Hebrews 11:23 – Moses
To begin today, I want to ask you a question: Can you name the 3 biggest enemies hidden inside your heart?
1 John 2:16 names them. Talking about the world – that is, humanity – it says “…”
The three enemies hidden inside your heart are “the pride of life, lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes.”
Satan often tries to use these three components of our personality to make us fall into sin. From the beginning of time, Satan has known our weaknesses and tried to use them. Even the man we’re going to study today was attacked the same way approximately 3500 years ago, but he overcame. See Hebrews 11:24-26.
What is this passage talking about? Moses.
Moses faced pride when he had the chance to be called the son of Pharaoh. He faced the desires of the flesh, for he had the chance to live in the pleasures of sin, according to verse 25. He faced the desire of what he saw when the treasures of Egypt had to be abandoned.
There is a typology not to be overlooked in this story. In a sense, Egypt and Pharaoh represent Satan and all that he offers to attach us to himself, while Moses represents each of us, sooner or later confronted with temptation.
God calls us, like Moses, to overcome by faith.
So the title of my sermon is “Overcoming by faith my 3 internal enemies”
To do this:
I. Realize the greatness of the life to which we’ve really been called.
Let’s talk about the title Moses refused for a minute.
V. 24 says Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Given the fact that in Egypt only the male children had the chance to become king, Moses was a potential heir to the throne. If something happened to the other family members closer to the scepter, he had the chance to become the supreme ruler of the country.
Even if he didn’t ever become Pharaoh, he still enjoyed powers few others knew in all Egypt as a result of his adoption. Few could dream of becoming so important. No matter where he went, Moses was probably an object of envy and heads bowed before him. Historians tell us he was a great general in the king’s army. His heart’s need for pride could be filled.
His chin could be held high, his need of pride satisfied.
But when he learned where he came from, he refused to continue down this path.
Why? Was there something wrong with being a leader in Egypt? Was it a sin to rise to the office of Pharaoh? What do you think?
No, it is not in itself. Wasn’t David a king? Daniel, wasn’t he the head counselor to a king? Wasn’t Joseph prime minister? It’s God who elevated all these men.
The difference is that God wanted Joseph in the place of Governor in the Egyptian palace, and he wanted Moses at the head of the Jewish people in another country.
What Moses understood was that once God marks out a path for a man, there is no greater honor than that call. Nothing we could accomplish outside of God’s will would be as important as following his path.
I ask you, to what does God call you today?
You say: “I don’t know, preacher, prime minister, banker, postman?” Maybe, but there’s something more important than that. God calls us today to live in the path marked out by Jesus, to be a Christian and nothing can be better than that. If you must put your pride in something, don’t put it in being a good worker, good student, good computer technician, but in being a good Christian.
Tell God today: “I’m going to put my personal pride aside. I’m not going to search selfishly to go where you don’t want me to go or do what you don’t want me to do. But I’m going to serve you humbly and put my pride in that.”
I illustrate. A few years ago a preacher moved to become a missionary on an island in the Pacific. The people of the island were pretty reserved. In general, it was difficult to integrate oneself, to be accepted and above all to learn to speak their language. But this preacher was very gifted. After several years, he learned to speak the language without accent, he integrated himself into the population and thanks to his talents, and he very quickly created a large congregation in one of the large cities.
One day an oil company decided to enlarge its market by opening an oil extraction operation on this island. It wasn’t yet established there. By the way, this is a true story. So the company researched to know who would be the best candidate to direct their affairs among all these regions. They needed someone with charisma, influence, and a familiarity with the land.
Guess what name emerged after several recon trips? The name of the missionary. So they sent an official representative to offer the job to the preacher. They made an enticing offer, but the preacher refused.
So they sent another representative with a salary offer even more incredible. The preacher refused again.
You can imagine the reaction of the CEO of the oil company and its subordinate directors. They weren’t used to seeing someone refuse their propositions especially when they put a good sum of money into them.
So they sent a third representative with this instruction: “offer him what he wants, even if it’s the salary of a king!” Makes you dream, doesn’t it?
The preacher received this offer and here’s how he responded: “no thanks. It’s not that your salary isn’t big enough; it’s that your work is too small. God called me to something else.”
Brothers, God calls us to more than making ourselves lots of money or being admired by men. He has called us to more than being an idol to our peers. There is nothing more important in this life than being able to be called a Christian.
Do you understand that? What do you have to be proud of today if you’re not yet baptized and not yet living for him?
We need to realize how much the vocation to which God calls us is great.
Attention that Satan doesn’t trick you!
II. Realize the temporary nature of earthly pleasures.
In Hebrews 11:25 it says Moses refused the pleasure of sin.
Let’s be honest a minute, there is pleasure in sin and especially in the pleasures of the flesh. Don’t be shocked, the Bible says so here.
The world has a blast delivering itself up to the joys of the flesh. There are strong sensations that accompany these lapses of the body.
Listen to me well, Satan is too intelligent to fish without any bait on the hook.
One day on a country road, a man met a farmer who walked with a basket under his arm and pigs following him. He reached into his basket and little by little dropped some beans behind him. The pigs fell upon them and continued to follow him to receive more.
