Sermon:  Holy Relationships   

Summary:  God has demonstrated his character as a holy, relational God that cares and 
loves not with mere words, but with action.  Therefore, we as godly people lives as 
holy, relational people of action, demonstrating God's character.

Text:  Exodus 3:1-17

Scripture Reading:  Ps 89:5-8

1.  Background leading up to this text
2.  23-25 is the turning point, God is no longer absent
3.  (Ex 3:1-6) - Some ideas about God are introduced
4.  What do we learn about God?

I.  He is holy
	A.  Remember what "holy" means
		1.  Sometimes it means dedicated to, set apart, special, pure
		2.  Root idea behind all of this is "different"
		3.  1 Sam 2:2 - No one is holy like Yahweh
	B.  Indications of his holiness in this text:
		1.  The phrase, "angel of the Lord"
			a.  As you read, you wonder is this an angel, or God?
			b.  Throughout scripture, when God appears, it often says 
			      the "Angel of the Lord" appeared
				- Gen 16:7-13 - Angel of the Lord appears to Hagar
				- Judges 6:22-23 - Appears to Gideon 
			c.  Heb 2:2 - Word was spoken through angels/messengers
				- Kind of like an attenuator to dial it down
				- If God appeared in full force of glory, humans could 
				  not withstand it, would die
					-- That's why it says Moses hid his face, he 
					    was afraid to look at God
					-- That's why God told Moses - No one could 
					    see my face or he will die
				- God is definitely "holy," different
			d.  Notice, people afraid and amazed they are still alive
				- Gen 15:12 - God appears to Abraham, he is terrified
				- Gen 32:30 - Jacob wrestles with God…and lives!
				- Ex 14:19, 20:18f - God appears to Israel as cloud 
				   and fire, they are terrified
				- Isa 6 - Isaiah says, "Woe is me!"
		2.  Holy ground
			a.  Holy ground out there in the wilderness?
				- Wouldn't you like to know where that patch of holy 
				  ground is?
				- Someone would probably build a shrine there
			b.  There are other places that were holy too
				- Mount Sinai
					-- (Ex 19:12) - People were not to even touch it
					-- (Ex 19:20) -God comes down on Mount Sinai
				- Tabernacle
					-- (Ex 40:34) - Glory of God filled it
					-- It is a holy place
				- Temple, built by Solomon
					-- (1 Kng 8:10-13) - God's presence filled it
					-- The temple became holy
			c.  Why is a place holy?  Because God's presence is there
				- ILL:  Song we sing - This is Holy Ground
				- For the Lord is present, and where he is is holy
			d.  God is holy, and where he is is holy
		3.  Fire - God appears to Moses in a burning bush
			a.  Not the only time God appears in the form of fire
			b.  Ex 19 - At Mount Sinai, appears as a pillar of fire
			c.  Appears as a burning seraph in Isaiah 6
			d.  Rev 1:14 - Glorified Christ eyes were on fire
	C.  ILL:  Why Fire?
		1.  Does fire do good or harm?  Is it good or bad?
			a.  Answer is "yes"
			b.  Depends on what you do with fire
			c.  Depends on how you treat fire
		2.  Remember going to camp, always had camp fires
			a.  Everyone drawn to it, sit around it after dark
			b.  Offered warmth when it was cool
			c.  Offered light in the dark
		3.  However, we were always told NOT to play around with fire
			a.  There was a way you supposed to build it and start it
			b.  There was a way you were supposed to put it out
			c.  You were not to play around with it, but respect it
		4.  Same way with God
			a.  Fire does good, if you respect it
				- Offers light in the dark
				- Offers warmth
				- Naturally drawn to the fire
			b.  If you treat God as holy, he will bless you
				- He will light the way for you
				- He will offer you warmth
			c.  You can get burned it you do not treat it properly
				- Can burn you, even those around you
				- Fire is not to be played with, but respected
			d.  Same way with God - He is to be treated as holy
	D.  Our God is holy, and we are to be holy as well
		1.  1 Pet 1:15 - Because God is holy, we also are to be holy
			a.  Means that we are not to be like the world
			b.  Means we are to be like God
		2.  We are different than the world
		3.  *We are like God…which means we are holy in all things
			- We are holy in our relationships…

