Believe it or not philosophy is practical. For instance, the philosophy of “determinism” says that we are born a certain way and Darwinian forces being what they are we end up becoming what our instincts and predisposed genes tell us to do. Of course, there are modifications of this. Yet even one as feted as Margaret Mead in her Coming of Age in Somoa (1929) showed that cultural determinism created men and women in that nation and governed societies, economics, thinking, religion, the market, and so forth. The problem with determinism is that it leaves little room for transcendence. It is purely scientific. We are a collection of matter living predetermined lives. Our temperament, our thinking, our actions, who we marry, how we make choices, is all pretty well marked out by biology. This determinism is a philosophy that also shows up in morality. We are geared a certain way. We are given to be quick tempered. We are hard headed. She is a gossip. He is a drunkard.
Karl Barth, whose theology is the subject of much debate among evangelicals, also had some brilliant things to say at other times, talked about the the power of the Gospel to disrupt. In his commentary on Philippians he speaks of the “Nevertheless” of God. This “nevertheless” interjects God’s blessedness into human life through Jesus Christ to transform circumstances and transform people. This disruption, this “nevertheless” is what Martyn Lloyd-Jones called “the romance of the Gospel.” The Romance of the Gospel is that anyone, anywhere, anytime can be changed. If you think about determinism in human behavior, you might put it in a syllogism:
If A, then B, therefore C.
Thus, if my Grandfather was an crook, my father was a drunk, then I will end up being, say, an adulterer. But the power of the Gospel is not determined by your grandfather or your father or even your earlier behavior. It is, as Martin Luther said, an “alien righteousness” that comes to you, it is the “Romance of the Gospel,” that enters a man or a woman, and it explodes the human syllogism of “therefore” with a Gospel of “nevertheless.”
If my grandfather was a crook, my father was a drunk, NEVERTHELESS CHRIST has come into my life and I am a saint and all things are made new!”
That is the Gospel. That is how we are liberated from the cycle of determinism in this world. But, how? How does this work?
In Exodus 6:1-8, God reveals to Moses that He has a plan to redeem the Children of Israel. Now, as Moses goes to Israel to tell them about God’s plan they are not too excited. But God then shows that He has a final addition to the plan that will catapult the reluctant slaves into freedom.
Today we want to see how God works out the plan of redemption in a person’s life, using the text in Exodus 6:1-8.
There are four points to the plan and one concluding thought that is so important.
1. The Plan of Salvation includes a Gracious Covenant (from the Triune God, Himself, to Abraham. Isaac, and Jacob)
“God spoke to Moses and said to him, I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name the LORD I di not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners” (Exodus 6:2-4 ESV).
The plan of salvation begins with God and extends to the Patriarchs of Israel. That is important to remember. For the Patriarchs were the first in the line that was to extend to the world, eventually to you and me. God made a covenant within Himself to save His own creation. So our salvation is not dependent upon what we can bring to the table with God. Our salvation is altogether wrapped up in His love for us. And this is what guarantees success in missions. It is also why we see, practically, the success ratio of Christian recovery programs in prisons over humanistic ones. God has made a covenant with Himself to reach His own creation. When we are faithful to present Him to others whatever their condition, He honors His own covenant, His own promise. He will reach the unreachable.
God’s covenant is the scarlet thread of redemption that runs from heaven in eternity past, through the Patriarchs, to Moses and the Children of Israel, to you today who would call upon the Lord. But, the thread is stained crimson by the blood of Jesus, the Mediator of the Covenant, the Lamb of God, and the blood of the Covenant is the eternal Promise of God that cannot be broken. It is your surety for forgiveness, for removal of sin and shame, and for passage into eternal life, and for freedom from judgment from the Creator of the Universe. The covenant of God is extended by God’s attitude and that is the next point in the plan.
2. The Plan of Salvation includes a gracious attitude (He doesn’t demean you for getting into bondage)
“I have heard the groaning … and I have remembered my covenant” (v. 5).
My beloved, that is all you need to know about the love of God! He remembers His own covenant! He remembers His own Word! He remembers His Son on the cross! He remembers the agony of His Son as the Father had to turn His head from the sight, because of the terms of His own covenant! He remembers! And God’s memory is a grace to you. But, God does not remember the sins of Joseph’s being sold into slavery. he does not remember the family sins. They are forgiven. They are cast away. Our sins are not memorialized after they are forgiven in the Bible, except for one place: the Cross. So, some of you need to leave those sins and the memory of them at the altar of Calvary where Jesus Christ bled and died for them. They are gone forever!
Now memory brings forth a memorial and that is the third point in the plan.
