This message was preached by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on October 8th, 2017. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.
We just finished the series on Jonah, so when a couple of people asked me what I was preaching on next, I said, Matthew 1: 1-16. It’s the genealogy of Jesus. How many of us skip a list of names in the Bible? Most of us do that! But behind each name is a story of amazing grace. Most of these names are from the Old Testament. But we tend to ignore it. Old testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. So we are going to preach on each of these characters mentioned in this genealogy of Jesus. So, today we are going to talk about Abraham
Abraham is known as the friend of God. He started as an idolater, but then earned this distinction. He is the Father of the Jews and also the Father of believers. He is an important character who has been mentioned a lot in the New Testament.
In Gen 11 he is first mentioned. Before Abraham, 4 big incidents took place- Creation, the Fall, the Flood and Tower of Babel. Gen 11: 27- 32 “27 This is the account of Terah’s family line. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive. Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.”
Gen 12: 1- 9 “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “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 peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev”
God has great plans for Abraham Josh 24:2 talks about Abraham and says “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac” God chooses people not because of anything good in them, but says, You did not choose me but I chose you. God chose one man and encountered him and met with him.
In Acts 7 when Stephen was being stoned, he spoke about the history of the Israelite nation. “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.” So we see that Abraham moved whereas his brother stayed back. Mesopotamia was a grand civilisation. So God is calling Abraham to go from this comfortable city and went to Harran. Then God is asking him to move without his family.
Abraham is revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians. So his name did become great. The purpose of God exalting Abraham was for a greater purpose. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing. A pot can only hold some water as per the capacity of the pot. But a pipe can take thousands of litres. We are called to be pipes.
We see the promises of God unfolding in Abraham’s life.
1. Abraham was saved by faith- Genesis 15:6 “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” God saves the same way whether its Old Testament or New Testament. We have the Word of God today. As we give people the Word of God, salvation comes to them by faith. It sounds so easy! But it is by believing in Jesus at his word. Abraham was saved by faith. God called Abraham to leave his family because the idolatrous environment was probably hindering him from living a life of faith. This morning, is God calling you to leave something that is hindering you? It can be a physical move, or a move by cutting off things etc.
2. Abraham lived by faith: he heard the voice of God and he obeyed him. 7 times God appeared to him and he obeyed immediately. Hebrews 11: 8-19 in the great hall of faith Abraham is mentioned- “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
It means hear the voice of God and just obey. He obeyed God at every stage. There is sacrifice involved. In Gen 17 God changes his name from Abram to Abraham. Abram means exalted father, but Abraham means Father of a multitude. Imagine a person who has no hair changing his name to ‘O hairy one’. Can you imagine what the neighbours think of it? That is exactly what it was. The next year, Sarah was blessed with a child. So they declared and believed what God has said to them. We have been doing that through our daily declarations.
3. His obedience was the evidence of his faith: Genesis 22 after his promised son, Isaac was born, God says, “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”” This was the son through whom he was promised nations. But this was Abraham’s response “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” So he was going to kill him and God asks him to stop. Genesis 22: 6-13 “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” Then God makes this amazing blessing in verse 15- 18 “The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”” This is a wonderful picture of the gospel, because the Ram provided was Jesus himself.
Jesus says, if you love me, obey my commands. Nothing we do or not do can un-save us, but our faith must follow works. Augustine says, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” Let us be eager to do works of faith. What can we do today in obedience to God? It begins with faith and ends with faith, so in the end it is all about faith. We are the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
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