Inspiring Faith: Abraham

Hebrews 11:8-19

Life is tough. No matter how we slice it, life can beat us down. We can be overwhelmed with financial concerns. We can be waylaid by health setbacks. Our friends and family tell us to give up on our faith during tough times.

Yet, we can have faith in God during tough times. It is by keeping faith with God during tough times that we are able to live. We are inspired to keep faith with God by looking at Abraham. The promise from God that Abraham received took years to arrive. The promise included a son and an inheritance. Abraham received the son. However, Abraham died still looking “forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” That is faith.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews gives us the definition of faith. The writer describes faith as: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (11:1) It is this definition which sets the stage for what has been called the “Hall of Faith.” The writer of Hebrews is encouraging the believers to keep living their faith. The believers had been abused and persecuted. They had compassion for prisoners and even accepted the plundering of their possessions! It is by keeping faith with God that we receive a great reward. Abraham responded to God in faith.

A. Faith is our response to God (11:8-10)
+++1. Obedient
+++2. He didn’t know where he was going, but trusted the one who sent him
+++3. Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob stayed in tents in the promised land
+++4. The permanent would come from God
+++5. People have been wandering this earth, living in tents, for thousands of years. Some people just like to wander. Some people are not allowed to live in a place with a foundation. For Abraham, it wasn’t time yet for him to settle down. Sometimes faith in God is like that, we cannot settle down until we receive what God has for us. Thankfully, we have much we can receive by faith from God.

B. Abraham and Sarah received the promised heir (11:11-16)
+++1. Abraham was 75 when he received the promise from God (Gen. 12:4)
+++2. Abraham was 99 when he became part of the covenant with God (Gen. 17:1)
+++3. Abraham was 100 & Sarah was 90 years old when Isaac was born
+++4. By faith – through time and moving around in tents
+++5. God had promised – Abraham knew God as being faithful
+++6. Abraham knew he was a “stranger and a foreigner on the earth”
+++7. They could have returned to Ur (11:15)
+++8. Abraham, Sarah, and others desired a better country, a heavenly one!
+++9. God has prepared a city for them
++===+a. God lives in a “high and holy place” (Isaiah 57:15)
++===+b. Jesus prepares this place for us (John 14:2, 3)
++===+c. There is a new heaven & a new earth for the faithful (Rev. 21:1)
++===+d. We get to live in glorified bodies when this new heaven and the new earth arrive (Rev. 21:2)
++===+e. In the meantime, we learn the ways of God here so we can live the ways of God then and there
+++10. Can we keep faith with God for 25 years? Can we keep faith with God for 100 years? We can when we know God is faithful. We may be waiting for that better country. But we don’t stop living our years here and now. We live here and now by faith. Our living changes as we follow the God whom is faithful. The idea is that as we are looking “forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God,” we are ready to live with God. We can be faithful to God. We can know God is faithful to us. How did Abraham know that God is faithful?

C. A father offers up a son (11:17-19)
+++1. This is a parable of God and His Son (a parable has one point)
+++2. By faith, when tested, Abraham offered up Isaac
+++3. Even though many descendants would be born through this only son
+++4. God can raise one from the dead – Abraham received Isaac back!
+++5. God the Father raised his only Son from the dead – Jesus Christ!
+++6. Isaac being offered up is a parable about a father giving up his son, then receiving that son back from the dead. Maybe we don’t know how faithful God is because we haven’t offered up our “Isaac” to God. Jesus has called us to follow him. We have a picture in our minds of “the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Maybe we will get into that city. Maybe we won’t get into that city. Maybe we are to offer up our desires for that city and receive what God has for us.

God is faithful. Abraham had assurance that God would provide what he said he would. Abraham had the conviction that God would provide what he promised, even though Abraham had not seen what was promised.

Will we be found faithful to God? If we are holding onto what we can offer to God, then we won’t be found faithful to God. That’s right. We have made our own foundations, even settled in where we are. Maybe God wants us to trust him, even when things are settled in our lives.

As the children learned that they can be one of Abraham’s children, so can we adults. All it takes is faith in God. Will we all place our faith in God, even when we don’t know where God will send us? Will we place our faith in God, even when we are to offer up our “Isaac”?

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Inspiring Faith: Job

Job 19:23-29

We hear all sorts of things when we are growing up:

“Make sure you wash behind your ears”
“Don’t make me come in there”
“Don’t question God”

We can understand about washing behind our ears. It is good to have attention to detail. Even if the detail is a speck of dirt behind our left ear.

