Exodus: The Power of a Testimony

Exodus: The Power of a Testimony  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Personal testimonies always have the power to bring salvation to others.

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Great is the Lord, Maranatha singers
Psalm 65 NIV
For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song. 1 Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. 2 You who answer prayer, to you all people will come. 3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. 4 Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. 5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, 6 who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, 7 who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. 8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. 9 You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. 10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. 11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. 12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. 13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.
Opening Hymn
Nov 27-Hanging of the Greens/Harvest Dinner
Dec 4-Taste & Sounds of Christmas
Reception of New Members
Isaiah 6:1–8 NIV
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Worship Set
John 4:39–42 NIV
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
Prayer Chorus
Worship Through the Word:

The Power of a Testimony


Now Thank We All Our God

It was the worst of times. In the first half of the 17th century, Germany was in the midst of wars and famine and pestilence. In the city of Eilenburg lived a pastor by the name of Martin Rinkart.

During one especially oppressive period, Rinkart conducted up to 50 funerals a day as a plague swept through the town and as the Thirty Years’ War wreaked its own terror on the people. Among those whom Rinkart buried were members of his own family.

Yet during those years of darkness and despair, when death and destruction greeted each new day, Pastor Rinkart wrote 66 sacred songs and hymns. Among them was the song “Now Thank We All Our God.” As sorrow crouched all around him, Rinkart wrote:

Now thank we all our God

With hearts and hands and voice,

Who wondrous things hath done,

In whom His world rejoices;

Who, from our mothers’ arms,

Hath blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love,

And still is ours today.

Rinkart demonstrated a valuable lesson for us all: Thankfulness does not have to wait for prosperity and peace. It’s always a good time to praise God for the “wondrous things” He has done.

JDB, Our Daily Bread, October 12,

In good times and bad, we have testimonies to share of what God has done. Israel had experienced some very difficult times, but what came out of them were wonderful testimonies of God’s protection and provision.
I had hoped to end this series at Mount Sinai, though I was thinking we would end after the giving of the Ten Commandments. We did not get quite that far, though we were very close.
However, we are ending at a great place. They have finally reached the mountain of God and Moses is so overwhelmed with gratitude for all God has done, he cannot help but share it with those he loves.
Today, we are reading Exodus 18:1-12. Please stand.
Exodus 18:1–12NIV
1 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro received her 3 and her two sons. One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land”; 4 and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.” 5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God. 6 Jethro had sent word to him, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.” 7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them. 9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lordis greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.
The Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!

The Power of a Personal Testimony, Exodus 18:1-12

Have you ever taken a long road trip? It often begins with high energy as you pack with excitement in anticipation of your destination. Then the trip begins. You get settled in your seat. The excitement settles and you try to position yourself for the long trip. Eventually, (if your not the one driving), you try to get comfortable and sleep to help make the trip feel shorter.
We all know that along the way, little voices in back will ask, “Are we almost there?” Their excitement has also waned.
However, when the time comes that you are close to your destination, say perhaps it is within a half-hour, the energy level begins to rev up again.
If you are meeting family or friends at your destination, you quickly recite any adventures you had along the way. Johnny got sick and threw up on Susie. Susie was excited over the wild horses we saw along the highway. Oh, and a bus passed us along the way that contained Dolly Pardon and her band. Well, some things do not change.
The trip was on foot. The path dusty and long, but as the destination became visible in the distance, I can just imagine the energy level escalating, and people began to talk with a little more animation about finally reaching their destination.
For Moses, it will be the place where he will meet up with his family once again and boy does he have a lot to say about the journey.
However, his tale is not about seeing Dolly Pardon or about who got sick along the way, but it is about all that God has done for Moses and his people. So, let us look a little closer at this meeting between Moses and his father-in-law. The first thing we see is that...

A. Moses Gives An Account of God’s Faithfulness Exodus 18:7, 8

Moses is giving a person testimony to Jethro of all that he witnessed God do for him and his people.
Look again at Moses’s response to the news that his father-in-law is approaching.
Exodus 18:7–8NIV
7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. 8Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.
We can learn a lot from Moses in this encounter about how to be a positive witness to God in an unbelieving world.
The first thing I want you to notice is that...

