Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Mosaic Address:
    606 West 3rd Ave., Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday:  8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am
  • Infant through 5th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!



Back To List

Mar 21, 2010

Why We Need A Redeemer

Passage: Exodus 1:1-22

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: How A Savior Saves

Category: Old Testament

Keywords: freedom, slavery, god's will, need for redemption


During this Lent season we are looking at the Redeeming work of God through the eyes of the Israelites in Egypt. This message looks at how they and we use our God-given freedom in ways that often enslave us, leading to the painful reality that we really do need a redeemer.


HOW A SAVIOR SAVES--The Need for Redemption

Exodus 1—March 21, 2010


INTRO:  Are you ever bothered by the amount of freedom God has given us in this world? 

  • Does it ever bother you that God allows us the freedom to drink and drive at the same time?
  • Does it ever bother you that God allows us the freedom to procreate children without having, say, a job or a license or a marriage or a plan or any experience?
  • Does it ever bother you that God allows us to be parents who can love kids or abuse themNurture them or destroy them?  (Story of meth house near us with numerous children in it.  It was so bad that after they bulldozed it, the trees and bushes around it died!)
  • Does it ever bother you that God lets us choose to protect people or destroy them?  Love them or hate them?
  • Feed them or starve them?
  • Marry them or divorce them?
  • Give to them or steal from them
  • Comfort them or ignore them?
  • Worship Him or worship false gods?


Freedom troubles me on a couple of fronts. 

      First, the amount of freedom God gives us is often troubling to me.  If every decision were a clear-cut “this is God’s will—this is not” sort of thing, it would be a lot simpler.  You’d always know what was right and wrong, better or best, and the only decision would be, will I obey God today or do my own thing? 

      Freedom can make decision-making agony.  God gives us a lot more freedom than many of us are comfortable with. That’s why some people get into relationships or careers or churches where they are told exactly what to do.  There is something that may feel sort of safe about that kind of more restrictive environment.

      On the other hand, the level of freedom God has given us as human beings can lead us into utter disaster clearly outside of God’s will for us.  It results in wars, heinous crimes, abuse, suffering, hatred, strife, selfishness, arrogance, pain of all kinds, indifference to the plight of others and a million other evils

      OR freedom presents us with the opportunity to do truly great and wonderful things with life. 


RECAP:  We just finished a sermon series on the book of Genesis last week where we left Jacob and his son Joseph blessing their offspring before their deaths.  This week we’re moving on into the next Old Testament book of Exodus in a series we’re calling “The Anatomy of A Savior.”  Exodus is all about God’s salvation work on behalf of an entire nation needing to be redeemed from slavery.  And during this Lenten season, it holds many beautiful parallels with the work of Jesus Christ our Savior. 


Genesis ends with Joseph securing a promise from his brothers and children that, when God comes to their aid, they will carry his bones out of Egypt with them as they return to God’s Promised Land.  Even though he failed to return, he deep down nurtured the hope that his children would at least complete the circuit.  Then he dies at age 110. 


Exodus opens with an accounting of the names of the sons of Jacob/Israel who had gone to Egypt during that severe 7 year famine God had predicted.  There were some 70 of Jacob’s offspring in Egypt when Genesis closes.  But within a few verses (Exodus 1:7) we are told that “the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.”.  While we don’t know exactly how many Israelites there were in Egypt at this time, we do know that some 350 years have passed from Joseph to the birth of Moses in Exodus 1.  And we know that 80 years after his birth, there would be over 600,000 men and their families that would exit Egypt on foot (Ex. 12:37). 


God makes a big deal at the end of Genesis about Jacob’s last request to be buried back in the Promised Land, in the same cave that his grandparents Abraham and Sarah were buried, the same place where his parents Isaac & Rebekah were buried and the same place where he had buried Leah before coming to Egypt.  Genesis 50 is largely about the burial ceremony for Jacob/Israel back in Canaan.  Notice what it says happened after the graveside service in Gen. 50:14.

      “After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.” 

