The Faith of Moses: Looking Ahead to Christ (Hebrews Sermon 56 of 74)
February 12, 2012 | Andrew Davis
Faith, Joy in Suffering
Divine and Supernatural Light
When Jesus was with his disciples in Caesarea of Philippi, he was on somewhat of a retreat with them and spending some time in the midst of his busy controversial and difficult ministry, he went on retreat with them up to the northern cooler regions and he was up in the mountains there, and he was sitting with them and having a discussion with them. And he asked them, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" Son of Man was Jesus' name for himself. "Who do people say that I am?" And they answered, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you," he asked, "Who do you say that I am?" I always imagine a dramatic pause at that point as I read the account. And Simon Peter speaking for us all said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And then Jesus said something very important when it comes to understanding salvation. He said, "Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man but by my Father in heaven." No one is saved from their sins apart from that supernatural revelation of Christ. A divine and supernatural light, revealed directly to the heart of the individual center is the essence of everything apart from that none of us will be saved.
And God has been doing that from the beginning of human history, he has been revealing Christ to sinners, he has been opening up inside their hearts the light, an eternal light of His own glory radiating in Christ, and opening up that beautiful eyesight of faith inside their souls to receive that light of Christ, and see it for its beauty and its majesty, and glory. And in seeing Christ there by faith we are justified. We see the glory of God, our sins are forgiven and God's been doing that all along. It's always been the same in every generation. And now as we come to Hebrews 11, and as we're unfolding this chapter, and we're understanding faith, we're understanding justification by faith, how it is that sinners like us who have violated God's laws, who have done things we ought not to have done, who have left undone things that we were commanded to do, how can sinners like us be made right in the eyes of such a Holy God? And it is by this divine and supernatural light of Christ revealed directly to your heart. If you've been sitting on that mountain side with Peter and the others, seeing Jesus' physical body, maybe his feet covered with dust, him looking like an ordinary man, you would not have been saved by that sight, it would not have saved you.
Many people saw Jesus physically and were not saved. But if God the Father would reveal Jesus directly to your hearts and you will see in him, Almighty God in the flesh, and more than that, that He shed His blood for you, that He died in your place and you see that a transfer can happen, that your guilt can be put on Jesus and His righteousness given to you, then you will be saved, and that's all. And that's what he's been doing all along, and he did it in the life of Moses.
Now, when we come to Moses, we come to a key issue here for the author to the Hebrews and his first century audience. He's writing to Jewish people who had heard the Gospel, had made some kind of outward profession of faith in Christ. But now they're under pressure, they're being persecuted probably by Jewish religious authorities and neighbors and relatives and friends to forsake Christ, to turn back from Christ and go back to the Law of Moses. And so, in their minds, it's Moses versus Jesus, that's the way they saw it. And they were being tempted strongly pressed by persecution, other troubles to turn their backs on Jesus and go back to Moses, in effect, to the law of Moses, the Old Covenant sacrificial system, all of those things.
John Chapter 9, when Jesus heals the man that was born blind, and then he's hauled up in front of the Jewish religious authorities and they have some sharp words back and forth. At one point, this man says, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?" And they answered, "We are disciples of Moses. As for this fellow, we don't know where he comes from." And the blind man answers so beautifully. "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
Never in history has anyone heard of the eyes of a blind man, man born blind being open and you don't know where he's from? Isn't it obvious? But there is the dichotomy. We are disciples of Moses, as for this man, we don't know who he is. And so, these Jewish first century professors of faith in Christ, were being tempted to forsake Jesus and go back to Moses. Now, the author's already opened up this topic for us in Hebrews 3. He's shown us that Moses was a faithful man, he was a servant in God's house, but Jesus is no mere servant in God's house, but is a son over God's house.
I. By Faith Moses Looked Ahead to Christ (vs. 26)
But now, here in Hebrews 11, he's going to get even more pointed, he's going to say, in effect, that Moses was justified by faith in Jesus Christ even in his day, and that God mystically, mysteriously, spiritually revealed Christ to him at that point. And so, by faith Moses looked ahead to Christ. Look at Verse 26, "He, [Moses] regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ, as of greater value than all the treasures of Egypt. Because he was looking ahead to his reward." So here we have this incredible statement, disgrace for the sake of Christ. Now, this was 1500 or 2000 years or 1500 years before Christ was even born, the Exodus, something like 15 centuries before Jesus. And yet, he was seeing Christ by faith. That's what the author is asserting. Jesus asserted as much concerning Moses, didn't he? In John 5:46, Jesus said, "If you believe Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." Moses wrote about me. And then after his resurrection, Jesus in Luke 24:27, speaking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus said, "'Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?' And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.'"
