Obedience Rooted in Faith

Sermon from CCM Ladybarn


This sermon was preached by James Adams at the Ladybarn site of Christ Church Manchester on Sunday 12th May 2019.


This message was part of the ‘SERIES NAME’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Withington in EARLY/MID/LATE YEAR. The full series included the following sermons:


This sermon was based on Exodus 4.

Moses Given Powerful Signs

1Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.'” 2The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 3And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. 4But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5“that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” 6Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8“If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. 9If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
10But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

Moses Returns to Egypt

18Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.
21And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.'”
24At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. 25Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.
27The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lordwith which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. 29Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.


God’s Power is Shown When we Trust and are Obedient

  • God gives Moses 3 signs to show to Pharoah;

  • The Snake/Staff – The snake is a symbol of Pharoah’s power. God is showing he is more powerful. Moses has to do something obedient which naturally seems dangerous or crazy and pick up the snake. Only then is the snake returned to a staff.

  • Leprosy – Leprosy was a disease that all of Egypt’s wisdom and magic could not heal. It was a problem which could not be fixed. God is demonstrating his ability to fix the unfixable.
  • Nile Water turns to blood – Again the Nile is a symbol of Egypt’s power, it is the source of life for Egypt. Yet again we see that the change only occurs after Moses has taken the obedient action of pouring the water onto the ground.

Covenant Relationship with a Sovereign God

  • When Moses points out all his own flaws God does not focus on this – instead he points to Himself, His sovereignty and His power. God isn’t there to make you feel better about yourself, he knows you never will feel better, instead he’s there to show you that your identity is nothing to do with you, it comes from him, not your power and what you aren’t or are good at but his power. That’s how we find contentment, not in ourselves.

  • In our 21st century Christian world, it’s so often about us, and our story, we love talking about the God that can break our chains, heal us, who loves us and walks with us. Those things are so real and true. But we’re less comfortable with a God who is sovereign, all powerful and can do what he wants. Because this concept of him hardening hearts, yet us being accountable just doesn’t seem fair. And that’s because we’re looking at the problem through our own lens. As if our opinion is more important than God’s truth. We’re missing so much of the picture, that we’re never going to be able to understand.

  • Moses has raised his son outside of the covenant Israel had with God,  he hadn’t circumcised him, but Zipporah realised and jumped in to save the day. It shows us the reality, that God doesn’t play around with sin. It’s serious stuff. We don’t circumcise kids anymore, because we now live in the new covenant, made by the ultimate shedding of Jesus blood, with a new sign of baptism, but the principle is the same. God has given us everything in our covenant with him, and our role is to be obedient to what he’s called us to, obedience rooted in our faith and trust in him.


  • God is sovereign, he is in control. And he can do what he wants. We will see his power, not when we do it our way, and stay comfortable, but when we are obedient to him.

  • How can we be more obedient to him? We trust him more. How do we trust him more? Same as any relationship, invest the time, make him a priority, practice one step at time, trusting God more and more, one step at a time, giving up yourself, and your control, to focus more and more on him.

  • The mark of your Christianity isn’t about what you say in church, or what you understand about the bible, or the moral code you live by. It’s about how we submit our lives and be obedient to him. Not just wanting what the world wants and putting spiritual language on top of that to make ourselves feel better, but going for it in our relationship with God.


To see more sermons from Christ Church Manchester, you can visit our sermons page, or why not consider subscribing on iTunes.