Celebration Of Cross Churches Five Year Anniversary - Our Field Staff
As you come to the end of the book of Exodus you find that there is a moment when the items that had been made for the Tabernacle and they are brought to Moses and set before him. Exodus 36-39 talks about all of the things that had been made and then in Exodus 39:32 we read, “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, and the people of Israel did according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses; so they did.”
Having completed all of this work for the Tabernacle the people bring everything before Moses in Exodus 39:33-41. Then in Exodus 39:42-43 we read, “According to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work. And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the LORD had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them.”
We are here this morning to celebrate your five year anniversary as a church – Cross Church in Wausau. What a privilege it is to be here with you this morning. You are one of the smaller percentage of churches who has made it to five years and will continue on influencing this community for Jesus Christ and His gospel.
And here we are in a building that the LORD has blessed you with where you can gather together to worship and to do all that God has called you to do in this community. The Lord has blessed you all in so many ways and we at Community Church are so blessed to play a part in helping to support this ministry and pastor Yang. He has been called to do this work along with all of you who have gathered around him to pursue the call that God has called you to.
In the passages that I have opened with we see that Israel has been working on completing the Tabernacle. This chapter lists all of the parts and pieces that were constructed for the Tabernacle. When everything was completed we see in Exodus 39:42-43 that Moses comes to inspect the work to ensure that it has been done as the LORD had commanded. I am sure that for the many people who had played a role in the construction of the Tabernacle that this was both an exciting day and a day that was full of anxiety as they saw Moses inspecting each and every piece of the Tabernacle. I used to build houses and we face two inspections when we would complete a house. First, like Moses, the city inspector would come through the home to see if we could be granted an occupancy permit. Secondly, the homeowner would come through the home and inspect to see if they were happy with the work. Similarly, that is what is happening here. Moses, the inspector inspects each and every piece to see if it has been built according to the Word that had been given to him. And the homeowner, the LORD, would inspect this work to ensure that all had been done to His specifications.
After the inspection we read these wonderful words in verse 43, “And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the LORD had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them.”
You cannot almost sense the uniqueness of this special moment. Moses sees all the work (inspects, audits, reviews, and probes each piece). Then, behold, they had done it! They had not simply built these things to their own standard but they had done it as the LORD commanded. They had passed inspection on their first attempt. They had not built these things to meet their expectations but they had built these things in such a manner that the LORD would accept them. Therefore Moses blessed them.
Now we are here celebrating Cross Churches five year anniversary today. We are looking back over the last five years and praising the LORD for all that He has done through us in this work. It is right for us to do so. It is a blessing for us to do this. This is a moment that we get to celebrate just as Moses and Israel was able to celebrate in our text. To God be the glory for these moments.
But as we come to this moment and reflect upon what is going on in Exodus 39 we would benefit from asking what the backstory is to this moment. What has led to this inspection? What had been done to insure that this moment would be as successful as it has been? Was it successful because Moses was such a strong leader and motivator?
It is good for us to look back at the backstory of this event because we will find that this moment in Israel’s history is successful because of what God has done. Similarly, moments like these moments that we celebrate today are successful because of what God has done. And we need to be reminded of these things because much of what we see in ministry seems messy, difficult, hard work and it takes a great deal of effort. And in such an environment it is easy to forget that the LORD is involved in it all!
In Exodus 36:8-39:31 describes all of the work that they had done to get all of these things made. It is 3 chapter of hard, complicated, intricate work. In these three chapters there is not much talk of the Spirit of the LORD helping in this work. Similarly, starting a church, growing a church and maintaining a church is hard work; and if we are not careful we may easily forget that we need the Holy Spirit to be doing this work through us.
That is what makes the backstory to this moment so important. We find the backstory in Exodus 35:4-36:7. For our purposes today, let’s read Exodus 35:29-36:7.
All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.
30 Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, 32 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. 34 And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.
36 “Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the Lord has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.”
2 And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. 3 And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5 and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” 6 So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.
This is where we discover that the LORD is the one who is ultimately going to make this all work. So even though the Holy Spirit is not mentioned much in all the work and labor of the building of the Tabernacle He is undoubtedly present in all things: the design of the Tabernacle and all of the articles in it, the giving of the materials and the creativity and ability of the workers to do it.
It is the LORD that is moving upon the hearts of the men and women to give to this work and to do this work. It is the LORD who gives wisdom, knowledge, intelligence, and skill. It might be beneficial for us to take a brief moment to notice that the LORD takes two unlikely men to lead in this work. First he takes a man named Bezalel. This man’s lineage can be traced back to Perez who was born of Tamar by Judah, her father-in-law. God can use an individual who comes from a family line that has had trouble in it. And the other man is Oholiab. He comes from the tribe of Dan. This tribe is described in Genesis 39:16-19 as a tribe that is good at battle. And yet, from this very tribe comes a man who is skilled in making the Tabernacle. Martin Luther’s dad wanted him to be a lawyer but God had other plans. Similarly, Pastor Yang was in the military when God called him to be a pastor. Praise the LORD!
I wanted to share these passages with you all here today to encourage you. On any average day you probably are not aware of the fact that the LORD is with you all in this work. He is gifting this body for what it has been called to do here in Wausau. He is in the midst of this work when things are going well and when there is much hard work to do. And if you will rely upon the Spirit of God and upon the Word of God you will pass inspection when the Judge comes to consider all that we have done for Him. If you do anything for the LORD He will give you strength to endure and finish the task. He will fill your by His Spirit with skill to do it well. He will give you intelligence and knowledge to do your ministry as it needs to be done. He will give you the craftsmanship needed to do the work with great skill. It is the LORD who stirs the heart in generosity and in labor to do all things for the glory of God.
The LORD has been with you all in this journey and He will continue to be with you in this work. Don’t neglect the backstory of how this church has come about. It is there that you will remember more clearly how the LORD has been with you every step of the way. May God bless this celebration!