2nd Corinthians 3:7-18
Second Corinthians chapter three is where we’re going to be today. And this is we’re picking up where we left off last week because Paul, in this moment, he’s contrasting what we have in the gospel verse, any other religious system the world might give to us. And when I say religious system, I don’t just mean it has to be branded by a religion.
I’m saying really anything in the world that the world tries to present to you as a message to find your worth, identity, meaning and value apart from the Lord, is a religious system. It may not be labeled a religious system, but it operates like a religious system. And the reason I want to contrast those two views is because God made you, God made you, and the real place for you to find your identity worth, value and meaning is not in any religious system or any world message. It’s in the Lord.
And as your heart is aligned with the Lord, you find your identity and the purpose for which you were created. And it gives us a confidence in how we walk in this world. And Second Corinthians Chapter three The the church is being pressured by the world at its time to conform to a particular message and to be able to accept it in our world does the same thing today. It may not be labeled under religious systems like you might find in the Old Testament. Paul specifically here, he’s in reference to the Old Covenant, the Old Testament in Paul’s ministry.
He’d go around and and he would preach the message of Christ. And what often happened to him is in behind him, Jewish religious leaders would follow and they would say to the people of the church, Well, Paul kind of delivered you a message of Jesus, but to really follow Jesus, you still have to embrace the Old Testament law, the Old Testament system of worship. And Paul is helping them understand that what they have in Jesus is far different than that. And far, far more important, the gospel is this message of deliverance for all of us.
In fact, I would say to you today, in terms for us to consider it and think about it, if you’re here today because you realize in your life you need to get closer to the Lord, I’m going to tell you our message is not for you to find a better you. That is not we’re not here to take good people and make them better people. That is that is not our message. Our message is to help you find the end of yourself so that you can walk in a journey with Jesus. This is not an invitation for you to call God to to meet you on your journey. This is an invitation for you to meet God on his journey. God has invited you into relationship with Him for you to understand the purpose He has created you.
We don’t define that within ourselves. This is not about us becoming a better us. We want you to be great people in this world. Don’t get me wrong. But. But this is about you finding the end of you so you can finally experience for the reason for which God has created you in Him. This is about being able to let go of your self and find something completely different. And this is extremely important, not not just where Paul is, but for us today, because in our world we can see people looking for some avenue in life to to tell them they’re important, to help them feel loved. And the world will deliver all sorts of messages.
When we talk about religion, that’s what religion is. Religion is giving the system of rules for you to conform yourself to so that that system might help you to attribute some more value meaning to your life. But Paul is making the argument that when you embrace those religious systems, that in the end what you discover is it makes you bankrupt. What you need is something completely different. And that’s what Jesus has given you in his presence. And so Paul is looking at a church, being pressured by the systems of the world. In order to encourage them to continue on the path and embracing what they have in Christ to the Gospel. In fact, at the end of of second Corinthians chapter three, we left off last week in verse six, Paul said it like this.
He said, Who has made us sufficient to be ministers of the New Covenant? That’s the New Testament. What we have in the Gospel, not the letter, but of the spirit for the letter kills. Talking about the religious law of the Old Testament, the letter kills, but excuse me, the spirit gives life. And that’s what the church is called to live in. That’s what he wants to see of of the church in Corinth. And that’s Paul’s hope for really the church in general. And I would say it’s the Lord’s hope for us today. To not revert back to some system that might falsely claim that it can show us worth value, meaning, purpose, but. But to walk in light of what Jesus has delivered for us in Him. And Paul contrasts that then through through the idea of the law versus what we have in the spirit, because the spirit sets us free. And that’s the title of today’s message through the Spirit I have in Paul’s going to list out for us in these verses a few things to focus on that that contrast the difference of the religious way of thinking for through what we have really in the Gospel, through the power of God’s spirit as He’s made known in our lives. And so point number one in your notes is this.
You have a greater glory. You have a greater glory. Now I know just left into itself. That might sound a little bit like an arrogant statement that through the spirit, what do we have? We have a greater glorious. If you show up to the rest of the world and their marriage or marriage, their message. Excuse me. It might sound a little insulting. Maybe it’s kind of like a marriage religiously, I don’t know. But it might sound a little a little insulting to say, look, you’ve got glory, but I’ve got greater glory. You’re like the 1.0 version on the 2.0 verse. Right? And I want you to know that’s that’s not what this passage is saying. It’s not talking about your glory at all. Right?
