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Shake Em Off

The Best Is Yet To Come  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Who Do You Say That I Am?

This is God’s part of the covenant. Notice the ‘I will” statements made by God in this part of the passage.
Genesis 17:1–8 NKJV
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Genesis 17:1–9 NKJV
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” 9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
Abram waited another 13 yrs for God to speak to him again. Can you imagine waiting 23 years for someone to keep a promise to you? I think some of us have literally waited that long for our kids to clean their rooms, 23 years is a long time! I can’t imagine waiting that long for anything! We get angry when our internet is slow and the page doesn’t load immediately or when someone is doing 25 in a 30! We are not know for our patience are we?
Abram waited another 13 yrs for God to speak to him again. Can you imagine waiting 23 years for someone to keep a promise to you? I think some of us have literally waited that long for our kids to clean their rooms, 23 years is a long time! I can’t imagine waiting that long for anything! We get angry when our internet is slow and the page doesn’t load immediately or when someone is doing 25 in a 30! We are not know for our patience are we?
But it was his fault wasn’t it? Finally, God appears and begins to speak, and Abram is joyful! Have you ever gotten something that you’ve been waiting a long time for and it was the best thing you’ve ever had? Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
I love what happens here in verse 5. The world will give us many names, but it is God alone who tells us who we are. God uses the same words for Sarah in verse 15.
It’s through that identity that we we are blessed with the everlasting possession of heaven, truth, love, salvation, grace and mercy.

Shedding Skin

Let’s continue reading at verse 9. Now we read through what Abram must do.
Genesis 17:9–16 NKJV
9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” 15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
Genesis 17:9-
This was gonna cost Abram and his people something. It wasn’t just an empty gesture of faith, but something that would not soon be forgotten. They literally had some skin in the game! I can’t help but wonder, how many of us here today would go through with it? It’s easy to repeat a prayer or to get dunked in some water, but to actually sacrifice your body in a painful and permanent way! There is no way to get that back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. You couldn’t put it back on.
Because of Jesus Christ, we are no longer required to do this.
Colossians 2:11–13 NKJV
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
But that’s what God wants from us. He wants us to forsake everything for Him! All that we have, all that we are, all that we love, all that we strive for, He longs to be more important to us than all of it! That we would let it all go so that we may receive His blessings.
If we don’t have that kind of surrender, we will be cast out as we were neither hot nor cold. Why do we keep coming back to the same body of sin that we have already been delivered from?
Look at what happens in verse 17. Let’s pick up there and read till the end of the chapter.

In Spite of Us

Genesis 17:17–27 NKJV
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” 19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. 23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; 27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Abraham was happy and felt great joy because of God’s promises. But he still had doubt. He still questioned in his heart the method. Last week we talked about being worthy vessels. It’s not our questions that make us unworthy, its our unwillingness to move forward out of our doubts and into God’s promises.
God addresses everyone here. Even though Sarah didn’t listen, even though Abraham didn’t respond, even though Ishmael was a product of disobedience, even though it took you all these years to get to a place where we could move forward, my will will still be done! Isaac was my plan from the very beginning and he is my plan still.
There is nothing you and I can do to stop God from fulfilling His promises to His people. His kingdom will come, His will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. The question for you and I today is, “do we want to be a part of His plan or do want to continue to push our own agenda and miss out on the best that God has for us?”
I don’t want to miss out. I don’t want to be luke warm and spit out. I want the best that God has for me. The beautiful thing about it is that God’s best is available to every single one of us. Even here in the Old Testament, where foreigners were included in the covenant, we can see that God’s promises extend to us all.
But we must be willing to accept the identity He gives us, sacrifice the body of sin we are born into never to return to it, and move forward in spite of our doubts and into His promises.
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