Called to Action: Responding to God’s Invitation

Exodus 3
  /  April 14, 2024
Speaker: Jonathon Slagenweit

I’m inviting you this morning to turn in your bibles to the book of Exodus chapter 3. Exodus chapter 3 last week.

Again, a series of of messages entitled do something. And we looked particularly at Ephesians chapter 2 and the idea that God has created us in Christ Jesus for something. What were we created for? Somebody help me out. To do good works.

So god has redeemed us for more than just us to sit and say, what a blessing. I my sins are forgiven. That’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Amen? We rejoice in that.

But he has redeemed us to do something. He’s created us in Christ Jesus for good works. There is there is a tight tight correlation between our salvation by grace through faith and our good works. You cannot separate faith and good works. I should have asked you.

I I think I mentioned to you, brother Austin, last week that, he he gave me a phrase. I believe it was your sister. Is that correct? Gave to you. And I think I got it right.

I wrote it down. But I liked it so well, I thought I need to share that. This is what she said. Faith without works is like spirit without a body. That’s a ghost.

And works without faith is like a body without a spirit, that’s a corpse, but faith with works is life. And so I think it’s essential for us to understand when we have been redeemed, when we have been made new creatures nothing, then we may be just a corpse or we may just be a ghost. We’ve got to put those together. Now, I didn’t tell you last week what good works you’re to do, did I? I just simply ended it by saying that we’re called to do good works.

We may touch a little bit on that this week, but we’ll probably touch more on it next week. What are we called to do? This morning in particular, as we look at Exodus chapter 3, I I want for us to look at this idea that, yes, we’re called to do something, but it’s more than just that we are created to do something, but we are also called to do something. Yes. God has created us in Christ Jesus to do something, but then he calls us to do something.

Gonna invite you to stand with me as we read Exodus chapter 3, a very familiar passage of scripture, I’m sure, to all of us. Exodus chapter 3 beginning in verse 1. If you’re there, say amen. Amen. Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the backside of the desert and came to the mountain of god even to Horeb.

Now that would also be understood as Mount Sinai. This is the place that Israel would eventually go back to and worship the lord when the lord brought them out of Egypt. Verse 2. And the angel of the lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. And he looked and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight why the bush is not burnt. Sure you would. I would too. If I saw a bush on fire but it wasn’t being consumed, I think I’d stop and take notice too. Verse 4.

And when the lord saw that he turned aside to see, god called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, here am I. And he said, draw not hither or draw not nigh hither. Put off thy shoes from off of thy feet for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover, he said, I am the God of thy father, the god of Abraham, the god of Isaac, and the god of Jacob.

And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon god. And the lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt and have heard their cry to reason of their by reason of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land, unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey, unto the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now, therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is coming to me, and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth thy people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

And Moses said unto the lord god, who am I that I should go unto pharaoh and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, certainly, I will be with thee. And this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee. When thou has brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve god or worship god upon this mountain. Let’s bow our heads together.

Father, this morning, we need your help as we allow your spirit to speak truth to our hearts. Would you open our ears, not just our physical ears, but, lord, our spiritual ears. Give us ears to hear your voice today. And I pray, Lord, that you would give us hearts that would be receptive to respond to your to your voice as you speak to us. Lord, I believe that even in this day, you are calling us to do something.

So give us ears to hear your voice this morning by the help of your spirit. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen. You may be seated. I have a special love for this particular passage of scripture, and one of those reasons is because the second message I ever preached was from Exodus chapter 3.

I assure you that’s not the message that I’m preaching this morning. I can’t even tell you where that message is. Well, I probably could tell you. It’s somewhere consumed by by, a landfill somewhere, I’m sure. I don’t know that I still have the notes, to that sermon.

And if I did, I’d probably be embarrassed to look back and and read them. This particular passage of scripture fascinates me. We’re stepping into the middle of an account in scripture of god’s work in human history, his work in Israel’s history. I would suggest or say that probably for all of us this morning, we know the background of this particular account. Moses is born in a time of Israel’s history when Israel’s in captivity.

You know the backstory to that. If you go back into the book of Genesis, you discover that a famine sweeps across Canaan. And so, as a result of that, Joseph had been sold into slavery before this. As a result of the famine that took place, the the sons of Jacob have come down to Israel to find food, and they encounter who? Joseph.

And through the course of time, Israel moves down to Egypt. They’re, established in Goshen. But as you read the opening verses of Exodus, you discover that pharaoh passes on, Joseph passes on, time lapses, Israel grows in in prosperity as far as people. The nation of Israel grows and they become a mighty force. And then it’s recorded that there rose up a king in Egypt who knew not Joseph, began to conspire with the leadership and said, you know, it’s not a good thing that Israel has advanced like they have.

