God Keeps His Promises

God promises us redemption, righteousness, new life, freedom from sin and death, justification, His never-failing presence, adoption as His children, deliverance from the anguish and torment of hell, the Spirit with its gifts and fruits, and a new and better life now and for eternity in a new and better body on a new and better earth.

Four things stand out as we look at our Bible reading today. First, God keeps His promises. Second, God develops patience and trust. Third, God reveals His power. And fourth, God accomplishes His purposes.

  • God Keeps His Promises
    • The promise of a son was at first very general and became more and more specific after Abraham’s call. 
      • In the first three recorded instances, for example, God merely promised Abraham many descendants (Gen 12:2; 12:7; 13:16). In the fourth and following instances, however, the promise becomes far more specific: “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son” (Gen 18:10).
    • The birth of Isaac involved much more than parental joy. 
      • His birth meant the fulfillment of God’s promise. In Scripture, it is recorded that God comforted Abraham and Sarah eight times with the promise of a son.
    • Sarah had borne the burden of childlessness for many years, a heavy burden in that culture and at that time. 
      • People must have smiled when they heard that her husband’s name was Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude.” He was the father of one son, Ishmael, but that was far from a multitude. 
      • As for Sarah herself, she had never given birth. No words can express her feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and helplessness. 
      • Only another childless woman can know what she went through all those years. But now all of her reproaches were ended, and they were rejoicing and laughing at the arrival of their son. 
    • This childless couple must have discussed the promise nearly every night.
      • I suspect hardly a moment passed without them thinking about it. And, I am sure, most nights they dreamed about the promised child.
    • (Ge 21:1) And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
      • The Hebrew word translated as “gracious” can also be translated as “visited.” The Lord visited with Sarah.
      • After years and years of waiting, the Lord visited with Sarah. And He did for Sarah what He promised (Gen 21:1). 
      • To make sure we don’t miss the point of this sentence, Moses tells us Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age (Gen 21:2).
    • Make no mistake about this: the child to be born to them was the child of the promise.
      • All of God’s wondrous covenant promises to Abraham were bound up in this promised child.
  • God Develops Patience and Trust
    • Way back in the Garden of Eden already God promised that the woman’s seed would crush the serpent (Gen 3:15). 
      • At first, with Eve, it is hoped that Cain is the promised seed who would destroy the serpent. 
      • Remember how Eve thought, hoped, and prayed that Cain whom she brought forth was going to crush the serpent’s head and undo the damage done in the Garden? 
      • When Cain killed Abel, it was discovered Eve was flat out wrong in thinking this.
    • In Genesis 12, it is expected the Lord will fulfill His promise through Abraham.
      •  But the suspense only intensifies. The patriarch jeopardizes his family in Egypt (Gen 12:10-20), fathers a son who will not be his heir (Gen 16), and then finally risks having Sarah bear a son with another man (Gen 20).
      • Just like a good book or movie, you start to think; “Lord, are you ever going to keep your promise of the promised seed?”
    • Do you remember how long Abraham and Sarah waited for God’s promise to be fulfilled? 
      • Twenty-five years they waited. Twenty-five years have passed since Abraham was called by God. It has now been twenty-five years since Abraham and Sarah left Haran.
    • Trusting God’s promises not only gives you a blessing at the end, but it gives you a blessing while you are waiting.
      • Just as athletes develop their skills as they practice hard long before the big event, so God’s children grow in godliness and faith as they wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises.
      • Faith is a journey, and none of us know how long is the journey, where the journey will take us, or what difficulties we will face along the way. 
      • God wants to build our patience and trust, SO He gives us promises.
    • We like the promises that I read first.
      • Redemption, righteousness, new life, freedom from sin and death, justification, His never-failing presence, adoption as His children, deliverance from the anguish and torment of hell, and the like.
      • But we tend to neglect the whole counsel of God. We like the Burger King mentality. Have it your way. Listen!
      • (Jn.15:20.) Jesus said:  They persecuted Him, they ARE going to persecute you. Paul said it like this. (2Ti 3:12) Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
      • (Php 1:29) For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; what about Peters words: (1Pe 3:14) But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.
    • James told why this also is important. 
      • (Jas 1:3-4) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
    • God loves you like you are. But He loves you too much to leave you that way.
      • God is not making you into churchgoers.
      •  He is fashioning you into THE CHURCH by conforming you to the very image of His Son Jesus THE Christ.
    • If you remember, Abraham had problems with trusting God.
      •  At least, he had problems with trusting God completely. He thought, more than once, that God needed his help.
      •  So, instead of trusting in God’s protection, he lied two times about his relationship with Sarah (Gen 12 & 20). So, instead, of trusting in God’s promise about a son, he tried to make a servant his heir (Gen 15:2) and had a son with another woman (Gen 16).
      •  God had to take him over the same hurdles again and again until he learned that God did not need his help. Abraham’s strategies were always getting him into trouble, but God’s faithfulness dug him out each time.
    • How many times don’t we think and act exactly the same as Abraham?
      •  How many times don’t we try to help the Almighty? 
      • God’s promise is that salvation is by grace and through faith but we think we need to earn salvation. 
      • God’s promise is that He builds the church and the kingdom, but we act like it is completely up to us. 
      • God’s promise is that He hears and answers prayer, but we neglect prayer because we think we can do it on our own.
    • Does God have you on the here we go again plan? 
      • Try trusting Him this time.
  • God Reveals His Power
    • (Ge 18:10-11) And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. (11) Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
      • God didn’t just impregnate a woman but listen: (Heb 11:11-12) Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed and was delivered of a child when she was past age because she judged him faithful who had promised. (12) Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
    • Both Abe and Sarah’s body was not able to produce, carry, and deliver a child. He did the miraculous
      • Remember God’s response to Abraham? (Ge 18:14) Is anything too hard for the LORD? 
  • God Accomplishes His Purposes (Pr 19:21) There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
    • This crazy messed up, mixed-up time that we are living in has not derailed or dismantled God’s plan.
      • God promised Abraham and Sarah a child
    • He did not do things the way we presumed,
      • but He did it spectacularly 
    • God’s still completing His purposes.
      • He has a plan for New Hope. He has a plan for you.
      • (Pr 24:10) If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small
    • We need to remember: (Ge 18:14) Is anything too hard for the LORD? 

