Sunday, January 09, 2005

Sermon Idea Number - 5 -

Suggested Titles:

Becoming God’s Kind of People
National Holiness


Exodus 19 - 20

Passage Overview – some highlights:

After having been called in Exodus 3 to become the people of worship, now God defines that more clearly as Priestly Kingdom and Holy Nation – and by giving them laws to follow. (Note: Jesus uses very similar ideas when he preaches about the Kingdom of God.)

Important Specific Concepts:

The people are called to be a Priestly Kingdom and Holy Nation. It’s important to highlight that they will be a “nation” and a “government” – that is, God wants them to have some form of rules, regulations, and laws. But they won’t be “like other nations”. They are to be a kingdom that mediates God’s “holy” presence – they are to be priests to other nations and to the world.

When God freed the people from Egypt, it wasn’t simply so they would be “free” to do as they wanted. To free them to “nothing” might be to free them to anarchy. God frees them in order that they might submit to God’s sovereignty. God’s rule in the world is NOT anarchic! It’s embodied in 10 Commandments that shape the identity of what it means to be God’s people. The commandments, while they can be taught in many ways, understand care directed towards God (commandments 1-4) and towards others (commandments 5-10). Unlike the Egyptians, the Israelites are to “love God” and “love each other.”

Further, the people, while “free” from Egypt are not “free” to do as they please – they are to become God’s people of worship. Worship means they need to have a place of worship, so God gives them instructions on building a place of worship, the Tabernacle – starting at chapter 26. In fact, it’s interesting that the instructions for building the place of worship (more or less chapter 26-40) take up as more textual space in the book of Exodus as the “plagues.” The concern of God is really more about a worshipping community (see Exodus 3 sermon) than “plagues.”

The story of Exodus is about being freed from forced rule of Pharaoh to the free choice of a loving, beneficial, gracious, sovereign God who wants God’s people to be Priestly and Holy to the Nations.

Ideas for Illustrations:

When America was founded it was founded on Christian principles, by people originally trying to form a new community that was “pure” – the Puritans. There are lots of stories from this era about becoming a new nation.

Ideas for Wrapping Up - Response - Call:

How might God call us to reflect his Priestly/Holiness today?


Blogger mark said...

This illustration works better with one of the passages where the people are wishing they were back in Egypt.

There's a Dodge commercial where the two guys in the old car are stuck out in the desert and the man in the new truck stops to pick them up. As one guy rides in the new truck, he has all these fantasies about what it's like to own the pickup.

The parallel is that the Israelites had fantasies about what it was like to be like the people around them. They had a selective memory of what life was like in Egypt and so deceived themselves into wishing for that time. Or they tried to imitate the peoples around them, thinking that would be the path to prosperity. But in reality, they were just chasing after shadows of what true life could be.

12:57 PM  

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