We are in the middle of a sermon series on the Exodus. A bit of review - Pharaoh was the king of Egypt. He had forcibly made the people of Israel his slaves in charge of making bricks for his city under the hot sun. God called two brothers named Moses and Aaron to confront Pharaoh and ask for three days off to go into the desert and worship him.
They asked nicely.
Pharaoh did not let Israel go. (Exodus 5:2)
God turned a stick into a snake.
Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he did not let the people go. (7:13)
God transformed the Nile River into blood for an entire week!
Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to them. (7:22)
God sent a plague of frogs to cover the land.
Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. (8:15)
God sent clouds of gnats to cover the people.
But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen. (8:19)
God sent swarms of flies that blocked the sky, covered the ground, and skyrocketed stocks in Flyswatters.
Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. (8:32)
Hmm…There appears to be a theme.
I. Defining Hardness
Plague number five.
The Lord told Moses to go to Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go so that they may serve me. But if you refuse to let them go and keep holding them back, watch out, because the hand of the Lord will bring a very severe disease on your livestock which is in the field.” (9:1-3)
Livestock were very important in Ancient Egypt. Cows provided milk and meat. Horses pulled plows for farming. Camels were the main type of human transport. Donkeys carried loads of goods to merchants and neighboring cities. Sheep provide wool for clothing.
If you had a lot of animals, you were very wealthy.
If you didn’t, you weren’t.
If you had a lot of animals, then suddenly lost them, you were bankrupt.
Early on this particular morning.
The cattle were lowing.
The sheep baa-ing
The horses neighing.
The donkeys heehawing.
The camels…making camel noises.
Aaron lifted his stick.
God did a miracle.
Suddenly, all you could hear was a THUD!
Except among the Israelites…
“…But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of the Egyptians so that not one of the Israelites’ livestock will die.” (v.4)
The Israelites had milk that day.
The Egyptians didn’t.
The Israelite kids enjoyed their day at the petting zoo.
The Egyptian kids went home crying.
The Israelite equestrians had a great day training their horses.
The Egyptian equestrians buried theirs.
The Israelite sheep had all kinds of wool – a one bag for the master, one for the dame, one of the little boy who lives down the lane.
Which was good.
Because that little boy down the lane didn’t have any wool.
Because he was Egyptian.
And his sheep had just died.
Can you imagine the sadness?
Especially when the Egyptians found out that the Pharoah had been warned about this and still didn’t do anything about it!
But Pharaoh’s heart was unyielding, and he did not let the people go. (v.7)
This is the seventh time that Pharaoh refused to do what God says.
But it is the first time that the Scripture records it differently.
The first six times it describes what Pharaoh did to his heart – that he hardened it.
This time it describes what the hardened heart did to Pharaoh – that he became unyielding.
A HARDENED heart does not YIELD to the Lord.
Back in Driver’s Ed class, we were talking about STOP signs. My instructor told us of a guy who had told his girlfriend that any stop sign with a white outline around it was optional.
She believed him.
When she went on her road text, she proceeded to blow by every single stop sign.
She didn’t yield. “Because it was optional.”
A hardened heart does the same thing with God’s commands.
It views them as optional.
And does not yield.
How do you know if you have a hardened heart?
You won’t yield.
A hardened heart won’t show up on an x-ray.
It won’t appear on an MRI.
There isn’t some kind of blood test.
If you want to know if you have a hardened heart, just answer this question:
Have you been yielding to God?
Really answer the question.
God might not be telling you to release hundreds of thousands of slaves.
But he has probably told you other things:
Stop saying racist things.
Quit yelling at your wife.
Quit gossiping about your friends.
Control your temper.
Are you listening?
Are you yielding to God?
And if you aren’t…
Perhaps your heart is hard.
II. A Hard Truth
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a kiln, and have Moses toss it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. (v.8)
I imagine Moses and Aaron went to their local fireplace.
They filled a bowl with soot.
Made their way to the palace.
Got in front of Pharaoh.
And tossed the soot into the air.
Like Lebron James before a ball game.
Instantly, people all over the land develop boils on their skin.
People in suburbs.
People in the city.
People in the mansions.
People in the affordable housing.
People at work.
People taking a nap on the couch.
And they get the boils everywhere…
On their hands.
On their feet.
On their arms.
On their legs.
On their face.
On their scalp.
On their back.
Even on their pre-existing boils!
Everyone was moaning.
Everyone was groaning.
Picture him like your husband with a cold.
He called a meeting with his officials to talk about what to do.
But his officials couldn’t even make it.
Because they were too busy moaning and groaning on their own.
Everyone in Egypt was in pain!
The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them. (v.12)
Did you see the difference in that verse?
Just like every other time Pharaoh’s heart is hardened.
But unlike every other time Pharaoh isn’t doing the hardening.
Sometimes GOD hardens the HARDENED heart.
This is scarier than the plague of boils.
Because just like everything else.
God does things better than people.
He shows mercy better than people.
He provides blessings better than people.
He gives peace better than people.
God makes hearts harder than any human ever could.
A heart hardened by God is scary hard.
Almost like the only one who could unhardened a God hardened heart…
III. The Mercy Behind the Hardening
But why did God do it?
Isn’t God loving?
Isn’t God merciful?
Isn’t God kind?
Yet, God definitely hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
This means that the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was done by a loving and kind God.
How does that mesh?
Let God provide the answer. “Let my people go so that they may serve me. For at this time I will send all my plagues against you yourself, your servants, and your people, so that you will know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague so that you would have been wiped off the earth. (v.13-15)
Do you hear what God is saying?
He could have chosen to do one plague.
The plague of snapping my fingers and Pharaoh disappears forever.
But God didn’t.
Because of his mercy.
His mercy to Pharaoh.
The very fact that Pharaoh was even alive was because of God’s mercy.
However, for this very reason, I caused you to stand: so that I could show you my power, and that my name would be made known over the entire earth. You still are acting arrogantly against my people by not letting them go. Watch out. At this time tomorrow I will rain down a very severe hailstorm, unlike any other in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. (v.16-18)
And sure enough…
Word got out from the palace that another plague was coming.
And they didn’t even have Twitter.
God said there was gonna be hail! The worst hailstorm of all time.
