That You May Know

 

This sermon was inspired by the wonderful book “A Portrait Of God”,  by Frank Chesser. This book is available online, and I strongly recommend its reading to all our readers.

 

1Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’ ” 2So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” 3And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 5“that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”.   Exodus 4:1-5

 

The word “Bible” comes from the Greek word  taj Bivblo" , which means the book”.  It is God’s inspired , literally, God’s breathed word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

16Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works

 

Being such,  it tells us of  It tells us of Omnipotent Creator  that created man in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:1    26-28)

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…. 26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:……  27And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them:

 

The  Bible the only book that will stand the test of time  and  will appear at the time of judgment.

12And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.   (Revelation 20:12)

 

 The Bible is God’s body of instruction that can touch the heart, change the life, and save the souls of those who believe and respond to it message of hope..  (1 Peter 1:9).  We read a most potentate passage in Hebrews 11: 6 hear it…..

6And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.

 

The Hebrew writer tells us there are things that faith must affirm, first it must affirm,  that God exist. It is a shame that we live in a culture today, where men try to deny the existence of God. It is more common in our society today, to find people who not only do believe the Bible, but they don't even believe in God.     

 

But notice further in our passage Hebrews 11:6,  we must believe that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

We must not be lackadaisical toward God,  Many have  the philosophy that we can just kinda meander through life.  But we are to     With Diligence Seek Him….  Faith plays a very important role in man's relationship with God, and Jesus Christ.  Understanding  how faith comes to man and what it is, is vital in acquiring and maintaining this relationship What is Faith?    Hebrews 11:6 “Now faith is (substance) assurance of things hoped for, a (evidence) conviction of things not seen”. 

 

Faith is a confident well-grounded assurance, that something we want and hope for is going to happen. It is a conviction of the reality of things we hope for—which we cannot see up ahead, is waiting for us.

 

How does it come to man?  And again we read in Romans 10:17 “7So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ”    Allow me to expound this just a bit. It really is a powerful statement when understood.  The Greek text  might read thusly: “So then faith comes out of hearing, (dev) but,  out of  hearing the word of God.” Notice how the NIV has translated this passage……   17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”.   (NIV)     Faith comes to a man after he hears the words of God.  If a man would be pleasing to God he must hear and study the words of God,  Further we read that is the Gospel of Christ. The gospel is the power of God to salvation for those who believe.  Romans 1:16

 

Turning to our text,  the expression “that you may know that I am the LORD  is found in the book of Exodus no less than 10 times. The book of Exodus also contains several great truths that are foundational to understanding “Faith and what God expects from man”

 

First we need to understand that  God relates to man on the basis of revelation and confirmation,  Exodus 4:1     

1Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’

 

God rather than rebuking Moses for his unbelief proceeded to grant him miraculous signs,  that would serve to confirm him, his words, and the divine nature of his mission. God pointed to the purpose of these signs     Exodus 4:2-5                                  2So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” 3And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 5“that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”.

 

God did not expect Pharaoh, Egypt, or even Israel to acknowledge Moses as the messenger of Jehovah based upon Moses’ word alone. Anyone could have entered into Pharaoh’s courts claiming to be from God and demanding Israel’s release from bondage. Revelation without confirmation would have left both Pharaoh and all of Egypt justified in their hardness of heart.

 

When Moses and Aaron arrived in Egypt, they assembled the leaders of Israel  in order to prepare their hearts for the reception of Moses as their deliverer.  Do you remember his  previous encounter with these same people at the time he killed the Egyptian slave driver? They had asked, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?”  Exodus 2:14   This time Moses is prepared to give them the proof that he is God’s messenger to them…  Exodus 4:29-31

29And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 30and Aaron spake all the words which Jehovah had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31And the people believed: and when they heard that Jehovah had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

 

During the days of the Judges, Israel’s sin called for divine wrath...  the consequence of which was great suffering for seven years under the oppressive hand of the Midianites....  Judges 6:1-6..   In response to her penitent cries for deliverance, God commissioned Gideon to liberate Israel from the Midianites.  Hebrews 11:32 speaks of the faith of Gideon.  What did Gideon’s faith do? This faith said.   17And he said unto him, If now I have found favor in thy sight, then show me a sign that it is thou that talkest with me”    Judges 6:17. 

