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Old Testament Encounters with Christ
Part 4: Abraham Meets Our God
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 14, 2011
*We have been talking about Christ in the Old Testament.
There are hundreds of references to Jesus in the Old Testament, including prophecies, symbolic things and people who point to Jesus in significant ways.
But we are focusing on the Old Testament appearances of Christ, those times when the pre-incarnate Christ revealed Himself to man.
*Tonight we will start to look at God’s appearances to Abraham.
What an important story!
Abraham’s story is so important that God devoted 25% of Genesis to it.
*John Phillips explained: “Abram was 75 years of age and had another full century to live.
When one thinks of all that has developed for mankind as a result of the 100-year period that now opened in Abram’s life, it has to be marked down as one of the most significant centuries in all history.
*Abraham’s story was unique in many ways, but as we look at his faith journey, we can see some close parallels to our own faith journey.
-How are we like Abram? -- There are 5 truths that apply to us today.
1. First: We are lost without the Lord.
*God’s Word gives us a clue to Abram’s lost condition in Genesis 11:27-28:
This is the genealogy of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Haran begot Lot.
And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans.
*The clue here is the city of Ur.
Abram was lost without God when he lived in Ur of the Chaldees.
That word “Ur” means “flame.”
And John Gill explained that the city was so called because it was a wicked, idolatrous place where fire was worshipped.
*John Phillips described lost Abram as a pagan idolater of Ur, and Phillips said: “Abram had already done very well for himself.
He was successful in business, happily married to an outstandingly good-looking woman, well established in the affections of his servants, and with a lineage that could be traced right back to Adam.
But rich as he was, respected and religious as he was, when the story of Abram opens, he was a poor lost sinner hurrying on to a lost eternity.
*People without the Lord are lost!
-- Lost as they can be, -- lost forever.
-Just like us, Abram was lost without the Lord.
2. But God took the first step to save us.
*As we explore the story of Abram’s faith, we will see that, as always, God took the first step.
The Lord reached out to reveal Himself to Abram.
*Abram did nothing to deserve God’s call or direction.
God’s appearance and call to Abram all flowed out of the Lord’s sovereign grace.
*Genesis 11:31-32 shows us the family on the move.
Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.
So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.
*But Genesis 12:1 gives us the clue that God had already revealed Himself to Abram back in Ur: “Now the Lord HAD said (i.e. the Lord had already said) to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.’”
*The Stephen confirmed this truth to us in Acts 7.
Many of you know that Stephen was one of the first deacons.
He was introduced to us in Acts 6, which tells us that:
8. . .
Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
And they (the unbelievers) were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
*So they arrested Stephen and put him on trial for trumped-up charges.
Stephen was stoned to death for the cause of Christ, but in Acts 7, the Bible records his defense before the high court in Jerusalem.
And there He confirmed the fact that God first revealed Himself to Abram in Ur.
2. And he (Stephen) said, "Men and brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,
3. and said to him, `Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'
4. Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran.
And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.
*The important thing to see here is that God took the first step.
By His grace, the Lord reached out to reveal Himself to Abram.
And the same is true for us.
*In Luke 15, Jesus told the parable of the shepherd who went out into the wilderness to find his lost sheep, and searched until he found it.
Then in Luke 19:10, Jesus tells us that He came “to seek and to save that which was lost.”
And in John 6:44 Jesus said: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
*God always takes the first step to save someone.
*Robert Sumner tells how God used a missionary in Alaska to reach out to someone halfway around the world.
Everett Bachelder and his wife, Mina, operated the Nome Gospel Home for over 30 years.
*One of the ways he shared the Gospel was by tossing more than a thousand mayonnaise jars and ketchup bottles into the Bering Sea.
These bottles were all crammed with Scripture messages written in 100 languages.
Kids from local churches helped Everett prepare the jars and bottles.
*Now that may seem like a waste of time, but over the years, the wind and waves have carried the story of God's love to the far corners of the earth.
Everett got responses from as far as 10,000 miles away.
*One time a man in Singapore, was broken-hearted over a romance gone sour.
He was about to commit suicide by jumping into the ocean from a cliff, but he saw a bottle wash up against the rocks below.
*The man decided to jump when the bottle broke.
But as he watched, it hit the rocks over and over without breaking.
He got curious, climbed down the cliff and found the message of God’s Good News!
*God’s Word touched his heart, so he found a missionary in Singapore and got saved!
-- But God took the first step.
*How are we like Abram? -- God took the first step to save us.
And we must start following the Lord by faith.
*Abraham began to walk by faith.
Yes, he stumbled at times.
And it was start-and-stop for a while, especially when they delayed at Haran.
But Abram definitely trusted in the Lord, and by faith, he started following the Lord.
-Look at Genesis 12:1
Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.
-Then in vs. 4&5:
4. Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him.
And Abram was 75 years old when he departed from Haran.
5. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan.
So they came to the land of Canaan.
*Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that this hero of our faith was looking for a whole lot more than Canaan:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance.
And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
10. for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
*Abram trusted in the Lord.
He followed the Lord by faith.
*The 50th anniversary of D-Day was in 1994, and on that day a TV network had two interviews.
In the first interview, a ground soldier said, “I was convinced there was no way we could possibly win.”
But in the other interview, an Air Force pilot said, “I was convinced there was no way we could possibly lose.”
*Faith understands that God can see the big-picture.
God can see the end from the beginning.
Abram didn’t know where he was going.
-- But God did!
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