Tim Keller spoke next from Exodus 14.
*Update* The audio is available for download here. Video can be viewed below:
A few selections from my notes follow.
Not only want to preach to you but also teach you something about preaching the Old Testament
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Red Sea crossing to the rest of the Bible. There are at least two-dozen direct references to it in the OT, and innumerable references in the NT.
When you go to Luke 9, the transfiguration, Jesus is talking to Moses and Elijah about His departure, about His death in Jerusalem, but the Greek word there is “Exodus,”—Jesus’ death on the cross is the greater exodus.
Hebrews uses the Red Sea crossing as a paradigm for Christian faith.
If there is one passage that the Bible invites us to read in light of Christ, it would be this one [Exodus 14].
Salvation is about getting out:
What we’re getting out of: It’s about getting us out of bondage. Redemption, the Greek word for it, means to release from bondage. The Israelites were released from bondage, but then the slave master said, “no we want you back.” And inside, though they’re objectively free, they’re still in bondage. There are layers to it:
- Christian salvation means we’re freed from the law objectively. We were under condemnation, but through Jesus we get out. We’re under God’s wrath, His settled judicial opposition to evil.
- Christian salvation means we’re freed from the law subjectively. The Galatians were objectively freed from the law, but were falling back into the bondage of seeking righteousness under the law. I [Keller] think this is because deep down we all know we’re supposed to be perfect. We all know deep down that we should be perfect, and being told that there is no condemnation in Christ, we are still in bondage to works righteousness.
- Christian salvation means we’re freed from bondage to sin. WGT Shedd says, “Sin is the suicidal action of the human will against itself.” Every time you sin, you’re making it that much harder to resist it the next time. And that doesn’t go away right away. There is still a tremendous amount of bondage to sin.
- Christian salvation means we’re freed from bondage to idols. If you love anything more than God, if there is anything more important to your significance than God, then it’s a kind of pseudo-God, and it will continually say, “serve me or die.” If you want to be a good minister, that’s fine… but if your success in your ministry is more important to you than what God says about you, when someone gets in the way of your ministry, you get incredibly, vehemently angry. And when something gets in the way of your success in ministry, you become paralyzed with fear.
Redemption is about getting out of bondage and it has layers.
How are we getting out of it: Crossing over by grace. Ex. 13 & 14, Moses says, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.” That’s the principle, but we’re given an illustration of how it works. The Israelites were within arms’ reach of their old masters and they were under of sentence of death. And the minute they crossed over, they crossed over from death to life. And this is why we have a religion that is different from every other religion. Every other religion is like building a bridge. You put down a pylon, and another pylon and if the government runs out of money you’ve got a bridge to nowhere… But not so with Christianity. One minute you’re not regenerated and the next you are. You’re not adopted and then you are. You either are a Christian or you’re not a Christian.
This idea of crossing over from death to life was something Lloyd-Jones used as a test to see where people were at. When asking people if they were a Christian, a number would say, “Well, I’m trying.” Their answer would show that they didn’t have any idea about what Christianity was about.
How could Paul say that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus? Because he had crossed over. He said that he was the chief of sinners, but God is using him the most. He knew where he stood with God.
Everything about this text says grace, grace, grace, grace.
Why is it possible for us to get out: The Egyptians were killed when they tried to cross over, but not the Israelites. Why did the Israelites get off? Look at the flood, when God uses water to judge creation, He is, in a sense, de-creating. It’s the reversal of creation, the unleashing of chaos. The wages of sin is death. What God was doing in the flood, he was unleashing the forces of chaos, which was an appropriate judgment. And many have pointed out that that’s what the plagues were. When the plagues descended upon Egypt, it was de-creation. And the Exodus might be called the eleventh plague, because it was the unleashing of chaos.
So why the Israelites? It’s not because they were good and the Egyptians were bad. It’s that the Israelites had a mediator. Here’s what you’ve got—you’ve got one man who is so identified that he’s rebuked for their sin, and so identified with God that God’s power is unleashed through him.
But we’ve got a better mediator. We’ve got a mediator who is fully man and fully God and is not rebuked for one sin. Here’s what we’ve got: Jesus received all these plagues in His life. Jesus is the ultimate mediator and it’s the reason why we can cross over.
Where are the children of Israel going? Sinai. God didn’t give them the and once they started to obey, then He brought them out. Instead, He brought them out and then gave them the Law. When you mediate on what God is done, the more holy you will be. The more you understand the grace of God the more holy you will become.
When God says, I brought you out of Egypt so you can be holy, it is the same as saying you are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.