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Sermon: Treasured Possession (Exodus 19)

by PastorWilliams on August 22nd, 2017

* Order of Service: Divine Service 1

* Hymns: LSB #901, 545, 618, 619, 621, 583


SERMON TEXT: If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples. (Exodus 19:5)

The Israelites were God’s treasured possession among all the peoples in the Old Testament. From the New Testament onward, the Church, the new Israel, is God’s treasured possession. But what does it mean to be God’s treasured possession? Since the Israelites were replaced, is it possible that the Church will be replaced? Or is the Church God’s final treasured possession?

The Israelites were God’s treasured possession from the time God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. God chose them even before Abram and Sarai had any children. The Israelites at the base of Mount Sinai were eyewitnesses of God’s works against Egypt.1 They had seen God’s plagues.2 They had walked through the Red Sea.3 They were baptized into Moses and the cloud of God’s glory.4 They had every reason to “make a joyful noise to the LORD.”5 They were about to be justified by God’s blood.6

They were eyewitnesses, but they fell away. They could not keep their promise, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.”7 They had seen everything that God had done for them, but they couldn’t do it. No one can do it. The curse of original sin that has been passed down from Adam to every generation. “Death spread to all men because all sinned.”8

They fell away on their way to Sinai.9 They fell away with the Golden Calf.10 They fell away repeatedly after they left Sinai.11 They fell away when they refused to take hold of all God’s blessings in the Promised Land.12 But God didn’t give up on them. When Jesus sent out of the Twelve Apostles, He told them to go to the lost sheep of Israel.13 God had sent prophet after prophet, generation after generation.14 They had no excuse. They fell away and they didn’t want to find their way back into God’s light. They wanted to remain in the darkness of the Baals and Asherim and the other gods of the Canaanites.

Because of their continued apostasy and rebellion, God sent them into exile. While Israel and Judah were in exile, they fell away further. They completely changed the religion and traditions that God had handed down to them. They took away God’s Gospel proclamations and left only the Law. A law that they thought they could fulfill. At least, that’s what the Pharisees wanted you to think.

When Jesus came with His message of reconciliation, it was something alien to His audience. Jesus replaced the authorities established by those who were supposed to following His message. Instead of the greatly educated teachers and students of the Law, Jesus chose uneducated fishermen to be the eyewitnesses to His glory.15 Those who were slightly educated in the rudimentary elements of the Jewish religion. But they believed Jesus’ teaching. And they became the foundation for the new Israel, the Church.16

The Church is Christ’s people. The sheep of His pasture.17 Sheep who often stray from the Shepherd’s path. But Jesus has compassion on straying sheep.18 The Church is no different from the Israelites. Death reigns over our lives as well because of original sin.19 We continue to sin because we cannot help but sin. We stray from Jesus’ path, but He does not give up on us either.

However, when Jesus took on human flesh, He established a kingdom that would never fall.20 Never need replacing. The Church is more firmly established than the kingdom of Israel because the Apostles had the eyewitness testimony to the greatest event in human history. The death and resurrection of the Son of God. His free gift of life is not like the consequences of original sin.21 In fact, His free gift is the complete opposite. Where original sin gives death, Jesus gives life.22

However, there are some who wear the name Christian that believe Israel is still God’s chosen people. That the Church is a temporary placeholder that will be replaced when the Jews finally accept Jesus as their Messiah. These are the Christians who follow the dispensational doctrines of men like C.I. Scofield and John Nelson Darby. Both of these men taught that the establishment of the Church was never God’s intention. Jesus was supposed to sit on His throne in Jerusalem when He took on flesh. But the Jews put Him to death on the cross. Therefore, God had to quickly come up with another plan to give Israel more time to believe. Of course, they had to invent the Rapture in order to make it where Israel would come back to the fatih.

But the Bible doesn’t teach these things. Even when you twist the Scriptures the way they do, the Bible still doesn’t say these things. The Bible proclaims the things Jesus proclaimed. The Gospel of the kingdom.23 Jesus only has one kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven. There is no replacement. There is no Plan B. Jesus came into the world to die so that He might reconcile the world to His Father. That’s the Gospel of the Kingdom. That’s how Jesus is the only Lord and Savior.

Just as the Church cannot be replaced, Jesus cannot be replaced as Savior. When He said, “It is finished,”24 your salvation was complete. There is no other means of salvation. You cannot be saved anywhere else than the Cross of Calvary. You cannot be saved by anyone other than Jesus. No other Savior can create or increase faith.25

The Church is, was and always will be God’s treasured possession. The Church began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Grew as they fulfilled their first commandment to multiply and fill the earth.26 Dwindled down to just Noah and his family.27 Restarted with Abram in Ur of the Chaldees.28 Through Isaac and Jacob and the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The Church was to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.29 It was re-established through the Apostles. Handed down to us today. God’s Word survives the rise and fall of nations without change.30 The Church has always been God’s treasured possession. Whether it has billions of members or only two.

God’s treasured possession has always been those who were possessed by faith in Him. Faith in what has been revealed by the Holy Spirit. The Church began with two and has struggled through millenia of wars, strifes, persecutions, exiles and martyrdoms to prove that we are God’s treasured possession. Therefore we strive to listen to Him so that we may obey His voice and keep His covenant.31 Amen.

1Exodus 19:4

2Exodus 7-12

3Exodus 14

41 Corinthians 10:2

5Psalm 100:1

6Exodus 24:8; Romans 5:9

7Exodus 19:8; 24:7-8; 32:1-35

8Romans 5:12

9Exodus 15:22-17:7

10Exodus 32

11Numbers 11-14; 16-17; 21:4-9; 25; etc.

12Judges 1:27-36

13Matthew 10:6

14LSB #583.1

15Matthew 10:1-4; 17:1-8; Acts 4:13

16Ephesians 2:19-22

17Psalm 100:3

18Matthew 9:36

19Romans 5:12

20Matthew 16:18-19

21Romans 5:15

22Romans 6:23

23Matthew 9:35

24John 19:30

25LSB #901.4

26Genesis 1:28

27Genesis 6:8; 7:7

28Genesis 12:1-3

29Exodus 19:8

30LSB #583.3

31Exodus 19:5

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