The surprised man went to the farmer and told him that’s a weird way to feed his pigs. The farmer responded: “I’m not feeding my pigs; I’m leading them to the slaughterhouse.”
You see, the farmer in this story is Satan. The pigs, that’s us who are so often idiots. The beans are the pleasures of the flesh that Satan uses to lead us to destruction.
These pleasures are temporary. The Bible says Moses understood that when he chose to be mistreated with God’s people rather than to have, for a time, the pleasure of sin.
Look back in Proverbs 9:17, 18 and 20:17.
You see Satan always pulls out the best he has to offer first, then he pulls the bad out from his sleeve. (Example, a sour candy with a sugar covering) With Jesus, what we receive gets better and better, but with Satan it becomes more and more bitter.
The pleasure of sin only lasts a season. It’s cool for an instant, then there’s the bitter after effects. Sooner or later it is gone and only deception is left in its place.
We can eat the devil’s kernels of corn but sooner or later we’ll choke on them. We can eat his beans but they’ll give us the stomach ache of our lives.
Do you want to overcome the perverted desires of the flesh? Then remember that they are temporary, lasting only a season. But life with God is eternal pleasure!
As a Christian, your life is always, though not always easy, is happier than a non-Christian.
III. Finally, realize the value of what we gain by perseverance.
So Moses refused to let pride run loose, to live in the pleasures of the flesh, but verse 26 ads that he refused the material things that attracted so much attention.
That must not have been easy. Have you ever been to the Egyptian section of the large museums?
I’ve had the opportunity, in Paris, Bruxelles, and London. I’ve seen golden masks, sarcophagi of precious stones, jewelry boxes and all sorts of treasures and riches.
All these things Moses could have possessed for his life on earth. But that wasn’t sufficient to serve his hunger and thirst. Moses knew it and wanted the only thing that can fill a man: the presence of God.
He wanted real riches – those that last. Moses made a simple calculation like an accountant. He put on the scales what Egypt offered and compared it to what God offered, and realized it’s far better to be a son of God. He began to want what moth and rust can’t get to.
Do you want to be free from the covetousness of your eyes? Are you tired of always wanting more, of all the time working to always have more, even compromising the important things in your life? You must put everything on the scale and weigh it.
You will see that the price isn’t worth it, while what God offers us, if we follow him, that’s worth the pain. Often we are like Rockefeller, on our scale of course. One day this millionaire was interviewed by a journalist who asked him: “Mr. Rockefeller, you have more money that comes into your savings than you could ever spend. When will you stop? How much money will be enough for you?”
Here’s what Rockefeller said: “just a few million more.” And he never stopped investing.
The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 5:10 “he who loves silver is not satisfied by silver, nor he who loves wealth with gain. This too is vanity.”
Let’s invest in what silver can’t buy and what death can’t take away.
Is this an investment that will cost me something? Yeah, it cost something for Moses. He received disgrace. He became a shame to the Egyptians. He experienced what Christ experienced: reject, mockery, insults…And we will also live misunderstood if we choose this path. But the Bible encourages us in Hebrews 13:12-14.
How can we resist the desires of the eyes? By realizing what we gain if we live in God’s way with perseverance.
There’s a city we’re waiting for, that we’ll win. It will be a city where the Lord will welcome us and all will be marvelous. The beauty of this city, of this house will be far superior to what is on earth.
There our eyes will be opened.
So I finish saying “courage, because there is a reward.”
I’ll share another story with you.
Do you know William Booth? It’s the person who founded the Salvation Army.
In 1827, when the little people of England were in misery, William Booth who was a believer decided to put into place a program to aid the homeless, the beggars, the prostitutes, and the drunks. He began to preach in the disreputable streets of London and next asked those who followed him to testify publicly, on the way Jesus had changed their lives. They formed what people began to call Hallelujah groups.
But very quickly these Hallelujah groups met opposition. Passersby formed groups and started insulting them, mocking them, and sending rocks their way. Sometimes they were even attacked by people with knives and clubs. They came back head and body bloodied. They became objects of disdain for people of culture, sophisticated people.
Finally the religious authorities to whom William Booth was answerable convened and judged him on the pretext that he disturbed public order. They told him “renounce what you’re doing and promise to obey us. If you refuse, we’ll run you out and revoke your privileges.” His wife who was a little woman and who was to be found in the balcony stood up and waved her handkerchief crying out “William, William!”
He turned around and when she saw him, she continued: “William, William, tell them no! Tell them no!”
So William faced them and said: “sirs, my response is no!” And with these few words, the Salvation Army was born.
I may not agree with their doctrine, but thanks to this little word – “no” – thousands of people have been fed and clothed.
Moses, too, said no! By faith, he held on because he knew what he would win by persevering. He was able to see very far in advance. He thought about the remuneration.
This term, “remuneration” is a term borrowed from accounting. It means Moses calculated and lived what was superior.
Today I ask you in conclusion, “are you calculating?” If so, you’ll see how to defeat the 3 inner enemies by faith.
Let’s finish with a prayer.