Skip to content
Mar 12 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

March 11, 2018 – Exodus 7-9:12

“Let the Games Begin!”

Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Pharaoh will demand, ‘Show me a miracle.’ When he does this, say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent.’ ” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the LORD had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted Exodus 7:6-13

Intro: The first time I went to Israel was in October, 1973

Two exciting things happened while we were in Jerusalem
– Yom Kippur War broke out and Burt Lancaster was staying in our hotel
• he was there for the filming of a TV mini-series in which he played Moses
• when the film project debuted London, Lancaster spoke to an Atheists’ club
◦ he told them, “I can explain all the miracles in Exodus”
– this sort of thinking was almost inevitable at that time

Old Testament scholar, Waldemer Janzen, wrote, “From the seventeenth century and onward, the impact of modern science on the interpretation of the plagues has become increasingly prominent. Both liberals and conservatives associated the plagues with natural phenomena known from Egypt. Liberals used scientific explanation to remove from the biblical account as much of the miraculous as possible. Conservatives found in it support for the factuality of the biblical account.”

• of course, that doesn’t really solve the problem for conservatives
◦ if there are natural explanations for the plagues, then they were not miraculous
◦ if they weren’t miraculous, then that spoils the entire purpose and objective

When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD (Ex. 7:5)

• at any rate, some of us cannot help asking:
◦ “Did this really happen? Is there any historical evidence for it?”

I’m not going to try to solve this problem for you (if it is a problem)
– these issues no longer bother me like they once did
• I accept the Scriptures as sacred text – God-inspired
◦ and I do so because of Jesus — through him I see their importance
• the Bible is the story God wants to tell me
◦ the truth he wants to reveal to me
– I cannot shut off the critical thinking part of my brain,
• but I can suspend judgment as I read
• I can absorb what’s here with out solving all the background problems
◦ with that in mind, let’s return to Egypt

The showdown begins

The story of the plagues is told in cycles

read more…

Mar 5 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

March 4, 2018 – Exodus 6:2-30

God’s Reassurances

And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh–‘the LORD.’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai–‘God Almighty’–but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are not slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.” Exodus 6:2-5

Intro: This chapter breaks the flow of the story

The scene changes, the pace slows down and the camera moves in for a close-up
– we left Moses and Israel last week in a state of emergency
• the initial excitement over being rescued has evaporated
• instead of being freed, their oppression has been intensified
◦ Israel new-found hope is crushed and Moses is ready to walk away
– in spite of all this, God’s plan is still moving forward
(his enthusiasm and energy has not dwindled)
• but now we pause, so God can breathe life back into his people
• and from this break in the narrative we learn something
◦ namely, what our souls need when discouraged, run down, drained and oppressed

2-3 Yahweh reintroduces himself to Moses

This is a repeat of what Moses learned at Sinai, but with important additions
(this encounter also has a more intimate feel to it)
I am Yahweh – this formal introduction was widely used when delivering a message
• it is frequently the way a royal proclamation began

I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval (Ge. 41:44)

• God used this form in a message to Abraham

I am El-Shaddai—“God Almighty.” Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will a covenant with you . . . . (Ge. 17:1-2)

– the storyteller gives us a clue that this statement is important
• it is repeated at end of v. 8, enclosing God’s entire speech
◦ a literary device that marks a text, setting it apart from what came before and what follows
◦ it is like drawing a line or box around these verses
• in this way, the storyteller highlights a theme
◦ the theme here is the fact that it is God who speaks

It is interesting to me that God kept his name from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
– El-Shaddai is a title, not a name – Abraham learned several titles for God
• these titles were revelations of God, but they were not names
• what is the significance of God revealing his name?
◦ he is a Someone, not a something–e.g., a “dark, impersonal power”
◦ he is accessible; the people of Israel can call on him
◦ it is possible for humans to be in a relationship with him
(in fact, this is what will come next)

The Old Testament scholar, Walther Eichrodt wrote, “. . . proclamation of the divine Name was treasured as an act whereby God himself came forth from his secret place and offered himself in fellowship . . . .” People were eager to use his name whenever they “wished to be assured of his nearness and the reality of his [support].”

Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
but we boast in the name of [Yahweh] our God (Ps. 20:7)
The name of [Yahweh] is a strong fortress;
the godly run to him and are safe (Pr. 18:10)

– it is apparent in Israel’s worship and prayers that,
• God’s people were aware of encountering him in his name
◦ it was how he made himself present to them
◦ and it was what they used to return to him
• prayer is more focused when you can address God by name

Do you remember what Yahweh means? “I am” (Ex. 3:14-15)

read more…

Feb 26 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

February 25, 2018 – Exodus Chapter 5-6:1

Echoes of Our Past

After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.”
“Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.”
But Aaron an Moses persisted, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us,” they declared. “So let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can offer sacrifices to the LORD our God. If we don’t, he will kill us with a plague or with the sword.”
Pharaoh replied, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.”
 Exodus 5:1-5

Intro: I assume we have all heard of Billy Graham’s passing this last Wednesday

Two of his most famous quotes defined Evangelical Christianity
(at least in North America)
“A personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior”
– this is what he urged people to do at his crusades
• to leave their seats, come to the stage, and say a prayer

Last Sunday, Steve Gumaer told us that saying a prayer does not define salvation
– Billy Graham would have agreed with Steve
• in fact, Dr. Graham said:

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

– the book of Exodus is the perfect place to deepen our understanding of salvation
• of that “daily process” of transformation
• however, the story we find ourselves in today doesn’t look like salvation

1-5 Moses and Aaron have their first audience with Pharaoh

In the message they delivered, they made slight modifications in the script they were given
– it was reasonable for Pharaoh to ask, Who is Yahweh?
• if Moses had just learned God’s name, we cannot expect Pharaoh to have known it
◦ Egypt had its own plethora of deities
◦ the Pharaoh himself was considered a deity
• I imagine Pharaoh thinking:
“Now these Israelites are inventing new gods just to get a few days off.”
– why should Pharaoh concern himself with Israel’s God?
• if the best he could produce was a slave people,
◦ then he must be a weak god – a minor deity
• Pharaoh felt no threat in defying Yahweh

Moses and Aaron immediately changed their tune
– instead of demanding they began begging
• now they ask, “Please”

(the New Living Translation left out the “Please” in verse 3, but the same Hebrew construction is used in 4:18 where Moses asked his father-in-law, “Please let me return,” only here it is, “Please let us go”)

– now they do not refer to Yahweh, the God of Israel, but Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews
• this is how God told them to refer to him (Ex. 3:18)
◦ “Yahweh” and “Israel” are specific–Yahweh a specific God, Israel as specific people
◦ “God” and “the Hebrews” are general terms
(Israelites were a subclass of the the Hebrew ethnic category)
• there was a reason for referring to Yahweh as the God of the Hebrews
◦ it was a way for Israel to talk about God that Gentiles would understand
◦ it is not unlike the way both Melchizidek and Abraham could refer to Yahweh as God Most High (Gen. 14:19-20 & 27)

He will kill us – God did not say this and it sounds rather dramatic
– but after Moses’ recent experience on his way to Egypt, it seemed like a credible possibility (Ex. 4:24-26)
– Pharaoh, however, had nothing more to say about their God
• his only concern was his slaves and their productivity

6-9 Pharaoh imposed a new policy on Egypt’s workforce

He obviously failed to consult an industrial organizational psychologist
– nor was he worried about “improving morale” or “job satisfaction”
• either Pharaoh did not believe Moses or he did not take him seriously
• he drew his own conclusion for why they petitioned for a holiday in the desert:
They are lazy
◦ now doesn’t that sound exactly like some of our old bosses?

read more…

Feb 15 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

February 11, 2018 – Exodus 4:18-31

Return to Egypt

So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,” Moses said. “I don’t even know if they are still alive.” “Go in peace,” Jethro replied.
Before Moses left Midian, the LORD said to him, “Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.”
So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God. Exodus 4:18-20

Intro: Two warnings before we jump into this passage:

First, the sequence of events is jumbled
– perhaps the storyteller squeezes all of it together to create an effect
• biblical authors were not restricted to reporting events in linear time
◦ their narrative does not always go “this, then this, then this”
◦ historical cause and effect was not a rule they felt bound to follow
• their concern was to make a point, bring out an insight,
◦ or to reveal, highlight or illustrate a truth
◦ so we are looking for the truth that is the truth revealed in this passage

