Sermon: Thankfully Accepting One Another




Thanksgiving is a special time for families to come together and give thanks. Thanks, yes, to God and his blessings over the past year, but also thanks for our family. 


The thanks is rarely given in a verbal manner—we don’t say, “Thank you, Aunt Sally, for all you do…thank you Uncle Fred for your warm smile.” Perhaps we should do that more, but the thanks that we give is that acceptance of one another as family.


The body of Christ is also a family, a family that we also ought to be thankful for. We try to remember to thank others for their service, their kindness, for sharing their gifts with others—but perhaps the best thanks we can give is our acceptance of one another as family.

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Sermon: Praise Him, Praise Him!


1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: Praise him in the heights. 2 Praise ye him, all his angels: Praise ye him, all his hosts. 3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: Praise him, all ye stars of light. 4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, And ye waters that be above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: For he commanded, and they were created. 6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: He hath made a decree which shall not pass. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, Ye dragons, and all deeps: 8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; Stormy wind fulfilling his word: 9 Mountains, and all hills; Fruitful trees, and all cedars: 10 Beasts, and all cattle; Creeping things, and flying fowl: 11 Kings of the earth, and all people; Princes, and all judges of the earth: 12 Both young men, and maidens; Old men, and children: 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: For his name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven. 14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, The praise of all his saints; Even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 148)




Psalm 148:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: Praise him in the heights.


What does it mean to praise the Lord?


The word “Praise” (halal) is used twelve times in this Psalm (the second-to-last “praise” in the psalm is a different Hebrew word). 


The entire phrase, “Praise ye the LORD” is, in Hebrew, halelû-yāh. Whenever you hear someone, even an unbeliever, saying, “Hallelujah,” they are literally saying, “Praise ye the LORD”!


What is praise? It is the act of glorifying God; of telling of his goodness and greatness. Praise is giving honor and worship to the One to whom honor and worship is due.


If a person pulled you from a burning car, you would naturally want to praise them. You might say, “Thank you, thank you…I can’t tell you how much what you did means to me!” You might give them presents. You would tell others about this person. In short, you would give them praise.


Does the Lord deserve our praise? Why? Do we need to praise him?


One way of seeing that the Lord deserves our praise is to notice what else in creation gives him praise and to see why they give him praise. So we should look at…

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Sermon: Hardened Hearts

1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. 2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. 3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. 4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. 5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. 6 And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 9 Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words. 10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 11 Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 13 And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. 14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore? 15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people. 17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. 18 Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. 19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task. 20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 21 And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. (Exodus 5)




What do hardened hearts do? What are they capable of? How does a hardened heart become soft? Exodus 5 is the story of the hard heart of Pharaoh and the hardening of the people’s hearts when God didn’t save them from Egypt in the way that they expected.




Moses made the journey to Egypt. He met up with Aaron, and together they have convinced the Israelites that the LORD had sent them and was ready to free them from their bondage. The people believed and they worshipped the LORD. So far, so good. Now there’s the little matter of telling Pharaoh to let the people go.

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Sermon: Christian Clothing


20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:20–24)




A. You Can’t Wear That Anymore


When I was a kid, I, like many kids, had certain favorite clothes. One that I wore when I was about seven or eight was a particular light jacket. One day, one of those days that you start out wearing a jacket but then it gets too hot, I left my jacket on a post. 


Well, the post that I left on was part of the pig pen. If you know anything about pigs, you know that goats have nothing on them when it comes to eating anything and everything. When I returned for my jacket, it was nothing but a hundred little squares of material on the ground.


From time to time, I think of that jacket, and other favorite clothes I had when I was a kid—but I know that I can never wear those things anymore. Why? First, they are all destroyed—thrown away or eaten by pigs. 


But even if my Mom has something of mine stashed away, I couldn’t wear it because I’ve changed—I’ve grown up. I could try, I suppose, but it would look hilarious because it would look out of place.


The Christian is also someone who can’t or shouldn’t wear the old clothing of their past life. The reason is the same: they’ve changed. And to wear those old clothes again wouldn’t be hilarious, it would be hypocritical and sad. It may also mean that you never really truly received Christ as your Savior–that’s what the first couple verses here imply.


