Sermon #9 Exodus Series
Title: Moses’ Faith
Text: Exodus 2:11-15
Subject: Faith in Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening — January 3, 2006
Tape # Exodus 9
Readings: Larry Criss and Bob Duff
I am going to talk to you about faith in Christ. I will do so by telling you some things revealed in Holy Scripture about the faith of a man just like us, a sinner washed in the blood of Christ, robed in the righteousness of Christ, and saved by the grace of Christ. The man I have in mind is Moses. The title of my message is Moses’ Faith. Our text is Exodus 11:11-15.
(Exodus 2:11-15) "And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. (12) And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. (13) And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? (14) And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. (15) Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well."
If you just read this passage by itself, you might think, “Bro. Don, that does not look like faith to me. It looks like presumption and fear to me.” And I would have to agree with you. But we must interpret Scripture by Scripture, not by our own reason and experience. And in Hebrews 11:24-27, God the Holy Spirit points to this very event in the life of Moses and says, “Look at this. This is what faith is.”
(Hebrews 11:24-27) "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; (25) Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; (26) Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. (27) By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible."
Moses is an example of faith that is very well suited to us. There are many other examples of faith held before us in Scripture: Abel, Noah, Abraham, and many others. But we cannot literally do what most of those men did. We follow their example in spirit, but not in deed.
· God has not called us to offer up a literal sacrifice, like Abel.
· God has not called us to build a literal ark, like Noah.
· God has not called us to literally leave our homeland and families, to dwell in tents, or to offer up our Isaac, like Abraham.
But Moses’ exactly tallies with the experience of all God’s saints. Moses’ faith made him walk in the same path, make the same sacrifices, and endure the same trials as true faith requires of us today.
Proposition: As it was with Moses, so it is with all believers. True faith in the heart manifests itself by certain characteristics of life.
Divisions: I want us to look at these three verses, and examine our faith by them. I am going to be both brief and simple. I want us to see the greatness of the things that Moses did and the principle which compelled him to do them.
Identified With Israel
First, notice that Moses identified himself with Israel (Ex. 2:11-12).
(Exodus 2:11-12) "And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. (12) And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand."
The reason Moses went out unto his brethren at this time, when he was forty years old, is clearly stated by God the Holy Spirit in Acts 7:23. He did so because “it came into his heart to do so.” It came into his heart to identify himself with God’s people, and thereby to identify himself with the God of Israel, because God put it into his heart to do so.
When Moses openly and publicly took the part of the Israelite against the Egyptian, God the Holy Spirit tells us that when Moses’ did this thing, when he slew the Egyptian, he did so as an act of faith. – This is what we do in believer’s baptism. We publicly identify ourselves with Christ, his gospel, and his people.
· Moses preferred Israel to Egypt.
· He preferred being an Israelite to being the most prestigious, powerful man in the world.
· He preferred the care of God’s church and people to his own honor and well-being.
Has it come into your heart to identify yourself with Christ, his gospel, and his people? Has the Lord God given you faith in Christ? If so, “Why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized.”
Things He Refused
Now, be sure you do not miss my second point. — When it came into his heart to visit his brethren, Moses gave up some things any man would prefer not to give up. Specifically, we are told that Moses gave up three things for the sake of his soul. He could not have followed Christ, he could not have been saved, had he kept them. So he gave them up. He sat down, counted the cost of following Christ, and willingly paid the price of doing so. Moses made three of the greatest sacrifices a man could ever make.
1. He gave up rank, position, and greatness. – “When he was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” — We are told, by tradition, that Pharaoh had but one daughter, his only child; and that Moses was her only child. She had adopted him as her son. He was next in line for the throne of Egypt, the greatest nation in the world. He could have been a great man, the most powerful, influential man in the world. But Moses refused it. This was a very great sacrifice.
· He refused the throne of Egypt.
· He forsook his family, a mother whom he loved.
· He made this decision when he was a man of forty years of age.