Are you sure? I remember the storm back in 513 B.C. that was a doozy! I’m not sure God can pull it off.
Well… judging from the fact that the other six plagues have come exactly as the LORD said…I have the boil scars to prove it…I think we bring our workers in.
Those among Pharaoh’s officials who feared the word of the Lord made their servants and livestock take refuge inside. (v.20)
This hadn’t happened before.
There hadn’t been any Egyptians who trusted God.
Any Egyptians who listened to what he said.
But after the last plague.
The one where Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.
God may harden one heart to SOFTEN others.
It’s like those DON’T SMOKE announcements. Do you remember those from back in grade school?
There’d be a big old poster sitting in our lunch room cafeteria.
On one side? A set of healthy-looking lungs.
On the other side? A pair of lungs from a 10-year chain smoker.
Those lungs were black.
Those lungs were pale gray.
Those longs were gross.
Kinda like 1980s lunchroom mystery meat.
The goal of this poster was to warn kids – Don’t smoke!
One goal of God hardening Pharaoh was to warn other – Don’t ignore God!
And it still is a warning!
Because this plague is written down.
These events are before our eyes.
Since God is all knowing.
And God is eternal.
And God loves you dearly.
Could it be…
One of the reasons that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart…
He wanted to warn you.
About whatever it is you need to be warned.
Because he loves you that much.
And he doesn’t want you to suffer the same fate.
So, it was out of love for his people that verse 23 occurs:
Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail. Lightning also flashed down to the ground. The Lord rained down hail upon the land of Egypt. (v.23)
Branches were knocked down.
Flowers were ruined.
Plants were destroyed.
Flax was destroyed.
Barley was destroyed.
Broccoli was destroyed.
Any animals and humans that didn’t heed warning.
And didn’t go inside.
Pharaoh said, “I have sinned this time. The Lord is the one who is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. (v.27)
Moses took a few steps forward.
He looked into Pharaoh’s eyes.
I don’t believe you.
I’ll go and pray like every other time.
God will relent like every other time.
And you will change your mind like every other time.
Moses spread out his hands to the Lord. The thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the ground.
But when Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had stopped, he sinned again. He and his officials made their hearts unyielding. (v.33-34)
Did you see the change in wording again?
In the last plague, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
In this one, Pharaoh did the hardening.
God hadn’t kept the hardening going.
He gave Pharaoh another chance.
A chance to look back at the seven plagues that all occurred as a result of hard heart.
A chance to reflect on where he went wrong.
A chance to soften his heart and listen…
Pharaoh did NOT take the chance.
But this still reveals another truth about this hardening concept.
God may harden a heart in hopes of FUTURE softening.
You might know this as letting someone hit rock bottom.
When we don’t listen.
When we stay in sin.
When we refuse to listen to God.
Sometimes God allows that us to hit rock bottom.
In fact, God might even take us to rock bottom.
Spiritual rock bottom.
But if God takes us to rock bottom…
That’s only because God wants to raise us sky high.
If you are hitting some kind of rock bottom…
Maybe God is waking you up.
Because he wants to raise you up.
Because he has always wanted to raise you up….
Do you know what was so special about the Israelites?
Why God was so willing to send ten powerful plagues to save them?
He wanted to save them because he had given that nation a promise that one day…through the nation of Israel God would send a Savior.
For all people.
This means the Exodus is something that happened to…
(1) keep his people safe so that he could fulfill the promise of a Savior
(2) direct all eyes on this nation, because one day the Savior would come from that nation
That Savior has come.
He saved you from your guilt.
He saved you from all your sin.
He saved you from all your sin and guilt that stem from your hardness of heart.
He rose to lift you up out of guilt.
He rose to lift you up out of sin.
He rose to lift you up out of hardness.
He rose to lift you up – eternally – in heaven.
And God did all of this because His heart was not hard.
Have you ever considered that?
Sometimes people read this section and wonder…
How could God be so hard?
But after studying it for a while, I read this section and ask.
How could God be so soft?
He warned them.
They didn’t listen.
They shook their fist.
They continued to enslave others.
And God continued to give them chances!
Friends, maybe you haven’t listened.
Maybe you haven’t cared.
Maybe you’ shook your fist at God and continued to hurt others.
God has a soft heart.
He is merciful.
He still loves you.
Don’t harden your heart.
Brief review of where we’ve been in Exodus.
God wanted the Egyptian Pharaoh to give his people a three-day vacation from their slavery.
God changed a stick into a snake to warn Pharaoh of his power.
God turned the Nile River into blood.
He also changed all the water in all the people’s water jugs into blood.
He even changed all the water in all the animal’s watering troughs into blood.
There was so much blood the people had to dig holes into the ground to find enough water just to stay alive.
Pharaoh still refused.
Would you keep trying?
Over the pandemic, I feel like I lost some friends.
Maybe you did too.,
People moved away.
People drifted apart.
People became difficult to communicate with.
If you value a friend, what do you do?
You call them.
You text them.
You message them.
You call them again.
You text them again.
You snapchat them.
Then, you send them a message on Messenger and – this happened to me, tell me if it happened to you – the little icon of their profile in the bottom right corner appeared. This notified me that the friend saw it.
And never responded.
It makes you want to give up.
Pharaoh definitely heard his message.
Pharaoh refused to listen to God.
Will he give up?
Seven days passed.
The blood had flowed downstream.
The water was drinkable again.
The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country.” (8:1-2)
So they went.
And as you might have guessed…
Pharaoh still refused.
And God’s people still were not free.
This meant it was time for the next plague.
Moses and Aaron walked to the river.
I imagine Aaron walked up to decent sized hill where he could see a good portion of the Nile and its tributaries – streams, canals, and ponds.
What should I do now, Moses?
Well…Umm.. I supposed we do what God said. Just lift up your stick.
And Aaron lifted up his staff.
Held it straight for a moment.
Suddenly, hopping out of the river appeared a horde of frogs.
A mess of slimy, bumpy, warty flesh.
They hopped into the air.
They hopped on rocks.
They hopped on top of each other.
They made their way towards Moses.
It was kind a like frogger.
Only in reverse.
Moses darted to the left and the right and the left again before darting forward and grabbing Aaron’s hand to get to safety.
The frogs kept hopping.
They hopped into the city.