Abraham A Good Start

(Genesis 20: 1-13)

We saw though he had a good start there was still a lot of work to be done in his life. He stepped out in faith simply on God’s word. (A plus)Then when Abram came to this land that God had promised, because he was doing what God had told him to do, he probably didn’t expect to encounter such obstacles as famine or enemies. (A test)What we find with Abraham instead of following God and His plan, he relied on what he learned as a pagan idol worshipper. Do it yourself. (A failure)

Forsaking the path of faith, for whatever reason, always brings its own complications. There is no knowing how low a saint will sink when he is out of touch with God. 

Through the Gospels, you will find example after example where Jesus will put people in a position where they must choose. All of us here are going to make a choice today. Many of you including myself God has been intimately pursuing you. Some are becoming better.  Letting God strip away the things that camouflage themselves as good and Godly. Some seem to become bitter. Holding on with a tenacious spirit the desire to be right instead of righteous. To be heard instead of Holy. To be brash instead of broken. 

Still, we choose which way we want to go.

In our scripture today we find Abraham choosing.

  • The rerun. Unbelief 
    • (V2) don’t know for sure why he journeyed south but did. 
    • No matter how you cut it up, no matter how you justify it, the issue that arises in Abraham’s life still boils down to unbelief. Jesus had some hard words for the sin of unbelief, using what we spoke about last week.
      • (Mt 10:14-15) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (15) Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
      • Unbelief is the foundation that all disobedience is built on.
    • The problem for us is the same as Abraham. We like what we see as the easy way. We don’t really want to trust God and wait and rely on Him.
      • We speculate and figure out all the different ways we can afford to carry on without faith. Here at church, at work, in our homes.
    • How many when it comes to our church finance have already thought; what if we cut this out, don’t have this, and do away with that?
      •  Then how many have done what God has already told us to do. Witness and live in such a way that God brings others in not that we cut things but actually add things?
      • You know why this is not appealing to some? You think we’re doing too much already because it is cutting into your world time, or making you feel guilty.
      • Many of us have been greatly impacted by the less is more movement found in our churches today. What I mean is many self-professing believers only want to invest and spend a minimum amount of time doing things with the church. Mainly because it interferes with their real life.  
    • When we fail to believe God it always brings confusion and despair.
      • (Pr 3:1-2) ¶ My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: (2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 
      • I have used this on several occasions. When we believe God, He adds to us length of days. Time to get done what needs to get done, time to enjoy this life.
      • He also adds to us long life. Time on top of time to enjoy the blessings He gives.
      • But you have to trust Him and His word to get this.
    • In Abe’s life, the fear came from a false sense of righteous discernment, which generated unbelief.
      •  Look in verse (V11). Is this not the pot calling the kettle black? 
      • Here was Abraham lying or worse partial truth, and once again bringing his wife down with him and thinking this king and his subjects were acting ungodly.
      • Religious pride is what kept the leaders in Jesus’s day from seeing and receiving the blessing and it is the same today. 
    • (Pr 3:3-4) Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
      • You can only show mercy if you have received it. You can only share the truth if you know it.
  • The repeat. God’s plan of action.
    • Before God delivered fully on the promise of a son, He brought Abraham back to an issue he faced earlier on in his journeys. 
      • The first time this couple went south so did their testimony. It was the lack of trusting God that sent them and the lack of trusting God that got them in trouble with the Pharaoh.  
      • Now God was allowing him to be back in the same situation. 
      • A time to choose.
    • Seems often like many a believer comes to the point in their life they feel they can coast. They’ve taught, preached, studied, and led. They have sung, served, sacrificed, and suffered. 
      • For the believer, we cannot coast for one minute. We will have all of eternity to rest and relish the victories, but only this short life to work and win them.   
    • There are those here who God has dealt mercifully with you on areas of sin in your life. It might be in the area of pride, selfishness, lust, greed, etc. but you are still being hounded by the same ole thing.
      •  A time to choose.
      • God has so much more in store for you. Not that He hasn’t done and is doing far more than you deserve but like as was recorded of Jesus’ hometown folks. (Mt 13:58) And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Oswald Chambers said “ if we really believed that God meant what He said, just imagine what we would be like! Do I really dare to let God be to me all that He will be?

Are you here with some unfinished business?

  • Many of us have been raised or raised our own young’uns with the gathering of the body, the church is important unless it conflicts with what I want to do mentality.

All Things Are Justifiable

(Genesis 19)

When we start reading this chapter it doesn’t take long until we are standing there in utter amazement. Did I just read what I thought I read? Is that really in the bible?

Before we started protecting ourselves from God, becoming divine interpreters, making God’s word not so offensive, intolerant, and more palatable for our self-righteous soul. God said things plainly. Didn’t leave things to chance, guess, or maybes.

In this “in your face” chapter of the Living Word of God, He lays it out flat. What is the world without God? Let’s see.

Read. Gen 19.

Where it is easy for us to get caught up in the vile wretchedness of this account in history, the main point is not about how sinful people were as much as what happens when a righteous man falls.

(Pr 25:26) A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

When we recall the events leading us here, it is evident, though Lot was influenced by a great follower of The One True God, he chose the generic brand of walk instead of The Real Thing. It cost him. oooohhhh did it cost him.