2. Moses gave up earthly ease and pleasure. — The pleasures he gave up would have been for other men matters of indifference, involving no sin in themselves. They were simply the pleasures of wealth, security, comfort, luxury, and ease of life. But for Moses, they would have been “the pleasures of sin,” because they were contrary to the will of God. — This too was a great sacrifice. Moses gave up that which all men and women of all ages and social conditions most naturally seek. – Pleasure!
3. And Moses gave up great, great riches. — “The treasures of Egypt” were his. He had more wealth than any of us can imagine in his hand; but when God put it into his heart to visit his brethren, he dropped it all, every penny, like a hot potato. This, I dare say, was his greatest, most difficult sacrifice. Most men are far more willing to give up both position and pleasure than give up prosperity. Yet, Moses did not give away only a portion of his wealth. He gave up all his wealth.
Let me show you something of how great Moses’ sacrifices were. He gave up all of these things, position, pleasure, and prosperity, all at one time. He gave them up deliberately, as a wise, well-educated, mature man, a full forty years old (Acts 7:22).
(Acts 7:22) “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.”
His was not a hasty, rash decision, made in an emotional moment, but a deliberate, willful, calculated choice. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew what he was giving up. And he knew what he was choosing.
And there was nothing that obliged Moses to give these things up, except the fact that he believed God. — Pharaoh had not disowned him. — The children of Israel did not beg him to become their leader. — He was not a dying man, who was about to leave the world, and therefore willing to give it up. — He was not a beggar, who had no rightful claim to or hope for these things. — He was not an old man, who could no longer enjoy these things. — Moses willingly made these sacrifices, for the honor of God and the good of his people, hoping for and expecting nothing in return.
Third, I want you to see that Moses choices were as great as his sacrifices. He chose to walk in a path that was completely contrary to the flesh, contrary to worldly wisdom, and contrary to personal desire. The Holy Spirit tells us that Moses chose three things, — “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Moses’ choices were hard, costly choices. But they were necessary to the salvation of his soul. — The things Moses did not, in any way merit, earn, or cause his salvation. But had he not done these things he could not have been saved. Though we choose to obey our Savior, and obey him willingly, obedience is not an option with God’s people. It is essential.
Illustrations: Moses in the Inn (Ex. 4)
1. Moses chose a path of affliction and suffering. — Conflict instead of comfort – Adversity instead of prosperity – Sorrow instead of satisfaction – Pain instead of peace – Suffering instead of solace.
2. Moses chose the company of God’s despised people. — He left his family and friends and became one with the people of God. Their troubles became his troubles. Their sorrows became his sorrows. Moses not only preferred God’s despised people to the people of this world, he preferred God’s people to himself.
3. Moses chose a path of reproach and scorn. — He was mocked, belittled, ridiculed, and laughed at. He was the joke of Egypt. He saw reproach and scorn before him, and deliberately chose them. — For most men it is easier to face a cannon than to face scorn and ridicule.
It is true, he was chosen of God to be one of his own; but Moses’ chose to be numbered among God’s people. At first glance, this might not seem to be a very difficult choice for anyone to make. After all…
· These were the chosen, redeemed, peculiar people of God.
· These were the people to whom alone God gave his Word and ordinances of divine worship.
· God himself was with them.
· Canaan was promised to them.
Moses’ counted the cost and chose rather to suffer the afflictions of God’s elect than to enjoy the pleasures that were his in Egypt. He knew that the afflictions they endured were hard afflictions indeed; but he also knew that they were afflictions endured as the people of God.
· Divinely Appointed
· Fatherly Chastisements
· For the Glory of God
· Spiritually and Eternally Beneficial
(1 Peter 1:3-9) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
There has never been a man, except the God-man, who made such sacrifices and choices as Moses made. He gave up a king’s throne and chose a slave’s rags. He gave up the king’s palace for a place among God’s people. He gave up riches for poverty. He gave up respectability and chose reproach. Why would any sane, reasonable man make such choices?
