Faithlife Sermons

Going Up In Faith (2)

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Despite some shortcomings as a husband and father, his obedience, faith, hospitality and effective intercession were exemplary. Such qualities led to his being called “friend of God”.

Abraham, the friend of God is tested by God. Genesis 22 plants us at an unique situation. The testing of Abraham. 22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Ge 22:1–2). We read of the request from God. Go and offer your son the one you love you only son a burnt offering! Now its it is important that we understand who Abraham was.
We know from the Hebrew writer that this action proved Abraham was faithful and had faith in God. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. (Heb 11:17–19).

He was blessed by God

Genesis 14:18–19 ESV
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
See also Ge 21:22; Ge 24:1; Ge 24:35

He worshipped God

Genesis 21:33 ESV
33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.
See also Ge 12:8; Ge 13:4; Ge 13:18

He had faith in God

Genesis 15:6 ESV
6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
See also Ro 4:18–22; Heb 6:15 Abraham’s faith is seen in the length of time (25 years) that he waited for the realisation of the promise; Heb 11:8–12; Heb 11:17–19

He was obedient

See also Ge 12:4 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him(Ge 12:4).
He was a prophet and intercessor
Genesis 20:7 ESV
7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
See also Ge 18:16–33 As a prophet, God reveals his will to Abraham; as an intercessor, Abraham brings the revelation back to God and pleads for him to change his mind.

He was called the friend of God

James 2:23 ESV
23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
See also Ge 15:6; 2 Ch 20:7; Is 41:8
I said all that to help us know that God does not test just anyone. They ones he tested or allowed to be tested have a track record for building up the character to know that the test will prove their faithfulness!
God calls us to lives of faithfulness, righteousness, and devotion. Can God Trust You? The testing of our faith brings perseverance and allows us to know where we are at on the obedience scale. The Bible teaches us that God does not tempt us to do evil, that is done by the enemy of your soul, but God does test us in areas of our life.
He does not test us to know us better, He test us so we know ourselves better.
When you are given a test at school, work, by your parents, it lets you know if you have learned the lesson, or able to apply learned principals.
(1). Abraham's Trial (vs 1-2)
22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. (Ge 22:1–2).
God tested Abraham- not to trip him up and watch him fail but to deepen his capacity to obey God, and develop character.
God refines us through difficult times and difficult circumstances.
We have a choice of complaining or see how God can stretch us to develop character.
That morning, after God demands what seems like the ultimate sacrifice, Abraham travels 50-50 miles to the mountain of where he is to sacrifice Isaac.
If Abraham didn’t have a past with God, I don’t think he could have made it
Abraham learned some lessons from his past. He learned this time that he must be prompt and complete.
Obeying God is often a struggle because it may mean giving up something we truly want.
We should not expect our obedience to God to be easy or to come naturally.
I want you to see something-
Why would God want Abraham to sacrifice his Son?
Pagan nations practice this, and God had condemned it. God saw it as terrible sin (Lev 20)
God did not want Isaac to die, he wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than his promised and beloved son.
God tested Abraham
James says that the testing of our faith develops perseverance , perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete- not lacking in anything.
How many would agree that society works basically on feelings and emotions?
If it feels good, I will do it, I have a right to do it no matter if it hurts anybody’s feelings.
I am not happy-change it. If it is marriage, quick to abandon it.
Emotional, unrealistic feelings, impulse buying, made and told that you deserve it, wither you can afford it is not the issue.
Happiness without commitment- we see it in relationships. We see no job loyalty.
The feeling of quick gratification and emotional selfishness has crept into the church also. A mature Christian, being tested, going through trials and circumstances is the only way that they learn perseverance is facing trials and seeing how they react and respond.
Christians are like anyone else in so many ways because we are human, but a mature Christian learns the lesson that emotions change, feelings change, but we don’t live our lives on emotions and feelings. We are not governed by our feelings, we are to be people of principal- God’s principals! Emotions or principals- hard right?
I cannot imagine making that decision. I am glad I don’t have too, but I pray that I have the strength and power to do it if God ask me to do it.
(2). Abrahams Obedience (vs 3-10)
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. . (Ge 22:3–11).
“He said to his servants; stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham trusted God-
He did not know or understand what was happening or about to happen but Abraham was the man of faith, Father of all who believe (Rom 4) reasoned that if God would ask for his son on that altar, that same God could raise him from the dead.
My ways are higher than your ways, my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.
Trust here is a God thing- Then there is God trust- you can’t see it, you don’t understand it, it may not make sense to you.
“Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, sacrifice him there as an offering.
There no reasoning or logical answer except you know it was from God. Give him to me! Give it to me! Give that circumstance to me!
It was not what you wanted, but he knew God was in it and somehow God will provide.
It was not that he was a bad person, he loved God was going to see what he would do.
Let’s not forget the obedient heart of Isaac
“The fire and wood are here, Isaacs said, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering.
“God himself will provide the lamb for the offering.”
Abraham built an altar and placed the wood on it.
He bound Isaac- that had to be a moment,
No, Isaac allows his father to place him on the altar (God moment)
(3). Abraham’s Deliverer (vs 11-14)
11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. (Ge 22:11–13).
There is a blessing on the other side of obedience, and there is even bigger blessing, not blind faith, but for faith that dares God to do something amazing and impossible- supernatural! Far above anything we could think or achieve.
God always has a bigger shovel
God has unlimited resources
Faith that dares.
Abraham knew God would keep His promise- somehow! His faith led him to believe that God had a purpose and that somehow everything would be okay.
I am one who personally believes that when Abraham left his servants on the mountains and Abraham took his son- we will worship and then we will come back to you.” He didn’t see how but he knew that God would provide and take care of him.
I have been challenged this morning to walk by faith than by sight- if we want more of God than that is how it is.
(4). Abraham’s Sign.
15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice (2016). (Ge 22:15–18).
God reassures Abraham. That promise the Lord made you. He will reassure you it will come to pass.
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