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Ishmael vs. Isaac, Part 2

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 1, 2020 8:00 am

Ishmael vs. Isaac, Part 2

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 1, 2020 8:00 am

Developing a healthy appreciation for our spiritual leaders. Lessons Paul helps us draw from contrasting Ishmael with Isaac.

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Sometimes God will let your situation go from bad to worse before he comes through because he wants you to be absolutely convinced that when he comes through it had to be God. Have you ever wondered why God sometimes puts you in an impossible situation?

Part of the answer comes your way next on today's Destined for Victory. Hello and thanks for stopping by for today's message with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. You know, God could have made it easy for Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Instead, he brought them face to face with the impossible. In doing so, he pointed the Israelites directly to himself, to his power, to his glory. Today, Pastor Paul reminds us that God will sometimes lead us to our own Red Sea where victory brings with it an opportunity to give God all the glory. Stay right here or visit to hear any recent Destined for Victory message on demand. That's

You can also listen or download the podcast at Stitcher or wherever you get your programs. Now, here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, Ishmael versus Isaac. We continue our series looking at key passages in Paul's letter to the churches in Galatia.

And we come now to this latter portion of chapter four. Now, in the previous message, we looked at the center part of chapter four where Paul makes some personal comments about his relationship with the Galatians. And he talks about the fact that he had, throughout his time with them, such a rich and loving, intimate relationship with this church. He was their spiritual father.

It was Paul and his companions who went through that region of Galatia and preached the gospel and won folks to Christ and established churches there. And he made the point that our relationship has changed because you all have allowed yourselves to be influenced by the Judaizers who have a personal, ungodly agenda that take you from freedom back into spiritual bondage. And I made the point in the last message that we have to be careful who we allow to speak into our lives. If you let the wrong folks speak into your life, you will get the wrong results and head in the wrong direction every time. We have to be careful about who we allow to weigh in on important matters in our lives. Be careful who speaks into your life about spiritual things. Be careful about people who would divide you or alienate you from being part of a healthy church where you are growing and being strengthened in your faith. We talked about the importance of the role that God has pastors and teachers and spiritual mentors and brothers and sisters to play in our lives.

God has you set up with the right people in your life so they can help you get from earth to heaven. And if you allow the wrong people to speak into your life, they'll alienate you from those folks that God has ordained and then they insert their own will and their own agenda into your life. So we talked about the importance of being careful. We talked about the fact that we are sheep and sheep are at their best when they're following the shepherd, not when they are going astray or being tainted with the wrong influences. Because I mentioned in the previous message, God called us sheep for a very specific reason. Sheep are not particularly smart.

I know that hurts our feelings, but let's let it hurt good. What God is saying is I have you set up and I need you to follow my plan. I put you in healthy churches so you can grow. I give you strong pastors and leaders to help you grow.

I surround you with brothers and sisters who love you and have your best interest at heart so that you can grow. Don't allow worldly people or pseudo spiritual people with a false agenda to speak into your life. I talked about it on a practical level, not to allow somebody who doesn't know what it is to live in victory in your marriage relationship. Don't let the wrong folks speak into your marriage. Sometimes your marriage is doing pretty good. I mean, you have your little issues like every marriage, but when some folks get through with you, your marriage issue goes from just having little issues to going to the critical list. And that's because if you let the wrong people speak into your life, you'll get the wrong results.

And so we talked about the importance of filtering the influences in your life. And then we began to look at the first section of this latter portion of Galatians 4 where Paul uses the analogy of Hagar and Sarah and the analogy of Isaac and Ishmael to make the point about how we are to walk with the Lord in the new covenant and not allow ourselves to be dragged back into bondage. The first point Paul made was that Christ has set us free.

Christ came to give us freedom instead of slavery. And he uses it by looking at Ishmael versus Isaac. Ishmael was born not as the son of promise. He was born because Sarah was not convinced that she could have a child in her old age. She was in her 70s when the Lord said to her husband, Abram, I'm going to bless you through your seed.

