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Sunday, January 25, 2015 pm                                    Perfection 2015 Index

                                                                                            Evangelism Index

 PERSONAL EVANGELISM
The Excuses of Moses (and Us)
Exodus 3:10-4:17

 In our lesson this morning, we discussed the subject of excuses and that we ought to eliminate them from our lives.  If we are to “go on to perfection” we cannot make excuses.   One area where many of us struggle is personal evangelism – teaching the lost.  Our weaknesses and failures in this area often prompt excuses.  We need to answer those excuses for ourselves.  So, in conjunction with our theme this year and with this being the 4th Sunday evening of the month (which we will devote to personal evangelism this year), let us notice the excuses of Moses and how they relate to personal evangelism.

 I.            Moses at the burning bush – Exodus 3 &4

A.       Exodus 3:10-4:17 – Moses is called by the LORD at the burning bush to deliver Israel from Egypt

B.       This occurs after Moses flees Egypt at the age of 40 (Acts 7:23) for killing an Egyptian task master.  He spends 40 years in Midian tending the sheep of Jethro, priest of Midian (Ex. 2:18, 3:1) and marries his daughter, Zipporah.  AT the age of 80 ( Exodus 7:7, Acts 7:30) while tending the flock of Jethro Moses sees a bush burning with fire but it is not consumed.  As he approaches the bush God speaks to him and tells him to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground.  Moses complies.

C.       The LORD then commissions Moses to deliver his people from Egypt (2:7-10)

D.       Moses begins to ask questions and seeks to excuse himself from the assigned task.  There are 5 excuses he makes:

                                                   i.      Who am I (11-12) – He saw himself as insignificant and unqualified to carry out this task.   The Lord answers, “I will certainly be with you.”

                                                  ii.      When I come to Israel what shall I say to the people?  (13-22) – Moses doesn’t know what to say or how to tell them who it was that sent him.  The LORD answers, say, “I AM WHO I AM”  He gives him further instructions

                                                iii.      What if they don’t believe me? (4:1-9) – Moses fears that his words will be rejected.  The LORD says, “What is that in your hand?”  It was his staff.  He was told to cast it down and when he did it turned into a serpent.  He then was told to pick it up by the tail and when he did it became the rod in his hand again.  Furthermore he was given another sign – his hand became as leprosy when he placed it in his bosom.

                                                iv.      O Lord, I am not an eloquent man (4:10-12) -  Moses says he doesn’t know how to adequately speak.  The LORD said, “Who made your mouth?”  Furthermore He promised, “I will be with you and teach you what to say.”

                                                  v.      O my Lord, please send by whomever else You may send.” (4:13-17) – at this point, the LORD is angry.  He again answers that Arron is coming and will be with him.  HE can speak for you.  The LROD doesn’t accept his excuses and bids him to go.

                                                vi.      Moses complies and goes to Egypt.  In time the Israelites are saved from their captivity.

E.        Excuses and evangelism.  We find many excuses to keep us from fulfilling our responsibilities in the area of evangelism.  Many of the excuses Moses offered are similar to excuses we might use today, so with that in mind we want to examine these excuses and make application to our command to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15-16).

 II.            Who am I?

A.       Moses had lack of confidence in himself.  He saw himself as insignificant. Perhaps he was afraid of what might happen if he returned to the land.

B.       Many today do not try to teach others because we lack confidence in ourselves.  We think we are not good enough, we don’t know enough, we are not prepared enough, etc.

C.       You can do something.  While you may have limitations, you can do something.

D.       God eliminated this excuse of Moses.  HE said, 1) “I will be with you”, 2) He promised that one day you will serve God on this mountain.

E.        God will be with us as well!  WE are His people – 1 Pet. 2:9-10. 
Matt. 28:20 Jesus made the promise that He will be with us.
God can make us sufficient!  2 Cor. 3:5-6 – our sufficiency is in Him.  He has given us all that we need.
Phil. 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

 III.            What shall I say?

A.       Moses basically says, I have no idea what to tell them.  What if they ask me, “What is the name of this God who sent you?”

B.       Many today fear being asked questions they cannot answer.  They fear they don’t know enough.

C.       For us, let the word of God speak.  When His word speaks, it is the source. 
2 Pet. 1:3 – we have all things that pertain to life and godliness. 
Jude 3 tells is it was “once for all” delivered.  It is complete (2 Tim. 3:16,17)

D.       The scriptures are pretty plain when dealing with “the first principles” – 1 Cor. 15:1-4 – the gospel; God’s plan of salvation – the 5 steps, remaining faithful, etc. 

