Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Nov 15, 2015 Sermon

“Abraham”
Genesis 22:1 – 14
Ted Jansen  November 15, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        “The Lord will provide, the Lord will provide, the Lord will provide.”  Those are the words that Abraham held in his heart, what he spoke to his son, what he believed, and what he named a place on a mountain. 
            The Lord will provide what He has promised.  I hope as we learn from Abraham’s story we can be assured of this truth.  Let us repeat the words, “The Lord will provide.”    
 
2.)        The story of Abraham begins with a promise that God made to Abraham.  We read these words in Genesis 12:2.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people’s on earth will be blessed through you.” 
Abraham would be a father to many nations.  Abraham was 75 at the time and did not have any children. “The Lord will provide!”  That is what Abraham held in his heart. 
In Genesis 16 we read that 10 years after the promise Sarah has not had any children.  She tells Abraham to have sexual relations with Hagar, her Egyptian servant girl.  She becomes pregnant and gives birth to Ishmael.  This is not the way God desired to fulfill the promise. 
In Genesis 17 we read that Abraham is 99 years old and God affirms the covenant.  Listen to verses 4 – 7. 
“This is my covenant with you; You will be the father of many nations/ …I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you and kings will come from you.  I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” 
Then 13 years after Ishmael is born, about 25 years after the first promise Isaac is born.  Abraham is 100 years old.  That is a long time.
He has a son, Isaac, and his son grows up with Abraham and Sarah.  What a joy and a special bond of love.    
 
3.)        Genesis 22 begins with God testing Abraham.  God wants Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. We don’t know how old he is, but some say he might be between 18 and 30 years old.  The scripture says, “some time later.”  Some have him as a young boy, but some believe he is older.  I imagined him to be younger but the scripture does not say. 
            Abraham goes on a journey for three days.  Those words, “The Lord will provide” are a part of Abraham’s life on the journey.   He holds those words in his heart.  He tells those words to his son who asks where the lamb is for the sacrifice.  He believes those words when he is ready to kill his son, he believes those words when an angel tells him not to kill his son and directs his vision to a ram.  The words come alive to Abraham as he names that place, the Lord will provide, after that experience.  
            God’s provision is a fulfillment to the promise that was made.  “The Lord will provide,” is the affirmation of the promise God made to Abraham.  The promises of God are vital to discover.  When God promises something God will provide. 
 
4.)        Dr. Charles Stanley shared a message on God’s promises for our lives.  He offered a few principles as we claim God’s promise for our lives.   (Adapted from a sermon outline.)
            *The promise must fit our specific situation  (We must be aware of our life situation and how the promise fits in with it.)
            *The promise must fit the context of scripture  (We can’t make scripture say something that doesn’t fit its context and setting.)
            *The promise must honor God  (God’s promise will not go against the character and will of God that we know of.)
            *The promise must fit with our immediate will  (God has a plan for each of us and the promise must fit in with that will.)
            *The promise must encourage others  (The Body of Christ, the church, is to be blessed and encouraged by the promises God fulfills.)
            *The promise must have the Spirit of God’s peace on it  (The Holy Spirit grows in us and through us when God’s promises are fulfilled.)  
 
5.)        I went to Romans 8 and discovered three promises that have been helpful in my relationship with God.     
a.)        Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
            There is no condemnation.  I am not condemned in my spirit by God.  I can feel guilt for sin, but my character is not attacked by God.  This helped me when I was a younger Christian and wondered about my sin, my guilt and what God thought about me.  God does not condemn.  God convicts me and leads me to the cross and how to be forgiven by Christ.        
            b.)        Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
            I choose to believe that God is working all things out for good.  This can be hard to believe when life is tough.  When our daughter was making bad decisions I was torn up inside, it was not good, but claiming this promise gave hope.  This helped me in the tough times have hope in God.    
            c.)        Romans 8:38, 39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
            This is a wonderful promise of God’s love that will always be with me.  This message means God’s love is not separated from my heart.  There are times like the person in the Footprints poem who wonders where God is.  I might think that God is gone.  That is not true, according to this promise.  This helped me when I needed love.  God’s grace does not disappear.    
 
6.)        I invite us to read Psalm 145:13.  It reminds us of God’s provision based on His promise “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.  The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” 
            Did you know that there are over 3,000 promises listed in the scripture?  That is a lot.  They are all over the place and waiting to be discovered in our reading and study. 
            Abraham was promised that he would be the father of many nations.  God spoke that word to him in his present situation.  God provided for Abraham at the right time. 
 
7.)        God tests us from time to time in our lives.  That is what He was doing to Abraham.  How has God grown your heart from a test in your life?  Here is a story from my life that was a test from God that helped shape me. 
I had an experience with a guitar when I was a student pastor that was a lesson for my heart.  I had sold my guitar to a friend and was looking forward to getting a new guitar.  I was focused on the purchase of a new one and waited for the money.  When I had the money I went and bought a new guitar.  It was nice. 
I lent that new guitar to man who played and enjoyed it.  He was a man out of prison, who had a faith but not a whole lot of resources in his life.  At times it was a struggle to lend this man my new guitar but I believe that is what I was supposed to do. 
I was going to school full time and pastoring on the weekends and making a small salary.  In that time God prompted me to buy a guitar for this man.   I thought to myself I can’t afford that purchase; it would tighten up my budget.  
Eventually I resigned myself to getting a guitar for this man.  God kept persisted.  This man would appreciate any guitar and so I thought I would buy a basic guitar, a cheap version, perhaps used.  That was my plan! 
Then God told me to buy him a new guitar.  What!  I can’t believe what God was telling me.  I was to go to the guitar store with this man and let him pick one out that costs the same amount as I just spent.  I couldn’t believe this.  I ended up having a conversation with God and I eventually listened and bought this man a guitar that cost more than the one I bought. 
I learned the hard way that “the Lord will provide.”  My budget was tight but God provided for me.  God has provided for my needs in life.    
 
8.)        What is the Lord wanting to show you in regards to a promise from the scripture that you can hold in your heart?  
I encourage you to find a promise for your life and hold on to it.  One way is to go to biblegateway.com and type in a word.  Hope, healing, forgiveness, grace, joy, friendship, courage, etc.   Find verses that speak to your need. 
            Or go back and read Abraham’s story in Genesis and as he journeyed with God let that journey speak to you.