      Wait a minute!  I thought this little side-trip to Egypt was only supposed to see them through the 7 year famine???  I thought it was God’s plan to give them Canaan, not Egypt?  What are they doing making that long trek back to Canaan just to bury their granddad…and turning right around and going back to Egypt? 


The last words we have recorded that God spoke to Jacob were back in Canaan at Beersheba where he had offered sacrifices to God 17 years earlier.  At that time, God had told Jacob, (Gen. 46:3-4)--“Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.  I will go down to Egypt with you and I will surely bring you back again.  And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”


Now, if you didn’t know the rest of the story…and you were Jacob…WHAT do you think would be the order of events?

  1. Go down to Egypt.
  2. Find Joseph
  3. Grow as a clan/tribe/people.
  4. Come back to Canaan.
  5. Die with Joseph at your side. 


There is NO indication that he was supposed to die in Egypt.  In fact, when he is about to die in Genesis 49, he makes it very clear to his children that he is to be buried back in Canaan, not Egypt.  So after a period of mourning and Egyptian embalming, all his family take his remains and make a trip back to Canaan to bury him.  They understood very clearly that they were to bury him ASAP in Canaan, not generations later. 


Somewhere during that time of mourning Joseph’s brothers’ true fears about Joseph come out.  Upon Jacob’s death they were very afraid of what Joseph might do to them in their father’s absence… because of what they had done to him in their father’s absence years before. 

      But instead of getting even, Joseph speaks that amazing statement in Gen. 50:19-21.

      “But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”


So what did they do?  What did they opt for? 

  • Egypt’s stability instead of Canaan’s uncertainty
  • Joseph’s welfare instead of Canaan’s work
  • The comfortable instead of the promised.
  • The beauty of Egypt rather than the battles of Canaan

I think they are carrying on a compromise they had seen their father Israel make—the remaining in Egypt well past the time God had intended for them to be sheltered and protected by that place.  God had promised to bring Israel back to Canaan.  But somewhere in those 17 years in Egypt before Jacob died, he lost his passion for the Promised Land

      Not surprisingly, that failure trickled down upon his own children and grandchildren.  The opening paragraph of Exodus tells us that not one of Israel’s sons left Egypt once they settled in there.  Joseph died thereHis brothers died there.  And their offspring lived and died in Egypt for another 350 years in Egypt before God started stirring the waters to get them up and out. 


Someone might say, “Yah, but didn’t God predict in Gen. 15:13 that they would be in Egypt for 400 years before claiming the Promised Land?”  Well, yes and no.

      When God gave Abraham his Covenant in Gen. 15, he did predict that “your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated 400 years” (Gen. 15:13).  But notice that God didn’t name the country.  Nor did he tell them when this would happen.  What he did tell Abraham is that they would be “enslaved and mistreated.” 

      This is what I would call “a prophecy of permission,” as opposed to “a prophecy of purpose.”  Here’s what I mean.

  • A “prophecy of purpose” is God declaring what he is going to do in advance that is not in any way dependent upon the choices or will of human beings.  Regardless of what people choose, God is going to fulfill certain prophecies because those specific events and the ways they unfold are part of God’s chosen purpose for people and human history.
  • A prophecy of permission, on the other hand, is something a little different.  God, in his sovereign, permissive will, allows many things to happen in this world that are not His perfect, “this-is-what’s-best,” will. Tons of human freedom falls into that category.  All of human sin falls in that category.  He doesn’t want us to do it but he allows us to (“permissive will of God”).  He also knows that is what we will do so he speaks about it sometimes in prophetic terms.   

So when God said Israel’s offspring were going to be “strangers in a country not their own” and “enslaved and mistreated 400 years,” it wasn’t His best or first choice of routes for them to take but it was a route in which he knew he would work with their less-than-best decisions


APPLIC:  I think this has an awful lot to say to every one of us living right where we are right now. 

God allows us lots of freedom in this life, enough to walk with Him…or enough to enslave ourselves to other gods.

God gave Israel and his offspring the freedom to choose where they wanted to live. They would face challenges in Egypt OR in Canaan.  But one would be a place of promise, the other a place of pagan dominance

I’m imagining that after 5 years of living in Egypt, they started to put down some roots.  I’m thinking that they started buying some land, marrying some women/men, raising some children, making some friends.  I’m thinking that their taste for food changed, their taste for climate changed, their taste for relationships changed and a whole lot more. 

