Inescapable: The Influence

October 15, 2023

Series: Inescapable

Book: Matthew

This sermon is part of our Inescapable series. Inescapable is a 12 part series that studies the Gospel of Matthew and its messages. You can watch all 12 here.

Sermon manuscript:

It’s possible you are observing “Embolden” from afar. It’s possible you are not sure if you want to engage “Embolden” but what a great time to strengthen our faith in Jesus. What a great time to become bolder in our faith in Jesus. Especially in light of the circumstances of our day.

You look at the news at the war in Israel and that has to make you feel uncomfortable, at a global level. You look at the economy and interest rates going up and that has to feel unsettling.

In general, we see a lack of stability in our day, lack of confidence in our politicians, lack of confidence in our institutions and sometimes all those layers of instability trickle into our faith in Jesus as well but this morning we are going to look at Matthew 2:13-23. Grab that devotional. Turn to page 20.

God’s Word makes it clear there is always going to be instability in our world but we can find confidence in Him and His Word. Let’s look at Matthew 2:13:

Matthew 2:13, “13 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”

Do you remember the context of Matthew? The magi from the east show up in Jerusalem and ask, “Where is the king?” Herod gets the scribes and the priests together and they say, “Bethlehem.” Therefore, Herod sends the magi to Bethlehem so as to say, “Let me know when you find Him because I also want to worship Him.”

Spoiler alert; Herod doesn’t want to worship Jesus. Herod wants to destroy Jesus. Listen, it’s possible you might see that language “destroy the child” in verse 13 and think to yourself, “That’s horrible. How could Herod do such a thing?” But you need to know the glory of Jesus brings about hostility in every single person.

We’re talking about confidence this morning but this is important. Jesus is king of kings and Herod knows this child is a threat to his everyday life so that Herod wants to destroy the child but you need to know Jesus is a threat to every single person because at the end of the day we all want to do what we want to do. Does that make sense?

#Jesus is Lord! And at the soul level, every person knows Jesus is Lord and we don’t want Jesus telling us what to do because like Herod of old we want to be in charge.

We want to choose for ourselves. We want to call the shots. We don’t want governments telling us what to do. We don’t a boss telling us what to do. We don’t want our parents telling us what to do, so we can whence at the behavior in verse 13 but every human being isn’t that different.

Even as a follower of Jesus this morning, there is a layer in every follower of Jesus, “I want to be in charge.” Even as we talk about memorizing God’s Word and increasing our prayers there is a part of us that says, “But do I really need to do that?” Why? We want to be in charge.

Even as a person who rejects Jesus, it’s because deep down, we want to be in charge. If Jesus is who Jesus said He was then He becomes the leader of our life and at the soul level, and just like Herod, it is going to create friction. Look at verses 14-15:

Matthew 2:14-15, “14 So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

So much to draw out in those two verses. First, why does the Lord send Joseph and Mary to Egypt? Egypt’s boarder is about 75 miles from Bethlehem. It’s another 100 miles into Egypt before you get to a main location with people, so why Egypt?

The Lord could have kept them safe in Bethlehem. The Lord could have stationed angels on guard. The Lord could have reigned down fire on Herod. But the Lord calls Joseph and Mary to Egypt so as to fulfill the promise “Out of Egypt I called my Son.”

This phrase “out of Egypt I called my Son” is an Old Testament promise in the book of Hosea. Up to this point we have seen the promise of 2 Samuel 7, “One will rule on the throne of David for eternity.” Fulfilled in Jesus.

Genesis 12, “One will come from you that will bless the nations.” Fulfilled in Jesus. Micah 5 “The Savior will be born in the little town of Bethlehem.” Isaiah 7, “The Savior will be born of a virgin.” All fulfilled in Jesus.

Listen to me, these Old Testament promises don’t resonate with us right away but for the Jewish man or woman in the first century, they would have known these promises, and in verse 15 we see another one “Out of Egypt I called my Son.” What does that mean?

First, this phrase “Out of Egypt I called my Son” is a reference to Israel’s history. Israel is established under Abraham. Enslaved in Egypt and rescued through Moses, so that Israel is close to the heart of God.

In fact, sometimes the nation of Israel is described as God’s Son, so that that phrase “Out of Egypt I called my Son” would have been incredibly meaningful to the Jewish man or woman in the first century.

At this moment the people of Israel would have been incredibly discouraged. Their spiritual leaders have led them astray. They are living under the oppression of Roman occupation. They would have been layered with instability, therefore, Matthew reminds them of the promise “Out of Egypt I called my Son.”

