Faithlife Sermons

Shaped By Where We Come From

The Book of Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:38
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We all come from someplace, from some people. Our past and our people were not perfect. We all come out of a land or idolaters, people who put something above God. We need to be aware of our past and how it has shaped us, but we should never let our past limit how we serve God.

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1 AT THE ANNUAL FAMILY-REUNION PICNIC, 2 • A YOUNG BRIDE LED HER HUSBAND OVER • TO AN OLD WOMAN CROCHETING IN A ROCKING CHAIR • "GRANNY," SHE SAID, TOUCHING THE OLD WOMAN'S HAND AFFECTIONATELY, 3 • "THIS IS MY NEW HUSBAND." • THE WOMAN EYED HIM CRITICALLY FOR A LONG MOMENT, • THEN ASKED ABRUPTLY, "DO YOU DESIRE CHILDREN?" • STARTLED BY HER BLUNTNESS, THE YOUNG MAN BLUSHED AND SAID, 4 • "WELL-UH-YES, I DO VERY MUCH." • "WELL," SHE SAID, LOOKING • AT THE LARGE TRIBE GATHERED AROUND THE SIX PICNIC TABLES, • "TRY TO CONTROL YOUR SELF!" • FAMILIES ARE PART OF LIFE 5 • MAYBE YOU CAME FROM A BIG FAMILY • MAYBE YOU CAME FROM A SMALL FAMILY • MAYBE YOU GOT ALONG GREAT WITH YOUR FAMILY • MAYBE YOU DID NOT GET ALONG SO GOOD WITH THEM • MAYBE YOU NEVER EVEN MET YOUR FAMILY • BUT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER OUR FAMILIES SHAPED OUR LIVES • AS CHRISTIANS WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND 6 7 • THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH OUR FAMILIES SHAPED OUR LIVES • WE SHOULD NEVER LET WHERE WE CAME FROM • LIMIT HOW WE SERVE GOD • TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT 8 • THE FAMILY OF A VERY IMPORTANT BIBLICAL FIGURE • TURN TO GENESIS 11:27 • MOSES HAD JUST TOLD HIS AUDIENCE • THE GENEALOGY FROM SHEM TO ABRAM • HE DID THIS TO CONNECT THE PROMISES AND THE BLESSINGS 9 • FROM ADAM THROUGH NOAH TO SHEM • AND ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ABRAM • MOSES NOW GIVES DETAILS ABOUT ABRAM’S FAMILY GENESIS 11:27–28 10 NOW THESE ARE THE RECORDS OF THE GENERATIONS OF TERAH. TERAH BECAME THE FATHER OF ABRAM, NAHOR AND HARAN; AND HARAN BECAME THE FATHER OF LOT. HARAN DIED IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS FATHER TERAH IN THE LAND OF HIS BIRTH, IN UR OF THE CHALDEANS. WE ALL COME FROM SINNERS • THIS IS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE GENEALOGIES • BUT THIS ONE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT • THE PURPOSE OF MOST GENEALOGIES 11 12 • IS TO CONNECT EVENTS IN ONE TIME PERIOD • TO EVENTS IN A PREVIOUS TIME PERIOD • TO SHOW HOW WE GOT FROM WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE • TO WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW 13 • BUT THE PURPOSE OF THIS GENEALOGY IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT. • THIS GENEALOGY IS HERE TO PROVIDE THE BACKGROUND • FOR UNDERSTANDING EVENTS THAT ARE GOING TO HAPPEN • IN THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF ABRAM’S