Love- A Stone’s Throw Away
Topic: Love, A Stone's Throw Away
Sermon Title: “Love- A Stone’s Throw Away”
Sermon Series: Jesus is Coming! (Advent 2017)
Date: December 10th, 2017
Speaker: Pastor Damian Mericka
Text: Deuteronomy 32; Zechariah 2&3;
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the global population is estimated to be about 300 million people. Out of this 45 million populated the Roman Empire. More than 90% of this population were not citizens of Rome; they were slaves / conquered people who through taxation provided the means the Empire needed to sustain its glory. The larger lower class funding the smaller upper class- foreign concept, right?! It has been suggested that the Jews made up 10% of that enslaved margin.
Just how many people were waiting and watching for Jesus? While the history of the Jews was full of incredible miracles, inspiring prophecies and encouraging reflections- most of this became a volume of stagnant tradition. Rituals that brought a sense of identity, but provided no direction. Scripture was allegorical rather than literal and aside from some fanatical groups the idea of a coming Messiah was like a wonderful dream that no matter how much one may try to hold on to it, the awakening day crumbles what was and is hardly a thought thereafter. Most were not looking for His First Advent; will you be watching and ready for His Second Advent?
- God Our Rock (Deuteronomy 32-Selected Verses)
- Moses is opening this song for an audience beyond the people of Israel. In fact, the words that make up such a magnificent hymn would be an eternal proclamation of God’s unchanging purpose through His chosen people. (Vv.1-3)
- God as Creator is the only true satisfaction to His creation.
- God is here identified as a Rock; contrasted with the rock of other nations. The characteristics Moses expounds are:
- His Divine Character (v.4)
- His Divine Fatherhood (v.18)
- His Divine Distinction (Vv.28-33)
- Contrasting with warfare. The God of Israel made Himself known to His people; the gods of the nations came from the imaginations of men. As victory is found in God, other gods are false.
Going Deeper: Nearing the end of his life Moses calls the people of Israel together to hear a song he had written. It was a song meant to remind the people that they are chosen with a purpose that will impact the entire world. Keep in mind this audience is not the generation that was delivered from Egypt; for they died in the wilderness due to sin. Here this new generation stands; the past behind them and their future in the promised land before them. Around you in your group are men and women all over the experience spectrum; if you only could pass on ONE bit of advice about God, what would it be? What is significant about Moses referring to God as a Rock? How would God’s character, fatherhood and distinction from other gods be important to Israel? Are they important to you? Why or why not?
- God Draws His People Back to Jerusalem (Zechariah 2)
- Zechariah has an angel that walks through these visions with him bringing explanation
- Note: Zechariah 1:9
- Four Individuals in this Vision from God:
- Zechariah who witnesses and interacts with the Vision (Vv.1-3)
- A man with a measuring line to measure Jerusalem (Vv.1-2)
- The Angelic Guide (v.3)
- The Angel of the Lord (Vv.3-5)
- Unlike before, Jerusalem will be a City without Walls to accommodate growth
- God will protect Jerusalem with a wall of fire
- Zechariah’s Message to the People still in Babylon:
- Flee before God’s judgment falls (Vv.6-9)
- For how they dealt with Israel (v.8)
- God will dwell with His people, growing His family from among the Nations. (Vv.10-12)
- God is in motion as the prophet speaks, leaving His Holy dwelling (v.13)
- Flee before God’s judgment falls (Vv.6-9)
Going Deeper: Why did Zechariah have an angelic guide in his visions? Who does God bring into your life to help you understand God’s Word? This vision was meant to stir up the deported people to leave Babylon and return home. 70 years ago, God told them to flee to Babylon because of Judgment on Jerusalem; now He is telling them to flee in the reverse direction. Why would the people hesitate to leave Babylon? Why would God bring judgment on Babylon for bringing judgment to His people when He Himself ordained it?! (Yes- I’m asking this-have fun!) Have verses 4&5, 10-12 happened yet? Do you think this has anything to do with Jerusalem in the headlines again?
III. Jesus our Stone (Zechariah 3)
- Joshua, as High Priest, stands accused by Satan (Adversary) representing the whole Nation of Israel. (Vv.1-2)
- The Angel of the Lord:
- Rebukes the enemy of Israel; affirms God was refining not destroying with the flames of judgment (Vv.1-2)
- Gives Joshua new clothes symbolizing Salvation (Vv.3-5)
- Directs Israel to patiently in obedience walk worthy of the calling over them (Vv.6-7)
- Note: Ephesians 4:1
- Promises to remove their sin on the foundation of Himself as: (Vv8-10)
- A humble Servant
- A branch from lowly beginnings
- A single stone that would remove iniquity in a single day (atonement)
- Seven Eyes- all seeing / omniscient (Covering sins of Omission).
- Will bring peace to the Kingdom
- Acts 4:8-12
- Philippians 2:1-11
Going Deeper: Have you ever felt like Joshua in the sense that someone stands constantly expecting and accusing the worst in us? Why does Satan accuse us? (See Revelation 12:10) What is the symbolism of a brand plucked from the fire (v.2)? Why does Joshua receive new clothes? What did that mean for the Nation? What does that mean for us today? What did Pastor Damian note as the difference between a “rock” and a “stone”? Explain how all of this demonstrates God’s Love.