Motivated by Faith
Fourth, — What compelled Moses to act as he did? What motivated him? The Holy Spirit tells us that it was “by faith Moses” did these things. Moses believed God. Faith motivated him. Faith directed him. Faith controlled him. Moses did what he did because he believed God.
Moses believed on Christ. He believed God’s promise that he would send a Deliverer, a Redeemer, a Savior, a King of the seed of Abraham in whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. — Moses believed God would keep his promise. He would fulfill his covenant. He would deliver his people. He would never forsake his own. — Moses believed that with God nothing is impossible. The deliverance of Israel and the overthrow of Pharaoh seemed impossible. But Moses believed God! — Moses believed in the wisdom and goodness of God’s providence. Like Joseph before him, he was in the place of God, and he knew it. — Moses believed God is faithful.
(Lamentations 3:21-26) “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (22) It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (25) The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. (26) It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
Blessed be his name, our God is faithful! — To His Purpose. — To His Promise. — To His People. It was faith in Christ that caused Moses to see things that had not yet come to pass. Faith caused him to see temporal things as temporal and eternal things as eternal. Faith, remember, is the response of the believer’s heart to God’s Revelation (Rom. 10:17). Because he believed God’s Word, Moses knew what God would have him to do, and faith in Christ gave him strength to do it. Marvelous as Moses’ sacrifices and choices seem to be, they are really not very marvelous at all. He believed God and acted accordingly.
The Reproach of Christ
Fifth, because he believed God Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ to be far greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. — “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward” (Heb. 11: 26).
The Scriptures do not declare that Moses esteemed reproach for Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. He esteemed the reproach of Christ, that is to say the reproach Christ bore for him upon the cursed tree, as his Substitute, when he suffered and died under the wrath of God, being made sin for him. — “The reproaches of them that reproached thee have fallen upon me” (Ps. 69:9).
Moses considered it his greatest wealth and honor to be allowed to identify himself with Christ and bear the reproach of Christ…
· Christ’s Personal Reproach as His Savior
· The Reproach of His Word
· The Reproach of His Worship
· The Reproach Endured by His People
(1 Peter 2:19-24) For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
He was all the more willing to bear the reproach of Christ, because he had respect to the promises God had made in his Word. — Believing God, “he had respect unto the recompense of the reward” (Heb. 11:26). That is to say, he believed God would do what he promised and looked for the recompense of reward. He expected it and anticipated it (2 Tim. 1:7-12). He was “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life!”
(2 Timothy 1:7-12) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Moses was looking for…
· The Deliverance of Israel out of Their Bondage
· The Blessings of Canaan
· Eternal Glory
Fear, but No Fear
Sixth, there appears to be a contradiction between Exodus 2:14 and Hebrews 11:27. Exodus 2:14 tells us that Moses was afraid of Pharaoh. But Hebrews 11:27 tells us that he was not afraid of him.
(Exodus 2:14) "And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known."
(Hebrews 11:27) "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible."
There is an obvious contradiction; but it is not a contradiction in the Scriptures. It is a contradiction of flesh and spirit. When Moses thought the thing was known to Pharaoh, he was (I suspect) utterly terrified. His heart must have quaked within him. But he overcame his fear of Pharaoh by his fear of God. Faith triumphed over fear; and he fled from Egypt, not in fear, but in faith.
(1 John 5:4-5) "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (5) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
(1 John 4:4) "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Moses made no effort to appease Pharaoh’s wrath. His fleeing was not an act of cowardice, but of obedience to the will of God. There he must wait for God to send him for the work to which he was ordained. He must be trained in the prophecy school of hardship, isolation, and trouble in the Midian desert.
Pharaoh, was a roaring lion, but Moses did not fear him. Those who are called by the grace of God, out of a state of darkness and bondage, and out of a strange land, forsake this world, and everything that is near and dear, when it is in competition with Christ; not fearing the wrath of any temporal king or prince, nor of Satan, the prince of this world.
