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A Risk to go - The Life of Abraham

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Sermon: A Risk to Go: The Life of Abraham

Series: Risky Business

Text: Gen 12:1-4                     May 20, 2007 PM


Genesis 12 (NIV) 1 "The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 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. 3 "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 "So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.


INTRODUCTION

JOKE: Mrs. Jones was reading a letter at breakfast. Suddenly she looked up suspiciously at her husband.

       "Henry," she said, "I've just received a letter from mother saying she isn't accepting our invitation to come and stay, as we do not appear to want her. What does she mean by that? I told you to write and say that she was to come at her own convenience. You did write, didn't you?"

       "Er, yes, I did," said the husband. "But I couldn't spell 'convenience', so I made it 'risk.' "


JOKE: Sometimes faith requires a risk. There is a story about a monastery in Europe perched high on a cliff several hundred feet in the air.

       The only way to reach the monastery was to be suspended in a basket which was pulled to the top by several monks who pulled and tugged with all their strength.

       Obviously the ride up the steep cliff in that basket was terrifying. One tourist got exceedingly nervous about half-way up as he noticed that the rope by which he was suspended was old and frayed.

       With a trembling voice he asked the monk who was riding with him in the basket how often they changed the rope. The monk thought for a moment and answered brusquely, "Whenever it breaks."


JOKE: You know it is risky telling jokes, some people are just humor impaired. A preacher, who shall we say was "humor impaired," attended a conference to help encourage and better equip pastors for their ministry.

       Among the speakers were many well known and dynamic speakers. One such boldly approached the pulpit and, gathering the entire crowd's attention, said, "The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!" The crowd was shocked! He followed up by saying, "And that woman was my mother!" - The crowd burst into laughter and delivered the rest of his talk, which went over quite well.

       The next week, the pastor decided he'd give this humor thing a try, and use that joke in his sermon. As he surely approached the pulpit that sunny Sunday, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head. It suddenly seemed a bit foggy to him.

       Getting to the microphone he said loudly, "The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of another woman that was not my wife!" The congregation inhaled half the air in the room. After standing there for almost 10 seconds in the stunned silence, trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurted out, "...and I can't remember who she was!



Terah, Abram’s father set out for Caanan from Ur, but settled in Haran


Abram was 75


86 when Ishmael was born


99 when circumcized


100 when Isaac born


Lived as a nomad


Never owned anything but a burial plot in Caanan


Died believing the promise


Hebrews 11:8-12 (NIV) 8 "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. 11 "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 "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."


Introduction

I.   LISTEN WHEN HE SPEAKS


JOKE: Some of us just think we are listening to God. A fellowI was walking across a bridge one day, and He saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. He immediately ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!"

       "Why shouldn't I?" he said.

       He said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"

       "Like what?"

       "Well ... are you religious or atheist?"

       "Religious."

       "Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?"

       "Christian."

       "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

       "Protestant."

       "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"

       "Baptist."

       "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

       "Baptist Church of God."

       "Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

       "Reformed Baptist Church of God."

       "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"

       "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!"

       To which He said, "Oh, nevermind, go ahead and jump

      A.  REMEMBER, GOD IS PERSONAL

              1.    Genesis 12:1a (NASB95) Now the LORD said to Abram.

              2.    God is not an aloof, disinterested deity. He is the Creator, life-giver, and He is personal—He is interested in you! That is what Abram (Abraham) discovered: Now the LORD said to Abram.

              3.    God entered Abram’s world,

                     a.    Confronted his sensibilities

                     b.    And began a conversation that would not just change Abram’s life

                     c.    But would change the course of human history.

              4.    God is personal—he created us for relationship and friendship. Just as He connected with Abram—He desires to connect with us.

              5.    God is Speaks to us personally

      B.  HOW DOES GOD SPEAK?

              1.    Through His word

              2.    Through Pastors and teachers

              3.    Through Christian friends

              4.    Through our prayers

              5.    God finds a way for His spirit to reach us

II.  GO WHEN HE SENDS


JOKE: Some people go when they are sent, but they don’t like it. A small boy is sent to bed by his father...

       [Five minutes later]

       "Da-ad..."

       "What?"

       "I'm thirsty. Can you bring me a drink of water?"

       "No. You had your chance. Lights out."

       [Five minutes later]

       "Da-aaaad..."

       "WHAT?"

       “I'm THIRSTY...Can I have a drink of water??"

       "I told you NO! If you ask again I'll have to spank you!!"

       [Five minutes later]

       "Daaaa-aaaAAAAD..."

       "WHAT??!!"

       "When you come in to spank me, can you bring me a drink of water?"

      A.  HE KNOWS US WELL

              1.    God is personal

              2.    And therefore He knows us intimately.

                     a.    And, because God is all-knowing

                     b.    He knows what is best for us

              3.    God said to Abram:

                     a.    Genesis 12:1b (NASB95) “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you.

      B.  HE SENDS US FORTH

              1.    He tells him to leave and to go

                     a.    To leave the familiar and embrace a life of faith.

                     b.    This seems unfair—why should God tell Abram to leave his family, friends, and familiar surroundings?