This is not saying this is you and you’re better than everyone else. That’s not the message of this glory. What it’s talking about is God’s glory and your opportunity to experience that. And He’s realizing in this religious system there’s this struggle that they can never overcome. But because of what you have to the Spirit of God, there is this freedom. Which is why I said to you in the beginning, when we talk about what God is inviting us to as a church, it’s not to become a better you. It’s not looking for God to invite Him on your journey. It’s to abandon you and embrace what you have in Jesus and to walk with God on his journey, his story, what he desires to do in your life.
It’s not catching got up to you. It’s you coming to him. It’s surrendering your life in him. It’s not. It’s not your glory. It’s his his glory made known in your life. And this is this is what Paul starts off with in this this story. He says in second Corinthians chapter, chapter three, verse seven, it goes Now, if the Ministry of Death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses face because of its glory, which was being poured to an end. Well, not the Ministry of the Spirit have even more glory upon his mind. He’s he’s going back to the story of really the old covenant in the new company.
He’s helping us understand the difference between the Old Testament and New Testament. The word testament. Another word for Testament is covenant. If you ever pick up your Bible and you’re like, What is this difference between Old Covenant and New Covenant? I don’t understand. You read Old Covenant, you’re like, This is angry. God, you read New Covenant. You’re like, This is this is gracious God, I like New Covenant. God, I don’t like old covenant God. Well, Paul, Paul, on this this passage, he’s helping us understand what what that contrast is and how we see God in light of the old covenant, new covenant, why we might portray God as angry God sometimes in the old covenant versus the new covenant.
And by the way, old covenant. New Covenant. It’s the same God, right? There’s not there’s not a difference in God between old covenant and New Covenant. There’s just a distinction to be made between what’s happening in these old covenants and when when Paul wants us to understand what’s taking place between Old Covenant and New Covenant, he goes back to Moses, and the reason he goes back to Moses is because Moses was given the law. And when Moses was given the law, the law is what was used to establish the old covenant in the Old Testament. The Jews were given 613 Commandments to follow 613. I can’t remember like ten things I can even remember 613 Things to to recall break one you know, it could be over for you, but they had 613 and that was the the old covenant. God gave that to to them directly. And what what Paul is most specifically recalling, I would say is Xs chapter 32 to verse 34, Exodus Chapter 32 is when Moses goes up on Mount Sinai and he gets a little something called the Ten Commandments, right? These, these couple stones. And he comes back down with the Ten Commandments, Exodus 32. And when he comes back down, he sees Israel worshipping false idols. And Moses, he’s frustrated by this because he just left and said, If you could just do me a favor while I’m on this mountain, don’t worship false idols.
And then he’s gone for 5 minutes, a little bit longer than that. But he comes back and when he comes back, he’s there breaking the laws. He just said, don’t do. And Moses takes the commandments and he breaks them. He breaks them. He’s frustrated. But also at the same time, to then turn and read these Ten Commandments would be condemnation on Israel, because the first rule of the Ten Commandments is don’t worship false idols. Right? And yet Israel is doing that. And then at the end of chapter 32, it tells us that that Moses intercedes for Israel because God’s like, I’m done, I’m going to just wipe them out, right? Because you just told them not to do this. They did this. You came on the mountain, you come back and they’ve already broken the rules and Moses intercedes for them. Chapter 33 tells us.
Then Moses sees the presence of God as he hides in the cleft of rock. God’s presence passes by Him. And then Chapter 34, he goes back up into the mountain again and God gives Him the Ten Commandments, and he comes back down and He delivers this to the people. And when he comes back down, Moses is said to have been directly in the presence of God, and as He is in the presence of God, his face begins to glow and radiate from God’s presence to the point that when He leaves and returns, he covers his face with a veil.
I think Moses does this and it’s a little bit speculative, but I think Moses does this for a couple of reasons. One, because when Moses leaves God’s presence, he covers his face with the veil, because as soon as he leaves God’s presence, that that glory starts. To fade. And he doesn’t want Israel to see the fading glory of God, but to think about the great glory of God always and second, when Moses, having been in God’s presence, comes back down to central Israel, who just breaks the commandments as soon as they’re told. It could be direct condemnation of them to the point that it could lead to judgment and even death.
