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A Consuming Fire

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2020 12:01 am

A Consuming Fire

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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June 17, 2020 12:01 am

The burning bush wasn't the first time God revealed His glory in the appearance of brilliant flame, nor would it be the last. Today, R.C. Sproul visits several passages in Scripture to discuss what this radiant glory ultimately reveals about Christ.

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Imagine hiking through the wilderness and coming upon a bush that's on fire but not being consumed.

The closer you get, the more curious you become suddenly you hear a voice and realize that the fire isn't what you thought it was Renewing Your Mind with RC Sproul is next. Moses turns out to be the very presence of God himself.

There is standing on holy ground and talking to God. As we continue Dr. RC Sproul series on this epic event will learn more about the fire in that Bush represents and what it proclaims about God's redemptive plan for mankind. The message is titled a consuming fire right continue now with our study of Moses, the burning bush and all that was involved in that particular encounter in our last session, I mentioned that from a redemptive historical perspective that particular incident was not only life-changing for Moses himself but was a watershed moment for all of human history, and we looked at the basic narrative in the first two sessions and from now on I want to be looking at some of the theological implications and ramifications from this event saw turn your attention again tonight just to the first part of chapter 3 of Exodus where we read these words now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush so he looks, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed and Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn now. According to Jewish tradition. This area of the desert is populated by the most common of bushes that were bramble bushes and the assumption of the Jewish historians was that this particular book was a simple ordinary bramble bush of no great significance in itself, and when this experience occurred to Moses. The first thing I think we have to understand is that there was nothing at all supernatural about this bush. It was a common ordinary bramble bush doing what common ordinary bramble bushes do in the desert and it's not like there was a miracle performed work, God caused a bush to burn that could burn forever without losing any of its substance from the burning process and here's one of those occasions when we read the Scripture that the words that we read in there can be a little bit misleading because Moses is describing this experience. From what we call a phenomenological perspective that is he tells about it. From what it looked like he's walking along with the sheep there in the desert and he sees the strange phenomenon will bush burning and he turns aside to see what this bushes burning is all about and he's astonished to see that though the bushes burning. It is not consumed suggesting perhaps that what Moses saw was a fire in the bush. It wasn't beside the bush wasn't on top or over the bush. Like the flames, and tongues of fire that came down on the day of Pentecost. On that occasion, but rather from Moses viewpoint. The fire was coming from inside the bush.

But what I'm suggesting to you is that the significance of the statement that the bush was not being consumed indicates the bush itself was not burning the fire was in the bush, but not of the bush but this at Menan. What's the significance of that while it indicates that the fire that Moses saw was independent of the bush.

It was not using the bush for its fuel.

That's why it wasn't consumed. The fire that Moses saw was burning from its own power. It was generated from itself and not from a conflagration of the bush. So what we have here clearly is a biblical example of what we call theophany in the word theophany means we have the first part of the word fee.

All the counselor worth the cost for God and the second part finally come from from that of which means to make manifest the God that we worship is a spirit he is in visible is invisible substance cannot be seen by the human I but there are occasions in redemptive history where the invisible God makes himself visible by some kind of visual manifestation and that's what were encountering here with this experience now to have a bush with a fire in it is what we call in theology. When the fire is not consuming the bush and activity that is contra mature and activity that is contra mature and contravenes against and the Torah means nature so that this activity that Moses is looking at is something that is completely contrary to nature.

This is not a natural phenomenon. It is a super natural phenomena usually very phrase contra mature is used to describe what we call the miraculous. I'm not convinced that this was necessarily a miracle that he was witnessing. It was a super natural reality and what he was saying. Plain and simple in this fire was a visible manifestation of the glory of God. We hear in the Bible about the outward appearance of God's glory and we call that the Shekinah glory, the glory that is revolting the glory that radiates from the very being of God that is so powerful, so majestic that it overwhelms anyone who ever comes in contact with it and I want us to see that throughout redemptive history at critical junctures at critical moments, God manifests himself the people through the Shekinah glory that is communicated chiefly through some kind of fire I want to take some time tonight to look at some of these episodes, particularly in the Old Testament but not exclusively. There where we see the Shekinah glory of God that flows out of God's inner perfect holy transcendent being's go back for a moment earlier in the Pentateuch to the 15th chapter of Genesis where in Genesis we find the record of God speaking to Abraham and making the promise to him.

