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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, December 17, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt” (Matthew 2:13-14).

The main theme of the whole Bible is salvation through Christ. All parts of His earthly life and ministry are full of saving truths. And, especially, every part of the Gospel story should be read and studied with the message of evangelism in mind.

When Christ spoke with certain of his disciples after His resurrection,

“He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Therefore it is my conviction that Christ and His Gospel can be seen throughout every book of the Bible by type, by prophecy, by direct statement, and often by example. This is especially true in the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Here, in the “Flight into Egypt” passage, we have a very strong lesson on an extremely important point of evangelism – separation from the world.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men came from the east to worship Him. King Herod heard of this and he was very troubled, doubtlessly fearing that his throne might be endangered by the birth of someone believed to be the Messiah. Herod therefore told the wise men to go and search for the young child, and then come back and tell him where he could find the Babe. Herod told the wise men that he wanted to come and worship Jesus. But his real intent was to murder the baby, seeing Him as a potential threat to his own claim as king. The wise men came to Bethlehem, found the baby Jesus in a cow stall, bowed down and worshipped Him, giving Him costly presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But the wise men were warned by God not to return and tell Herod where the child was. So, instead, they left for their own country without going back to Herod. When the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Jesus’ adoptive father, and told Joseph,

“Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt” (Matthew 2:13-14).

There are three evangelistic lessons in that verse. Pay careful attention to that text if you are not yet converted, and it will do a great deal to help you find salvation in Christ Jesus.

I. First, you must separate from the world, as they did.

The angel of the Lord told Joseph,

“Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt” (Matthew 2:13).

In this day of “decisionism” separation from sinners is not seen as a preparation for salvation. We must go back to the Puritans to read clear-cut statements on this all-important doctrine. I am going to give you a simplified version of what the Puritan preacher Richard Baxter said on this subject back in A.D. 1657. In his book, A Treatise on Conversion, Baxter said,

The second hindrance to conversion is bad company. It is dangerous to be a companion and friend with ungodly people. Even if they don’t say anything directly against what the Bible teaches, they will do much to stop your salvation by keeping your thoughts and conversation on other things, and by giving you an evil example, as if eternal things were not necessary. Worldly talk and sinful actions cause people’s minds to neglect heavenly things. Also, lost friends will tempt you to do things that oppose the work of the Holy Spirit, and try to get you to sin, which produces damnation. The noise of their laughter and foolish talk will drown out the voice of your conscience and of the Spirit of God. It is hard for a person to concentrate on becoming a Christian if he is influenced by lost people.
        O what a dangerous thing it is to have friendships with people who are worldly or sensual, and are the enemies of godliness. The Bible says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).
        Do all you can to avoid being with those who try to stop your conversion, and make close friends [only] with real Christians, who will help you in the matter of your salvation… I mean that no one should willingly be a friend of those who are not good Christians. Choose the best Christians for friends. Live with those on earth that you want to live with in Heaven. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” II Corinthians 6:14. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate…and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” II Corinthians 6:17-18 (Richard Baxter, A Treatise on Conversion, adapted to modern English by R. L. Hymers, Jr., Th.D., in A Puritan Speaks to Our Dying Nation, Hearthstone Publishing, Ltd., 2002, pp. 100-101).

I want you to see the parallel between what Baxter wrote, and the flight of Joseph with his little family from Bethlehem to Egypt. The “Holy Family” had to separate from King Herod and his domain, or the baby Jesus would have been killed. And I say to you this evening, if you are unconverted, that you must separate yourself as much as possible from worldly lost people or they will “kill” Christ in your thoughts and in your heart, and they will keep you from salvation in Christ Jesus!

Isn’t that the lesson which that great Baptist author John Bunyan gave us in his incomparable book, The Pilgrim’s Progress? It is the story of a young man who sought salvation in Christ. This young man fled from the “City of Destruction.” And as he ran away from the wicked people of that city, he cried out, “Life! Life! Eternal life! So he looked not behind him, Genesis 19:17, but fled towards [salvation]” (John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, in The Works of John Bunyan, Banner of Truth Trust, 1999 reprint, volume III, p. 90). Bunyan went on to say,

The neighbors also ran out to see him run, and as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return; and among those that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch [bring] him back by force (ibid.).

But, like Joseph and Mary, he refused to go back to the “City of Destruction.” He separated himself from his former friends in that wicked city – and went out from it – obeying the will of God, who said,

“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

And, if you are serious about finding true salvation in Christ, you must do the same thing!

“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

Away with lost friends! Away from King Herod, away from the chief priests and scribes of Israel! Come away from them, and make new Christian friends in the local church, and that will be a strong step in preparing your heart to come fully to Christ, and find salvation in Him, as those good old Puritans, Richard Baxter and John Bunyan, so strongly and eloquently advised!

