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Father Abraham // Abraham and Lot Separate // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2023 6:07 pm

Father Abraham // Abraham and Lot Separate // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans

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January 23, 2023 6:07 pm

In this sermon, Pastor Josh looks at Abraham and Lot's story as they separate.

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Amen. Amen.

I hope that that is your prayer this morning, and I hope that that's how you approach each and every day, offering yourself up as a sacrifice to Him. Well, listen, it is good to see you. Can I say good morning?

There we go. All right, you guys kind of asleep a little bit. Look to your neighbor and say, wake up, if you don't mind. Okay, and listen, I'm so glad that you are here. Many of you might have just jumped into your bass boat on the way over here and made your trek here. I appreciate you being here on a rainy, kind of chilly day. I'm not going to lie, as your pastor, just my, this is me being honest with you. I kind of rolled over this morning and thought, man, online church looks really good today, and, but I appreciate you being here. I do want to welcome all those watching online, and I bet our online attendance is larger than it's been today, and we just, I'm glad you're safe, and I hope you're tuning in here this morning, but it is good to see you today, and I am really glad that you are, you are here and looking forward to a good day. I echo what Matt said. I just wanted him to share just a little bit about his heart, and as he prays for revival in our church, that'll be happening in a couple of weeks, and looking forward to that, and he traveled with Encounter, and it's going to be a great week.

I know he said way more than I could ever say about it. I just want you to be here, okay, and be praying for it, all right, and that's what we need you to be doing more than anything else. Well, if you have your Bible, go to Genesis chapter number 13, Genesis chapter number 13, and we began a series just a couple of weeks ago entitled Father Abraham, all right, Father Abraham. How many of you would be honest that right when we say Father Abraham, you think of the song? Be honest with me, okay, and that's me, and I mentioned this when we started this series that that should have just been a part of our worship. I would have loved to see some of you actually try to keep up with that song.

That's not an old joke. That just is what it is, okay, and but Father Abraham, we began this series just a couple of weeks ago as we kind of journeyed through Abraham's life, and I'm telling you, this series, it's already starting to really speak to me, and I want you to be here over the next few weeks on Sunday as we look to this, but I wanted to say one thing. Last Sunday, we had Dr. Pettit from Bob Jones. Did you guys enjoy that last week, by the way?

That was so good, and the music was phenomenal. We had the Bluegrass Gospel Group here, which was really, really neat, and I loved that, and then Dr. Pettit, his word has just been on my heart all week, and so I'm just thankful for their ministry, and so today we are jumping right back into into the series, and then next week we'll be in the series, and then the week after that is starting Revive Week, and actually Mark, who's the director that Matt referenced, he'll be speaking on that Sunday morning as we kind of kick it off. We are going to have combined Bible fellowships that day as well in here.

All of the student and adult Bible fellowships on February 5th are going to be in the room as we kick it off on that Sunday morning, and just praying for a great week. Be praying for us and looking forward to that, but Genesis chapter number 13 is where we're going to find ourselves here today, and just a little bit of background just from a couple weeks ago, and some of this, because Abraham is such a well-known person in scripture that many of you, you know, you could kind of get up here and teach about him, or you probably remember at some point in Sunday school growing up, you know, a flannel graph, right, and it was probably a picture, something like that, that you kind of placed onto the flannel graph as you learned about Abraham and his importance to you and to me, but we learned at the end of chapter 11 that Abram was the son of a man named Terah. Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and Terah actually ended up passed away, Haran actually passed away before Terah, and Haran had a son Lot, and so because Haran and Terah had died, Abram in a lot of ways, and by the way, I realized this two weeks ago, his name has not been changed from Abram to Abraham, but I'm probably going to say Abraham and don't judge me on that, I just keep mixing them up a little bit, but Abraham actually took in Lot and was honestly in a lot of ways like a father figure to him, he traveled with him, he lived with him and all of that, and so he was right there with him because he was his nephew who lost his grandfather and lost his dad, but what we're going to find is God, and this is so important as we look at this series, God was constantly putting Abram into positions where he would have to choose God above something else.