E.        Furthermore, in my limited experience with this, MOST people do not have a vast knowledge of scripture.  Simply letting the scriptures speak will suffice you at first.
Also, a lack of knowledge to answer a particular question is not always a failure.  You can demonstrate your sincerity by saying, “I don’t know, but I will find out” and THEN finding the answer.  Coming back to someone with genuine questions goes a long way.

F.        ALSO, I again ask, HOW LONG is this a valid reason?  When does it go from being a reason to an excuse?
A good exercise to help you with this is to memorize scriptures.  There are resources available by sound brethren with lists of scriptures to memorize.
There are also ways to mark your Bibles to help you locate answers to particular questions and answers.

G.       BUT the bottom line is it requires work to become more proficient.  2 Tim. 2:15, 1 Pet 3:15

 

 IV.            What if they don’t believe me?

A.       The third question Moses posed was a fear of rejection.  God gave him the tools to verify he was sent from God.  There were the 2 signs.  Furthermore there would be the 10 plagues and his prophecies. 

B.       We do not have miracles, but we have what we need – the Bible. 
Romans 1:16 tells us that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation…
Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
John 20:30-31 tells us that what is written is so that we may believe.

C.       And with experience we can share that effectively with others.  We have tracts that direct people to the Bible, etc.
We have godly examples (Matt. 5:16).  James 2:18 – SHOW them your faith.  It is by far the most powerful tool you have!
MOSES when he asked this was told, “What is that in your hand?”  It was his staff.  That staff was used to prove who he was.  FOR us, USE WHAT YOU HAVE!  God doesn’t expect any more from you than what you are capable of giving.  You may be a 1 talent servant.  So what?  Use that ONE talent!

D.       Furthermore, whether or not they believe you is irrelevant.  Your task is to go.
And the truth is – many will NOT believe you or His word.  Jesus warned His disciples this would happen and He told them to go to the next city (Luke 9:3-5, 10:1-16).  Let God deal with those who reject the truth.
Ezekiel in Ezek. 3:16-21 was a watchman with the task of sharing God’s word.

Paul in 1 Cor. 3:5-8 speaks of planting and watering.  Let God give the increase and worry about it. Moses was told to Go! It wasn’t an option and it was all that he was accountable for. 
WHAT do these 3 examples as well as Jesus have in common?  They were rejected continually as they taught!

 

 V.            I am slow of speech

A.       I don’t know if Moses had a speech impediment or not.   Perhaps he just wasn’t good with words.  Whatever the case, God said, “Who made your mouth?” and then He said, “I will be with you!”   Again, use whatever abilities you have.

B.       We don’t have to be seasoned orators to proclaim the word of God.  In fact, when discussing with others let the word of God do the speaking!  The more you appeal to the Bible, the less you have to say on your own. 

C.       Reaching others is not about how well you speak.  Paul may not have been the orator that Apollos was (Acts 18:24), but he got the job done VERY effectively. 
1 Cor. 2:1-5 – it was the word of God that he used.
Most of the apostles were “untrained men.”  With the help of God they got the job done!

D.       Something else to consider.  If you can get someone interested, there are others who can come study the Bible with them along WITH you. 
Acts 10:24, 33 – Peter sent to Cornelius and Cornelius sent FOR Peter; Acts 8:30-31 – the Eunuch taught by Peter.  Barnabas was sent to Antioch after some obeyed.  This provided further instructions

 

 VI.            I don’t want to go

A.       Send by anyone else.  This is closer to real reason.  Perhaps it was his lack of confidence, he was comfortable where he was at, or some other reason.  The bottom line: He didn’t want to go!
HOWEVER: 1) IT angered God; 2) God didn’t accept that and excuse him. 3) God STILL expected him to go!
NOTE: All the excuses in the world will NOT bring acceptance.  BUT, neither will a refusal to obey!

B.       Today, whatever the excuse, this is often the real reason.  Excuses are typically smokescreens for our not wanting to go or not being willing to prepare ourselves so that we CAN go!  FRIENDS, that is NOT an acceptable excuse to God (i.e. consider jury duty – not wanting to go will not excuse you).
Ephesians 4:16 calls for “every part” to do its share causing growth of the body.
Titus 2:14, we are to be a people “zealous for good works” (cf. Eph. 2:10)

C.       When we stand before God in judgment, we will answer for how we used our talents! (Cf. Matt. 25:14-30).  We do NOT want God angry with us!

 

When all was said and done, Moses went as told to do and he did fine.  He gained confidence and wisdom and was very effective.  NOTICE that in all these excuses that Moses made they were a lack of confidence in himself.  But the answers are there. 

What about us? Chances are that if we are not striving to seek the lost, it is because we don’t have confidence in our abilities or the courage to do what needs to be done.  Let us learn from Moses to answers these excuses for ourselves and overcome them.