And rather than pulling up stakes after 5 years when the famine was over, they chose to sink down roots. When Israel died, they were fine with taking a 2-week trip to Canaan to have a burial service.  But they weren’t fine leaving Egypt for the rest of their lives. After all, they knew the Big Cheese in Pharaoh’s court.  Joseph had offered them all they needed in the near future.  Why ditch all that for a promise from God about a place that had been such a challenge in the past anyway? 

With the potential for great freedom comes the potential for great bondage and slavery too.  The problem is that we far too often think that what we are choosing is a way to more freedom when, in fact, it is the road to slavery. 


The Bible is abundantly clear that we do have the capacity to choose which gods we will serve in life.  What we DON’T have the ability to choose is WHAT those gods will be like, how they will treat us or what they will require of us


ILL:  We can choose to serve the god of immediate pleasures.  When we do, we’ll get what those gods have to offer but we will not be able to dictate to them what they offer or how they will treat us. 

EX:  If I choose the god of alcohol-induced pleasure, that god will deliver a different feeling than life without alcohol.  It will temporarily numb my pain, alter my inhibitions and insecurities and change how I feel about pressures, problems and people around me. 

But I don’t get the choice of deciding HOW it will affect my family, my friendships, my liver and brain or my personal growth or lack of growth.  Alcohol does.  And it will leave me emotionally immature and stunted, probably depressed, physically and mentally impaired and damaged and a host of other things. 


I Cor. 10:11 tells us that what happened to God’s people in biblical history is there to teach us.  Theologians are pretty united in the belief that the slavery in Egypt is a sort of Old Testament picture of our slavery to sin before being rescued and redeemed by Jesus Christ. So the same dangers that afflicted God’s people 3,500 years ago are the same tricks Satan uses to enslave good people today. 


Just think for a moment about what lead to the Israelites eventual loss of freedom and slavery to the Egyptians? 

Loss of freedom comes when…

  • We fixate on the lesser pleasures of our culture.  It’s some of the same stuff I’ve already talked about, the same things that captivated the eyes, imagination and hearts of the Israelites—land, houses, nice food, personal wealth, an easier life…all the supposed benefits of a culture that has little or no love for the God who made us and the plan he has for us. 

It is as C.S.Lewis has said, the problem is not that our desires are too big for us; it is that they are too small!  We are too easily sidetracked from the deepest, richest and most lasting pleasure of transforming relationship with God by the lesser-pleasures of this world like fame, wealth, fun, entertainment, knowledge, etc.  Plastic party favors are fine…for the short duration of a little party.  But they are totally inadequate for the long-haul of a full and eternal life. 

APP:  In what ways, what activities, what things and stuff are you or I wrapped up in the cheap, temporary “party favors” of this world that will, unchecked and unchanged, keep us from wholehearted obedience to the call of God and probably result in the enslavement of the generations that follow after us?

PERSONAL:  I benefited greatly from seeing parents radically change their values and loves in life during my most formative years.  I sometimes wonder if I’m really doing the same thing, leaving the same heritage for my children.  I saw them let God rearrange everything in their life—where they had lived for 35 years, the business they had built, the friends and activities they were involved with, their career, their “retirement”…everything was being constantly changed by their relationship with God. 

Do my children see me letting go of what this world calls important to take hold of what God says is important for eternity? 

  • Or do things like our home here in Spokane…or my emotional passion over politics…or time at the lake… get in the way of them seeing that life really is to be lived with a heavenly home in view?  Life really is to be lived getting fired up and passionate about the King of kings and Ruler above all rulers who will one day be undisputed Sovereign of this world and will ask His faithful children to reign with Him?  Life really is about a place God is even now preparing for us.  Life really is about investing in the lives of people who will either spend eternity enjoying God or eternity separated from God?

That’s where this hits me.  Where does the Egypt of our culture hit you?


There is a second thing that will lead to a loss of freedom in our lives as God’s children in this world.