They hopped into the streets.
They hopped into the stores and vendors and apartments.
If you listened closely, you could hear high pitched screaming over the top over the deep croaking sound.
The frogs were everywhere.
A cook went to his pantry to grab some flour. He opened the lid. Ribbit!
A maid went to her closet to grab some cleaner. She looked in the mop bucket. Ribbit!
The kids went to the playroom to play with their toys. Ribbit! The toys were moving.
Pharaoh saw these events from the banister of his palace.
There were usually lots of them at the time of the Nile flooding.
But…They didn’t normally fill the streets.
“I’ll deal with it tomorrow.”
He took a deep breath.
He went to open the curtain to his bed.
He didn’t remember having a green bed covering.
A least not a slimy, green bed covering.
Pharoah stormed out the palace he asked the magicians to replicate this dark miracle.
They made a few more frogs come up out of the Nile. (v6-7)
But they couldn’t turn God’s frogs back.
Nor their own.
Their frogs had just added to the problem.
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.”
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.” (v.8-9)
Because God wants you to know that he is in charge.
God wants you to know that this isn’t an accident.
God wants to know that he is the one doing this.
God wants you to know that he won’t stop until you let his people go.
Pharaoh rolled his eyes.
Get rid of them by tomorrow.
Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. And the Lord did what Moses asked. (v.13)
Suddenly, it was eerily quiet.
The croaking stopped.
Because the frogs…croaked.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen... (v.14-15)
Guess Pharaoh is kind of stubborn.
Maybe God should quit.
I’m sure there’s some kind of people he could help over in Europe…
II. Little Bugs
Some time passed.
How much? I don’t know exactly.
But at least enough to clean up all the dead frogs.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” (v.16)
Moses found Aaron.
You won’t believe this next one.
On the plus side, we don’t have to annoy Pharaoh.
Something else will “bug” him.
Aaron lifted up his staff.
He held it in the air for a second.
Then, brought it clashing down onto the ground.
The dust in the immediate vicinity was knocked into the air.
Only something strange happened with the dust.
It didn’t come back down.
It didn’t come back down because the dust had become gnats.
All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. (v.17)
They swarmed in the streets.
They swarmed in the marketplace.
They swarmed in the houses.
People were scratching.
People were itching.
People were dancing and to the beat of “Get these bugs off of me.”
They were on their skin.
They were in their hair.
They were even in their eyes.
And the bugs made it to the palace.
Maybe Pharaoh was getting his royal, daily makeup.
Some of the bugs got into it.
He had dead fleas smushed all over his face.
Waving his arms and hands in the air, he screamed of his magicians.
The magicians arrived.
Do it. Replicate this miracle too!
But the magicians just looked at one another…
The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” (v.18)
We can’t do this.
We’ll either have to ride it out.
Or…Maybe, you could let God’s people…
But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said. (v.19)
That’s one hard heart.
Maybe God should take a break.
Go play a video game or something.
It doesn’t seem to be worth it…
III. Big Bugs
God wasn’t done.
Not at all.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh…If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. (v.20-21)
Moses looked at Aaron.
Aaron said, “Well…
If little bugs didn’t work…
Maybe we just needed bigger bugs…”
Aaron raised his staff.
Off in the distance, a giant dark cloud started drifting towards them.
The kind of cloud that usually signified a thunderstorm.
Only this wasn’t a cloud of precipitation.
It was FLIES.
Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies. (v.24)
Darting back and forth.
They weren’t just on the dead animals, but the live ones.
They weren’t just on the garbage piles, but the piles of laundry.
They weren’t just in the slums, but in the finest areas of Pharoah’s house.
Egypt looked like a garbage dump.
But not all of Egypt.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.” (v.25)
Now pay attention.
Because that almost sounds nice.
But Pharaoh’s just being a politician.
God’s original request was that they leave the land of Egypt to worship in the desert for three days.
Pharaoh is looking to compromise.
He’s looking to compromise with the same God who just turned his river into blood and overran his country with frogs, gnats and flies!
It’s why Moses says, “No!”
That’s not what God wants.
Pharaoh, you might be ok with not listening to God.
But I’m not.
Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.” (v.28)
And Moses prayed.
And God relented.
And the flies left.
Not a fly remained (v.31)
And this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. (v.32)
IV. Examining the Great Lengths of God’s Salvation
Pharaoh’s heart is hard.
But we’re going to save that for next week.
Let’s look at God’s heart.
A heart that is not done with Pharaoh.
A heart that is not satisfied with 4 miracles.
A heart that is willing to keep these miracles going and go to great lengths to accomplish his people’s salvation.
God is PRECISE in salvation.
The other day, I was coloring with Daniela. We were both coloring separate Mickey Mouse pages.
I was working really hard to give Mickey appropriate colors…
Daniela thought he looked best in swirling purple.
But when Julianna came to see it, she complimented Daniela’s picture.
Then, she looked at mine and said, “Looks like some of hers got onto yours.”
I had simply colored outside the lines.
You’ll never mistake God’s precision for that of a two-year-old.
His precision was visible in the plague of the flies.
Check out this additional note:
“‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land.” (v.22)
Can you imagine that?
The Egyptian house was swatting and screaming and avoiding flies.
While the next-door neighbors sipped iced tea on their porch.
The Egyptian Waffle house was using their spatulas to swat fly after fly…
While the Israelite waffle house had a surge in sales.
This was God’s doing.
Pharaoh knew it.
But that’s not the only time God was precise.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive. (Galatians 4:4-5)
His precision was visible when he gave a child to a virgin – fitting the exact description of the Old Testament.
His precision was visible when that young family had to move to Bethlehem via a King’s decree as prophesies.
His precision was visible when he lived at a time when crucifixions were the punishment of choice, a crucifixion that had been prophesied several hundred years before crucifixions were even a thing.
His precision was visible when…
On the third day…
Not the second…
Not the fourth…
But on the third day, he rose again to win YOUR salvation.
Take this note:
Sometimes when bad things happen, we consider it an inconvenience.
We say, “I don’t have time for this.”
We say, “This isn’t how it is supposed to go.”
God is precise.
If something is happening to you that seems outside the lines, maybe you aren’t seeing the full picture.
Because God does see the full picture.
