Closing the Gap – Week 32 Notes

By August 12, 2018 Sermon Notes

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Mission Impossible: Fall-Out just came out last month.

Has anyone seen the movie yet? I haven’t but I can take a guess at the plot based on the other mission impossible movies and the TV series. Yes kids mission impossible was a TV series.

The Plot: There is a crisis, national / international crisis of some kind. The crisis includes some sort of internal betrayal.

Now the team – led by Ethan Hunt are faced with an Impossible Mission.

It is not really an impossible mission but more like an improbable mission.

Then the team comes together with a crazy plan full of gadget wizardry and daring physical feats and they pull off the quote “impossible.”

Sounds like good entertainment to me.

As we are continuing our series on closing the gap and pursuing a conversational relationship with God, today we are considering the possibility of having a relationship with God like that of a friend.

Your mission – should you choose to accept it is to become a friend of God:

Seems like an impossible mission. It is not.

Today let’s consider the possibility and reality that we could have a relationship with God like Moses had. A relationship in which God speaks to us as a person speaks to their friend.

Ex. 33:7-20 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

First let’s Describe “friendship” with God as understood from this passage. (Understand the Mission)

Secondly let’s examine if this type of relationship is possible.

And third if this type of relationship is possible, how can it become more of a reality in our lives.

  1. Describe “friendship” with God
  2. Moses and God had a TWO-WAY Trusting Relationship.

Moses spoke to God and God also spoke to Moses.

Moses trusted God and God also trusted Moses.

 

Moses is making himself known and trusting God with his fears and insecurities.

“God I can’t do this. I need your help. How is this going to work?”

Friends let each other know what they are thinking. After you have been friends long enough, you sometimes have a pretty good idea what the other person is thinking.

Friends talk about what they are doing.

Remember this definition of prayer: Talking to God about what we are doing together.

Moses and God talked to each other about God’s plans for the people and how Moses fit into those plans.

After they talked Moses took action on what they would discuss.

God let Moses know what he was planning to do because Moses made God’s activity his priority.

God spoke to Moses AS a man speaks to a friend face to face. They had a TWO WAY Trusting Relationship. God Confided in Moses.

But also Moses could not see God’s face and live.

While they had a TWO-WAY trusting relationship, this was not a peer relationship.

  1. Not a Peer Relationship

Notice the word AS…God spoke to Moses “AS” a man speaks to a friend.

The text does not say God spoke to Moses because they were “Best Buddies”

The friendship analogy expressed a relational reality between Moses and God.

The fact that Moses couldn’t see God’s face and live communicated an actual physical reality.

Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

GOD said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

We do not know all that this means.

Maybe the reason that Moses could not see all of God’s glory and live is because there was such a large gap between God’s Holiness and Moses’ sin.

The gap would be so large that Moses would literally be undone.

Something similar happened to the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 6 it says.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Isaiah said, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Isaiah saw a glimpse of God’s glory and realized the profound nature of his own sin and the sin of others.

Yes God is Our Father, Our “Abba” daddy but His name is also Holy.

“Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.”

Do not be discouraged by this reality. We are closing the gap but the gap will never be closed to the extent that we are his pals. He is perfectly good and holy.

It is a really good thing that God will never be our peer.

At this point the mission is sounding “IMPOSSIBLE”

God is infinitely Holy and Good and I want to have a friend-like relationship. Is this possible?

  1. Is the Relationship described possible?

We noticed that Moses had a unique relationship with God, but were there others?

  1. Abraham had a unique relationship with God.

James 2:23
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend.

Abraham was not God’s peer. He was CALLED God’s friend because he trusted and believed God. Yes Abraham had a special calling like Moses but he also trusted and believed God like Moses.

  1. Jesus Called His Disciples His friends.

John 15:13-17 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

 

Jesus called his disciple his friends because they did what He commanded.

 

Notice in Jesus relationship with his disciples a TWO-WAY Trust relationship.

Notice also that they are not peers because Jesus is still commanding his disciples.

 

OBJECTION!!: Yes Moses had a special relationship and Abraham and the Disciples, but NOT ME!!

Why not you and me?

Were these other people perfect? NO

Moses gave in to anger. Moses murdered an Egyptian man. Moses, the man who had a friend-like relationship with God was kept out of the promised land because he disobeyed God.

It is important for us to imagine the biblical characters as real people.

Moses slept, got sick, ate breakfast…

Moses had headaches and backaches.

Moses took a bath. Moses had a birthday.

He was as real as the nose on your face.

Please remember, our life with God is about a life direction and not a life of perfection.

We can think that Moses was special and different from us, but we have to realize that we have some advantages that Moses did not have.

We have the written word of God

Moses did not have the completed Bible.

What Moses had was a commitment to trust God. When God spoke Moses often obeyed.

It does you no good to have the written word of God if you will not do the work to let it influence our lives. Having the Bible and letting the Bible have you and direct your life are two different things.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All scripture is god-breathed…”

The Bible is God-breathed – meaning that it came from the mind and will of God.

Friends know what is on each other’s minds. If you want to know what’s on God’s mind, take in the scriptures and as you understand them, apply them.

We have the revelation of God in Jesus Christ

You might remember this from the sermon last week.

Galatians 4:4

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Moses lived before the “time had fully come” He lived looking ahead to Jesus.

We live after the time has fully come.

Hebrews 1:1-3

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 (Moses Said Show me Your Glory, well) The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,

So now as Ephesians 3:12 says,

In him (Jesus) and through faith in him (Jesus) we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Because Christ came to earth, lived a sinless life, suffered on the cross, and rose again, each of can have the Freedom and Confidence to approach the Father.