That's really the story of his entire life. Two weeks ago when we started this, we looked at God came to him, he revealed his will to him, he told him that I'm going to make of you a great nation, but in order for you to see the providence that God was giving him, that promise that he was giving him, Abram would have to leave, he would have to go. The way that he could see that promise come to pass in his life, he would have to leave where he was at to get to where God wanted to take him, and so he had to choose something, he had to choose, am I going to go, am I going to leave behind everything else, am I going to choose God's way above staying here close to home, am I going to choose God's way and leaving my homeland, leaving my family, and these different things that he would have to live or leave in order to get to where he was going. You see, God was constantly putting Abram into positions where he would have to choose God over something else, and here's why, God was trying to make Abram this, he was trying to make him this living sacrifice. Now us, we have the New Testament in front of us, and so the New Testament, we can learn, you know, Paul says in Romans chapter number 12 and verse 1, I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, he's talking to Christians, he's talking to us, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice. This idea of a living sacrifice, you see what God was trying to do way back in Genesis through Abram, was he was trying to get him to be a living sacrifice. Someone that would offer their entire life, that would offer their will, their direction, their family, everything else about their life, that they would offer it all and lay it on the altar that God had for him, that's what God was trying to do in him. But we all know this, that living sacrifices always try to get up off the altar, don't they?

Do you ever find yourself doing that? You kind of, we have a revival service or you have a moment maybe here in church or in your personal time with the Lord and you give something over to God, you know, like God I'll do anything, I'll go anywhere, and I'll do whatever, and you lay it down at the altar before God and then whatever you lay down when, you know, the service dismisses or revival ends or you go back to your regular routine, what happens? You kind of take that off the altar and you take it back with you, right?

Because living sacrifices struggle with staying on the altar. Well, that's no different in Abram's life. After God had told him in chapter 12, he told him, you know, he gave him this providence, we call it the Abrahamic covenant, and he gave him this covenant that God was going to make of him a great nation.

You know what he does? As he leads that, and we're not going to look too much at it, but at the end of chapter 12, before we get into 13, here's what Abram did. There ended up being a famine in the land. There was a famine, so there's no food, and they were starving, and so Abram, he had a wife named Sarai, and so Abram decided, hey, let's go into Egypt.

That's where the food is, and so let's go there to get what we need. When chapter 12, and you can look at this in your spare time, they actually were going, and Abram had this thought. He said, you know what, Sarai, you're a good looking lady.

They are going to, right when we get there, be like, hey, she's fair to look upon, and so what they're going to do is kill me, get me out of the picture, so that they can take you as their wife. So what did Abram do? He said, hey, I got this great idea. Could you imagine Sarai?

She's like, what's your great idea? I can't wait to hear it, babe, you know, and Abram's like, what if I just tell them you're my sister, right, and so he has this idea, and for whatever reason, Sarai, she agreed, and so they go in, and they ended up, luckily, God spared them there because Pharaoh found out about it. God revealed it to him, and he actually got plagues sent to his house there in chapter 12 as a result of Abram lying. So Pharaoh just kicked them out, you know, they're gone, and so they go back, and that's where we pick it up in chapter 13.

So Abram is just coming out of this moment. God had given him this covenant, and then right after that, he leaves, and then he also already started trusting in his own power. He was trusting in his own will. He lied about his wife, not trusting that God would take care of him. That's where we find him in verse one of chapter 13, which we're going to pick it up today. It says this, and Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and lot with him. Remember, that's his nephew, and so he's just traveling along with him, and Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. So God had prospered him in a lot of ways.

So he had a ton of stuff, ton of cattle, silver, gold. He was pretty much rich, and he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, which in scripture means house of God. This is a very important place that God would do some amazing work in different people's life. It's the same place where Jacob dwelled. Remember when Jacob had the dream of angels descending up and down to heaven on a ladder? That happened at Bethel as well, and so Abram, he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ahai, and unto the place of the altar which he had made there at the first, and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Let me add a word there again. Remember in chapter 12 when God called him out, what was the first thing that he did after he left? He made an altar. He worshiped. In other words, this was not something that he did just on Sunday every now and then. This was something that he took with him.

He took that altar, and he built an altar so that he could get in the presence of God because he recognized in chapter 12 that he was absolutely nothing without the power of God in his life. Let me remind you today, you are absolutely nothing without the power of God in your life. You know what our problem is a lot of times? Is that we think that all we need in life is Sunday. That's it, and you think that this, what we're doing right here, is enough to get you through the rest of the week.

Well, let me tell you, friend, you are wrong on that. If you want to get through the rest of the week, here's what you got to do. You got to leave here, and just like we have an altar here, you got to take the altar with you, and use it on Monday, and use it on Tuesday, and use it on Wednesday, and use it on Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday.

That's what this is for. That's what Abraham did. So wherever he was at, he could build an altar so that he could get into the presence of God.

That's what the altar signified. But we know that after that, he did this thing in Egypt, lied. He didn't trust in God's provision, and now he's coming out of that where he realizes, man, I've sinned against God.

You know where he ran when he was wrong? Back to the beginning. You know, some of you, I don't know everybody's story in here.

I mean, some of you, though, I think that's probably the best thing that you need to remember from today, is you need to go back to where it started. Some of you have gotten so far off the beaten path of your spiritual life, and there was a time, you remember the time, maybe when you trusted Jesus as your Savior, you're excited about what God was doing in your life, and you were growing, and you were growing in your relationship with him, and then something happened. Maybe it was complacency. Maybe it was apathy. Maybe it was sin. Maybe it was a friend that came into your life. Maybe it was a job that you took. I don't know what the answer is.

Only you do. But maybe it took you down this path that you did not want to go. Here's probably the best application from chapter 13 that you need to remember is Abram, when he found himself in sin, he left Egypt, and you know what? He said, you know where we got to go? We got to go back to where we began and back to the altar.

I got to, in other words, get back in a relationship with God because I am absolutely nothing without him. That's what Abram did. So he makes this altar, verse 5, and Lot also, which went with Abram, he had a bunch of flocks and herds and tents, and the land, this is how much stuff they had, this blows my mind, and the land was not able to bear them. So this land that God gave them, that he promised them, they're heading there, and they realized, him and Lot, they realized, hey, this land that we've been given, there's just not enough land for all the stuff you have and all the stuff that we have.

That's a lot of stuff. So there wasn't enough room to bear them that they might dwell together, for their substance was great so that they could not dwell together, verse 7. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle.

The Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. So there was this tension between them. There wasn't enough water for all of their cattle.

There wasn't enough space for their cattle to roam and all of that. And so they had to be faced with a very difficult decision, verse 8. And Abram said unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen, for we be brethren. It's not the whole land before thee. Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right.

Or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. By the way, let me just interject this, that this is unheard of for him, right? Because Abram was in complete control here. The promise was to Abram.

It wasn't to Lot. This was his land. Abram had every right because he had more stuff and he was also in control of this whole operation. He had every right to say, hey, Lot, man, I'm sorry, man, there's not enough room here in my land for you.

You need to find another place to go. He had every right to do that. But he kind of laid down his will and let him decide. This was a family dispute.

Abram laid down his will to whatever Lot wanted. We all have these in families. How many of you have a family that every now and then you get quarrels from, you fight with your family? Anybody in here or is that just our family? Okay, so a few of you, you ever tried to like host your family at your house and you are so excited about it and then it goes south in a hurry, you know, arguments and things like that. You ever had an unhappy Christmas? Just us? No?

Okay. And so, man, you guys must really get along with your family. When our family gets together, you never know what's going to happen a lot of times. And everybody has these in their family. We always have one family member who's willing to like lay down whatever they want for the piece of the whole house.