And then later that same day to the disciples in the upper room, he does the same thing, beginning with Moses, he shows everything that Moses had written about him. Now, Moses, who we began looking at last week, who was rescued out of the Nile by Pharaoh's daughter, and who was raised in royalty, raised in wealth and honor and privilege, as in some ways an adopted a son of Pharaoh, turned his back on all of that, he forsook all of it, he rejected it, he would not be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, but embraced suffering for Christ, embraced it. God revealed Christ to Moses, and Moses was willing to choose suffering for the sake of Christ, rather than the luxuries and pleasures of Egypt. Verse 26 explains why he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ, as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.
Because he was looking ahead to his reward. In due time, Moses would write the Pentateuch, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He would record all the stories that have been the backdrop of what we've been looking at in Hebrews 11, up to this point. Moses would be the one that wrote down from the very beginning how God predicted a serpent slayer that would come. How he told even in Genesis 3:15, that the seed of woman would come and he would crush the serpent's head. It was Moses that would write those words. It was Moses who wrote about Abel's sacrifice and Enoch walking with God and Noah's flood, and Abraham being called out of err the Chaldeans and turning his back on that and the promise made to Abraham that through his offspring, all peoples on earth will be blessed. It was Moses that wrote all of these things, it was Moses that wrote the account of Abraham almost killing his son Isaac on Mount Moriah and how the Angel of the Lord stopped him and said... The angel said, "Now, I know that you fear God, because you've not withheld from me the Angel of the Lord your son, your only son."
And then the angel said, "I swear by myself… because you've done this… I will surely bless you." Who is the angel of the Lord? Moses wrote those words. It was Moses who wrote these things, it was Moses that wrote about Jacob's dream and the ladder and the angels ascending and descending, and the Lord at the top looking down. And about the wrestling, Jacob is wrestling with the angel. And the predictive blessings that Jacob made to the 12 patriarchal leaders and to Judah in particular saying, "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his." It was Moses that wrote those words. And so, God had in some amazing way, revealed Jesus to Moses and he trusted in Christ.
Moses and the Prophets Were Serving the Coming Generations
Now, I don't think that Moses fully understood everything that he was writing. No Old Testament prophet really did. 1 Peter 1:10-12 says that the prophets who wrote the predictive messages about Christ in the Old Testament did not fully understand. They were trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing, when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories it would follow.
And they were told that they weren't serving themselves, but that later generation that would come. And so, we have the benefit of greater clarity. The New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the actual accounts of the works of Jesus, what he actually did, and how the Gospel spread through the Book of Acts, and the Epistles explaining the theology of the Gospel. We have it all so very clearly. But Moses understood who Christ was. And so, the key issue then for these Hebrew-Christians and for us is that Moses was justified by faith long before he gave them the law. Moses' simple trusting in Christ predates the law. And so, by faith Moses looked ahead to Christ. And frankly, there's not much difference between looking ahead to Christ by faith or looking back to Christ by faith. It's the same thing. Neither one of us sees him with our own eyes, we have the Word of God we have the accounts of who he is, we believe them or we don't, it's really that simply.
And Moses looked ahead based on the words of God and saw Christ and trusted Him. And we look back based on the words of God and we trust Him or we don't, and if we trust Him, we have forgiveness of sins.
II. By Faith Moses Looked Ahead to His Reward (vs. 26)
Secondly, we see that by faith Moses, also looked ahead to his reward. Look at Verse 26, He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. There are so many key elements in this verse. First of all, the essential aspect of faith is that it's forward looking, we're looking forward, we're looking ahead. The assurance of things hoped for. Romans 8:24 says, "who hoped for what he already has?" So right away from the beginning in verse 1, we are told that faith is forward looking, it looks ahead, it has to do with things we hope for, things we have not yet received. We're also told in Verse 6 that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. In Verse 10, we're told that Abraham was looking forward to a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Verse 13, we're told, all these patriarchal people, the people in that era were still living by faith when they died, they did not receive the things promised, but they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.