There that he will be the father of a great nation.

Remember that Abraham was called by God and God said, I will be your shield and your very great reward and Abrahamson, what reward can you give me. He was already one of the richest men in the world. He said I have all these things, but I don't have a pair I don't have a son. My air is my servant Eliezer of Damascus, God said none Eliezer will not be your care, but I'm going to give you a son from your own loins in her old age, your wife will bear you a son, and he will become the father of a great nation and we know the rest of the terms of that covenant and we are told that Abraham believed God, and it was common to him for righteousness. But as God spelled all the things out that he was going to do for Abraham. Abraham had the basic struggles that we all would have a situation like that so he said he got how can I know this. How can I be sure that this will happen.

Well, I think I told the congregation at St. Andrews. On other occasions that one of the strangest for mama. I know of in Christendom is this practice that people have when I go to a conference in a speaker along with other speakers, people come up afterwards and they asked me to sign their Bible for them as if I wrote the Bible and but it's a practice, and so I try to do it but then I not only want the signature, but they want me to give them my life verse nine or this idea ever came from behind hockey take one verse out of the whole Bible make in your life verse whole Bible is our life. Verse people asked for that and I'm a little bit mischievous when I signed Bibles and I write down my verse I write down Genesis 1517 and the people think me and they walk away and usually what happens is about 1/2 an hour later they come back Melissa, did you make a mistake on this verse that you wrote down there and I said no invasive while I went and looked at this verse that you said was your life verse and I can't make any sense out of all, and then I take some time to explain it to them, so images read verse 17 and Genesis 15 and it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, but behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces and I say to people about ever locked up in prison and on in solitary confinement and I can only have one verse and all of the Bible at my disposal. That's the verse I want and people look at me like I'm crazy what's going on here you go through this. Gary's ritual that God commands Abraham to cut all these animals in half and this gory mess of placing the animals in a pathway like and I'll like a dominant and then this horrible fear comes upon Abraham and this night vision and it says in this darkness in his sleep.

Abraham sees the smoking oven and a burning torch moving between the parties obviously was going well, maybe not so obvious to everybody but it's obvious to me what's going on here in this text is the cutting right of a covenant where God is demonstrating to Abraham through this vision of fire about torch of a burning oven that passes between the pieces. And that is the vision of the Shekinah that's gone in this dream moving between the pieces of these animals that have been cut in half and what God is saying dramatically. Abraham Abram. How can you know that I'm in a do what I say I'm gonna do to you.

Here's a I'm just run the gauntlet and what I'm saying to you is that if I fail ever to keep a promise that I make to you. May I be like these animals cut into May. The mutable God suffer a mutation may the internal become temporal the infinite finite.

I'm not swearing on my mother's grave to you. Abraham I am swearing by my own being, I'm putting my deity on the line when I make this commitment to the author of Hebrews pick set up in the New Testament. He says because God could swear by none greater. He swore by himself and it was an oath by fire.

It was an oath demonstrated by the Shekinah glory made visible to Abraham in the darkness of the night. Here we have Abraham and Moses, both having this experience of encountering the Shekinah glory of God in the spire. The changes their lives go fast forward to the New Testament and we go to the book of acts for the apostle Paul has his experience of conversion on the road to Damascus.

We read in acts chapter 9.

These words then Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples the Lord went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus that if he found any who were of the way it is world Christians, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem and this he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven when he later recalls this before Agrippa. He adds a great light brighter than the noon day sun.

