PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
Burdens. Constraints. Traps. When you study Scripture you discover God’s people constantly need “loosing.” Believers have a propensity to fall into traps, get cornered, or war against the devil. This is why God raised up prophets and judges for Israel: He wanted His people liberated from bondage. It’s not coincidental that one interpretation of the name Jesus means: “God liberates!” Because the ultimate purpose of Christ’s work involves liberating Christians from all that controls and confines them. While that will be fully actualized at Christ’s Return, Christians need liberating today! And the loosing God has for Believers now serves two purposes: It’s to remove whatever hinders you from freely serving God and it’s a loosing that brings God’s blessings. Let’s read our text.
EXODUS 6 : 2 – 8
(Illustration) About three times a year I watch horse racing. I don’t wager, I watch. I enjoy The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and The Belmont Stakes. Horses competing in these derbies aren’t conventional horses. They’re prized possessions. Owners separate these horses from the ordinary stock and spend multiplied thousands of dollars on their training, diet, and grooming. A young, lean, stallion doesn’t belong in the amusement park or circus; it’s not trained to rustle cattle or plow fields; its destiny is to race on the track of champions and into the rose-laden winner’s circle.
A similar parallel can be fashioned toward Christians. God often separates believers from the collective mass of man, marks them with His grace, trains and grooms them, and sets them on the course of running the Christian race. You see, God is always intent on God investing in His people! When you study Scripture you’ll see that God often did that.
Jesus made a three-year investment in the Apostles.
After Paul’s conversion God made a three-year investment by sending him to the Arabian Desert where Jesus taught him face-to-face.
God made an eighty-year investment in Moses before sending him to deliver Israel. Forty years of education under Egyptian tutors and forty years of shepherding under the priestly influence of his father in law. In one respect, Moses spent forty years with Pharaoh assuming he was somebody, he spent forty years tending sheep assuming he was nobody, and then he spent forty years in the wilderness realizing what God could do with anybody that totally trusted God.
(Humor) Have you noticed that God’s schools of tutelage convene in the desert? I’ve attended several desert training schools. First it was Sahara Bible Institute. Later it was Mojave School of Theology. Then it was Sinai Seminary. My main concern is there could be another wilderness diploma to earn!
It’s rare to meet someone that found it easy to endure the lessons or environment God chose for their development. It always unfolds with perseverance and pain. But you can know this: The rigors of spiritual training aren’t designed to break you, they’re designed to make you! The entire arrangement is ordered so God can “loose” you and use you.
(Transition) Let’s examine what happens when there’s a “loosing” of God’s people. First, God looses Believers to reveal His Covenant-Keeping Name.
I. GOD’S LOOSES BELIEVERS TO REVEAL HIS COVENANT-KEEPING NAME
The divine titles of God are an important subject of study. Names such as, El Shaddai, Elohim, and Jehovah are carefully employed in Scripture and they each have a significant meaning as it relates to believers:
Elohim identifies God as almighty Creator and benevolent Sustainer of His creation.
El Shaddai applies to His omnipotence.
And the designation Jehovah, or its equivalent, LORD, (when spelled with capital letters) is significant. Let’s refer again to our opening text to examine its meaning: Exodus 6:2 says: “God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. (3) I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD [Jehovah] I did not make myself known to them.”
It’s interesting that God announced that He was unknown to these three men by the name “Jehovah” because, in fact, they did understand this to be God’s name:
Genesis 13:4 says “Abram called on the name of the LORD [Jehovah].”
Genesis 26:25 says: “Isaac built an altar … and called on the name of the LORD [Jehovah].”
And Genesis 32:9 says Jacob prayed: “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, [Jehovah].
Abraham even addressed God with the term, “LORD,” when God and he entered covenant in Genesis 15.
