The Presence of God

Sermon from CCM Ladybarn

LISTEN

This sermon was preached by Colin Baron at the Ladybarn site of Christ Church Manchester on Sunday 18th August 2019.

SERIES

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:

BIBLE VERSES

This sermon was based on Exodus 34.

Moses Makes New Tablets

1The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 5The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 9And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

The Covenant Renewed

10And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.
11“Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
17“You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.
18“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.
21“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. 23Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.
25“You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. 26The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
27And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

The Shining Face of Moses

29When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
34Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

KEY POINTS

Sacrificing for the Presence of God

  • Moses remained on the mountain with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights.
  • “When we are weary of an hour or two spent in attendance upon God and adoration of him, we should think how many days and nights Moses spent with him.” – Matthew Henry, 18th Century non-conformist minister.
  • “Throughout the day, his [Jonathan Edwards’] goal was to remain constantly with a sense of living in the presence of God, as difficult as that might be. Often he added secret days of fasting and additional prayers.”

Reflecting the Glory of God

  • Moses covered his face with a veil because the experience of the presence of God caused his face to be radiant! The presence of God changes us and causes u to reflect his Glory in a way which is visible.
  • Jonathan Edwards – “The first instance that I remember of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things, that I have lived much in since, was on reading those words ‘1 Timothy 1:17 – Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever, Amen’ As I read the words, there came into my soul. and was as it were diffused through it, a sense fo the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from anything I had experienced before. Never any words of scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven; and be as it were swallowed up in him forever! I kept saying, and as it were singing, over these words of scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy him; and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do, with a new sort of affection.”

The Effect on Those Around

  • The people were afraid to come near to Moses because of the visibility of his experience in the presence of God.
  • In Acts people did not dare to join the believers because they could see what they were doing and that they had been with God, even so, many believed and were brought to the Lord (Acts 5:12).
  • During the Welsh revival, a time when the manifest presence of God was experienced by many, over a hundred and fifty thousand people made a new commitment to Jesus Christ. 

 

 

MORE SERMONS

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