It’s as though Matthew is saying, “God’s not done with us. God’s not forgotten His promises. Yes, there are layers of instability but take confidence in the Lord through His Word.” Does that make sense?

In addition, the phrase “Out of Egypt I called my Son” is from the book of Hosea. Do you know about the prophet Hosea? Hosea was a prophet in the Old Testament who marries a prostitute; a woman who sells her body for sex and Hosea pursues this woman as his wife.

Our culture thinks the God of Scripture looks down on sexual immorality and sexual immorality are a waste of His time but it’s just the opposite; the God of Scripture pursues those who are layered in sexual immorality.

In fact, it’s even better because in the book of Hosea we see the married wife return to sexual immorality and Hosea chases after her. Hosea’s wife births children by other men and Hosea chases after her.

Hosea’s wife becomes a sexual slave on the open market and Hosea purchases her, restores her, cares for her and the theme of Hosea is that even though Israel is unfaithful to the Lord, even though Israel has turned from the Lord over and over and over, yet the Lord will chase after you, so that when Matthew writes those words “Out of Egypt I called my Son” it would have been like a flood of promises crashing in on the Jewish man or woman in the first century.

It is Mathew’s way of saying, “The Lord won’t give up on us.” Yes, the days are long. The circumstances are dark but the Lord won’t quit. His promises are true.

I need you to hear that church family. The good news of Jesus is that He chases after us. Our hearts and minds are just as dark as Herod’s and He chases after us. Our faithfulness and allegiance to the Lord is just as unfaithful as Israel and He chases after us. Hear that this morning but don’t just hear that from me, like Matthew of old, look to God’s Word.

If you are looking for confidence in this world, then look to God’s Word. There are always going to be distractions in this world. There is always going to be another war. There is always going to be a threat to our economy, but God’s Word is a strong foundation. Look at verse 16:

Matthew 2:16, “16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.”

Remember, in verse 13 the magi are gone, Herod still doesn’t know where Jesus is, so Herod decides, “I can wipe out any children that fit that description.”

First, you need to know that’s horrible. We are seeing people in the news right now forcefully take someone’s life. That’s horrible. There is a lie in our culture right now, if the oppress-e is fighting against the oppressor than any act of aggression is acceptable. No, that’s wrong. You can object, you can protest, you can vote but you don’t get to slaughter people.

In addition, a person can ask, “Why would God allow the slaughtering of these children?” That’s a great question, so you need to know the world we see today and the pain we see today isn’t what the God of Scripture created.
He created the world to be perfect. He created the world so that this would never happen but our sin has distorted all of creation and as a result we see wicked people like Herod, like all of humanity do wicked things.

That’s why Jesus is so important. In the moment it looks like Herod is in charge. It looks like death and darkness is prevailing but Matthew is writing so as to say, “The Savior is here!”

Jesus is the only One who provides an answer to the wickedness of humanity. In fact, Jesus is the only One who comes to take the wickedness of humanity upon Himself at the cross.

Jesus is the One who takes the judgment for the offenses that we deserve to the point of death and conquers death in the resurrection, so that wickedness won’t go on forever. Look at verses 17-18:

Matthew 2:17-18, “17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.”

Again, so much to draw out in those two verses. First, do you know about the prophet Jeremiah? Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet in the Old Testament. Jeremiah is chapter after chapter of lament, because Israel has turned from the Lord over and over and over but in verse 18 Matthew quotes Jeremiah 31, “A voice was heard in Ramah…”

Ramah is a village north of Jerusalem, which means high place. Historically, again, we don’t know these references today but the Jewish man or woman in the first century would have known Ramah is the place where Israelites were stationed to be deported into exile and taken into captivity, so that weeping and mourning would have been a familiar reference.

Rachel is a reference to the wife of Jacob and her sons become the twelve tribes of Israel, which also had been taken over by Assyria and Babylon so again, weeping and mourning.

So that this quote in verse 18 is focusing on the trauma of the exile in the history of Israel, so as to say, “God sees our pain, God cares about our pain but there is hope that is coming.” Do you know Jeremiah 31?

Jeremiah 31:31-32, “31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.

Do you see it? Israel had been unfaithful to the Lord over and over and over but like the prophet Hosea the Lord chases after them and makes a promise, so that we see verse 33:

Jeremiah 31:33, “33 “For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

This is the hope of Jesus. Israel had failed at keeping the law over and over and over. All of humanity fails at keeping the law over and over and over, so that Jesus doesn’t come to abolish the law but fulfill the law.

Jesus lives a perfect life. Jesus takes our offenses upon Himself at the cross. Jesus conquers death in the resurrection, so that all who trust in Jesus are reconciled to God.