“Come out of her, my people!” (Revelation 18:4).

Come out, as Joseph and Mary and the baby Jesus came out of King Herod’s sin-dominated land! First, you must be separate from the world if you hope to be saved by Christ Jesus.

II. Second, God’s reason for calling them to be separate.

Why did God call the “Holy Family” out of Herod’s kingdom? The text makes it plain why He did so,

“For Herod will seek the young child to destroy him”
      (Matthew 2:13).

Make no mistake here! No matter how friendly the world seems, their interest is still the same. Herod smiled and spoke well to the wise men. But Herod’s true purpose was dark and malignant. He sought “to destroy” the Lord Jesus Christ!

Isn’t that true in your classroom at your secular college or high school today? Do not your secular teachers belittle Christians, mock Christianity, and fling castigating remarks at Jesus constantly? Do they not rail at the Bible, and throw scorn upon the Saviour whenever possible? Do they not yet cry out,

“Crucify him, crucify him” (Luke 23:21)?

And what about the other students in your classrooms? Have they defended the Son of God? Or have they, like the Roman soldiers,

“mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!”
      (Matthew 27:29)?

In such circumstances today, it is best to remain silent, or they will all but crucify you! They will mark you down a grade or two lower than you earned, to punish you for believing in the Son of God! Be silent. Take their diploma, and then spend the rest of your life exposing those narrow-minded, Christ-hating college professors – as I have done!

And what about your so-called “friends” who are not true Christians? Do they love the Saviour? Do they read their Bibles daily? Do they pray? Do they attend strong Gospel preaching services every Lord’s Day? Or are they mere hypocrites, who pay lip service to Christ, but lead their lives with no real thought of His honor, no real obedience to His commands? Are they true friends of Jesus? Are they? Are they? Are they? Of course not! And he who is not a friend of Christ, must be no friend of yours, if you hope to be converted in Christ Jesus!

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (II Corinthians 6:17).

Follow the example of Joseph and Mary. Flee from Herod’s sneering, Christ-denying face, and you will surely find life through Jesus’ Blood and righteousness, salvation through

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

III. Third, Joseph’s obedience, showed by separating.

Please stand and read aloud Matthew 2:14. Read the second verse of our text aloud, good and strong. This is what it says about Joseph.

“When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt” (Matthew 2:14).

You may be seated. My wife and I have been there, at the traditional place in Cairo, Egypt, where Joseph and Mary took Jesus to escape from the wrath of King Herod. There is an ancient church building on that spot today. We saw it when we were in Egypt a few years ago.

Joseph obeyed God and separated from King Herod and the wicked people under his domain. Matthew Henry said,

Now Joseph went out, as his [fore]father Abraham did, with an implicit dependence upon God, “not knowing whither he went,” Hebrews 11:8 (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1991 reprint, volume 5, page 12).

This is an important point.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out…obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8).

Like Abraham, his forefather, Joseph obeyed God and “went out.”

And that is an example to you. Obey God. “Come out from among them” (II Corinthians 6:17). Do not fear to stand alone with Jesus.

“Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:13-14).

Like Abraham and Joseph did, I pray that you will come out of the world, and stand with the Lord Jesus Christ outside “the camp.” He will bless you, as He blessed Abraham and Joseph. He will cleanse you from all your sins by His precious Blood. He will save you from the penalty of sin and give you eternal life. Thus, I pray that you will follow the example of Fanny Crosby in her hymn, which Mr. Griffith sang before this sermon,

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
   All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
   Through eternal years the same.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
   Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fulness of redemption,
   Pledge of endless life above!
(“Take the World, But Give Me Jesus” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

Let us stand and sing hymn number 19 on your song sheet. Sing the hymn heartily and thoughtfully.

Just as I am, without one plea,
   But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, and waiting not,
   To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, though tossed about
   With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
   [I trust the Saviour of mankind],
Yea, all I need in Thee I find,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
   Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
(“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871,
   stanza four altered by Dr. Hymers).

If you would like to speak with one of the deacons or me about salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, please step to the back of the room now, and Dr. Cagan will show you to the inquiry room. And may God bless this sermon and use it to help you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 2:1-15.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Take the World, But Give Me Jesus” (by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt” (Matthew 2:13-14).

(Luke 24:27)

I.   First, you must separate from the world, as they did, Matthew 2:13a;
Proverbs 13:20; II Corinthians 6:14, 17-18; Revelation 18:4.

II.  Second, God’s reason for calling them to be separate, Matthew 2:13b;
Luke 23:21; Matthew 27:29; II Corinthians 6:17; John 1:29.

III. Third, Joseph’s obedience, shown by separating, Matthew 2:14;
Hebrews 11:8; II Corinthians 6:17; Hebrews 13:13-14.