Moses – Keys to Effective Faith
August 22, 2021

“Moses – Keys to Effective Faith”
Hebrews 11:23-29

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2LkHysJqs8

We are continuing in our series on the faith of our forefathers as found in Hebrews 11, or God’s Hall of Faith. Now, this chapter is filled with ordinary people who accomplished extra-ordinary achievements. These men and women also weren’t perfect, in fact, they were far from it. They often failed, but they continued by faith and reached their God given potential and goal. The purpose of this chapter, therefore, is to encourage and give us the faith to continue.

This morning we are going to be looking at Moses, who in many ways was considered to be the greatest man in the Old Testament. Moses was given the Ten Commandments and the Law. He wrote the first five books of the Bible. He led the children of Israel out of captivity from the greatest power of that time, that is, Egypt. But he was also a person like you and me.

And so, the question becomes, why was God able to use Moses so effectively for His kingdom? Well, according to the writer of Hebrews it was because Moses was able to identify and settle some of the most basic questions in life. These are, “Who are we,” What are our choices,” “What is most important,” and “What are our goals?”

I’d like to deal with these questions in what I am calling the Keys to Effective Faith.

Be Ourselves

In other words, we need to be who God created us to be.

We should never try to be someone we’re not. God made each of us for a purpose. When we pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we’re agreeing with God that He has a plan and a purpose for this present world, and that we are a part of it.

There’s nobody else who can do what God has called each one of us to do, or to be who God has called each one of us to be. Moses had to deal with this right off the bat. He had what you might call an identity crisis. When he was born, the Egyptians were putting to death all male Jewish babies. So, his mother put him in a basket and set him afloat on the Nile River where Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as her own son.

Moses was born Jewish, but raised Egyptian. So, he had to decide who he was. This was an important choice because it determined who he would be for the rest of his life. If he said, “I’m an Egyptian,” he would live a life of ease, and his life would be one of fame and fortune, being a part of the royal family.

If, however, he said that he was a Jew, then he would be humiliated, kicked out of the palace, and sent to live with his own people as a slave. But even through Moses saw how badly the Jews were mistreated, he made the decision and chose who God created Him to be.

The writer of Hebrews said, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” (Hebrews 11:24 NKJV)

The word, “refused,” literally means to reject, deny, and disown. Moses cut himself off from a promising career as an Egyptian because he refused to live a lie. Instead, he wanted to do what God had created him to do, and to be who God created him to be.

There’s something liberating when we’re ourselves, and who God created us to be. And if I can say, the quickest way to an ulcer is to try to be someone we’re not. And so, to live an effective faith-filled life, we need to be ourselves.

But you might be wondering, “What has God created for me to be?” As a Christian God created us all with a purpose and a plan.

The Apostle Paul said, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

And the greatest work any of us could do is to be ministers of the gospel message, that is, the good news of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are called to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, how can we love others as God calls us to do? Well, it’s by telling them about God’s love. How Jesus Christ came to this earth to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life with Him in heaven.

So, we need to be who God has created us to be. This is the first key to an effective life of faith.

Be Responsible

In other words, we need to accept responsibility for our lives.

Let’s stop blaming everyone else. Let’s not say, “It’s not my fault.” Instead, we need to accept responsibility and make the necessary changes. What we choose today will determine who we are going to be tomorrow. Moses made that choice, and he began to live an effective life of faith. Notice what it says about the choice Moses made.

“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” (Hebrews 11:25 NKJV)

To “choose,” means to select or to decide. And so, there’s a principle we see from these first two verses. When Moses refused, he chose. The negative is followed by the positive. By refusing, Moses was choosing. Christianity is not a negative based religion, but one that replaces the negatives of life with the positives of God.

God had chosen Moses before he was even born, and as a baby God had his hand upon his life. We see the same thing with Jeremiah.

God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV)

We cannot blame others for the wrong direction our lives have taken, nor can we live off other people’s spiritual commitment. Just because our parents or spouse is a Christian doesn’t make us one. Please understand that God has no grandchildren, only children. Therefore, we cannot be grandfathered into heaven. There is no “Grandfather Clause.”

Now that Moses was grown, he chose God, even though God had chosen him. God chose us, but the question is, “Have we chosen God?” We all need to make that choice. We can’t have it both ways. We are either pleasing God or ourselves. Jesus said, either we are for Him or against Him. There is no fence sitting.

