Let’s begin with Exodus 14. In our last lesson, we left the children of Israel down on the shores of the Red Sea completely surrounded by the Egyptians coming in behind them with the chariots. And everything seems hopeless doesn’t it? Put yourself in their shoes. No wonder they were “scared stiff” as we would say.
“And Moses said unto the people, `Fear ye not (what’s the next two words?), stand still,….”
Can you imagine what those people must have thought under those circumstances. And to have their leader to tell them to stand still. Every time I read this verse, I normally don’t ascribe much to humor, because I’m not a comedian, but I always think of a story, and I’m sure most of you have heard it. It’s about the little fellow who came home from Sunday School, and his biblically ignorant dad said, “Well, son what did you learn today?” The lad replied, “Well, we learned about Moses crossing the Red Sea, and how they came upon the sea and the Egyptian army was right behind them. They engineered some pontoon bridges, and they all went across and just when the Egyptians came up after them, they pushed the plunger and blew up all the bridges with the Egyptians on them.” The dad said, “Wait a minute. Is that what they taught you in Sunday School?” The lad said “no, but if I told you what they told me you wouldn’t believe it anyway.”
Well, that is exactly the way the world takes these things. They want to somehow rationalize it, how it could have happened naturally by ordinary events. But listen, these things are not ordinary events. This is the miracle, working power of God. Now, I put on the board during our break time that the Book of Exodus, as we first introduced it, is the Book of Redemption. Israel of course is God’s Covenant People. But by virtue of the sins of the brothers, when they sold Joseph into Egypt, spiritually what happened between Israel and God? They were separated. He lost them. And they end up in Egypt in slavery, without an altar, sacrifice, or worship and they had been totally alienated. So what was God going to do? He has to buy them back. He must redeem them.
So, this is the whole process then of the Exodus – a redemption, whereby God is going to do the redeeming. Israel is in a position where she can nothing. They have no armed forces, economic , or political clout. They are helpless. Now, throughout the Book of Exodus we find that redemption is going to require a purchase, in the person of Moses, of course. Now, Moses had to be proven, as the legitimate leader and deliverer by virtue of what? He performed the Signs. The rod became a serpent, his hand became leprous. All those signs were to prove to the Jew that Moses was indeed God’s man for the job. The person as far as we are concerned in our redemption process was the Lord Jesus, who in His earthly ministry also performed signs and miracles to prove who He really was. So He validated His claim, in that He was indeed the Redeemer of Israel. Secondly, all the way through the Book of Exodus, we saw that God required blood of the lamb. It had to be placed on the door post or they would have never survived. Bring it into the New Testament and our Lamb is Who? – Christ, and the New Testament substantiates that. Let’s go to I Corinthians Chapter 5. Paul now writes:
I Corinthians 5:7
“Purge out therefore the old leaven (remember it refers to evil and sin.), that ye may be a new lump, as ye (believers)are unleavened (our sin problem has been removed by virtue of our forgiveness, and our salvation. We are now to be an unleavened people.). For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:”
He was our Passover lamb. Now, if you will return to Exodus again, we will come to the third step in these next few verses. God is going to bring about their redemption, by exercising His power. Israel is not going to be able to build a pontoon bridge, they are going to have to wait on the power of God. For us the power of our salvation, is epitomized, or brought to it’s crescendo, at the resurrection. It’s the power of the resurrection of Christ – that makes our salvation possible. Otherwise the Scripture says we are yet dead in our sins.
Now, let’s look at verse 13 once again, it almost seems like a ridiculous answer to their dilemma. And again I want to emphasize there is no hope, and the enemy is closing in on them. Now Moses tells them to stand still, because there is nothing they can do. And only God can provide the answer. So what does he do? He opens the Red Sea. Now, let’s read on:
“And Moses said unto the people, `Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.’”
In other words God is not only going to let Israel escape, but He is going to destroy their enemies. Now how does that apply to us? Let’s go back to the New Testament starting with I Corinthians:
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross….”
I think I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears saying again. Have you ever realized that Paul never mentions Bethlehem. He never mentions the birth of Christ, or his earthly ministry, or miracles. Why? Because Paul only has one message, and that is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ. That’s the Gospel; and the very core of his whole message throughout all of his Epistles. And here he is referring to it again. For the preaching of the Cross… Do you see that? Not the preaching of Christ and His miracles.