We can understand not wanting our parent to come into our room after we have been told to do a task. It is good to have respect for our parents. There might be times we think we know better, actually doing what our parents told us is a good idea.

Then there is the idea that we don’t question God. After having read the Bible a few times, I do not remember a specific passage that forbids us from questioning God. What happens to us when we question God? Will we suddenly vanish when we question God? Does the ground open up and swallow us whole when we question God? Or will we find out more about God and ourselves when we question God?

Job had faith in God. Indeed, his faith can inspire us. Through the most difficult time in any person’s life, Job continued to look to God. Many have described Job as being patient in regards to his faith. After reading the book of Job, we realize he was not patient. Job didn’t have the answers to why he was suffering. Who else was going to have the answers Job needed? His life will help us with our faith.

A. Job’s good life goes horribly wrong quickly (Job 1-2)
+++1. Job feared God
+++2. Satan wanted to test to see if Job would curse God
+++3. Job lost a great deal
++===+a. Oxen & donkeys killed & servants killed
++===+b. Sheep and servants consumed by fire
+===++c. Camels stolen & servants killed
++===+d. 7 sons & 3 daughters died when the house collapsed on them
+++4. Job’s wife even tells him to curse God and die!
+++5. Job had seen the righteous to suffer and the unrighteous to flourish. Now, he is suffering. How did this all happen? Job has been offering sacrifices on behalf of his children. Job turns away from evil. Yes, we read the story and know that Satan caused these issues for Job. But Job doesn’t know the truth. Neither do Job’s friends know the truth!

B. Job’s friends try to reason with him (Job 3 – 31)
+++1. Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, & Zophar the Naamathite
+++2. For three rounds of questions and answers, Job responds to his friends
+++3. We have heard: “If you sin, then you will suffer”
+++4. Job’s friends have reversed the order: “If you suffer, then you must have sinned.”
+++5. In the midst of the accusations that are flying at Job, he has hope
+++6. Job wants to know why he is suffering
+++7. His Redeemer/Vindicator lives
+++8. Even after death, Job has the hope to see his Redeemer/Vindicator with his own eyes
+++9. Job does acknowledge a judgment
+++10. We probably have thought, or even said, the same things Job’s friends did. When we hear about someone who is going through a string of bad luck, we think that person is being punished for their sins. Yes, sin does cause suffering. But not all suffering is the result of sin. Are we and Job’s friends wise enough to figure this out?

C. God answers Job (Job 38-41)
+++1. Job has repeatedly questioned God
+++2. We can even notice Job demanding, challenging God
+++3. Until now, there has been no response from God
+++===a. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
++===+b. Where is the way to the dwelling place of light?
++===+c. Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?
++===+d. Who provides for the lion and the raven?
++===+e. Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars?
+++4. Job recognizes that God can do all things, so he repents
+++5. Job even prays for his friends!
+++6. God has wisdom. We do not have the wisdom of God. Our wisdom gets us into trouble. For when we think because people are suffering that they have sinned, we don’t know anything. It is best for us to pursue God.

Maybe that is why we don’t question God. For then we would realize we have a need to repent of our ways. Yes, we may want to repent of our thinking when we meet God. For we do not know what God knows. Though God does not directly answer Job’s questions about his suffering. God does give Job answers that are greater than his questions.

Maybe we have a question for God. As we are receiving Holy Communion this morning we can bring our questions forward. I suspect that when we ask God our questions, we will realize much about God. We may never know why things have happened to us. But we can know God. Desiring to see God with our own eyes might just be the hope we need to get through our suffering.

Crossing the Center Line

That red coupe just crossed the center line!

That dark blue pickup truck just crossed the center line!

Yes, two times last week I had the opportunity to avoid automobiles that crossed the center line of the highway. Yes, these occurrences were on two-lane highways. Yes, my travel lane was diminished. Yes, it was by the grace of God which got me through both occurrences.

On Monday, July 23rd I was traveling to an appointment. The location of the red coupe crossing the center line was on a relatively straight section of road. I do remember a squeal of my tires as I abruptly swerved and braked to avoid the oncoming red coupe.

On Thursday, July 26th I was driving to make a pastoral visit. This occurrence of the blue pickup truck crossing the center line was on a narrow two-lane highway, at the intersection of another two-lane road. There was no squealing of tires, but I did decelerate very rapidly.

