Sermon: Be A Light Shining In The Darkness


8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Ephesians 5:8–14)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Several years ago, we visited the Lewis and Clark Caverns between Butte and Bozeman, MT. Going through a cave is quite an experience, there are all sorts of odd and beautiful rock formations that you never see above ground. 

 

Actually, it’s a marvel that you can see them at all, because without artificial light in the caverns you wouldn’t see a thing. To illustrate that point, the tour guide at one point gathered us together and turned off the lights. The result was total darkness, in which your eyes would never adjust because there is zero light.

 

In the early days, when the Civilian Conservation Corps was making the caverns tourist-friendly, if their lights went out, they were stuck until someone came and got them. It’s very difficult to impossible to know if you are going in the right direction without light—the darkness is blinding.

 

It’s no wonder that the Bible uses darkness to describe our condition before salvation. People in darkness have no way of knowing the right way out. 

 

Jesus said that the path to Heaven is narrow, but the path to destruction is broad.  You can see that the broad path is full of people stumbling around the darkness, saying, “It’s this way…no it’s this way…no, there really isn’t a way, you just walk for awhile then you die.”

 

But the Christian has seen the light at the end of tunnel—and it’s light that comes from a cross. The Christian is to walk in that light, first…


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Sermon: What Seeds are You Sowing?

 

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:7–8)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I’ve always liked farming and gardening. There’s just something wonderful about sticking a seed in the soil and watching it blossom into a plant that in turn you can enjoy and eat. This process is called sowing and reaping in the Bible.

 

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 

 

Do not be deceived about what? The fact that God cannot be mocked.

God is not mocked because whatever one sows that will he also reap. 

 

Sometimes Christians think they can get away with sowing bad things in their lives because they are also sowing, albeit very lightly, a few good things—like coming to church once a week.

 

Don’t be fooled. It says here…what you sow, you will reap. God knows what you are doing, he is not mocked…he is not fooled. In the next verse, Paul discusses how we can sow two different seeds, with two very different results.


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Sermon: Serpents: The Prelude To Plagues

 

8 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. 10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. 13 And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.  (Exodus 7:8–13)

 

I. THE SPIRITUAL WAR

 

Finally, after chapters of objections, a false start and complaints, the Lord sent Moses and Aaron to the task of confronting Pharaoh. We should realize from the git-go that this is much more than simply confronting the most powerful person in the world at the time. This was spiritual warfare. 

 

Pharaoh was a man motivated by Satan. Therefore, it would take more than slick talk, negotiations, compromises, and diplomatic dealings. It would take the Lord himself.

 

You have to wonder how far diplomacy can take us in the Middle East, for example. There are forces at work that will not respond to mere secular negotiation tactics, so we will constantly be beating our head against a brick wall.

 

That’s not to say that men and tactics cannot be involved. The Lord works through both to fight the spiritual battle, as he did with Moses and Aaron.


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Sermon: It’s Not What You Do That Makes You Valuable

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Recently, two different medical cases have captured the essence of the modern debate about the sanctity of human life.

 

The first case, a very high profile one, is about a young girl who, in December, went in for a routine Tonsillectomy. Something went wrong and the hospital, on December 12th, declared her brain dead.

 

Her family, however, refuses to believe it. After a court battle with the hospital, the family was allowed to move her to an undisclosed location where she is on life-support.

 

The second case flips the situation around. In late November, a woman, 14 weeks pregnant, was found unconscious at her home. She turned out to be brain-dead, but the hospital has refused to remove life-support because of a state law requiring them not to remove life sustaining measures on someone who is pregnant. Her family wants the life-support removed and is suing the hospital to force them to do just that.

 

In both of these cases, a hundred years ago, there would have been no debate—they all would be buried in the ground. But because of modern medical technology allowed us by God’s providence, we can bring someone back from the brink of death or keep them in a shadowy lane between life and death.

 

In short, we can play god like we’ve never done before. This has opened up a wide ranging debate in modern times on the sanctity of human life. When can we take a life? When do we save a life? These and other related questions are crucial in the abortion debate and the euthanasia debate. 

 

Euthanasia, for those unfamiliar with the term, literally means “good death” and refers to various ways that a patient might choose to have his or her doctor help him end his life. Physician-assisted suicide is another related term. There’s much more to euthanasia than that, but that’s enough for us to know right now.