Second, embedded in this passage is perhaps the most confusing story in the Bible
– that’s all I’ll say about it for now
– at any rate, God is greater than the stories in scripture can communicate
• I love the stories, but they are here to get us to God
• if we get stuck in the story, we are not allowing it to do its job

Going through these verses will be like turning pages in a photo album
– we thumb through six photographs and each one tells a story
• Moses appears in each of them with someone else
• five of these encounters are positive, only one is negative

18 The first positive encounter: Moses and his father-in-law

Moses wanted Jethro’s permission to return to Egypt
– the reason he gives is to see if any of his people are still alive
• however, he said nothing about the burning bush, and we do not know why not
• I have thoughts about that, but none of them are worth our time
– Jethro gave Moses his blessing, Go in peace
• this peace (shalom) refers specifically to what existed between them
• it did not guarantee a peaceful journey or what he’d find when he reached his destination

19-20 The second positive encounter: Moses and Yahweh

This is a footnote to catch us up on local Egyptian news
– the message was intended to give Moses reassurance
• he had not left Egypt on the best of terms
• God let him know he did not have to worry re: prior issues
– so now Moses has everything packed
• with his staff in his hand and his sons in their donkey seats, they hit the road
◦ only now the staff he carried is referred to as the staff of God
◦ it’s still a stick, but now it belongs to God
• when Jacob was old, and blessing is twelve sons, we’re told he leaned on his staff (He. 11:21)
◦ I think that’s what the staff was for Moses
◦ something to lean on, something to prop him up
(or prop up his faith and confidence)

21-23 The third positive encounter: Moses and Yahweh

read more…

Feb 5 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

February 4, 2017 – Exodus 4:1-17

The Preacher In Me

(My intention with this message was to continue teaching through the Book of Exodus. However, three verses we will come to are so tantalizing that I could not resist the preacher’s urge to elaborate and load more meaning into them than they were originally meant to communicate. Here in my notes, I will give you fair warning when I go off on my cherished tangents.)

But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you’?”
Then the LORD asked him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied.
“Throw it down on the ground,” the LORD told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.
Then the LORD told him, “Reach out, and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out, and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand.
“Perform this sign,” the LORD told him. “Then they will believe that the LORD, the God of their ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—really has appeared to you.”
 Exodus 4:1-5

Intro: We pick up where we left off last week

God is recruiting Moses for his life’s mission and Moses is trying to dodge it
– the two most serious issues have been settled already:
• who is Moses?
◦ God’s answer was (basically), That is irrelevant for now
◦ Moses will discover his true self by doing God’s will
• who is (this) God? the answer is, Yahweh, the eternal “I AM”
◦ the One who is everywhere and always present to his people
– but Moses isn’t ready to move out just yet
• he is still raising objections

1-5 Moses is doubtful everything will go as God has said

This is, in fact, the theme of this chapter
– it begins with, What if they don’t believe?
– it ends with, Then the people of Israel believed

God had just told Moses, the elders would listen to his voice (3:18, literal)
– but Moses questions that assertion and asks, Well perhaps, but what if they don’t?
• I hope this sounds familiar – we are all pretty good at doing this
◦ for instance, if I do not want to face a particular challenge, I play the “what if” game
◦ what if it doesn’t work? what if something breaks? what if no one shows up?
• our brains can crank out failure scenarios all day
– literally, Moses asks, What if they will not listen to my voice?
• “voice” is a key word

God will repeat this word three times in his response to Moses:
If they do not believe you and pay attention to your voice . . .
they will believe in your voice . . .
And if they don’t believe you or listen to your voice . . . (vv. 8-9)

◦ the voice is what carries communication
◦ a message, information, a question, a command, etc.
• in his next objection, Moses will make speech deficiencies an issue
◦ for a voice to be heard and followed, it must carry weight

In answer to Moses’ question, God asks him, What is that in your hand?
– it was his shepherd’s staff; an object so common no one would need ask
• but God intends to do something with it that Moses would’ve never guessed
• Moses did not need new and spectacular resources
◦ all that he needed was already in his hand
Throw it down
• Moses did not have to understand why God told him to do that
◦ we have introduced a complication into obeying Jesus
• we feel we must understand what God is doing before we comply
◦ “How is that going to work?”
◦ waiting to act until God forces an explanation through our brains limits what he can do with us (Mk. 6:5)
(By the way, if you ever have to pick up a snake, don’t grab its tail!)
– God assures Moses that the people would then believe the voice of the sign