For me, these two occurrences a clear signal of how dangerous it is to be in the center of the road. As a Full Elder of the United Methodist Church, these two occurrences signal the danger of the United Methodist Church being in the center of the road. Someone is going to get hurt when we cross the center line.

So far in my reading of the plans presented by the Commission on the Way Forward, the “Connectional Conference Plan” is the one plan which tries to stay in the center. I do know the General Conference delegates may work on this plan to clarify and clean up the plan so it is more palatable. However, when we try to please everyone in the United Methodist Church, it is like driving on a 16-lane Interstate with no barriers in the median! One bad decision and someone is going to cross over into oncoming traffic and many people are going to get hurt.

Is there a means to decrease the opportunity for someone to get hurt? There sure is! One joy of being a United Methodist pastor is having Fellowship Meals with the local churches. In many instances, the local church will have two sides for the food table. People will go down both sides, dishing up food at their own pace, until all get their plates (over)filled. When the local church, the Annual Conference, and the entire denomination work with God, then we can enjoy fellowship with God. Otherwise, it may be like a “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” dinner table with the dog chasing the squirrel across, under, and around the dinner table!

The only way forward for the United Methodist Church is for us to please God. My current thinking of the “Connectional Conference Plan” is that it does not please God. Where in the plan is a call for holy living? Where in the plan is covenant faithfulness? Where in the plan is our walking humbly with God? Where is Jesus Christ in this plan?

Inspiring Faith: Daniel

Daniel 1:6-20

Do we realize Jesus mentioned Daniel in his teaching about the coming of the Son of Man? In Matthew 24:15, Jesus calls Daniel a prophet. What a faithful life Daniel lived! It is this same Daniel who spent a night in the lions’ den. It is this same Daniel who spoke prophecy to kings. It is this same Daniel, and his three friends, who had wisdom beyond the magicians and enchanters of Nebuchadnezzar’s whole kingdom.

Of all of the characters in the Bible, Daniel inspires my faith. When I reflect on my childhood, it is the stories about Daniel that got my attention. It took a Rich Mullins’ song, “Boy Like Me/Man Like You,” to remember that inspiration. In the chorus of the song where Rich compares his life with Jesus’ life, we hear these words:

“And did they tell you stories ’bout the saints of old
Stories about their faith
They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
Stories like that make a man walk straight”

How much bolder can you get than to refuse to eat the royal rations? How much bolder can you get than to refuse to worship the king? How much bolder can you get than to speak about the resurrection and the coming of the Son of Man? Yet, this is how bold Daniel was. Being inspired by Daniel in our faith may make us walk straight.

A. Daniel was resolved to be faithful in a small thing (1:6-20)
+++1. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, & Azariah were captives from Judah
+++2. They were to be fed royal rations and taught for 3 years
+++3. The palace master changed their names!
++===+a. Daniel – Belteshazzar
+===++b. Hananiah – Shadrach
++===+c. Mishael – Meshach
++===+d. Azariah – Abednego
+++4. Yet, they refused to eat the royal rations
+++5. The palace master feared for his life because of this choice
+++6. The Lord God made sure Daniel had favor & compassion
+++7. After 10 days, the four had better appearances than the rest
+++8. The palace master continued to show them favor
+++9. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, & Azariah were found to be wiser than the magicians and enchanters.
+++10. It does work out well if we resolve to be faithful in the small things. Even in a situation as so dire as being captive in a foreign land, it is possible to remain true to God. Who knows how God could make sure we have favor and compassion if we resolved to be faithful in a small thing. For when we are faithful in a small thing, it is possible for us to be faithful in a bigger thing.

B. Daniel was resolved to be faithful in a bigger thing (6:10-28)
+++1. During Darius’ reign, the other 2 presidents and satraps didn’t like Daniel worshiping God
+++2. The other 2 presidents and the satraps encouraged Darius to make a decree that anyone worshiping anything other than Darius would be thrown into the lions’ den
+++3. After the decree was made, Daniel continued to worship God
+++4. The other 2 presidents and the satraps caught Daniel in this work
+++5. Darius reluctantly threw Daniel into the lions’ den
+++6. The next morning when Darius looked in the lions’ den, Daniel was alive!
+++7. Darius had those who accused Daniel thrown into the lions’ den – they and their families were killed by the lions before they hit the floor!
+++8. Darius made a decree that all should worship the God of Daniel
+++9. Yes, when there is opposition to our being faithful to God, we can still be faith to God. Our resolve to worship God may get us into trouble. But the God we worship can even deliver us from a lions’ den! For when we are faithful in a bigger thing, then it is possible for us to be faithful in the biggest thing yet.