LIFE (PAUSE) 14 • NOW AT FIRST GLANCE THIS MAY NOT LOOK LIKE MUCH • HE JUST TELLS US THE NAMES OF HIS FATHER AND BROTHERS • HE TELLS US OF HIS NEPHEW LOT • AND HE TELLS US THE LAND OF HIS BIRTH 15 • BUT TO THE PEOPLE MOSES IS WRITING THIS TO • THIS WOULD TELL THEM A GREAT DEAL • JUST KNOWING THAT TERAH WAS HIS FATHER WOULD • TELL THEM SOMETHING IMPORTANT JOSHUA 24:2 16 JOSHUA SAID TO ALL THE PEOPLE, “THUS SAYS THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, ‘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 SAID THAT TEREAH HAD SERVED “OTHER GODS” • THIS IS LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME WORDS • USED IN THE FIRST COMMANDMENT 17 18 EXODUS 20:3 “YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME. • NOW I DO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS COMMANDMENT • HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN AT THE TIME TERAH SERVED OTHER GODS 19 • BUT I ALSO UNDERSTAND GOD DOES NOT CHANGE (PAUSE) • EVEN IF THE COMMANDMENT HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN • IT WAS STILL JUST AS MUCH A SIN TO SERVE OTHER GODS (PAUSE) • SO ABRAM COMES FROM A FAMILY WITH SINNERS IN IT • DON’T WE ALL • NO MATTER WHO RAISED US, PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS • IF WE WERE ADOPTED, RAISED IN FOSTER CARE • NO MATTER WHO RAISED US THEY WERE HUMAN 20 21 • AND THAT MEANS THEY WERE SINNERS • THAT MEANS THEY MADE MISTAKES • MESSED UP, DID WRONG, FAILED • WE MUST UNDERSTAND THIS (PAUSE) 22 • AND WE MUST NOT LET IT LIMIT HOW WE SERVE GOD • WE HAVE BEEN BORN ANEW • WE ARE NOW CHILDREN OF GOD • WITH A NEW FATHER, ONE WITHOUT SIN • WHO HAS FREED US FROM SIN 23 • AND HAS GIVEN US THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DWELL IN US • WHEN WE YIELD TO HIM WE CAN SERVE GOD TO THE UTMOST (PAUSE) • WE DON’T JUST COME FROM A FAMILY WITH SINNERS IN IT 24 WE ALL COME FROM A LAND OF IDOLATERS • THE TEXT DESCRIBES THE LAND OF TERAH’S BIRTH • AS UR OF THE CHALDEANS • ARCHEOLOGIST HAVE FOUND OUT QUITE A BIT 25 • ABOUT UR OF THE CHALDEANS. • IT IS ESTIMATED THAT AS MANY AS 24,000 PEOPLE LIVED THERE • IT WAS SOPHISTICATED FOR ITS DAY • THEY PRACTICED SUMERIAN LAW (PAUSE) 26 • AND THEY WERE IDOLATERS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER • IT IS VERY LIKELY THE “OTHER GOD” TERAH WORSHIPPED WERE SUMERIAN • THESE GODS TOOK THE FORM OF IDOLS • SACRIFICES WERE MADE TO THEM 27 • THIS IS THE WORLD THAT ABRAM CAME OUT OF (PAUSE) • EVERYONE OF US CAME OUT OF A SIMILAR WORLD • OK SO MAYBE THE IDOLS • IN THE WORLD WE CAME OUT OF DID NOT LOOK LIKE • SUMERIAN STATUES OF MEN WITH ANIMAL HEADS • BUT WE ALL GREW UP IN A WORLD THAT MADE HAD IDOLS • MAYBE THEY WERE MOVIE STARS, MAYBE ATHLETES • OR MUSICIANS… OR MAYBE THE IDOLS WERE MONEY 28 29 • OR POWER, FAME, SEX, ALCOHOL • BUT TRUST ME WE ALL COME FROM A WORLD FILLED WITH IDOLS • THINGS PEOPLE PUT ABOVE GOD, THINGS PEOPLE SACRIFICE TO 30 • THINGS PEOPLE WORSHIP AND ADORE. (PAUSE) • WE NEED TO BE VERY AWARE OF WHAT IDOLS • WERE WORSHIPPED AROUND US. 31 • WE NEED TO SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM THAT IDOL WORSHIP • GOD HAS CALLED US OUT OF THIS WORLD • WE ARE NOT TO LET THE WORLD THAT WORSHIPS IDOLS SHAPE US ROMANS 12:2 32 AND DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, SO THAT YOU MAY PROVE WHAT THE WILL OF GOD IS, THAT WHICH IS GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE AND PERFECT. 