And so while God’s presence radiates on Moses’s face, there is a veil before Israel and and what God’s presence is to them. And Paul is saying, look, the old covenant certainly had glory. It did. It had glory because in the old covenant you still learn about the holiness and character of God. You get to know about God through the old covenant. His perfection. Who he is. What He’s about. And so there’s glory in that. But that glory fades. And what you have then in the New Covenant and the New Testament, because of what the Lord has done for you as an even greater glory.
So Paul is asking the church the question Why would you then, after what you have in Jesus, want to go back to the old covenant of a fading glory with what you have in Christ, which is even greater glory. And so when we read that thought, we should then ask the question, Well, why is it a greater glory, right? What is it that we have? Because if this is the message that I’m embracing, I want to know what that glory is. And if this message is so beneficial for everyone else, I need to understand it so I can explain it to my friends and family. I need them to find their identity because I know they’re hurting and I know they’re trying to find their worth and value meaning and all these broken things in the world.
And I know temporarily they might find some satisfaction, but ultimately, ultimately, it always leads to the same road. And quite honestly, having walked that road. I find very quickly, I just get tired of me. Because the point of walking that path apart from the Lord, it’s all about looking deeper within me and how I perform. And at the end of the day, I’m just not that impressive. But the gospel is something totally different and far more glorious. So the question is how? How do we understand that? What is that glory? What makes it so much greater? And he tells us in verse nine, for if there was glory in the Ministry of Condemnation, the Ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.
Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all because of the glory that surpasses it. I hope that you see the theme of certainly this section of Scripture is glory, right? Over and over. He’s saying this word. Glory, glory, glory. And there’s glory in the Old Testament, but there’s far greater glory through the New Testament. And the way He helps us think about this glory, he tells us in verse nine, The old Covenant was a ministry of condemnation. But in the New Covenant. In the New Covenant is a ministry of righteousness. That’s what he says in verse nine. So if you want to think in terms of what makes this glory so great, you can even circle those words, this idea of this ministry of condemnation and this ministry of righteousness. So what does it mean? Well, in the old covenant 613 laws, do you know why 613 laws existed? Not to tell you how great you were, but to tell you when you messed up. That’s it. 613 rules. I mean, you wake up, start breathing, you’ve probably already broken one, right? That’s a lot of rules. That’s not there to set you free. That’s there to show you where you fail. That’s not a great thing to embrace at all. Paul’s look at the church saying, Why would you embrace this religion and why would you say things as long as you’re good, that’s all that matters.
When you see God’s standard of good, you can’t even live up to this. It is not as long as you’re good. That’s all that matters, because there’s no freedom in that you will fail. We’re talking about Holy God, it’s a ministry of condemnation. You certainly see the glory of God in this. You see the glory of God in this because it reveals the character of God. It’s a beautiful thing to know who God, who God is, but it’s not free. What you need is to be set free. Where you find that is the ministry of of righteousness. To know that you failed is not a fix. But you need to find the solution. What will make you right? It’s kind of like like this. If I just maybe compared Old Testament. New Testament, this is probably a crude illustration. But you ever have a car acting up? You know, you’re thinking, I hear a noise. I have no clue what this noise is, but I hear a noise. Your first thought is, I need to find an expert that can tell me what noise I hear in my car. Right. You’ve got to get a diagnosis. But after you get a diagnosis, you then need someone to fix it. Right? And hopefully COVID didn’t delay the deliverance of your part.
But but you need to get it. You need to get it fixed. And so there’s two ways of looking at this old covenant and new covenant. The old covenant doesn’t fix you. It just gives you the diagnosis of the problem. You think even within our world and whatever religious system people operate, they get this system of rules and they try to live up to these rules. All they discover within this rules is, is that there is a problem. And no matter how hard they try, they just can’t get rid of that problem. But they need a fix. You need a mechanic to correct it, right? And it’s the same thing for us spiritually that you can live in this religious system and perform and perform and perform. But no matter how much you perform, you still find out that you fail. No matter how much you say today, it’s going to be different, right? I’m going to be perfect finally. Before. The end of the day, you fall flat on your face. You don’t need someone to just evaluate, provide a diagnosis. You need healing. And he made righteous and this is what Paul is saying. This is the new covenant. What’s broken is restored and Christ. This is what we get in the Lord. In fact, I share with you in Galatians three last week some of those passages, but let me show you a few in Romans that talks about the same thing in Romans chapter two.