Should we be attacked, they’ll turn on us. They’re mightier than we are. And so they’re forced into captivity, and in that period of time, God places Joseph or I’m sorry. Places Moses right in the middle of that time frame, right in a time frame when pharaoh has said to the midwives of Egypt, every male child born to an Israelite woman, a Hebrew woman, you destroy. If you’ve read the account, if you know the account, you know that the midwives, they struggle with that whole idea of aborting these Hebrew children.

And when Jochebed gives birth to Moses, she she looks at him and finds that he’s a very beautiful child and so she hides him. And then to protect him, places him in a basket, takes him down to the Nile, puts him in the Nile River. I I I want for us to just capture some of what’s going on through all of this. God has raised up Moses in this time period. Then he puts Moses in a basket in the Nile at a time that pharaoh’s daughter comes to the river to bathe.

What a coincidence. Stroke of good luck. Right? No. No.

It is the sovereignty of God that has put Moses where he’s at for his divine purpose. It’s not by chance that pharaoh’s daughter finds Joseph, knows that he’s a Hebrew. In fact, if you go back, you can go back and read the first part of Exodus. And when she opens the basket, she recognizes this is a Hebrew child. You know what’s to happen to the Hebrew boys?

They’re to be destroyed. Who are we talking about? Pharoah’s daughter. Pharoah’s the one who has asked that all of the Hebrew male children be destroyed. And now here comes Pharoah’s daughter, finds 1 and says, oh, no no no no no no.

No. This one will be mine. And here is Miriam waiting in the wings to say, hey. I know somebody that can nurse this child, takes Moses back to Jochebed, raises him up. Joe or, Moses ends up, after he’s been weaned, in the house of pharaoh to be educated, trained by the greatest, at that time, in the greatest realm of learning.

Wow. What a coincidence. Stroke of good luck. Right? No.

Can I just remind us this morning as I read Acts chapter 17 when Paul’s on Mars Hill and he is presenting the gospel to those who have gathered in the Areopagus, he says, god has appointed the times and the habitation of all men? Do you know what that says to me today? It’s not by chance that you were born in this time. You are here on purpose. God designed and created you purposefully for this very moment.

He’s put you where you live for a purpose. He has redeemed you for a purpose. Maybe I could just tie this back in with what we looked at last week. Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 10, for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which god prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. I need to remind us this morning that God knew where you would be, when you would be born, where you would live, and he’s put you here intentionally.

Amen? The same way that he had placed Moses right where he placed him, put him in the place to receive the best of education. You and I know the conclusion to that story. As a young man, somewhere around 40 years old, Moses goes out. He knows he’s a Hebrew.

He observes the way the Egyptian is is treating this Hebrew. He kills him, buries him in the sand. The next day when he finds 2 Hebrews fighting amongst themselves and he goes to stop them, they say, what? You’re gonna kill us like you did the Egyptian? You’re gonna treat us the same way?

And Moses becomes keenly aware, oh, no. I’ve been found out. And he runs. And for the next 40 years, Moses has been on the run. Now he’s on the backside of the desert.

He’s tending his father in law’s sheep on the backside of the desert. And right in the middle of the backside of the desert, guess who comes calling? Moses wasn’t out looking for God but God was out looking for Moses. God knew that he had purpose and design and a plan for Moses’ life and so he goes to the backside of the desert and he lights a bush on fire that doesn’t burn. And I can only imagine as I mean, just try to picture this if you have any sense of imagination.

Try to picture yourself on the backside of a barren desert, a bunch of sheep, and all of a sudden there is a bush burning and it’s not burning. I mean, it’s not being consumed. Tell me you wouldn’t respond as Moses did. Woah. Look at the butane bush.

Check it out. It it’s burning, but it’s not being consumed. And god gets his attention. God lights a bush in the backside of a desert where nothing is happening, it would seem, but god is there. And god lights a bush on fire.

And Moses says, I gotta stop and see what’s going on. And as soon as he turns, god begins to speak to Moses. Can I tell you this morning that god’s still burning bushes? Maybe not in a literal sense unless you’re the neighbor of my in laws. A couple months ago, we pulled into their house and I looked over and the the side of their house, all of the vinyl siding was just melted down.

And and the bush that was right there was burnt. It was a crisp. I don’t know that God spoke from that burning bush. He might have. He might have said, if you wanna use your your, your homeowner’s insurance policy, just do that again.

