Date: 10 May, 2018
Text: Numbers 16:41-50
Title: The Posture of the Prophet and Priest
Posture is important - My mum used to get on me about standing up straight. I would say, "But that is the way my back is." I remember hearing her say, "Stop slouching." Why? Because the way we stand says a lot about us.
golf - address the ball and as Jim Norton would say, "Hello ball...." - feet apart, body square, grip loose.... How you stand is very important to everything else.
a livestock show is looking for an animal with good posture - upright, strong
The military - expects a soldier at attention to be upright and certainly don't want them to look haggard.
Speech classes - they speak much about good posture for speaking - feet spread comfortably under your shoulders. Squarely facing your audience....
Salesman - eye contact, upright posture, confident voice....
Why does it matter? Because your posture speaks loudly about your character and your message. You can learn a lot from a person just based on their posture.
In our story today, we have a very postive example of SPIRITUAL POSTURE in Moses and Aaron. My message this morning, "The Posture of the Prophet and Priest." (The preacher and the mediator - between God and man.)
note: Their posture saved lives from the wrath of God. We ought to do the same.
AND SO - We need spiritual posture that will save men from the wrath of God. Do you have this spiritual posture in your life?
I. Gaze at glory.
41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.
exp. They are surrounded my a group of people who hate them for their obedience to the Lord.
ill. Korah, Dathan and Abiram - rebelled against the Lord by despising Moses and Aaron's leadership.
28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.
30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.
31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
exp. Now the congregation is angry again at Moses saying, "Ye have killed the people of the Lord."
ill. Criticism is hard to take. You are making tough decisions to honor God and the wicked don't agree. (FOLLOWING THE LORD IN BELIEVER'S BAPTISM WHEN YOU COME FROM A RELIGIOUS LOST FAMILY.)
note: Moses and Aaron weren't focused on the wicked. They were focused on the Lord.
ill. Remember when Stephen had the mob about to stone him - where was he looking?
Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
app. If we are going to have the life saving posture we need today - WE MUST LOOK PAST THE CRITICISM OF THE WICKED - and gaze at the glory of the Lord. Heb. 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Are you gazing at glory today or are you letting yourself be concerned about the opposition of the wicked?
II. Hasten to the Holy House.
43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.
44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
exp. The tabernacle was God's tent. Israel at this time were a nomadic people. They dwelt in tents. The tabernacle was made as a place where the glory of God could reside. There was an outer courtyard, then a front part of the tent and a back part.
exp. "Any common Israelite could enter the courts but only the priestly tribe could go beyond and into the Tabernacle and only the high priest could go beyond still into the holy of holies once per year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement."
note: As believer's we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts, Jesus Christ as our High Priest and access directly into the presence of God INDIVIDUALLY. Praise God - however coporate worship is in the house of God!
note: They came before the tabernacle because they anticipated revelation from God as to what He was going to do. "THE LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES."
question. When is the last time you said, "The Lord spoke to my heart when I was at church this morning." Do you come to the Holy House expecting God to speak to you?
ill. God spoke to my heart about salvation - at church. About surrender (at church (camp)) Called me to church planting (preaching service in my preacher boys class).
exp. Our church and our Gospel witness within this community would not be here today if it wasn't for God speaking to your pastor's heart at church.
app. Do you want to have posture that will save lives. HASTEN TO THE HOLY HOUSE - to hear a message from God.
III. Fall on your face.
45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
exp. Moses and Aaron would have been spared - but the congregation would have been destroyed by God. WHAT DID GOD WANT MOSES AND AARON TO DO - JUST WHAT THEY DID.
Eze 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
exp. Praise God - Israel in Moses day had two intercessors who cared enough for them to pray.
ill. This was not the first time, Israel was spared because of their standing in the gap. It isn't even the first time in this story.
20 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
question: When is the last time you cried out to God for His mercy upon mankind? Do you know what it is to stand in the gap for a land?
ill. “After the Chicago fire he went to London to rest and to learn from the Bible scholars there. He had no intention of preaching. One Sunday morning he was persuaded to preach in a church in London. Everything about the service dragged. He wished that he had never consented to preach. There was a woman in the city who had heard of Mr. Moody’s work in America and had been asking God to send him to London. This woman was an invalid. Her sister was present at the church that Sunday morning. When the hearer reached home she asked her sister to guess who had spoken for them that morning. She guessed one after another of those with whom her pastor was in the habit of exchanging, never guessing aright. Her sister said, ‘No, Mr. Moody from Chicago.’ The sick woman turned pale, and said, ‘This is an answer to my prayer. If I had known that he was to be at our church, I should have eaten nothing this morning, but waited on God in prayer. .Leave me alone this afternoon: do not let anyone come to see me; do not send me any thing to eat.’ All that afternoon that woman gave herself to prayer. As Mr. Moody preached that night, he soon became conscious that there was a different atmosphere in the church. ‘The powers of an unseen world seemed to fall’ upon him and his hearers. As he drew to a close he felt impressed to give out an invitation. He asked for all who would accept Christ to rise. Four or five hundred people rose. He thought that they misunderstood him, and so he put the question several ways that there might be no mistake. But no, they had understood.”
app. Have you passed on any meals lately because you needed to pray? If you want to have a posture that makes a difference - you need to fall on you face before God.