Looking forward, looking ahead is part of faith. People who say such things, verse 14 show that they're looking for a country of their own, something that they can possess forever and ever, they're looking ahead. Verse 16, they're longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Verse 16 again, God has prepared a city for them. All of this forward looking. Verses 20-22, the patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, and Joseph, they're all looking ahead, looking ahead, even to their death beds. And so, that's a fundamental issue, the issue of looking forward. And we do the same by faith in Jesus, amen, that's the nature of the race that we're running, Philippians 3, forgetting what's behind and straining or pressing on toward what's ahead. The upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We're looking ahead, we're looking forward, we press on toward the goal.
Oh, do you not see how delightful this is? Do you not see what an advantage we believers have over worldlings. They dread the future. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Why? He's got everything he wants, right? He's the king. Yeah, but he might not be king tomorrow. There might be an assassination plot, someone might be poisoning his food, somebody has to sample his dinner. Somebody might shove a dagger between his ribs before he goes to bed that night. Or maybe some other king is going to come with a more powerful army, and he's going to take away everything he has, because he's not strong enough. And so he goes to bed anxious and concerned, he's afraid. The same thing for ordinary people, we're worried about the future, what it's going to bring, will we lose everything dear to us? O Christians, brothers and sisters, you will not lose everything dear to you. Your best things are stored up in Heaven for you and moth and rust cannot destroy, and thieves cannot break in and steal. Your treasure can't be stolen from you. What are you afraid of? We are rich in Christ, and we're looking forward to coming into our inheritance, amen. We're looking forward to getting it. Right now, we're living on stipend checks and they're pretty good. They really are. The deposit of the Spirit and we're feeding on that, and the spirit's testifying that we're children of God, and all of that, but won't you be glad to give up the stipend check for the actual inheritance? Amen.
Well, praise God. We are wealthy and no one can take our wealth from us, and so we look forward. They're afraid of death, they might not have admit it, but they're in bondage, they're in slavery to the one who holds the power of death over them, because they're sinners and they can't get free. All of their lives are held in slavery by their fear of death. Only Jesus, the death conqueror can deliver you from that. He holds the keys of death and Hades. Amen. We have no fear of death. Our best things are all in the future. I don't care what incredibly good life you've had up to this point, richly blessed by God, amen. All of them are as tiny insignificant blessings compared to what you have yet to come. And so therefore, in Colossians 3, we set our hearts on things above and things to come, not on earthly things. Oh, what an advantage our faith is, looking forward, looking forward to Christ, looking forward to his return, looking forward to our inheritance.
Look Forward to the Day and Hasten its Coming
And we're told in 2 Peter 3 with this whole same kind of language that we're looking forward, looking forward, he says it three times, looking forward. And it says, "Since everything that you see is going to be destroyed in this way, everything, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward, there it is, as you look forward to the day of God and speed it's coming." Do you realize how vital that is it? Alright, those are the two infinite journeys there, because everything's going away, everything is going to burn, it's all going to disappear. You are given in those Verses 2 Peter 3, the two infinite journeys, you ought to live a holy and Godly life, you ought to purify yourself from un-Godliness, that's an internal journey and you ought to look ahead to the day of God and speed it's coming. You do that by evangelism and missions, there's no other way. And so, by sharing the Gospel, by bringing the elect Christ, Jesus isn't coming back to till all the elective heard the Gospel and responded by faith, then he's coming back, amen.
So we've got work to do friends, we've got internal journey and external journey, work to do. But he says it three time in 2 Peter 3, we look forward to the day of God, God we look forward to the second coming, we look forward to the new heavens and the new Earth, we're looking forward to it all. And how glorious is that? Now, in this text, it says that Moses isn't just looking forward to Christ, but he's looking forward to his reward. He turned down a life of luxury and in effect, he's standing before Almighty God and saying, "Okay God, I'm turning down silk pillows, I'm turning down plates of grapes and beautiful slave girls dropping the grapes right into my open mouth, I'm not going to live like that. They're not going to find me with their big fans anymore, I'm not living that life, I'm going to go wander in the desert with a bunch of fractious people who do not appreciate me, and who actually would like to stone me.
Actually, he didn't know all that was coming, but it's coming. And he embraced a life of disgrace. Do you see that word, disgrace. The people who were his friends, the Egyptians who were his friends in the court there, maybe his half-brothers and half-sisters, his adoptive mother, all of those Egyptian powerful people who were beating on his biological people, but they were his friends, and they like... He turned his back on all of that, and He embraced disgrace for them. The author to Hebrews are going to call us all to that in Hebrews 13. Jesus suffered outside the gate. We need to go outside the gate and bear the disgrace he bore. He is disgraced by the world. You want to be pleasing to God, then you stand next to him and get disgrace to. So Moses was willing to bear disgrace for the name of Christ. What about you? What about me? Are you only to be disgraced, societally rejected, looked on poorly, slandered, reviled because you follow Christ? Well, Moses was willing to do it, it says because he was looking forward to his reward.
