Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

06/18/2017 A.M.

 

Our Call To Higher Ground – To A Better Way To Live

Exodus  3.1-12  Ephesians 4.11-13   Romans 12.6-8   Hebrews 13.20-21

 

Moses was a broken man… A changed man.

You remember he had killed a man back in Egypt… Now… He was a fugitive of the Egyptian government… Wanted for murder… Wanted by the same authorities that had previously protected him as he lived in Pharaoh’s palace... The son of a KIng.

 

Can you imagine it?… Once being the prince of all Egypt?... And now he has the lowest rank in the land… A shepherd… Tending sheep in the desert.… And not even his own sheep… But those of his father-in-law.

 

God was... Remolding...remaking… Readying… Moses for his greatest kingdom work.

 

As we join Moses… He’s on his way to examine a truly unique sight… A sight never before or since described by any man. As far as we know this event is still unique to Moses… A burning bush. A bush that even though is afire… Is not consumed.

 

As we approach along with Moses… We sense something strange about this place… Something we cannot really explain… Can’t put our finger on it. As we get closer… A voice begins to speak. Somehow… Without being told… We have no doubt… It’s the voice of God.  Our hearts begin to race… A certain... Fear… Excitement… Anxiousness… Comes over us.

 

Think of it church… The voice of the... omnipotent… Sovereign… Creator… Of the universe… Calls our name… Not once... But twice... Moses!... Moses!...

Put your name in here!! 

• John…

• Harold…

• Bill…

• Carylon…

• Dan…

No... God has never spoken to me like this… But I can imagine the feeling.

 

Truth is… Truth is… Every time we open this… Every time we open the Word… Listen to a sermon...A pod-cast… Participate in a Bible Class… God is calling our name… AMEN?

 

Well... As Moses acknowledges God’s presence… He’s told not to come any closer… He’s told to remove our shoes for we’re standing on holy ground.

 

Here it is...Just as sure as Moses was standing on holy ground that day in the Sinai… We here… In this assembly... This morning… Are standing on holy ground… And God is calling our name!

 

He’s calling each of us into greater service... In the church... His church… Or the church where you attend.

 

Question… Can you hear His voice?... Calling your name?... Are we listening?...

 

• To some of us... He’s saying... Now is the accepted time in your life... Time to step up to higher ground... Step up to holy ground.  You’re young... You’re talented… Educated... You have Energy... Enthusiasm... God is calling you to Higher Ground... To a deeper relationship with Him.

 

• To those of us who are older... God is questioning our ideas of retirement from kingdom involvement... Our resigning from His work.  I mean... He has blessed us with a great life... Our children are grown… We have time to do His kingdom work... God is saying come walk with Me in these remaining years.

 

• To others God is saying... Today is the day of salvation... I’m calling you... We have those in this audience… Whom we love dearly... That God is calling... Come be My child... My son or daughter... I am calling you to be born again of water and spirit... To be raised to a new life of forgiveness and salvation… I’m calling you to Higher Ground!

 

My people... Our challenge is simple… How are we going respond to God’s call to the higher ground of a holyLife... How will we respond to this holy ground experience?

 

The voice continues… I AM GOD… THE GOD OF YOUR FATHER… THE GOD OF ABRAHAM…  ISAAC… JACOB...

  • I have heard the cries… The prayers… Of My people in Egypt…

  • I’ve witnessed their affliction…

  • And I’m ready to deliver them from their...Suffering… Bondage… And Sorrow.

 

This was it for Moses!!!… The moment he had been waiting for.

His dream was coming true...

 

Forty years ago…He... Had tried to right the wrong… Killed an Egyptian… But God was not ready yet… Because you see neither was Moses… He just thought he was.

 

Martin Lloyd Jones of Westminster Chapel used to say… The worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before God readies him… I think I can relate to that... I know I can relate to that!