How many of you have one? Okay, I'm going to tell you, like that's kind of where I lean. So, I'm always just like, hey, what can we do, you know, to make everybody happy?

I'll just tell you this. I hope she's not watching today, but my sister, me and my sister, we're so different. Okay, if you ever met my sister, we are just so different. And so, my sister's not as much like that. She's more kind of like, hey, I want, you know, or I'm going to do things my way. And so, I've always just grown up, just laid down my will most of the time for whatever she wants, right? And that's kind of how it is.

And most families have kind of both of those. Somebody's going to be the aggressive one, like, hey, we're having Christmas here. And, you know, lunch on Thanksgiving is going to be held here. And I'm doing the yams and all that. You know what I'm talking about, right? And this is therapy for me, by the way. This is good for my soul.

And sometimes you have those. Well, that's kind of what I picture is happening here with Abram and Lot. You know, they're family. Abram's like, hey, listen, I don't want any strife. I don't want any hard feelings.

Like, let's make this work. And you make the decision. But at the end of the day, he was the leader. He could have made any type of decision that he wanted. But remember, Lot was like a son to him. Lot was like his family. It was like a son to him. He was helping raise him. And so, he had this emotional attachment here. But he said, listen, if you go to the left, I'll go to the right.

If you go to the right, I'll go to the left. Verse 10. Let's see what Lot did.

Lot, he's faced with this incredible opportunity, by the way. And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. It was this fruitful, lush place that, you know, was, he probably saw, if you remember chapter 12, what happened. There was a famine in the land.

You remember that? That's when they had to go to Egypt or whatever. And this famine, this famine, that was really fresh on their minds. Lot's probably thinking, wow, this place, it's fruitful right by Jordan. This is a great place in case a famine happens again. I'm going to be right there.

It'll be a perfect spot for us to go. So he saw that it was well watered everywhere before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zor. Then Lot, he chose them all the plain of Jordan and Lot journeyed east and they separated themselves, the one from the other. Abraham dwelled in the land of Canaan and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent toward Sodom. Now you remember, and it says here in the next verse, but the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. So we know the story. We have the whole scripture. We know what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah, an immoral place, a sexually immoral culture there in that area, a terrible place to be wicked in the sight of God.

And every person there did what they thought was right and what they thought was okay. So Lot, he sees this opportunity that, that this area over here is a great spot for me to raise my family. It's fruitful. It's just going to be a perfect spot for us to go.

I'm going towards that and I'm going to pitch my tent towards Sodom. I keep pointing over here. I don't, I'm not saying the people sit in the wing. Okay.

I'm not saying the people that sit in the wing are like, you know this. Okay. But that he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Now I want you to think about something. This had to be really hard for Abram. So it's like a son to him. And some of you have walked a similar path. Some of you have even shared with me that you've had a moment in your life where you had to watch your son or daughter go a different direction. And that's terrible. And that's kind of what's happening here. Abram, he's going this way.

And I can imagine just like every parent's heart when they watch their kid go in a direction that they know that they shouldn't go. And Abram's sitting over there probably praying and hating this for Lot in the direction that he is going just because he is like a parent. Verse 14, and the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art northward and southward, eastward and westward for all the land which thou seest to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. I wrote down, listen, it's going to be more than you can count, Abram. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it.

In other words, I want you to just kind of walk. I want you to survey the land and I want you to really grasp what I'm going to do for you, Abram. And then Abram removed his tent and he came and dwelt in the plane of Mamre, which is in Hebron.

And what did he do? He built an altar unto the Lord. I want you to see just a couple of things before we get into some application here about Lot and Abram's decision.

First, I want you to see this. I want you to see who Abram's guide was compared to Lot's guide. So if you look back at what made this decision for Abram, who led Abram? It was the Lord. You see, Abram was led out of his time in the presence of God. These altar experiences, these moments where he was in the presence of God and God was speaking to him, that is what led him. That is what guided him. That is what directed him.

That is what directed him. I ask you this today, who directs your path? Who directs your path? Is your path being directed by the presence of God?