So what did God mean when He told Moses, “by my name Jehovah I did not make myself known to them”? Here’s what it meant. The term LORD meant “covenant keeping God.” And Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had only a cogitative acquaintance with the designation “LORD.” It was a mental familiarity by which they understood He was Jehovah but they hadn’t experienced that aspect of His Name. And God was saying, “Moses, you’re about to experience Me in the realization of my covenant-keeping name. I’m ready to implement My promises.”
So now God’s word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob makes sense. These men hadn’t been acquainted with this aspect of God. As Hebrews 11:13 says: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” But here in Exodus 6 God said the time of Israel anticipating their Exodus from Egypt was over and their day of deliverance was at hand! Look at verses six through eight: Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. (7) I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. (8) And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.
Are you ready to experience God in the power of His glorious name, Jehovah? Do you want to “know him by experience” and claim Him covenant-promises? The Lord says, “There are people here that can experience God as “The Lord, Jehovah,” the performer of His promises! Your time of waiting and counting the days until deliverance are over! Now is the time to receive”!
Notice how God has revealed Himself and prepare for your “loosing”:
He’s Jehovah-raphe, “God your healer,” so get ready to clear the medicine chest.
He’s Jehovah-Jireh, “God your provider,” so forget about living in deficit.
He’s Jehovah-Shalom, “God your peace,” so rebuke fear and walk in confidence!
He’s Jehovah Sabbaoth, that is, the Lord of Hosts, so worship Him and expect the demonstration of His presence and power.
God’s covenant promise to you is this: “Jesus Christ, [is] the same yesterday and today and forever.” And He wants to demonstrate the power of His name to you today just as He did 2000 years ago. Remember, His Covenant with you is wrapped up in His Name. Claim the power of His Covenant Name.
(Transition) Secondly, God looses Believers to express His goodness.
II. GOD LOOSES BELIEVERS TO EXPRESS HIS GOODNESS
No act that God directs toward man more fully expresses his heart than when He moves redemptively—than when He moves to deliver us from sin and evil. Sometimes we need relief from the verbal attacks of others because we’re being maligned or wrongly accused. At other times we need rescuing from unclean habits, impure thoughts, oppression, or heaviness. We need deliverance from stress, unnatural attachments, or even a spirit of bitterness, or unforgiveness.
We’ll, there’s good news. Jesus is an expert at deliverance! 1 Peter 2:9 says: “the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.” Christ didn’t intend for us to stay captive to the world’s shift and sway. 1 John 3:8 says: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” That word, destroy, means: “dissolve, break up, or melt, put off.” (Strong’s Concordance.) Christ came to liberate!
Actually, the entire human race is seeking deliverance from something. That’s why pharmacies are crammed with antidepressants and pain relievers. It’s why there’s such a demand for psychiatrists and physicians. We’re trying to escape problems, pressure, and pain. People need help—whether they’re saints or sinners! There are lion’s dens, fires, and pits from which everyone needs deliverance. We’re contending with forces that stifle us at every point. The Good News is there’s a clear theology of deliverance that dominates Scripture and promises God’s help:
The Bible’s first five books reveal He delivers from chaos, bondage, anarchy, disease, and the wilderness.
The twelve historical books, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Esther, Nehemiah, and Ruth, reveal He rescues from our enemies.
The Poetical books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, reveal His frees from affliction, derision, and distress.
The seventeen books of the Prophets announce His loving deliverance from our backsliding.
And the emancipation continues in the New Testament.
The Gospels exhibit His deliverance from sickness, sorrow, and pain.
Acts pours out the Spirit and we’re freed from spiritual complacency.
The twenty-one epistles reveal that Christians can triumph over sin.
And in Revelation Christ completely liberates us from the world system and translates us to His Heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus is in the deliverance business and nothing is beyond His emancipating power!
I love Psalm 3:8: “From the Lord comes deliverance.” And if “the Lord” is the Champion of Deliverance, you can be liberated from absolutely anything!
Job 5:19 says: “From six calamities He will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you.”
