Statistics
1486 sermons as of December 10, 2017.
Site Search powered by FreeFind

bottom corner

   
Author:Rev. Mendel Retief
 send email...
 
Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott
 Kelmscott, Western Australia
 frckelmscott.org
 
Title:The LORD remains faithful
Text:Exodus 3:14, 15 (View)
Occasion:New Years Eve
Topic:God's Covenant faithfulness
 
Added:2016-11-22
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Old Book of Praise (2004)

Ps. 111: 1, 2

Ps. 111: 3 – 5

Ps. 89: 1, 7

Ps. 33: 1, 3, 5, 6

Ps. 100: 2, 4

 

Scripture reading:       Ex. 3; Rev. 1: 1 – 8

Text:                            Ex. 3: 14, 15

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mendel Retief, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


The LORD remains faithful 

Ps. 111: 1, 2

Ps. 111: 3 – 5

Ps. 89: 1, 7

Ps. 33: 1, 3, 5, 6

Ps. 100: 2, 4

 

Scripture reading:       Ex. 3; Rev. 1: 1 – 8

Text:                           Ex. 3: 14, 15

 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

The year 2016 is still unknown to us.   And yet we do know, in broad outlines, what will happen in this year.   Christ will govern the history of this world according to God’s eternal counsel.   Some things of His eternal counsel remain hidden, but much has been revealed.   The history of this world will press on towards the great day of Christ’s coming.

And because we are living in the last days, there will be wars and rumours of wars.

In various places there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes.

There will be persecution of those who follow Christ.

Many false teachers will be active in twisting the gospel, and there will be many attacks on the truth of God’s Word.

Lawlessness will abound, and the love of many will grow cold.

For we are living in the last days!

Yes, all these things, which are signs and characteristics of the last days, will continue also in 2016. 

 

But, in the midst of all these things, while the world is in turmoil, and the history of this world presses on towards the end, towards the great day of Christ’s return, our Lord Jesus will continue in 2016 to gather, defend and preserve for Himself a church chosen to everlasting life.   In the midst of an increasingly secular world, Christ’s kingdom will yet grow and proceed towards the day of harvest. 

 

Also in 2016 our covenant God will continue to be faithful to all His promises.

He will continue to bring to fulfilment all that He has spoken.   And He will continue to reveal Himself as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob: the “I AM WHO I AM”.

 

Time and circumstance may change, and the world itself may change, but our God is not changing.     We can rely on Him, trust Him, and know Him – for He will remain also this year the God of Abraham.   The God of Jacob is also our God, and the God of our children. 

 

That brings us to our text here in Exodus 3.

 

The Lord’s Name, Jahve, testify of His covenant faithfulness.   His covenant faithfulness remains steadfast throughout all generations.

 

I proclaim this gospel to you with the theme…

The LORD remains faithful

 

We will note…

1.      That He is the same yesterday, today and forever

2.      That His faithfulness of yesterday comforts us today

3.      That His faithfulness remains throughout all generations

In the first place we note that…

The LORD is the same yesterday, today and forever

 

The LORD reveals Himself to us as Jahve.

This Name, Jahve, is the short for: I AM WHO I AM.

In our English translation we translate the Hebrew word, Jahve, with the word “LORD”; LORD with four capital letters.

So, every time when you read this word in the Bible – LORD with four capital letters – it is the Hebrew word Jahve that is used.  

This Name, Jahve, means: “I AM”.   It is the short for: I AM WHO I AM.

 

The LORD said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and then He adds, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

That is: Jahve, the I AM, has sent me to you.

And then He says to Moses:

 

“…Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Jahve, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.   This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’”  

 

In this passage the LORD makes clear that He has not changed, and that He still remembers His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that He has now come to bring those promises to fulfilment.     He is saying: I still remember what I promised to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob more than 400 years ago.   I am still the same today.   I will be with you just as I have been with your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

Four hundred years have passed since Jacob went to Egypt.   Now they have become slaves in Egypt.   By this time the children of Israel might have started to doubt God’s promises to their fathers.   Four hundred years is a long time, and their situation has changed a lot.   Their future must have looked very dark to them now.   They were now being oppressed by a mighty, ungodly and cruel world power.  

Humanly speaking there was no hope to become free again.   But the Lord speaks to Moses and comforts His people by revealing His Name to them.  