 

God has given us the responsibility in recent years to be able to make life and death choices. How do we handle this responsibility? How do we handle this responsibility in a Biblical way and with Biblical values and principles?

 

First, we need to understand a little about how the culture that we live in makes decisions:


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Sermon: In Christ Alone, We Have Hope

 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

There is a famous painting of a woman with her eyes bandaged so that she cannot see. She sits with a harp that has all it’s strings broken except for one—and with that one she is playing a wonderful melody. 

 

The title of that painting is “hope,” and it’s intention is to show that despite any trial that might break the strings of your harp, you can still have hope. My question for you is this: where does that kind of hope come from?


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Sermon: Following God

 

1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 

 

5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

“Walk a Little slower, Daddy.” said a little child so small.

I’m following in your footsteps and I don’t want to fall.

 

Sometimes your steps are very fast, sometimes they’re hard to see;

So walk a little slower Daddy, for you are leading me.

 

Someday when I’m all grown up, You’re what I want to be.

Then I will have a little child who’ll want to follow me.

 

And I would want to lead just right, and know that I was true;

So, walk a little slower, Daddy, for I must follow you!!

 

– Bobbie Norman

 

Children, especially young children, often copy their fathers. When I first got glasses in the 5th grade, I wanted the same horn-rimmed wire frame glasses that my Dad had. I wore the same padded vest that he wore and so on.

 

As Christians, we should do the same with our Heavenly Father. Paul writes:

 

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 

 

“followers” (μιμηταὶ, μιμητής, NNPM). The word here is μιμητής (mimetes), which is where we get our English word mimic. So “followers” means to follow someone in the sense of imitating them. We follow God by imitating him, by acting like him.

 

We are to follow him “as dear children;” The reason that we should imitate God is that we are his children (when we have received Christ as our Savior), and children imitate their parents.

 

In what way are we supposed to imitate God? It’s impossible to be like God in every way, for one thing, we are not all-powerful or all-knowing. However, the Bible doesn’t expect us to imitate God fully, but in specific ways. 

 

For example, Jesus said, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). And Paul said at the end of chapter four, “…forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

 

And here, in Ephesians 5:2 we have another specific way we are to imitate God. We are to be…


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Sermon: Moses Recommissioned

 

10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. 12 And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? 13 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 

 

14 These be the heads of their fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these be the families of Reuben. 15 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these are the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families. 18 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years. 19 And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations. 20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years. 21 And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri. 23 And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24 And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites. 25 And Eleazar Aaron’s son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families. 26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies. 27 These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron. 

 

28 And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee. 30 And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me? 1 And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. 2 Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. 3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. 6 And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they. 7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh. (Exodus 6:10–7:7)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

So far in the book of Exodus, we’ve seen how Israel slipped into bondage in Egypt. First, they were welcome guests, then after Joseph died, they became slaves. 

 

The Lord did not forget Israel, however, but raised up a deliverer, Moses. Moses,  however, had quite a rocky start being a deliverer. First, he murdered an Egyptian who was beating on his countrymen. Instead of the Israelites being thankful, however, they hated what he had done, and Moses ended up spending forty years herding sheep in Midian.

 

But God called to him from the Burning Bush and, despite Moses’ many objections, he promised to be with Moses and help him deliver Israel. So Moses marched to Egypt and, with his brother Aaron, garnered the support of the Israelites. 

 

Then they confronted Pharaoh head on. It’s not hard to imagine what Moses was expecting from the aftermath: Pharaoh would hear the words of the Lord from Moses and Aaron and fall to his knees in repentance. He’d immediately order the release of the Israelites and beg Moses to ask God not to kill him.

 

But instead, Moses got this: “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” (Exodus 6:2). Then, to make matters worse, Pharaoh ordered that the labor of the Israelites be made more difficult.

 

Then the Israelites, who were so supportive earlier, turned on him:

 

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. (Exodus 5:21)

 

So Moses turned to the Lord and asked, “Why me, Lord?” The Lord, in Exodus 6, explained all over again how he had heard the groaning of the children of Israel. He reaffirmed his promises to Israel with seven “I will’s” in Exodus 6:6-8. 

 

But when Moses told the people, they did not listen. What was he to do? Give up because the congregation voted “no”? No, the Lord comes and speaks to Moses, recommissioning him for the task at hand:


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