That Nature of the Reward
And what is the nature of this reward? What is this reward? When we come to rewards again, we already covered it in verse six so I don't need to go into any great detail. Rewards are tokens of God's pleasure connected with your actions and motives. God gives you some emblems of how pleased he was that you did that. The fundamental reward of the Christian life is God himself. God himself is our very great reward, and we get him. All lesser rewards, and there are lesser rewards, are all in some way connected to our relationship with Him. They are relational moments.
It's God saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant. I am pleased with you. Enter into the joy of your master, I want you to step into the joy I had when you went into the room and close the door and pray to your Father who's unseen, or when you gave to the needy and your right hand, didn't know what your left hand was doing." Your reward is great for this.
Rewards are different than wages. They're not earned or merited as though we deserve them. The rewards of the Christian life are just lavish grace, amen. We know that God would even have us in heaven, but that he would actually find things in our lives worthy of praise. He rewards us, and so Moses was looking ahead to his reward. Now, rewards are not all equal. There are some great rewards and lesser rewards. Causes something to be greatly reward-able versus something that's worthy of a smaller reward? I think it has to do with how much faith and how much sacrifice it took to do it in this world. The harder it is, the more faith that you need, the more it costs you in this world, then the more worthy of praise and a reward it will be in the next. Does that make sense?
So, if you do anything by faith, anything at all today by faith, you make a phone call by faith, you speak a word of encouragement by faith, you get down on your knees and pray for someone by faith, any of it can be rewarded, will be. God is not unjust. He won't forget anything you've done. Store up lots of them. But the really big ones, the big rewards, the great rewards are for those who suffer in this world to serve Christ. Does that makes sense? It costs you something and by faith, you do it anyway. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.
So great is your award if you suffer greatly. Does that make sense? And we'll meet them later in the same chapter, in Hebrews 11, people who wandered around in deserts and caves and were sawn into and stoned and suffered greatly for Jesus and so if you want great rewards then do great things. Understand that you don't deserve, even for doing great things, anything from God, but he's promised that he will reward and great will be your reward. And so Moses had a great reward because he made a great sacrifice. He turned away by faith from a comfortable life of ease and embraced suffering and disgrace for the sake of Christ.
Moses Weighed the Reward
And he did it because he weighed it. He considered it of greater value, that's what the text says. He weighed it and looked at it and it was better for him. It was a better deal. A few months ago I went with my daughter, Carol, and we went up to pick up my mom and drive her back. She lives seasonally across the street from us, and so we had some time and we went up to Rockport, Massachusetts, and we went into a number of the painting stores they have up there. It's a real art center, and I don't know that much about art appraisal. I probably couldn't tell the difference between a masterpiece and something that just generally looked good, but I noticed that there was a wide range of prices, everything from $75 up to 10, 15, 20 $25000 for a painting. Decided not to buy one of those. Alright, but I thought, "What's the difference?" This one's bigger than that, so it's not just size, has to do with quality, different things, but there were just different prices, and it has to do with appraising. And so somebody who's really skilled at this, who owns these stores, they look and they can tell something that's really high quality because the thing itself.
You're on a desert island and it's between an incredible painting and sufficient food to last year, you know what you'd pick. Even if it were a bunch of barley roles, you choose the barley roles. So the thing doesn't have any intrinsic value, but it just has to do with what the market will bear, and the quality of it. And the value that comes at appraising. And so, a faith-filled person does some praising here, and you've got the life in an Egyptian court, a comfortable life of ease and power and pleasure. You're looking at the value of that and then you're looking at what you get if you choose a life of suffering and disgrace for Christ. He looked at and this infinitely outweigh that. It was worth it to Moses to do it. He wasn't the fool to do it.
He's enjoying that reward now, and he'll enjoy it forever and ever. It would have been a fool not to do it that way. So it has to do with a reckoning process, a thinking process, seeing the world rightly. It is temporary, friends, that's all going to burn. We have a short time and while we have this window of opportunity, give it up. That's what the Lord's calling on us to do.
