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March 9, 2021 7:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhart challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. Notice he sits personally to view the skin to be a great nation and everyone on the earth has the opportunity to bless through what you're going to do exactly the same as it happens to you joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhart Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhart now is once again he shows us how God's word. Our world all the heroes to find in the Bible the only one that God called his friend was a bright back in Isaiah 41 in verse eight God speaking to Israel said you are descendents of my friend Abraham second Chronicles chapter 20 Israel speaking to God said didn't you give us this land to your people.
The descendents of Abraham, your friend even in the New Testament in James chapter 2 in verse 23 James writes, and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.
That's right if God had a Facebook he would've invited Abraham to be his friend Abraham is an extremely important person. He is claimed by three of the world's great religions. He is extremely important to us. The apostle Paul uses Abraham as the premier example of what it means to be a person of faith. So I would like to begin a series of messages on the life of Abraham.
Let's begin by opening our Bibles to Genesis chapter 12 Genesis chapter 12 when we get to chapter 12 will run into a man named Abram's name is not yet been changed. He lives to be hundred and 75 and for the first 99 years of his life. He is known as Abram. He lives in a place called a city of the Chaldeans. It's in Mesopotamia. The Fertile Crescent modern Iraq.
He is a typical normal in every way that we can see member of his society.
His name Abram means exalted father, but I don't think it was because of great spiritual implications. It was probably a term that his father used for one of the pagan deities that they worshiped. They had many deities and are the one who was the most famous and most powerful ironically's name was sin, and sin was the moon God of sin was known as the Lord of heaven and the divine creator. We see that there is something unusual happening.
In chapter 12 because it's so abrupt. God speaks that's an amazing thing. Just out of nowhere to this man.
Now the Lord said to Abraham, not the group of people, not the city met the family to one person noticed that God seeks this out. Abram is not at all seeking God.
God is seeking him. Chuck Swindoll says, by an act of pure grace, God dipped his hands into the idolatrous hole that was a to select Abram out of all the people when unusual thing that happens the question you might ask yourself is why why Abram the answer is we have no idea it's and the reason is it's really arbitrary. It's up to the Lord. Heaven knows the reasons but we certainly don't. There's nothing about his life up till now that we have an record that mean that he deserved this in any sense of the word is a lot like we are 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 and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing 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. Five times in that short segment. God says I will I will I will what we have here is interestingly enough, is that a covenant is being made is a very big word very important word in this culture covenant means an agreement. There are covenants and are made between individuals, people, countries, kings are covenants between God and people.
This is known as famously the Abraham make covenant God are repeated through the story in Genesis. But notice something God simply says what I will do. That means that this covenant is unconditional.
There is no conditions that have to be met for this covenant. Some covenants are conditional. In other words, if you go to the book of Deuteronomy and chapters 28 2930 he's talking to the nation and he says I want to make a covenant with you and I'll tell you this, if you obey me and walk close to me. I will bless you. But if you don't I will curse you, that's conditional.
This is unconditional but is not even the first unconditional covenant in Genesis come back with me to Genesis chapter 9 Genesis chapter 9 verse 11 and this is called the noetic covenant. The second stage of it. Notice this is unconditional. In verse 11, God says, I will establish my covenant with you, and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said this is the sign of the covenant which I am making between me and you and every living creature that is with you.
For all successive generations so that starts as well. I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth, and it shall come about that when I bring a cloud. He says over the earth that the bow shall be seen in the cloud and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and never again show water become a flood to destroy all flesh, and when the ball is in the cloud and then I will look upon it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. The rainbow the idea that God says I will never ever judge the earth with a flood again. It's unconditional.
You will never happen again. No matter what God said because I'm going to keep that this too now and back in chapter 12 is also on conditional and the scope of the covenant is amazing God promises Abram a national unconditional blessing that was interesting about this is an look at it in verse two he says I will make you a great nation.
I will know in just a moment will read it, but Abram was 75 years old.
