Introduction: We continue our message series, Experiencing God.
- Today’s message is entitled, Invitation.
- Theme verse: Acts 7:35b (NLT)—“…Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior.”
- Reality 3: God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
#1 - Reveals where He is at work. (Exodus 3:7-10; Amos 3:7; John 4:34; 5:17,19-20; Acts 7:30-34)
- Exodus 3:7–8 (NLT)[P49]—7 Then the LORD told [Moses], “I have certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering.
8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land.…” [Acts 7:34]
- God informed Moses from the burning bush that He planned to rescue His enslaved people from Egyptian oppression—and He planned to do it through Moses!
- [Screen] Exodus 3:9–10 (NLT)[P49]—9 “Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached Me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead My people Israel out of Egypt.” [also Acts 7:34]
- We only see God’s work by revelation, which is His invitation to join Him.
- If we don’t see God at work, it may be that our sin, our pre-occupation with this world, prevents us from seeing (Matthew 6:22), and only God can purify our hearts.
- God wants us to know Him, His nature, His motivations and His ways, so He reveals what He is doing and invites us to join Him in work He initiates.
- [Screen] Amos 3:7 (NLT)[P735]—Indeed, the Sovereign LORD never does anything until He reveals His plans to His servants…
- God doesn’t need our help to accomplish His task, but He wants to develop an intimate love relationship with us, marked by hearing His voice and trusting His direction, so He invites our cooperation in His redemptive work. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)
- Even Jesus watched for what the Father was doing and joined Him in His work.
- [Screen] John 5:19a (NLT)[P856]—So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. …”
- We recognize God’s activity by identifying things that only He can do.
- The Bible tells us that people don’t seek Jesus unless the Father draws them (John 6:44), so you can know God is at work when someone starts asking questions about God or faith or the Bible. (CWT visits, beach witnessing)
- Another evidence of God’s activity is when people admit their sin—they stop excusing or justifying or blaming—and instead, become convinced of the righteousness and the deserved judgment of God and repent. (John 16:8)
- People under the conviction of the Holy Spirit don’t say things like, “Nobody’s perfect,” or “Everybody sins;” they say things like, “I don’t want to live like this anymore.” “Will God forgive me?” and “How can I be right with God?”
- Other indications that God is at work is when people begin understanding spiritual truth (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:14) and as a result, their lives and character are changed, so they become more like Jesus. (Romans 8:29; 12:2)
- When you see people turn away from false religions and turn to faith in Jesus, it’s God’s work as well, especially when those people suffer for their new-found faith. (EX.: India and Iran)
- APP.: Pray and watch what happens next: pay attention to who approaches you and what they say; ask questions to discover spiritual interest and respond!
#2 - Reflects His purposes, not my plans. (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:9-10; Isaiah 46:10-11; Acts 7:23-29,35; Philippians 1:4-6)
- [Screen] Exodus 2:23–25 (NLT)[P48]—23 Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. 24 God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.
- God’s purpose (covenantal promise) was to bless Israel by growing them in size, giving them a land of their own and making them a blessing to the world. (Genesis 12:2-3)
- When God told Moses from the burning bush that he would lead Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 3:10; Acts 7:34), He told Moses that he would be the leader.
- When God gave Moses his assignment, He didn’t whether Moses thought he could accomplish the task; God didn’t ask Moses to formulate a strategy.
- God told Moses what He had planned; all He wanted of Moses was to obey.
- When Moses had tried to take matters into his own hands, disaster resulted.
- [Screen] Acts 7:23–25, 27-29 (NLT)[P880]—23 “One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel. 24 He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man’s defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t.
26 “The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. ‘Men,’ he said, ‘you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?’
27 “But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked. 28 ‘Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian. …” [for 40 years]
- Moses’ actions seemed noble, courageous and well-motivated, but resulted in rejection by the Israelites and Moses fleeing for his life in fear and shame.
- Moses must have thought that he had made a serious mistake and lost his position, his power, his ability to help his people.
- Moses had been a prince, a wise leader and powerful speaker in Egypt (Acts 7:22); he became a shepherd—which was where God wanted Him!
- God didn’t need a gifted leader or powerful soldier to deliver Israel for Him, He wanted someone humble whom He could work through to carry out His plan.
- God reshaped Moses from self-centered (proud, self-confident, capable) to God-centered (humble, dependent on God, self-denying) so he would depend on God.
- If Israel had rallied to Moses’ leadership, it might have ignited a revolt which could have caused many Israelites to be killed and resulted in punishment and even more cruel treatment of the Israelite slaves.
- When Moses obeyed God, the Israelites were released without bloodshed and the Egyptians gave them silver, gold and clothing. (Exodus 3:19-22; 12:35-36)
- God doesn’t want you or me to devise a plan that we ask Him to bless.
- He wants us to accomplish His will in His way, at His time (Isaiah 46:10-11; Philippians 1:4-6); we value vision and strategy, but what is needed is revelation!
- [Screen] Acts 7:35 (NLT)[P880]—“So God sent back the same man His people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior.”
- APP.: Are your efforts for God failing to produce positive results and instead, are resulting in frustration and fear, disappointment and discouragement?
- Perhaps God is interested in preparing your character and developing your love relationship with Him before He gives you an assignment.
#3 - Requires my availability, not my ability. (Exodus 3:11-12; Acts 7:36; Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20–21)
- [Screen]Exodus 3:11–12 (NLT)[P49]—11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 God answered, “I will be with you. …”
- Moses was intimidated because he had tried before and failed.
- But God was unconcerned with Moses talents, skills, or leadership abilities.
- God cared only about Moses’ willingness to be used by Him.
- The point was that Moses would not deliver Israel out of Egypt, God would!
- [Screen] Acts 7:36 (NLT)[P880]—“And by means of many wonders and miraculous signs, he led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness for forty years.”
- Moses couldn’t perform wonders and miraculous signs, he couldn’t part the Red Sea or sustain the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years!
- God intends for us to work with Him as He works in and through us to accomplish His purpose, according to His plan; that’s how we experience God!
- [Screen] Philippians 2:13 (NLT)[P947]—For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. [Hebrews 13:20-21]
- God will provide everything we need to accomplish His work!
- APP.: Do you want God to reveal His purpose to You? First, you must live in a love relationship with Him; then He will show you what He is doing…a person He is reaching… a project He plans to achieve. Will you join Him in His work?