The preacher in me cannot help but hear a whole sermon in the question, “What’s in your hand?” Almost everyone in scripture that God called into his service felt that they were inadequate to the task. They were unknown, came from a humble background, were not good (holy) enough, or old enough, lacked the experience, and on and on. It did not occur to them that God, who created something out of nothing, was able to amplify anything they had on hand. When Jesus told his disciples he wanted to feed a large crowd, they asked How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness? Jesus then asked them, How much bread do you have? He then took the seven loaves and did the impossible (Mk. 8:1-9). Do you see what I am getting at? A whole sermon that keeps repeating the theme, “What’s in your hand?” Because God is able to use whatever is in your hand.

read more…

Jan 29 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

January 28, 2018 – Exodus Chapter 3

God Encounter — Part 1

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
“Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:1-6

Intro: In the Book of Exodus, Moses has two extended dialogues with God

And both are radiant with profound revelations of God

  1. The first is here in chapters 3-4:17
  2. The second is found in chapters 32-34
    With Moses, we have a vivid experience of God

– personally speaking, I do not find abstract theology compelling
• it’s true that the Bible is packed with theology
◦ but for the most part it is communicated through story
◦ God revealed himself in dynamic encounters with his people
• truth is first experienced then, perhaps, digested with mind
◦ its essence is not philosophical, but relational

In The Varieties of Religious Experience, America’s brilliant philosopher/physician/psychologist, William James wrote, “What keeps religion going is something else than abstract definitions and systems of concatenated adjectives, and something different from faculties of theology and their professors. All these things are after-effects, secondary accretions upon those phenomena of vital conversation with the unseen divine . . . .”  “In the religious sphere, in particular, belief that formulas are true can never wholly take the place of personal experience.”

– as important as it is that we can identify and articulate our beliefs,
• knowing theological concepts is never as important as knowing God
• and knowing him in the firsthand experience of our encounters with him

This first dialogue is critical because it raises important questions
• the remainder of Exodus provides the answers to:
◦ who is Moses?
◦ Who is this God?
◦ Who are God’s people and what defines them as such?
◦ What is God’s overarching purpose?

1-7 Moses, grandson of Pharaoh, has achieved the status of a shepherd

The first sentence is one of those that make you back up
– there’s some confusion regarding Jethro’s identity
(his name given in ch. 2 was Reuel, which might cause us to wonder whether this is the same person)
• not only that, Hebrew text does not say Sinai, but Horeb
(cf. Ex. 17:6; Deut. 1:6, etc. — this might make us wonder if this is another mountain or another name for Sinai)
◦ both the man and the mountain have two names
◦ and both have titles:
Jethro, the priest of Midian
Sinai [Horeb], the mountain of God
• we have to re-read chapter 2 and research elsewhere to work this out
◦ the mix-up (if that’s what it is) has us thinking about names and identities
◦ we are being prepared for the encounter
– we’re also told that Moses led Jethro’s flock far into the wilderness
• literally, behind the desert (the King James Version as backside of the desert)
◦ it is an odd geographical reference
• perhaps it is an indication of geographical space that was “spooky”
◦ moreover, it is the mountain of God, before anything ever happened there
◦ were there already local legends about the sacredness of this place?

Moses saw something uncanny – something that made no sense
– Hebrew, “he saw and LOOK!” or “Behold”
• we’re supposed to visualize what the storyteller points out
• on the mountainside he saw a fire that burned, but did not consume
◦ had to take a closer look, but approaching it, he was warned not to come closer
– this scene illustrates an experience of the sacred
• it is all mystery — an exposure to the supernatural
◦ how did Moses respond? With reverence
he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God

God’s call from the flames and Moses’ response tells me something about prayer

read more…

Jan 26 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

January 21, 2018 – Exodus Chapter 2

Safe and Sound

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from among the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you? Exodus 2:1-7

Intro: In chapter 1, we saw how severe discomfort forces us to change

Here, in chapter 2, we see how comfort tempts us to settle in
– the plot in today’s episode is keeping Moses alive
• suspense is raised at his birth and resolved three months later
• then, in his early adulthood, suspense rises when his life is again in jeopardy
◦ it is resolved when Moses finds a home in the Sinai Peninsula and settles down