C. Daniel was resolved to be faithful in the biggest thing yet (12:1-13)
+++1. Daniel spoke a prophecy about Michael delivering God’s people
+++2. There will be a resurrection!
+++3. It will take some time before the resurrection occurs
+++4. Daniel and those who have faith will be purified, cleansed, and refined for the resurrection to everlasting life
+++5. Being resolved to be faithful to God, Daniel will receive his reward at the end of days
+++6. Yes, when we don’t know how long our deliverance, we can remain faithful to God. There is going to be a resurrection. Persevering in our lives until the resurrection will bring blessings to us. Daniel was resolved to be faithful to God, even while not knowing how long the tribulation would continue.

Are we being faithful in the small things? Are we being faithful in the bigger things? Are we being faithful to the biggest thing yet? No matter what is going on in our life, we can be faithful to God. Daniel can inspire us in our faithfulness.

We may grow bold in our faith as we see God’s faithfulness to us. We may walk straight in our faith as we see God’s faithfulness to us. Will God see us being faithful to Jesus, the Son of Man, in our lives? At the end of days, when we have been faithful, we can receive the reward that Daniel was promised.

Inspiring Faith: David

1 Samuel 16:1-13

What inspires our faith? Is it the beginning of the person’s story of faith that inspires us? Is it the story of how the person in the Bible trusted God in good times and bad times? Or is it how the person kept believing in God until their dying breathe? For some of the people mentioned in the Bible, it is easy to see how they inspire faith.

Yet, there are some people in the Bible that any part of their life can inspire our faith. Finding which part of their life to start examining is hard. We can look from their final days back to their beginning in faith. We can start at the first mention of the person in the Bible. We are going to start with the second time David is mentioned. It was a few weeks ago we heard the first mention of David in the Book of Ruth.

Samuel had already anointed the first king of Israel, Saul. Yet Saul did not stay true to his position as king. He had offered sacrifice, which Samuel was to do. They were a few other tasks Saul completed which were not favorable to his position as king. So God told Saul he was going to choose a neighbor who was better than him to be king!

A. The process of being anointed starts before we know it (16:1-6)
+++1. Samuel was still grieving Saul’s being rejected as Israel’s king
+++2. Yet, God had work for Samuel to do
+++3. God had already provided for a king among Jesse’s sons
+++4. Samuel feared Saul would find out
+++5. God is not worried about upsetting Saul – there’s work to be done
+++6. God gives instructions to Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons
+++7. In Bethlehem, the elders of the city want to know if Samuel comes peaceably
+++8. Samuel assures them he does & sanctifies Jesse & his sons
++===+a. Saul’s father Kish was wealthy
++===+b. Jesse was not wealthy
++===+9. We get so worried how other people are going to react when God gives us instructions. We don’t want to upset so-and-so in the church. Yet, somehow God’s instructions to us are clear. We are to proceed as we hear from God. We see here how our faith begins with someone else being obedient to God. For as yet we have no mention of David in this story. It is not only seeing David’s name that is important to the story, it is seeing as God sees.

B. We do not see how God sees (16:7-13)
+++1. Eliab – tall & handsome – Samuel thought this is the one!
++===+a. People look at the outward appearance (like they did with Saul)
++===+b. God looks on the heart
+===++c. This is the brother that angrily turns David away in the next chapter
+++2. Abinadab & Shammah – God doesn’t choose these two either
+++3. Next 4 brothers – similarly rejected
+++4. Samuel wanted to know if there were any other sons
+++5. Jesse sends for the last one who is keeping the sheep
+++6. David enters the sacrifice
===+++a. Ruddy (red complexion), beautiful eyes, and handsome
+===++b. Samuel anoint this one, in the presence of his brothers
+===++c. The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward
+++7. God looks on the heart. We know that David sought the Lord before many endeavors. We also know that was a bit of a rogue. David went on the run from Saul. David led a raiding party of some wild men. Yet, God looked on his heart. Actually, God had found a man after his own heart, as he told Saul (13:14). Through the psalms we learn David let God know all his emotions, from joy to anger. Maybe that is what inspires our faith, that David was honest with God and God did not reject David.