II. God is relational
	A.  Whenever God interacts with his people, we see he is relational
	B.  How do we see it here?  (Ex 3:13-15)
		1.  God gives his personal name
			a.  Names have a meaning
				- John is Yohanan, "Grace of Yahweh"
				- Stacey from "anastasis" - "Resurrection"
				- Shane is a form of John - Grace of Yahweh
				- Jeremy is "Yeremyahu" - Yahweh lifts up
				- William is "Protector"
			b.  Many tried to figure out exactly what Yahweh means
				- A form of the word "to be" in a pre-Hebrew semitic
				- Translate - He is, he will be, or he who causes to be
				- Context gives a clue
					-- "I am who I am" or "I will be who I will be"
					-- Used same word in v12 - "I will be" with you
				- God will be their warrior, deliverer, sustainer, etc.
					-- God will be what they need
					-- God will be with them
		2.  But God doesn't just reveal his character merely through a name
			a.  The name is a summary of his character
			b.  God reveals his character through his actions
				- For instance, God is called "Yahweh-Yireh" - The 
				   Lord will provide
				- How do we know?  God "demonstrated" it by 
				   providing a sacrifice for Abraham in place of Isaac
				- God reveals his character through his actions
				- We are not just given the name, "Yahweh-Yireh," but 
				   the story behind the name
		3.  What action do we see in this passage associated with his 
		     personal name, "Yahweh?" -- He gives his name
	C.  ILL:  Why is that significant?
		1.  Let me ask - What is your name?
			a.  Does the mayor know your name?  The governer?  Why?
			b.  Do the elders know your name?  Do I?  Why?
		2.  You have given your name to certain people.  Why?  
			a.  You are initiating some sort of relationship
			b.  You don't stand on street corner arbitrarily announcing 
			      your name
		3.  When eyes meet someone of opposite sex, chemistry, what do 
		     you do?
			a.  You initiate conversation
			b.  If it goes well, you exchange names
			c.  If it goes well, become an item
			d.  Eventually get married - All started with offering a name
		4.  What happens when you give someone your name?
			a.  You start a relationship, and with relationship comes risk
			b.  Become susceptible to their needs, desires, hurts, and 
			     even manipulation, become vulnerable
			c.  Risk them abusing your name, dishonoring your name
			d.  But if you want relationship, that is what you do
	D.  Did God take a relational risk?   Did he risk getting hurt, taken 
	      advantage of, becoming vulnerable?
		1.  Yes.  He did so knowing this would happen
			a.  Jesus wept over those he cared about
			b.  Jesus was persecuted by those he loved
			c.  Jesus died a horrible death because of his love
		2.  It is amazing that our Lord would do such a thing
		3.   God has given us his name because he is relational
			a.  We honor his name when we are relational like him
			b.  We are a relational people because our Lord is
			c.  Phil 2:5 - Have the same attitude in yourselves which was 
			     also in Christ Jesus
			d.  Jesus was relational, therefore we also are to be
		4.  Phil 2:2 - Be of the same mind, maintain same love, united in 
		     one Spirit
			a.  Phil 2:3 - Regard others before yourselves
			b.  **Phil 2:4 - Look out for the interests of others…

III.  God cares and acts on it
	A.  (Ex 3:16-17) - God said "I am concerned" and "I will bring you out"
	B.  God does not love with words only
		1.  God rose up as a mighty warrior and delivered Israel
			a.  3:8 - I have come down to deliver them
			b.  God afflicted the afflicters with plagues
			c.  God led them through the sea
			d.  God defeated the enemy in the sea
		2.  Jesus rose up as a mighty warrior and delivered us
			a.  Jn 1:14 - God came down to deliver us
			b.  God defeated sin at the cross
			c.  God defeated death at the empty tomb
			d.  God will lead us safely through to the other side
		3.  God is a God of action, we are also to be a people of action
	C.  Let's say you are starving to death, homeless, stinky clothes…
		1.  You meet a Christian, Christian says, "God loves you"
			a.  Christian says, "Not only that, I love you."
			b.  Then he leaves you there
		2.  Is that what God does?  NO
			a.  Bible says he defends the orphan and the widow
			b.  Bible says he hears the cry of the oppressed
			c.  Bible says he acts on their behalf
	D.  Since God is a God of action, we to be people of action
		1.  Scripture reminds us of this
			a.  Jas 2:15f - Brother sister in need, say "be warmed, filled"
				- It is useless
				- It is dead faith
				- Faith and "action" go together
				- Being faithful is being people of action
			b.  1 Jn 3:18 - No love with word of tongue, but in deed and 
				- God did not just love in words, but in deed
		2. ILL:  Child ask Jesus, how much do you love me?  Jesus 
		     answered, "this much"
			a.  Jesus laid down his life (inv)
			b.  As Christians, we care as Jesus cared
			c.  We lay down our lives

1.  God has demonstrated that his is holy and loving
2.  Where the Lord is - Is holy
	a.  Lord does not dwell in a temple made with hands
	b.  Lord dwells in the temple he made - 1 Cor 3:17
		- Temple of God is holy
		- That is what you (plural) are
	c.  We are to be like God
		- Means we are a relational people, not individuals
		- Means we care and love in action like God
			-- We minister not with just words, but action
			-- We encourage, serve, give, and love as our Lord did
3.  When we do this, then we are truly a reflection of God in the world
	a.  God created us in his image
	b.  When we are godly, we reflect his image in the world
	c.  That is God's desire
4.  For being relational people, We have Life Groups to help
	a.  Place to build spiritual friendships
	b.  Sign up lists will be up, please sign up