 

id God rebuke Gideon for asking for a sign, and seeking confirmation of His revelation? Was Gideon censured for asking God for a knowing faith?  God granted Gideon’s request by producing fire from a rock that consumed the meal that Gideon had prepared... (Judges) 6:21)   Gideon’s faith proceeded to ask God for a second sign,  notice the account with me from  Judges 6:36-40

36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

 

Then with some anxiety, Gideon pleaded with God for one more sign. His language is striking. He implored God to allow him to prove or test Him  for a 3rd time, (verse 39)  God consented and ratified His word to Gideon with yet another supernatural sign. Amazingly, the night prior to the battle, God supplied Gideon with yet a 4th sign,  which Gideon had not ask for                                       (Judges 7:9-14). 

 

Thus God spoke and confirmed His word with four great signs and Gideon believed.  God confirming His revelation, enabled Gideon to have a solidified knowing faith that propelled him with just 300 men to victory of a vast army,  armed only with lamps and trumpets

 

Some have the view of faith that it is a leap in the dark, claiming that the evidence for God and truth can mounted so high leaving a gap that must be filled by faith , that faith falls far short of knowing.  This is a humanly devised faith, full of perhaps and maybes, not Biblical faith based foursquare upon the confirmed revelation we have.    Jesus did not say,  And you can almost know the truth  that’s not what He said...... John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  

 

Exodus, chapters 4-12 repetitively affirms, “and ye shall know.... and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord    Confirmed revelation constitutes the basis for a knowing faith.  This is a principle that flows throughout the Old and New Testaments.   It begins with Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God” (revelation) “created” (confirmation) “the heavens and the earth.   The remainder of Genesis 1 is an expansion of “created” validating the revelation that God is, He exists. 

 

Listen to the Psalmist —   Psalm 19:1-6

1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 2Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language  where their voice is not heard. 4Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, 5which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. 6Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

 

Who can seriously gaze upon God’s creation the marvels of the universe; the sun, the moon, the stars,   and say “there is no God.  To quote the Psalmist again  Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart,  “there is no God.” Can something come from nothing? Can life spring from non-living matter?  From whence came the non-living matter?   The universe we behold  testifies  to us daily,  There is a God in heaven” as Daniel affirmed Daniel 2:28. This was the apostle Paul’s argument in Romans 1. Hear verse 20 again

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,”     for their unbelief.  Creation is a confirmation of the revelation of  Genesis 1:1 1  In the beginning God

 

A kindred spirit to this fool of Psalm 14:1,  is the man who says,  perhaps maybe,  there is a God” .  There are those who affirm “I believe there is a God, but I cannot prove it.  Of what value is an improvable faith?   The very nature of “Biblical faith”  rest upon proof.  watch it...  Noah constructed the ark by faith... Heb 11:7....    Did Noah labor for 120 years building the ark with a faith he could not verify?  Did Noah’s faith declare “I believe there is a God, and I believe He has instructed me to build an ark,  but I cannot prove there really is a God.   Did Noah step from the ark with a faith based upon a leap in the dark?  No, he knew God existed and had spoken commanding him to build an ark by specific instructions.  Hebrews 11:7

 7By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith”.  Faith comes by hearing the word of God.. Romans 10:17... 

 

A phrase that is stated twice for us Genesis 6:22 and Genesis 7:5 “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.”  Noah took God at His word, and did what he was told to do....  this is what faith is... this is what faith does

 

But faith must have a basis of which it can be firmly rooted and grounded. In the olden days God talked directly to people as in the case of Noah, Gideon, Abraham……  But in these last days the we read that God has spoken to us through His Son…..  Hebrews 1:1-3 

1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

 

One of the purposes of the Incarnation was Revelation and Confirmation.….  Jesus came to reveal the Father to you and me… John 1:18 “18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”   Again in John 14:8-9 ‘8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father?

 

We read in Colossians 2:9

9For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Notice carefully the present tense  [dwells]   God came by way of incarnation,  as result of the incarnation, God Who is Spirit, Invisible is  revealed.  Today if you want to know the Father, look at the Son.

 

1 John 3:8 gives us yet another purpose of the incarnation….. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus by way of the incarnation, through means of the cross has made provisions that we might live eternally with God.  Those provisions began with a knowing faith.  We read in John 8:24 “24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.  The evidence that Jesus is the Christ is found in God’s words.   John 20:30-31. 

 

Jesus’ final words to the world was:  15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.

 

 If we can assist you in  any way contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658