Sunday, October 21, 2007

Exodus 24:1-18 - Come up to Me on the Mountain

Opening: ACHTUNG, FLECKFIEBER!
When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, two doctors hatched a secret plan to save a dozen villages near Rozwadów and Zbydniów. Drs. Eugene Lazowski and Stanislaw Matulewicz decided to create a fake typhus epidemic by using harmless bacterium to trigger false-positives on typhus tests. Typhus, or typhoid fever, is a disease that, at the time, had no cure and was often fatal.
Knowing that Jews who tested positive for typhus would be summarily executed, the doctors only injected the non-Jewish population, hoping a widespread outbreak would cause Germans to abandon the area and thus spare local Jews in the process.


The ruse was nearly discovered when a Gestapo doctor arrived to confirm the tests, but clever Poles distracted the doctor with plenty of kielbasa and vodka, then sealed the deal by displaying several sickly townsfolk, claiming they were all consumed by typhus fever.

The "epidemic" was confirmed and grim signs were immediately posted throughout the region reading "Achtung, Fleckfieber!" (Warning, Typhus!), To contain the fake epidemic, the Gestapo quarantined the area throughout the World War II, and countless lives were saved. (Image of Dr. Eugene Lazowski:
Holocaust Forgotten)[1]

These two Polish doctors were mediators in a life and death situation, and the community covenant to protect themselves and their Jewish neighbors saved whole towns from Hitler’s horror. Today we have before us another covenant, another mediator, and another glorious ending.

Contextual Notes:

Our last several weeks in our Wilderness Journey with Israel, we have been closely connected with the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and last week sampled the legal material applying the Ten in chapters 21-23. Those chapters tell us about the character of our God.

Here in chapter 24, just a few days after the giving of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:21), the people make covenant with their LORD (Exodus 24:3). Moses wrote it all down (Exodus 24:7), and the covenant is inaugurated with sacrifice, blood, and a meal.

Today we see the sealing of the covenant at Sinai, the most important transaction in the whole history of the nation of Israel. This one sacrifice, which was never renewed, formally set Israel apart for God. Only after it did God institute the Tabernacle, the priesthood, and all its services. It is an awesome occasion, and it prefigures for us the one sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The difference in this sacrifice was that it was the ground of acceptance and communion with God. Likewise, Christ’s sacrifice is the ground for our access to God and the foundation of all our service of worship.

Pray and Read: Exodus 24:1-18

Key Truth: Christ Jesus is our mediator, whose lifeblood was sacrificed so that we may have access to fellowship with Him in His glory.

Key Application: Christ, in His sacrifice for sin, gives us an extraordinary gift of fellowship with Him in glory.

Sermon Points: In the Gospel of Jesus Christ there is . . .
1. Mediator of Covenant (24:1-3)
2. Altar of Blood (24:4-8)
3. Presence of Christ (24:9-14)
4. Glory of the Lord (24:15-18)

Exposition: In the Gospel of Jesus Christ there is . . .

1. A MEDIATOR OF COVENANT (24:1-3)
a. 24:1 We are commanded to approach God, but . . .
b. 24:2 At a distance. Until the sacrifice took place, they could not come near God. Ephesians 2:13: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.


d. We must approach God through a mediator. Moses is the mediator of the covenant. He was the go-between. Galatians 3:19: What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.

f. As such He is a picture of Jesus Christ our mediator. 1 Timothy 2:5-6: For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

h. 24:3. A commitment must be made to the mediator.

i. APPLICATION: Jesus Christ is the mediator before God for your sin. Have you committed to Him as your mediator?