3. The Plan of Salvation includes a memorial act of salvation
“I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts …” (v. 7)
The plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and all of the glorious acts of God in leading Israel out of Egypt became memorials for the Hebrews so they would not forget. God always told Israel to memorialize His salvation among them. This memorial became a sign to the coming generations. Passover, for instance, would be an everlasting sign of God’s saving work in the Exodus. We continue that today, by Jesus Christ’s command, in the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper. We are commemorating our redemption from death by the blood of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God does that in our own lives, too. Our testimonies are memorials. God brings mighty acts into our lives so that we won’t forget. He might heal you. He might save you in a dramatic way. He might choose to place you in a godly home where you never know a day when you didn’t know the Lord, but then bring you to see the horror of Hell in another’s life, so that you fall on your face and thank Him! His ways are endlessly creative and wondrous in helping us to remember His salvation. And the idea is that we will have an altar in the field to recall, a Passover, if you will, to look to, to recalibrate our faith in hard times, or when faith is weakened by trial. That is the benefit of Communion. That is the benefit of even observing baptism in the life of another. The Sacraments call us back to what God has done in our own lives and we are stirred up to follow Him all the way home.
4. The Plan of Salvation includes a destination
“I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD” (v. 8).
Israel was headed for the Promised Land. We are, too. The Land was the place where faith was incubated, where a people could grow, where a Messiah could be born for the world. From that Land would come a Redemmer for a world of men. The destination motif is still there, but enlarged:
“For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” 
Thus, your life as a believer is lived in light of a new heaven and a new earth. We are a people on our way. This morning, as pastor, I appeal to you, on behalf of Christ, “Follow the Lord, my beloved. Let no one be left behind. ‘Suffer the little children,’ and forget not the weak in faith. Remember the orphan and the widow. Look for straying lambs! Bring them in, my beloved. It’s soon time to go.
Yet, the children of Israel weren’t ready. Pharaoh wasn’t ready. But God was ready. So, the plagues became mighty signs and wonders that accompanied God’s plan of salvation. Thus, it was in Christ’s day, with diabolical imitations following. Until the greatest sign was given: Christ rose from the grave.
And what this says to you is that God’s grace is greater than your addiction, your toxic relationship, your series of life mistakes, or even this fallen world’s tampering with your body’s cells—even stronger than the professed unbelief that is a smokescreen for the abuse you felt as a child—for God’s plan of salvation is now unlimited by just Israel. From Israel it has gone to the world and today to you.
Remember the home improvement show, “This Old House?” Well, imagine that Old House of yours was your Egypt, the place of pain, addiction, Abuse, sorrow, or hurtful memories. And how you got there? Well, God isn’t going to remind you. Maybe you were born there. Maybe, you got lost along the way and thought the old house could be shelter. Maybe you were lured there. It doesn’t matter. He just says, “It is time to go”—”I will bring you out…I will deliver you…I will redeem you…I will take you to be My people and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:6-7). As you leave, He asks you to pause and pray, build an altar to remember. Then, you notice that Someone else, angelic-like, yet quite human, is going into This Old House. Suddenly, you witness the old house of horrors bursts into blazing flames, reaching to the sky! The scene is awful as you hear unearthly noises, screams, coming from the house of horrors. What appears to be hundreds of gnarled-faced ghastly, demonic spirits are ejected from the burning old house, their hands and feet bound in chains, shrieking desperate cries as they fly away. You hear a final voice, “It is finished!” You sense a hand leading you, but you see no one. You are led across a field—there are lovely meadows, and there are thistles and thorns; things good and bad. You meet up with others, like yourself, fleeing the old houses of their own. Their presence encourages you. Some of them tell you, “Keep going!” And then, you come to a brook, running serenely through a final meadow in your area of ground, dividing it from another land, shrouded in fog. A kind visitor stretches forth his hand, “Come,” he says. And the voice is so dear to you. “Wait,” you say to yourself. That is the same voice of the One who entered That Old House. You know His voice. You follow Him. And you cross the river. How? You don’t know. But, the fog is lifted. The land is bright and beautiful. And the first thing to happen is that the One who led you notices there are still tears in your eyes from the trauma of the Old House, and the difficulty of the long journey. So, He wipes away the tears from your eyes. You are home.
Why the Old Testament lesson today? Why a little story to remind us of the Truth of where we really are, what is really happening, and where we are really going?” Because of the unseen reality we must be reminded of:
“Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which cling so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
My beloved, leave your sin and your shame behind. The Lord says, it is time to go. He has a Plan to bring you out, to deliver you, to redeem you. Will you take His hand, now, by faith?
Let us pray.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Heb 11:10.