Exodus Through the Lens of the Cross

Sermon Summary - This message looks back at the Exodus story through the lens of the Cross. Three theological concepts are discussed: God’s desire for people to know He is the One true God, The fact that Pharaoh had a choice, God was determined to rescue His people. The last part of the message looks at comparisons between the Passover Lamb and Jesus. Application to life today is made by looking at the slavery issue. The Hebrews were enslaved to Pharaoh and the Egyptians while people today are enslaved morally and spiritually to sin. The need of a passover lamb in both situations is critical if rescue is to take place!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. What current events could inform the discussion on the moral and spiritual bondage issues facing America today?

2. Did you know the plagues were actually designed to refute various Egyptian gods? Many times God is just as concerned with the lessons we learn along the way as He is concerned with the place we are going. Certainly He wanted to see His people free from slavery, but He also wanted them and the Egyptians to know that Yahweh God is the only true God! Your thoughts?   
Exo 8:8  Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD."
Exo 8:9  Moses said to Pharaoh, "I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile."
Exo 8:10  "Tomorrow," Pharaoh said. Moses replied, "It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God.

3. God had told Moses He was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart, but it seems clear that Pharaoh was the one who initially hardened his own heart against God. However, after the sixth, eighth, ninth and tenth plagues it does say God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Pastor Larry gave an illustration of a hammer handle that at first softens and blisters the skin, but later has the effect of hardening the same skin. What do you think of the analogy? Agree or disagree? Later it would be the very people God rescued from Egypt who would harden their hearts towards God...
Heb 3:7  So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice,
Heb 3:8  do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,
Heb 3:9  where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.
Heb 3:10  That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.'
Heb 3:11  So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"
Heb 3:12  See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
Heb 3:13  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

4. Just as God set the Hebrews free from their bondage to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, He wants to set us free from our bondage and slavery to sin. He has made our rescue possible through the sacrifice Jesus gave when He became our Passover Lamb on the Cross. How does this truth practically apply to our lives today?
Rom 6:16  Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Rom 6:17  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
Rom 6:18  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Rom 6:19  I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
Rom 6:20  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
Rom 6:21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
Rom 6:22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Full Sermon Notes
Today we will behold our God in a powerful way as we look at the Biblical story of ...

Exodus Through the Lens of the Cross

Two weeks ago we looked at the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden through the lens of the Cross.

We saw how God had given them a choice to have a relationship with Him through trust!

Their decision to distrust God and eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought about the fall

of humankind! Through the lens of the Cross we saw how details of the story pointed to the future sacrifice of Jesus!

Last week we looked at the story of Abraham and Isaac through the lens of the Cross and discovered this story too

was a type or foreshadowing of the sacrifice Jesus would someday make in order to redeem humankind!

 By the way, I made a mistake last week and I wanted to let you know. Melchizedek, the king of Salem was not one of

 nine kings involved in the conflict we spoke of. He just mysteriously shows up when the king of Sodom came out to

 meet Abram after his victory. The fact that he brought bread and wine is also interesting since Jesus was considered a

 priest in the order of Melchizedek. Anyway, just wanted to point that out. Sorry if I confused anyone.

Today we come to the story of the Exodus. Viewing the story through the lens of the Cross reveals how God was not only

working in the circumstances of the Hebrew people to set them free from the Pharaoh, but was also setting the stage

for the sacrifice His One and Only Son, Jesus, would someday make. Sometimes the stories of the Old Testament

are relegated to children's story books and are seen to have little application to deeper theological concepts.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Let's look at the definition of theology...

Theology - The study of the nature of God and religious beliefs

In the great stories of the Old Testament, God begins to reveal Himself to us and when we look through the lens of the

Cross, we see the stage being set for the great rescue God would someday make on behalf of humanity.

 Let's pray and I will share with you some amazing truths you may have previously overlooked or been unaware of.

Truths that could change your life!

PRAY!!

Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of Exodus chapter 3 and we'll look at the back story for our message.

1Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side

of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was

on fire it did not burn up.