And he is precise.
And he is precise about saving YOU.
God uses UNREPLICABLE POWER in salvation
If you remember, the stick into a snake miracle was replicated by the devil.
The water into blood was also replicated, but with the much tinier portion of water available.
The frogs out of the Nile miracle was replicated, but with a key difference.
When God did it, the frogs “came up and covered the land.” (v.6)
When the magicians did it, the frogs simply “came up.” (v.7)
Their frogs didn’t cover the land.
Cause they didn’t have the power that God did.
God’s power is un-replicable.
Please remember that!
He wiped out sin; you can’t.
He removes guilt; you can’t.
He conquered death; you can’t.
He is your Savior; you aren’t.
He is your kid’s Savior; you aren’t.
He is your spouse’s Savior; you aren’t.
Don’t try to replicate God’s power.
Don’t try to be God.
Because sometimes, guilt can be a lot like the plague of frogs.
You’re going through your day at work minding your own business. When your coworker regrets that you couldn’t come to his Tupperware party, because you had a thing. RIBBIT some guilt jumps out at you, because that thing? Was a nap.
And you get on Facebook and start scrolling and RIBBIT! That’s right. I was a jerk to that guy in college.
Pastor’s been preaching a good sermon on marriage and RIBBIT! That’s right. I’ve been unfaithful.
It’s like there’s guilt over there.
And over there.
And under the pews.
And in on our tables.
And in our homes.
And when we try to do something about it.
We tend to make more guilt pop up.
But…do you know what God did with those frogs?
There was a cleaning process.
They were piled into heaps; the land reeked of them.
Piles and piles of dead frogs taken out of the buildings…
Out of the barracks.
Out of the houses.
Out of the stores.
Out of the palace.
It was like garbage day.
Only all the garbage was rotting frog flesh.
He did the same with your guilt.
He killed your guilt.
That sin of lust? There it is. Dead. God destroyed it.
That guilt from college you? Dead. God destroyed it.
That big guilt that ruined your first marriage? Yep. Dead. God destroyed it.
Plug your nose. I think there’s a pile of pride. A lot of it. All of it dead. Destroyed by God!
There’s a whole pile of “repeatedly-losing-it-to-your-kids” sins. About six feet tall. All destroyed. No longer with any power.
Guilt is powerful.
God is more powerful.
God’s works his salvation THROUGHOUT the land.
There’s a phrase that occurs repeatedly in this section.
As in… “throughout the land of Egypt, there will be gnats.” (v.16)
As in… “throughout the land of Egypt, the dust became gnats.” (v.17)
As in… “throughout Egypt the land was ruined by flies.” (v.24)
The concept is simple.
There wasn’t a spot that God unleashed his power that wasn’t affected by his power.
That’s includes you.
The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Are you included in the world?
Don’t get this picture of God’s salvation coming up short.
As making it all the way to your doorstep, but then…
God’s salvation covers YOU.
God’s salvation covers the worst of your sins.
God’s salvation covers the least of your sins.
God’s salvation covers the sin throughout your youth.
God’s salvation covers the sin throughout your senior years.
God’s salvation covers the sin before you were a believer and after!
God’s salvation covers the sin throughout the entirety of your sinful history.
Friends, God was willing to do anything to save YOU.
And God is still willing to do anything to save YOU…
God didn’t give up.
He already threw 4 plagues at Pharaoh.
He’ll have no problem throwing 6 more.
God doesn’t give up.
He’s thrown his message at you before.
He’ll do it again.
Willing to do anything.
Because he loves you that much.
Last we left Moses, he and his brother had confidently approached Pharaoh and requested off time for the Israelite slaves.
I bet they felt confident.
God had spoken to Moses from a burning bush.
God had transformed Moses’ wooden staff into a deadly snake.
God had transformed Moses’ healthy hands into a hand with a deadly skin disease.
God was powerful.
Besides, they were only asking for three days’ vacation.
Pharaoh was bound to say, “Yes!” Right?
Pharaoh said, “No.”
And, “You are lazy.”
And, “I’m going to decrease your supplies.”
And, “I’m going to maintain the same rate of production.”
And, “Stop wasting my time.”
Maybe God wasn’t powerful enough…
I. God’s Powerful Instrument
Today’s lesson picks up right after that interaction.
God said to Moses, “I am the LORD. Tell Pharoah…everything I tell you.”
But Moses said to the LORD, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?” (7:28-30)
Moses must have been reeling from PTSD.
That is “Pharaoh Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
God, didn’t you see what happened last time?
Pharaoh didn’t listen to anything I said.
It’s like I told you way back when you asked me to do this. I said, “I speak with f-f-f-f-altering lips.”
I must have said, “um” too many times.
Or did something weird with my hands.
God, I don’t think I can do this!
Look at God’s response:
The Lord said, “You are to say everything I command you…I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and I will bring the Israelites out of it.” (v.1-5)
Did you count it? In that paragraph, there are seven actions verbs in which God is the one doing the action.
I command you…
I will harden…
I will lay my hand…
I will bring out…
I will stretch out my hand…
I will bring out…
Do you know how many actions verbs are associated with Moses as the doer?
We could summarize this portion of Scripture like this:
Moses says, “I can’t do this.”
God says, “You aren’t. I am.”
God works POWERFULLY through his people.
Are you feeling unable?
I can’t raise this child on my own. I’m too tired.
I can’t fix my relationship. I’m too hurt.
I can’t care for my family. I’m too unmotivated.
I can’t pass this test. I’m too stupid.
I can’t rebuke my child. I’m too sinful.
I can’t serve at church. I’m too guilty.
I can’t speak the Gospel. I’m too tongue tied.
I can’t converse about Jesus. I’m too uneducated.
I can’t convert my neighbor. I’m too awkward.
If you are feeling unable, perhaps it’s helpful to know that God is also unable…
God is unable to be unable.
That means you are able in Jesus.
Because Jesus is always able.
Do you know what is recorded after this conversation?
Verse 7 says that Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three.
Why is that verse in here?
Because sometimes society can make senior feel so very unable.
Sometimes society isn’t so nice to seniors.
Sometimes seniors listen to society and begin to feel…
But not with God.
With God, 80-year-old Moses would lead an entire nation out of slavery.