God does not see as mortals see. God looks on our hearts. We can lay our hearts open before the Lord and not be rejected. For us to be chosen by God reassures us. When we are the last person thought capable of a task, God chooses us. It just might not be the first person who comes to mind that will be the future leader of this congregation. Jesus himself said that the first will become last and the last will become first (Matthew 19:30).

Maybe we are the rogues of this world. Maybe we are a bit rough on the edges. Maybe we don’t hang around the best people. The people around us don’t think highly of us. If we are concerned with how other people think of us, then we have missed the point of God choosing David. It is not the outward appearance which drives God’s choice.

How is it with our hearts? Are we letting God know of all that is on our heart? If we are keeping things from God, then let us start telling God what is on our heart. May God look on our hearts and anoint us for his purposes.

Inspiring Faith: Peter and the Disciples

Acts 5:12-26

It was good to read in the 96 responses that Peter and the Disciples inspired faith. For our lives to react to such inspiring faith means we recognize God working in our lives and our deaths. From the time Peter and the Disciples started following Jesus till the end of their days, they were all about Jesus. They spent three years following Jesus. Peter and the Disciples may have abandoned Jesus at the cross. From the day of Pentecost onward their lives reflected Jesus.

We read in Mark 3:16-19 that Jesus appointed the Twelve (Mark 3:16-19):
Simon Peter, James and John the sons of Zebedee, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus/Jude, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot

We understand why Peter and the Disciples, the Twelve, were called disciples. At least that is what they were called before Jesus was crucified. After Jesus’ resurrection, the Twelve were known as the apostles. What in the world is the difference between a disciple and an apostle? A disciple is a student of a master. An apostle is one who is sent out for a specific task. Though the term “Apostle” has only been used to describe Peter and the Disciples in the Bible, we understand today that a disciple of Jesus Christ is sent into this world to make more disciples.

A. What did Peter and the Disciples learn from Jesus? (Acts 5:12-16)
+++1. They did signs and wonders
+++2. They kept near the Temple
+++3. God can and did add to their number
+++4. What were the signs and wonders?
++===+a. When Peter’s shadow fell on them, they were healed!
++===+b. The sick were cured
+===++c. Those tormented by unclean spirits were cured
+++5. Peter and the Disciples lived their faith in Jesus. People from all over were coming to Jerusalem to see what Peter and Disciples were doing. These apostles were carrying on the work of Jesus Christ. As men and women were seeing these signs and wonders, they were being added to the believers. Those believers then and believers today are able to see what following Jesus Christ is about.

B. How did what they learn affect their life of faith? (Acts 5:17-23)
+++1. The high priest and the Sadducees arrested and imprisoned Peter and the Disciples/the Apostles – they were jealous of the Apostles!
+++2. God had more work for the Apostles
+++3. An angel of the Lord released them from the prison
+++4. The angel told them: “Go, stand in the Temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.”
+++5. That is what the Apostles did – they kept on teaching about Jesus!
+++6. This release of their prisoners confounded the high priest and the Sadducees
+++7. it is inspiring to our faith to read that Peter and the Disciples kept on following Jesus. We want to follow Jesus Christ. We want all the good that comes from following Jesus Christ. If we are to be students of Jesus Christ, then we also get treated like Jesus Christ. Peter and the Disciples were students of Jesus. They were treated like Jesus Christ. Yet, they could continued to tell the whole message about this life. Even with the opposition they faced, God added to their number. For it is the faith of Peter and the Disciples that inspired more people to have faith in Jesus Christ.

Is this what inspires our faith today? Peter and the Disciples kept on performing signs and wonders while they were telling the whole message of this life. It is not a once in a lifetime faith that they lived. Their inspired faith was how they lived until they died.

What ever happened to the Twelve – Peter and the Disciples?
Simon Peter – crucified upside down in Rome
James the son of Zebedee – executed by Herod in 44 AD
John the sons of Zebedee – died of old age
Andrew – crucified in Greece
Philip – cruelly put to death in Asia Minor
Bartholomew – martyr for the Gospel
Matthew – might have been stabbed to death in Ethiopia
Thomas – four soldiers impaled him on their spears in India
James the son of Alphaeus – stoned and clubbed to death
Simon the Zealot – refused to worship a sun god and was killed
Judas Iscariot – suicide
Matthias – death by burning
Thaddaeus/Jude – In Armenia, he was crucified and pierced by arrows

As we live our inspired faith in Jesus Christ we can also have many signs and wonders done among the people. We too can tell people about the whole message about this life of following Jesus Christ. If our life can inspire faith in people, then our death could also inspire faith in Jesus Christ. We see that as we are students of Jesus Christ, we can be sent to live and die for the message about Jesus Christ.