B. That’s Not How You Learned Christ


In Ephesians 4:17-19, we learned of the sinful behavior of unsaved people, about how they have darkened, spiritually ignorant minds, how they are alienated from God, and how their hearts are increasingly desensitized to sin. 


The command was loud and clear: don’t behave the way the unsaved behave!


Well, why not? Because…


Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 


We shouldn’t behave as the unsaved person does because that is not how we “learned Christ.” This is an unique phrase that doesn’t appear anywhere else in the Bible. We can take it to mean “the same as knowing Christ in a personal way” (Exegetical Summary of Ephesians).


So, if you know Christ personally, then you won’t act the way the unsaved person does. 


Learning Christ, or knowing him personally, means that you have welcomed him into your life, that you want to be shaped by his teaching, that you want to be like him.


If that doesn’t describe your experience, then Paul questions if you have really learned Christ at all. He says:


Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 


“If so be that ye have heard him”—”Assuming that you have heard him.” In other words, if you are behaving like the unsaved, then you may not have heard Christ’s saving call in your life in the first place.


The phrase “heard him” refers to a person’s initial response to Christ’s call to salvation, which we can hear in the Bible. If you haven’t “heard him,” then you aren’t saved. 


Not only has the Christian heard Christ, they also have been “taught by him.”


“If so be that ye…have been taught by him”—Where “heard him” refers to the initial saving experience of a believer, being “taught by him” refers to the ongoing growth of a believer in Christ. 


Someone who is truly saved will be taught by Christ. They will grow in Christ. They will wear different and new clothes.


So Paul is saying to them: Are you saved? Have you heard Christ? Are you taught by him? Because if you are, then you should know that Christ teaches his followers that…


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Sermon: Lessons Moses Learned On The Way Back To Egypt

18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 


19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 


21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. 


24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision. 


27 And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. 


29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. (Exodus 4:18–31)




As Moses prepares to leave for Egypt, he learns several lessons that can help us in our Christian walks today. First, he learns that…

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Sermon: What’s Wrong With People Anyway?

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17–19)




“What is wrong with people anyway?”


I have heard this question asked many times in my Christian life; indeed, I have asked it myself. We look around and see so many people doing foolish or immoral things, and we, for a moment, forget where it all comes from. It’s sin, that’s the answer, and we know that.


The problem with so many people around us committing immorality is that we are tempted to give in and do the same. Why not? Everyone else is!


This passage contains a command not to give in and do as our unsaved culture does, and it contains a detailed description of what is really wrong with people.


What’s Wrong With People Anyway? Well, first…

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Sermon: How God Helps Us To Obey


1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: 5 That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. 7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land. 10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. 13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. 17 And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs. (Exodus 4:1–17)




We have been looking at the account of Moses meeting the Lord at the Burning Bush. The Lord God had called him to go back to Egypt, where his people were slaves, and to tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go.


Not exactly the kind of thing that would make a person jump for joy—downright dangerous and even, from a human viewpoint, a sure-fire way to commit suicide. 


Immediately, Moses began raising objections. His first seemed humble, but it wasn’t:


11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11)


God understood that Moses spoke out of fear, and so he responded, not with a list of good reasons why Moses was the right guy for the job, but with a more comforting, “Certainly, I will be with thee.”


Moses’ second objection concerned the authority by which he would speak to the Israelites. When they asked about God, “What is his name?” (Exodus 3:13), what was he going to tell them? 


Again, this was Moses’ own fear controlling him. He was afraid of going into the situation and discovering that the God who sent him was not powerful enough to back him up. 


So God comforted his fears by giving his name—the most powerful name in the universe: Jehovah or Yahweh. 


Further, he defined his name for Moses: Jehovah means, “I AM THAT I AM,” which means, among other things, that God has had no beginning and will have no end. He is simply, “I AM.”


Systematically, the Lord was helping Moses to obey him by removing his fears. 


What fears keep you from obeying God? The fear of embarrassment? The fear of losing your security? Whatever fear it is, be assured that God can take it away. 


Look and see how God helped Moses overcome his fear of obeying him.

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