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Genesis 12:1-13:4 – The Right Response To Faith

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Genesis 12:1-13:4 – The Right Response To Faith 

Thomas S. Myers

            They said he was a Christian.  He was a very successful and prominent Christian and business man.  And everything pointed that way.  He worshipped God.  He had faith.  He was highly involved in his church.  Then the police began to investigate his wife's death.  The deeper the investigation went, the more certain the police thought he was involved.  Finally the evidence was stacked against him.  And he confessed how he had harried a hit man to murder his wife for the insurance money.  Everyone wondered, "How in the world could it have happened?"  How could a prominent Christian be involved in such a crime?     

            At the time of his wife's murder, for his city, he was chairmen of the very successful Billy Graham Crusade.  People wondered, how could God use a man like that? 

            As I thought about that I have wondered, How in the word does god use people like us?  As a matter of fact as I think about that, I have wondered, How in the world has God this congregation?  But do you know what puzzles me more?  It is how in the world has God used me? 

            By the grace of God I stand here.  And as we look at Genesis chapter 12, we will see a man by the name of Abram.  He is very prominate in the Bible.  His name occurs 230 times.  As you read the life of Abram, you find that he did not always trust God, there are times that he lied, and 2 occasions he gave his wife away to protect his own life.  And yet he is regarded as a man of faith.  How is that God used him? 

            There is another question:  How can someone who has gotten so far from God, get close to God?  How can someone who once walked with God, get close to God? 

            Turn to Genesis 12 and lets look at the life of Abraham. 

FIRST -- THE RESPONSE TO FAITH.  GENESIS 12:1-9.

            I notice 2 things about faith. 

First -- Faith always responds to God. 

            Have you discovered that?  Faith always responds to God.

Look at verse 1-4 and notice that when God spoke, Abraham responded.

Genesis 12:1-4

1 Now the Lord said to Abram,

“Go forth from your country,

And from your relatives

And from your father’s house,

To the land which I will show you;

2 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;

3 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 shall be blessed.”

4 So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  NASV

            God spoke and Abraham responded.  That's what faith is.  Some has said that faith is belief with legs on it. 

            Faith doesn't respond to a set of circumstances around you, it doesn't wait until everything appears to be good to make a decision. or until your are absolutely sure everything is going to turn out.  Instead, faith always responds to God. 

Verse one says,

           

Genesis 12:1-4

1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth...

Verse 4 says,

4 So Abram went forth...

            In the 19th century there was an acrobat (Jean Francois Gravelet) who was know by the stage name of Blodin.  Blondin had an incredible reputation in Europe before coming to America.  But once he arrived in the United States, he gained even greater fame by walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.  On one occasion he pushed a wheelbarrow across.  On another he paused to eat an omelet.  Once he carried his manager on his back.  And on his way back he turned to a man in the crowd and asked him, "Do you believe I cold do that with you?"  "Of course," answered the man.   "I've just seen you do it."  "Well, then, hop on,' and I'll carry you across."  "Not on your life!" replied the man.

            Do you really want to grow in your Christina life?  then you must trust God. 

            The Bible says, "By faith they passed through the Red Sea.

            The Bible says of Joshua, By faith they conquered kingdoms.

            Let me give you an easy way to remember what faith is. 

            For Saking All I Trust Him

            I'll tell you something else about faith.

Second -- Faith Always Responds In Worship.  Genesis 12:6-8

Genesis 12:6-8

6 And Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land.  7 And the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.  8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.  NASV         

            Abraham comes to a place called Bethel.  Bethel means, "House of God."  Now I have never been to Bethel.  But in the time of Abrham it was a barren place.  There were no trees, no bushes, just rocks.  The reason I know that is because of Genesis 28:10-11.

Genesis 28:10-11

10 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran.  11 And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his

 

Genesis 28:19

19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz.  NASV

 

                The fact that Faith Always Responds in Worship tells me something. 

 

                You can worship God anywhere. 

You can worship God in a desert.

You can worship God at the kitchen.

You can worship God in the bedroom.

You can worship God in your car.

 

                Some says, "Why should I worship God?"

 

Let me give you 2 reasons why you should worship God.

 

1st -- God Desires it.

 

John 4:23

23 *But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  NASV

 

                I don't know if you know this are not, but all that God really wants from  you is for you to worship Him. 

 

                If you gave God all your money, He wouldn't be any richer.

 

                If you gave God all your intellect, He wouldn't be any smarter.

 

                If you gave God all your strength, He would not be any stronger.  The thing that God seeks from you foremost is your worship.

            Why do you think that God created you?  Someone may say, God created us to serve Him."  If God created you to serve Him, He could have created a billion angels just with the snap of this finger and they would serve God far better than you are I. 

            No god wants something from you that He can get from on one else, and that is your worship.

            You see there are some people who can sang better than you.  There are some people who give more than you.  But when it comes to worship, we are all equal.  No one can worship God better than you. 

Second - God is Worthy of Your Worship. 

Revelation 5:12-14

12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”  13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”  14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshipped.  NASV

            Do you know what the word worship means?  It actually comes from the words "Worth - Ship.

            Worship shows what you think God is worth.  You see, we worship God because we believe He is worthy of worship.

            Let me tell you something.  You show me the way you worship, and I will tell you what you think of God.  How much God is wroth to you is shown in your worship.  The reason you worship so poorly is because you have a low estimation of God.

Revelation 5:12

12 “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

FIRST -- THE FAITHFULNESS OF ABRAHAM.

SECOND -- THE RETREATING FAITH OF ABRAHAM.

            There was a time when Abraham didn't trust god and there was a time when Abraham didn't worship God.