With God, 83-year-old Aaron would speak boldly to the angry king of Egypt.
What might whatever-year-old you be able to do?
II. A Powerful Enemy
Check out what God would do through Moses and Aaron:
The Lord said, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle, take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” (v.8-9)
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh.
They asked the soldiers to get into the palace.
They waited nervously as the soldiers went to get permission.
Then, they walked down the halls into the throne room of the Pharoah.
There, perched seated royal was Pharaoh.
You two again? Ha! Did you want me to increase the amount of production needed?
Say the word and I’ll send my soldiers to whip every one of your brother slaves.
Come on in. I could use a good laugh.
Moses took a deep breath.
He remembered what God said:
Just say and do what I command you. (v.1)
So Moses and Aaron…did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. (v.10)
From wooden to scary.
From stiff to slithery.
From dead to deadly.
Ok. You’ve got some power.
So do I.
Get me Jannes!
Get me Jambres!
I’ll show you my power.
Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. (v.11-12a)
How did they do that?
Obviously, they aren’t working for God.
They are working against God.
If God wasn’t enabling these magicians to turn sticks into snakes, then who was?
It wasn’t the Egyptian sun god, Ra. He’s not real.
It wasn’t the Egyptian cat gods. They were too busy hacking up fur balls.
It certainly wasn’t Pharaoh. This is impossible for humans.
Who was turning this stick into a snake?
Someone else very powerful...
The original snake.
And all his demonic minions.
The Enemies of God are SCARY POWERFUL.
They aren’t cute.
They aren’t fun.
They aren’t fake.
They aren’t cool.
They aren’t hip.
They aren’t worth getting a bicep tattoo.
They are real.
They are scary.
They are powerful.
Powerful enough to turn a stick into a snake, sure…
Powerful enough to turn God’s perfect world into a sinful one.
Powerful enough to turn God’s people into God’s enemies.
Powerful enough to turn you away from your God.
Maybe these evil forces don’t work on you in the same way.
Maybe you’ve never seen a stick turn into a snake…
But the forces of evil are still powerful.
It’s powerful temptation of the guy at work. He’s friendly. He’s nice. He listens to me when my husband doesn’t. He’s nice to me. And…he doesn’t mind taking you away from your marriage and ruining what God has put together.
It’s the allure of sexy photos on the pop-up websites. You know they are wrong. But they don’t nag! They do whatever you want. So…You can’t click away or look away. Actually, you just click and look more.
It’s the powerful strength of a drug. I know I’m not thinking straight, but at least I’m not thinking stress…Until the next day, when I wake up and have created so much more stress with what I said and did.
It’s the powerful attraction of stuff and things –…That I gotta work and make money and fill my schedule and…, I don’t have time for church, group study or God, in fact… “Who is God again?”
It’s the power of fear. There’s COVID and disease and turmoil and…I know that reading all this stuff only makes me worse, but I can’t help it. And I’ll replace my morning devotion with morning scroll through the scariness of social media.
It’s the power of gossip. Because I feel bad about myself, so…Let me tell some of the people around me about some of the bad stuff I know that other church person did.
It’s the powerful weight of guilt. Cause you’re right, pastor. I’ve sinned. I’ve spent more time with demon than God. And I’m so sorry. I don’t think God would ever forgive me.
Demons are powerful.
Sin is powerful.
I left a key part out of this account.
It happens right after the magician’s staffs turn into snakes.
But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. (v.12)
III. A More Powerful God
Early the next morning, Pharaoh was feeling pretty good about himself.
In his mind, he had yet again shown his power over Aaron.
His power over Moses.
His power over this “LORD.”
He decided to celebrate his victory.
With a bath.
He went down to the Nile River.
He brought along his towel.
His rubber ducky.
But before he could get into his favorite bathing spot.
“MOSES! AARON! What are you doing here? I thought I told you to leave me alone!”
“The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened. This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.” (v.16-18)
Then, Aaron lifted up his staff.
The one that had previously been a snake.
And had previously eaten the staff of Pharaoh’s magicians…
He raised his staff…and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt. (v.20-21)
And there was nothing Pharoah could do.
He summoned his magicians.
They could replicate the changing of water into blood.
With whatever small bit of water was left.
But they could not undo what God had done.
There was nothing Pharaoh could do.
Not even take a bath.
TRUTH:God is MORE POWERFUL than his powerful enemies.
That Nile River was the source of Egyptian life.
It gave water to the plants.
It gave nourishment to the animals.
It kept the Egyptians alive.
They believed it so much they even thought it had life restoring qualities –the very reason Pharaoh bathed in it.
The Nile was the source of life for Egypt.
God turned into a source of death.
That’s nothing compared to what happened years later.
God himself, the source of all life…
When he was dead…
And most have the power to do nothing when they are dead.
When he was dead…
He conquered death.
God is more powerful in death.
Than even death.
And he’s more powerful than whatever you are facing.
He’s more powerful than your guilt.
He’s more powerful than your shame.
He’s more powerful than temptation.
He’s more powerful than sinful desire.
He’s more powerful your demons.
He’s more powerful than the devil.
He’s more powerful than death.
He’s more powerful.
And he’s on your side.
IV. What Now?
(1) Take God’s Enemies Seriously
Back in 8th grade. I was pretty full of myself.
I thought I was God’s gift to basketball.
Mostly it was because I was 6 foot 1 inch. (Though I haven’t grown an inch upwards since then).
We had won our opening two games and our third was against a school in Milwaukee.
They were led by a player that was 6 foot 3 inches.
Our coaches said we had to work on pump fakes, jab stabs, and fast cutting to be able to get open shots against him. My normal, slow drop step approach wouldn’t work.
I thought they were bluffing.
And in the game, I did what I always did.
Again and again and again…
We got beat badly. In part, because I took him lightly.
Don’t take your opponents lightly.
Don’t view them as easy wins just cause you’ve won before.
Don’t view them as not that dangerous because you’ve haven’t fallen yet.
Instead, take them seriously.
Stop talking to that flirty guy at work.
Install a filter on your internet.
Pour all the booze out of your house.
Give away things and stuff to others.
Delete your social media account.
Share your guilt with a trusted Christian so that they can share with you God’s forgiveness.
Better yet --
Write this number down.
