AGCC Sun. a.m. 4/2/00
TEXT: Ex. 12:11; Eph. 6:15; Rev. 1:1-9
INTRO:As God's people we will be judged by the world much more by how we walk than we are by how we talk!
The Israelites would not have survived the journey in the wilderness without proper care of their feet. All the talk about leaving Egypt and going to the Promise land would have been meaningless without attention to "how they were to walk." As such, God asks them to prepare for the journey by wearing sandals on their feet so their walk in the wilderness could be realized.
It would have been irresponsible to take this journey with little regard to their walking ability. While poor slaves may have walked around with unshod feet they were not to think of themselves as slaves any more. In fact, they were not to think of themselves as belonging to Egypt … they belonged to God and getting to the promise land would require the ability to walk well! Putting on sandals or shoes would indicate that they identified with the land of Promise and not as Egyptian slaves. They were to remember where they belonged and who they were.
ILLUS:George Shultz, when Secretary of State during the Reagan administration, kept a large globe in his office. When newly appointed ambassadors had an interview with him and when ambassadors returning from their posts for their first visit with him were leaving his office, Shultz would test them. He would say, "You have to go over to the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country." They would go over, spin the globe, and put their finger on the country to which sent--unerringly. When Shultz's old friend and former Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield was appointed ambassador to Japan, even he was put to the test. This time, however, Ambassador Mansfield spun the globe and put his hand on the United States. He said: "That's my country." On June 27, 1993, Shultz related this to Brian Lamb on C-Span's "Booknotes." Said the secretary: "I've told that story, subsequently, to all the ambassadors going out. 'Never forget you're over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You're there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you're representing the best country in the world.' " -- Dr. Wallace Alcorn. From the files of Leadership.
They needed to change the focus of their identity, and change the way they would walk. Egyptian slaves may not have needed sandals but Israelites from the Promise land did!
PROP. SENT: Our "walk" with God requires us to have the proper footwear, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to walk through the wilderness of this world. It is a long journey and a proper covering for our walk is necessary.
I. READY FOR THE JOURNEY Ex. 12:11; Eph. 6:15
A. Security Ex. 12:11
1. No one would undertake a long journey without preparing for it in appropriate ways.
a. No one could traverse the desert with unshod feet.
b. The very act of putting on sandals was a sign of confidence in God's ability to free them before the moment of freedom even came! It was a sign that they believed in the future - a necessary attitude for a successful escape.
ILLUS:In the fall of 1989 as glasnost and perestroika were changing the map of Europe, a poll taken in the Soviet Union showed that fifty- seven percent of the adults surveyed said they had no confidence in the future. Of course the poll had to do with the immediate future and with material things such as food, fuel and medicine. If we were to ask the people in any country to answer spiritually, not materially, and long-term, not short-term, how many would say they have confidence in the future? -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
c. Normally one did not wear sandals indoors, yet here they were to have theirs on as a sign of faith in God's promise to deliver them that very night, that God had a future for them.
2. The sandal provided security for the "sole," it was a covering.
a. It insulated the wearer's feet from hot dirty desert ground.
b. You could not travel any significant distance without proper foot wear.
3. Putting on footwear here became an act of security in their future, trust in God's promise of deliverance.
a. When we put on the gospel of Jesus Christ we demonstrate by our "walk" that we too have security in the future, our eternal destination.
b. What we wrap our "soul" in will determine the ability of our walk!
B. Stability Eph. 6:15
1. Our readiness to "walk" through this world toward the promise land still requires the proper footwear, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
a. Christ's salvation is the only thing that can protect our "soul" when we "walk" through the wilderness today!
b. The wilderness is a rough place, and no "sole" or "soul" is secure without a proper covering!
c. Paul says that our feet should be shod with the Gospel of peace so we are ready for the journey, and moreover, capable of the journey!
2. Confidence in the desert came only with proper footwear … there were many things to stumble over in the desert, much hot sand, many sharp objects … and only good footwear could make one stable enough to survive the journey!
a. This is true in the spiritual sense also, only the Gospel of Christ will give us the protection we need for the entire journey.
b. The Gospel of Christ helps us to avoid stumbling and even insulates our heart and soul from the dirty hot sands of this life.