I AM WHO I AM, the God who revealed Himself to Abraham, who revealed Himself also in the history of Isaac and Jacob.  I AM still the same.   I have not changed.   I am still the same God of your fathers, and I have not forgotten My covenant with them, and My covenant with you, their children.

 

I AM WHO I AM – faithful, reliable, unchangingly the same God.   What I have been to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob yesterday, I will be to you today.

 

The LORD has seen the oppression of His people, and He has now come down to deliver them.    He will now give to them the Land of Promise, a land flowing with milk and honey.  

He has come to do to Israel as He has promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  

He will deliver them because He remembers His covenant.    

He remains faithful to His promises. 

 

Now, although God remains the same, He also revealed Himself progressively and increasingly in salvation history.   His name, Jahve, was indeed known to the fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but now He will reveal His name to Moses and to Israel to an extent that the fathers did not know Him.

Therefore He says to Moses in Ex. 6: 3:

 

“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My Name Jahve I was not known to them.

 

He says Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not know His Name Jahve.

However, when we would turn back to the book Genesis, it is abundantly clear that the LORD did reveal Himself to Abraham, and to Isaac and to Jacob as Jahve, and that they certainly knew Him as Jahve.

 

In Gen. 15: 7 the LORD says to Abraham:

           

“…I am Jahve, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans…”

 

And in Gen. 21: 33 we read that Abraham “called on the Name of Jahve, the everlasting God.”

 

So then, God revealed Himself to Abraham as Jahve, and Abraham called on the Name of Jahve.  

 

Also Isaac knew God as Jahve, the I AM.   The LORD said to him:

 

“… ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you.   I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.’  

 

And then we read:

 

So Isaac built an altar there and called on the Name of Jahve…” – Gen. 26: 24, 25

 

The LORD revealed Himself also to Jacob as Jahve, saying:

 

            “… ‘I am Jahve, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac…” - Gen. 28:13

 

Then Jacob made a vow, and said:

 

“…If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then Jahve shall be my God.” – Gen. 28: 21

 

So then, God revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their God, Jahve, and they called on His Name Jahve.  

 

What then does it mean when the LORD says to Moses: “…I am Jahve.   I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My Name Jahve I was not known to them”? (Ex. 6: 2, 3)

 

It means that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not know this Name, Jahve, to the extent that this Name will now be revealed to Moses and to the children of Israel.   The revelation of His Name, Jahve, will now unfold as never before.   He will cause Moses and the children of Israel to know the meaning of His Name, Jahve, in a measure and to an extent that His Name was not known before.

 

How will this happen?  

The revelation of His name, Jahve, will increase by the mighty deeds of salvation which God is about to perform.   The wonders of His Name will now be revealed when He in His almighty power, wisdom, steadfast mercy, and faithfulness, will bring His word to fulfilment – the words spoken to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; His covenant word.  

 

His Name will be displayed before their eyes in the salvation history which was about to follow.   He will instruct them in the meaning of His Name, Jahve, that they may truly know Him to be the “I AM” who spoke to their fathers.     

 

“Therefore, say to the children of Israel: I am Jahve; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements.   I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.   Then you shall know that I am Jahve your God…And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am Jahve.” – Ex. 6: 6 – 8

 

Dear congregation, this is the historical context in which the meaning of the LORD’s Name, Jahve, is explained to us.  

But there is still more to this Name, Jahve, the I AM.   The “I AM WHO I AM” remains the same throughout all generations.    This is the LORD’s memorial name to all generations.

This is the Name by which the Lord wants us to remember Him and to know Him throughout all generations. 

For the LORD has made the same covenant also with us and our children.

The covenant finds its fulfilment in and through Christ.   And He, our Lord Jesus Christ, is also called with this Name, Jahve.

Therefore we read in Hebrews 13: 8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

 

It is another way of saying: Jesus Christ is the I AM.   He is today the same as in the beginning, and He remains the same forever. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

 

You are also familiar with the greeting of the LORD every Sunday:

 

            “Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come…”

 

Again, this is an explanation of the same Name, the “I AM”.

The One who is – that is: today.

The One who was – that is: yesterday.

And the One who is to come – that is: tomorrow.

The I AM of today is the same I AM of yesterday, and remains the same I AM forever.