K. I don’t know the ways that god may be calling in your life, but I need for us to know this morning that god is still lighting bushes on the backside of deserts trying to get people’s attention to say, I’ve got something for you. Look at verse 7 if you have your bible still open. When God gets Moses’ attention, when he when he’s got his full attention, He says, Moses, don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals.

The ground that you’re on is holy ground. And then god begins to talk to Moses, and this is what he says. And the lord said, I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. Now I want you to keep in mind these are God’s people that God is talking about. God’s talking about these these are the children of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.

This is my promised people. I have seen the oppression and the affliction of my people. But the reality is is that the the Israelites are very far from where god wants them to be. If you begin to read the rest of the old testament, you discover that the Hebrews are not the the Israelites, they’re not, well, they’re not actively just engaged in full on bible study and and, you know, just serving Yahweh as they ought to. In fact, you read and they’ve picked up all of the trappings of Egypt.

They’re worshiping their idols. In fact, they take some of them with them when they leave Egypt. But god says I see the affliction of my people. And again, if I can just remind us this morning, church, god still sees the affliction of his people. God sees the affliction of those that he’s created in his image that he loved so desperately, loved enough for the purpose why we just celebrated Easter, loves them so much.

He sees the suffering of those that he sent his son to bleed and die for, to pay the penalty of their sin. He still sees the suffering of his people. God notices the burden that they’re under. In this particular case, he sees the the slave drivers, the taskmasters that are forcing labor upon them. He sees their affliction.

He says, I’ve seen it and I’ve also heard it. I’ve heard their groanings. And, church, if somehow this morning, you and I can have eyes to see and ears to hear this morning. You and I would see a world that is broken and suffering. We would hear the cries of people saying, I need deliverance.

I’m caught. I need I need something. I need someone. So many of those ones, the something is drugs or alcohol or illicit sexual relationships or all all forms of trying to fill that void. And if you and I could hear the cry of the world around us, we would hear people groaning under travail.

We’d also hear the voice of the Lord saying, I see and I hear. God sees their suffering. Look at verse 8. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from the land to a good and a large land. Now bear with me for just a moment.

I imagine at this point, Moses says, yes, lord. Yes. I’m glad you see and you hear. And then whenever the lord says, I have come down, I’m sure, Moses is saying, come on down, lord. Just come on down.

Go get them. They’re bad people. Just wipe the Egyptians out. They’re terrible. You see what they’re doing.

You know all about it. Go do something about it. I have to imagine that that Moses is probably getting a little excited at this point. He knows that he’s a Hebrew. He knows that that’s his people.

And he hears the voice of the lord saying, I’ve seen their suffering. I’ve heard their cries, and I’m gonna come down and do something about it. And I imagine Moses saying, oh, yes, lord. This is great. This is wonderful.

It’s gonna be a great thing. Oh, my people are gonna be delivered from their their taskmasters. Their cries are gonna be relieved. And I’m sure Moses is excited. And then God says the strangest thing in the world.

I’ve heard their cry. I’ve seen their affliction. I’ve come down, and then verse 10. Come now, therefore, and I will send you. And at that mo at that point, Moses says, woah.

Wait a second, lord. I was with you until that point. Like the idea that you hear their cry? Like the idea that you see their suffering? Like the idea that you’re coming down?

Don’t like the idea that I’m to do something. Let’s go back just a little bit, lord. Strike them. Come on. You see it.

You’re coming down. Do something. And the lord says I will. I will. I want you to go.

Therefore, I will send you to pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. And I have to imagine at that moment, Moses says, oh, lord. That’s not what I I thought you were gonna say. I thought surely, you saw the affliction, you you heard their cry, and you said you were coming down. I thought surely you were gonna do something.

Maybe something like you did in the day of Noah. Maybe you’d come in and you’d wipe out all of the Egyptians, but you want me, lord? Can I just tell us this morning, church, that god’s plan to come down and to deliver Israel was through the person of Moses The same way that God hears the cry and sees the oppression of his people today and desires to come down, he does it through people? It’s through you and it’s through me. Here’s the valuable principle.

When God chooses to work in the world, he’s chosen to do it through the means of human personalities. He’s chosen to do it through you and through me. There is a song. It’s a it’s a newer song. It came out a number of years ago that if I could just give you kind of the concept of the song, the songwriter talks about seeing the oppression of the world around suffering in poverty, and he sees people who are being trafficked, and he sees people that are being afflicted.