  • A justifiable journey.
    • In (Chp.13, V10) he sees the plain of Jorden as the garden of God(Eden) and as Egypt.
      • It is clear because he has been subjected to the lifestyle of the Egyptians he has developed a taste for it.
      • Though Lot has left Egypt. Egypt hasn’t left Lot.
    • (v12)  we read, “He pitched his tent toward Sodom.” 
      • It is a dangerous thing to pitch your tent toward Sodom.
      •  In the next verse, we read: (Ge 13:13) But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
    • We somehow have a strange attraction toward sin. 
      • We find it rather fascinating. There is a dangerous curiosity about evil.
    • There are always those who like to play with fire and hope that they will not get burned.
      • They like to live on the edge.
      • Their goal is to see how close they can live to the world and still maintain their fellowship with the Lord.
      • Ask them and they will say they are fine.
      • The scripture warns us: (JAMES 4:4) That the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
    • The next time we see Lot, he is living in Sodom.
      • As in the Psalm, (1:1) it so often begins with walking in the counsel of the ungodly, then moves on to standing in the way with sinners, and finally, you are sitting in the seat of the scornful.
      • Once you turn and begin to move in the direction of Sodom, it always seems to be progressive.
  •  A justifiable jump.
    • And Lot had become a leader in the community, serving as a judge. What a position to influence people. Right?
      • Being a righteous man, a moral man. Being influenced in how to be a man, You’d think this would have a happy ending. But it doesn’t.
    • Remember? Abraham, out of concern for Lot and his family, eventually convinced the Lord that if He could find 10 righteous people in the city of Sodom.
      • The odds were stacked in Sodom’s favor. 
      • After all, Lot and his family were there. We know he had a wife and two daughters, who were engaged to be married. So…there’s six right there. 
      • Surely he had enough influence on the people around him that God would be able to find just four more righteous people in the entire city of Sodom.
    • But instead of being an influence, changing the culture from the inside out by being a powerful dose of salt and light…
      • Lot and his family allowed the sinfulness of the community around them to influence them. 
    • Lot and his family were in a position of influence.
      • (Ps 75:6-7) For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. (7) But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
      • But instead of living a life of holiness in the midst of sinfulness, they chose to allow the corruption to taint their own lives as well.
      • To bring them down. 
  • Justifiable grace.
    • Whereas God would have been justified in destroying Lot and his family along with the rest.
      • (Mt 5:13) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
    • The Almighty showed mercy, grace justified. 
      • Just as if it never happened.
    • We were doomed to the same fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. 
      • But God, The Almighty, has shown us grace, mercy.
    • When Jesus came to give Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, He came to rescue us from the destructive paths that we were on. 
      • Like Lot and his family, we, too, had pitched our tents within the city limits of the wicked.
      • And that sinful choice demands judgment. It demands punishment. It demands death.
      • We were doomed to the same fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. 
    • But God has given us an escape route through Jesus. 
      • He has invited us into a life that is full of hope and joy and peace and abundance. 
    • It’s a journey.
      • It’s a journey away from the things that are not of God. It’s a journey of holiness. It’s a journey of becoming more and more like Him as we draw closer and closer to Him.
      • Even in this crazy time we are living, God has amazing things ahead of us. He has amazing things He wants to do to us, in us, and through us – right here, right now…and in the future, too.
    • Make NO mistake. Jesus reminds us( Lu 9:62) And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.    
      • We cannot drag our feet. We cannot turn back and secretly long for the lifestyle we once had before we came to know Him. 
      • We must put all of that behind us and move away from it. 
      • That’s why Jesus Christ came to die for us – He came to put that past behind us.

Throughout the story of the people of God as displayed in the Old Testament, we see time and time again how when things got a little bit tough, they started to wonder what might have been if they’d stayed where they were. 

  • Let me tell you: 
    • God loves you where you are. But He doesn’t want to leave you there.
    • He wants to shape you and make you into the person He has planned for you to be since the dawn of creation.
    •  He has amazing things He wants to accomplish through you, good works, which He has prepared for you in advance.
    • But you can only reach the potential that God has envisioned for you if you leave that past life.
      • The one of sinful choices and destructive, self-centered decisions and turn and trust Jesus. Don’t hesitate.

A Praying Man

(Gen.18 )                                                        (James 5:16-18) 

The time comes in History of all places like Sodom when God decides to act. America is in and has been in that position even as we speak. Before proceeding against Sodom God took Abraham into His confidence and revealed to His servant a new line of truth, apocalyptic truth, the truth concerning the impending overthrow of an utterly vile civilization.

The revelation of this truth was an interesting test of Abraham’s growth in grace and his increase in the knowledge and trust of God. How would a faithful, maturing, obedient child of God react to the truth that a holocaust of judgment is about to engulf a world of vile, reprobate, godless, society?

Jonah, when faced with apocalyptic truth was glad. He pondered the impending doom of Nineveh with glee, determined to do nothing. Jesus faced apocalyptic truth with tears as he could envision Jerusalem within a generation. Here; faced with apocalyptic truth, Abraham prayed.

  • Prayers position.
    • (V2) the wording here implies one moment there was nothing and the next, three men were there.
    • Notice there was no slothfulness on Abrahams’s part. ( Pr 3:27) ¶ Withhold not good from them to whom it is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.   
      • He seen an opportunity and acted upon it, and was rewarded.
      • We too often spend more time worrying about getting taken, or someone else has more to give, or even I have done my share its time someone else carries their weight, that we miss out on great opportunities to serve.
      • He made haste, he didn’t confer with others, and he put himself into a position to serve. He bowed himself. Laid prostrate before Him.
  • The preparation of prayer.
    • Abraham put himself in the way of God. He saw where He was and went to Him. Now he is planning on getting to know Him. Not just more about Him but know Him.
      • He calls out to his bride for help.
    • Now I feel that because of the twisted wicked world that has so invaded our minds there could be those who scoff at the idea of imposing on Sarah like this and those who twist Sarah’s part in this
      • Notice the transaction between this Godly man and his loving wife.
      • Abraham didn’t lay all the work on her. He didn’t feel he had more important things to do. He took care of the majority of the preparation of the meal. Why? It was his guest.
    • This is a major part of who this man of God was. Peter wrote of it ; (1Pe 3:7) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
      • He led his household, by example.
      • The preparation of his prayer life started long before these men showed up in his front yard.
    • Abraham set aside a specific time, made preparation, saw to it himself, then reeled in the benefits that come from knowing God.
    • The Lord not only reminds him of the promise, the covenant He has made with him but now shares with Abraham an apocalyptic truth.
  • The petition or accountability of prayer
    • How does a faithful, maturing, obedient child of God react to the truth that a holocaust of judgment is about to engulf a world of vile, reprobate, godless, society? He prays.
    •  It is the first solemn prayer we have upon record in the Bible, and it is a prayer for the sparing of Sodom.
      •  Abraham, no doubt, greatly abhorred the wickedness of the Sodomites; he would not have lived among them, as Lot did, even if they would have given him the best estate in their country; and yet he prayed earnestly for them. 
      • (2Pe 3:9) ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
      • Though sin is to be hated, sinners are to be pitied and prayed for. God delights not in their death, nor should we.
    • So what is it with this man that God would share with him something like this?
      • We are told in the bible that he is known as a man of faith, he was called the friend of God(Jas.2:23) and we also know that no one pleases God except by faith. (Heb.11:6)
    • Hey did you know that as born-again believers that is exactly what we are known as? People of faith. (Eph 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:    Did you also know we are known as Christ friends? (Jn 15:15)
      • Did it ever dawn on you just like Abraham God has given use apocalyptic truth?
  • The petition or accountability of the church in prayer.
    • How does a faithful, maturing, obedient child of God react to the truth that a holocaust of judgment is about to engulf a world of vile, reprobate, godless, society?
      • Well, maybe we should take Abraham’s example.
    • God has shared with us through many different passages of scripture the outcome. Those who continue to rebel against God and choose to serve sin will be forever damned.
      • He has warned us that a day is fast approaching when the church will be taken up or raptured. Then hell on earth is the only way to describe future events.
    • Abraham made haste. He didn’t wait around but went to the Lord. He prepared his heart by living what he believed. Then he faithfully petitioned the Lord.
    • The Lord kept his promise. Those who would listen he saved. 
  • Daddy’s letter.
    • How far have you gone? How much have you done with this knowledge of impending destruction?
    • How do you have to hate someone to hold back this truth?