 

• God sent Moses to theSinai to tend sheep for his father-in-law to break his pride and arrogance of being an Egyptian Prince…

 

• He sent Joseph to prison to break him from His pride and arrogance of being a favorite son.

 

• God sent Paul to Damascus to break him from his pride of being an elite Jew with a Roman citizenship.

 

Church...Some of us have to be broken before we can pursue our life’s work!

 

• The Hebrews’ writer maintains that… God disciplines those He loves… And He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.

 

• Later we hear him say... May the God of peace... That great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

• It’s Peter who tells us that… God molds us… REFINES…remakes… And reshapes… us… Into the people and person He wants us to be… Getting us ready for today’s need in the church… This church.  He has prepared you and your preacher for this exact time… How can we turn Him down?  How can we ignore His call to Higher Ground?

 

Verse ten of Exodus three… Must have brought Moses back to reality… Come now… Moses… And I will send you to Pharaoh… You will bring my people out of Egypt.

 

God... What are you thinking... Not me… I can’t go to Pharaoh... You don’t understand… I am a fugitive… Plus… I am not equipped… I mean… What would I say?

 

As we listen to Moses make these flimsy excuses… We realize that they sound a lot like ours… Amen?

 

Then Moses scares us as he seems to attack God.

I mean when we’re looking for excuses… Anything will do...

• Who shall I say sent me?

• Who will believe all this God in a burning bush stuff?

 

Then God says to Moses… Allow me to show you something.

• What is that in your hand?...

• Throw it on the ground!... His shepherd’s staff turns into a snake.

• Pick it up... The snake becomes a staff again.

One more Moses…

• Put your hand inside your shirt.

• Now look at it… WOW!... leprosy.

As we look on in surprise… We see… Not just a little spot or two… But full blown… Ugly…Smelly.... Rotten… Leprosy.

• Now put your hand back into your robe.

You see Moses… Your bush is burning!... You’re standing on Holy ground... And I am calling you to higher ground.

 

And… Moses… I’m showing you that…. Those I call… I can and will equip.

Let me say this again… Those I call… I also equip.

• I equip men to become effective... Elders… Preachers… Deacons… Song leaders… Teachers.

• I’ll equip you with funds to help the poor…

• With time to visit the sick.

• With the ability to comfort the dying.

• I’ll equip you to become better... husbands and wives… fathers… and mothers.

• I’ll supply you with... Energy… Health… and Opportunity… to do My work.

 

As we listen to God speaking to Moses… We realize God has spoken these same words to us…

 

It was He who gave some to be... Apostles... Prophets… Evangelists…  Some to be pastors… And teachers… To prepare God’s people for works of service…

 

We have different gifts…According to the grace given us. If your gift is prophesying… Use it in proportion to your faith. If it is serving… Serve… If it is teaching… Teach… If it is encouraging… Be an encourager… If it is contributing to the needs of others… Give generously… If it is leadership… Govern diligently… If it is showing mercy… Do it cheerfully.

 

• We’ve already heard God promise to... Equipus... Work in us... Supplying us with everything good for doing His will.

 

• Now we can say with Paul... I can do… All Things… Anything... Everything… Through him who gives me strength.

 

Now... As we stand here beside Moses...

We, like Him, realize We are without excuse...

We have no Excuse!!!... Amen?

 

Indeed!!... God is calling us to a higher ground...

to a better way of life…

We are standing on Holy Ground…

 

God is calling us to… Serve the Jesus in others.

Scripture says... We are God’s workmanship… Created in Christ Jesus to… WHAT?... To do good works… Which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

And if we don’t do them… Who will?... Who will indeed?

• Just as Moses was created to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage…

• Paul was predestined to take Jesus to the Gentiles…

God also created us for some specific good works… What kind of Good Works?

 

Perhaps we’re told in James1.27… Pure religion… Religion that God accepts… Is this… To care for the fatherless and widows in their affliction… In their distress.