III. By Faith Moses Feared the Invisible God More Than Visible Pharaoh
It also says in Verse 27, by faith Moses feared the invisible God more than visible Pharaoh. By faith he left Egypt, it says, not fearing the king's anger. He persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
And we touched on this last time with Moses' parents. Sometimes Satan presents himself as an angel of light, and he offers you the world or a portion of it. 2 Corinthians 11:14, "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light," but sometimes he takes the form of a dockyard bully, and if you don't do what he wants, he'll punch you in the mouth or cut off your head. Revelation 12:17, "Then the dragon, [that's Satan] was enraged at the woman, that's the people of God, and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring, those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus." that's Satan like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.
And so he especially uses wicked kings, intimidating kings, and here it's Pharaoh. Kings have the power to make your life miserable. Proverbs 20:2 says, "A king's wrath is like the roar of a lion. He who angers him, forfeits his life." You cross the king, you die. So it's intimidating, it's scary. And so we have many biblical examples of this. We have Nebuchadnezzar, prime example. What a temper problem he had. I trust Nebuchadnezzar in heaven now. I think he is, but God had to deal with that temper.
And humble him and his arrogance, his pride. And when his counselors in Daniel 2 couldn't tell him what his dream was and interpret it for him, he became filled with rage and gave an edict that all of his counselors in Babylon be put to death, all of them. Same thing happens in chapter 3 when he erected a golden statue and ordered that everyone bowed down to it, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down to it, and again, he's filled with rage. I find that interesting. He has everything he wants. The most powerful man on Earth, can eat anything he wants, drink anything he wants, do anything he wants. He is the man, and he's fill with rage that easily, just like the devil.
And when they will not bow down to him, he becomes even angrier, and his face becomes twisted with rage and he orders the furnace heated seven times hotter. Many, many leaders like this, Pontius Pilate, knowing that Jesus is innocent, goes back and forth. And at that point Jesus is done talking to Pilate, doesn't say anything to him, you remember. Silent, he said a few things to Pilate, but at that point, it's done. He's not saying anything. And Pilate says ridiculously, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you realize I have the power to crucify you and the power to set you free?"
It's intimidation. Happens in our day and age. Probably no one did this more intensely than Adolf Hitler. A terrible intimidate. Demon possessed, I think. He was called carpet chewer by some of his counselors and generals that were around him because he would throw himself on the ground, foam at the mouth and chew the carpet, which would bother me if I saw someone doing that. It's terrifying. Hermann Goering who was a World War I fighter ACE, courageous man, corrupt but courageous, was terrified to bring Hitler bad news. No one wanted to bring him bad news, ever. They were terrified of him.
When he met in March of 1938 with the President of Czechoslovakia, Edvard Benes, he threw himself into such a purple rage in front of this man that the man went in almost had cardiac arrest. He almost died right in front of Hitler because of the terror and fear. Did the same thing a year later with the representatives of the British government after he had swallowed up Czechoslovakia, they come in and try to avert World War I, I and he does the same thing rolling on the carpet and screaming.
The guy walks out to go back to report to Neville Chamberlain, Hitler jumps up slaps himself in the thigh and starts laughing. He says, "Chamberlain's government will topple by this evening." Which it didn't, but that's the kind of rage. And he used it. The same thing with the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, famously pounding on the table with his shoe out of rage. It's very intimidating. Moses by faith faced the king's anger and did what God want him to do anyway.
He faced it, and he was not afraid of the king's anger, and he persevered. He left Egypt by faith. Now, Moses left Egypt twice. You understand that. He left Egypt, the first time, after he murdered the Egyptian overseer, the slave driver, he murdered him. Looking this way and that, he murder him, and hid his body in the sand. And it says right in Exodus 2:14 Moses was afraid the next day because he came upon two Jews who are arguing. He said, "You guys are brothers. You should get along." And he said, "Well, you want to kill us, like you killed that Egyptian yesterday." And then it says then Moses was afraid and said, "What I did must have become known." And then Pharaoh found out about it and wanted to kill him, so he ran for his life. Fugitive alright. I don't think the text is referring to that because he was afraid.