Covenant

Genesis 15

We have just left off where Abram had rescued his nephew and all the other captives. God had strengthen him with the visit from King Melchizedek, for he knew the temptation that was to come from the king of Sodom.

One thing noteworthy here is this. God never tempts us with evil, but He does try us or put us through trials to strengthen our faith.

Over the last decade or so it has become more prevalent in my eyes the sissifying of our nation. It is difficult to find people with dogmatic grit. It is increasingly hard to locate men or women with a drive and determination not to just do something but give their best. Men and women, who push their children to excel, who push each other to continue to grow, to better themselves. This trend has invaded Christianity.

We feel if we get through one trail then we should be able to coast for a spell. Here is a news flash, God doesn’t follow trends. 

God is interested in making us the best, conforming us to the very image of His Son Jesus. He keeps pushing us, driving us to succeed, by trusting Him, relying on Him, knowing Him.

Look at Abram. A great battle had been won, a lot of fanfare, getting to worship with the King of Salem. Then all goes quiet. It is here that the battle begins. Our mind starts going into overdrive. 

We see Lot after being rescued going right back where he came from. One of the most depressing, heartbreaking, devastating things for a pastor is watching those whom God delivered out of slavery going back into it.

Abrams thinking about all these things, Lot and his family, showing the other tribes his military strength, and we come to the 15th chapter.

  • God’s call. (V1)
    • This is really comforting. Note He did not say hey you, didn’t do some spectacular flash, simply called him by name.
      • Many today speak of God having their number I am here to tell you God has your name.
    • The God of all creation, the God who holds your life in His hands, the God who is and was and is to come knows your name!
      • He is personal. He is intimate. He is interested in you.
    • Listen. Teenagers, so often it is all about being accepted by others having a friend, needing company.
      •  God knows all about it. You can trust Him, He hears your heart, He knows your need, and He cares to give you the best.
      • Quit settling for seconds. Quit compromising to be liked. Quit listening to those who want you to lower your standards because they don’t have the grit to raise theirs.
    • God called him by name and God came to him.
      • From the time of the garden where God came and walked in the cool of the day till now. He still searches us out, pursues us, and calls us.
      • He doesn’t have to, He is not in need of companionship, He wants to, He loves you, He desires to invest in you.
    • Today God is calling you. 
      • You who are in need of a Savior, you who needs to be committed to what you gave to Him. You, who are broken and in need of healing, God is calling you. 
  • Abrams cry. (V2-3) Remembering as we look at Abrams life we see a perfect picture of the life of the believer. Listen to what he says in Verses 2-3.
    • Doesn’t really sound like someone who just had a great victory or does it?
      • How many times have we left our quiet time, a Sunday service, an encounter with our Holy God only to have something from our past or someone close rain on our parade?
    • Abram is just like us, he quickly forgets it is only by God’s grace and mercy we rise up or are sat down.
      • He is not blaming Sari, he’s not blaming God. He is placing the blame on himself. (v2) I go childless.
      • Now in our sinful hard heart, we see this as a good sign of humility.
      •  In truth, just like when we do it is a sure sign of pride. 
    • Most of us think, in spite of all the scripture that points otherwise, believe we earn God’s grace.
      • Proof; The reason good things happen is because of our faithfulness and bad things are because of our wickedness.
      • Don’t want to belabor this so here is one scripture that sums it up : (Lu 17:10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
    • If, if, if we have done all we were commanded to do we still haven’t done enough to earn God’s favor.
      •  Pride tells us we aren’t that bad, we have done enough, we deserve more…
      • We don’t serve God, do good works to earn anything we should do it out of gratefulness, hence why we pick and choose what we like and don’t like; was not very grateful.
    • Abram was depressed, distressed, discouraged. 
      • God answered him; this is not going to be your heir, count the stars if you can, so shall your kindred be.
      • Abram asked for a sign, something to hold on to during times of discouragement.
      • God gave him some directives to which he obeyed, “obedience is better than sacrifice”. He set up the sacrifice and waited.
  • God’s covenant.
    • God revealed to Abram what He intended. He let him in on the past, present, future.
      • After telling Abram what He designed, He gave him a picture, a visual to recall.
    • Smoking furnace: cannot help but think of the Nazis during WWII.
      • The suffering and the humiliation the Jewish people endured. And now those who don’t want to acknowledge God neither want to acknowledge this great tragedy.
      • This smoking furnace was a symbol of the affliction the Jews would suffer because of their unbelief, their rebelliousness, their ungratefulness, at the hands of the Egyptians.  
    • The burning lamp was also symbolic:  
      • The burning lamp denotes comfort in this affliction; and this God showed to Abram, at the same time that he showed him the smoking furnace. 
      • Also Light denotes deliverance out of the furnace; their salvation was as a lamp that burneth, (Isa 62:1.) When God came down to deliver them, he appeared in a bush that burned and was not consumed.
    • (18) is a key part of this transaction.
      • The wording is very important. In (v7) God is reminding Abram what he had already promised him earlier. (Ge 15:7) ¶ And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 
      • (v 18) the wording is changed. “Unto thy seed has I given this land.”
      • It is a done deal.
  • God’s covenant with us. Remember where I told you that today God is calling you. You who are in need of a Savior, you who needs to be committed to what you gave to Him, you who are broken and in need of healing, God is calling you.  Not going all theological though it is a great study. Listen.
    • (Joh 14:23) Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
      • How does He do this?
    • (Joh 14:26-25) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
      • God loves you. Really! His is not a false promise, empty words. It is a covenant sign with the blood of Jesus
    • Eternal life does not start after we pass from this life to the next.
      • Our Lord’s half-brother John said. (1Jo 3:14) ¶ We know that we have passed from death unto life…
      • Have passed. Without Jesus, you’re not living your just surviving.
      • He even gives a sure sign that you are living eternal life. … because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
    • God made it simple. John 3:16

  Separated Not Secluded

                                                               

(Genesis 14:13-14)

Balance is the key to living a productive, blessed, exciting life as a follower of the Most High God.