I had an interesting conversation with a lady who called from our Denver audience. She had expressed how she enjoyed the program, and in the closing of our conversation, she made a statement like this: “After all, you have to go by what Jesus said.” I said, “Now, hold it just a minute. Be careful how you say that. You’ve got to realize that what Jesus said in His earthly ministry, He said to the Jew under the Law.” I could tell by the little stoppage in her voice that I had set her to thinking. When you go to the Epistles of Paul, he is revealing to us the very words of the same Jesus, but now from His glorified, ascended position as the resurrected Lord and Savior. Now that makes a big difference.
This is why Paul never refers back to Christ’s earthly ministry, but only to the resurrected Christ, where the power of God was made so evident so far as we are concerned. So he says,“the preaching of the cross is to them that perish (in other words, to those that just simply reject it and ridicule it and scorn it – because it’s to them)foolishness.” My, you know how many people try to say, “What has something that took place 2,000 years ago got to do with me today? Well, it’s got everything to do with us today because it’s the eternal God who was on that Cross. Now, let’s go on:
I Corinthians 1:18
“…but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
I want you to underline that word “power.” It’s the power of God. Just as sure as God opened the Red Sea by His power, God also exercises His power, not only in resurrecting Christ from the dead, but bringing us out of our deadness in sin and slavery to it. Then come on down to verse 24:
I Corinthians 1:24
“But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
So we have to rely upon that power. I’d like to have you come back to Ephesians. I said I’d try to keep it in order, so let’s go from Corinthians, through Galatians and into Ephesians, Chapter 1. We’re going to see almost all three aspects of these three steps in the redemption of Israel, right here in Ephesians Chapter 1. Paul again is writing to the Gentile believers in the area in which he had ministered throughout the book of Acts there in the western end of Asia Minor, what we know today as Turkey. And so to the Ephesians he writes in Chapter 1, verse 7:
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
When he says, “in whom,“Who is he referring to? – Christ. And that redemption spoken of here says that we have been bought back through His blood. I know a lot of people are repelled by that. I can’t help that. And as I said in earlier lessons, you have to understand that God in His Sovereign way of doing things, decided that it would be through the shed blood that He would be able to forgive sin and NO OTHER WAY. We just have to take that by faith. I have a personal idea why He chose the blood. Life is in the blood and you cannot have new life until death takes place, and life again comes out of that death of a previous life. That’s what the death, burial and resurrection is all about.
So God has mandated that there can be no salvation, no forgiveness, without the shedding of blood. So here it is. We have redemption through His blood and not only are we redeemed, but what else? We are forgiven.“The forgiveness of sins according to…” (what we deserve? No, that’s not what it says.) “…according to His grace.” His unmerited favor. We don’t deserve it. None of us deserve it, but it’s by His grace that He has seen fit to do it.
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
How many people are merely saved as a fire escape? I’m afraid too many times this is especially true when we have children saved. They just don’t want to go to hell. They want to go to Heaven. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But listen, we’re not just saved to escape hell. We’re not saved just to go to Heaven. We’re saved for what? To be to the praise of His glory in this life. Right now! This is why God has paid the price of our redemption, so that we can be to the praise of His glory, those of us who first trusted in Christ. We believed. It doesn’t say, “To you who are baptized and join a church.” It doesn’t say, “To you who have done good works.” It says, “To those who have praised Him and have brought Him glory.” Now let’s go on:
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
Watch the sequence here. He said, “…after that ye heard the word of truth…” How many times have I heard someone say, “Well, I have always been a Christian.” Have you ever heard that? Does that fit this? Were you a Christian before you heard the Word of Truth? Impossible! And so it always scares me when I hear this. I’ve had real close friends use that expression. Listen, was Israel always free? No! Israel had to come to the place where she recognized there is nothing she can do. She’s doomed. Until what? The power of God enters in, and that’s her escape. Now, it’s the same way with our salvation today, tonight or whenever. Every last one of us were separated from God. We were in the bondage of sin and we had to come to that place where the power of God enters in. Now, a verse just came to mind. I’m not through with Ephesians, but hold your finger there and we’ll come back to it. Turn with me a minute to Colossians, where the power of God is the only thing that can do it:
“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (who has prepared us)to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (God)hath (speaking in the past tense)delivered us from the power of darkness (out of slavery), and hath (past tense again)translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
Israel was in the darkness of slavery back there in Egypt, but what brought them out? The power of God! When he uses the word “hath,” which is past tense, it’s not speaking of something we’re working toward, nor hoping for; it’s something that we have right now. It just opened my eyes when someone asked me years ago, why heaven isn’t taught in the Old Testament. Why, the Jew had no concept of dying and going to heaven. Well, my answer to that of course, was that Israel was an earthly people with earthly promises, but we in the Age of Grace, are a heavenly people with heavenly promises. And so here we have it. Even though we’re here on the earth tonight, yet, where is our citizenship? It’s in heaven! We are already a heavenly people by the power of God. I don’t want to get away from that word. Now, let’s go back to Ephesians:
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
I’m emphasizing that because I’ve had so many people come up after I taught this little verse, and say this is the first time I have seen the order. There was no way I could have been saved as an infant. There is no way I could have been saved by something someone else did for me. I had to hear the Word the Truth. So remember neither could Israel move out of that slave experience except for the power of God. Now they are going to, by faith, walk through. We know that. But yet, God exerts his power while they could do nothing. And that is where you and I are. But we have to come to the place where we recognize our hopelessness. There is nothing you and I can do to get us out of that hopeless state of being lost in sin.