33 • THIS EXPLAINS HOW WE ARE CALLED • TO DEAL WITH WHERE WE HAVE COME FROM • WE NEED TO BE TRANSFORMED • AND WE DO THAT BY THE RENEWING OF THE MIND 34 • WHICH REQUIRES THAT WE YIELD TO THE HOLY SPIRIT (PAUSE) • WE CAN SIT AROUND AND BLAME WHERE WE COME FROM • “THAT’S JUST HOW I WAS RAISED” • “THAT’S HOW THEY DID THINGS IN MY FAMILY” • OR WE CAN UNDERSTAND WE COME FROM • A FALLEN WORLD, AND THAT DOING THINGS • THE WAY I WAS RAISED OR HOW THEY DID THINGS • MAY NOT BE GOD’S WAY 35 36 • GOD LOVES US AND FORGIVES US NO MATTER WHERE WE COME FROM • BUT HE DOES DESIRE THAT WE CHANGE THAT WE GROW • AND HE HAS GIVEN US THE HOLY SPIRIT • SO THAT WE CAN GROW AND CHANGE TO BE MORE LIKE CHRIST IN 1978, THOMAS HANSEN 37 • SUED HIS PARENTS FOR $350,000 ON GROUNDS OF "MALPRACTICE OF PARENTING." • MOM AND DAD HAD BOTCHED HIS UPBRINGING SO BADLY, • HE CHARGED IN HIS SUIT, THAT HE WOULD NEED 38 • YEARS OF COSTLY PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT. • HE LAID ALL THE BLAME AND RESPONSIBILITY ON HIS UPBRINGING • YES THOSE THINGS SHAPE US 39 • BUT IN CHRIST WE ARE REBORN • ABLE TO OVERCOME ALL THAT HAS COME BEFORE • ABLE TO OVERCOME ALL THAT WE HAVE YET TO FACE GENESIS 11:28–30 40 HARAN DIED IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS FATHER TERAH IN THE LAND OF HIS BIRTH, IN UR OF THE CHALDEANS. ABRAM AND NAHOR TOOK WIVES FOR THEMSELVES. 41 THE NAME OF ABRAM’S WIFE WAS SARAI; AND THE NAME OF NAHOR’S WIFE WAS MILCAH, THE DAUGHTER OF HARAN, THE FATHER OF MILCAH AND ISCAH. SARAI WAS BARREN; SHE HAD NO CHILD. WE MAY LOSE LOVED ONES • WHEN IT SAYS DIED IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS FATHER • IS A NICE WAY OF SAYING HE DIED WHILE TERAH WAS STILL ALIVE (PAUSE) • I HAVE HEARD IT SAID 42 • THAT ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS • ANYONE CAN FACE IN LIFE IS LOSING A CHILD • HERE WE READ THAT ABRAM’S FATHER TERAH • LOST HIS SON HARAN 43 • I THINK IT IS LIKELY THAT TERAH LOSING HIS SON • ABRAM LOSING HIS BROTHER • HAD AN IMPACT ON THE FAMILY 44 45 • THIS MAY BE PART OF WHY LOT GOES WITH ABRAM TO CANAAN • THEN MOSES TELLS US SOMETHING THAT WILL BE A MAJOR PART OF ABRAM’S LIFE 46 SOME MAY FACE BARREN LIVES • ABRAM AND NAHOR TOOK WIVES FOR THEMSELVES • NAHOR TAKES MILCAH AS HIS WIFE • SHE IS THE DAUGHTER OF HIS BROTHER, HIS NIECE • THIS WAS FAIRLY COMMON FOR THAT TIME AND PLACE • THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF NAHOR AND MILCAH IS REBECCA • WHO WILL MARRY ABRAM’S SON ISAAC • ABRAM MARRIES SARAI, WHOSE NAME WILL LATER BE SARAH 47 • AND THEN MOSES MENTIONS