We are; because of the transgression of our grandparents in the garden, given over to a lop-sided mentality.

We find it hard not to lean one way or the other. When it comes to our relationship with God it is no different. You find those who are against everything traditional and those who are against everything new. We find those who are so caught up in the spiritual side of things that they are spooky and those so caught up in the material side of things that they are worldly.

As we have used Abrams life as a reflection of the Christian walk, we have already seen the good the bad and the ugly. As we continue to observe the life of this man of God we see a balance based on, not tradition, morals, or own ideas, but on serving a Holy God.

  • Separated not secluded. (V13)
    • This is one of the hardest practices of the believer. Because of our addictions, our attractions, there might need to be a time period of seclusion. 
      • (Matt.10:16) Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.
    • It is not wise for an alcoholic to go into a place where drinking is prominent. Can they go in and not take part? Yes. Is it smart? No!
      • No different for the druggie, the womanizer, or the glutton. 
    • But as a general rule in our day-in and day-out living, God didn’t expect us to be isolated but insulated.
      • Jesus’ example is He went down into the valleys to teach and reach, then withdrew Himself with His disciples. Too many of us are going into the world with very little time invested in the things of God and find ourselves drowning. 
      • We don’t see the importance of fellowshipping with those whom you joined in a covenant relationship of this congregation, so we don’t gather that strength and support then go out among our old friends who are still enslaved with our old ways and we find ourselves struggling to maintain and often caving in and slipping back into the imprisonment of sin.
    • Abram had made a confederacy with some of the Amorites. He knew of the first raids (V7) and was attune to this last invasion. He had a mass herd of cattle, sheep, and things that invading army’s like to pilfer, so he was concerned.
    • It is the same with Sodom. He knew and detested what they stood for. His separation from their politics, pleasures, and principles, and even people kept him protected from them but he in no way pretended they didn’t exist.
      • He had a heavy heart for them. He had already lost a nephew to their immorality. 
      • When word came to him his nephew was taken captive Abram went into action.
      • Where was Lot his nephew? Living down in Sodom.
  • Deceived and deluded.
    • At last look, we saw Lot taking the good land near the Jordan. We took note that he pitched his tent toward Sodom. He didn’t go to Sodom, at first probably even talked about how wicked they were and looked down upon them in public while in private longed to participate or see what it was really like in this wild and wicked place.
      • When once your heart gets full of the world it isn’t long before your feet follow. 
      • (Pr 4:23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
      • Lot was playing with sin. He thought he could just dabble a little. So has everyone, whom sin has stolen away from their life.
    • Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, looked toward Sodom, and then dwelt in Sodom.
      • You can almost hear the new and improved Lot. I don’t want to be like my stuffy uncle. I feel we cannot; only live around them but live among them. I am not going to make my children go to church, if they don’t want to participate then they don’t have to. On and on.
      • When once we get down in the mire we have to justify our surroundings.
      •  Sin hardens our hearts that we are no longer sensitive to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. It blinds our eyes so that we cannot see its grip on our lives. It deafens our ears that we cannot hear the voice of God warning us, calling us pleading with us not to go.
      • A little later we see where Abram rescues his nephew but instead of seeing where he had fallen to, he goes back to the same ole song.
    • Don’t know if a nagging wife was to blame? Maybe it was the smell of money to be made. Could have been the worldly need of his children.
      • Like Lot, there are a lot of men today who won’t trust God with issues because they don’t want to hear it, don’t want to argue, don’t want the fuss.
      • (Pr 27:15) ¶ A continual dropping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
      • In today’s fallen world where there are many effeminate men, it goes both ways. A wimpy whinny husband is like a dreary nasty day. They both wear on you.
    • One of the greatest travesties of today is watching men succumb to family pressure.
      • They are supposed to be leading them. Not by pushing, shoving, bullying, but by being out in front, helping them see where God is at work and where they are needed.
      • They are the ones who are supposed to be praying and seeking God’s face as to wear to worship and what to get involved in. Praying with and for their children, their wife, being confident because of their relationship with God they are right smack dab in the middle of His will.
    • I pray to God for men who love their wives as Christ loves the church, for daddy’s who love their children enough to face the hard issues of raising devoted, sold out, followers of Jesus, instead of partying, playing, half-hearted, selfish sissies who jump here and there wherever the crowd is greater.  
      • May I ad I am thankful we have many of the right ones here.
  • Tempted but devoted. As in the life of the Christian after every victory, Satan slithers in with something seductive to steal away God’s peace and joy
    • Abram didn’t have an army he had servants. But if God is for us who can be against us. Abram came, saw, and took names. It was an overwhelming victory. Emotions were high, excitement filled the sky. And (V21).
      • In the flesh, Abram could have said “well God is blessing me, I deserve this and more.” But instead, we have (V22-23)
      • He was looking ahead.
    • God had provided Abram with a time of strengthening with the King of Salem.
      • You might say why did he need strengthening he had just won a victory? Because that is when we get self-sufficient, boastful and pride raises its ugly head.
    • (1Co 10:13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
      • God provided for Abram, He will provide for you.  Abram was able to see the provision because his heart, eyes, and ears were attuned to God. He had separated himself from the ways of the world but did not seclude himself so that he could still be used.
    • God is wanting to use you. In the youth group, in the music ministry, on the football field. In the band, at the office, in the board room.
      • If we keep hiding our face we are not impacting but being impacted.

Link to the sermon preached on 7/4/21 via Facebook live.

A Bunch from Abram

(Genesis 13:5-9)

Last week we took time to discover a fatherly lesson from Lot. A lesson in what not to do. I would like to camp here one more day and look at a bunch of what to do’s from Abram.

We have been looking at the life of Abram and how it relates to the Christian walk. We have seen how he started out with a handicap to begin with which we will see come back and be a sore spot a little later. 

We were privy to an event in Abrams life where he didn’t trust God with his new life and fell back on his old ways which produced some serious and embarrassing issues. 

Here in the 13th chapter thankfully we see him returning to where he abandoned God’s truth. When it comes to restoring the passion in your life there are some things you must do.

