Join for our live streamed Sunday School (9:30am) and Worship Service (10:30am). You can view the service HERE.
A. This summer’s series
B. Hebrews 11:23–28 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
C. There is a lot about Moses which could be preached about, and even a lot we could learn from the story of Moses about how to live in this world. We have recently been studying Moses in the adult SS class and have talked about many of the aspects and lessons of his life, and we’re not done yet. But in this morning’s sermon we are going to stick with the subject which Hebrews 11 focuses on: his changing allegiance from Egypt to Israel.
1. He grew up, of course, in the household of Pharaoh. Though he was born a Hebrew, “Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.” (Acts 7:21) And “Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” (Acts 7:22)
2. We assume that when he was a boy, he accepted and trusted his Egyptian family.
3. But something happened in the heart of Moses when he was around 40, when he was grown up.
4. Acts 7:23-24 tells us that “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.”
5. Thus began the process of Moses allying himself with the people of God, changing his identification from Egypt to Israel.
6. And what really finalized this process and burned his bridges with Egypt was when Egypt was decimated by the ten plagues Moses had called down upon them, and the crossing of the Red Sea when the Egyptian army & chariots were destroyed. And the people celebrated on the other side!
7. “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” (Heb.11:24-27)
II. Moses leaving Egypt is more than just an event in the Bible. It is a turning point; it is a statement designed to teach us about how to live in the context of our world. It is designed to teach us that all believers must leave the old behind and embrace the new.
A. For Moses led the people not only FROM the land of slavery and oppression but he led them TO the promised land.
B. Sadly, for the Israelites it wasn’t so final. They wanted to go back to Egypt when things got hard.
1. Numbers 11:1-6 The people complained about their misfortunes... 4 “Oh that we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
2. Acts 7:39 “In their hearts they turned to Egypt.”
C. And then when they came to the promised land, they had the same problem. They were supposed to begin their own culture, based on God, based on His promises to their fathers, based on His law. They were not to conform to the Canaanite societies in which they found themselves.
a. God gave them warnings. God gave them laws which were designed to highlight their distinctiveness from the Canaanites, because God wanted them to follow Him and listen to Him; He did not want them to follow in the ways of Egypt or Canaan.
b. “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, & you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.” Lev.18:3
D. And so Moses was a model to them and to us about leaving the world in order to follow the Lord.
E. What drove Moses in this? Was it about being good, or being obedient, or being committed? No, that’s not what our passage says.
1. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
a. This is all about economics. It’s all about value and reward. It’s all about getting the best deal.
b. This is all about preferring a greater treasure over a lesser treasure.
c. Moses understood the value of identifying himself with the God of his fathers, and he understood that the treasures of Egypt were fleeting/temporary/short-lived.
d. 25 “He chose to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
e. Part of making sound economic decisions is not getting snookered into investing in bad deals that look good but in the long-term yield no benefit.
f. He knew there was a cost. There were pleasures which he had to walk away from.
(1) 26 “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.”
(2) He knew that this choice would mean he would share in the mistreatment of the Israelites. But in his mind, it was well worth it.
(3) Matthew 13:44-46 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
(a) Both parables tell us that the buyer had to pay everything he had to obtain the treasure.
(b) What would motivate someone to pay everything they have to buy something? They must grasp the exceedingly great value of the thing they are buying.
g. And that’s what motivated Moses. He understood the value of what he was gaining by choosing to be identified with the people of God.
h. What was so valuable about being identified with the people of God?
(1) You see, the people of God are the ones who have a Helper, a Savior. They are the ones who are friends with the High King, the One who holds all things in His hands, who makes one person thrive and another person shrivel.
(2) The people of God are the ones who are given the promise of eternal life in a new body on a new earth, with no more pain and no more sadness and no more sin and no more brokenness.
(3) The Israelites in Egypt were the heirs of the promises of God to Abraham. He would be their God, He would honor them and prosper them, He would give them a great land and make them a great people. And it would be forever.