3. Isn't it interesting that these same sandals worn that night as they fled from the bondage of Egypt NEVER WORE OUT ON THEIR FEET FOR THE ENTIRE 40 YEAR JOURNEY!
a. Deut. 29:5 "During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet."
b. Normally a pair of sandals wore out in a relatively short single journey, the fact that they lasted for 40 years indicated God's supernatural power to protect their walk, something the Gospel of Christ still does for our walk today!
4. God would do for Israel far more than Egypt could have ever done for their own citizens.
a. The Egyptians ruled by force, God ruled by the power of love!
ILLUS:Alexander, Caesar, and Hannibal conquered the world but they had no friends. ... Jesus founded his empire upon love, and at this hour millions would die for him. ... He has won the hearts of men, a task a conqueror cannot do. -- Napoleon Bonaparte, Leadership, Vol. 7, no. 1.
b. The power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the example of God's love in giving His own life to save ours.
c. Christ conquered sin and death, and invites all those who want a real future, those who want the ability to walk through the wilderness to the promise land to "PUT ON CHRIST."
II. REFLECTION OF JESUS Rev. 1:1-9
A. Salvation Rev. 1:1-4
1. We talk about someone's WALK as their TESTIMONY.
a. The meaning of "taking the Word of God to heart" is to WALK or give testimony to Christ's power to save.
b. The power of God is not found in theology books, it is found in FOLLOWERS of Jesus Christ, those whose lives give witness to Christ's salvation in the very way that they WALK!
ILLUS:One day as a woman was crossing a street at London station, an old man stopped her. He said to her, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I want to thank you." She looked up and exclaimed, "Thank me?" He replied, "Yes'm, I used to be a ticket collector, and whenever you went by you always gave me a cheerful smile and a good morning. I knew that smile must come from inside somewhere. Then one morning I saw a little Bible in your hand. So I bought one, too, and I found Jesus. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 491.
2. John knew what he was talking about, he was nearly 100 years old when he was in prison on Patmos, and he says he was imprisoned because of the testimony of Christ.
a. His walk had demonstrated the power of Christ in his life.
b. John's journey through this life's wilderness had been successful by the power of God's salvation.
c. Even as a prisoner of Rome John's walk or testimony gave evidence of the transforming power of God's gift of salvation.
3. Though near the end of John's journey through life His walk was still strong and stable because the salvation of Christ had never wore out … his walk was still sure and so was his testimony for Christ.
B. Servants Rev. 1:5-9
1. Israel had gone from being slaves of Egypt to being bond servants of God.
a. The second was an act of love on the servant's part … in response to a loving master.
b. Being a bond-servant was a lifelong call and an act of will on the part of the slave.
2. John speaks of Himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, as does many of the New Testament leaders.
3. John also says that those "who READ God's Word" will be blessed, and also those "who READ it AND take it to heart … because the time is near."
4. In Christ we have gone from slaves to being also "kings and priests." 1:6 (KJV)
a. The transformation came through Christ's blood, we now are identified by His blood and not our own standing.
ILLUS:We have all heard people of royalty referred to as "blue bloods." The reason is this. Long ago they were waited on continually and got little exercise. The lack of physical exertion made their blood cool; it lacked oxygen induced by exercise. When the veins showed through their skin, it appeared that the blood was pale blue. Christians constitute a spiritual aristocracy, and that is also due to blood. Revelation 1:5-6 (KJV) says that Jesus washed us in his blood and made us kings. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
b. Is your "soul" secured by the proper covering of Christ's blood for the journey through life's desert?
5. With our feet "shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace" (Eph. 6:15) we will make it to the promise land in good stead.
a. And our walk on this Earth will bear witness to God's supernatural sustaining power much as it did when Israel walked for 40 years and the sandals on their feet never wore out.
b. Preparing for the Passover meant putting correct footwear on … prepared for the journey that would take them away from slavery and into a land flowing with milk and honey … covering our walk with the Gospel of Jesus Christ will do the same for our journey today!
6. Is your "soul" properly covered for the journey?
CONCLUSION: The importance of sandals on their feet had to do with the upcoming journey. Israel's journey required them to be able to walk successfully through a dirty wilderness. Their walk would not be successful without a proper covering. So it is with us, our journey of faith requires our "souls" to be covered with the Gospel of peace, then we can walk in a dirty world safely! Are your sandals on?