Remember, repent and return. This is where we find Abram today in the process of restoring the passion. It is here we are able to look in and see how the mind of a spiritual man functions.

Remember the sore spot I spoke about, the one Abram thought he had to hang on to? Well it’s beginning to fester.

And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

Genesis 13:5-9
  • Worrying circumstances.
    • We all have them, sometimes its marriage, sometimes its sickness, financial, family. Most of the time it’s a combination of theses and others. Having issues in life is not always a sign of our failure as it is life.
      • How we go about handling these issues is a different matter.
    • God’s word is full of directives here.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 55:22

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Matthew 6:25

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7

    • God’s word never contradicts itself.
      •  This is in no way shape or form, saying don’t work or provide but is speaking of trusting God. Don’t place priority on these worldly things. 
      • It is best expressed when He states:  (Mt 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
    • Here in our scripture we find a good problem but none the less a problem.
      • God had richly blessed these two men and it had become too much for the land to bare.
  • We saw why and what a carnal man decided last week.
    • Because Lot was: Weak in his devotions, Worldly in his desires. He was:
  • Wrong decisions: 
    • A person who is weak in their devotion, worldly in their desires, is going to be wrong in their decisions. 
      • The next thing we see in Lot’s life is he set his tent towards Sodom. Very important to see this. He didn’t start off in Sodom just let it occupy his mind. It won’t be long before he is right in the midst of it.

So today what would one who trusted God do?

  • A divine resolution. A spiritual man’s approach to life.
    • An old cliché’: We most often hear “don’t just stand there do something.” But when it comes to God’s word we most often see “don’t just do something stand there.”
      • Abram had been promised by God that this was going to be his land. He could have stood for his rights and demanded that Lot go find his own land.
      • His reaction to the problem at hand was: wait. He had learned all too well what happens when a child of God takes matters into his own hand. A lesson that will be repeated in his life.
      • When confronted with worrying circumstances that seemed to be crying out for immediate action he waited. He was sure God would soon make his way clear.
    • An old sore. Abram made Lot a problem of his own choosing. God had specifically told hold him to leave his father’s house and kindred.
      • That one thing he held on to that he thought he needed or thought he was being a help to was now starting to demand attention.
      • They always do.  Abram was now learning how to deal with things God’s way. 
      • The first thing we see as a spiritual man Abram surrenders his personal rights.
    • He deals with spiritual directness.
      • Look at the wording in verse 8: between me and thee. He named himself first as though he was the cause of the trouble.
      • He came directly to the point and called the problem what it was strife. He wasn’t giving the devil any room to run.  
      • He wasn’t willing to give God a bad name in front of their wicked neighbors. (V.7)
    • He dealt with spiritual discernment.
      • “We are brethren,” the things that unite us are far more important than the things that divide us.
      • Would to God we as believers could reach that point in our spiritual journey.
    • He dealt with spiritual dignity:
      • Sovereignly he was the stronger. Socially he was the senior. Spiritually he was the securer.
      • Abram put aside his rights and let Lot choose. He took whatever was left. Why do you ask? Because his confidence was not in a land or an economy but God.
  • Whose does your thought pattern resemble? The carnal or the spiritual?
    • As born-again believers, the bible tells us: Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
      • Lot filled his mind with the things of this world. His lifestyle and decisions suffered for it. 
      • God blessed Abram. Where the world would have called him a fool for giving up the good land. God had a better plan.
    • He has a better plan for you if you will trust Him.

A Little About Lot

(Gen.13:1-8)

The only way a man is ever counted righteous by God is by believing.

(Ro 4:3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Abraham wasn’t righteous because of good name, good deed,s or good looks. God counted him righteous because he took Him at His word. He believed Him.

Look here:

(2Pe 2:7-8) ¶ And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(8) (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

Somewhere along the line Lot trusted God. We are not told about this but never the less it is evident according to scripture.

Let’s be honest, in our estimation of what we know about Lot, righteous would probably be the last adjective we would use to describe him. If it were not the fact that the Holy Spirit notes that Lot was righteous, many of us would list him under fan not follower.

Two questions people have to ask themselves:

    Heaven or hell? Once that is settled the next follows.

    Heaven or earth?

The devil attempts to persuade believers the second question does not matter as long as they are saved they can try everything this world offers.

Lot is the example of the enormous cost of choosing to live for worldly gain.