We want take time to look at the Gospel of your salvation but it is in I Corinthians 15:1-4 where Paul says that by his (Paul’s) Gospel “you are saved,” and that Gospel is,If you BELIEVE that Christ was crucified for our sins, He was buried, And He rose from the dead. That’s the Gospel. Now, implied of course in His death, is the shed blood; we can’t leave that out. But the Gospel is that body of truth, which I usually like to concentrate by saying the finished work of the Cross. The finished work of the Cross – that’s what opens our Red Sea that is out in front of us. That’s the work of the Cross that takes us away from the power of Satan. “After that you believed,” the rest of the verse says.
Again, I always like to point out the things that are not there. How many people would like to put it this way: in whom you also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, and were baptized, and joined the church and so on and so forth. Isn’t that right? But it isn’t in there. The Bible is so plain that our salvation comes by BELIEVING plus NOTHING! Because Christ has done it all. I told one of my classes the other night, and I shook up one lady for sure. She said, “Now Les, I’ve been baptized in such and such a way, but I just wanted to get to heaven.” Well that’s noble. Listen, you don’t get to heaven by being baptized. You get to heaven by Trusting and Believing the Gospel. All of these other things of course will follow in their rightful place. Do you see how plain it is? In whom also after that ye believed. And then what did God do? He sealed us, with that Holy Spirit of Promise. Then Paul goes on throughout all of his Epistles, that the moment we believe the Gospel we were saved, born again, and the Holy Spirit then indwells us, He empowers us, and He keeps us. Let’s look at just a few more verses. Again I want to take you back to the hopelessness of Israel. And the hopelessness of a lost person, figuratively speaking, as we are encamped on the shores of the Red Sea. Remember, all seems hopeless:
“And you (Paul says as he writes to believers)hath he quickened (are made alive), who were dead (we were on the other side of the Red Sea)in trespasses and sins. Now, look at verse 2 and 3. Isn’t that the exact picture of Israel in Egypt, and of you and I before we were saved?
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, (who’s that? Satan) the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we (what’s the next word?) all (none of us escaped this, we are all here)had our conversation (or manner of living)in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
That’s where we were. But, oh, look at those next two words. What are they? “But God…” Oh, don’t lose that. Paul doesn’t say, “But you,” or “But I,” But What? “But God.” Come right back to the Red Sea again. Here was Israel. “Stand still,” Moses says, “and see the salvation of God.” What’s he saying? Oh, it looks hopeless, there is nothing we can do. But God. And what’s God going to do? Open the Red Sea. And that’s exactly what He has done for us, and we walk through on dry ground. Not by anything we have done, or deserve, but all because of what Christ has done for us, and through us.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead (we were helpless, and hopeless) in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace are you saved;),” Let’s close with two choice verses most of you know.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; (plus anything else? NO)and that not of yourselves: it is the (what’s the next word?)gift (do you work for a gift? No, a gift is something that someone extends to you for really no reason. And there is nothing you can do to merit it.) of God:”
“Not of works (there was nothing Israel could do, and that’s where God wants us. To only trust the finished work of Christ on the Cross. That is what makes our escape possible.), lest any man should boast.”
by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick