FAITH IN THE CALL OF GOD
MORN. WORSHIP; FBC of CC, APRIL 5, 2020
HEBREWS 11:8-10; GEN. 12:1-5
The moving van backed up to the entrance of the apartment. Help arrived. The piano was loaded in first. Some heavier pieces of furniture placed in the truck and secured with blankets between them. Boxes had been packed. “12 assorted houseplants” were documented, among the other list of household items and a few tools, and the truck was on the road to go through customs to another country. There were no animals, just two children a husband and wife as they set o0out for another country for a pastorate of a small church in six million acres of woods in upper NYS.
Unlike Abraham, we had no animals, no other relatives with us, a destination and work defined for us when we arrived. We had documents declaring we were fit, fingerprinted, and declared registered for this land. This man did not even have his destination defined when he left for a new country; He was truly a pilgrim traveling to a place undefined.
Yet this man, and his son and grandson become for us a mighty source of trust and revival for our soul. We are on a journey of faith, destined to a place we have never seen, and must make choices which reveal we “belong to the other side,” of the river. Three things fix our attention of what God is Calling:
1. ABRAHAM WENT: 8
2. ABRAHAM WANDERED: 9
3. ABRAHAM WAITED: 10
1. ABRAHAM WENT: 8
As the population of the world grew after the flood ofd Noah, and spread out over the earth, people turned away from the God of Noah, and the commands of that God. One of that world, Nimrod began to hunt for people who would join his urbanization venture, which also included turning away from God. Chapter 11 of Genesis reveals their thrust to make a world center for astrology worship instead of Jehovah worship. Romans points out how that worship replaces God with His creation.
Genesis 12 tells us how God called one man out of the Tigris Euphrates valley and the idolatry which had overtake that region of the world and its cities of Babylon, Susa, Ninevah, etc. He told him to leave his UR of the Chaldees and embark on the venture to this unknown land. He had one promise to start with - that he would receive this land one day in his relatives and offspring.
He also had one problem. He had not one single offspring!
One thing in his favor, however, was that he had listened to God speak to him and he obeyed Him. He WENT!
Along the way, he would leave his father and mother behind, and eventually send Lot and his wife and family off as well. He and he alone with Sarah entered this CALL to trust God.
God is still giving calls today. They come through the Bible, and the Holy Spirit using it, to us. They are GENERAL, in that they go out to all the world in the Gospel - John 3:16; Isa. 45:22; 55:6-7; Rev. 3:20.
And it is specific also - John 5:24; Rom. 8:30; I Cor. 1:23-24; II Tim. 1:9. When God tugs in our heart to bring us to repent of our sins, but we resist him with our sin nature, our “want to” going in the opposite direction, we need to repent, turn around and yield to God and ask to be saved. Abraham yielded gladly to God and God led him forth to experience some amazing experiences - like the birth of a child at 100, provisions for a lifetime of 175 years, preservation of his marriage, defeat of enemies far outnumbering him, etc. The general call of God goes out to all the world, and becomes special when I respond to it personally. Without that personal choice and decision to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” I, nor any other person, will ever be able “to pass from (eternal) death unto (eternal) life” as Jesus promised in John 5:24. Friend, have you ever made this passage? Have you admitted the need of your soul to leave the DARKNESS OF SATAN’S KINGDOM, AND “RECEIVE THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS (from God Himself)” to enter Christ’s Kingdom and heaven - Acts 26:18? Forgiveness from God is a wonderful thing to experience, fully given by the Lord Jesus through His shed blood on the cross, and lasting forever - Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14)!
Genesis 14:13 call this man a “Hebrew” which means “a man who crossed over (the river).” He went from one land to another, crossing its boundary. So we too, by faith, through the grace of God in salvation, are to cross from one kingdom to another; we are to leave the kingdom of Satan and enter the kingdom of heaven and of God. May we let it be known that we “have come from the other side.” Take the step of obedience to believe the gospel today and leave the gods “on the other side” to follow the true God - as Joshua challenged Israel, 24:15.
2. ABRAHAM WANDERED: 9
Abraham did not know to where he was going at first, but God showed him once he arrived that that was the place in which he and his progeny should dwell. However, since life was uncertain for him in this new faith venture, Abraham chose to dwell in a tent. His son and grandson also chose this way of life - v. 9. This did make it much easier for them to follow their hers of thousands of cattle! The truth, however, was that they never owned any property among the Canaanite people except the burial field and cave of Machphelah, which Abraham bought from Ephron of Mamre, Gen. 23:17-20. It would be 430 years later before God would give them this land “when the iniquity of the Amorites was full,” when they would be judged of God, and the land would be taken from them and given to Abraham’s seed, in a permanent transfer; Gen. 15:16, 18; 17:8.
“Heirs with him of the same promise:” It is nice to know that, though we are called by God one by one into His Kingdom, we are not left to go it alone through life. God has give us a family of redeemer to join, It is called His Church, a “building (designed) by God) not made with hands.” In fact, the Greek word for Church is ekklesia, which means “a called out body of people,” who are called out of the world and culture to serve God in this world as identifiably different people from that culture. And the really good thing to it, is that it also is made of many branch locations, called churches, where we can gather with other born again Christian believers, and worship, study the Word of God, observe the commands of Christ and pray as we live for God. The word for “promise” here is related to “evangelization,” and can be translated ‘to offer good news, to declare or proclaim” a message.