  • Lot’s choice
    • Lot must have been captivated by Uncle Abe’s dynamic faith. His sold-out, all-in commitment to God.
      • He had traveled many miles with God directing each step.
    • God had allowed both to prosper.
      • All was grits and gravy then the dispute.
  • The dispute(V7)
    • Seems to be one of Satan’s favorite ploy. 
      • Distract, divide, destroy.
    • Distracted by materialism.
      • What they had, their possession was not the problem.
        • How they handled them was.
        • They took their eye off God. Fell back to their way of handling things.
    • Division.
      • Now no longer unity with one vision but two.
    • You can almost hear the talk around the campfire.
      • Not sure Abe had their best interest at heart.
      • Been listening far too long to people trying to make them something they’re not.
    • Destruction: look close at (V7)again
      • … and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
      • Two believers living amid a crooked and perverse generation and their testimony for God was being destroyed.
    • We all have “Ites” in our lives.
      • Friends, family, coworkers watching (yes they are watching) to see what now…
    • Abe being a man of integrity did right. 
      • Still, there was a scar.
  • The decision. God had deeded all the land over to Abram. Abram gave Lot the choice. He would take what was leftover. Why did Lot choose the land he did? Here is my thought on it.
    • He was weak in his devotion.
      • (V4)You see where the Holy Spirit recorded that Abram built an altar to God. A place where he came and worshipped.
      • You never see or even catch a drift that Lot desired to build an altar or think of a place to worship.
        • You simply gather that went through life day to day without any personal time with God.
        • You will never make Godly choices if you never learn what God will choose.
      • It’s not a wonder that Lot’s life and the life of the family he leads was a mess.
        • None of us can live the way God desires, demands without spending quality time with Him daily
        • We just continue to race across the sea of life running aground, trying to dodge shipwrecks until we become one.
    • He was worldly in his desires.
      • Lot was heaven-born and heaven-bound but had bought into the world.
      • When Abram spoke to Lot about separation that should have thrown up flags.
        • How many times we miss the flags.
    • He had a religious reason and a real reason for choosing
      • Look at (V10) look like the Garden of Eden.
        • It is so easy to spiritualize things.
      • Reality. It reminded him of sin-soaked Egypt
    • He was wrong in his decisions. 
      • He thought he was stronger in his faith than he was.
        • (1Co 10:12) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
        • An unguarded strength is a double weakness.
      • Notice that the Holy Spirit added a significant comment to Lot’s choice.
        • (V13)But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
      • God had already marked Sodom for judgment.
        • It was the last place Lot should have been.
        • But because he had NO spiritual anchor. NO real discernment. He was drawn into the shallows of Sodom. 
      • Listen! If you are being good and respectful only because of your parents. They won’t always be around.
        • If the only thing keeping you from throwing in the towel is your name in the community, your position, you’re standing. All of these will fade.
        • If you have no spiritual anchor son or later your life will wind up wrecked upon the rocks.
  • Lot’s chains. Lot wanted the world. God let him have it.
    • Lot moved his family to Sodom.
      • His children grew up with the popular Sodomites instead of saints.
      • His wife became influenced by the Sodomites’ customs instead of serving the Savior.
    • Anyone who moves out of the will of God WILL reap what they sow.
      • (Pr 21:16) ¶ The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
      • Lot was no exception.
    • War broke out, Sodom was defeated. Lot and his whole family were taken captive. Marched off to the slave market.
      • This is where we find many church members today.
    • Lot’s chains were a direct result of his choice.
      • How do you think his children felt as they were pushed podded and poked and there was nothing he could do. 
      • His wife was treated as an object at a yard sale.
    • Sadly, some here even, letting the hero attitude kick in. “ better hope I don’t get lose.”
      • But we do little to keep them from being enslaved now.
    • Many of us men enslave them to our shallow attempt of being religious.
      • Showing them God is only important when we need Him.
    • As they say: sin takes you farther than you want to go. Keeps you longer than you want to stay and costs you more than you want to pay.
      • Lot’s choices impacted his whole family. So does yours.
    • Lot’s choice provided chains, but God provided another chance.
  • Lot’s chance.
    • Abram was told the story. He armed himself, his people and went and taught the outlaws how to lose.
      • Lot’s chains were removed. His family was restored. His life renewed.
      • Imagine if Lot admitted his sin. Believe God had better for him. Confessed before all those wicked people what God had allowed and done. 
      • What could have been the outcome?
    • Lot chose to go back. To take Sodom instead of the Savior.
      • You don’t have to.

Even if your choices have placed your heart in chains. God wants to provide you another chance. 

Come to him.

Abram: Picture of the Believer

                                                                       Genesis 12:6-

Remembering who God has chosen to use for His work. 

(1Co 1:25-29) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:(27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Abram was an inhabitant of Ur, an important center of moon worship on the Great Euphrates. He is from the Godly line of Shem but most probable like his neighbors he is an idolatrous pagan. Though most of his ancestry has been forgotten, God has not forgotten.

What we see in the life of Abram is a picture of the life of the believer.  We have spoken of the statement of faith. The statement of faith, or call of salvation, is always followed by the call of separation. In the life of Abram God told him to leave his, country, his kindred, and his father’s house.

Separation is a lesson in faith and a lesson in obedience.

We will continue and look at the step of faith, the path of faith, the fight of faith.

  • The step of faith.(V4)
    • Abram took a step of faith.
      • Credit is given where credit is due. He left everything that he was accustom to. He went out on faith. He was being led by God to a place unknown to him.
    • He did two things. He pitched his tent, he built an altar.
      • Canaan was home to the descendants of the cursed son of Ham. These were a nasty barbaric people. By Abram’s actions he was showing them he planned on staying and he planned on worshipping.
    • Often folks start off well, but like a shooting star burn brightly one minute and fizzle out the next.
      • Abram had great intentions on living well for the Lord, but once in the land he was hit with a double blow. He discovered the land was inhabited by the foe, the Canaanite was there and there was a famine.
    • Many a new believer has found disappointment at the start of their new journey.
      • Things might have started good. Peace, friends, able to see blessing that has been around.
      • Then somebody lets you down, (somebody close). Persecution arises, you see Christians have faults, begin to realize the old nature is still very much alive and wanting control.
    • When Abram came to this land, because he was doing what God had told him to do, probably didn’t expect to encounter such obstacles.
      • In the gospel of Mark we have an account of the disciples in a mess. (Mr 4:37) And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. But just a little before that we have the 35th verse .(Mr 4:35) ¶ And the same day, when the even was come, he (Jesus)saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
      • Jesus was the one who put them there. He knew what was ahead but yet went on why?
      • Just like Abram, they were learning that where the child of God finds their blessing is where they also find their battles.
    • But Abram looked for a different solution. Escape.
      • Something of utmost importance here. We never see God telling him to leave. Fact of the matter we see God telling him “I give this land to you.”
      • Far too often, we find ourselves doing the same thing. Instead of seeing God’s blessing, we feel this can’t be right because it’s hard so we leave.
    • Forsaking the path of faith, for whatever reason, always brings its own complications. A whole series of events now followed Abram. Each one stemmed from his lack of trust in God.
  • Shift in faith.
    • There is no knowing how low a saint will sink when he is out of touch with God.
      • Sin makes the brave, cowards, makes the smart, stupid, and makes the cautious, carless.
    • (In V.11-13) we see one of the most treacherous, cowardly acts, seen in the pages of the bible.
      • It is performed by one whom you would not think is capable of plunging so low. But because of his reluctance to trust God he is on a downward path.
      • Sad thing about our choices they affect everyone we come in contact with.
    • Abram asked his wife to lie. Put her in danger of committing sin against God, put her in danger of defiling herself, because he was concerned with his own welfare.
      • So much for being a hero.
    • What we see is instead of Abram following God and His plan, he relied on what he learned as a pagan idol worshipper. Do it yourself.
      • So Abrams choice first had a negative impact on his wife but it doesn’t stop there.
    • The very thing that Abram was trying to avoid burst upon him like a storm.
      • Remember now; Abram was escaping what he thought was a mistake and he was making it better, he was fixing it. The good life was in Egypt that has to be where God wants me.
    • Pharaoh took Sarai and prepared her to be in his Harem. God took Pharaoh and prepared him to teach Abram a lesson.
      • God plagued the house of Pharaoh. It doesn’t say how but Pharaoh put two and two together and it equaled Abram.
        • So Abram choice affected his wife and Pharaoh and all Pharaoh’s house.
  • A smear on faith.
    • (v2-3) God had intended Abram to be a blessing to others, but because he rejected God’s way and substituted his own way, everything he touched seemed to turn bitter.
      • Abram in his holier than thou attitude was found to be the one the Egyptians needed to worry about not the other way around.
      • Pharaoh was more honorable then Abram.
    • It started with not trusting God. Then blind direction, then lying, belittling others, till the shame fell back on him.
      • You could almost hear the Pharaoh, “if that’s a believer I hope I never meet another one.”
    • Many a believer has left a bitter taste in the mouth of this lost world, all because we fail to trust God.
  • It was a hard and painful lesson but God brought Abram back to the beginning back to the path that was laid out.
    • A lot of folks keep going in circles. God has a big beautiful plan for you but we keep trusting ourselves to fix it. Make it right.
      • (Pr 21:16) ¶ The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
      • Today quit wandering. Come back, or come home.            