 

Jesus’ narrative of the Good SAMARIANaffirms the fact that our religion is not SOLELY based upon how many church services we attend… But by how we treat our neighbor who is down-and-out on the road of life.

 

In the sheep and goat Judgment of Matthew 25… Jesus makes the point that our judgment will be partially made upon our serving him through serving others.

 

Jesus is ourexample… He went about doing good... Meeting the needs of others…

 

You see church… Like it or not… Our relationship to God…Is based on how we treat…

• Strangers… All strangers… Not just the... Clean… Pretty ones… But all strangers and visitors.

• The poor and needy…

• The homeless and down-and-out…

• The disenfranchised and unfortunate…

• The sick and dying.

• The lost and unforgiven.

 

I gotta tell you here... Benevolence...loving and caring for others is not an act… But an attitude…

 

Benevolence is not just a response to a specific need…. It’s having...

• the HEART…

• The mind…

• The attitude

toward others that Jesus had… And then behaving like him!... AMEN?

 

The attitude of benevolence can be manifested…

• As a listening ear…

• A sympathetic understanding heart…

• As forgiveness

• In a smile… A touch… A hug… A gift

 

Our bush is burning… God is calling us to higher ground... To a better way of living… We’re standing on holy ground.

 

Secondly… God Calls us to moral Purity.

James continues…And to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

• It makes no difference who we are…

• How long we’ve been in the church…

• Or what position we occupy in His Kingdom…

The child of God who does not practice moral purity is not living a life that is pleasing and acceptable before God.

 

Listen to these verses... You are called CALLED…To put off your old self… Corrupted by its evil desires… And to be made new in the attitude of your minds… Put on the new self in true righteousness and holiness. Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor…In your anger do not sin… Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…Do not give the devil such a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer… But must work with his own hands… So that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths… But only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs… That it may benefit those who listen. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit ofGod… But lay hold of every opportunity to do good. Get rid of all bitterness…Rage… Anger… Brawling… Gossip… Slander… Along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another… Forgiving each other… Just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God… As His dearly loved children. Live a life of love… Just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality… Or of any kind of impurity… Or greed… Because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity… Foolish talk… Or coarse joking… Which are out of place as children of God. For of this you can be sure… No immoral… Impure… Or greedy person… Or idolater… Has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.

 

Today’s political correctness… And loose morals… Are a mockery to God.

 

God is calling us to higher Ground... To a better way of living… We’re standing on holy ground.

 

Thirdly... God’s calling us to Total Commitment.

From Mount Sinai... We’ve heard God say… no other God’s before Me.

We hear Jesus say… Love God with all your... heart…Mind… Strength… Soul… All your being... seek first the Kingdom of god and His RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 

Old and NewTestament Scripture make it clear that…

• God wants first place in our life… Top drawer… Top shelf... Any other position is UNACCEPTABLE to him. 

• JEHOVAH God will have no rivals.

We are to be totally… Absolutely… committed to Him.

 

Know this… Moses was not a new convert… This Burning Bush incident was not a conversion experience…

• However... It was a new beginning…

• A fresh start…

• A new commission.

Like most of us... Moses had been God’s man for a long time... eighty years… Forty in Egypt… Forty tending sheep…

But standing before this Burning Bush… God called Moses to a greater commitment... To a higher plane than he had ever known previously.

 

You see… It makes little difference this morning…

• How long we’ve been a Christian…

• What our job description in the church is or has been.

• Or how faithful we’ve been in the past.

God is calling us…. He’s calling Right now!!... To greater Kingdom service...

• To a more trusting faith...

• To new heights of spirituality.

Than we’ve ever experienced previously.

 

Church... What are we gonna say this morning?... How are we going to respond to God’s call... to higher Ground... to a better way to live?...

 

Higher than the highest heaven…

Deeper than the deepest sea…

Lord… Thy love at last has conquered…

None of self… All of thee.

 

Come be His child by the new birth...

Come join Him in a greater commitment...

As we stand and sing together.