Paul’s making the argument for for the Jews who would say the law makes us righteous. He says this in verse 21 While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You say that one must not commit adultery. Do you commit adultery? You abhor idols. Do you rob temples? You boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For as it is written, the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. That’s a very condemning last verse, isn’t it, to think people might look at you and use that way that you display yourself to reflect upon God? They’re saying, he’s saying to the Jewish people, you claim to obey the laws. People can see that you don’t obey the laws and they think less of your God because of you. Laws aren’t the answer. The argument Paul is making here. But then he goes on in Romans three, verse 19, says this. Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, meaning those that say, as long as you’re good, that’s all that matters who are under the law so that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be held accountable to God for by the works of the law. No human being will be justified in the sight of God, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin. People saying, do you want to know what the purpose of the law is? It’s not to set you free.
He’s saying the purpose of laws to stop your mouth before God and realized that you’re accountable. You’re accountable before a holy God. And no matter how much you try to perform. That’s not freedom. James. Chapter two, verse ten says it like this If you try to fulfill all the law and yet falter in one point, you’re guilty of all of it. That’s not freedom. You may see the glory of God in it because the character of God is there. The wholeness of God is there. But your soul is only condemned. Not found. Righteous. But then he goes on from that and says this in verse 11, he says, First, what was being brought to an end came with glory. Much more. Well, what is permanent? Have glory. It’s Paul saying, look, the old covenant as good as it was, which it was good. God’s hand was there literally because he wrote the Ten Commandments that way. It was only intended to be temporary. It was only temporary for life. But what he did in the New Covenant was intended to last forever. So when you think in terms of what’s a greater glory, this word permanent is another important word to think about. Like what you have in Jesus, you have forever and always. This is what makes it a greater a greater glory for your life.
In fact, in Jeremiah 31, the old Covenant, realizing that we as people struggle to fulfill it. Jeremiah, 31, then gave Israel this promise. Israel trying to live up 613 commandments. They kept saying, We’re trying, right, but we cannot do this. We fail. Like no matter how much we try. How are we going to escape this? We feel like we’re only going to be judged. And Jeremiah 31, this is one of several prophets that say something along these lines, but he says this for this is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, talking about a new covenant, declares the Lord, I will put my law within them and I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be my people, and no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother saying No, the Lord, for they shall all know me, for the least of them, to the greatest, declares the Lord, for I will give their iniquity and I will remember their sins no more. And this new covenant, God will no longer remember our sins that the Spirit of God in this New Covenant will and dwell the people of God and the Presence of God will always be with us. Setting us free, making us righteous in in the Lord because of what Christ has done for us. It’s no longer about our striving and our fighting for ourselves.
It’s about what Jesus fought for on our behalf and was victorious. And we received this new covenant in Christ and Hebrews 813 says this And speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. Talking about the old covenant. He makes the old covenant obsolete. Meaning out of the 613 Commandments. If you ask me which one you’re still to obey today, I will tell you none of them. What we have to obey or live in now is the New Covenant, what Jesus has delivered there. When you study covenants, you learn about covenants. There’s two ways to get rid of a covenant. One is fulfill it, and the other one is die under it, fulfill it and die under it. And Jesus did both of those on your behalf. He was the only perfect person to ever live. He fulfilled all the demands of the Law of the Old Covenant. And he also died for you on it, which which brings about also ushered in the New Covenant. It’s the new way of living, which gives us a place for the Spirit of God to enjoy all of God’s people wherever we go. We find we find freedom and deliverance that in Jesus and not about what we do. It’s about what He’s done for us. And because of that, it’s his glory we get to experience. God’s glory on our behalf. So point number two, then, as we think about not only is it a greater glory, then it also gives us a bold hope.
It gives us a bold hope. Versus verse 12, he says, Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, pulsating because of what you have in Jesus now, being permanent, it gives you a posture to walk in your life. You’re no longer stepping this place of uncertainty, no longer wondering where you stand with God. You can be confident in where you stand in God, because what you have in Jesus is permanent. It’s permanent, and because it’s permanent, it gives you a bold hope. Now, when the New Testament talks about hope, I want you to know it’s not like Leave It to Beaver. I sure hope so. You know, like not that not that kind of hope. When when the New Testament talks about hope, it’s talking about an expectation, an earnest expectation, a certainty. We have this kind of anticipation in Jesus, and it gives us boldness. When you’re confident in your future, you step with certainty. And he’s saying Now in Jesus, because of that, it’s no longer your toil, it’s no longer on your shoulders, it’s no longer about your performance. It’s all about him and what he accomplished on your behalf. You know where you can rest. Jesus loved me in my sin. Jesus died for me and gave me his life. That I may have this permanent hope in him forever.
