A Dad Who Made A Difference
Scripture: Gen 17:1-14
Abraham has occupied a significant and unique place throughout the whole world for nearly 4,000 years. To the Jew, he is the father of the nation of Israel. To those in the Islamic world, Abraham is one in their long list of prophets, second only to Mohammed himself. The Koran, the Islamic bible, has reference to Abraham some 188 times. In the Christian world, Abraham is seen as one of the greatest men of faith of all times.
Israel was often called- "the seed of Abraham." Abraham was the father from which Gods special people Israel descended. God not only chose Abraham, but redeemed him and especially blessed him. When many of the Old Testament characters prayed, they appealed to what they called, "the God of Abraham."
The Jewish Talmud says that Abraham was a first-rate astronomer or astrologer, and shared his wisdom as he instructed kings of the East and the West.
Abraham is referred to several times in the New Testament by various NT writers. His name may have been used often in the OT to seek to appeal to the Jews, since they revered Abraham so highly.
Every dad here in this service ought to desire to be highly revered by his children and grandchildren. If we look at Abrahams life closely, we will discover what it was about the old patriarch that made the difference about him.
Abraham in the Bible is called, "the friend of God"(James 2:23). Jesus told us in the NT that those who are his friends are those who, "do whatsoever I command you" (Jn.15:14). His submission to God show the friendship that existed between him and the God of all eternity.
I. HIS FAITH MADE A DIFFERENCE
According to what the Bible says in Joshua 24:2,14, we discover that Abraham was from a family of idol worshippers. The Bible clearly tells us that Abrahams father, Terah, served other gods (Josh.24:2). He worshiped idols rather than the true and living God.
It is a blessed thing to have faith. I have heard faith describe in many ways:
*** "Believing something is there when it is not there but God is going to put it there."
*** "Forsaking all I take Him."
*** "Taking God at his word."
The Bible has a good definition in Heb.11 it says faith is: "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Faith is the title deed to things hoped for. It gives substance to our hope. It is our way of being sure of the things for which we hope. It percieves as real what is know know to the five sense of touch, taste, feeling, sight, and smell. It gives us a conviction of the reality of things we cannot see.
George Mueller said this about faith:
I heard years ago that faith is, "believing God can", but it goes farther than that. It is believing that God will.
A. His faith was in Gods person
I like the old hymn that says, "My faith has found a resting place, not in device or creed, but in the ever living one, whose blood avails for me. I need no other argument, I need no other plea, it is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me."
The idolater worships a god who cannot hear, who cannot speak and that cannot respond. This is why when the prophets of Baal faced off with Elijah, though they cut themselves with stones, trying to make their so called God Baal respond, no answer came. Elijah mocked at them saying, " 1 Kings 18:27, "And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked."
To Abraham God was a divine person with which he could communicate and trust for help.
It was not works that justified Abraham, for the New Testament says in James 2:23 that he, "Believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." He became righteous through his faith in the God of this Bible. In the OT they looked forward to the coming Savior. In NT age we looked backward to the cross.
Dads, let me ask you today, do you have faith in the person of God as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ? Jn. 1:12 says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Has that happened to you today? Can you go back to a time and place where you met the Lord Jesus by faith?
A. Faith in Gods Person
B. Faith in Gods Providence
If you recall Abraham did not want his son Issac to take a wife of the Canaanites, among whom Israel dwelled.
Abraham sent his servant back to their home country, to find a bride for Issac. Genesis 24 tells of that episode. It took faith to believe that God would provide a fitting bride for his son. To Abraham it was no shot in the dark. He believed God could work it out--that God rules and overrules. Sure enough, the servant came back with just the right bride of Issac.