That’s my phone.
If you’ve got guilt weighing you down.
Guilt that feels so powerful no one could lift it.
Let me know about it.
I’ll tell you that God can lift that guilt.
I’ll tell you that…because he already did.
(2) Take God’s Power Seriously
When we talked about the power of the evil forces earlier, we specifically were discussing the magicians that could transform the staff into a snake.
But there’s another, subtle opposing power.
It may have been even stronger.
Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said. (v.13)
Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. (v.22-23)
It’s too bad really.
Because he doubted God’s power, his people had nothing but blood and sandy hole water to drink for three days.
And this is only plague number one.
On the other hand…
Moses has undergone a transformation.
At the end of chapter six, he doesn’t want to confront Pharaoh because he doesn’t think Pharaoh will listen to him.
But then the snake incident happens.
And Pharaoh again rejects Moses’ request.
And the next morning God asks Moses to meet with Pharaoh again.
How does Moses respond?
Joining team Pharaoh?
Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. (7:20)
Because he had seen God’s power.
And God’s power was with him.
And he knew God’s power was enough.
God still has that same power.
And that same power is with you.
And that power is still enough.
Because it’s always enough.
Today is Youth Confirmation. It is the day that youth in our church family confirm their faith in Jesus and promise to hold onto their faith in Jesus throughout their lifetime.
It’s also the restart of our EXODUS sermon series. A series about the people of Ancient Israel and how they went through some serious challenges in their lifetime.
At first, those things don’t seem to mesh.
There was not Confirmation Sunday at the time of Exodus.
But there were still teenagers.
Teens who had been told about their LORD.
Teens who had been trained in faith since a young child.
Teens who had grown up and said, “I will hold onto my faith in God throughout my lifetime.”
Some Egyptian soldiers showed up at the ceremony.
The teenagers were forced to enter the slave force.
They made bricks in the hot sun.
Their baby brother is ordered to be put to death.
Their workload is increased to making bricks without straw.
They watch as one of their classmates is whipped by the Egyptian slave drivers.
Is this worth it?
Is being faithful to God worth this?
I. Focus on the Faithful
Today’s lesson aims to answer that question. It is not from the book of Exodus, but it is a commentary on Exodus. We’re in Hebrews chapter 3: “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, focus your attention on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” (3:1)
Focus your attention on the section that says you should focus your attention.
God wants you, confirmands to focus your attention on Jesus.
God wants you, future confirmands to focus your attention on Jesus.
God wants you, former confirmands to focus your attention on Jesus.
He is called an Apostle. Jesus himself had apostles. These were the men whom he had “commissioned to go and speak his words.” (Mt. 28:18)
Jesus is called The Apostle because he was “given a mission” to go and speak God’s Word.
He is also called a high priest. The high priest was the Old Testament religious leader who sacrificed animals for the sins of the people.
Jesus is called the high priest because he sacrificed himself for the sins of the people.
The Bible calls for us to focus in on Jesus.
The High priest.
But focusing can be difficult.
In the movie UP, there is a character called Dug. Dug is a golden retriever. He is well meaning, loyal, and caring.
But Dug also has a problem with focus. Oftentimes, he will begin to speak -- through the special dog collar that translates his thoughts into words – only to have his thoughts be completely interrupted by…
It’s a running gag.
Whenever Dug tries to focus, he is distracted by…
We’re a lot like Dug.
God has given us direction to focus on Jesus.
But there are plenty of distractions…
“Come Lord Jesus, be our guest and…ding…do you want to join me for a game of CULTURE? One of my friends just logged in.”
Jesus is my Sav…me a spot next to that cute boy in chemistry.
It’s time to focus in on God’s Word and read a little devotion and…Did you see the Tik Tok video that Arianna Grande just came out with?
It is so easy to lose focus.
In fact, you may have even been distracted as I delivered those thoughts!
Our world is filled with distractors.
But more than that. Our world is filled with detractors.
I worked at a restaurant when I was in high school. High school was also the time that I began to seriously consider going into the ministry. I remember being in a class about sharing your faith and getting excited to share my faith at the restaurant that weekend.
I started with my fellow bus boy.
He was only a year older.
“Hey man! Can I tell you about Jesus?”
“Oh no. Don’t tell me you are one of those Bible bashers. Dude, Phil. Don’t talk about that with me. How can you believe that junk?”
It is hard to stay focused on Jesus when others attack your faith in Jesus.
If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.
Someone will question you.
Someone will make fun of you.
Someone will call you names.
Someone will make it their goal to have you denounce your faith in Jesus.
Jesus is worth it.
Jesus was faithful to the one who appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in God’s whole house. (v.2)
Moses truly was faithful! After his initial refusal to serve in his calling, Moses eventually went. You’re going to see that over the next couple of weeks.
Despite Pharaoh’s threats…
Despite the people’s complaints…
Despite his own sinfulness…
Moses listened to God.
He was faithful.
As faithful as Moses was…
Jesus was more.
Jesus was faithful to GOD.
Not that they had Catechism at Jesus’ time.
But they certainly had youth instruction.
Jesus was like the perfect Youth Group student.
He always learned his memory work.
He correctly answered all the questions.
He did better at Bible trivia night that the teachers!
He lovingly welcomed that new kid to the group.
He kindly rebuked his peers for making fun of the new kid in the group.
He asked the teacher to pray for that new kid and his family.
Jesus was faithful to God as a youth.
And it continued into adulthood as Jesus completed God’s plan.
Do you know what God’s plan for Jesus was?
He sent Jesus to live perfectly when you couldn’t.
He sent Jesus to die innocently in your place.
He sent Jesus to rise triumphantly to assure you of your salvation.
Jesus was faithful to God’s plan.
Since God’s plan was you…
TRUTH:Jesus was faithful to YOU.
When Jesus was suffering on the cross…
He could have ended it.
He could have come down from that cross.
He stopped storms.
He drove out demons.
He brought people back to life.
Coming down from the cross would NOT have been difficult.
Because of you.
He stayed in pain.
Because of you.
He breathed his last.
II. The Faithful House
Jesus is worthy of greater glory than Moses, in the same way that the builder of a house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, and God is the one who built everything. (v.3-4)
If you’re touring a home during the great housing shortage of 2021, you might say,
“This home is great!”