              2.    Think of a Bay in the mother’s womb.

                     a.    The baby is comfortable—every need met.

                     b.    She knows no hunger, no cold or hot.

                     c.    She is safe.

                     d.    And then, she is thrust into a cold world

                            (1)  She draws her first breath

                            (2)  She hears load noises

                            (3)  And, probably for the first time

                            (4)  She experiences hunger

                     e.    But if the baby never left the womb

                            (1)  We would know something is wrong

              3.    Think about a young man

                     a.    Who grows up but never leaves his parents home

                     b.    They even made a movie about it

                     c.    Matthew McConaughy, Failure to Launch

                     d.    They didn’t call it happy at home

                     e.    But failure...something seems wrong...

                     f.    There is a natural progression to independence in our lives

              4.    Abram had to find his own way

                     a.    Perhaps his friends and family

                     b.    Would have distracted him from God’s purpose and plan in his life

                     c.    I know this happens a lot

                            (1)  When someone is saved out of a terrible situation

                            (2)  Drugs, Alcohol, abuse

                            (3)  Often they must cut connections with old friends

                            (4)  Because those ole “Friends”

                            (5)  Will suck them back down into sin

                     d.    This may have been true of Abram

‘From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods” (Joshua 24:2 NASB95).

              5.    Abram could not serve and follow God

                     a.    Unless he was separated from the belief and worship of the gods his family honored. Abram had to leave.

              6.    What holds us back?

                     a.    What keeps us from believing God?

                     b.    God loves us too much to simply stand by and allow us to embrace a life that will lead to a bankrupt soul.

                     c.    So He tells us to leave—to leave our comfort zone—and to go into of life of faith—to experience relationship and friendship with God.


GOD SPEAKS TO US

       HE SENDS US....

              You see, He has a plan

III.FOLLOW HIS STRATEGY


JOKE: Our strategies often go wrong. A young man called his mother and announced excitedly that he had just met the woman of his dreams. Now what should he do?

       His mother had an idea: "Why don't you send her flowers, and on the card invite her to your apartment for a home- cooked meal?"

       He thought this was a great strategy, and arranged a date for a week later. His mother called the day after the big date to see how things had gone.

       "The evening was a disaster," he moaned.

       "Why, didn't she come over?" asked his mother.

       "Oh, she came over, but she refused to cook...."

      A.  GOD HAS A PLAN

              1.     When God told Abram to leave his family and country,

              2.    God did not leave Abram without hope or understanding.

              3.    God gave Abram a promise!

Genesis 12 2 (NASB95) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing.

      B.  GOD HAD A PLAN FOR ABRAM

              1.    Its effects would be both immediate and long-term.

                     a.    God planned that Abram would father a great nation

                     b.    Even though at the time Abram had no children and he was old.

              2.    God planned that Abram would be blessed.

                     a.    During his life he experienced wealth and power at a regal scale.

              3.    God planned that Abram would have a great name

                     a.    A name that would last through the ages.

              4.    God planned that Abram would be a blessing to all mankind.

                     a.    God’s plan for Abram was greater than anything Abram could imagine or think.

      C.  GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB95) ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

              1.    God has a plan for you—a purpose

                     a.    A reason for your life

                     b.    And, it is a good plan—it is an awesome purpose

                     c.    based on Psalms 23

              2.    He wants to be your Shepherd—to meet your every need.

                     a.     He wants to provide for you, to restore you, and to lead you.

                     b.    Even when life gets tough and you feel enclosed in loneliness and despair,

                     c.    He wants to comfort you.

                     d.    He wants to bless you, even when those that want to shame you look on—He wants to bless you beyond measure.

                     e.    He wants you to dwell with Him forever.

                     f.    God has a plan.

GOD SPEAKS TO US

       HE SENDS US....

              FOLLOW HIS STRATEGY

IV.DEPEND ON HIS SECURITY


JOKE: At Heathrow Airport an individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight. He was in possession of a compass, a protractor, and a graphical calculator.

       Authorities believe he is a member of the notorious al-Gebra movement.  

       He is being charged with carrying weapons of math instruction.

       A.   God will protect

              1.     And, so God revealed to Abram His promise—His plan. And through this revelation, God expanded His promise:

Genesis 12:3 (NASB95) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

       B.   God inspired, encouraged Abram to step out in faith

              1.    To believe.

              2.    God would enable Abram to fulfill the purpose

              3.    God would protect Abram.

       C.   Abram knew all too well that life was dangerous.

              1.    Living the sojourners life brought with it many risks.

              2.    Beyond sickness and weather, there were many dangerous people out there

              3.    Robbers, rogue nations, and murderers that would make the journey treacherous, if not impossible.

              4.    God would provide the way—divine protection.

       D.   hose that welcomed Abram would be blessed.

              1.    However, those that would desire to harm Abram would be as good as dead.

              2.    There are two lessons to be learned from this truth:

              3.    First, is from the promise to Abram itself.

              4.    We would do well to honor and bless the family of Abram.

              5.    It amazes me, even fifty years after the horror of the Holocaust, that there are many that have contempt and distain for the Jews.

              6.    Second, how can this apply to us? Today?

                     a.    For the believer, we have been adopted into the family of Abram (Abraham),

                     b.    And have experienced to final part of God’s promise: the families of the earth will be blessed.

                     c.    It is through Jesus Christ that the believer has received God’s saving grace, received through faith in Him.

              7.    Obviously, we can feel overwhelmed, even frightened as God calls us to leave our comfort zone, and go.

                     a.    But, those God calls, He enables

Isaiah 41:10 (NASB95) ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

INVITATION

Now it is our choice

       God gave Abram a Choice

              And God gives us a choice

A choice to go

       He tells us to go

              Abram went in obedience

Not knowing all that lay before him

Genesis 12:4a (NASB95) So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him.
Listen, God blesses those who obey Him.

       When we do life God’s way

              When we follow Him as His Word directs


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