And I can walk boldly. I don’t have to prove myself to anybody because what’s been proven has been proven on the cross. And Jesus did that for me. So we walk with this bold hope, and then he goes on a little further and says, Not like Moses. Who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened for to this day when they read the old covenant, that the same veil remains and lifted because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day it is. To this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. There’s a sort of stubbornness to this, right? I feel like every time I read these verses, I start thinking about Lakers fans. But but there’s this stubbornness. There’s this stubbornness, too, to to their action in this thought and finding freedom religiously. But but they’re saying, look, here’s the sorrow. Here’s the sorrow to this. They keep striving. If you think about going back to this religious way of thinking, they keep striving, and yet there’s still this distance between them and God. They’re working and fighting. And they just want to find purpose and value. And and there’s still this separation between them and the Lord. They may not even be able to put their finger on it, but that veil that veil is still there.
What you have in Jesus. That’s so much more important. You can look at the world that struggles to feel loved and accepted and know they matter to the Lord. And rather than just give them the system of performance, you can talk about what Christ is already done. He meets you where you’re at and he invites you not. Not for him to join your journey, but. But for you to join his the end of your self that you can find freedom in Christ. And with that becomes this bold hope not because of you, but because of him and everything that he’s accomplished. And then in point number three, then we find freedom. Verse 16 goes on, he says. But when one turns to the Lord. The veil is removed. The Lord is the spirit and we’re the spirit of the Lord. Is there is freedom. I love this. I mean, this is the picture of the Christian life right here. Verse 16, really? The 18. Just a beautiful section of scripture that Paul is saying like this. Verse 16. When you decide you’ve met the end of yourself. And you lay down the offerings of the world to you and all of the systems they might present and whatever religion it might bring. And you just turn and embrace the Lord. You just say to Lord, Lord, I’m done with me, I, I know I’m a sinner. But I want to accept what you did for me on the cross.
When you turn to the Lord that way, it says that veil is removed. And now the spirit of the Lord and dwells God’s people. It’s a beautiful picture of what we receive in this new covenant in Jesus. The Spirit of God would fill our lives with the presence of God. And when Paul is saying this, he has in his mind, I think the very end of Exodus X is 3034, verse 34, 35 At the very end it says again at that chapter, after Moses has come down off the mountain and his face radiates with the glory of God, and He covers himself with the veil that all of a sudden, when Moses wants to go back to the tabernacle, he turns to the tabernacle and he takes the veil off as he enters into the presence of God again. And this is what Moses is saying. You have in the Lord that when you turn from all these other systems and you turn to Christ, you get to remove the veil and you have direct access to God, not because of anything that you’ve done to proven your worth and performance, but because of what Jesus has performed on your behalf that you at any moment get to enter into the presence of God, that that veil has been removed and you, you and yourself have direct access to God because the Spirit of God in dwells God’s people, which is where the presence of God is.
If you think about what the Old Testament represents, when when Moses went on the mountain, Mount Sinai, it says it covered it. It covered it with a cloud. And the reason the cloud is there. You see the same thing in the New Testament, the transfiguration of Jesus, that when the disciples went up on the mountain with Jesus, there was this transfiguration with a cloud there. And the reason that cloud is there is because no one can look directly at the presence of God and live. So God’s presence was covered in a cloud. And Moses would go up on the mountain. He had that presence of God. And then when the tabernacle and the temple was built, it was said that God’s presence dwelt there in a cloud. But but the interesting thing is that the people of God, they couldn’t they couldn’t get into the temple, meaning they built this temple to meet with God, have his presence there. But but only the priests could go into the temple. And in the temple there was one room in particular that only one priest could go into one time a year. And that was where the glory cloud of God dwelt. And now in the New Testament. Matthew 27, verse 51 Mark, Chapter 15. We find that the veil was torn at the cross of Christ. The veil was torn from the top to the bottom that separated the presence of God from his people.