Psalm 91:3 says: “Surely he will save you from the Fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”
God knows how to deliver the oppressed! He’s an expert at deliverance! 1 Peter 2:9 says: “the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.”
He delivered Moses from the Egyptians, Joshua from the Canaanites, and Samson from the Philistines. He’s an expert at deliverance!
He delivered David from a giant, Elisha from a king, and Gideon from an army. He’s an expert at deliverance!
He delivered Peter from the tempest, Paul from the storm, and Noah from the Flood. He’s an expert at deliverance!
He delivered the widow from oppression, Elijah from depression, and the demoniac from possession. He’s an expert at deliverance!
DELIVERANCE: THE FOCAL-POINT OF CHRIST’S MINISTRY
In my study of Church history I’m persuaded the Kingdom was closest to manifesting the heart of Christ’s ministry during the 1940’s and 1950’s when the “Deliverance Ministries” were prevalent. I’m not being nostalgic because I can only relate to these ministries by study. Thus, here’s why I believe that: Jesus described His ministry in Luke 4:18 in terms of “deliverance” when He said: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, (19) to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Delivering the oppressed is what Jesus commissioned the apostles to do. He commanded them to: “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, [and] drive out demons.” It’s what He commissioned the seventy elders to do—heal the sick and deliver the oppressed. And then before His ascension, in Matthew 28 and Mark 16, He broadened the scope to include every Believer. He said: “when you go lay hands on the sick, cast out devils, and set the captives free.”
I sometimes wonder how well Christ’s ministry would be accepted in today’s church, because wherever He ministered people convulsed, yelled, and carried on with visible demonstration. When you calculate Christ’s ministry you discover that 25% of it involved dealing with demons. He understood how actively the forces of darkness attacked men.
(Transition) Remember, one reason God “looses” people from bondage is simply to reveal His goodness. God is good! And He wants you to know that! And that leads to another reason God looses Believers. God looses Believers to demonstrate His mastery over Satan.
III. GOD LOOSES BELIEVERS TO DEMONSTRATE HIS MASTERY OVER SATAN
Exodus 6:6 says: “Therefore, say to the Israelites: `I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. (7) I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”
A yoke is awful! As a young man Joseph was sold into Egypt as a slave. But with God’s favor resting upon Joseph he was eventually exalted to Prime Minister where God used him to deliver Egypt and his family from a 7-year famine. But 400 years later, and with Joseph dead, the Pharaoh of Egypt turned against the Israelites. They were enslaved and working under the oppressive yoke of taskmasters. Life was miserable!
(Definition) What is a yoke? A yoke is a crosspiece laid across the neck of two animals for the intent of bearing burdens. Years ago, yokes were placed on prisoners of war. It symbolized defeat and was used as a mechanism of suppression and control. Thus, you understand that Israel’s yoking inhibited their worship, limited their choices, and kept them from choosing their livelihood. They were completely mastered by the Egyptians. That’s why God warned Believers not to unequally yoke themselves in marriage to unbelievers. It encumbers us spiritually, emotionally, and in our service to God. Yokes are Satan’s way of suppressing and controlling people.
(Illustration) (Demonstrate by placing a wooden yoke over your shoulders and bowing under its bondage.)
Remember, Jesus was anointed to loose “the poor . . . the prisoners . . . the blind . . . and the oppressed.” He emancipates people from the bondage of a defeated life and Satan’s control. But then, through God’s grace, this is the testimony of many others in Scripture:
Samson was anointed with incredible strength to liberate Israel from its enemies (JUD 13:25).
Joshua and David were given military genius to Israel.
Moses, the emancipator, was given special spiritual power to liberate his compatriots.
The apostles were given God’s Word to open the eyes of the spiritually blind to see the Gospel of Christ.
The fact is, God has also anointed you to exercise His power. If you have experienced His “loosing,” then it’s time to administer the power of God’s “loosing” grace to others. You are a liberator too!