  • We experience a loss of freedom when we LET GO OF GOD’S CALLING ON OUR LIVES AS HIS PEOPLE.  Egypt was not what God had promised to Israel; the Promised Land of Canaan was.  Slavery was not what God wanted for his people; conquest in the Promised Land was.  Death of their sons was not what God wanted for His children; fruitfulness, lots of children and a growing people of God was God’s heart.

How much did the failure of Jacob to return to Canaan in that last decade of his life lead to the failure of his sons and families to return in their lifetimes?  How much did the failure of any of those 12 sons to hold fast to God’s promise and move in faith back to Canaan in turn lead to the 430 years of living in Egypt

God has a calling on every one of our lives if you belong to Jesus. 

  • o He’s called us to be fruitful by bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our character and actions.
  • o He’s called us to live and act like the sons and daughters of God we are.
  • o He’s called us to make disciples of all people, to share the love of Christ and the Gospel of salvation with people who need God.
  • o He’s called us to use the gifts, talents and resources he has entrusted to us to bless the rest of the body of Christ.
  • o He’s called us to holinessbody, soul and spirit.

The list goes on.  But how much of God’s calling on our lives gets eclipsed by the calling of our “Egypt”…our culture or commitments or friendships that don’t cause us to walk by faith and live passionately for Jesus? 

Failure to fixate on the calling of God in one generation will have enslaving effects for the next.  That’s why we need to be constantly calling each other to the highest callings we have, the calling of Christ to a life constantly lived IN him. 


This loss of freedom that comes because of our misuse of freedom will usually lead us into some even more difficult challenges to our faith and life.  Look what happened to the people of God in Egypt…and ask yourself if you don’t see the same things challenging us today.


1.  A misuse of God-given liberty will always lead to a bondage to man-centered powers. 

Exodus 1:11-14-- 11) So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12) But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13) and worked them ruthlessly. 14) They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.


We’ve been privileged to live in a nation where, perhaps more than any other nation to date in this world, has benefited from founding Father’s who came here because they desired first and foremost religious freedom.  Our Pilgrim Fathers risked, and in dozens of cases, gave their lives just to be able to develop families and communities where worship of God was first and the principles and laws of God were lived by.  For hundreds of years we’ve been a nation free to pursue the God of the Bible first above government, work, economics or any other power. 

            That is changing.  Now, in the State of Washington, the average Washingtonian will work full-time until the middle of April to pay all the different tax burdens imposed upon us.  1/3 of our work life is spent laboring so we can give it to federal, state and local “masters” over us.  If you are a small business owner, the burden is much heavier.  It has not always been like this.  In fact, this kind of system is a relatively recent invention of government in America

ILL:  My father remembers sitting at the kitchen table as a farm boy in Iowa, hearing his father debate the just-ness of the first Federal Income Tax with an IRS agent who swore up and down it would never get above 1 or 2%! 


I could talk about the education of our children.  Everyone here can give examples of how our public schools have and continue to try and wipe out any knowledge of or teaching of God and His word.  That was not the case for the first 300 years of American education.  The Word of God was an integral part of national education.  Today it is suspect, maligned and censored.  That, in my opinion, is a new “Pharaoh who is ruling ruthlessly” and demanding that our children worship at the altar of secularism, naturalism or humanism. 


A misuse of God-given liberty will always lead to some bondage to man-centered powers. 


2.  Misuse of God-given freedom leads to demands by our culture to sacrifice the next generation of children to their false gods. 

Exodus 1:15-22-- 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?"

19) The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." 20) So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21) And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. 22) Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: "Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live."


The Nile, for Egyptians, was associated with the gods of fruitfulness, prosperity and fertility that they served.  That’s why Pharaoh demanded that they be “thrown into the Nile.” 

            False gods always demand the next generation of God’s people.  What does it look like today?