Is your path being directed by your time with God? You see, when worship in chapter 12, we saw this even in Abram's life. He's not perfect.

He's a work in progress, just like every single one of us. In chapter 12, God gives him this incredible covenant and this incredible promise. And what does he do right after he hears it? He builds an altar and then he gets up off the altar.

Famine happens in the land. He stops trusting God. So he takes it upon himself, lies about his wife being his sister, and all this bad stuff happened. And then he comes back to his senses, realizes, hey, God is probably the best one to direct my path.

Here's the point. When worship is not a priority in your life, we are more susceptible to disobedience. When you are not daily in the presence of God, young people let you listen to this, so important for your life growing up, by the way, is when you are not in the presence of God, you are way more able to find yourself being disobedient to God.

You see, that's why it's important. That's why somebody, your parents or a teacher or a Bible fellowship teacher or somebody, a small group leader, that's why they say things like, hey, you should read your Bible every day. That's why you should pray every day. You see, these people that say things like that in church, they are not just saying that because we have absolutely nothing else to do with our time.

They're not saying that just because it's tradition. The reason why that is said in church is because we believe that being in the presence of God each and every day will help you, just like the song says, it will help you grow. It will keep you a lot of times from being disobedient. It doesn't mean you're never going to fail, but it will help you stay the course and stay in the will of God.

But when you stop doing that, then you find yourself living in disobedience. By the way, it's impossible, young person, it's impossible to know the will of God without being in the presence of God. I was a youth pastor for many years.

Some of those were here and it blows my mind. Here's always these kids, they're about to graduate. That's when everybody starts thinking about what they're going to do with their life.

The will of God, what's that going to be? That's one of the reasons when I was in youth ministry, I loved middle school. I just loved hanging out with middle school students because they're not thinking about anything. If you have a middle schooler, you understand. I'm about to get into this world. I have a sixth grader and they don't think about anything beyond that day. It's just it. It's just like, hey, what are we eating for supper? That's the stress point that they experience. But when you start dealing with 11th and 12th graders and stuff like that, they're starting to really think about, man, what college do I need to go to?

What do I need to choose for my career and where do I need to go? So inevitably, somebody's told them, probably a parent will say, hey, go ask your youth pastor. Say come to the youth pastor who apparently knows all things. And so you come to the youth pastor and they say, hey, you know, my mom, they told me I should talk to you. My dad told me I should talk to you, pastor. I'm trying to figure out God's will in my life and what do I need to do?

You know the first answer, the first thing I always say, well, tell me about your time with God each and every day. And here's what inevitably I find in a lot of these cases, not every case, most of the time they're just like, well, you know, I've been struggling with that. I really don't read my Bible like I should. I don't pray like I should.

I don't do these things like I should. And here's always my response. Then it's going to be really hard for you to find the will of God. Here's the point, is the will of God and the purpose of God for your life.

And I'm not just talking to young people. I'm talking to every person in this room is this, it flows out of being in the presence of God. You see, that's what led Abram. That's what directed Abram. His priorities or his guide rather was all about being led by God and being led out of his presence with God. But what led Lot? Lot was led by his eyes, what he saw. He was led by what could make him the most prosperous. He was led by materialism.

He was led by comfort. He was led by what he could see, not based on what God has said. And let me tell you this, we look at this story, and I've been around church my entire life. Many of you have as well. You've heard this story preached so many different times. A lot of times we look at Lot in this decision as just a terrible, terrible person, right?

He's always looked at as a bad guy. Don't be like Lot. Don't be like Lot. But you know what I've seen? I've been around church my whole life.

There's a lot of people in church who make decisions just like Lot did. There's a lot of people that they're like, man, I don't know if I should take this job. If I do, man, I'm going to be making a lot more money. It's going to be easier. Sure, I'll have to miss church.

Sure, I'll have to miss all of those things. But you don't understand, pastor, there's a lot of good that's going to come from it. There's a lot of money. There's a lot of this and that.