            Look at Genesis 12:10

Genesis 12:10

10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.  nasv

            Someone says, "Wait a minute.  I don't see any unfaithfulness of Abraham."

            Isn't Abraham exactly where God told him to be?  Sure he is.  But then a famine came on the scene and Abraham slips into Incomplete Faith

A -- INCOMPLETE FAITH.

            Has that ever happened to you.  Something bad happens and you pack up and move.  I mean you are convinced it God's will, you pray about it.  And you move away.

            Do you know what you need to do in the land of famine?  Trust God!

            Wasn't Israel in a land of famine for 40 years and yet God proved for them.

            Wasn't Elijah in a land of famine for 3 1/2 years, and God provided for him.

            Don't take your eyes off God and put them on your circumstances.  If you put your eyes on circumstances, your going to live your live on a roller coaster.

            Let me tell you what's going to happen?

Your going to be encourage  - then you're going to be discouraged.

You're going to be up - then you're going to be down.

            Listen, you can trust God for your eternity, then can't you trust God for your tomorrow?

            But wait a minute.  Abraham can't!

Genesis 12:10

10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.  NASV          

                The entire time that Abraham is in Egypt, there is no mention of Abraham worshipping God, and there is no fellowship with God.

A.  INCOMPLETE FAITH -- results in

B.  INCOMPLETE HONESTY.

Genesis 12:11-15

11 And it came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman;  12 and it will come about when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.  13 “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.”  14 And it came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful.  15 And Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.  NASV

            Abraham cold not trust God for protection.

            Now Abraham had a very good looking wife.  I mean Sarah was beautiful.  Abrham said that his wife was his sister.  Now that was a half-truth.  Sarah was his half sister. 

            Did you know you lie with the arching of the eyebrows?  Anytime you deceive anybody, your telling a lie.

            Do you know what is really happening here?  Abraham has moved away from God.  And when you move away from God, you start scheming. 

            Abraham has sunk so low, that even the pharaoh of Egypt was discussed. 

            Now what I want you see is what this cost Abraham. 

            He is down there in Egypt and he's trying to solve his problems mans way.

He gained 2 thing and he lost 2 things.

THE THINGS HE LOST.

1 -- He Lost Time.

            The whole time that he was down in Egypt, he was out of the will of God.  And anytime you are out of the will of God, that amounts to nothing gained.

            At the judgment seat of christ, anything you do, out of the will of God, is wood, hay and stubble.  It is gone forever.

2 -- He Lost His Testimony.

            Abraham should have been able to witness to Pharaoh.  He was a man who disgraced God before the unsaved.

            I wonder, how many unsaved individuals who have been mistreated by Christians.  How many unsaved bosses have been ripped off by Christian employees.  How many unsaved teachers have been taken advantage of by Christian students? 

HE GAINED TWO THINGS

1 - He gained Wealth.

Genesis 13:1-2

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him; and Lot with him.  2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. NASV

            Now a part of Abraham's wealth was "CATTLE."  Abraham went down

into Egypt a shepherd and he came out a cattleman. 

            And it was cattle that got Abraham into trouble with Lot.  You thee was now a range war.  The cowboys of Lot and the cowboys of Abraham got into a big hot range war over grazing rights.  There was not enough grass to fed the cattle that they got down in Egypt. 

            There is a big difference in the way cattle and sheep feed.  A sheep will browse and cattle will graze. 

            You see at sheep when its feeds it clips the grass.  Sheep will just bite the grass off.  But when cattle eats grass right down to the roots. 

           

2nd -- Abraham got a women.  He got an Egyptian handmaiden.  He name was Hagar.  She became Abraham's cocabine and she gave birth to a child called Ishmael.  Ishamel became the Arab race.  Gen 17:20

THE RESPONSE OF ABRAHAM'S FAITH.

THE RELAPSE OF ABRAHAM'S FAITH.

THIRD -- THE RETURN OF ABRAHAM'S FAITH. 

A.  -- REPENTANCE.

Genesis 13:1

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him; and Lot with him.  NASV

            Abraham goes back to Bethel.  Do you remember what the name Bethel means?  It meas. House of God.  While Abraham was down in Egypt, there was no worship, there was not alter, there was no mention of Abrham spending time with God. 

            You can always come back to God. 

The Bible says,

Isaiah 55:7

7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. NASV

            I think Abraham was glad he did.  Look at verse 4 and notice the very first thing that Abraham does.

Genesis 13:3-4

3 And he went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,  4 to the place of the altar, which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.  NASV

REPENTANCE:  Repentance is not being just broken over your sins, it is being broken from your sins.

It is not enough for you to say, "I don't smoke and I don't chew and I don't go with girls that do.

            Some of us have a dog that doesn't do any of those things.   Repentance is not being broken from a list of sins.  Repentance also means you have a relationship with God. 

            Every event in life can draw us to God or away from God.

            Do you know what that alter was picture of?  the alter was a picture that one day Jesus could come and be sacrificed upon a cross.

            Did you know that the Bible says that Abraham saw the Gospel?  The Bible says:

John 1:29

29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  NASV

            Did you know that the Bible says Abraham saw the Gospel. 

Galatians 3:8

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.”

            If you have blacksliden, if you have fallen tinto sin, you can come back to God.

            God took Abraham back.  And God will take you back. 

            Lets bow in prayer.  Maybe you are thinking, I'm still living in sin.  I've coned y lay and I lied.  Then lets deal with it now.  Tell God about it now.  Plan to speak with those you have hurt.  Maybe your are like Sarah and you have been hurt.  You need to for give. 

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