Sermon: The Hard Blessing In Egypt

Exodus 1:1-22

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1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 


8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. 11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. 


15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. 20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. 22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive. 




Exodus 1:1 NOW these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. 

Exodus 1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 

Exodus 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 

Exodus 1:4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 

Exodus 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 

Exodus 1:6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 


Exodus begins in what we would think the most boring way possible: listing a bunch of names. But when God had Moses write this book, he definitely had a reason for starting with a list of names.


A. Exodus Is A Sequel To Genesis


One reason is that Exodus is the sequel to the book of Genesis. Sometimes a television show that you watch will begin by saying, “Last time on [Whatever show you are watching]” and then give you a jumble of scenes from the last episode or even several episodes. If you haven’t seen the show before, it’s confusing; but if you’ve have seen it, it’s a useful reminder.


That’s one thing that’s going on here. Moses is reminding the reader that Genesis ended with the Jacob’s family forming the beginnings of what would be the nation of Israel.


It also tells us that Jacob and his family were in Egypt and mentions Joseph as the key figure in making that happen. So the scene is set for us.

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Sermon: The Mystery That Made Paul A Prisoner

Ephesians 3:1-6



1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 




Each of us can recount times in our lives that something or someone happened that changed everything. We didn’t plan it, but it affected the rest of our lives. I can recall two events that have conspired to make me the person I am today.


First, of course, was the day that my boss witnessed to me. She told me how Jesus Christ had changed her life. It’s surprising how powerful words are, especially when God is behind them. The urge to run to Jesus was so powerful that I could not make it through that day before I bowed on my knees and received Christ as my Savior.


Second, there was the call to ministry. Lynn Holm took me to Bozeman to sit in on a class at Montana Bible College. It was a class on Philemon, a short and seemingly insignificant book of the Bible, that stirred my heart for studying the Bible and preaching. I had my ups and downs for a few years, but the urge to preach just could not be quenched by any other profession on this Earth.


In both these cases, God revealed his will for me. And it changed everything. My future, my motives, what I do, who I am, and even what I am willing to die for.


The apostle Paul also had God reveal his will, a mystery, to him and it changed his life forever. It changed his future, his motives, what he did, who he was, and what he was willing to die for.


Let me tell you first that verses 2-13 here are a digression. Paul was about to pray in verse one, but felt that he had to first explain a mystery and his part in the mystery first. You can tell that he picks up the prayer in verse 14 when he uses the same phrase from verse one, “For this cause,” again and starts praying.


In the first part of this digression (verses one to six), Paul explains that his circumstances have been altered by the mystery revealed to him. We’ll look at verses 3-6 first, which explain the mystery.

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Sermon: Three Descriptions Of The Church

Ephesians 2:19-22



19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19–22)




In the book of Ephesians, a major theme is about the Church—the body of believers who are in Christ. In Ephesians chapter one, we can see how God planned the Church before the foundation of the world. There’s also the great reminder of how God made Christ the head of the Church:


22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (Ephesians 1:22)


In the second chapter of Ephesians, we have seen that entrance to the church is by grace through faith in Christ. We also saw how hated enemies, the Jews and the Gentiles, were brought together in peace in Christ in the Church. The Church isn’t a Jewish church or a Gentile church, it’s a Christian Church.


In this passage, we learn more about the Church. Paul uses three images to describe the Church: 


The Church Is A Community

The Church Is A Family

The Church Is A Temple

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Sermon: The Blessedness of Forgiveness

Psalm 32

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A Psalm of David, Maschil. 


1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old Through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 


5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. 


6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. 7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. 


8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 9 Be ye not as the horse, Or as the mule, which have no understanding: Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, Lest they come near unto thee. 10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. 11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: And shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. (Psalm 32)




Most people are aware of the shameful adultery committed by David with Bathsheba, how she became pregnant, and how he tried to deceive her husband into thinking the child was his own and how ultimately David arranged to the husband’s murder.


It’s all the more shocking because David was considered a man after God’s own heart. How could such a godly man do such sinful things?