1. Moses treated his father-in-law with respect

When Moses last saw his father-in-law, Moses was nothing more than a shepherd who worked for his father-in-law. He was totally dependent upon Jethro as he had nothing of his own. Now, Moses is a leader of millions of people. He has led these people from out of bondage. It would be natural to want to show your father-in-law that you have accomplished something and made something of yourself. Moses could have gone to his father-in-law all puffed up in pride and expect to stand before him as an equal. But Moses doesn’t do that. Moses humbles himself before his father-in-law treating him the same way he would have previously. He honors his father-in-law by bowing before him and kissing him on the cheek as was an appropriate greeting of a loved and respected father.
If we wish people to hear our testimonies, we need to treat them with respect. We need to be humble and not treat them like we are better and wiser.
In one of the corporate offices I worked in, we had a lady in our office that professed to be a Christian. She made a really big deal over the corporate parties stating boldly to anyone who would listen, “I do not associate with my co-workers because they drink but I do not because I am a Christian.” When she did so, it was like she was saying, “I am better than you because I am a Christian, so I want nothing to do with you.”
It did not open any doors for people to listen to any testimony she may give. Perhaps she thought that was her testimony, but if so, it was a failure.
People are more likely to listen to us if we treat them with respect and show we care about them. The way Moses treated Jethro set the stage for how Jethro would receive his testimony.
Next, we see that...

2. Moses was eager to relate God’s works

In other words, Moses was passionate about the testimony he was sharing. He was excited and eager to share what had taken place. He did not wait for his father-in-law to arrive, but he went out to meet him in his eagerness.
When we share with people, they should see that excited light come into our eyes. They should feel the energy in us surge because we have something so exciting to relate.
Passion and excitement catch people’s interest. It holds their attention. That passion helps relate that something important has happened. It is something out of the ordinary.
It also makes people feel good that we are so excited to share something so special with them. It conveys that we care for them as well. Once again, it can help open their ears to hear what we wish to share.
The third thing Moses did was...

3. Moses kept his account God - centered

Nowhere did Moses take any credit for what took place. He gave complete credit to God for the salvation of Israel.
I often share stories of my life. I sometimes fear that people think I am bragging but I hope people do not think that. Nothing has happened in my life because of me. The things of God I have experienced can be experienced by everyone. It is God who does the work. He makes it all possible. The only part we play is to put our trust in Him.
It is through our stories of what God has done in our life that help others to understand that God can do the same in theirs. Just this past week, I shared about an answer to a prayer, and someone responded, I need to start praying more. I do not know this person well and I have no idea what their church background is but hearing about how God had answered a prayer in my life, made God more real to them. Our testimonies are important. I am convinced that more people are saved through personal testimonies than through sermons preached.
We just need to be careful to keep our testimonies God-centered and not take credit for what God has done.
Now, let us turn our attention to Jethro.
Some believe Jethro had some knowledge of God and others believe he was pagan. It is difficult to know for sure. Jethro was a Midianite priest. The Midianites were descended from Abraham, so it is possible that they had some knowledge of God. Perhaps even had faith in God.
I have always believed that God led Moses to Jethro in the desert so Jethro could help Moses grow in his knowledge of God, but there is no way to prove this one way or another.
However, his response to Moses’s account shows some element of surprise. Moses’s account seems to have given Jethro faith. Whether or not he was a believer, I believe the response can be from either side of the fence, so look with me now at...

B. Jethro’s Response to Moses’ Testimony Exodus 18:9-12

Moses’s account had a very positive effect on Jethro. First,

1. Jethro is delighted to hear Moses’s account (v 9)

Exodus 18:9NIV
9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.
Everyone loves to hear of underdogs that get the better of those bullying them. Whether or not Jethro was a believer in God, he seems to have been a good man. He treated Moses well in the desert when he first came as a stranger.
Of course, that could have been due to Moses’s rescue of his daughters when other men were bullying them. It also helped that he was a potential son-in-law. Those were probably difficult to come by out in the wilderness of Midian.
Not only do people like stories of underdogs being freed from bullies, but people love to hear stories of God reaching down into our world to deliver people. Such accounts give us a sense of hope for ourselves. The idea that God would take note of people and work on their behalf seems unbelievable, but accounts of God doing just that are exciting. They bring hope to all people.
Such accounts often recall the areas in our life where we would like some help.