Moses Confronts Pharaoh
No, it's referring to the second time he left Egypt after the plagues when he brought with him millions of Jews. And so he comes back after 40 years of wandering in the desert, 40 years of caring for his father's sheep, father-in-law sheep, and God appears to him in the flames of the burning bush. Calls on him to go back and to tell Pharaoh, "Let my people go." He goes back, he says, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, 'Let my people go.'" And Pharaoh says, "I don't know the Lord, and I will not let the people go." And thus begins a back and forth that is ever escalates Pharaoh's rage. Every step makes Pharaoh angrier and angrier. Plague after plague, the plague on the fresh water turning it to blood, than the plague on the frogs, crawling all over Egypt. Plague of gnats and flies swarming all over Pharaoh's body and in his household. Plague on the livestock, the boils the hail, the locus, the darkness, one plague after another and you have to imagine each one of these directly attacking Pharaoh's rule, and attacking his pride and making him angrier in anger. How would you like to be Moses having to go negotiate with this guy day after day after day?
: Finally, the most dreadful plague of all. Plague on the first born, at that point Pharaoh is trying to bargain with Moses. It's alright, you can go, but you can't go very far, you can go, you can't bring your livestock with you. No, there's no bargaining. You're not in a strong position, Pharaoh, in case you hadn't noticed. You're going to do exactly what God wants you to do. Finally, Pharaoh was so enraged that he says, "Get out of my sight. Make sure you do not appear before me again, the day you see my face, you will die." "Just as you say,' Moses said, 'You will never see my face again.'" Well, through all of that, Moses persevered through all of the anger and rage of Pharaoh he persevered as if seeing it says the invisible God because he could see God, because he could see him by faith, let's be honest, he feared God more than he feared Pharaoh.
This is a very powerful, a powerful lesson. One time I was afraid to lead an outreach, it was a Halloween outreach in Salem, Massachusetts, and I was afraid because the year before, I'd almost been arrested for doing this outward. Didn't do anything wrong. But Laurie Cabot, the official witch of Massachusetts, back then Massachusetts had an official witch according to Governor Dukakis. And that was her and I met her daughter, delightful girl. At any rate, she came out, 25-year-old woman, she was filled with rage at me, and we had a very interesting debate in front of her house. I'll never forget that. Well, a year later we're doing another outreach.
It was the night of what became known as the perfect storm. There was a movie made about it, and there was a hurricane that struck off the coast of Massachusetts, and it was an unbelievable time, and I was middle of the week, and I was just... Satan was working on me all day long, is the longest work day of my life. I was just an engineer at that point, and just I thought it by now it's got to be 3 or 4 in the afternoon a be like 9:30 in the morning, which is the long day because just the fear, r satanic fear of witnessing, satanic fear of persecution. And at that point, I was doing scripture memorization, in Isaiah, Isaiah 51. It says there, "I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar-- the Lord Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand-- I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.'"
That's what I was memorizing that day. I'll never forget that.
I said, "Alright Lord, I get the message." Do not fear man more than you fear me. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but I give you an even higher motive than that. How about delight in the Lord? I just want to please him, I want him to be pleased with me. I want to see his smiling face. I want him to be glorified and so the fear of the Lord enabled Moses not to fear the king, and delight in him, as well.
And so Stephen at the end of his trial, as he has already accused them of being stiff-neck people of uncircumcised hearts and ears, and they didn't like that very much. They were very angry. And then suddenly Stephen, as they were furious with him, gnashing their teeth at him, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up and he saw heaven open, and he saw Jesus standing at the right side of God. He said, "Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Delight, beauty, attractiveness drives away all fear. He was already gone. They had to kill his body, but he was already in heaven at that point.
Just the delight and the joy, and by faith, as if seeing the invisible Christ, he was bold and courageous.
Now, I still have two more points, but I see that it's 12:20. So let's do it next week. Let's talk about the Passover and the Red Sea crossing, next week, amen. Can't do that in one minute. You know I can't do that. I cannot do the Passover in the Red Sea crossing in one minute, so we'll do it next week.
The application for this is plain, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Son of Man, he is the savior. Has he been revealed to you as such? Has God the Father revealed Christ to you? And if he has, venture on him. Venture holy let no other trust intrude. Trust in Christ entirely, your own righteousness cannot save you. Maybe you had not been a Christian before you came in here maybe a friend invited you, maybe we met one on the outreach yesterday. And that's why you're in church today and you know you're not a Christian, you know that you're not saved. All you need to know, you've heard today.
That Jesus the Son of God died on the cross, shed his blood for sinners like you. If you trust in him, you will be forgiven. And so I say, also to you as believers, venture on Christ. Don't fear man. Be willing to turn your back on a life of ease and comfort and embrace a life of suffering and disgrace. Don't fear disgrace. Don't seek it out say, "I want to be disgraced." But go after Christ and faithfulness, and share the gospel and disgrace will find you. But let's be bold and courageous close with me in prayer.