SOMETHING • THAT WILL GREATLY AFFECT, GREATLY SHAPE ABRAM’S LIFE • SARAI WAS BARREN; SHE HAD NO CHILD. • THIS MUST HAVE BEEN DEVASTATING 48 49 • I HAVE TALKED WITH COUPLES GOING THROUGH THIS • IT IS CRUSHING • IN ABRAM’S TIME IT WAS NOT JUST EMOTIONALLY CRUSHING • IT WAS A MATTER OF SURVIVAL • FAMILIES LIVED OR DIED BASED ON HAVING CHILDREN • SARAI BEING BARREN WILL HAVE A GREAT EFFECT ON ABRAM’S LIFE • IT WILL ALSO BE A MAJOR PART OF HOW GOD CHANGES HIS LIFE • SOMETIMES THE HARDEST THINGS WE FACE 50 • HAVE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON COMING TO GOD • THE TRIALS, CHALLENGES, OBSTACLES WE HAVE TO OVERCOME IN OUR WALK WITH GOD • PROVIDE THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH 51 MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE 52 • THE BRITISH JOURNALIST ONCE WROTE: • CONTRARY TO WHAT MIGHT BE EXPECTED, • I LOOK BACK ON EXPERIENCES 53 • THAT AT THE TIME SEEMED ESPECIALLY DESOLATING • AND PAINFUL WITH PARTICULAR SATISFACTION. • INDEED, I CAN SAY WITH COMPLETE TRUTHFULNESS • THAT EVERYTHING I HAVE LEARNED IN MY 75 YEARS IN THIS WORLD, • EVERYTHING THAT HAS TRULY ENHANCED • AND ENLIGHTENED MY EXPERIENCE, • HAS BEEN THROUGH AFFLICTION AND NOT THROUGH HAPPINESS. 54 55 • KNOWING THAT WE GROW IN TRIALS MAY NOT MAKE THEM ANY EASIER • BUT IT CAN HELP OUR ATTITUDE IN THE TRIALS JAMES 1:2–4 56 CONSIDER IT ALL JOY, MY BRETHREN, WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER VARIOUS TRIALS, KNOWING THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES ENDURANCE. AND LET ENDURANCE HAVE ITS PERFECT RESULT, SO THAT YOU MAY BE PERFECT AND COMPLETE, LACKING IN NOTHING. • AND SOMETIMES WE NEED THAT ENDURANCE • THAT PERSEVERANCE • JUST TO MAKE IT DOWN THE PATH GOD HAS US WALKING 57 GENESIS 11:31–32 58 TERAH TOOK ABRAM HIS SON, AND LOT THE SON OF HARAN, HIS GRANDSON, AND SARAI HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW, HIS SON ABRAM’S WIFE; AND THEY WENT OUT TOGETHER FROM UR OF THE CHALDEANS IN ORDER TO ENTER THE LAND OF CANAAN; 59 AND THEY WENT AS FAR AS HARAN, AND SETTLED THERE. THE DAYS OF TERAH WERE TWO HUNDRED AND FIVE YEARS; AND TERAH DIED IN HARAN. WE MAY NEED TO GO • AFTER ONE SON HAD DIED AND THE OTHERS HAD MARRIED • TERAH LEAVES UR OF THE CHALDEANS 60 61 • AND HE TOOK; • ABRAM HIS SON, AND LOT THE SON OF HARAN, HIS GRANDSON, AND SARAI HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW, HIS SON ABRAM’S WIFE; • THERE IS AN INTERESTING QUESTION HERE • DID TERAH GET A CALLING FROM GOD TO LEAVE UR • WE KNOW ABRAM WAS INSTRUCTED BY GOD TO GO 62 GENESIS 12:1 63 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; 64 • MANY SCHOLARS THINK THAT TERAH MAY HAVE RECEIVED A CALLING AS WELL • THE BIBLE DOES NOT MENTION IT IF HE DID • SO POSSIBLY TERAH’S DECISION TO LEAVE UR WAS BASED ON ABRAM’S CALLING 65 • OR PERHAPS IT WAS GOD PROVIDING A MEANS FOR ABRAM TO LEAVE UR • IT CAN BE HARD TO LEAVE THE PLACE YOU GREW UP • ABRAM WAS LEAVING HIS EXTENDED FAMILY • WHICH IN THAT WORLD WAS VERY