2. AN ALTAR OF BLOOD (24:4-8)
a. 24:4. He wrote it down. Earliest alphabet in world (c.1500 BC) is found in Sinai. Every alphabet in world derives from this early script.

b. 24:4-5. Altar and pillars are part of a covenantal ceremony, representing presence of God and 12 tribes in covenant. Other commemorative pillars found in Gen 31:45-54; Josh 24:27. cf. 1 Pet 1:2; Luke 22:20: In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.; 1 Cor 11:25-26.

d. 24:5. Fellowship offering: People and God fellowshipped together in covenant. A portion burned on altar, rest eaten. In Lord’s Supper, Christ has already been on the altar; we eat and drink our portion.

e. Blood (24:6, 8): “Life is in the blood”
i. Sprinkled on altar –sanctity of life, and Giver of Life. The significance of the blood cannot be overstated. The blood poured out on the altar represents the death of Christ for our sins. The life is in the blood, so Christ’s life was poured out for each man and woman, boy and girl. Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 11:25

ii. Sprinkled on people – unusual and only occurs here and in ordination of Aaron and sons (Leviticus 8). Special bond with God in these acts. Hebrews 9:19-22: In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. The other half of the blood sprinkled on the people represents something different, viz., the resurrection life of Jesus and the continued power of His indwelling to cleanse us and keep us in fellowship with Him, and to enable us to fulfill His covenant, the Great Commission.

iii. The shed blood is the death on Calvary. The sprinkled blood is the resurrection of Christ, shed abroad in our hearts, cleansing and sustaining our spiritual lives.
iv. One is His life for us. The other is His life in us.
[2]

f. 24:7. Book of the Covenant. Public reading of the covenant is part of the renewing ceremony. This is why we read the Scriptures publicly every Sunday. 1 Timothy 4:13: Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.(cf. Joshua 24:25-27; 2 Kings 23:2; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Nehemiah 8:5-9

3. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST (24:9-14)

a. 24:9-11. Vision cf. Isaiah 6. The blood atonement gives permission to be in the fellowship and presence of God. Hebrews 4:16: Let us then approach the throne of grae with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find gace to help us in our time of need.
i. They saw the Lord. Notice that most of what they saw was pavement and feet. 24:10 -- ראה raah; 24:11 – חזה hazah
ii. There is no vengeance. Sin is out of sight.
iii. There is no cloud. All is clear because He has blotted out their sins. Revelation 1:5-6. Lapis lazuli – blue, “clear as the sky itself.” It was traded from Afghanistan, used to trim royal audience rooms and thrones (Ezekiel 1:26).

c. Covenantal Meal (v. 11) – God fed His people upon the sacrifices He Himself had accepted. In the same way, Christ Jesus feeds us upon Himself the Sacrifice of all time. A foretaste of the glorious marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9)

d. Come to Me (v. 12-13). Christ desires us to come to Him.

e. Wait for Return (v. 14) Just as Moses the mediator of the first covenant went away and said to be faithful until he returned, so Jesus, the mediator of a better covenant, exhorts us to be faithful until He returns a Second Time from heaven.

4. THE GLORY OF THE LORD (24:15-18)

a. Waited six days to be invited up into the cloud, a devouring fire, to receive instructions on the Tabernacle, the priesthood, the services.Then the glory settled (root for shekinah) on Sinai.
b. Hebrews 9:27-28: Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
d. Hebrews 12:28-29: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."

Invitation:
Jesus is coming back. His glory will rest on the Mountain one day, and it is up to you to be ready.
You need a mediator of covenant – You can have Jesus.
You need a sacrifice sins – Jesus’ blood has paid the price once for all.
You can receive the presence of Christ. You can have the glorious fellowship of the Lord Christ.

Would you receive Him? Would you submit to Him? Would you give up your filthy rags for His redeeming glory?

Sources:
Tokunboh Adeyemo, gen. ed., Africa Bible Commentary
F. F. Bruce, gen. ed., The International Bible Commentary, 174.
Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament, 211-2.
IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, 104-5.
Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, “The Love of Thine Espousals.”
Preacher’s Homiletic Commentary: Exodus, 435.
Lawrence Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, 66.
A.B. Simpson, The Christ in the Bible Commentary, 1:138-9.
[1] http://www.neatorama.com/2007/10/19/close-shaves-in-history/ from http://www.holocaustforgotten.com/eugene.htm
[2] Simpson, 138-9.