It's going to be great for my family. And next thing you know, five years down the road, their family is a mess. You want to know why that is? It's because they made a decision just like Lot made a decision. So let's don't look at this story and be like, man, Lot's such a bad guy. We are way more like Abram. We make decisions all the time just like him. We look at everything around us and instead of bathing our decisions out of the presence of God and out of the worship of God, the first thing we ask are things like, hey, can I make enough money? What's that salary package look like?

What's this look like? And I'm not saying those things aren't important. So please hear me out. But what I'm saying is you are not equipped to make a good decision in the will of God if you are not spending time daily in the presence of God. It's just not possible.

You can't do it. And that's what Lot was trying to do. And Abram, that's what led Abram to where he went is because he was making his decisions. You see here, you see Abram's guide was the Lord, Lot's was his own eyes. The second thing I want you to see about this is you see Abram's priorities.

You see the difference in priorities. You know what Abram cared about? He cared about generosity clearly because he let Lot, he was kind of like, hey, if you go this direction, you know, I'll go this direction. He kind of laid down his own will for Lot's. And then he also cared about the kingdom of God. You see, that's what he wanted to see come to pass more than anything else in his life.

They had two different ways of looking at the world. Lot, he only prioritized wealth and materialism and riches. Abram put Lot before himself and he put the kingdom of God and God's will for him above him. It was, Lot was more about, hey, how does this help me? And Abram was more like, how does this help the kingdom of God?

And listen, isn't that all of our lives to some degree? It's like, you are all called, every single one of us as followers of Jesus, we are called to further the kingdom of God. This message, Genesis chapter 12, when we were looking at that a couple weeks ago, this is not just a message about, hey, should you give your life full-time to the will of God and to ministry?

I don't want you to think that that's what this series is about. Now, I think all of us should make ourselves available. I think that should be every single Christian in this world should say, God, if you want me to move anywhere in this entire world and tell people about you and further your kingdom, God, I will do it.

I think that's part of our sacrifice to him. I think we should do that, but I don't think God's calling every single one of you to be pastors or to be missionaries and things like that. He might call you to work in some factory. He might call you to work in a cubicle setting or work in an office or whatever, work in a field.

I don't know. God could call you to any of those things and that'd be totally fine. But here's what I will tell you that the scripture says is wherever God calls you, you are supposed to plant yourself there and you should supposed to live there for the kingdom of God, not for your kingdom. That's what the will of God is. It doesn't mean that every one of you has to go out of here and quit your job and be a full-time missionary and a full-time pastor. It just means I want you to go to your job on Monday morning and I want you to live there for the kingdom of God more than anything else, more than your paycheck, more than checking out at 5 p.m. No, you need to wake up each and every day and say, God, how can I reach somebody here in the place that you've called me?

How can I lead someone to the Lord? We are supposed to live for the kingdom of God wherever he has us. That's what Abram was doing. That's what his priority was.

But Lot, we know, made his priorities riches and materialism. And you know where that led him? Chapter 13, we find that he pitched his tent towards Sodom. Chapter 14, we're going to find that he is in Sodom.

Chapter 19, you're going to find that he's one of the most respected people in Sodom. You know what that tells me? Is that the path of sin, sometimes it is a slow path. Sometimes you make a decision and it pulls your family maybe out of church and you think, hey, we'll be fine for a while.

We'll be fine for a while. And the next thing you know, that was chapter 13. And the next thing you know, your kids don't even want to go to church and they never darken the doors of church. And then later down the road, they've forsaken everything.

And you're wondering what on earth went wrong? It probably was the decision that you made way back when. You see, sometimes for us, if we want to stay on path as families who love the Lord and stay on paths that God can be honored and glorified in, we have to make decisions based on the kingdom of God, not based on what is going to make you feel good or give you the most wealth. So you say, how can I apply this today? Listen, this is a different message. I usually give you three points. I'm a traditional Baptist preacher. You got to have three points to be successful in a lot of ways, but here's what I'm going to tell you. I'm going to, instead today, I'm going to ask you three questions. Three questions that I want you, you don't have to answer these out loud. I want you to answer them in your heart today. And these are questions for every single person in here.

