driven out of Egypt in such a hurry that they had no time to prepare the bread or other food. The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years. In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the Lord's forces left the land. On this night the Lord kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation. Introduction: A few days ago, our LEC staff collectively embarked on a journey to chart a course for each member's personal growth as a leader in 2021. The objective is to imagine a pathway by years end, in which we lead better, serve better because we intentionally grow as leaders. We all need a plan for this year that details what is in our heart, what God is saying to us about our direction and outcome for your relationship with God, family, career, health. You should constantly be asking yourself-where am I going? If not you may find yourself as I did in Hungary a couple of years ago traveling with a missionary to catch a train from the training conference we had just done to the capital city of Budapest where we would catch our flight to Amsterdam and then connect to the US. As it turned out the missionary missed the announcement in the station that our departing train had been switched to a different track. Once we boarded and settled into our seats the train took off racing toward Budapest or so we thought. In fact we were going north toward the border of Slovakia when we needed to be going west. By the time we realized it, we had lost valuable time and were in danger of missing our flight to Amsterdam and the last flight out that day. Only through the creativity of my missionary guide did we get off at the next station pay a grumpy old man in a Mercedes the equivalent of $100 fare each to drive as fast as possible 2 hours to Budapest. We made the flight but the urgency we created was due to not knowing if the train we were boarding was going in the direction we desired. Sometimes it can feel like you've boarded the wrong train in life and you're going in the wrong direction. Maybe you find yourself in the wrong job, the wrong school, relationship but you know you're not going where you intended...Action is needed. This passage is one of the more dramatic in the Old Testament for several reasons: * There is an impressive but massive movement of people out of Egypt in short time. o They had 600,000 men + wives (600,000) + children (1.2 mil)=over 2,000,000 (and we haven't counted those with more than one wife, more than 2 kids and the element (referred to as "rabble") of people who journeyed with them) o Imagine feeding, housing, logistics-it's staggering * They are witness to the fulfillment of God's promises to Jacob when he came to Egypt with 70 members of his family and God promised, your family will bring you home. o God did not tell Jacob how long it was going to be-it turned out to be 430 years and not all of them good-but God promised to bring them home and this is the starting point of that journey. We find God's promise to Jacob here. (Genesis 46:1-4) So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. "Jacob! Jacob!" he called. "Here I am," Jacob replied. "I am God, the God of your father," the voice said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes." Leaving Egypt and getting to the Promised Land took longer than they planned... * The journey lasted for 40 years. * It should have been as little as 11 days of walking. Why did it take so long? OBSTACLES something that blocks, prevents or hinders progress. Obstacles are always a part of our life in everything we try to do--and they must be anticipated. I want to explore these 2 with you this morning and we will go further next week as we focus more on the direction and vision of our church for the coming years-today is about you and me. Get Egypt Out of Me In context, remember these people had been slaves their whole life. So, God had to deconstruct their former world view and replace it with a new mindset-freedom! What does "Get Egypt out of me" mean? Letting go of my former life. * The past feels like an anchor to some of us and we never get where we are going because we cannot lay down where we have been. o Maybe the haunting words of a parent who marked you and now you see yourself saying and doing the same things?-you have to get Egypt out of you! o Maybe the abuse or violence you endured in the past still haunts you mentally and you can't get past the questions and anguish in your mind. -you have to get Egypt out of you! o Maybe the unforgiven sin you carry and the memories of your former life, what you did, the shame and regret that continue to define you because you cannot forgive yourself-you have to get Egypt out of you! Example: Shawshank Redemption-Ellis Boyd Redding the character played by Morgan Freeman once paroled keeps asking permission to go the bathroom on his job and one day he realizes his struggle with freedom is he's been conditioned from prison life that he cannot think or decide for himself * There is a power from God that releases you today-what God has set free in your life cannot hold you any more-yesterday is behind you-let it go. * God is doing a new thing in you but you must accept it-release the tethers of the past and embrace what God is doing now. (Isaiah 43:18-19) Do not call to mind the former things, Or consider things of the past. Behold, I am going to do something new, Now it will spring up; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Cleaning up my Heart * In simple terms-Get the sin out of your life. You cannot go to the Promised Land until you have cleaned out the sin and entanglements that attach themselves to you when you are not watching. * There is a concern that we live in the world but are not of the world (according to Jesus) but how much of this culture in which we live and work and interact has attached itself to our heart, our values, our lifestyle. * Paul said to Timothy-it is possible to act religious but refuse the power to be changed...(2 Timothy 3:5) * Do I allow things in my life that I once did not allow? * Have I changed from trusting and obeying God's Word as an ultimate authority or do I allow outside voices, influences to shape the way I live and believe. Is my heart changed from the heart I once gave to Jesus? (Luke 21:34-36) Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold. Remain passionate and free from anxiety and the worries of this life. Then you will not be caught off guard by what happens. Don't let me come and find you drunk or careless in living like everyone else. For that day will come as a shocking surprise to all, like a downpour that drenches everyone, catching many unaware and un-prepared. Keep a constant watch over your soul, and pray for the courage and grace to prevail over these things that are destined to occur and that you will stand before the presence of the Son of Man with a clear conscience. Jesus says: * Protect your heart * Remain passionate * Get free from anxiety/worries of this life (Hebrews 12:1-2)-- We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. The concept of "Get Sin Out Of Our Lives" is provoking...we are so often deniers... * Laodicea-increased with goods and have need of nothing-God said "you're naked and don't know it!" (I John 1:5-10) This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. Conclusion: There are things that lie dormant in our hearts and we don't think they will ever hurt us but God sees them and they are obstacles to your destiny. Rebellion Disobedience Greed Resistance to spiritual authority Idol worship Associations with persons who pull you away from Christ. These ugly, neglected sins rise up when we least expect and they cause us to be something we thought we would never be. * Numbers 13-Spies report that Caanan is precisely as God promised but the people would not believe it and their disbelief caused death and defeat in the camp of Israel * Exodus 32 * They came from a land of idol worship and while they waited for Moses to bring God's commandments, they reverted to a form of themselves that they would not have believed... (Exodus 32:1-8) When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. "Come on," they said, "make us some gods who can lead us. We don't know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt." So Aaron said, "Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me." All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, "O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!" Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, "Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!" The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry. The Lord told Moses, "Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.'" We might say that will never happen to me-but it does-it has when we trade our worship to God for other activities, other places were our affections are traded-we are worshipping our golden calf. The promises God has made you are TRUE and God is ready to release them to you- What must we do? * Repent of our sins and accept forgiveness from God * Consecrate ourselves to live holy lives before God * Press our hearts toward the future and determine to have all that God has promised you
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