His wife is in her mid 60s. They have no children. Now you might be thinking I would give you a child that not he doesn't start their gods is to make you a great nation. Now if you're Abram, what are you thinking a great nation down there to make you a great nation, by the way, often when God makes his promises he's going to ask Abraham to do some the ask you and me to do a lot of weight.
There is no greater test of faith and waiting, and God knows that and by the way, when did they become a great nation.
Not until Joshua led armies back into the promised land, which was promised that's a long long wait but God says look I will make you a great nation. Then he says something else. He says do my I promise you personally unconditional blessing, he says, and I will bless you in verse two and make your name great and you shall be a blessing. I'm not only going to make you a great nation.
He said, but what I'm going to do is I'm going to unconditionally bless you as an individual and that's kind of amazing because he was blessed to turn the page and look at chapter 13. In verse two. Now Abram was very rich in livestock and in silver and gold and then turn with me to Genesis 23 and the Kings of that area of the world are speaking about Abram and in verse six. This is what have says to him, he says here Russ my Lord you are a mighty prince among us. That's his reputation. Now, one more page chapter 24 in verse 35 it says the Lord has greatly blessed my master so that he has become rich. He has given him flocks and herds in silver and gold and servants and maids and camels and donkeys personally rich, personally wealthy. We don't know what his status was in her but we do know that he's become extremely rich at a relatively early time after God is made this promise he didn't have to wait near as long to become bless that way as he did for this idea of national blessing and then in verse three of chapter 12 the Lords is and I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse.
And then these words and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
While everybody shall be blessed. He promises them in international unconditional blessing in God's grand plan to redeem mankind from their sin.
God is going to build a nation and go to people all run one man's faith. The apostle Paul was so struck by that when he writes Romans. He said this is the example I want you to understand.
James picked up on the verse I read earlier that God spoke to Abram and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteous, that's amazing when you think about it. Here's this man in the Chaldeans, and God makes this tremendous blessing with him. He what he has and what he has to offer. We know from an earlier spot. By the way he leaves. And if you would going to the Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews, the writer add something else.
It says by faith. Abram left when God said go by faith and then it says at the end of that verse, but he did not know where he was going think that he did not know where he was going. God said I want you to go okay. No unified summary it's a where just imagine these conversations you're having with family and friends. In fact, I'm sure if you look in verse four.
Something would've come up it says so Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with them and now Abram was 75 years old when he departed from around Joseph Ron and Nellie departs again. He 75 figure that this is the big moment of his life.
This is what is life going to begin.
This is when there's going to be the biggest change. He 75 this past week reading some material about this. I heard the story. Read the story that there was a widower who was 75 years old and he thought he never remarried, but then he find a 75-year-old widow and he was struck by her. He just was absolutely and completely in love with her. He thought that would never happen in this life, but he said I will never let this opportunity go by, and so he decided to propose anyone is doing the right way so he came up to her and he got down on his knees and he said to her, I want to ask you.
Just two questions just to and he said will you marry me and she smiled.
She said yes and he was so struck and she looked at imposing. She's a big city one asked two questions is all yes will you help me up because your 75 receipt.
Please understand something when he leaves and goes to her on the net psycho Northwest up to Syria and then working his way back onto the promised land of the land of Canaan. He's going about a thousand miles. He's walking a 75 is an astounding thing. What he is done.
It says, also than that Abram took Sarah values wife, and Lot his nephew and all their possessions as data accumulated, and he says in the persons which they had acquired in her Ron and that they set out for the land of Canaan. Thus they came to the land of Canaan. It was his father suggested that they go to Ron first and the reason for is probably very simple. It's the one other place that sin, the moon goddess worship. Other than interest or and I'm sure the father wanted to go there in the father by the way doesn't leave their he dies there. You see, one of the things that's interesting is if you remember this look back to verse one again. He said go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, he wasn't to take his relatives he was supposed to go on his own. Guess what he did.