If you're a teenager, college student, if you've been in the same career for 30 years, I want you to, I want you to answer these in your heart. The first one is this, are your decisions birthed out of the presence of God? Are your decisions being birthed out of the presence of God? You say, say, what do you mean?

Here's what I'm saying. When you are faced with a decision, maybe, you know, your family, maybe you got to move a career path, whatever, a college, a friend, whatever, whatever decision you have to make. And all of us are making decisions each and every day.

Are they birthed out of the presence of God? An easier way to say, are you praying about the decisions that you are making? That's the point. And that's what we have to do.

That's what Abram did. That's the only reason why he was able to make mistakes and still find his way back to the beginning because he was finding it in the presence of God. Listen, do not make big decisions in your life without bathing it in prayer. You are asking for trouble if you're, if you're making a career decision without spending time in the presence of God.

Young person, if you're making a college decision without praying about it, you're making a bad decision because it has to start with prayer. That's where everything starts. That's why, that's what helps guide us in the right path so that we can stay on the path that God has for us. Are your decisions birthed out of the presence of God?

Question number two is this. Are you prioritizing the kingdom of God or earthly riches? Now this is where it gets real. I'll just be honest with you because we always are trying to make money, right?

I get it. We got to have money to live. We got to have money to eat.

Our kids are expensive, right? And they need money and they need everything, right? So it's like we always have these things that we're doing and we're doing all this, but here's kind of what happens a lot of times. When we start chasing materialism and we start chasing riches and we start looking at everything in life, our relationships and our decision-making, and we start noticing that the thing that is driving us more than anything else is riches, is materialism, then here's the thing. It's not going to be long until you find yourself out of the path that God has for you because you made decisions not for him but for you. You see, the scripture wants us to make decisions based on the kingdom of God. Some of us, and this isn't a sermon about money, but some of us spend so much money on different things that when somebody actually needs it and God put somebody or a missionary in your path that he wants you to help support, some of us spend so much on us and on advancing us and our agenda that when God put somebody in front of us who really needs it, we don't have enough even to give them because we're just living for ourselves for everything. You see, we should be living and prioritizing the kingdom of God above earthly riches.

Thirdly, are you praising God for what he is doing in your life? You say, that one doesn't make sense. I love the end of this chapter and how it ends because you can imagine Abram, he's discouraged, he just watched this young guy lie, his nephew, like a son to him. He just watched him make a bad decision and parents, if you've watched your kids ever do this, listen in because I hope that this will encourage you, but he watched that. You can imagine the emotion, he's down as he walks back towards Canaan and you know what God did? Two things God does in the last few verses of this. He reminds Abram, he takes him back to the promise that he made in chapter 12. How many of you from time to time need to go back to the promises of God to encourage you?

Let's just be honest. Some of us get down, some of you, you don't know what the week is going to unfold in your life this week and you get down and your head's looking down and sometimes we need to be reminded of the promises of God. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the goodness of God and the middle of Abram being discouraged hearing this story as life is going on. This story, as lot separated from him, God took him by the side and said, here's what I want you to do, Abram, lift up your eyes, look from the place where thou art, look to the north, look to the south, look to the east, look to the west, all the land that you see, I will give it you and to thy seed forever. I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth so that if man can number the dust of the earth then shall thy seed also be numbered. Abram, walk through the land, walk it over, because it is all yours. I want to remind you about the promise of God. Some of you today are discouraged about something and the best place you can come is back to where you started and asking God, hey, I need you to remind me of the promises of God, I've strayed in my relationship with you and God, remind me what you said about forgiveness, God, my kids are not and it was probably my decisions, Father, and I'm sorry, hey, God, remind me of what you say in your word and some of us need that and that's what Abram did here at the end and that's why he was able to praise God for everything he was doing because he was reminded about the promises of God. But then at the end in verse 18, after it was all said and he looked about the promises and he surveyed the land and he's looking, he's like, wow, God is good, man. You know what he did? He went right back to the beginning.