1-4 Pharaoh’s command (the baby should have been thrown into the Nile)

Later on, we’ll learn the names of Moses’ parents
– but for now, they remain anonymous — they are “stock characters”
• the storyteller wants to focus our attention on the baby
• it is not difficult to imagine what went through the mother’s heart
◦ beautiful (Hebrew, tov): good, healthy, put together well–a keeper
– so she gathered papyrus from Nile, wove a basket and waterproofed it
• KJV “ark” same word as Noah’s boat and later on the Ark of the Covenant
◦ a box or chest – the items placed in each ark were precious
◦ the purpose of placing items (persons) inside was to preserve them
• “technically,” she did place her baby in the Nile
◦ we learn that the baby had an older sister who stuck around
◦ for the time being, the baby is relatively safe floating in the reeds

We’re still at beginning of story and two interesting developments emerge:

  1. the conflicts that drive the plot are caused by men
  2. the heroes who resolve the plot’s tension are all women
    • beginning with the midwives in chapter 1
    • now Moses’ mother, his sister and soon . . .

5-10 Of all people, it was Pharaoh’s daughter who discovered the baby

She came with her entourage of maidens to bathe in the Nile
– in every other instance of bathe in Exodus, it refers to a ritual purification
• Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the small basket stuck in the reeds
◦ she sent one of her servants to fetch it
◦ when she removed lid, the baby cried
– she recognized this as one of the Hebrew’s children
(who else would have risked setting their baby adrift in the Nile?)
• right then, Moses’ sister appeared and volunteered to find a Hebrew wet nurse
◦ Pharaoh’s daughter gave a one word answer, Go!
◦ not a negotiation, but a command
• the girl ran off and came back with her mother
◦ so Moses’ mother was paid to nurse and raise her own son

The child grew – this is another way to say, “Time passed”
– but we notice the passing of time without our attention moving from the child
• the storyteller uses the same device in verse 11, where the child is suddenly an adult
• we have not witnessed forty years pass,
◦ we have witnessed the child grow into adulthood by stages

read more…

Jan 16 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

January 14, 2018 -Exodus Chapter 1

Thorns In the Nest

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.”
So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out, so that they were in dread of the sons of Israel. Exodus 1:8-12

Intro: Recently, an idea has been nagging at me

Namely, that I should be taking you through the Old Testament (maybe not the whole thing)
– the New Testament (NT) presents itself as a continuation of the Old Testament (OT)
• there are parts of NT we cannot understand with out OT (e.g., the Book of Hebrews)
• besides that, there is the explicit statement of Jesus

. . . all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled (Lk. 24:44)

– one meaning of fulfilled is that predictions regarding the Messiah found fulfillment in him
• but there is another meaning: to bring something to fullness, to completion
◦ to actualize its latent potential

As Jonathan Pennington observes, the gospels “explicitly connect the events of Jesus’s life to the ‘fulfillment’ of the Scriptures. This at times refers to ‘fulfillment’ in the sense of prophecy completed but more often means rather that Jesus deepens, explains, fills out, and reveals the true intent.”

• there is an orientation and richness we lose in the NT without the OT

When it comes to the OT, Most of us have been exposed to wrong ideas or poor teaching

A wrong idea: God is presented differently in OT than NT
• for example: the angry deity of the OT through Jesus became a loving Father
Poor teaching: This usually results from a lack of appreciation for what the OT is in itself
• some Bible teachers try to find Jesus in every verse of OT
◦ so they read him into the OT or make superficial connections between the old and new
◦ what they produce adds nothing to our understanding of OT or NT

How does the NT identify itself with the OT? In 3 primary ways:

  1. With texts – direct quotations
    This was to fulfill what was spoken . . . (Mt. 4:14)
    Abraham believed God, and it was credited . . . (Ro. 4:3)
  2. With types – Gal. 4:24, “allegory”; He. 11:19, “type”
  3. With copies and shadows and symbols
    – the physical sanctuary and its worship were modeled according to a spiritual pattern
    . . . who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things (He. 8:5; 9:9, 23, 24; 10:1)

– we can draw straight line from these examples to the OT
• but there is also an indirect relationship between the New and Old Testaments
◦ this is easy to understand if you think of a road in relation to a destination
• the OT is the road that takes us to our destination in Jesus