Moses made his choice when he came of age. One of the marks of maturity is accepting responsibility for the decisions we make. Society, however, teaches us to pass the buck. “It’s not your fault,” they say. “Blame the banks, the economy, environment, politicians, or others like our parents or teachers.”

How often do we hear people, including ourselves, say, “The reason I am like this is because what somebody else did to me?” So, society has given to us plenty of excuses to use in order to excuse our bad behavior, or should I say, “our sin.”

Further, nobody can ruin our lives except ourselves. Satan can try, but he can’t because he doesn’t have enough power. God won’t ruin our lives because He loves us. So ultimately, the only person who can mess us up is ourselves.

And so when Moses grew up, he made a choice, he took responsibility.

If we want to have an effective life of faith, then we have to be ourselves and accept responsibility. Like Moses, we must make some tough choices, but nobody else can make them for us. No matter what has happened in the past, we don’t have to be bound by it. Instead, we have the freedom to choose today how we’re going to respond. Are we going to be bitter, or be better?

Establish Biblical Values

We need to establish a Biblical value system.

This issue must be settled in our lives, therefore we must ask, “What is really important?” This is not something that we decide haphazardly, or on a whim, but something we must give serious thought to. This is what Moses did as he clarified his values.

“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:26 NKJV)

To “esteem,” means to weigh in the balance, to give careful consideration, to carefully consider the options and evaluate their worth. Moses considered God’s will of greater value than all the treasures of Egypt.

What is our value system? To determine the answer, we need to determine what is most important. What do we base our decisions upon?

Why this is so important is because if we don’t determine what’s valuable, then others will do it for us. If we don’t decide how we’re going to use our time and treasure, then others will decide it for us.

What are the values of this world? There are three common values that the world promotes and what people are frantically searching for. These are Pleasure, Possessions, and Power.

By the world’s standards, Moses had it made. Everything the world values he had. Yet, he valued the reproach of Christ of greater value. That is, he valued that the abuse and disgrace he suffered for the Messiah was of greater value than all the stuff this world could offer.

Moses had everything the world values and he gave it up, he walked away from it to live with a bunch of slaves? Who would do that? The answer, someone who had a different value system. Moses realized that there were things far more important in life, and he wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything that was less than the best, and that would last the test of time.

King David, who we look at last week, said much the same thing.

He said, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10b NKJV)

Jesus said that no one can serve two masters. They cannot serve possessions and God at the same time. That in the end they’re going to love the one and hate the other or vice-versa.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV)

What I have discovered is that it is very easy to say “yes” to God, but it’s a whole lot more difficult to say “no” to everything else. And what happens in the end is that we never really carve out the space needed for God to work in our lives.

You see, it’s easy to say yes to God when He offers abundant life, purpose, peace of mind, power for daily living, help for our problems, eternal life, and forgiveness. We’ll say yes to that in a minute. But do we realize that by saying yes to God we’re in essence saying no to the value system of the world. That’s the hard part of the pill to swallow. And so, what happens is that we spit it out because what we want to say yes to both, but the Bible calls that being double minded.

The Apostle James said, “A double-minded man, is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8 NKJV)

Now, from these three verses in Hebrews, what we see is that Moses decided three things that determined his value system. And if Moses didn’t make these three decisions, then we wouldn’t be talking about him today, instead we’d be visiting his tomb in the King Tut exhibit.

The first thing Moses chose was God’s Purpose

Moses knew that God’s purpose was more valuable than popularity.

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” (Hebrews 11:24 NKJV)

Look at this title, “son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” That’s status. He was the big man on campus and at the Pyramid club. He probably had his picture in the Egyptian Gazette as the “Up and Coming Monarch of the Year.” He was known by everyone, and had the kind of popularity that everyone wants.

But Moses knew that while popularity may win contests, it doesn’t last. No one really remembers who won which prize and when. Fame is fleeting and has been downgraded from 15 minutes to 10.

What I like about Moses was that he was not all that impressed with himself. Moses wanted God’s purpose for his life. He said, “I’d rather be a slave fulfilling God’s purpose than be king of Egypt with all the popularity that goes along with it.” God’s purpose is more valuable than popularity.

Next, Moses chose God’s People

Moses knew that God’s people were more valuable than pleasure.

“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” (Hebrews 11:25 NKJV)

Moses’s people, the Jews, were slaves. How would we react, how would we decide? Moses chose pain over pleasure, discomfort over ease. And the reason was because people are more valuable than pleasure.