2. But there was another factor as well, here, in addition to economics. It’s also about who’s the big guy in the room.
a. 27 “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.”
b. How could you not be afraid of Pharaoh, the dictator of the most powerful country in the world? He was so powerful that he was considered deity! And yet, Moses wasn’t afraid of him.
c. How come? Because he saw something which can’t be seen! What? That’s what it says: “he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” (Heb.11:27)
d. Moses wasn’t afraid of Pharaoh – because he saw the invisible God.
e. There’s a great story in the Bible of the servant of the prophet Elisha who woke up one morning and realized that the city they were in was surrounded by an enemy army out to get them (2Kings 6:8-23). And in a panic he rushed to the prophet. But the prophet wasn’t worried. He said, “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And then he prayed, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he suddenly saw that the mountains around the city were filled with heavenly horses and chariots of fire.
f. Well, in the same way God had opened the eyes of Moses to see that the Lord was far bigger than Pharaoh. That’s why Moses wasn’t afraid of him.
III. What does Moses’ situation teach us about our situation? What does his faithfulness teach us about God’s calling on OUR lives?
A. We have a land of slavery and oppression too. We have an Egypt we are called to leave too.
1. We’ve not only been called to something, but we’ve been called to go away from something.
B. Thematically, this is a perfect follow-up to our sermon on Abraham.
1. With Abraham, we talked about how living as Christians in this world involves putting our hope in the promise of a different place, and it involves leaving the place we come from.
2. Now the story of Moses teaches us that we’re not just going to a different place, but becoming part of a different society, a different people. And it also involves leaving and repudiating our old society, our old people.
C. Now clearly none of this is about the location of our bodies, where we plant our feet. But it is about the location of our hearts.
1. It is possible to be knee deep in manure and have your heart in heaven. And it’s possible to be in the house of God and have your heart in the manure.
2. The story of Moses calls us to abhor what is evil and hold fast to what is good (Romans 12:9).
a. And I’m not just talking about what is morally good. I’m talking about good things like...
(1) Christ the Son of God, and about worshiping Him and thanking Him and trusting Him, and
(2) His precious Ones, chosen from before the foundation of the world, and precious in His sight.
(3) I’m talking about the word of God, the book of books, the holy Scriptures, which tells us about God and fully equip us for every good work.
b. And I’m not just talking about what is morally evil. I’m talking about evil things like...
(1) The lies of the evil one, the deceiver
(2) All things which are based on the rejection of God and His word
D. There is a necessary Christian repudiation. There is a necessary Christian rejection.
1. Moses rejected the hand which fed him, the mother who raised him, the teachers who taught him, the ones who protected him, the ones who provided for him, the ones who made him who he was.
2. He rejected them. He turned his back on them. He repudiated them.
3. When it comes to the Lord and His enemies, there is no in middle ground, no compromise.
4. We sometimes want the treasures of both, but we can’t have them.
5. When things are hard, it’s hard to not want to go back, just like the Israelites.
6. But we are either for Jesus or against Him (Matt.12:30).
7. We can’t go ala carte, picking these parts of the Jesus way and other parts of the world’s way.
8. If we’re for Jesus, we’ve got to be for all of Him: everything He says, everything He does, everything he stands for.
9. We’ve got to be for Him even when it means being against people you love, even when it leads to their disapproval and rejection.
10. Moses chose, just as all people must choose.
E. Living in this world involves a refusal to ally ourselves with the society around us – even with our own country, our own community, our own family.
F. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that we’re supposed to hate non-believers. God forbid! We are to love them – as God loves them (John 3:16). We’re to be friends of sinners like Jesus was.
1. We work and pray to win them to Christ – just as someone worked and prayed to win us to Christ.
2. Who knows which ones among them will turn out to be our eternal friends in Christ?
G. And there are many good things in the world, things which are not sinful or harmful, even things invented by non-believers.