  • In Europe—negative birth rates and very credible predictions that Europe will become Islamic in the next generation due to the prolific birth rate among the millions of Muslims that now inhabit Europe.  Mohammad is one of the most popular names in Europe today.  Some major cities like Amsterdam and Marseille are already 25% Muslim.  San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Moslem just 12 years from now. 54 million Muslims now live in Europe. America is probably not terribly far behind.
  • In the U.S.abortion kills 1 of every 3 children conceived in this country.  Surveys indicate that a large percentage of Christian women who go to church have had an abortion.  We have gotten richer and richer as a nation, but the sizes of our families have gotten smaller and smaller.  We have bigger houses than our grandparents did…and fewer godly children being raised in them.  We have more parents working full time and more kids spending much of their day without their parents. 
  • This past week I attended a funeral of a 13 year old girl who went to school with my youngest sons.  She jumped off the Monroe St. bridge about 12 days ago.  Sandy had taken her and her (still) best friend to AWANA several times when they were in grade school…that was, until their parents put a stop to it because they didn’t want them taught the Bible or overly influenced by church.  Instead, both of them became “Goths” by age 13 and this young woman ended up fighting with her divorced parents, changing schools and ultimately found death more attractive than life. 

Friends, this IS a battle for the lives of our children. 

You can choose the god you will serve, but you cannot choose what those gods will demand of you. Our choices DO have consequences.  God knows that. That’s why he calls us to seek Him in the midst of those choices. 


When we misuse our freedom and fail to walk by faith with God in the ways he has called us to, we will have to face the pressure of a godless culture which demands that we sacrifice our children to their false gods.  Those gods are not the Nile River today.  They go by names like “choice,” “standard of living,” “personal preference,” “relativism,” “enlightened thinking,” even “retirement.”  It is time for us to say, “NO.  We will not serve other gods.  We will have NO foreign gods.  We will worship, serve and live for the only true, living and holy God—Jehovah God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

            But thanks to many a modern “midwife” or “mid-husband” as the case may be, there are still many who refuse to follow the dictates of a pagan culture.  Like the Israelite midwives in Egypt, they may face pressure from high places but their hard work and persistence in protecting and raising up the next generation of God-fearing followers of Jesus Christ is noticed by God himself. 


APP:  That’s why we are passionate at Mosaic about trying to reach the next generation with the saving and transforming power of Christ.  We may not be the best or brightest, the most hip or the most holy…but we’re trying.  We’re deeply grateful to all of you who are sticking with us, pushing the edges of what church traditionally is because we know that God is passionate about loving this lost and hurting generation to Jesus.  We know that traditional church has been the cause of a lot of that hurt…and we desperately want it to be different.  We’re often stumbling as we go…but we think it is worth the fight. 

  • We want to teach our kids in both word and deed that our God reigns.  We need your help to do that.  (Sundays and midweek.)
  • We want to help teens and older to experience God without the barriers of traditionalism and churchianity.  For old goats like me, that’s usually challenging.  But it is worth the fight. 
  • We want to use this space to connect through the mediums of the day—art & music—to people looking for a real and fresh walk with their Creator.
  • We want to raise up a new generation of Gospel teachers and preachers who will outlive and out-last the older generation.  That’s why I share the preaching here…and why I ask you to pray for, learn from and be patient with those of us involved in that process. 

This isn’t about our comfort.  Church never should be.  It must be about the glory of God in the exaltation of Jesus Christ in our day. 


God becoming our Redeemer was not about comfort either.  Had it been, he would have stayed in heaven.  But the gritty truth of the Gospel is that God has always been passionate in his love for lost sinners.  He has always been willing to pay the price for human redemption.  He’s always been fully engaged in rescuing rebels from the slavery to sin that our misuse of freedom has brought upon us.


That’s the amazing message of COMMUNION that we’re about to celebrate.

  • It’s a visual, tactile, taste-related reminder that our abuse of freedom cost God more than we can ever imagine.
  • It’s an earthy reminder that we have a God who paid our penalty for rebellion before we were even ready to return to his gracious arms of love.
  • It’s a reminder that the price of our sinful “freedom” was the death of our holy Redeemer. 


Issue an invitation:

  • To come home to the God who died for you and in so doing turn away from the gods who demand you die for them.
  • To let the Spirit of God speak to you about any abuse of freedom you are engaged in, any loss of calling that you know God has on your life.