Abraham

Sermon Date: 6/6/21

Genesis 12

We have gone through 11 chapters of the book of Genesis. During this time you might have noticed some interesting things in how the beginning took shape.

We started with a conniving couple, fatal farmer, plastered preacher and a hero hunter. Seems like God don’t always use and do with the same ones we would choose to accomplish things with.

Has it ever dawned on you  we have a different evaluation of people then God does.

Seriously look at the way God chose to accomplish His plan, would we have done any of it that way?

Sometime I think we out holied the Holiest One, out righteoused the Righteous One. It gives us a false pretense of our self- worth. Don’t confuse what I am saying. God thought we were priceless, He made us in His image, breathed His breath in us, and paid our sinful debt with the blood of His precious Son. Too often the way we look at His creation we feel we are better than them. Take God out of a person then they aint worth a dime.

With this thought in mind it is no surprise who God uses to create His nation. In God’s eyes he is a pretty important character, for He devotes 25% to him in this book. He is an inhabitant of Ur, an important center of moon worship on the Great Euphrates. He is from the Godly line of Shem but most probable like his neighbors he is an idolatrous pagan. Though most of his ancestry has been forgotten, God has not forgotten.

What we see in the life of Abram is a picture of the life of the believer. The statement of faith, the step of faith, the path of faith, the fight of faith.

  • The statement of Faith. (1-3)
    • As is the norm with the God of creation; He initiates the contact.
      • God came down to walk with Adam, God ask Cain about his brother, God called out Noah, and here God is calling out Abram.
      • He still works the same today. We don’t wake up one day and begin seeking God. The bible says :(Joh 6:44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    • He starts with the statement of faith. You trust me and this is what will happen.
      • (V2-3)God gives clear and precise directives and what Abram can expect in return.
      • He did the same for us and even wrote it down in case we forgot.
    • The bible is God clear and precise directives for redeeming His creation and what it means to be redeemed.
    • Abram was in the land of Ur when God came to Him and called him to move away. The call of salvation is always followed by the call of separation.
      • God is serious about the sanctification of His people. The setting apart for His use. It always starts with separation.
      • Separation is setting apart from something, sanctification is a setting apart for something
    • What Jesus is recorded saying in the gospel of Luke is not request but a command.      (Lu 14:26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
      • We understand that hate is not used the way we use it, but means loves less. If our decisions, our actions, our directions are based on family or self-promotion, anything other than our commitment to Him, we are a hypocrite.
    • I am very aware in today’s watered downed, tolerant adapted sermonettes that is heard across the globe today this is not a popular view.
      • I’m not here to be popular but truthful. I want you to know this uncommitted, uncaring, unrepentant Christianity light that is being promoted and accepted today is not the same as what Jesus Himself spoke of.
    • This is very important. God told Abram three things he wanted him to leave. His country, his kindred and his father’s house.
      • (V4-5) tells us he left his country.
      • He is no longer in Ur. He left Haran, the place of his birth and the place where he was established.
      • He left his father’s house. The comfort and security of familiarity.
      • But we see he took some kindred.  Lot will be a subject of discussion a few times in Abrams life.
    • So often like Abram we obey part of God’s invitation only to hold on to something we believe either is not important or we can’t do without.
      • Here is a worthy note: if God brings to your attention it is important!
      • These things we hold on to always come back and becomes a source of competition in our walk with God.
  • There are two reasons for God’s demand for Abrams separation.
    • God had Abram turn his back on all things of familiarity.
      • We are creatures of habit. When we get in a bind we will turn to what we know.
      • This is a lesson in faith. He no longer has what he is comfortable with. He no longer has what he use to trust. He burnt his bridges so there was no way back
        • We need some bridge burning in our lives.
      • I am no way telling you God is wanting you to move to an obscure place to survive, but one of the greatest detriments to faith is not diving in, holding back.
    • Oswald Chambers speaks of total abandonment. In the opening page of his devotional Utmost for His Highest he states “My determination is to be my utmost for His highest. To get there is a determination of the will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of the will” …  
      • Jesus in His parable of the hidden treasure, in the13th chapter of Matthew; spoke of a man who purchased a field. He sold all he had with joy because he knew what he was getting was better than what he had.
      • He purposely gave up what he had to obtain what he could get. He was sold out, he bought in. he believed so much in what he was doing it affected every part of his life. 
      •   What are you investing in? That is where your faith is. That is where your heart is.
    • The other reason for his separation was obedience.
      • Obedience activates faith. It is here that what you said you believe in, what you said you trust in, what you said has authority over your life, it is through obedience you give proof of genuine, saving conversion.
        • When we step out and obey it is then God gives us the confidence the security of knowing we can trust Him.       
      • Where obedience activates faith, disobedience deactivates it. We fall back into that dark foreboding worry of how are we gonna make it, what can I do, should we do this?
    • There are those here today who started out well, but are having difficulty in their walk because of disobedience. The only way to get back into the relationship is to jump in.
      • Repent, then dive.
  • There are those here today who need to burn some bridges.
    • You continue to hold on to something incase God don’t pan out. You will never experience His freedom, His power, His peace, until you decide rather He is worth selling all for.
  • There are those here today who like Abram feel the Holy-Spirit of God calling them out.
    • It sounds scary leaving all behind but in truth its gaining more than you ever let go.

As we look around at the shape our world is in, we see many signs. These aren’t meant to worry, us scare us, but to turn our attention back to Him. God is still at the helm, still in control, His plan is still being enacted. He wants you to be a part of it.