Text: Deuteronomy 15:15
Reading: Deuteronomy 6:1-15; 26:1-11
Subject: Bondage and Redemption - The Motivation of Grace
Date: Sunday Morning - July 7, 1996
Tape # S-70
I received a letter from a friend yesterday that was written last Sunday. In his closing paragraph, he wrote, “As we approach the fourth of July (A truly American Celebration), I think of a truly Christian celebration - Our Deliverance from Egypt. Every day is the fourth of July to us. Thanks be to God!” That is a good way to summarize what I want to preach this morning. “Every day is the fourth of July to us!” You will find my text in Deuteronomy 15:15. If you are taking notes, the title of my message this morning is “REMEMBER.”
Deuteronomy 15:15 "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
In the Word of God we are constantly told to remember what we are by nature and what the Lord God has done for us by his almighty grace in Christ. The reason for this is both simple and clear. Everything in the kingdom of God is motivated by grace and redemption. Therefore the Lord our God commands, "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
In his autobiography William Jay tells of a visit he had with John Newton in his study at Olney. He noticed that Mr. Newton had this text of Scripture written in large letters and hanging on the wall over his desk. As that faithful man prepared his sermons these words were constantly before him: "Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee." Mr. Newton lived and acted under the influence of his memory of God’s grace to him. It is reflected in his preaching, in his hymns, and in the particular conversation he had with William Jay that day.
“I am glad to see you,” Mr. Newton said to his guest. I have a letter here from Bath. Perhaps you can assist me in answering it. Do you know anything of ___________,” calling the man’s name. Mr. Jay told Newton that he knew the man well. He once attended the ministry of the gospel, but had now become a man of wicked reputation, a leader of every vice. Newton responded, “Perhaps a change has come over him. He writes a very penitent letter.” Then William Jay said, “I can only say that if ever he should be converted, I should despair of no one.” “And I,” said Newton, “have never despaired of anybody since I was converted myself.” Newton remembered that he had been a bondman in the land of Egypt and the Lord redeemed him out of his bondage. For the moment, Mr. Jay seems to have forgotten it! Newton’s remembrance of his own experience of grace made him both hopeful for and tender toward another sinner in bondage.
May God the Holy Spirit now bring to our memories the amazing grace of God in delivering our souls from bondage and melt our hearts before the throne of grace. As I remind redeemed sinners of our experience of grace, I pray that some of you who are yet in bondage may be brought this day into “the glorious liberty of the sons of God.”
Proposition: That which motivates and governs the lives of God’s saints is their remembrance of redemption and grace.
Divisions: Let me call your attention to four things in this message. As we consider these four things, I trust that our hearts will melt in devotion and love before the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
1. The Picture of Grace
2. The Bondage of Sin
3. The Redemption of Our Souls
4. The Remembrance of Mercy
I. First, I want to call your attention to THE PICTURE OF GRACE set before us in the redemption of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.
As you read the history of the children of Israel in the Old Testament, you cannot help noticing that great care was taken by God that the Jews never forget what he did for them in bringing them up out of the house of bondage. He intended for them to be reminded of it everywhere they turned and commanded them to remember it forever. "Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
A. The month of their deliverance was made the first month of the year to them.
Exodus 12:2 "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."
B. A special ordinance was established to be kept by the children of Israel perpetually, throughout their generations, until the coming of Christ.
· Exodus 12:3-14
The Passover was ordained by God to be an annual New Year’s celebration of redemption.
· “A Lamb for an House” (v.3)
· “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year” (v.5). - An Innocent Victim in the Prime of Life - Christ!
· Kill It.
· Sprinkle the Blood.
· Eat the Lamb.
Exodus 12:13 "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."
C. In addition to the Passover ceremony, they were required to instruct their children in the matter of redemption.
The gospel was to be handed down orally, from father to son, generation after generation.
Deuteronomy 6:20-21 "And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? (21) Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:"
If this was the responsibility of parents in those days, how much more is it our responsibility to instruct our sons and daughters in the gospel of Christ. Seize every opportunity to do so. Explain to them...
· Why we come to the house of God. - "We remember that we were bondmen in the land of Egypt, and the LORD our God redeemed us."
· Why we give to the cause of Christ. - "We remember that we were bondmen in the land of Egypt, and the LORD our God redeemed us."
· Why we preach the gospel. - "We remember that we were bondmen in the land of Egypt, and the LORD our God redeemed us."
· Why we build our lives around the worship of God. - "We remember that we were bondmen in the land of Egypt, and the LORD our God redeemed us."
D. Even in the giving of their law, they were commanded to remember their redemption from Egyptian bondage by the hand of God.
Exodus 20:1-3 "And God spake all these words, saying, (2) I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Repeatedly, throughout their history, the Jews were commanded by God, "Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee." They were carefully instructed to do so and how to do so. Yet, their deliverance and redemption was only typical. How much more shall we heed this word from our God! "Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee." Our redemption by Christ and our experience of grace in him must always be held in the forefront, never cast into the background. In all our worship, in all our preaching, in all our teaching, in all our singing, in all our praying, in all our witnessing, in all our living, in all our thoughts, REDEMPTION MUST ALWAYS BE THE PRIMARY MATTER OF CONSIDERATION.