And now in the New Testament and first Corinthians 316, you’re called the Temple of God. And First Corinthians 619. You’re called the Temple of God. God’s presence with you wherever you go so that you can always enter into his presence. In fact, Hebrews chapter ten, verse 19, says, Through Christ, we can boldly enter before the presence of God. Any moment. That veil isn’t there. And it’s not because of what you’ve done in your glory, but because of what He has done in his glory. You find your worth and your value and your meaning and Christ, you are set free. Verse 17 of the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. But freedom doesn’t just mean anarchy to live however you want. Freedom means you’re finally free to live for the reason that you’ve been created. So all the religious systems of the world is this act of performance. To find that path for which you were designed. But in Jesus you delivered that freedom so that you can finally live for the purpose for which you were created to have a relationship with God for all of eternity. You’re free to experience the Lord and to allow the Lord to to change your life. In fact, then. Point number four is this transformation. You receive transformation. It goes on in verse 18, it says And we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit? Beholding the Lord. Now, I want you to see in this passage what happens in our life because of Christ is certainly this transformation, right, that you get to be transformed. This this verse for me in my Christian life early on I remember I’m following after Jesus, I read this verse. This really helped me put things into perspective of how my Christian journey should look right. And it brings about this transformation that I find in Christ as my life is surrendered to him. But what’s important in this transformation, I think, is said just previous to this and this idea of of beholding. Beholding the glory of the Lord. Now I want you to know there’s different ways to translate this word. Behold, in different, different translations of the Bible, translate it differently. There’s really three or four different popular ways to translate this word. Behold, one is reflect, one is glass. You’ll see glass talked about here in some translations or a mirror like as if to say you’re looking, you’re beholding through something through glass or you’re beholding through something through a mirror. I think the best way to translate this passage is to simply reflect on the word behold. We simply behold God.
And the reason I say that is I don’t like the idea of translating a little bit further and talking about a mirror or a piece of glass is because I think it becomes irrelevant to what this whole passage is about, meaning there is no separation between you and the presence of the Lord anymore because of what Christ has done, that you get the opportunity to go directly before God and experience Him in your life. You get to behold the Lord, wherever you are, wherever you’ve come from, God loves you right where you’re at. God gave His life for you, right where you’re at. And God wants to meet with you right where you’re at, to to have the opportunity to see your life transformed into his image. God is interested in your heart. When God wants to change your life. And that transformation happens as we have the opportunity to behold him and that beholding happen because of what Christ has done for you as you turn from anything else in this world to Jesus. Hold him. Behold him. There is no veil between you and God. So when you embrace Jesus, that veil is removed and you have direct access to the Lord. You don’t need to go back and add religion on top of that because of what Jesus has done to open that door for relationship. You get to behold the Lord wherever you are, because his spirit and dwells you, and as you behold, then you’re transformed in his image.
So here’s. Here’s the practical question we can ask to this, then. How do you behold the Lord? Or maybe I could take a step back from that and just ask this question. Do you behold the Lord? Have you come to that place in your life where you just met the end of yourself and you’ve just surrendered yourself to him? Have you embraced the fact that what he has done is sufficient for you? It’s more than sufficient for your life that you don’t have to prove anything to God, that he’s already proven it on the cross. Have you stopped and surrendered that and you just behold do you rest yourself in that as that being enough? Do you behold yourself in the Lord to not invite Him on your journey, but rather so you can embrace Him and follow him on his journey, his calling for your life to you. Behold the Lord. And as you think about resting yourself in Him, how do you continue to behold the Lord? But can you walk out of this place today? How do you meet with Christ? Do you open his word? Do you let his words saturate your soul that you may know him and walk with him? Do you pray? I know sometimes people ask the question. We’re going to talk about this at Christianity one on one tonight. But some people, when we talk about prayer, they often want to know how you can get God to do what you want by praying.
But we fail to recognize that the greatest gift of prayer is the fact that you get to talk to God at all. And that is. That is an incredible gift. To be able to come before the Lord and talk to him. How about when you serve? I think, behold the Lord. When you serve and you think about it, every human being on planet Earth is made in the image of God. They every human being reflects God in some way being made in his image. And you have the opportunity to to honor your creator, by the way, that you love others. To behold the goodness of God by loving on the people around you. How do you behold? What you have in Christ. Far more precious than anything else this world has to offer. It’s. It’s a greater glory. It’s a greater hope. It brings us freedom and it transforms our life as we behold him moment by moment, Jesus’s image reflecting on us, and we are being conformed and transformed into the image of Christ so that when we go live in this world, we reflect the beauty of Jesus, as if when people see us responding to our position in Christ, they see the hands and feet of Jesus through us because we take time to behold Christ and what He has done for us.