 

The LORD explains this Name further when He adds:

 

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End’, says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” – Rev. 1: 8

 

In this last quotation it is our Lord Jesus speaking.   He calls Himself with this Name: the One who is and who was and who is to come.

From the beginning to the end He remains the I AM, the unchanging, faithful covenant God who brings all things to its completion and fulfilment.  

 

Sometimes this title refers to the Father, and sometimes to the Son.   Both are Jahve, the
“I AM”.   Both are called the Alpha and the Omega in the book Revelation.    

But here in Exodus chapter 3 it is the Son of God who says: I AM WHO I AM.  

 

Here in Exodus chapter 3 we read in verse 2 that the Angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.   You will note that this Angel is spelled with a capital letter.   The Hebrew word for angel means messenger.   The “Angel of the LORD” literally means: Messenger of Jahve.  

But this Messenger of Jahve is at the same time Jahve Himself!  

For in verse 4 we read: “…when Jahve saw that Moses turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush…”

 

The Angel of the LORD, in verse 2, is God Himself, verse 4.

It is the Son of God sent by the Father.   The Son acts as the messenger of His Father.   Both are the LORD God, both are Jahve, but the Son also acts as Messenger of His Father: the Angel of Jahve.

 

So then, it was the Son of God who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and spoke these words, saying: I AM WHO I AM.

 

Also in the New Testament Christ frequently refers to Himself as the “I AM”.

When we read in Hebrews 13: 8 that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”, it again refers to this name, “I AM WHO I AM”, who is, and was, and is to come, the Alpha and Omega.

 

It is our Lord Jesus who made the covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob, as we read for example in Judges 2: 1.   Christ was not yet in the flesh, but as the eternal Son of God He was there.  

As He said to the Jews: “…before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8: 58)

He is the “I AM” of which the four Gospels speak.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.   He is and was and shall be: I AM WHO I AM.

 

Dear congregation, we may draw comfort from this Name of our God.

Jahve made His eternal covenant with us.  We have seen His faithfulness in the past, and He will continue to bring His word to fulfilment, also in 2016.  

People may change and disappoint, and the world may change and be in turmoil, but our covenant God, Jahve, will remain the I AM WHO I AM.  

He will remember His covenant with us, and with our children.

 

Therefore, when we learn about God’s faithfulness in the past, we are assured of His faithfulness today, for our covenant God is still the same.

We note this in the second place, that…

His faithfulness of yesterday comforts us today

 

The LORD calls Himself the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  

He uses this Name throughout all generations.  

He still uses this Name when He speaks to us today.

He reveals Himself to us by revealing His deeds in the past.   We know how He will deal with us, when we see how He dealt with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

We are called to remember how He acted as their God.   We are to see His faithfulness towards them in order to be assured of His faithfulness towards us.

Yes, the history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a history in which God has revealed Himself to all generations.

 

By calling Himself with this name, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He does not limit His covenant to them, but He sets His dealings with them as an example of how He will deal with all His covenant children in every age of this world.   He will be our God in the very same way that He has been the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  

 

When we read the history of their lives and consider how God has guided them and cared for them, we need to consider that this same God, who has done all these things for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has made the same promises also to us, and have sealed these promises with the blood of Christ.   He will fulfil His promises to us just as He did for them.   For He remains “I AM WHO I AM”. 

 

Dear congregation, it does not mean that we will have an easy life here and now on this earth.  For we know how many struggles and trials, afflictions and oppressions Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have suffered.   But in the midst of all their struggles they were blessed, and God did not allow them to go under in defeat.   As we read in Psalm 105:

 

“When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, saying, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.’” (Ps. 105: 13 – 15)

 

Does it mean that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had an easy life?

No, we know what Jacob confessed before Pharaoh, saying:

 

“…The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life…” – Gen. 47: 9

 

Jacob says the days of his life were few and evil.

But His God was with him, as he also confessed before Joseph that the God of his fathers Abraham and Isaac has shepherd him throughout his whole life, and that the Angel of the LORD redeemed him from all evil – Gen. 48: 15, 16.

So then, Jacob experienced much evil, but time and again the LORD redeemed him from all evil.

 

We may know what this means by studying the history of God’s dealings with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.   And we may be assured: this I AM, who was, is today.   He remains the same God for us, and He will remain the same for our children.  

The I AM of yesterday, is today, and will remain the same tomorrow, faithful to His word once spoken.