A relationship like a friend is Mission Possible because of Christ.

God said this about Moses, “I know you by name.”

The Hebrew for know is “yada” It is a word that speaks of intimacy.

God had intimate knowledge of Moses because Moses let himself be known.

Friends confide in one another.

Because of Jesus, we have the same privilege that Moses had.

We can approach the Father with the intimate details of our lives with freedom and confidence.

Maybe this type of relationship with God is possible. This is not “Mission Impossible”

  1. How could this type of relationship become more of a reality?

Look at what God says to Moses it will give us an indication of how this type of a relationship could become a reality.

God said, “I am pleased with you.”

It sounds like a friends saying… “Moses I like being with you!”

Why did God like spending time with Moses?

Numbers 12:3 Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.

Moses had a special relationship with God because Moses was the humblest man on the face of the earth.

In order for us to have a friend-like relationship with God we must Pursue Humility.

Humility is not something that I often think about working to improve.

I often think about Humility like I think of natural athletic ability.

Either you have it or you do not. Can we actually pursue humility? If so how?

Last week we talked about Humility as state of being. Compared to God we are utterly humble creators. We come to him as children humble and aware of our dependance.

Today for our application let’s discuss how we can plan to “Pursue Humility” as a developed character trait so we can grow in our friendship relationship with God.

Application: Pursue Humility

Five Suggestions:

****Mission – Motif – Caleb Story****

Reflect on your Humble Position

Terry told us last week, “As we regularly reflect on the reality of our positional humility (as children, we are needy) it can lead us to more character humility.”

We are amazing creators but we are still vapors.

Listen you who say today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city carry on business and make money. Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Submit to the Authority of Scripture

You and I have a great resource that Moses did not have.

To avail ourselves of this resource will take work and a willingness to submit.

As you have your QT maybe ask the question: Is there a command I need to obey?

Friends trust each other. Recently I had a friend give me some advice.

Other friends have given me the same advice but I chose to ignore it.

I did not agree with what my friend said, but I decided to trust him and follow through.

My friend is older, and more experienced than me. I am trusting him rather than trusting what I think is best. I am trusting him rather than what I feel.

God is way smarter than you or I.

Will we trust what he says in his God-Breathed word or submit to what we want?

“God I want to use my money this way, but you said I should give some to your church. I trust you.”

“God I want to pursue sexual pleasure this way, but you said sexual intimacy is preserved for marriage between a man and women. Help me, trust you.”

“God I want give my kids a piece of my mind, but you said be quick to listen slow to speak, slow to be angry. Ok I trust you, help me apply that reality to my life.”

I am not saying that submitting to scripture is easy, but it is what is required.

Our Father in heaven – really knows better than we do.

Will we trust him by submitting to scripture?

          Think of yourself less by serving others

Humility is not thinking less of yourself. Humility is really found by thinking of yourself less.

How do we think of ourselves less? By serving others.

The Christian Spiritual Discipline of service is a physical way that we can train ourselves to be more humble.

Remember, we are physical and spiritual beings. Service is a physical disciplines that help will shape our unseen character of humility.

Yes we have to check our motives but we would do better to engage in the discipline of serving and work on our motives as we serve.

Moses had a position of prominence but he served.

He did not want His position but He served the people by being obedient to God.

Pursuing humility does not mean we pass on prominent positions. If we are in those prominent positions we seek to use our influence to serve others for God’s glory and their good.

Approach service as a discipline. You will begin thinking of yourself less and you will be growing in the unseen character of Humility.

         Be Real with God and Others

God said to Moses I know you by name. Does God really know you?

I want to be God’s friend but I could never talk to God about this.

I could never be honest with him about these fears or these secrets.

Our Father in Heaven has made a way through Jesus for his kids to come to him with freedom and confidence.

Do we try to keep things from Our Father because we do not want to submit to Him?

Do we try to keep things from Our Father because we think it will change His opinion of us?

Since we are physical AND spiritual beings, I would challenge you to find a person, someone who is a part of your church, a part of your small group that you can confide in.

If our normal bent is to keep people at a distance we probably keep God at a distance as well.

We can Pursue Humility as we seek to be known by God and others.

            Lastly, Make God’s agenda a priority.

Moses and God were regularly talking about what they were doing together.

Yes Moses had a special call. So do you.

God has called you to love the kids at your dinner table, serve your spouse, bless your boss, take interest in that person in the cubicle next to you, serve those in your small group, etc.

Students you are going back to class this week. – God wants to use you in your school to make himself known to those around you. God what are you doing here? How can I join you?

Teachers you are going back to work this week with students.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

You could pray, “God please don’t give me a wild bunch of kids like I had last year.” Not a bad prayer. But also pray, “God as I stand in front of the kids for 180 days this semester let them see you in me. Show me where you are at work so I can join you.”

Making God’s agenda a priority is not doing more “STUFF for GOD”, but it is about availability and awareness.

As we carry out our daily routines do we look for where God is at work?

Will we be available to his agenda?

For our prayer time today I would like you to pray through our Pursuit of Humility.

Terry said this last week – Humility is not the End, but the Means. Let’s engage with the means so that we can move toward the end – Relationship with God like that of a friend.

This is mission possible. It is not just for the super spiritual.

Because of Jesus this type of relationship is for everyone.

Do you want to have this type of relationship? Will you pursue it by pursuing humility?

If you are hearing this today and I thinking, I know I’m not humble, I never will be, bad me, bad me, bad me…today is not a rebuke.

We are CLOSING the GAP – The door to friendship is open for us we can step in by pursuing humility.

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