IMPORTANT 66 • HE WAS LEAVING A COMFORTABLE LIFE • IN A DEVELOPED SOCIETY • FOR AN UNKNOWN LAND THAT WAS FAR LESS SECURE • GOD FREQUENTLY CALLS PEOPLE TO LEAVE ONE SITUATION FOR ANOTHER 67 • SOMETIMES WHEN HE CALLS PEOPLE THEY KNOW WHERE THEY ARE GOING • SOMETIMES LIKE ABRAM GOD SAYS GO • AND DOES NOT MAKE IT CLEAR WHERE WE ARE TO GO • WE SHOULD GO WHEN HE SAYS GO • BUT WE SHOULD 68 GO WITH A PURPOSE • MOSES STATES THE PURPOSE OF TERAH LEAVING UR • HE SAYS IT WAS; • IN ORDER TO ENTER THE LAND OF CANAAN; • THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD PURPOSE 69 • GOD MAY BE USING TERAH’S PURPOSE • AS A WAY TO GET ABRAM WHERE HE NEEDS TO BE • THE BEST PURPOSES WE CAN HAVE ARE THOSE THAT SERVE GOD • AND WHEN WE ARE SERVING GOD • WE NEED TO BE SURE WE NEVER STOP MOVING TOWARDS WHERE GOD HAS CALLED US TO GO • THE TEXT SAYS; • AND THEY WENT AS FAR AS HARAN, AND SETTLED THERE. 70 71 • THIS IS NOT WHERE THEY WERE HEADED WHEN THEY LEFT UR • BUT THEY GET HERE AND THEY STOP • THE RABI’S TEACH THAT TERAH NAMED THIS PLACE AFTER HIS SON HARAN WHO HAD DIED • WE ARE NOT TOLD WHY THEY SETTLED THERE 72 • MAYBE IT WAS A NICE PLACE AND THEY JUST LIKED IT THERE • SOME PEOPLE THINK TERAH BECAME ILL AND COULD NOT GO FARTHER • EITHER WAY THEY STOPPED SHORT OF WHERE GOD HAD CALLED THEM TO GO (PAUSE) 73 GOD CALLED ERIN AND I OUT OF OUR OLD LIFE • WE WERE LIVING VERY FAR FROM GOD • WE WERE LITERALLY IDOLATERS • WORSHIPING OTHER GODS 74 • I HAD BEEN RAISED IN A FAMILY THAT KNEW GOD • BUT DID NOT KNOW CHRIST • WHEN WE STARTED DOWN THAT PATH • WE DID NOT KNOW IT LEAD TO MULLIN 75 • WE ARE SO GRATEFUL THAT GOD KNEW WHERE THE PATH WENT • WE ARE GRATEFUL HE PROVIDED PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY TO • ENCOURAGE AND TRAIN US, TO HELP WITH PAYING FOR SEMINARY 76 • WE ARE SO GRATEFUL THAT GOD GAVE US THE STRENGTH TO MAKE IT HERE • WE ARE ALSO GRATEFUL FOR THOSE WHO HELPED US ONCE WE GOT HERE • AND WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THOSE WHO WILL HELP US IN THE FUTURE • AS WE CONTINUE DOWN THE PATH GOD AS SET BEFORE US 77 WE NEED TO REMEMBER 78 • THAT WHERE WE COME FROM HAS SHAPED WHO WE ARE • OUR FAMILIES WERE PART OF THAT PAST • BUT FOR THOSE OF US THAT HAVE TRUSTED IN JESUS CHRIST AS OUR SAVOIR 79 • WE HAVE BEEN BORN ANEW, WE ARE NOW CHILDREN OF GOD • WE SHOULD NEVER LET WHERE WE COME FROM • OR WHAT WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH IN LIFE • LIMIT HOW WE SERVE GOD 80 • WE MAY HAVE FACED TRAGIC THINGS • LOSS, DEATH, BARRENNESS • THIS DOES NOT MAKE US LESS SUITED TO SERVE GOD • IN FACT IN MANY CASES IT IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH • THAT MAKES US BEST SUITED TO SERVE HIM • THESE THINGS WE FACED • HELP US HAVE COMPASSION AND MERCY • FOR THOSE WHO WE SERVE 81 • IT HELPS US COMMUNICATE THE GOSPEL MESSAGE • THAT THERE IS A GOD WHO LOVES US AND WANTS • AN ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP WITH US… 82 83
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