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Sermon #2284[i] Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Christ — the God of Israel
Text: Exodus 3:15-18
Subject: Christ’s Name and Memorial Forever
Reading: Galatians 3:1-29
The title of my message is Christ — The God of Israel.
Far too often we read the Word of God with only a carnal eye, dwelling too much on the letter of the Word and missing the spirit, missing the message of the Spirit in the Word, — dwelling too much on the literal and missing the spiritual application to our souls, — dwelling too much on the type and missing Christ of whom the type speaks. Multitudes miss that which a passage is intended to teach, because they are consumed by a desire to define and understand the words by which the person and work of Christ are set before us in the Book of God. It is Christ of whom the Scriptures speak. We should always look first for him, as we read the pages of Holy Scripture. When we open the Book of God, we should always do so looking for our blessed Savior. It is only when we see Christ in the Book that the Book of God lives.
More than ten years (October 2006) ago I received a letter from a lady who lived in Washington State (Marjo Cherry). She had been in church all her life. Then, her nephew started sending her recordings of my messages on cassette tape. She began listening to Gospel. In time she started ordering tapes, and soon began to receive everything we mail out (Tapes, Bulletins, Bible Class Lessons, Books, etc.). This is what she wrote. — “For the first time in my life, I am seeing Christ in the Old Testament. The Old Testament has come alive for me. Thank you for showing me my Savior so clearly.” In time God was pleased to save her by his grace, and I had the privilege of baptizing her. She’s now with the Lord.
That is what I want for you. — That is my object in preaching. I want you to see Christ and see him clearly. I want you to know him, trust him, and spend eternity with him in his glory. So turn with me to Exodus 3. Our text will be verses 15-18. I want to show you something of the grace and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ as the God of Israel and the comfort there is in knowing him by this, his everlasting name and memorial.
He who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, the Angel of the Lord, is throughout this chapter called God. In verse 14, he identifies himself as the great “I AM,” who, as we have seen is Jesus Christ our Lord (John 4:6; 6:20; 8:24,28,58; 13:19; 18:5). This appearance of our Savior to Moses was one of the most enlightening and instructive of his pre-incarnate manifestations of himself in the Old Testament. It is our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the God speaking to Moses.
(Exodus 3:15-18) “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (16) Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: (17) And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. (18) And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.”
(Psalms 135:13) “Thy name, O LORD, endureth forever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.”
The God of Our Fathers
The One who commissioned Moses at the burning bush declares his name in this remarkable way: — “I AM That I AM,” and called himself “Jehovah.” Then, lest there be any mistake about his meaning, he told Moses that he is “the God of our fathers.” Specifically, he asserted that he is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” These three men are held before us throughout the Scriptures as the eminent patriarchs in the family of faith, the church, kingdom, and family of God. He who is the God-man our Savior, is the God of our fathers. What he was to them, he is to us. And what he is to us he was to them when they walked through the earth as we do now. Let’s look into several passages of Scripture and see what our Lord here tells us about himself, and about his relationship to us, as the God of our fathers.
The God of Abraham
First, he declares himself to be the God of Abraham. Our Lord Jesus is “the God of glory [who] appeared to our father Abraham” (Acts 7:2). We know that it was not God in his essential glory who appeared to Abraham, because “No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18). It was the Lord Jesus Christ who appeared to Abraham. He declares “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). In a word, the Lord Jesus is the “God of glory.” He is not just the Revealer of God, he is God, “the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14). Our blessed Savior, the One we trust, he who died as our Substitute at Calvary is the “Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8; James 2:1; John 5:23; 1 Timothy 3:16).
(1 Timothy 3:16) “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
God Most High
Now, look at Genesis 14:19. Here we are told that the Christ who appeared to Abraham is “the most high, God, possessor of heaven and earth.” It is God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth who blessed Abraham.
(Genesis 14:19) “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.”
Christ, is the most high God, the sole Possessor of heaven and earth because he is God, the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16). Indeed, the Book of God declares that he is the “God of gods” (Deuteronomy 10:17). And Christ is the “Possessor of heaven and earth” because he has been given the nations for his inheritance, and the ends of the earth for his possession, by virtue of his accomplishments as our Mediator (Psalm 2:8; Matthew 28:18; John 17:4-5; Romans 14:9; Philippians 2:8-11; 1 Corinthians 15:25).
(Psalms 2:8) “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
(Matthew 28:18) “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
(John 17:4-5) “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (5) And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
(Romans 14:9) “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
(Philippians 2:8-11) “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
(1 Corinthians 15:25) “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
God the Word
We read in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And that is how our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Abraham Genesis 15:1.
(Genesis 15:1) “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
The Word of God here refers not to that which God speaks, but to the God speaking. Christ is the visible Word of God. He came to Abraham in a vision, a revelation. And that is exactly how we come to know him (John 1:1-3, 14; 1 John 1:1-3).
(John 1:1-3) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
(John 1:14) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
(1 John 1:1-3) “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
The Word who appeared to Abraham made himself known to Abraham as God, just as he has to us. He identified himself as Jehovah, and Abraham acknowledged him as God (Genesis 15:7-8).
(Genesis 15:7-8) “And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. (8) And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?”