Seventh, Moses’ faith was enduring faith. — “He endured” (Heb. 11:27). Faith perseveres. Faith never quits. Faith endures; and endures to the end.
· The Trials of Providence
· The Afflictions of the Gospel
· The Rod of Chastisement
· The Warfare in Our Souls
Eighth, the cause of Moses’ great faith, the thing that sustained him to the end, was just this: Moses had seen and lived seeing him who is invisible (v. 27).
(Hebrews 11:27) By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
This was not a one time sight, but an ever-increasing sight, a sight which guided, sustained and refreshed this man Moses unto the end. He saw the Lord God in Christ. He saw the invisible God in Christ…
· In the Word He was Taught
· In The Bush — His life was ruled by “the good will of him that dwelt in the bush.”
· In the Paschal Lamb and Sprinkled Blood
· In Salvation Experienced – The Red Sea!
· In the Tree at Marah
· In The Manna
· In the Rock
· In the Cleft of the Rock!
His sight of God was the sight of faith, just like ours. It was entirely the spiritual sight of faith. It was a glorious, but humbling sight. It was a transforming sight. It was a separating sight. It was an inspiring sight. It was a sustaining sight. And it was a costly, but satisfying sight!
(Exodus 33:13-19) Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. 17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
What lessons are we to learn from this man who believed God? We have seen what Moses did. He denied himself, took up his cross, and followed Christ. And we have seen why he did it. He believed God. But what does all of this have to do with us? What does the Spirit of God intend for us to learn from Moses’ example?
1. If I would be an heir of eternal life, I must deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Christ (Lk. 14:25-33).
(Luke 14:25-33) “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, (26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
Where there is no cross, there is no crown. Where there is no sowing, there is no reaping. Where there is no battle, there is no victory. Where there is no struggle, there is no triumph.
· Faith in Christ requires a denial of self.
· Faith in Christ willingly, deliberately takes up the cross, the way of offense and difficulty for the glory of Christ.
· Faith follows Christ.
Nothing will cause a man in his heart to truly deny himself and forsake this world, except faith in Christ. If I believe Christ, I can and will follow him, regardless of cost or consequence.
2. If I live for myself and refuse to forsake this world, I cannot have faith, I cannot have Christ, I cannot have eternal life (Mk. 8:34-38).
(Mark 8:34-38) “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (35) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (36) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (37) Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (38) Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
If I prefer my will to God’s will, if I seek my way rather than my Lord’s way, if I prefer the world to Christ, if I place the things of time before the things of eternity, if I live for the comfort of my body, rather than for the welfare of my soul, if in my heart I prefer myself to Christ, I do not know Christ and I have no faith. No man can serve two masters. We will either serve self, or serve Christ. We will either deny self, or deny Christ. We will either live for the world, or live for Christ. Choose you this day whom you will serve.
3. If I believe Christ, follow Christ, and seek the will of and glory of Christ, my God will take care of all my earthly and eternal interests (Matt. 10:28-33).
(Matthew 6:33) “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
(Matthew 10:28-33) “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (32) Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (33) But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
4. Faith is the gift of God. Only the Spirit of God can create true faith in a sinner’s heart (Eph. 2:8-10).
(Ephesians 2:8-10) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Has God given you faith? Has the Lord given me faith? Surely, then, it is a most reasonable thing for us to give ourselves to him.
Jesus, spotless Lamb of God,
Thou hast bought me with Thy blood,
I would value none beside,
Jesus –Jesus crucified.
I am Thine, and Thine alone,
This I gladly, fully own;
And in all my works and ways,
Only now would seek Thy praise.
Help me to confess Thy name,
Bear with joy Thy cross and shame,
Only seek to follow Thee,
Though reproach my portion be.
When Thou shalt in glory come,
And I reach my heavenly home,
Loudly still my lips shall own –
I am Thine, and Thine alone.
Let’s try to sing this hymn (#390) — Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken. This will be our benediction.