In 1662, the Church of England put in place a policy that any minister that refused to conform to the Book of Common Prayer would be ejected from the Church of England. Many estimate that around 2500 ministers refused to conform, and so they were cast outside the Church of England. These puritans desired to reform the church more, and so the Church of England rose up against these reforming puritans and put this policy in place. On their way out, many of these ministers preached memorable farewell sermons.
Much of the book of Deuteronomy is a farewell sermon preached by Moses before he died, and Israel entered into the Promised Land. Let Moses’ sermon be preached to us today.
“O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant, your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours?” (Deuteronomy 3:24).
The greatness of God that you have personally seen in your life is barely the tip of the iceberg.
“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? … You will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:7, 29).
What privileged people we are to worship God who is both transcendent and immanent. What blessing we have that our God would stoop in to human to experience the human life as we experience life.
“For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them” (Deuteronomy 4:31).
Our God is merciful, and his mercy is seen most supremely in the fact that he has not struck us down because of our sin. Beyond that, God is also a God of grace. He didn’t just enter into human life to experience it with us, but he took on our sins and was crucified in our place to reconcile us with God and graft us Gentiles into the family of God.
“Has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” (Deuteronomy 4:34).
Today we can remember the Exodus account where God dramatically set his people free. But we also have the dramatic work of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. That is the work of God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm. The gospel itself is the power of God and is also our life and our freedom and our worship’s fuel. Therefore:
“You shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time” (Deuteronomy 4:40).