Now, when we live this out in the world, it gets it gets hard. Sometimes it gets concerning. Sometimes we get intimidated. Because the world comes with a lot of pressure. And the question we need to answer for ourselves is, is Jesus enough? Is Jesus enough? Because we can we can take our spiritual life and fill it with a bunch of buts and what ifs. And I mean one t not two, right? Maybe two. It depends on the circumstance. But but you think about like, what if what if God isn’t enough? Or what if God doesn’t show up but God. Right? But, but and before you know it, our spiritual life, we start to move away from Jesus and maybe validate some other message to find our identity. And and Paul is saying, look, no matter how difficult the circumstance is, he’s faithful. Church is faithful. One of my favorite passages was it was given to me by by a friend some years ago. He he is a minister on the East Coast, but he travels to different cities on the East Coast, and he sits up rehabilitation centers. And he has seen God do incredible things to these rehabilitation centers. But he tells me, he tells me as he shares these stories of great things, he also shares with it the adversity and the challenges facing. And he always says to me, But you know what? And all of it got it’s always been faithful.
He has always been faithful. And I said to him, well, as you think about that, what what verse do you what verse do you go to in the Bible most often when you consider it? And he said to me, Hands down, Psalm 77, and when he shared it with me, I’m like, I’m going to join you on this. This shall be one of my favorite passages as well. But some 77, some 77 is that section of scripture where Israel has been set free from Egypt. You know, the greatest world power at the time, Egypt. Israel is slaves in Egypt. This is just before Moses has been given the law. This is still in the book of Exodus. They’ve been set free from Egypt and they’re making this journey from Egypt to slaves, into this identity of being God’s people to the promised land. They want to go to the Promised Land, but on this journey, God leads them. He leads them to the sea. And as they get down to the sea, they’re looking and they realize that they’re kind of stuck because you can’t walk across the sea. Right. And then and then they turn and look behind them and they find the Egyptian army. The greatest world power at this time is bearing down upon him. And they’re ticked because all of their firstborn have just been killed and they’re bearing down on the Israelites.
And you can imagine if you go to that place for just a moment, you just in your mind, you just picture yourself being a part of these people being treated as slaves for all this time. They’ve been set free, they’ve made on this journey, and all of a sudden they’re stuck, they’re pinned in, they turn around. The greatest army in the world at the time is bearing down on them. And they have nowhere to run. Nowhere to go. How would you feel? How many of you would be thinking, let’s let’s just get on our knees and beg them to tell us what system they want us to conform to so they will embrace us again and we can have our lives spared. Right. Let’s go back to that system. But then in Psalm 77, verse 16, in the new living translation, at least this is the way it says it goes. When the Red Sea saw you. Oh, God. Its waters looked and trembled. The sea quaked to its very depths where Satan your thunder roared from the whirlwind The lightning lit up the world, the earth trembled and shook. And then verse 19 It says, Your rode led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters, a pathway no one knew was there. You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds. That’s incredible. Here they are following after the Lord like they’ve been called to do.
They get to a place where they feel stuck. And what happens? God shows up. And God makes a path where they saw no path. Because the reason this song becomes important for us today is because every generation faces a pressure by the world. And every generation is tried to force to conform to some other call in this world than what we have in the gospel. But God is faithful. And even when we feel there is no fat, no no path, if we if we just behold the Lord and we trust in Him and we allow the Lord to transform our lives as we surrender ourselves before His presence, the God, the God who shows up is a God who makes a way when his people feel there is no way. And He’s done it over and over again. But of all the things the world can tempt you with and all the pressures they can put on your life. What you have in the gospel. There’s a far greater glory. That brings you to a place of such greater boldness because it’s not dependent on you. Which ultimately gives you freedom to live for the very reason for which you recall that no system in this world can offer. And as you sat before that Lord beholding his face, he transforms you moment by moment into his image, because that is a beautiful place for us. It is a beautiful message to share with this world, to find the end of ourselves and simply rest in the presence of Christ.