He built an altar and he got into the presence of God and he said, thank you, God. You see, that is what we're supposed to be doing. Some of you, God is blessed so much and some of us think it's all us. I want to challenge you. Be like Abram.

Go back and thank God. Come to an altar and talk about the goodness of God. Are you a living sacrifice? Are you a living sacrifice? Have you laid it all down? Abram had to lay it all down. His will, his even, in this story, his family.

He had to lay everything down for the Lord. What are you holding back? Is it your kids' parents? Some of you parents need to come down front today and you need to say, God, I've been holding my kid back.

I want to release them to you. You know the reason you have kids is not just for, some of you would say it's grandkids, so that's not why. The reason he gives you kids is so that you could, he calls them arrows, so that you could send them out into the world and they can make a difference for the Lord.

That's the reason you have kids. Some of us lose sight in that. You see, some of you need to come and say, God, that's what's been holding me back. Some of you, it's been materialism, it's been wealth, it's been riches.

You're making decision for all the wrong reasons. Some of you need to come and say, God, I am laying that down so that I can be a living sacrifice. And then some of you who are struggling in here, it's simply because you're trying to live for the king and you don't know the king.

You know where all this starts? Is you have to place your faith in him. The reason Abram was like this, we learn about this way back in the New Testament. He was considered one of these great faith leaders.

You know why? He had faith in the work of God. He had faith in the promises of God. He had faith in the promises of God. He had faith in the provision of God. He believed God in his word.

You see, some of us are trying to stay on the right path with God and we don't know God. There's never been a time where you have stopped trusting in yourself and you said, God, I've been trusting my riches. I've been trusting my popularity. I'm trusting in money. I'm trusting in this. I'm trusting in my talent. I'm trusting in all these different things and I can't stay on the right path. It might be because you don't know the Lord as your personal Savior. You see, that's where it starts. You can't be on a path with him if you don't know him. And for some of you, if you've never trusted in Jesus, that's your first step today.

It's your first step to say, God, I'm going to stop trusting in those things and I'm going to start trusting in you. Are your decisions birthed out of the presence of God? Are you prioritizing the kingdom of God or earthly riches?

And lastly, are you praising God for what he's doing in your life? Would you bow your heads with me? Nobody looking around. I would love for you to stand with me as well.

Nobody's looking around. I just want to talk to you just for a brief second and and then, you know, the instruments are going to play when they get ready. But I want you to think about this story. I want you to think about Abram.

I want you to think about Lot and how they made these decisions. And I want to ask you this. How many of you would say, Pastor, I've been holding something back in my life? I've been holding something.

Might be my kids, might be my wealth, might be my riches, materials, whatever. Say, Pastor, I've been holding something back and God spoke to me about something today. Would you slip up your hand, anybody, anywhere? So I see that hand. Yes, I see that hand. Hands going up throughout.

Yes, I see that. Then, listen, I'm going to pray here in a moment and all I'm asking you to do, if you raised your hand or even if you didn't and God spoke to you about something else, I want to invite you to come. This altar is open. You say, what's significant about an altar? I think in a passage like this that we just looked at, I think it's very significant. I think it's extremely significant. It's a time where you can come down and you can get into the presence of God.

That's what it signifies. And I want to invite you as I pray to come if God spoke to you. Father, we love you. God, I pray, Lord, that we'd be a church that holds nothing back for you.

God, that we would send our kids, that we would do whatever. We'd lay everything down on the altar, Father, as living sacrifices for you. Bless in this invitation time, for it's in your name we pray. If God spoke to you, if you raised your hand, this altar is open. You come in the quietness of this place as the instruments play. This altar is open. You come. If you raised your hand about anything, if you want to talk to somebody, we have people down front that would love to pray and talk to you, but you do business with God this morning.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-26 13:01:23 / 2023-10-26 13:19:50 / 18

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