The law is written on their heart through the Holy Spirit. Jesus has come to call you His, not because of what we do but what Jesus has done. This is where we find our confidence as a church in Austin.

The world is broken. frailty and instability is all around us but Matthew writes, “Look to Jesus.” Look to God’s promises in Word. Look how He has been faithful to His Word over and over and over and that’s why we need to know God’s Word.

We’re inviting our church in north Austin to memorize God’s Word but it isn’t so that God would show us favor. He has given us Jesus. We memorize God’s Word because we want to anchor our soul in Him. Look at verses 19-21:

Matthew 2:19-21, “19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, 20 “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” 21 So Joseph got up, took the Child and
His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

In verse 13 we see an angel of the Lord speaks to Joseph through a dream and in verse 19 we see an angel of the Lord speak to Joseph through a dream, so that it’s possible that some of us might be thinking, “I wish God would speak to me through a dream.”

I bring this up because sometimes when we are faced with vulnerability in life we can start reaching for other answers in life. We feel this layer of vulnerability, so we start chasing after self-help on social media, we start digging into conspiracy theories, we start marinating on “what if’s” because we want stability.

Listen to me, the God of Scripture can speak to you through dreams, but the most common and most clear way for the Lord to speak to His people is through His Word. His Word is clear. His Word is available at all times and I can’t stress enough the importance of God’s Word.

The majority of the decisions we need to make in life can be answered through God’s Word. What type of person do you marry? How do you approach your career? How do you spend money? How do you raise children? How do you vote? When you know God’s Word you
will know the answers to those questions.

And if you don’t know how to know God’s Word, then get involved in our church family and we will help you. We can meet with you for 3, 45-minute meetings and help you know how to read God’s Word, study God’s Word. But you have to start tackling God’s Word.

A sermon on a Sunday isn’t going to get you there. We teach verse by verse, not so you don’t have to study the bible, but my primary goal is that throughout the sermon we would think, “I can’t wait to go home and read God’s Word.” Let’s close with verses 22-23:

Matthew 2:22-23, “22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, 23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

In verse 23 we another reference to God’s Word being fulfilled in Jesus. And what’s great about this promise is that Nazareth was the least impressive place for the Savior of the world to grow up. It would be like growing up in East Texas, so that Matthew is reminding the reader, “Our confidence in the Lord is going to show up in the least likely of places.”

As human beings we would love a strong economy, a strong government, a strong career, a lot of money, a lot of friends and when we have those things we will feel confident.

Yet God’s Word invites us to put our confidence in Jesus. Psalm 22 said He would be the one that would be despised by the people. Isaiah 53 said He would be the one that had no stately form, rejected by man. Zechariah 12 said He would be pierced and rejected, so that people said, “What good could come from Nazareth?”

So that Matthew is writing to that Jewish man or woman in the first century so as to say, “It’s not Rome, it’s not in our circumstances, It’s not in Israel but it’s in Jesus and His Word.” That’s the invitation of God’s Word this morning.

That’s the invitation we give to our city. It doesn’t matter what you accomplish in this world. Every bit of it could disappear in a second. Trust in Jesus.

It doesn’t matter if you are morally bankrupt. It doesn’t matter if there is sexual
immorality. It doesn’t matter if you have turned from the Lord over and over and over. Trust in Jesus.

Jesus is the One who was rejected and despised so that through faith in Jesus we could be accepted and embraced. Jesus is the One who came to lay aside His glory, so that through faith in Jesus we could be clothed in His glory. Jesus is the One who sees us layered in instability and calls out, “Put your confidence in Me.” That’s the invitation of God’s Word this morning.

I want to invite the worship team to the front. Let’s lower the lights. Let’s invite our elders to the front for communion.

Communion is a meal of celebration. Communion is a reminder of all that we have in Jesus. The cracker is a symbol of Jesus’ body broken, the juice is a symbol s of Jesus’ blood poured out on our behalf.

If you have yet to believe in Jesus we ask you to hold off but if you have, we ask you to come forward, dip your cracker in the juice and celebrate the solid foundation we have in Jesus.

This last weekend we took our family to the State Fair of Texas, we rode the Ferris wheel and you just go around two times but the whole time you can feel the cage moving, so that at the top of the Ferris wheel you feel like you are barely attached and it reminded me of our passage this morning.

If we feel like we are lacking confidence right now, if we feel like our lives are just blowing in the wind, is it possible we are trying to build our confidence on things that were never meant to hold us. Turn to Jesus. He will hold you. We will have people at the back to pray for you.


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.

Check out our North Village Church calendar highlights such as our Christmas Eve Service and Easter Sunday Service.

You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


NVC Online

Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.