Sermon #50                                                                                                                    Exodus Series


      Title:                                 The Will of GodAbsolute,

                                                                        Irresistible And Sure


      Text:                                 Exodus 8:1

      Subject:               God’s Command to Pharaoh

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — July 10, 2007

      Tape #                 Exodus 50

      Readings:           Lindsay Campbell and Bob Duff



(Exodus 8:1) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.”


The Lord God had determined that he would deliver Israel at the precise time he had appointed. When the appointed time of deliverance arrived he sent his servant Moses to Pharaoh demanding, — “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” This was not a request, but a command. With those words, the God of Israel revealed his will by issuing a command to his creature. His command, “Let my people go,” was a word of power, like, “Let there be light.” Pharaoh was not inclined to let Israel go; but that was meaningless. The God of Glory said, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Thus, Pharaoh was compelled to release his grasp. God’s command came with irresistible force to the king of Egypt.


Then, the Lord revealed the reason behind his command. It was “that they may serve me.” He did not need to give a reason, yet he chose to do so. In giving the reason for his command, he revealed both his claim upon Israel as his people and his claim upon Pharaoh as his servant, a tool in his hand by which he would both thrust Israel out of Egypt and display his glory and greatness as the one true and living God. God’s authority over man is perfectly reasonable. He is the Creator. We are his creatures. He is the Potter. We are the clay. He makes no claim of sovereignty that our own consciences do not justify. He has a claim upon us, a claim that none can deny, resist, or rival. We must and shall serve him. While this claim is here specifically spoken regarding his chosen, it applies to every creature equally. — All must and shall serve him, either willingly or unwillingly. The Lord God said to Pharaoh, “You will let my people go.” And he says, with regard to his chosen, “They shall serve me.”


Spiritual Application


That which is here spoken concerning Pharaoh and Israel applies to all God’s creation with regard to the salvation of his elect. It is the intent of God the Holy Spirit that we make that application (Romans 9:15-28).


(Romans 9:15-28) “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? (20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (25) As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (26) And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. (27) Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: (28) For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.”


With regard to his elect, his church, the Holy One of Israel says to his enemies and theirs, to those who hold them in bondage, the Pharaohs of the world, to Satan, the demons of hell, and indeed to all creation, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” When he does, he speaks with absolute, irresistible force. It is the will of God that his people be delivered out of earthly bondage into “the glorious liberty of the children of God,” delivered from the bondage of Satan to the liberty of Christ, that we may serve him forever.


Liberty and Service


Salvation is the deliverance of our souls both to the liberty of grace and to the service of our God. These two things are inseparable. We are not called to liberty alone, but to liberty and service. And we are not called to service alone, but to service that involves and arises from liberty. Liberty is mentioned first because service is impossible without liberty. Without question, there can be and is service in Egypt, such service as may be demanded by and may satisfy the gods of Egypt, mechanical, self-righteous, legal, Pharisaical service, the service of the outer man, a form of godliness; but there can be no serving God with the heart and from the heart, without the liberty of grace.


Proposition: It is the will of God that every chosen, redeemed sinner be brought into the blessed liberty of grace that we may serve him forever; and God’s will is absolute, irresistible and sure.


God’s Irresistible Will


The very first thing to be considered is that which is the first thing and the cause of all things: — The will of God. Let me repeat what I have just stated. — God’s will is absolute, irresistible and sure. We are assured in the Book of God that all things obey the will of God. The will of God is his eternal purpose; and all things obey it, either willingly or unwillingly (Deuteronomy 29:29; Romans 11:33-36).


(Deuteronomy 29:29) “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”


(Romans 11:33-36) “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”


God has purposed, decreed, and ordained all things that ever have come to pass and all things that ever shall come to pass, without exception (Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Isaiah 46:10; Daniel 4:35; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; 9:15-18; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 1:11). Everything that is, has been, or shall be is the will of God.


(Psalms 115:3) “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”


(Psalms 135:6) “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”


Here are five distinct things revealed in the Scriptures that it pleased God to do

1.    It pleased God to put all fulness in Christ, to give his Son pre-eminence in all things (Colossians 1:18-19).

2.    It pleased God to bruise the Lord Jesus Christ in the place of his people (Isaiah 53:10).

3.    It pleased God to make you his people (1 Samuel 12:22).

4.    It pleased God to reveal his Son in me and call me by his grace (Galatians 1:15-16).

5.    It pleased God to reveal his Son in me and call me by his grace through the preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21; Romans 10:17).

All that comes to pass in time comes to pass by the will of God to accomplish this great will and purpose of God.