2. Jethro lifts his voice in praise of God (v 10)

Exodus 18:10NIV
10 He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians.
When we have shared well our testimony, it should bring praise to God. Jethro lifts his voice to praise this God who acted on Israel’s behalf.
God is glorified by our sharing such testimonies of His good deeds. God gets the respect and notice that He deserves from us and others.
As Jethro gives praise to God, he uses God’s covenant name, Yahweh (LORD). He has now come to know God by His true name. Remember, this was revealed to Israel for the first time. So, this would be a new name to Jethro even if he had some knowledge of God. It may recall for him stories of Abraham, the family patriarch.

3. Jethro professes belief in God (v 11)

Exodus 18:11NIV
11 Now I know that the Lordis greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.”
Whether or not Jethro knew of God, this account has finally brought Jethro to a true saving belief in God. Believers and non-believers alike need to hear accounts of God’s faithfulness and deliverance.
Such stories bring saving faith or bring greater faith. We should never hesitate to share the good deeds that God has done for us.
In this moment, Jethro was transformed. He became a man of complete faith in God. He understood that what God had done was to reveal His supremacy to the world by saving Israel from Egypt and he now renounces any faith in any pagan deity ever again and this is demonstrated by what Jethro does next.

4. Jethro worships God (v 12)

Exodus 18:12NIV
12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.
Jethro worships and he becomes a part of God’s family. He joins with all Israel to worship God. There is always a sacred sense of unity among believers, and we see it demonstrated here in this account yet again.
What God did was never for Israel alone. Israel was the conduit through which God could show the entire world and all peoples what He wants to do for all people.
Jethro understood that. He took that truth for himself right then and there.
This may not have ever happened for Jethro if it had not been for Moses’s eagerness to share his testimony. Wouldn’t it be sad if Jethro came and dropped off Moses’s family. They had a good meal together, then he left without ever understanding that the incredible things that were taking place among the Israelites could be for him as well.
Think about it in this way. Moses, the man who was shy of speaking before Pharaoh and the people of Israel, now boldly proclaims his testimony. He is no longer shy to speak. His passion and excitement of what God has done has overcome his concern for his speech impediment.
Moses shared the story of God’s salvation, but we also have a message of salvation to share. Jesus came and died on a cross. He took our sin upon Himself that we may be saved from Satan and death. He rose from the grave, providing us the means to be risen from death as well.
People need to hear this message. They need people to not be afraid to speak up and share how God has saved them. They need to hear accounts of how God has guided us and provided for us in the difficult times. They need to understand that He can do the same thing for them.
Many people need to know that they do not have to be alone but can be part of a family. The family of God. One of my favorite Palms says, “God puts the lonely in families.” There are many people hungry to be part of a good family.
Thanksgiving is a great time to share such accounts. It opens the door for us to say what we are thankful for and to give credit where credit is due. God should be the center of our Thanksgiving celebrations.
One day we will all stand before His throne and sing His praises together.
Revelation 15:2–4 NIV
2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God 3and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. 4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Oh, how I look forward to that day. It is difficult to imagine it as the descriptions are like nothing we know but I am convinced it will be the best day we have ever experienced!
Today, we welcomed new members into our local family. At this time, two of them are going to come forward to be baptized. Baptism is also a public testimony. It is a testimony that God is doing something within us. They are testifying to the fact that they are dead to the old life they once lived and are living a new life in Christ.
In the Nazarene church, we are not so focused on the way a person is baptized. It is the baptism that is important, not the method. So, we sometimes sprinkle, pour, or dunk. In the Bible, they often scooped water into their hands and poured it over heads as the Jordan was too shallow to dunk people.
Lee and Judy wished to be baptized today as part of their membership. It is a requirement of membership to be baptized. So, they have chosen to be sprinkled today so we could expedite the process.
So, if I could have Lee and Judy step forward at this time. We will proceed with their baptisms.
Invite all new members to come forward as we sing, “We are One in the Bond of Love.”
Pray and invite everyone to come forward and greet the new members as they leave.
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