C. Faith in Gods Power
He realized that nothing was too hard for God. Genesis 18 records how when the angel came and told Sarah that though she was old, and well stricken in age, that she would have a son. She simply laughed! On the other hand Abraham knew that if God said he would do something that it would eventually happen. ABRAHAM DID LAUGH IN GEN.17 WHEN HE WAS TOLD ABOUT HE AND SARAH GOING TO HAVE A SON IN THEIR OLD AGE, BUT HIS WAS A LAUGH OF BELIEF, WHILE SARAHS WAS A LAUGH OF UNBELIEF.
Have you even heard some news, and when you heard it just laughed about it, you were so glad to hear it? That was Abrahams case.
You see, if God has the power to create and sustains the worlds, then surely there is not problem that is too big for God to handle. After Sarah laughed at the new of her upcoming motherhood, God went to Abraham and asked, "Is anything to hard for the Lord?" Certainly not. There is no person too hard for God to save, no prayer to hard for God to answer, no circumstance too difficult for God to overcome.
Abraham made a difference because his faith was real. It carried him though at times when there seemed to be no way, God made a way.
I. HIS FAITH
II. HIS FOLLOWING
Gen 12:1-4 tells us:
1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him.."
He left the Ur of the Chaldees to go unto a strange land. Can you imagine the ties that Abraham had in the Ur of the Chaldees? His friends were there, his family was there, his fortune was there. It was no easy thing to step out and do what God wanted him to do. He knew it was something that had to be done.
As he obeyed the Lord, he was able to enjoy the reality of the promises of God. Disobedient Christians never know the full enjoyment of the promises of God.
Think for me a minute about what he left.
A. He left family.
One of the hardest things you will ever do is to move away from your family. A family should be close, not fighting and warring among themselves. When you have a close family parting is sad and difficult. God knew it would not be easy for Abraham, but he knew that Abraham would seek to obey him whatever the cost.
Can you imagine how hard it was when the old patriarch stood and waved goodbye to his aunts, uncles?
B. He left friends
No doubt during the time he spent in Ur of Chaldees he made many friends along the way. Just before he left his mind probably went back down memory lane and recalled some of the good times he had with his friends.
C. He left financial success
Abraham had done real well in life. He had many cattle and animals. That is all it took to be rich in the days of the patriarchs. When he left his cattle left with him, but he had been very successful in trading and selling in the Ur of the Chaldees.
He did not know what was ahead for him, but it had to be difficult to leave a good business and an environment where he had been successful.
Most people move for some financial advancement or a greater opportunity to make money. That is OK if God is in it, but Abraham moved because God told him to do so.
I read recently of a man who moved his family from a good location to a large city. He moved because he wanted to move up in the corporate world. The man said he was a Christian, but did not really consult God as he should on the move. As a result of the move, all three of his children found themselves in trouble. His teenage daughter became involved with a wild crowd and became pregnant outside of marriage. His two younger sons became involved with some drug users and both of them wound up on drugs. I wonder if he had really prayed about the matter, if God would have urged him to make that move? I seriously doubt it. Money is not everything. It is good to have but it is certainly not everything.
All he had to do was to step out in faith and God would make his name great, a great nation would come from him, all who cursed him would be cursed, and through him all the families of the earth would be blessed.
I. HIS FAITH MADE A DIFFERENCE
II. HIS FOLLOWING MADE A DIFFERENCE
III. HIS FELLOWSHIP MADE A DIFFERENCE
A. He fellow-shipped in prayer.
Prayer was no drudgery for him. It was not like a task or a chore. It was as natural to him as breathing. SOMEONE HAS SAID, "Prayer is the vital breath of a Christian."
If you will notice in the Old Testament, the offering of a sacrifice and prayer seem to go hand in hand. We will get nowhere apart from a life of prayer. I think of how Abraham in Genesis 15 was such a close friend to God, that he talked to the Lord whenever he had questions of ask about life. It appears there that Abraham is trying to talk God into allowing Ishmael to be the promised seed.