1. Genesis 4:17-22 tells us that the craft of shepherding was first honed by a non-believer. That doesn’t mean it was wrong for Moses and David to be shepherds.
2. It tells us that musical instruments were first invented by non-believers. That doesn’t mean there’s something sinful about musical instruments. The book of Psalms is full of them!
3. It also tells us that metal tools and vessels were first created by non-believers. That doesn’t mean it is sinful to use them.
H. But there are things which must be repudiated. “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4
1. We are friends of the people of the world, but not friends of the world’s sinful principles, principles based on deceptions of the evil one.
2. In Moses’ context, they were things like:
a. The Pharaoh is God, not the God of the Hebrews.
b. The Israelites are not God’s chosen people but deserve to be enslaved.
c. The God of Israel has no authority or power over Egypt or its leaders.
d. Real living comes from the pleasures and treasures of Egypt.
3. So, what are some things which we need to repudiate today?
a. Human beings determine their own identity and their own reality.
b. True freedom comes from not doing what anyone else tells you to do, including the Bible’s God.
c. Jesus and the Bible are the greatest enemies of mankind, or at least they are irrelevant to our lives.
d. You belong to yourself, you own yourself and your body.
I. Often there is a heavy cost to forsaking our allegiance to the world.
1. Think about all that Moses got from being Egyptian, and all he lost by turning his back on that heritage. He had a lot to give up, a lot to walk away from.
a. Friends, support network
b. Resources, money, food, shelter
c. Identity as one of the elite of Egypt, connections, opportunities
d. It’s traumatic for us to lose our job. But Moses lost so much more. He went from riches to rags, not just financially but in virtually every way.
2. And so do we. As Americans, we have a lot to give up if we’re going to be followers of Christ.
a. Our standing as reasonable, acceptable members of the human race
b. Story of going to accept my daughter’s college scholarship at a Rotary Club meeting at a Methodist church. “Why did you go to that seminary?”
3. And many of us have experienced this even at the hands of our own loved ones.
a. Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
b. Mark 10:29–30 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”
c. Sometimes it involves giving up things which are very dear to us.
(1) Some can’t stand it. Like the seed sown among the rocky soil, they grow up quickly, but when they realize the consequences of identifying with Christ, they abandon Him (Matt.13:20-21)
(2) And the richer one is, the harder it is to give it all up. That’s why it’s hard for the rich to enter the kingdom (Matt.19:23).
J. But giving himself to God didn’t merely involve repudiating his Egyptian life, it meant allegiance to God’s people.
1. Why? Because there he finally found acceptance? No. Acts 7:25 “He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.”
2. His transition wasn’t from a place where everyone was mean to him and mistreated him to a place of love and acceptance.
3. Not, he chose to identify himself with God’s people simply because they were God’s people.
4. They were actually pretty messed up. They actually “refused to obey Moses, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt,” (Acts 7:39) But they were God’s chosen people.
5. This is so important for 21st century Christians to see.
6. You don’t align yourself with Christ’s church because it is such a wholesome and pleasant place to be. It should be – but it often isn’t. You give yourself to God’s people simply because they are the people of Christ – with all their blemishes and all their hangups and all their defects.
7. Even if they don’t particularly like you, you like/love them — because Christ loves them.
8. It doesn’t matter how much you have in common. It doesn’t matter how much you see things the same. It doesn’t matter how you feel when you’re with them. The only thing that matters is that they are Christ’s little lambs.
9. If you are a true Christian, then your bond with poor Pakistani believers who don’t know a word of English is greater than your bond with your favorite worldly actor or favorite worldly singer.
K. Everyone of us has to decide which family we’re going to be in. When Moses was around 40 he decided to transfer from one family to the other, even thought there was a great cost.
1. Many of us have also realigned our lives in the same way. As Col.1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.”
2. What about you? You could make that choice this very day.