And the song says that he turns towards heaven and says, God, why don’t you do something? And it goes on a little farther and the songwriter says that he sees all of these things that are going on and he finally looks to heaven and says, God, why don’t you do something? And the chorus says, I did. I created you. If not you, then who?

If not now, then when? Church, can I remind us this morning that God still hears the cry of his people? And he wants to come down, but he is calling you and I to be the hands and the feet that do, caught in addiction, ministering to those that are caught in addiction, ministering to those that are caught in addiction, ministering to those that are just like the ones that will come through the doors down here at crisis pregnancy. He’s he’s using an alert right like that. All right.

Right there is the burning bush. Don’t know whose bush is burning, but the Lord’s calling. Speaking to us today to say, I see and I hear and I know, but I’m calling you to go. And I think that have kept reading her. If we would have continued to read in this passage of scripture, you find that Moses has a lot of we read the first one.

Who am I? Who am I that should go to pharaoh? What’s he saying? God, I’m just me. Furthermore, Lord, you know exactly why I left there.

God says, don’t let your past hinder you. Maybe I need to just stop here for a moment. In of what God has called us to. Now, does the past sometimes impact what we’re able to do? Sure, it does.

Sure, it does. Moses felt inadequate. Moses felt like this is out of my comfort zone. How many of you have ever felt out of your comfort zone? How many like to live out of their comfort zone?

Nobody wants to live out of their comfort zone. Nobody wants to live out of their comfort zone, do they? No. We all like that comfortable place but there are times that the voice of the Lord says, I want you to go. You’re my hands.

You’re my feet. You’re the one that’s going to respond to the cries of my people. Is God calling you this morning out of your comfort zone? I can’t. Who am I?

Versus 13. What will I say? I don’t know what to say. Chapter 4, verse 1. What if they don’t believe Verse 10 of chapter 4, I don’t talk well, Lord.

I I I I I stuttered. Lord Lord Lord, how you know, literally, that’s more than likely what Moses struggled with. He had a stutter, was was not able to talk well. Moses was a good excuser. And many times, you and I are good excusers too, aren’t we?

The Lord says, I see and I hear and I’ve come down. Now go. And we say, but Lord but Lord, here’s a reason why I can’t that’s a reason why I can’t No. God asks Moses a very interesting question. When he says, I want you to go, and Moses has all the excuses, God has just one question for him.

Chapter 4, you may want to look at it. Verses 2 and 3. So the Lord said to him, Moses, what’s that in your hand? Staff? Sheepstick?

I got a rod. What am I to do with the rod, Lord? Down and immediately becomes a world class sprinter. The rod becomes a snake and Moses says, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I think Moses must have this had this must have had the same feelings about snakes that I have.

I know black snakes are good snakes. The only good snake is a dead snake. All right. Moses ran and the Lord said, Moses, come back. Pick up the stick.

And Moses picks it up and it becomes a rod. I’m sorry, pick up the snake. He picks it up. It becomes a rod. Moses, put your hand in your, in your coat.

He puts it in. Bring it out. Bring it back out, Lord, it’s whole. The Lord says, Moses, what you have in your hand is enough because I’m enough. If I’ve called you, I will go with you.

Church, I believe this is the reason why last Sunday night, we looked at we looked at Exodus chapter 30 3 and Moses’ plea to be able to I’m sorry, this was on Wednesday night. Moses’ going to go up with you anymore in Exodus chapter 33. The reason Moses says, if you don’t go up, I’m not going is because Moses understands, Lord, you’re my only. Comes through you and me. We are called to do something.

I don’t know what that may be in your life. I don’t know what that good work is necessarily in your life. Spirit of God may be putting on you. Maybe there are some that the Holy Spirit is saying, you know what? You have a real heart make sure that you’re help have a heart for people that are in poverty.

It might mean that the Lord has you go to places that you would you wouldn’t feel comfortable with, but the Lord says, That’s where I that’s where I want you. They need to hear. I’m hearing and I’m seeing and I’m trying to get your attention to go and to do something. Many of you may be aware of the story of Dave Wellkerson. Anybody heard the story of Dave Wilkerson?

There’s several of you. Dave Wilkerson was a pastor in Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania 1950 8, there was a Time Magazine article that came out. Front cover was a picture of 7 teenagers that were on trial for the death, a murder that they committed. These 7 guys were a part of a gang in the city of New York City. That Time Magazine became a burning bush for Dave Wilkerson.

He saw all those young men and he was so moved. He he drove all the way to New York City. He went into the courtroom where the trial was ongoing for these 7 boys. He he went to the judge and he stopped the court proceedings, and he asked the judge, can I speak to these 7 boys? The judge denied his request.