(2 Corinthians 4:3-6) “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god (God) of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Our Shield and Reward
While we are here in Genesis 15:1, be sure you do not miss the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, is our Shield and our “exceeding great Reward.” He became Abraham’s Shield and Reward, in the experience of his grace, when he revealed himself and Abraham believed him; but he was his Shield and Reward long before that. Abraham came to experience his grace and believed him because he stood as Abraham’s Shield in eternity and became his Reward before the worlds were made by him (Ephesians 1:3-6).
So it is with us. To believe God is to trust and confide in Christ alone for salvation, forsaking all other refuges. — “He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5; cp. Psalms 5:12; 18:35; 28:7; 30:3; 33:20; 59:11; 84:9, 11; 115:9, 10, 11; 119:114; 144:2).
(Psalms 5:12) “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
(Psalms 18:35) “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.”
(Psalms 28:7) “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”
(Psalms 84:9) “Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.”
(Psalms 84:11) “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
(Psalms 115:9-11) “O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. (10) O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. (11) Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.”
(Psalms 119:114) “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.”
(Psalms 144:2) “My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.”
Oh, what a Shield our Lord Jesus Christ is!
(Psalms 61:4) “I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”
(Proverbs 18:10) “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
(Isaiah 32:2) “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
As our Lord Jesus revealed himself to Abraham as his “exceeding great Reward,” so he is ours! Abraham forsook all his heathen gods, all earthly portions, his home and his family for Christ (Genesis 12:1‑4); but he lost nothing. He lacked nothing. Oh, no! He gained everything. He gained Christ! So it is with us. The Lord Jesus Christ, the God of our fathers, is All, and we have all in him and abound. All things are ours, because we are Christ’s and Christ is ours! — He is…
Still, there is more. The Lord Jesus, our Savior, whom we trust, is El-Shaddai, “the Almighty God,” who blessed Abraham (Genesis 17:1).
(Genesis 17:1) “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
This name emphasizes his omnipotence. He who demands that we walk before him and be perfect is God possessing all power, and the God-man to whom all power has been given. That means many things, but none sweeter than this: — He is able to make us what he demands we be! — Perfect before him! El-Shaddai means “God all-sufficient.” It expresses more than the power of God alone. It expresses the power and sufficiency of God to bestow his grace and fulfill his promises. El-Shaddai is God able to save, able to do his will, able to shed his blessings upon his people. He is able to make sinners like us walk before him in faith; and he is able to make us perfect…
In Genesis 18:25, Abraham extolled our God and Savior as “the Judge of all the earth.”
(Genesis 18:25) “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
(John 5:22) “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:”
(John 5:27) “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
(Acts 10:42-43) “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. (43) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
(Acts 17:31) “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
(Romans 14:10-12) “But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (11) For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
(2 Corinthians 5:10-11) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”
The Everlasting God
In Genesis 21:33, Abraham worshiped the Lord Jesus as Jehovah, “the everlasting God,” the Eternal One.
(Genesis 21:33) “And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.”
This name belongs to our Redeemer, because he is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:8, 11, 17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13), “the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:11, 20), “the Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6), “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). He is “That which was from the beginning” (1 John 1:1; John 1:1). — “He is before all things” (Colossians 1:17), eternal and unchangeable!
The God of Isaac
I do not need to remind you that our Lord Jesus Christ is the God of Isaac — Jehovah-Jireh, but let me do so anyway. That is how Abraham describes him in Genesis 22:14.
(Genesis 22:14) “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.”
“The Lord Will Provide.” That is his name! He who provided for Isaac’s need has provided and will provide for all our need (Philippians 4:19).
The God of Jacob
Christ is the God Jacob extolled at Peniel (Genesis 32:24-31), saying “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (v.31). And this God is also the “Man who wrestled with him” (v.24) as “the Angel” of the Lord, the One who prevailed over Jacob and the One over whom Jacob prevailed once he confessed his name (Hosea 12:4). So it is with us. When Christ our God and Savior wrestles with us, and conquers us by his Spirit, graciously forcing us to confess our sin we are made to prevail with him, seeing “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ is El Bethel, the God of the house of God, whom Jacob worshiped (Genesis 35:7).
(Genesis 35:7) “And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.”
Jacob named that place Bethel because of the presence of God there, in the Ladder which extended from earth to heaven, making it the house of God (Genesis 28:10-22). The presence of God there was in the person of both God the Father, who was at the top of the ladder (v.13), and God the Son, who was himself the Ladder (John 1:51).
The God of Israel
And our Lord Jesus is the God of Israel, “God, the God of Israel” (Genesis 33:20).
(Genesis 33:20) “And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.”
It is he who chose Jacob and named him Israel, “a prince with God,” assured him of his covenant, and of his faithfulness, making all things new for him. And so it is with all whom he makes his own (2 Corinthians 5:17).
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (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; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Christ our Savior is the God of Israel. That means “all Israel shall be saved!” He who redeemed Israel from all evil shall save Israel from all evil.
(Romans 11:26) “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
[i] Danville — Sunday Morning (08/14/16)
Covenant of Grace Baptist Church, N Wilkesboro, NC — (08/11/16)