(Isaiah 46:10) “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”


(Daniel 4:35) “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”


(Acts 2:23) “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”


(Acts 4:27-28) “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, (28) For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”


(Acts 13:48) “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”


(Romans 8:28-30) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”


(2 Corinthians 5:18) “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”


(Ephesians 1:11) “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”


God is absolutely sovereign in directing the affairs of the universe. His will includes all things, evil as well as good, sin as well as salvation, error as well as truth. And God’s will is always, perfectly accomplished in and by all things. Whatever he does in providence God willed from eternity (“He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” Job 23:13; Ephesians 1:11). He acts voluntarily in all that he does. He is never compelled to do anything. God does in providence exactly he willed to do from eternity (Acts 15:18). If he could will, desire, or purpose to do anything that he failed to accomplish, he would not be omnipotent. God’s will of purpose includes all things (Psalm 76:10; Proverbs 16:4). It is his eternal, immutable, sovereign, unconditional, and irresistibly effectual will, ever holy, wise, and good.


Because carnal men are ever bent upon perverting the things of God, I must give a word or two of caution regarding the will of God’s purpose. The sovereignty of God’s purpose does not destroy man’s responsibility. The universality of God’s purpose does not make God the author of sin (James 1:13).God is not the author of sin; but he is the author of the good which he accomplishes by overruling sin. Without question, Adam’s fall was ordained of God; but God did not force Adam to do what he did. Yet, he used the fall to accomplish his good pleasure toward his elect for the glory of his own great name (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). The Lord God certainly ordained the crucifixion of his Son in the place of his people (Acts 2:23). Yet, he did not compel men to crucify him. He simply overruled their wicked deeds to accomplish his purpose, which is the salvation of his elect for the everlasting praise of his name. When we hear God say regarding all things, “I will do all my pleasure,” we rejoice to bow before him and say, “Thy will be done,” knowing that the accomplishment of God’s will is the salvation of his elect, to the praise of his glory.


Our Bondage


Let’s go back to Exodus 8:1.


(Exodus 8:1) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.”


Our natural condition, as the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, is one of bondage. We are born in Egypt, not in Canaan. We were born in prison, born in shackles and irons, born slaves, and born under the curse of the law. Our wills were in bondage. Our faculties were in bondage. Our affections were in bondage. Our wills, our minds, our thoughts, and our hearts were in bondage. Our souls were in bondage.


There is no free motion or free action in any part of fallen man. All is constraint. Men in bondage act under the sense of terror, or for a reward, or in order to obtain pardon, but never freely. Work done in chains is no service to God at all. Work done in order to purchase liberty is not acceptable work. It is not worshipping and serving God.


Created for Liberty


We were all born n bondage; but God’s elect were made for liberty. Though Egypt was made for Israel, Israel was not made for Egypt. Though God raised up Pharaoh to be lord over Israel for a specified period of time, Israel was not made to be servant to Pharaoh.


So, too, we were not created for bondage and the prison-house. God’s will from eternity was and is that his people be free, free in the entirety of their beings: — free in all our faculties, free in all our affections, free in all our works, free in our hearts, free in our souls, free in Christ. He created us to make us free, completely free, serving him without any constraint of any kind, except the constraint of our hearts, the constraint of Christ’s love revealed and shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. He created us to be his voluntary bond-slaves, serving him willingly.


No Liberty No Service


Here is another thing clearly implied in our text. — We cannot serve God without liberty.


(Exodus 8:1) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.”


We may do many things without liberty. The body can labor in a prison, in shackles and irons; but the soul must be free in order to serve, completely free, without constraint, without force, without coercion of any kind from without.


In the worship and service of God, nothing is done by constraint. Everything is done willingly (2 Corinthians 8:12).


(2 Corinthians 8:12) “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”


Religion forces people into service against their will, threatening punishment or promising reward; but God’s service must be performed freely. He will accept nothing that does not arise from a willing heart. — We must be free that we may serve him. We do not serve him in order to get liberty. We are liberated to serve our God! Until we are free, we cannot serve God.


Called to Liberty


Let me show you one more thing. — Christ calls us to liberty (John 8:32, 36; Galatians 5:1-5, 13). — “Ye have been called unto liberty!” The Son of God came to open our prison doors; to bring us out of the house of bondage. He came to break our chains, and to make us wholly free.


(John 8:32) “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


(John 8:36) “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”


(Galatians 5:1-5) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (5) For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”


The Son shall make us free. Liberty comes directly from Christ.

The truth makes us free. It is through the truth that Christ gives us the liberty. His is the Truth; and his truth liberates. His Spirit is Truth; and his Spirit liberates. His Word is Truth; and his Word liberates. With our fetters broken by his touch and our souls receiving his truth, being filled with his Spirit in the gift of life, we go forth as freed men to serve our God. Now, we sing with David, “I will walk at liberty!


(Romans 8:1-15) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”


Have you been set free? Are you walking at liberty? Has the gospel brought peace into your soul? Is the Spirit of adoption teaching you to cry, Abba, Father? Perhaps you say, I am trying to serve Lord.” By what spirit do you seek to serve him? — In the Spirit love or dread? — In Spirit of gladness or terror? — In Spirit of light or gloom?


Has Christ made you free? Then let no man bring you again into bondage. Walk at liberty and serve God your Savior forever!






Don Fortner



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