On his way out, Dave Wilkerson was photographed As the man who stopped the trial for these 7 boys. And God began to stir Dave Wilkerson’s heart. Team challenge, began to work in the inner cities, build up a global ministry, moved eventually back to moved moved to, Texas, moved the ministries to Texas, was there for a number of years. And then in in the seventies, I’m sorry, the mid 60s, 1986, Dave Wilkerson was back in New York City. He was walking down through Times Square.

At that particular time, Times Square, Manhattan was notorious as a place of filth. There were strip clubs all along there. There were bars, x rated, places that you could stop. Absolute debauchery. As he was making his way down 42nd Street, he began to cry out to the Lord, God, you gotta do something here.

You’ve gotta do something right here walking by people that were tripping on on drugs. Can I just tell us today, If you and I were to walk down the streets in in the suburb of Kensington, outside of Philadelphia, or a part of Philadelphia, you know what you would see? Anybody ever seen the pictures? People that literally look like zombies standing there frozen, Why are they there? Because they’re in captivity.

And can I tell you this morning that God sees and he hears that? And he says, I’ve come down. You say, but I don’t live in Kensington. No, you don’t. You live in Easley or wherever it is that you live if your your knows exactly where you’re at and he’s put you there on purpose and this morning I believe he’s wanting to light some bushes on fire and say Wilkerson, that night felt the call of God as he walked down saying, God, you got to do something.

Lord said, I did. He created you. Dave Wilkerson went back, founded and pastored Times Square Church for years. Was killed in a car accident back 2011, I believe it was. The ministries that he started, Global Ministries now, are still going on.

Now I know, probably a lot of us say, I’m not a Dave Wilkerson. Guess what? I’m not either. I’m Jonathan Slagan White Kendrick Milton, and you’re Maryland French, and you’re Bob Ravenscraft. Number of years ago, a day.

And they told me an account. He was Moved to Dayton, Ohio. The church was smaller and, he started a a side business, a lawn business to supplement his income. And the church had grown over a number of years and he was finally at a point where he said, it was time to get rid of the business. I just I need to let it go.

But there was a guy that he had been ministering to for several years or a period of time anyways, older fella, mid to late fifties as I recall, didn’t have a job. And John said, I was praying 1 morning business. Got a lawn business? So the Lord said, want you to hire that guy you’ve been ministering to. Hire him to work your lawn business.

That’s what you’ve got in your hand. Use it. John hired that guy, became the guy that ran his business on that side, gave him a job, provided an opportunity for him, provided opportunity for further mentoring discipleship. That brings it a little closer to home for us. It’s not just people that have worldwide names that God has put something in their hands.

It’s you and it’s me. And the Lord says, I want you to do something. I’m calling you to do something. I’m calling you to respond to the brokenness of the world around us, inviting us to stand this this morning as we close. I’d like for brother Parker to come and lead us in the song that we sang just a moment ago, your love compels me, Lord.

Do something. You may not even know what it is that the Lord wants you to do. Or maybe you’re just simply saying, Lord, I’m I’m gonna make myself available whatever you want me to do. Teach a Sunday school class. Work in this ministry.

Do do whatever. Lord, I’m available. I want to hear and I want to see as you hear and see and I want to respond when your voice says, just want to gather around the front. You don’t, you don’t even have to kneel. You just Those that are willing to say, Lord, as as you call me, as your love compels me, I will respond.

And I’m I’m stepping out to say, Lord, here am I. Use me. Those that are willing to say that, if you want to just come and let’s stand together and we’re going to close in prayer in just a moment. But as we hear the voice of God as he says, I see and I hear one to draw. Are you willing to respond to that?

Lord, let your love compel us. Let’s sing this together as we close. 11. Your love compels me, Father, this morning, your love is compelling us. I pray that through the power of your spirit, you would speak to us today.

Light a bush on fire before us. Help us, lord, to see what you see. And then, father, give us a will to cooperate as your spirit says, now go, now do, serve, give. Lord, would you give us hearts that just say, Lord, here am I. Use me.

We give our lives to you today. We surrender our future to you. Whatever your desire is for us, Lord, give us hearts that that are ready and obedient to respond to your call. I pray it in Jesus name. Father, go with us.

May your spirit continue to work in us. May it not just be a matter that we hear a truth and we respond in the moment, but Lord, may this truth stir us to do more than just hear, but help us to respond, I pray. In Jesus’ name, amen. Amen. The Lord bless you.

You are dismissed.

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