1. When Paul endeavors to promote peace between Jew and Gentile, he does so by reminding us of our redemption. - (Ephesians 2:11-14) "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (12) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (14) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us."
2. When he challenges us to godliness and devotion he does so by reminding us of our redemption. - (Romans 6:17-18) "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (18) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." - (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
3. When he seeks to promote mercy, brotherly love, kindness, and forgiveness among saints, he reminds us of and motivates us by our experience of redemption and grace in Christ. - (Ephesians 4:32-5:1) "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children."
Redemption and grace by Jesus Christ is not the primary thing in our doctrine. It is everything! That is the reason why I preach to you as I do. I am determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. In all my doctrine, in all my preaching, my motto is - “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” My object in preaching is to honor Christ, get you to know Christ and worship him, and to help you keep your heart focused upon Christ and redemption and grace in him.
II. Therefore, second, I want us to consider THE BONDAGE OF SIN from which we have been redeemed by the mighty hand of our God.
Man’s natural bondage in sin was very well pictured by the bondage that the Jews experienced in Egypt. We were all “children of wrath” by nature. We were all the servants, the slaves, of our lusts and of satan by nature. Paul states it plainly - “Ye were the servants of sin” (Rom. 6:17, 20).
A. Before God saved us by his grace, we were enslaved by a power against which we were without strength.
I do not suggest that we all behaved as wickedly as we could. I am simply declaring that we all walked in the path of sin and rebellion against God. Some were highhanded, openly profligate rebels. Others were sneaky, hypocritical rebels. Some were very immoral. Others were very moral, after the judgment of men. But all were the servants of sin. Were had no will to righteousness. Yet, even if we had had the will to escape the power of satan and the slavery of our lusts, we were without strength to do so. Have you forgotten that time “when we were yet without strength?” We were without strength...
· To Keep God’s Law.
· T Resist Satan’s Temptations.
· To Obey the Gospel.
B. Our Bondage was such that we had no heart, desire, or even inclination to escape it.
I am a Southerner. I am so much a Southerner, that if I were not a Southerner, I would be ashamed. But the greatest blight upon our Southern heritage is that terrible inhumanity that many still try to defend - Slavery. It is one of those things I wish had never happened, or could somehow be erased from memory. But that cannot be. Slavery is one huge, ugly, oozing sore on the side of the South that will forever mar the beauty of the South. One of the worst aspects of slavery is the fact that it so degraded men that they frequently became content to be slaves. Such contentment is a moral castration of manhood. He is not truly a man who is content to be a slave. Yet, such was our spiritual condition by nature that we were content to be in bondage and slavery to sin and satan. We hugged our chains and kissed our manacles, as if they were ornaments of beauty!
C. Satan is a hard task-master.
As Pharaoh made Israel to serve with rigor, making them make bricks without straw and compelling them by brutality to build his pyramids, so satan is a hard task-master. Of all tyrants, sin and satan are the most cruel. It is a costly thing to serve your lusts.
1. First, they debase you.
2. Next, they bankrupt you.
3. In the end, they destroy you.
D. At last, our bondage brought us into misery.
Do you remember when the Lord brought you down, when he caused your soul to feel the weight of guilt and the bondage of depravity? Like Israel in Egypt, you sighed and cried, you moaned and groaned by reason of your bondage. And, just as God heard the groanings of Abraham’s children in Egypt and remembered his covenant (Ex. 2:24), so he heard the groaning of your soul and visited you with his salvation.
Like Pharaoh, satan’s aim was our destruction. The strong man armed would not let us go. Though our hearts were pricked by the preaching of the Word, though we were deeply moved by the gospel, we simply could not escape the captivity in which we were held. Then, O blessed, blessed day, One stronger than he, the Lord Jesus Christ, the almighty Son of God, broke into our hearts, bound the devil, threw him out of the house, took possession of our souls, and set us free! Glory be to God, we were bondmen in Egypt, but the Lord our God redeemed s! Let his name be praised!
Illustration: Try to picture Joshua or Caleb telling the story of redemption to their children and grandchildren.
1. See these Scars.
2. See these Stones - The Covenant.
3. See this Lamb.
III. Third, I want us to think about THE REDEMPTION OF OUR SOULS.
There is no subject like this. There is nothing I prefer to think about, study, discuss, preach, or hear preached. Redemption is my joy. Redemption is my song. And redemption is my message. The Lord God redeemed Israel by blood, by power, and by bringing them into the possession of all that was promised to them in his covenant in the land of Canaan. In all these things, their physical redemption was typical of and a picture of our spiritual redemption in Christ.
A. Redemption by Price
First, as the Jews were redeemed from Egypt by the blood of the paschal lamb and by the blood of the Egyptians themselves, so too we have been redeemed by blood.
1. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by the shedding of his blood as our Substitute to make atonement for our sins, has redeemed us from the curse of the law.
1 Peter 1:18-20 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,"
1 Peter 2:24 "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."
1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"
2. Having sacrificed his darling Son to save us, the Lord God will not hesitate to sacrifice anything or anyone, even as he did the firstborn in Egypt, Pharaoh, and his armies, to save his elect.
Isaiah 43:1-4 "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (4) Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life."
Romans 8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
B. Redemption by Power
The word “redemption” implies far more than merely the paying of a ransom price. Whenever you think about Christ’s great work of redemption, always remember that all for whom the ransom price was paid shall be delivered. In Bible terms “redemption” means deliverance as well as ransom. We have been redeemed by the ransom price of Christ’s precious blood. And we have been delivered from the bondage of sin, satan, and the law by the irresistible power of God’s sovereign grace in regeneration and effectual calling. This too is illustrated by the redemption of Israel out of Egypt. As God brought Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand and stretched out arm, so he brought us out of the house of bondage by almighty grace and irresistible power.
· As he made them willing to come out, so he made us willing to come out!
· As he made them able to come out, so he made us able to come out!
· As he brought them out, so he brought us out of the house of bondage! Not a hoof was left behind. And there was not a feeble one among them (Ex. 10:26; Ps. 105:37-38).
1. Our redemption was accomplished by divine intervention. - “The Lord thy God redeemed thee.”
2. Our redemption has been personally experienced. - “The Lord thy God redeemed thee.”
3. Our redemption cannot possibly be accounted for except in these terms. - “THE LORD THY GOD REDEEMED THEE!”
But there is more to come. Just as the nation of Israel was at last brought into the possession of the land of promise and all the blessings of the covenant God made with Abraham, so too, our redemption will be complete only when we enjoy...
C. Redemption by Possession.
There is a day coming when every chosen, ransomed, called sinner shall enter into the full possession of heavenly glory and inherit all the blessings promised by God to Christ as our Surety in the covenant of grace before the world began. God’s Israel shall inherit their Promised Land.
1. We were chosen and predestined to that end.
2. We were redeemed to that end.
3. We have been sealed to that end (Eph. 1:14).
4. We shall attain that end.
5. That will be for us the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30).
IV. Now, fourth, I want to lead you briefly in THE REMEMBRANCE OF MERCY.
Deuteronomy 15:15 "Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day."
The remembrance of God’s mercy toward us, remembering our bondage and his redemption, ought to have a constant and profound effect upon our lives. The remembrance of God’s mercy and grace in the redemption of our souls...
A. Ought to Make us Humble.
1 Corinthians 4:7 "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
We would all be in hell today, were it not for God’s sovereign, saving grace.
B. Ought to Make us Thankful.
It is not likely that anyone here has everything he wants. Some may even have great needs that no one knows about but them and God. But, my brothers and sisters, we are redeemed. Is that not enough to make us thankful?
C. Ought to Make us Patient.
Run with patience the race that is set before you. This is not the place of our honor. Wait awhile. The Lord’s promise is sure. He will fulfill it in his time. Trust him and be patient.
D. Ought to Make us Content.
Any man who remembers the galling bitterness of spiritual slavery, who has been brought into the liberty of Christ, will find a way to be content in his freedom, whatever the circumstances of that freedom may be.
· Philippians 4:12-13
E. Ought to Make us Kind and Gracious.
That is the matter at issue in Deuteronomy 15. Liberated slaves ought always be the most kind, gracious, tender-hearted men in the world.
· Ephesians 4:32-5:1
F. Ought to Make us Hopeful.
Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
1 John 3:1-3 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
G. Ought to Make us Zealous for Christ.
Illustration: When John Newton was an old man and his health was failing, he was often asked why he did not retire. His answer was, “What? Shall the old African blasphemer leave off preaching Christ while there is breath in his body? No, never!” He “remembered that he was a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD his God redeemed him."
If you will carefully read Deuteronomy chapters five through twenty-six, you will find that this matter of redemption was the motive the Lord gave his people for everything he required of them.
· For Worship (6:14).
· For Separation (7:6-14).
· For Obedience (8:10-11).
· For Supreme Loyalty to God (13:5).
· For Keeping the Passover (16:1).
· For Generosity in the Worship and Service of God (16:10-12; 26:7-8).
· For Charity and Generosity to the Poor (24:17).
Allow me the liberty, as your pastor, to use this glorious gospel of grace, this message and remembrance of redemption to motivate your hearts and my own in the worship and service of our great God.
· When the saints of God gather in his house for worship, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When the offering plate is passed, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When the building needs attention, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When the church house needs cleaning, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When someone is needed in the nursery, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When you have opportunity to show hospitality, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When you have opportunity to speak to someone about Christ, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When it is time to make a decision between right and wrong, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When you choose your companions, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
· When you have opportunity to help someone, “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee."
This is God’s word to you and me - “REMEMBER!”
Deuteronomy 15:15 "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day."