He wanted to give God an idea he had and see what God thought about it. If you will remember, Ishmael was the son of Hagar, Sarahs servant. Abraham felt free to tell God what was on his mind, although God knew it anyhow. He was on a friendship basis with God. How did God respond to Abraham? He did not agree with him. Here is what God said in Gen. 15:4 in response to the question of the patriarch:
Gen 15:4, "And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir(speaking of Ishmael); but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir."
Here is the point I feel God would have me make to you. Abraham was on talking terms with God and took his questions and concerns to Him. God speaks to us in His Word, but we talk to Him in prayer.
Instead of spending so much time talking to people about people, we need to speak more time talking to God about people.
Abraham was great because he took time to pray. It was a vital, daily part of his life.
Dad, how much time to you spend in getting through to God for yourself and for your children and grandchildren? My wife asked me this morning, "How much time do you spend praying your children out of harms way?" My answer was, "Not as much as I should."
2. I think of how Abraham talked to God when the city of Sodom and Gomorrah was about to be destroyed.
In Genesis 18 God told Abraham that he was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham began to talk to God about it. He started out asking God to spare the city if fifty righteous were in it. God agreed. As Abraham began to count the righteous, he took the number down and down. He finally went from fifty righteous in the city to ten. God promised he would not destroy the city if there were ten righteous people in it. But guess what? When Lots family left, there were not even ten righteous people who lived there in that large city. Fire and brimstone came down from heaven and destroyed it.
My point is this, Abraham talked to God about the way he felt. God was not someone that he felt like was disinterested in those things that concerned him.
B. He fellowshipped in the promises
Abraham was like us in that he was somewhat impatient with the Lord. God had promised him that he would have a son of His own loins. That is what kept Abraham looking on with a confident expectation. He had a promise from God.
Some folks say,"Why do you not worry about losing your salvation?" It is because of the promises of God.
John 10:28: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
If you will believe Gods promises then you can fellowship with Him. If you do not believe what he said, there is an air of distrust. HOW COULD YOU AND I HAVE CLOSE FELLOWSHIP, IF I TOLD YOU SOMETHING AND YOU DID NOT BELIEVE IT? There would be no fellowship.
I have made promises that I never followed through on because I am human, I can forget. But with God his memory is never short or deficient. He always remembers what He promises. The only things God forgets is what he chooses to forget.
WHEN GOD MAKES A PROMISE:
Faith believes it-
Hope anticipates it-
Patience quietly awaits it-
I. HIS FAITH
II. HIS FOLLOWING
III. HIS FELLOWSHIP
IV. HIS FURNISHING
Gen 14:18-20 says:
(18) And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (19) And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:(20) And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
When Abraham was blessed by the high priest of Salem, he turned around and gave tithe unto him.
You might say, "Well, I dont give because I dont get blessed." Then you do not understand giving.
1. Tithing is an act of gratitude-Showing the church you appreciate them standing by you in the time of your bereavements and sorrows.
2. The tithe is the Lords. It belongs to God. That is why we give it. It is not to show our pleasure or our displeasure by giving or not giving, it is because that tithe belongs to the Lord and the local church is his agency.
In Mal. 3 God promises to pour out blessings to those who honor him with the tithe or tenth. Mal 3:10 states: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Dad are you setting the example for your home and bringing down blessings upon your home by tithing?
V. HIS FEAR
He feared God.
Gen 22:12 says:" And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."
The background for that scripture is the offering up of Issac at Moriah. He was willing to sacrifice his son if necessary. He knew God could raise His son up.
Gen 18:19- God says of Abraham: "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."
The main way "fear" is seen is obedience.
VI. HIS FUTURE
He looked for a city.
(9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:(10) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
A. Perfect City(nothing enters that defiles).
B. Peaceful City(no war or strife will be there)
C. Perpetual City (not like Nagasaki and Hiroshima that could be destroyed with an nuclear bomb.)
Dad, dont set your hopes in this life alone. You will be frustrated and disappointed. Set your affections on things above.
Sermon by Tom Walker- Pastor Zion Hill Baptist- Marion, NC