 

Brothers and sisters, this gospel applies also to us who are not the physical children of Abraham.   The apostle Paul addresses the churches of Galatia and speaks to those believers who were by birth Gentiles, and he says to these ex-Gentiles: if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise – Gal. 3: 29

Through faith in Christ we have become heirs of the very same promises which God once swore to Abraham.     

 

But there is still more to this Name, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”   It is a Name that continues to unfold in the history of salvation.   For Abraham possessed the promise, but not yet the fulfilment of the promise.  

 

Even much later, when Jacob went to Egypt, there was not yet much to be seen of the fulfilment.   They did not yet multiply as the sand at the seashore.   They were only 75 people when they went to Egypt, and they did not yet possess the Land of Promise.  

To a great extent the glory of this Name, “God of Abraham” was still veiled even to them.

 

Four hundred years later, when Jahve, the I AM, struck Egypt with ten devastating plagues and made His people to walk through the sea on dry ground, closed the water over the heads of their enemies, and led them through the desert, and fed them – a vast multitude – with Manna, gave them water from a rock, and finally gave them the land which He has promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – yes, when He fulfilled His promises to their children after them – then the glory of this name, “God of Abraham”, started to unfold in a way that was unknown to Abraham himself.

 

In other words, everything that happened after Abraham continues to be a disclosure of this name: God of Abraham.   For God is still bringing the history of this world to its consummation.    His promises to Abraham are still to reach its final and glorious fulfilment on the day of Christ’s coming.

 

The glory of this Name, God of Abraham, will be fully disclosed on the day of Christ when He will come on the clouds of heaven in great power and glory.   On that day all God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will come to its final and complete fulfilment.

 

Yes, everything that we will enjoy on the new earth will be the fulfilment of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 

Now, in this age, God’s dealings with His covenant people continue.   Also in 2016 the name “God of Abraham” will continue to unfold before our eyes.

Also this year we and our children will grow in the knowledge of the God of Abraham, for He has said: “…This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.”

 

We note this in the last place, that…

His faithfulness remains throughout all generations

 

“This is My Name forever…”

For all eternity I will be known and be remembered as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.    It will be My memorial to all generations.   By this Name all generations will know and remember Me.  

 

Well then, brothers and sisters, that includes also us.  

The LORD also wants us to remember Him by this Name in the present time in which we are living.   He wants us to remember Him by this Name, so that the glory of His Name may increase as we see and acknowledge also in our own day His steadfast mercy and covenant faithfulness.

He wants us to remember Him by this Name so that we may find our comfort in Him and put our trust in Him.  

 

How then are we to do this?

When we turn to the Psalms we see how David and the other saints were constantly viewing God’s dealings in their own life as a continuation of His covenant with Abraham, and as proof of His covenant faithfulness.

Whenever they needed strength and encouragement, they recalled His deeds of the past, and were assured and comforted, knowing that He who has done these mighty works in times past, still remains the same.   They studied His works of the past and took it as a reason to praise Him in their present time, whatever their circumstance may be.

 

“Oh give thanks to Jahve!   Call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples!   Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!   Glory in His holy Name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek Jahve!

Seek Jahve and His strength; seek His face evermore!   Remember His marvellous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, O seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

He is Jahve, our God…He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant…” – Ps. 105

 

We are called to do the same.  

This is His memorial Name.   We are to remember and to consider how this Name remains true also in our day, and to praise and thank Him, our covenant God.   He has never forsaken us in the past; He will also not leave or forsake us today, or ever.

 

We may look back at our own lives and see how the LORD has carried us through all our troubles and anxieties, and delivered us from all our afflictions; how He has comforted and strengthened us every time again.  

We may also do this as a congregation together.   He has shown His mercy and faithfulness in gathering us as His church and feeding us with His Word.   By His Word and Spirit He has guided us, and by His power protected us up to this day. 

Yes, also in the past year Christ was seated at God’s right hand, gathering, defending and preserving a church for Himself.  

He will continue to do so in the year that lies ahead of us.  

We are assured of this as we cling to His memorial Name; The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; the I AM WHO I AM.

Dear congregation, let us put our trust in Him, our Lord Jesus Christ, the I AM, who remains the same – yesterday, today and forever.    

Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mendel Retief, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Mendel Retief

Please direct any comments to the Webmaster


bottom corner