A blinding light which was seen not only by Saul, but those who were in his entourage and he fell to the ground and he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me and he said who are you, Lord, the Lord said, I'm Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads so trembling and astonished. He said Lord what he want me to do. I hope you didn't miss the parallel there when God appears to Moses.

He calls them by the repetition of his name was comment further on them. Some later date when he says them out of that burning would Moses. Moses now on the Shekinah glory appears to Saul of Tarsus.

The voice comes again, out of the midst of that brilliant the Fulton glory, same him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute and this is the moment. This is the encounter that turns Paul's life upside down and makes him the greatest apostle of the biblical era. What is it that happened with the palm leaked. He ran right up against the glory of God right up against the brilliant resplendent beauty of the Shekinah. Other other places where this takes place, but let me remind you of one that you're off with that accompanied not only the call of Moses and the call to Saul for the promise to Abraham that accompanied the very moment of the birth of Jesus. Strangely enough, the Shekinah glory wasn't in the cave wasn't in the manger. It wasn't with Mary and Joseph. It was like. It appeared to a bramble bush out on the fields outside of Bethlehem where the shepherds were there tending their sheep and we read in the Christmas narrative by Luke the glory of God shown round about them and I like the old translation they were sore afraid, terrified, so the Angels had to calm them down and say don't be afraid. Then the Lord's coming here, accompanied by this visible display of the Shekinah glory that should make us all tremble.

Nevertheless, they said we are coming with good news with the best of all possible news for unto you is born this day in Bethlehem a savior who is Christ the Lord and were going to explore in the weeks to come. How this Shekinah glory. The changes Moses life and changes Saul's life and changes Abraham's life and changes all the world history of Bethlehem is not just linked to God the father but is understood and inseparably related to the second person of the Trinity, that whenever God appears in theophany with the Shekinah glory is not just God the father were dealing with here is I hope we will see in our next time together that ultimately what is being displayed is the glory inherent of God the son from all eternity so as not so much what was in that Bush, who was in who was speaking to Moses centuries before Moses would speak to him on the Mount of Transfiguration, which was clearly the most magnificent display of the Shekinah glory anywhere in the New Testament where just as that Bush was burning from inside and not the Bush itself so in the transfigured cheeses the glory that was displayed there on the mountain was not a reflection of the glory that burst through from his concealed deity because with the Shekinah is God's. It's so encouraging is in it to see the connection between the New Testament and the Old Testament and we heard that today, a very important clarification on the Shekinah glory of God.

You're listening to Renewing Your Mind on Lee Webb, thank you for joining us, Dr. RC Sproul is been taking us through the story of Moses and his encounter with God in the burning bush.

As we continue the series this week.

You will learn even more about God's attributes.

God revealed himself in new ways to Moses and studying the story opens our eyes to the wonders of our gracious in saving God, wearing only portions of the series this week but we be glad to send it to you in its entirety is contained on two DVDs just contact us today with a donation of any amount when you call us at 800-435-4343. You can also go online to make a request that Renewing Your Mind.org we read in Deuteronomy that there has not arisen the profit since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord new face-to-face none like him for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to do. Understanding the life and calling of Moses helps us understand God's plan of salvation's plan for his people through all eternity.

So we invite you to continue your study by requesting the series with your donation of any amount against titled Moses and the burning bush discovering the character of God. Her phone number again is 800-435-4343 and a web address is Renewing Your Mind.org.

We realize that so many of you continue working through the health and economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic and during this time I like to remind you that hundreds of teaching series are available to be streamed online for free at Ligon era.work. We hope you'll take advantage of this free resource and share what you're learning with friends, family members and neighbors web address again is Ligon here.work tomorrow lunch, as Paul explains more about the Shekinah glory that Moses seizing that burning Christ and his divine is the Shekinah. He's the one who lights up the light gives the fire and the flame. Please join us again Thursday for Renewing Your Mind


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