He did what you and I often do when God commands us do something he partially obeyed. He obeyed some of it. Not all of it. By the way he regretted not only the idea that the father and God took care of the father in Iran.
But just think of the complications that occur with lot. Enormous consequences because of what so he partially obeyed well then he takes off and read for the promised land.
Notice what happens then it says Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem to the Oak of moral now the Canaanite there was in the land Canaanites, by the way, do a study on them. They are evil fierce people probably in a sense, no one more despicable in the Old Testament as a people than Canaanites.
Now remember Abram probably did know much about him but once he encountered the Canaanites in the land of Canaan. He thought all these are brutal people notice when it first happens. What God does verse seven the Lord appeared Abram again and he said to them, to your descendents I will give this land is always said notice. Once again God goes to the promise to your descendents I will give this land is gonna be yours.
Don't worry how reassuring that must've been. Notice how a response and so he built an altar there to the Lord, who it appeared to him and then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the Western AI on the east and there he built a second order to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord and Abraham journeyed on continuing toward the negative. Which is south of Jerusalem is now coming all the way down through Galilee than in the children handing south into the negative is going right were guided told notice twice how he response to God he worships God's amazing the first point out of those verses is this faith a moment of faith often brings long-term blessing in your life.
Just a moment of faith long-term blessing. Notice he said, sparsely going to have you. There's going to be a great nation and everyone on the earth has the opportunity to be blessed through what you're going to do. That's exactly the same as it happens to you and me now God doesn't call us individually liking called him, but he does call us. He calls us with the gospel. He calls.
We have a chance to respond, and if we do respond to the gospel by faith.
What's the long-term blessing. You see, my sins are forgiven. That's what a blessing. He'll never leave me nor forsake me.
What a blessing his spirit of will indwell me. What a blessing I am heaven bound assuredly. What a blessing. Notice it's all unconditional. That should have us have the same kind of response that Abram did should worship now meeting on Sunday morning with music.
I mean we should worship we should be thankful.
People you see, we should offer praise and thanksgiving to God all the time. A moment of faith brings about long term blessing. What a great thing, but there's a second lesson to learn in this chapter that is this fear brings short-term failure right in the middle like everything going well something happens verse 10 and now there was famine in the land. That's it. Now there was famine in the land you think that's an accident.
No, it's a test now. By the way, it's not a test, so God will figure out how devoted in his faith.
Abram is it's a test to expose the Abram. How devoted he is. It's always that way. By the way, God never test you, so we can find something out. He test you so that you can find something out. There's a famine in the land not I understand this Abram is from it's in the Fertile Crescent 2000 years before Christ had to be one of the richest areas for food supplies in the world. He probably never really was involved much of famine in his life, but there's a famine in the land.
Now the strange part is this.
He trusted God, not knowing where he was going and literally walked a thousand miles trusting God. He then faces the Canaanites and he realizes just how formidable they are and once again God read tells him the covenant is unconditional and I'm going to give you this land and he worships God again and now there's a famine in God's not in the picture, all Abrams decided I'm afraid I need a plan. In fact, this is now, there's a famine in the land and so Abram went down to Egypt to so join their for the famine was severe in the land he just got the Canaan. Just think how long it took him to go from her wild look at this where you're walking from here to Chicago.
How long is it going to take you to get there. Now you get there and say I think we gotta go somewhere else why what is a famine in the land is no accident that his solution is Egypt always in Scripture.
Egypt represents the world. That's why the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt and pastoral never on the radio ministry of fellowship in the world. If you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you dislike of the sum of the method one more time. Remember, you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online at that website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of her previous audio programs as that Fellowship in the Word. We are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible with all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help his radio ministry continuous broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly with just a one-time gift support for ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word. 4600 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, LA 7006 if you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format that is is a sermon, the pastor will deliver during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible church visit our website FVC Nola.org that FVC 10 oh LA.O RG at our website you will find hundreds pastoral sermon you can browse through our sermon archives to find sermon series you're looking you can search by title. Once you find the message you're looking for.
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