Moses heard the cries of the people and said that these cries were more important than his comfort. Moses knew that like popularity, pleasure wouldn’t last either.

Now, I am not ignorant. There is a pleasure in sin…for a season that is. Sin is fun. If sin were a bummer, then we’d have no problem with it. But sin is fun, but it’s also painful. Kind of like, we can have our kicks, but we’re going to get kicked back.

The Bible talks about it as reaping what we sow. It says, “They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7 NKJV)

And so, Moses’s value system was that God’s purpose is more important than popularity, and that people are more important than pleasure. But there is one more.

God’s Peace

Moses knew that God’s peace was more valuable than possessions.

“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:26 NKJV)

There are some things in life that are more important than stuff we have. There’s a peace of mind that comes when we’re in the middle of God’s will and purpose for our lives.

Now, we can’t buy lasting happiness. Let’s say I go out and buy a fancy new car. I’m happy. I drive it all around and I’m happy. But after a couple of months, it just doesn’t do if for me anymore. The new car smell is gone, and I’m no longer happy, so I get a newer model.

Someone said it like this, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

Jesus said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.” (Luke 12:15 NLT)

It’s all a matter of values. We should love people and use things. But what happens is that we get this reversed and we start loving things and using people to get them. People are to be loved, not used. That’s the value system that going to make a difference.

Moses gave up the very things that most people spend their entire lives trying to get! Why? The writer of Hebrews points out the reason in the later part of verse 26, “He (Moses) looked for the reward.” He was looking ahead; he was living his life in the light of eternity.

Here’s a statement that may help and segway into our last key.

“Our happiness is determined by our character. Our character is determined by our choices. Our choices are determined by our values. And our values are determined by our vision, that is, what we set our eyes upon.”

Moses had his eyes set upon what counts, notice it says he looked for the reward. And so, the last key to effective faith is that we need God’s vision.

Have God’s Vision

In other words, let’s not take our eyes off the prize.

Moses continually visualized his goal. He constantly kept it before him.

“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27 NKJV)

Moses never took his eye off the goal. And to do the same, we need God’s vision for our lives.

Solomon said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

Literally, this means where there is no prophetic revelation from God, people go nuts, that is, they cast off all moral restraints and act like a bunch of crazy people.

We all have problems, which is why we need God’s vision. We need to see our lives and this world through the eyes of the Lord.

Someone said, “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”

Let me rephrase this, “Obstacles are what we see when we take our eyes off God.”

Moses’s life was not without its problems. Think how many problems Moses faced there in the wilderness. He had to deliver a slave nation from the most powerful nation in the world, and then transport them through the most desolate piece of real estate on planet earth, which was interesting enough called, the wilderness of sin, and this all without a back up supply of food or water. But he was able to get them to the Promised Land because he focused on God, and not the problems.

Further, look at how long Moses had to wait from his choice to follow God and identify with His people and finally delivering them at the entrance to the Promised Land – 80 years. How well would we do if we had to wait 80 years, or how about 80 days?

Conclusion

One of the greatest tests of our faith is how well we wait for answered prayer, a healing, for a goal to be met? Do we get discouraged when there is a delay? If our answer is delayed, we need to understand that not all of God’s delays are denials.

The difference between maturity and immaturity is when we know the difference between “no” and “not yet.” Do we give up and say that it’s not meant to be when God doesn’t answer us according to our timetable? Let’s not get discouraged. Let’s not stop praying. Let’s not lose our enthusiasm. Instead, let’s renew our vision.

Jesus did the same thing. He looked beyond the problem, that is, our sin, and saw the possibilities, and that is, our salvation. He looked beyond the pain of the cross as our sin was laid upon Him, and saw the eventual profit, and that is an eternity in heaven for all those who believe. So, He went to the cross because He knew the result that it would provide, again, our salvation.

Jesus knew God’s plan for His life. He knew who He was and the Father’s purpose. He accepted the responsibility and chose the cross, never taking His eyes off the prize and the goal, our salvation and an eternity with us in heaven.

Let me just end with this, we are as close to God as we want to be. We have the same options before us as these men and women in God’s Hall of Faith had before them. What will we choose, God and His people, or the passing pleasure, power, and possessions of this world?

Moses made the Hall of Faith and so can we by choosing God and His purposes for our lives.









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