IV. Plan to prevent the plague.
46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.
exp. It wasn't enough to pray. They had to put their running shoes on and seek to get men right with God to avert His righteous wrath.
ill. Operation Auca - Jim Eliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian all died 8 January, 1956. They died at the end of the Auca's spears. The auca indians were a small tribe cut off from the rest of the world. (about 400) They didn't have Jesus and didn't know about his love and forgiveness. Operation Auca was their plan to get the Gospel to them.
1.) Bucket drops.
2.) Inviting them to a meeting.
3.) Landing on a beach (flower bombed)
4.) Building tree house.
5.) Waiting to make contact.
6.) Deciding not to fire a shot to kill an indian as that would put an indian into eternity who didn't know Jesus.
7.) They all gave their lives - Rachael Saint - just a year or two later lived among those indians and brought many of them to the Lord.
app. What plan do you have to take out the Gospel. The posture of those who would save men's lives - involves making plans for the Gospel.
V. Run the risk for redemption.
47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
exp. Aaron was running into a place where there was a deadly plague (sent by God) to seek to turn away the wrath of God. If it works, he saves lives. If it doesn't work I imagine that even he might die.
ill. Apostle Paul - going to Jersusalem even though he knew he would be imprisoned.
Act 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
ill. John and Betty Stam
The next morning, the Stams were forced to march 12 miles (19 km) west with the soldiers, to the town of Miaoshou (which is just under 9 miles (14 km) due west of Jingde). The group stopped for a night, and Betty was allowed to tend to Helen, but in fact, she hid her daughter in the room inside a sleeping bag. The very next morning, John and Betty were being marched down the streets of Miaoshou to meet their deaths. Curious onlookers lined both sides of the streets. A Chinese shopkeeper stepped out of the crowd and talked to the Communists, trying to persuade them not to kill the Stams. The soldiers ordered the man back into the crowd, but he wouldn't step back. The soldiers then invaded his house where they found a Chinese copy of the Bible and a hymnbook. He was led alongside the Stams to be executed for being a Christian.(p72) After marching for a short while longer, John Stam was ordered to kneel, and was beheaded. His wife and the shopkeeper were killed moments later
exp. That Christian shop keeper gave his life seeking to save the lives. All three died for the Gospel.
app. What risks have you taken to seek to save others from the wrath of God? "None of these things move me, neither count I my PRIDE, TIME, SIN, CARELESSNESS, LIFE, dear unto myself.... The posture that saves lives is "running the risk for redemption."
VI. Stand where the Saviour stood.
48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
exp. Oh, the boldness of the man of God. Picture in your mind the death on his left and salvation on his right. That is the kind of difference a man of God can make.
ill. How like our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the GREAT MAN OF GOD WHO STANDS BETWEEN THE DEAD AND THE LIVING. On what side of the GREAT MAN OF GOD do you stand today?
ill. The sheep and the goats
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
app. Friend - if you are on the wrong side of the man of God - you need to hear His Word - repent of your sin and receive by faith in the Son of God, God's gift of everlasting life. Believer - our posture ought to be to STAND WHERE OUR SAVIOUR STOOD between the dead and the living.
2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
VII. Stay steadfast for souls.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.
exp. 14,700 died - how it must have broken the heart of the man of God to walk past those who were dead BECAUSE OF THEIR TRESPASSES AND SIN.
note: How he must have longed for them to live again! Praise God - the death we deal with has a remedy - GOD IS THE GIVER OF LIFE.
Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
exp. Aaron had no hope those 14,700 would rise from the dead - BUT BELIEVERS IN OUR MINISTRY WE SOW IN HOPE OF THEIR RESURRECTION SPIRITUALLY FROM THE DEAD!
NOTICE: Aaron and Moses are not done. The plague is stayed for a time. They are back at their post faithfully serving the Lord. WHAT IF THEY WERE ON HOLIDAY WHEN THE WRATH OF GOD CAME.
app. Believer - you don't get a break from serving God. There is no EARLY RETIREMENT for God's Servants.
ill. Florida retirement village for Christian workers. Good if they haven't quit doing what God wants them to do - dying church within 30 miles who needed help. No nursery workers.....
app. Do you think you deserve to set your burden down - JESUS DIDN'T, PAUL DIDN'T - they carried their cross. Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. The posture that saves souls - STAYS STEADFAST FOR SOULS!
conclusion: We all probably need to work on better physical posture. It has importance. But it doesn't begin to compare with the need to have SPIRITUAL POSTURE THAT SAVES SOULS!
1.) Are you gazing at Glory? (Focused on the Saviour.)
2.) Do you hasten to the holy house? (to hear from God.)
3.) Are you falling on your face? (interceding for those in need of Jesus.)
4.) Do you have a plan to prevent the plague? (Gospel plan)
5.) Do you run risks for redemption? (Hazarding anything?)
6.) Do you stand where the Saviour stood? (Between the living and the dead.)
7.) Are you staying steadfast for souls? (Not taking a holiday from God's work.)