3So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

4When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And

Moses said, “Here I am.”

5“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

6Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this,

Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7The 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.

8So 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.

9And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing

them.

10So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12And 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. ”

13Moses 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?”

14God 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.’ ”

Exodus 3:1-14 (NIV)

And then skip down to verse 18...

18“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The

LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to

the LORD our God.’

19But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him.

20So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After

that, he will let you go.
Exodus 3:18-20 (NIV)

What are the wonders God is talking about?
The ten plagues! That's right.

Remember, theology is the study of the nature of God and religious beliefs. There are some powerful theological

reasons God chose the methods He did to obtain the Hebrew people's freedom.

God could have just overpowered The Pharaoh from the git go, but He didn't. Why?
God wanted people to know the truth about who God was. God wanted the Egyptians, the Hebrews, and all the world to know the One true God.

Theology Lesson One:
Yahweh God is the One True God!!

5“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

6Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this,

Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Exodus 3:5-6 (NIV)

 So here's why He used the plagues. The plagues were chosen because of the spiritual lessons they could

 teach. I don't have the time to go into all the lessons surrounding the plagues, but we'll look at the first two

and the last two plagues!

The first plague was the plague of blood. Egypt rarely got rain, so the Nile river was their life line.

Drinking water, fish for food, irrigation for their crops.  You get the picture!

As a result, the Nile river was worshipped as a god! But it was a created thing not a god!
When Moses lifted his staff the Nile turned to blood and had an awful stench and the fish died. The Creator God wanted everyone to know the Nile was not a god, but was in fact a life giving gift from the Creator God!

 The second plague was the plague of frogs.  "Within Egyptian mythology the frog was the embodiment of life-giving power." Broadman Commentary 1, pg 338.

 The frogs had now become a pestilence and to reinforce the truth that life-giving power was not to be found in the frog

the frogs died rather than return to the river as they usually did.

The ninth plague was the plague of darkness.  And what a lesson this would teach! As you may know, Egyptians

worshipped Re the sun god. Pharaoh was considered the embodiment of that god. When God Almighty used Moses to

bring about total darkness for three days straight, it struck a blow to the Egyptian theology of the sun and Pharaoh being

god! However, Pharaoh was a very stubborn man, and it would take another more drastic plague to get his attention. The death of the first born.

Pharaoh was about to find out he was not a god who could rule the world, and in fact he didn't even have the power

to save his own son. Now I must be honest with you. This part of the story is very difficult for me. I struggle with

the harshness of this plague. However, I've put my questions in the hands of God and from all I know and have seen of God in my life, I believe He is a just God. And because He is God, He doesn't owe me an explanation, but I believe someday He will show me why certain things had to happen the way they did and it will all make sense to me then. In the mean time, I trust Him with my life and my eternity!

 I will give you my opinion, and remember it's just my opinion. I sometimes think, with the younger ones, God may have

been merciful to take them and rescue them from the horrors of the pagan culture they were being raised in.

Just my thoughts on a difficult subject.

Ultimately, God was seeking to reveal Himself to Pharaoh, to the Egyptians and especially to the Hebrew people.

Remember, there may be many great spiritual powers, but only one can be the Supreme Being. Only one!!

I love the way Roy L. Honeycutt, Jr. put in his commentary on Exodus...

"Every aspect of the plague narratives touches in one way or another upon Egyptian theology as it related to the

natural order. The triumph of Yahweh in the plagues is indicative of His sovereignty over creation. The earth

belongs neither to a divinized king, Pharaoh, nor to the gods of Egypt. Whether in a world dominated by concepts of

primitive gods interwoven into creation, or in a modern world with theories of astrophysics and an expanding universe,

 the earth is the Lord's."

Theology Lesson Two:
Pharaoh had a choice!

God knew Pharaoh was going to harden his heart and refuse to let God's people go, but I believe Pharaoh did have a

free will and could have changed his mind. Why do I believe this? Look at Exodus 7:8-13...

8The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,

9“When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle, ’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’

and it will become a snake.”

10So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of

Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake.

11Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their

secret arts:

12Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.

13Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.


Exodus 7:8-13 (NIV)

 I want you to notice. It said Pharaoh's heart became hard. After the first plague, it also says his heart became hard.

After the second plague ended God's word put's it this way…

15But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as

the LORD had said.
Exodus 8:15 (NIV)

After the third plague it says "Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not listen."

After the forth plague it says...

32But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
Exodus 8:32 (NIV)

After the fifth plague it says...

7... Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.
Exodus 9:7 (NIV)

Something changes with the sixth plague...

12But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to

Moses.
Exodus 9:12 (NIV)

After plague seven it says once more that Pharaoh and his officials hardened their hearts, but after this it says...

every time… "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart!"

What happened?

When God comes to a person, that person can choose to accept or reject. Many times when God first calls out to a

person, their heart is touched by God and they at least consider accepting God.

If they decide to harden their heart to God they can do so. But here's what can happen. After so many times of

hardening your heart, the same Holy Spirit of God that once softened your heart and brought conviction will begin

have the opposite affect. It will begin to make you hard, cold and calloused.

It's kind of like when I worked years ago roofing houses. When I first started, that hammer handle softened my

hands and blistered and broke the skin. But as the summer wore on, callouses began to build up and my hands became

 quite tough and hard. It's the same way with a person who continues to reject the call of God.

They become spiritually hardened.

Theology Lesson Three:
God was determined to rescue His children!


7The 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.

8So 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.

9And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing

them.

10So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV)

 We've talked about plagues and we've talked about Pharaoh. We will close the message with a special part of

 the Exodus story…The Passover Lamb!

The people were oppressed and enslaved. God was going to rescue them, but there was special instructions they were

to follow in order for the rescue to be successful. Let's read about it in Exodus 12:17-18, 21.-28...

17“Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of

Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
Exodus 12:17 (NIV)

18In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the

evening of the twenty-first day.
Exodus 12:18 (NIV)

The reason the bread was to be unleavened was that leaven or yeast was associated with fermentation and that was

associated with corruption. So during this time they were not to eat it.
Let's read on...

21Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families

and slaughter the Passover lamb.

22Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning.

Hyssop is a small bushy plant, with flowers in a bunches that could soak up liquid, so it was used as a brush sometimes.

It was used to offer vinegar to Jesus when He was on the Cross.

23When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of

the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike

you down.

24“Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.

25When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.

26And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’

27then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and

spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ ” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.

28The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.
Exodus 12:21-28 (NIV)

You might be inclined to say at this point, Pastor Larry, that's a really good story, but what does that have to do with me?

I live in a free country and I am the slave of no one! How does this apply to me?

We are a free people politically, but spiritually we are more enslaved than ever before. Sin has become our

pharaoh and our taskmaster. Sin is destroying individuals, families, communities and even nations.

Reminds me of Romans 1:18-25
This passage will show you the similarities between today and the days of the Exodus...

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who

suppress the truth by their wickedness,

19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly

seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became

futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and

reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies

with one another.

25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who

is forever praised. Amen.
Romans 1:18-25 (NIV)

Sound anything like our world today? Yes it does. What is the answer?

The answer is the Passover Lamb.

6... Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?

7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover

lamb, has been sacrificed.

8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread

without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NIV)

And looking through the lens of the Cross we see how important the blood of the Lamb was and is!

11When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more

perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own

blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify

them so that they are outwardly clean.

14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,

cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Hebrews 9:11-14 (NIV)

This morning we will observe the Lord's Supper or Communion. It is a symbol and a reminder of Christ' sacrifice.

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you may participate in this remembrance.

There are tables set up here in the front and also in the back. In a moment our praise team will begin playing. You can

then go one of the tables and spend a moment thinking about the price that was paid for your sins. Thank Him and

then take the bread to remember the broken Body of Christ, broken for you. Then drink the cup, a symbol of

the precious blood of Christ, poured out to cover your sins. Place your cup in the container on the table and prayerfully

return to your seats. I'll be at the front along with other staff members if you would like to pray with us. Let's pray!