God gave Abraham a promise in chapter 12 of Genesis to make of him a great nation, and bless those who blessed him or place judgment upon those who cursed him or his people. God promise him a SON, A SEED/SAVIOR and SECURITY in his faith relationship with God.
I Chron. 29:15 - Even centuries after being a nation and IN the land, David admitted that his people were “strangers and sojourners” in the world. The Christian share3s this same cultural distinction because of our relationship with Jesus Christ snd identity with God. Jesus forewarned His disciples of this standard and identity before He left His disciples in John 15:18-19; 17:25-26.
“This world is not my home;
I’m just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home anymore.” (Albert E Brumley; Oct. 29, 1905 - Nov. 15:1977)
We are to prepare to meet God and get ready for a new home - John 14:1-6.
3. ABRAHAM WAITED: 10
“He looked for a city which has foundations…” How did Abraham come to know about heaven? How did he learn of God? How did he come to trust Him so? We who have a complete Bible have much fuller answers to these questions. Possibly all Abraham had was the words of Noah and Job to guide him: “I know that My Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth…” Job 19:25-27.
First, they had to learn that God cares for people through famines and natural disasters. They left the land and place of God’s promise and went down to the borderland with Egypt, where they pretended Sarah was a sister to Abraham. She was a step-sister, but also wife. That deception almost cost them their marriage!
Abraham had to learn to wait. Second, he and Sarah had to wait for a son! Oh, they tried the cultural norm of surrogate mothering. Sarah had Abraham impregnate her maid, and call the child their child! But 14 years later, God had them bear their own son at 100 and 90 years of age.
Third, God demanded of them to give up both Ishmael and Isaac - Ishmael to the departure from their home when he was 14 or 15; and then Isaac after in the sacrifice of Mount Moriah, where God provided a Substitute for Isaac in the lamb in the thicket! (Gen. 22).
To fulfill the promises of God, Abraham finally realizes he must choose a bride for Isaac - and so he sent his trusted servant Eleazar on the mission to bring a woman to wed to Isaac, in Gen. 24. By then Isaac is 39 or 40 years old! But God is faithful and twins are born to Isaac and Rebekah when he is 40 years old. Isaac waited till about the same age to finally seek a wife for Jacob (Gen. 26:34-35). There was a lot of waiting in these families before the promises of God were fulfilled.
While Abraham was waiting on earth, he was also waiting to arrive home in heaven. He was looking for that city, while wandering about in tents on earth. He knew a little bit about it - but we know a whole lot more from Revelation 21:10-21. After the renovation of this world and the heavens by fire, God will bring down the Heaven He has built in heaven to the new earth. It is a city about 1,380 miles cubed - whether cubic or pyramid-ic, we are not told. However, it does have 12 foundations of garnished (kosmeo (Greek) = decorated, trimmed) gemstone each, 21:14, 19-20. 12 pearl gates will provide access to this city of gold streets and brilliant light from the presence of God Himself!
“The Builder and maker” of this city is God Himself; He is the “architect, fashioner, artificier, architect of heaven, and framer, Master craftsman, maker of heaven (and the world).”
Eph. 2:8-10 - He is also the Savior and Master Designer of our lives. In His Church, Eph. 2:20-22, we are likened to building blocks or stones, each fitted into its special place in the building. I Peter 2:5 says we are living stones placed in His building by His design and plan.
Abraham anticipated a bright future to his life after death. Our future too, is as bright as the promises of God.
Like Abraham, we need to make a choice to. LEAVE the gods of this world - the sins, lifestyles which ignore God, the materialist, humanist, atheist ways which lead to waste and ruin in the end. Have you given those up for a walk with God of faith, obedience to His Word, commitment to worship and serve Him all life long? Have you forsaken a short-lived kingdom for one that lasts forever - Ps. 41:13; 90-:2; 93:2; 103:17.
Like Abraham and Sarah, we are WANDERERS, SOJOURNERS, TRAVELERS in this world, walking a journey of faith once we have asked Jesus to save us and give us HIS birth. We all go to a grave; but there is where lies the great divide - up or down, paradise or hades, heaven or hell, with God and our Savior, or alone in misery - forever. We have the comfort of God to go with us if we choose the way of life instead of the way of death.
Like Abraham and Sarah, there is a lot of WAITING in this journey. We walk by “faith, not by sight,” II Cor. 5:7.
I Peter 1:7-9: We see our Savior by faith, and love Him by faith. Loving is a life-long experience of growing and knowing, be it of God or a person. Love is both tested and rewarded - so while we are waiting, we are also growing in our love for God. One day, we shall see our Savior as He is!
“And every person that has this hope in him purifies himself even as Christ is pure,” to become more like Him and less like our sinful world, I John 3:1-3.
A willing detachment from this world’s order becomes good preparation for the wonderful attachment for God’s heavenly order. It will be great to settle into one of those “dwelling places (called ‘mansions’ in the KJV in John 14) one day and enjoy the Presence of God more fully and more personally than now on this earth.
Are you REVIVED by God’s CALLING to you?
Are You ready for the MOVE?
My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth;
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.
A tent or a cottage, why should I care,
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still I may sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the king.
Hymn: A Child of the King