Living By Faith
In our last lesson, we saw that
God wants to set us free from the world and teach us to live by faith. Before we can even start that journey there are issues that we must deal with that we see in the life of Moses. We can demonstrate these by looking at Moses in three ways: the man, the call, the problem. Today we will consider the first.
Part I: The Man:
--The redemption process begins with a man, Moses. Romans 10:14 asks a question, "And how shall they hear without a preacher?" This is the plan decreed by God for the salvation of the lost. God calls some to be pastors, evangelists, or missionaries. He calls all believers to be witnesses (Acts 1:8).
Scripture: Ephesians 2:10
--We were created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of doing good works. The greatest work of all is to lead someone to Christ. Our work as believers is to proclaim the gospel message to this lost world. That is our calling in Him.
--Moses had a calling, too. He was to lead Israel out of Egypt. Even though the call did not come until he was eighty years old, we still see God's hand in his life even from birth.
Scripture: Exodus 1:22-2:3
--Because Moses was a man, he needed a Savior just as we do. The ark (box) is a picture of God's salvation boxing us into His love and care.
--As newborn babes we enter life totally dependent upon someone else. In the Christian life, that someone is God. Through the ark we gain an understanding of our dependence. In the Bible, there are three arks:
I.) The Ark of Noah:
--The first ark is the ark of Noah found in Genesis six.
Scripture: Genesis 6:5-9
--Sin entered into the world and death by sin. From Adam's sin to the time of Noah, man only became more sinful. This should tell us something about our predicament. We are inherently sinful. We are sinners by nature. We desperately need a Savior. Justice demands death for sin (Romans 6:23), and God justly condemns (Romans 3:23). Hence God condemned the world.
--But Noah found grace (vs.8)!!! Grace is undeserved favor. It is given simply because it is in the nature of God to love (I John 4:8) and because God is gracious. Observe the Scriptural order:
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (Gen. 6:8-9)
1.) Grace (vs.8) (First comes grace and by grace, faith Ephesians 2:8-9)
2.) Just (vs. 9a) (Grace provides faith and that makes us just Romans 5:1)
3.) Walked with God (vs.9b) (Being just enables fellowship Romans 5:2)
--God in His foreknowledge knew that Noah would immediately become drunk after being saved (Genesis 9:20-21). But He saved him anyway. To be victorious in the Christian life we must learn our dependence on God's grace. We must learn to lean on Him. We must live by faith.
--For 120 years, Noah built and proclaimed the message of salvation (II Peter 2:5). Men mocked, ridiculed, and ignored. People do not want to see themselves as dependent on God. Then came completion day. God closed the door. Noah and his family lived. All others died. If we do not enter into a faith relationship with Christ, we will perish as they did.
--Noah's ark was a ship shaped like a box. The design made for a very stable vessel that was very secure in the worldwide flood. That pictures our salvation secure in Jesus Christ (Jude 24). He does the work of salvation. He saves and keeps us saved--not we ourselves. If we are anything at all, it is only by the grace of God.
II.) The Ark of the Covenant:
--The second ark we want to consider is the ark of the covenant given in connection with the law of Moses.
Scripture: Deuteronomy 10:1-5
--Many people are confused by their willful ignorance of the law. The ark of Noah should teach us that we must fall upon God's grace for salvation. We must cry out for mercy, but we do not like that. So we constantly seek for some way to prove ourselves to be worthy.
--Notice the symbolism here. Moses broke the first tablets of stone when he found Israel in violation of all the law. After the dust settled, God said, "Make thee an ark of wood." Question: What needs saving now?
Certainly, man needs saving. God's grace is the means of saving man--not the law.
-- Yes, man needs saving and grace through faith is the means. But what about those who still want to trust in the law? Observe what is placed in the ark. This time it is not man, but the law. It is the law that needs saving from sinful man who would pervert it and distort it to their own end.
--Those who would try to get in the ark with the law fail to see the big picture. In the tabernacle, God positioned the mercy seat above the ark; and, hence, above the law (Exodus 25:21). Furthermore, the instructions to do this were given before the law was broken and the second tablets were written.
Scripture: Titus 3:5
--The grace and mercy of God saves us in spite of our failures at the law. To be able to successfully live by faith, we must come to the end of ourselves and just cast ourselves to the mercy of God. When we do that, God has more grace and mercy for us.
III.) The Ark of Moses:
--The third ark is the ark of Moses made of bulrushes daubed with pitch.
--The parents of Moses acted in faith (Hebrews 11:23). Pharaoh ordered all male children of the Hebrews to be slain, but his parents obeyed God. He honored that obedience by touching the heart of Pharaoh's daughter. She had compassion and spared the life of the baby to be raised as her own. Who but God could use his enemy to raise his servant?
--The parents entrusted this tiny little, helpless infant (See Ezekiel 16:4-8) to the safety of the ark. Moses could not help himself, but God could and did. Moses was raised in the house of Pharaoh and received the finest education the world could offer. He became a child of privilege with great power, wealth and prominence in Egypt. Tradition indicates he may have been a great general in the Egyptian army, who was responsible for great victories. In spite of all that, he forsook all by faith (Hebrews 11:24-27) to stand with his people.
Scripture: Exodus 2:11-15
--Moses tried to free his people and failed. Is not this what God called him to do? Why did he fail? He was trying to do a good work in his own strength. Much Christian effort fails for the same reason. God wanted faith--not flesh. A life yielded to God is worth far more than all the education, wealth, power, and prominence in the world. (Zechariah 4:6)
--Moses was 40 when he fled to the wilderness. There he learned the humble lesson of a shepherd. The shepherd is not nobility. He is not arrogant or aloof. He lives with his sheep, derives sustenance from them, and cares for them like his children. He humbly walks in their presence, ever conscious of their needs.
--For one raised as royalty these were critical lessons to a life of faith.
--Forty years in Egypt. Forty years in the wilderness. It took as long to learn the lessons of God as the lessons of the world. Finally, at the age of eighty, God called a much humbled Moses to set His people free. Age is not an obstacle to God, but pride is. God wants us to submit and live by faith. Then we can be used by Him.
Next Lesson: Part II--The Call