I love the open concept.
I’m a big fan of the back yard.
And the shag carpet is divine.
But really you are complimenting the one who put it together.
The designer who developed that open concept.
The landscaping team that did the backyard.
The installer of shag carpets that made the shag carpet so…shag.
The Builder is greater than the house itself.
The builder had the plan in his mind.
The builder had the skill in his hands.
The builder had the money in his wallet.
The builder had the passion in his heart.
Jesus is greater than the house he built.
Because he faithfully built the house he built.
And that house?
It isn’t brick.
It isn’t mortar.
It isn’t aluminum siding.
The house he built?
Jesus Faithfully Built THIS House
He faithfully brought you into his house through the waters of Baptism.
He spoke Jesus’ words to you through your parents.
He taught you Jesus loves me at Precious Lambs.
He taught you the story of Moses at Garden Kids.
He taught you about God’s love at Youth Group.
He has worked faith into your heart.
And built you into his House.
But that’s not it…
Most builders build and then move on.
They pull down their Oakley sunglasses.
They get in their F150 Ford truck.
They had to the next client.
The next house.
The next job.
Moses was faithful as a servant within God’s whole house by testifying to the things that would be spoken. But Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s house. (v.5-6)
Please notice the present tense.
Christ was faithful in listening to God’s plan.
Christ was faithful when dying on the cross to you.
Christ was faithful in building you into his house.
Christ is faithful to you…even now.
Even…whenever you read these words.
TRUTH:Christ IS faithful to you.
Even when your first boyfriend dumps you, Christ is faithful.
Even when you fail a test, Christ is faithful.
Even when you get cut from the varsity squad.
Even when your friends tempt you to use drugs…
Even when someone bullies you on social media…
Even when you aren’t approved for financial aid to attend university…
Even when you feel alone.
Even when you are depressed.
Even when you deal with anxiety.
Even when you sin… Greatly.
And feel like He can never forgive you.
When we are faithless, he is faithful because he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
He has promised to faithfully hold onto you.
III. Be Faithful
Hebrews describes the faithfulness that God desires from us in this way, “We are his house, if we hold on firmly to our confidence and the hope about which we boast until the end.” (v.6)
Have you ever been on a roller coaster?
Some of them are very fast.
They can reach up to 80 mph.
They can go upside down.
Do corkscrew loops.
And hair-pin turns.
If you are about to get onto a roller coaster and you have on a pair of sunglasses, what do you need to do?
Take them off.
Hold on to them.
If you want to keep that pair of sunglasses for after the ride, you’ll need to hold on tightly.
Not with two fingers.
Not hanging off your index.
Not with a loosey-goosey grip.
You need to hold firmly.
Do the same thing with your faith.
Hold on tightly.
Here’s how you do it:
Come to worship regularly.
Attend youth group regularly.
Read your Bible regularly.
Do devotions regularly.
Discuss the Bible with your parents regularly.
All of these things are ways that you can hold onto your faith.
Hold onto the message of Jesus tightly.
Because the truth is that our hands are weak.
We are just human.
We will get tired of holding firmly.
But God works through the Words of the Gospel.
He reaches out and puts his hands on our hands.
His hands don’t get tired.
His hands don’t grow weak.
His hands strongly help us hold onto him.
This is what God did for the Youth at the time of the Exodus.
He held onto them.
He kept his promises to Moses.
He gave them reason to keep their faith in him.
Over the next week’s you’ll see it.
He transforms all the water into blood.
He summons hordes of locusts, flies, and gnats.
He takes away what the evil Pharaoh held dear.
He splits the waters of the Red Sea to provide safe passage out of the danger.
God was faithful.
He had the Israelite youth in of his hands.
He did not drop them.
And over the next years of life, I hope you’ll see that is true for you.
God is faithful.
He has you in his hands.
He will not drop you.
It is Memorial Day weekend. Besides being a great time to thank God for the men and women who sacrificed themselves for our country, it is the unofficial kickoff to summer.
First, it’s hot.
Second, families start planning summer events.
A BBQ at Uncle Joe’s.
A family reunion at a resort.
Meeting your brother’s family at the pool.
Summer is a great time to get together as a family.
But maybe it’s not so great for you.
And not just because it’s hot.
Maybe you are estranged from your mom.
Maybe you haven’t talked to your dad in years.
Maybe there’s a family feud going on.
Or most of your family have passed away.
And it feels like you don’t belong to a family.
Like you’re all alone.
Today, God’s Word says that you do belong.
That you do have a family.
Just with a different last name…
I. The Divine Social Worker
The lesson for today is from Romans 8. “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again…” (Romans 8:14-15)
This is where we left off last week during our Pentecost celebration. Pentecost was all about the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit works through God’s Word…
The Holy Spirit works through baptism…
The Holy Spirit works through communion…
To bring us to faith and strengthen our faith.
That’s so important.
Because prior to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, this passage reveals that we didn’t belong to a family.
We belong to a slave master.
TRUTH: We were SLAVES to FEAR
This Scripture was originally written to 1st century Romans. That religious culture was polytheistic. The people believed that there were many different gods and that in order to appease these various gods, you needed to do their bidding.
Ugh…I’m getting sunburned. Zeus must not have liked my prayer today.
Oh no! My picnic lunch napkin blew into the sea! Poseidon’s gonna be mad at me.
I used a T-bone on that sacrifice. But judging how my romantic life is going…Maybe I should have gone with the prime rib!?!
Americans don’t worship those Mount Olympus gods.
But I would submit that the ancient world didn’t really either.
Because doing all those things, wasn’t really to appease the gods.
It was to really to appease their fears.
That is very American.
I need to spend thousands to put kids in every extra-curricular, because I’m afraid might be a bad parent if I don’t.
I need to work till 11 pm at night, dog tired exhausted, because I am afraid that I won’t get the promotion, my wife won’t be proud of me, and we’ll grow farther apart.
I need to wake up to work out every morning at 5 a, drink nothing but fitness shakes, and buy the clothes that best accentuate my body because if I don’t, I’m afraid my husband won’t think I’m good looking anymore.
I need to say all the socially appropriate things on social media because otherwise I’m afraid I won’t have any friends.
