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19 Comes Before 20

Scripture:

Exodus 19:1-6; 20:1-2

Trinity Sunday

  • 1st Sunday after Pentecost

  • About 2 months after Easter

  • Beginning a series on the 10 Commandments

  • 1st century: Pentecost became a celebration of the Law

We don’t much care for commandments or commands

  • Most folks think of the 10 Commandments as a list of shall-nots

  • What about you? Can you name all 10? <not necessarily in order>

  • No other gods; no images; misuse of name; Sabbath rest; honor mom & dad; don’t kill; don’t commit adultery; don’t steal; don’t lie; don’t covet

Are the commandments still important? Do the rules still apply?

  • Purpose: not to save, but to allow the Israelites to reflect God

  • Part of the rules for being a “holy nation”

  • Israel was set apart to be a model for all humanity

Read Scripture

How we got here:

  • Covenant of land & blessing with Abraham in Gen 12:1-2: Leave your land, your family, & your father’s household for the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation & will bless you.

  • Passed on to Isaac in Gen 26:3: I will be w/ you & bless you because I will give all of these lands to you & your descendants. I will keep my word, which I gave to your father Abraham.

  • Then 400 years of slavery in Egypt

  • Can you imagine the dejection & doubt?

After a long dark night of Israel’s soul, dawn breaks!

  • God calls Moses from a burning bush & sends him to liberate Israel

  • with a mighty hand & outstretched arm, the people are freed

  • they cross the Red Sea on dry ground

  • they receive bread & quail from the sky & water from the rock

  • after 3 months, they arrive at Mt Sinai

And God speaks to Moses:

  • This is what you should say to Jacob’s household & declare to the Israelites: You saw what I did to the Egyptians, & how I lifted you up on eagle’s wings & brought you to me. (Ex 19:3-4)

  • I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Ex 20:2)

  • In these words, God is doing a new thing

God, speaking thru a mediator, pulls 12 tribes together into 1 nation

In this covenant, 3 promises are made by God to Israel

  • A precious possession, living differently from “human nature”

  • What is a precious possession? Craddock story of Glen Adsit, Christian missionary to China. Allowed 200 pounds. “Weigh the kids.”

  • A kingdom of priests

  • Priests had special access to God

  • A holy nation

  • Sharing God’s character – Lev. 19:2: You must be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

God gives only one condition in order to receive the promises: odedience.

  • Ex 19:5: If you faithfully obey me & stay true to my covenant…

Because of this special relationship, Israel is given the Law

  • It is more privilege than burden

  • It is more for being an example than being constantly examined

  • It is to be a light to the nations & not held under a spotlight

These same attributes might be considered our Pentecost challenge

  • Because of the giving of the Holy Spirit…

  • Privilege over burden

  • Example over examination

  • Shining light over under a spotlight

Pentecost became a celebration of the giving of the Law

  • So we’ll begin the season by looking at the 10 Commandments

  • My prayer is that we, too, will find the 10 Commandments a cause for celebration

  • Even if you can’t name them all!

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