What David did was wrong, but he knew where to come for forgiveness. Two of his psalms in the Bible, 32 and 51, are about the sin and guilt that he experienced as a result of his sin with Bathsheba. 


This is a true saying, those who, like David, have been forgiven much, understand and appreciate…

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Sermon: Jesus Has Broken Down The Wall

Ephesians 2:14-18



14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 




In our day, one of the most famous symbols of separation was the Berlin Wall. 


After World War II, Germany was split into East and West Germany, and it’s capital of Berlin was also split. The East was essentially under Soviet control, and millions of people defected from the East to the West.


The Berlin Wall was begun in 1961 as a means of stopping the defections. Soldiers and workers first destroyed streets along the path of the wall—it was a visual disconnecting of East from West. 


Then they erected wire fence with a large “no man’s land” cleared so that soldiers would have a clear shot at defectors. 


The Wall gradually evolved into the twelve foot high concrete wall of which many of us are familiar.


The late 1980’s brought an increasing amount of freedom to the Eastern European countries that had decades of Communist rule.


In 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at the historic Brandenburg gate in Berlin as part of the celebration of Berlin’s 750th anniversary. In that speech, Reagan gave the famous challenge to the Soviet General Secretary: “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”


In less than three years, exactly that happened. The Berlin wall came down, Berlin was reunited and Germany became one nation again.


In our text here, we find another wall, a wall, that like the Berlin wall, has been broken down. This wall was broken down by Jesus.

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Sermon: The Fourth Provision Of The New Covenant: Total Forgiveness Of Sins

Hebrews 8:7-13



7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 


10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:7–13)




We have been looking at the New Covenant described here in Hebrews 8. The author lists four provisions


Hebrews 8:10a For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; 

I will put my laws into their mind, 

and write them in their hearts: 


In the first provision of the New Covenant, God gives us a heart, an inner inclination, to obey him. In the Old Covenant, this was not the case. The commands were given, but by and large God gave no power to obey them. 


The lesson was clear: we cannot obey God with sheer willpower; we need his Spirit to empower us.


Hebrews 8:10b

and I will be to them a God, 

and they shall be to me a people: 


In the second provision we find that as believers we belong to God—we have a firm relationship with God—and so we are also responsible to avoid idolatry to maintain the purity of our identification with God. 


When we allow our desires to become demands and control our lives, they become idols. We become identified with that desire idol and not with God.


In verse 11, we found the third provision:


Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, 

and every man his brother, 

saying, Know the Lord: 

for all shall know me, 

from the least to the greatest.


We know the Lord, not just informationally, but we know him relationally. To know the Lord is to know the Lord personally.


The last provision of the New Covenant given here in Hebrews 8 is:

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Sermon: Alienated No More

Ephesians 2:11-13



11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.




Since Cain and Abel, people have always had a real hard time getting along with one another.


Take, for instance, a 1986 peace march that largely self-destructed through bickering. It began in Los Angeles only to stall in Barstow, about 120 miles out of L.A., where about half the 1,200 marchers went home. 


Soon those remaining polarized over those who were real walkers and those who rode in vehicles. They fought over a dress code. They decided to hold an election, but disagreed over who could vote, finally allowing even children to vote. 


Then the election was declared invalid. Many ended the peace march not speaking to each other. (The Orange County Register, Sunday, July 6, 1986, pp. A1, A2.  qtd in R. Kent Hughes, Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ, Preaching the Word [Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990], 91)


One word we could use to describe this all-too-human condition is alienation. Alienation is being separated from a group or a person to which you should belong. In the case just described, the peace marchers could not be peaceful with one another. They should have belonged together.


They are just a small picture of the whole human race. As we were created by God, we should all belong together. There shouldn’t be any separation between people, nor any separation between people and their Creator, the Lord God.


But sin entered this perfect world early on. Adam blamed Eve for the trouble, alienating himself from her. Then Cain killed Abel, and things just steamrolled from there. The human race finds it easy to be…

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