Inspiring Faith: Moses

Exodus 3:1-15

Where is Moses buried? When Maria and I went to the Holy Lands, we saw many amazing sites. Yet, we never had a chance to visit Moses’ grave. We were able to view the Holy Land from Mount Nebo, from the same spot Moses viewed the Promised Land. But nobody in all of history knows the location of Moses’ grave.

Looking at Moses’ life, it is appropriate that we don’t know the site of his grave. For we would mistake that spot for holy ground. It is not holy ground. Yes, Moses did work wonders. Moses lead the people of God out of Egypt. God had Moses give the Israelites the Ten Commandments. Yet, Moses’ life was not about claiming honor and privilege for himself. Moses was a servant of the Lord.

Maybe that is what inspires our faith. It is not all about us when we serve the Lord. We learn that when God speaks to us, we must act. When God speaks to us when God is in a burning bush, a verse of Scripture, a hymn, or even a desperate situation, we answer God, “Here I am.” Maybe we are inspired in our faith because we recognize God, like Moses did.

A. How can we recognize God? (3:1-6)
+++1. Moses was drawn from the water by Pharaoh’s daughter
+++2. Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s house
+++3. Moses saved an Israelite from death at the hands of an Egyptian taskmaster
+++4. Moses helped Jethro’s 7 daughters get water at the well
+++5. Moses is now working as a shepherd
+++6. While Moses is doing his work, God gets his attention
+++7. “This is holy ground”
+++8. “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”
+++9. Maybe we recognize God while we are going about our work. Maybe God gets our attention through something we see. Once God has our attention, then we realize the place we meet God is holy. The Divine has separated us for a task, a life, when we recognize God. Maybe that is what inspires our faith. It is not about us when we serve the Lord. For the Lord might be pointing out to us the suffering of the people around us.

B. Where are people suffering? (3:7-12)
+++1. God had promised Abraham a land
+++2. Famine had driven Israel to live in Egypt
+++3. Joseph was no longer remembered by Pharaoh
+++4. Israel was now a slave to Egypt
+++5. What is God doing about this suffering?
++===+a. God observed the suffering
+===++b. God has heard their cry
+===++c. God knows their sufferings
+===++d. God has come down to deliver them
++===+e. God sends Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt
+++6. God will be with Moses as Moses brings the Israelites out of Egypt
+++7. For Moses to realize God is doing this task, Moses and Israel will worship God on this mountain – Mount Horeb/Sinai
+++8. Yes, there are people suffering in this world. Jesus said we would always have the poor among us. We are not to take advantage of the poor. We are not to blame the poor for their situation. We do take notice of the suffering of the people, just like God notices. We might not deliver an entire people from suffering. We may only bring one person out of suffering. Once we are told by God that we will worship him with those who had been suffering, we are to act. Yet, we also need to clarify which god is calling us.

C. Who is sending us? (3:13-15)
+++1. Moses and the Israelites needed to know who was doing this work
+++2. This is the God who is – “I AM WHO I AM”
+++3. This is the same god who was the God of our ancestors
+++4. The same god who made a promise to his people is the same god who will deliver his people – then and now
+++5. The Lord does not forget his people. The Lord is God. The great “I AM” is the one who sent Moses. The great “I AM” is the one who is sending us. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was with Moses. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is with us. Moses knew God was sending him to Egypt to the bring out the Israelites. Do we know God is sending us to bring out the people who are suffering?

This church was started so the people of this community would have a place to meet God. This church was started so the people of this community could know they could be delivered from their suffering. This church was started so the people of this community could know Jesus died to take away their sins. We may not remember all of the names of the people who started this church. But we do know the God who was with them. The Lord is the God who had this church start. The Lord is the God who will keep this church going. As long as there are people who can be delivered from their suffering, the Lord will be sending us to them.

We may not know the location of Moses’ grave. We do remember that Moses served the Lord. Even if nobody knows the location of our graves, may we be remembered as those who served the Lord. How are we to do serve the Lord?

1. Recognize God is calling us
2. Know that the Lord will deliver those suffering – from sin -theirs and others
3. The great “I AM” is sending us, we can do this work