I need to use only the best photos, with the right lighting and the perfect filters on Instagram because otherwise I am afraid that no one will ever want me, and I won’t have a family.
I need to go to church. I need to say my prayers. I need to give money to charity because I’m afraid God hates me, and I need to make it up to him.
It is so easy for fear to be our master.
Which is unfortunate.
Fear doesn’t make good family.
Fear doesn’t make sure you eat something green for supper.
Fear doesn’t tuck you in at night.
Fear doesn’t buy you presents for your birthday.
Fear doesn’t snapchat you funny moments just to make you smile.
Fear doesn’t care if you’re happy.
Fear doesn’t care if you’re hurt.
Fear doesn’t care if you’re sad.
Fear doesn’t care about YOU at all.
Fear only cares about what it wants.
And what it wants?
But the Holy Spirit is not about fear.
…rather, “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” (Romans 8:15)
He’s like a Divine Social worker.
He saw that we were alone.
He saw that we were abandoned.
He saw how fear mistreated us.
And the Holy Spirit got to work on getting us a new family.
The perfect family.
The PERFECT family.
TRUTH: The Holy Spirit worked our ADOPTION into God’s Family.
He had Jesus make the payment.
He had the Father sign the documentation.
He brought you the legal paperwork of the Gospel.
He came to you through the Gospel and declared:
Adopted into God’s family.
There’s no need to fear.
That means we have a brand-new relationship with God.
And by the Holy Spirit we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (v.15b-16)
There are a lot of different names for dads.
But not just anybody gets to call a father those names.
For example, if I approached one of you dads after the service today and said, “What’s up, Papa?”
That’d be a bit strange.
I’m not your son.
You might say:
Stop using such cutesy language.
I’m a man!
You’re a man.
Be a man.
But if your child calls you that name.
You let them.
Because they’re your child.
TRUTH: The Father allows us to call him PAPA.
That’s exactly what the Hebrew word, “Abba” means. It’s a very informal, very personal, very intimate name that a Hebrew child would call their Hebrew father.
And that’s the name God allows you to call him.
Because he’s not some far off Father.
He’s not some formal being that barely knows your name.
He’s your dad.
We get to call him papa.
TRUTH: The Father calls us CHILDREN.
Now that I have been through an adoption.
I realize how much work it is.
One and a half years of paperwork.
Afternoons spent in meetings and appointments.
A lot of money.
A lot of money!
When I look into cute Daniela’s eyes…
It is all worth it.
Cause I get to…
Legally, call her, “My daughter.”
God thought you were worth it.
He went through years of planning.
He paid a hefty price.
He sacrificed everything.
To bring you into his family.
But to God.
It was worth it.
Now he calls you:
III. The Coolest Bro
Being God’s child means more than getting to call him, “Dad.”
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. (v.17a)
Do you know what an “heir” is?
The heir receives an inheritance.
Maybe it’s dad’s mansion.
Maybe it’s the family farm.
Maybe it’s a ton of stock in Game Stop.
Or millions of dollars of Crypto.
Commonly, heirs are children.
Since you are God’s child, you are his heir.
But there’s a co-heir.
The Bible is saying that you are NOT an only child.
You have a brother.
TRUTH: Jesus is our BROTHER.
There isn’t any better brother than Jesus.
He’s always kind.
He’s always loving.
He’s always caring.
He always does his chores.
He always talks nicely about you.
He always sings your praises.
He can walk on water.
He can stop storms.
He can do all kinds of things that would impress your friends on YouTube.
He never gives noogies.
He never steals your toys.
He never blames you for something that he did.
He blamed himself….
For everything that you did wrong.
The Father listened to him.
And punished him.
On the cross.
Your brother Jesus died for you!
That’s not all.
Do you know what our brother did?
Three days later…
Do you know what he accomplished?
He conquered death.
He brought himself back to life.
Our brother’s cool.
IV. Families Share
I had a friend growing up who had 9 brothers and sisters.
That wasn’t even the amazing part.
The amazing part is that they all shared the same bathroom.
They must have had some kind of regimented morning schedule for showers and baths.
They must have each had a tiny 3-inch area in the medicine cabinet for their stuff.
When they were getting ready…
One sister must have been curling her hair…
While another sister was doing her makeup.
And the little brother was ducking his head between both of them to spit his toothpaste in the sink…
Sharing is a key part of family.
There’s sharing in God’s family too.
Indeed, we share in Jesus’ suffering that we may also share in Jesus’ glory. (v.17c)
On the one hand, this is great news because of what we share with Jesus.
We share our guilt.
We share our shame.
We share our sin.
Actually, we give it all to him as if it were his own and he happily takes it.
But on the other hand, Jesus shares things with us.
The first one…
Doesn’t sound so great.
TRUTH: We share in Jesus’ SUFFERINGS.
Because while Jesus was on earth, people made him suffer.
They ridiculed him.
They mocked him.
They beat him up.
They killed him.
He rose and eventually ascended.
But shortly later, his brothers…that is, the disciples, the group that first believed in him started to suffer too.
People ridiculed them.
People mocked them.
People beat them up.
People killed them.
It wasn’t because they said mean things to the others.
It was because of Jesus.
They suffered solely because they were Jesus’ brother.
You will too.
Being part of God’s family means that others will hate you.
They will think you’re ridiculous.
They’ll mock you.
They’ll beat you over the head with insults on Twitter.
They’ll kill their relationship with you.
Which isn’t all that bad.
In some parts of the world, they will even kill you.
But stick with it.
Stay with God’s family.
Because if you share in Jesus’ sufferings…
That’s just more proof that you really are in his family.
And more proof…
TRUTH: We will share in Jesus’ GLORY.
Because our brother no longer lives on earth.
Our brother has gone home.
To Dad’s house.
But one day, we will join him.
In the greatest, most miraculous, most divine family reunion ever….
Our Triune family will be reunited.
We will see Jesus.
We will hug our Father.
We will see brothers and sisters we haven’t seen in ages.
No one will get in a fight.
No one will have heated political discussion.
No one will complain about the potatoes being too cold.
Because they won’t be too cold.
Because nothing can be too anything.
Because everything will be perfect.
Because this is our father’s perfect family.
Because this family has been made perfect by Jesus.
And because you will be there.