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Sermon Discussion + Prayer: "Like No Place on Earth"

Overview of Sermon:

These chapters in Exodus give detailed instructions for building the tabernacle. Far from being irrelevant today, we were reminded of the tabernacle’s importance: For the first time since Eden, God will dwell among his chosen people. The tabernacle is meant to communicate a message and function as a place of God’s dwelling, a place of revelation, and a place of atonement. Ultimately, we discover that the tabernacle foreshadows the moment in which God’s desire to dwell among his people is made perfect through the person and work of Christ, the great and perfect High Priest.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Based on Jeff’s message and your own observations from the text, how has your understanding of the tabernacle been reshaped or refined?
  2. The tabernacle is meant to proclaim God’s purpose and speak to us about God. What does the tabernacle teach us about God’s character and his relationship to his creation?
  3. God desires, longs, and takes the initiative to dwell among his people. How does this affect your perception of God? In what ways might this awesome truth motivate your heart towards sharing that same good news with someone else?
  4. Consider reading J.I. Packer’s quote: “The truly staggering answer which the Bible gives to this question is that God’s purpose in revelation is to make friends with us. It was to this end that He created us rational beings, bearing His image, able to think and hear and speak and love; He wanted there to be genuine personal affection and friendship, two-sided, between Himself and us . . . . He speaks to us simply to fulfill the purpose for which we were made; that is, to bring into being a relationship in which He is a friend to us, and we to Him, He finding His joy in giving us gifts and we finding ours in giving Him thanks.”
    What is the significance of having a God who speaks and reveals good gifts? Are there recent examples you can point to that demonstrate this?
  5. The tabernacle further communicated a lack of safety from God without mediation, which was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus (John 1:14). How does the person and work of Christ serve as a model for our love and service towards others? How does this apply to our church community?

Praying the Passage:

God’s eternal purpose is to dwell among a people he has made his own. The tabernacle is here to proclaim this intention.  -Jeff Purswell
In answer to the question “Why does God bother to speak to us?”:  “The truly staggering answer which the Bible gives to this question is that God’s purpose in revelation is to make friends with us.” -J.I. Packer
Father, bring to mind as many thoughts about genuine friendship as I can recall; and then remind me of some of the innumerable ways that you, through Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, have been that friend to me.

 

As glorious as it was that God dwelt in the tabernacle, that very fact meant that this was a holy place. And when a place is holy, it’s dangerous. One dare not approach such holiness—without an invitation. – Jeff Purswell
Lord God, as I consider your love and mercy, your grace and kindness, please also reveal to me a clearer glimpse of your perfect righteousness, your glorious majesty, and your awesome holiness. And show me where my life can increasingly, and more humbly, respond to and reflect your glory.

 

Here is what the Tabernacle was preparing us for—here’s what it means for the Christian: On this side of the cross, what was formerly seen in a tabernacle—is now seen in all its fullness in the glory of Jesus Christ. And that love--& that faithfulness—dazzled most brightly—not in miracles—not at the Transfiguration, but on the cross -Jeff Purswell
Father, help me to grasp the fact that what I received in a moment of regeneration through the perfect sacrifice of the cross of Christ, was preceded by generations of wandering, by thousands of sacrifices offered, through years of exile and judgments endured, through the passing of kings and kingdoms, and through centuries and centuries of waiting. Yes, that your eternal purpose included me!

 

His relentless commitment to dwell with sinful people—that required a sacrifice for sins. His desire for communion with you & me, required satisfaction of Divine justice.  And by His death on the cross, He is the one who makes full atonement for us...And because He did—as writer of Hebrews exhorts us in Heb 10:19—we can now boldly enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus
-Jeff Purswell
Father, as I read Exodus, and consider the details and complexities and fearfulness(!) of approaching you, fill my heart with the wonder, the miracle, the precious gift of knowing that because of Jesus Christ, we are never apart! And may that reality inform my desire to forever live a life of worship before you.