The Bible tells a story

The Bible is not (as many assume) a book of religious rules and doctrines
– its setting is always in real life and involves real people
• so what is the grand story of scripture about?”
• theologians tell us, “Redemption,” that it is a record of “salvation history”
◦ although this became popular in the 20th century,
◦ 300 years earlier, someone else had discerned the same overarching story

read more…

Jan 11 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

January 7, 2018 – 1 Corinthians 11:23-31

First Supper of the New Year

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:23-31

Intro: I had a hard time pulling myself together this morning

I’ll just say, yesterday was tough – lingering emotional residue from yesterday
– stumbling around in the dark, my first thought was that I did not want to be here
• that I’d rather find a quiet spot near the ocean
• and just sit with Jesus for awhile
◦ that I could really use his company and his strength and wisdom
– but when my brain started waking up,
• I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be and needed to be

Paul was not with Jesus and his disciples for that last supper
– he heard the story from the apostles who were there
• so he observed Communion the same way we do
• as a ritual re-enactment of that hour in the upper room
– Paul fully understood (and felt) the sacredness of Communion
• and he gave specific instructions to treat it with reverence
• as strong as his words sound to us, this is not a warning to back away
◦ it is an invitation to come, to eat and to drink
◦ but to do it with full awareness and receive its full value

To observe Communion with reverence is to discern the embodied presence of Jesus
– the Lord’s Supper celebrates our union with God
• a (common)union we enjoy with undying gratitude

Let me remind you of the Bible story that defines Reflexion

The Sunday following Jesus’ crucifixion,
– two disciples were on the road going away from Jerusalem
• however, they could not leave behind what happened there
◦ I imagine their feverish conversation as they tried to make sense of Jesus’ death
• as they walked together, another traveler approached them, perhaps from a side road
◦ it was Jesus who joined them, but they did not recognize him

Jesus: “Listening to your voices, it sounds like an intense conversation. What are you guys discussing?”
One of the disciples: “You must be only visitor to Jerusalem who knows nothing of the things that have happened there these last few days”
Jesus (innocently): “What things?”
They ran through the brief history they had with Jesus, describing him as a mighty prophet and the hope they had placed in him, but how it all collapsed when he was arrested, tried and crucified. They also mentioned the news brought to them by the women who were at the tomb early that morning, but it is apparent that they really did not know what to make of that.
Jesus: “ ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures’ ” (Lk. 24:25-27)
Arriving at their destination, it looked as though Jesus was going to continue his journey, but turning to him they begged him, “Please stay.”
When dinner was served, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight (Lk. 24:31)
Immediately they ran back to Jerusalem, where they reported their encounter with Jesus to the apostles and explained how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread (Lk. 24:35)

read more…

Jan 2 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

December 31, 2017 – Matthew 7:24-27

Now What?

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall 
 Matthew 7:24-27

Intro: We have some unfinished business before exiting 2017

We have come to the end of the Sermon On the Mount
– the question raised in this last lesson is, What will we do with the Sermon?
• Jesus says, “Build something on it. Construct a life”
• by the way, it’s never too late to do this
– Jesus presents two options, using a recognizable pattern
• namely, contrasting characters in the Old Testament wisdom writings

A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
But a fool is arrogant and careless (Pr. 14:16)

The pattern goes something like this:
1. Observe the behavior of the wise and foolish (or righteous and wicked, etc.)
2. Pay attention to how it turns out for each of them
3. Then decide which one of the the two paths you will take

• the pattern works, because it simplifies the nature of our choices
◦ the smart choice is to build our lives on this foundation

But here we run into a snag
– the pattern appears as simple logic – like working out a math problem
• typically, preachers and Bible teachers feel their work is done for them
• they merely reiterate what Jesus said and tell us,
“So lay your foundation on Jesus’ teaching!”
◦ and it would be just that easy–if we were calculators and not people
– what we are not told is how much work this takes,
• or how long it takes, or even how to do such a thing
• I hope to offer you some help with that part
◦ it is, in fact, what Jesus’ entire Sermon has been doing for us
◦ taking apart the old religious foundation and constructing a new one

24-25, Responding to the whole Sermon all at once

. . . these words of Mine
In this sentence, “Mine” is emphatic!
– the words are important because they are his
• it will be the authority of his teaching that amazes the crowd afterward (vv. 28-29)
• Jesus has given us a lot of information

read more…