All the nations of the world are going to be blessed. And Sarah figured, well, he must not be talking about me because I'm in my 70s. If I was going to have a child, I'd have had it by now. But we got to know that God's ways are not our ways. Sometimes God set you up, put you in a place where if it's going to happen, it has to be him. God likes to do that in our lives.

If you haven't noticed it, just check it out. Sometimes God will let your situation go from bad to worse before he comes through because he wants you to be absolutely convinced that when he comes through, it had to be God. That's what he did back in John chapter 11 when Lazarus got sick and when Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was sick, instead of rushing to his bedside, he stayed where he was.

Why? Because the purpose of God was to let him get sick enough to die. God said, they know me as a healer. They've seen me heal other folk, so I'm not going to heal Lazarus.

I'm not going to see a new dimension of who I am. But in order for you to see new dimensions of who God is, sometimes he has to allow your life to go places it's never gone before. And he let Lazarus go from sick to dead so that when he came through, everybody would know now that had to be God.

And the same thing happened way back in the old covenant. Sarah thought it was going to be something to believe God for a child in her mid 70s, but because they balked, instead she gave another woman to her husband, but a slave of her. She said, I'll let you become my husband's wife just for procreation purposes and that way I will build a family through my slave. And the point Paul was making is, although they came up with a child, that child was not the promised child. And therefore, he was born of a slave. And Paul's point is, whatever God is doing in our lives, it is not to produce slavery to sin, it is to produce the freedom to live righteously before God.

Now I want to pick it up where I left off there. And we were looking at Romans chapter seven, so I want you to go there with me again, as I continue to make sure we understand that Christ offers us freedom instead of slavery. Ishmael represented slavery, Isaac was born later of a free woman because God wanted us to know that his plan is to set you free. If you don't enjoy the freedom of God, you'll be a slave.

Paul talks about our slavery to sin here in Romans chapter seven. He says, beginning at verse 14, the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual because I'm a slave to sin. And then he talks about what it's like to live your life without God giving you the power. He talks about what it's like to try to be holy, to try to be righteous without God's power.

And look at how he describes it. He says, I do not understand what I do, for what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do. Read on, he says, and if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do.

No, the evil I do not want to do, that's what I keep on doing. So you see, he's describing what it's like to try to live up to God's holy standard, but you have no power. He's saying slavery is when you're trying to observe the law, but all it is is your power, your personal ability, which comes to nothing, Paul says. And I entered the last message talking about Peter as an example of that. We all know that Peter was a man who talked a big game in the locker room, but when he got out on the field of trial, he fell flat on his face. The night Jesus was betrayed, Peter was trying to convince Jesus, all these other folk that you picked, they're going to forsake you, but the one thing you did right, Lord, is you picked me, because I got your back. And what happened? When they betrayed Jesus and the others scattered, Peter wanted to stand up for the Lord, but that night when they started looking around for other followers of Jesus, he said, we're going to get them too. And somebody spotted him and said, I think he's one of them. Peter said, you all better get out of here.

Three times he denied knowing Jesus after just bragging a couple of hours ago to Jesus that I got your back. That's called a power failure. Have you ever had a power failure in your life? Have you ever said, God, I'm really going to get myself together. I'm tired of living like this. I'm tired of my sin.

I'm tired of my struggle. Lord, I'm going to do right this time. Give me another chance. And God give you another chance.

And what do you do? Go right back in to the same thing or you escalate it. Why? Because we don't have the power within ourselves to live the way God wants us to live.

If there were ability in us to do God's will, Jesus would have never had to come from heaven to earth. His coming means we needed a bailout. We live in days where they're talking about bailouts. Government bailing out companies and bailing out and folk are mad. How come they bailed them out? Didn't bail me out and all that. People who pay in their mortgages see another folk get bailed out and they're like, I'm paying mine. Why don't somebody come with a little bail to help a brother out?

Why don't you help this sister right here? I need some. See, all of us are seeing these bailouts. But guess what?

Those bailouts are very specific and very targeted. But when it came to sin, Jesus said, not some of y'all, all of you all need me to come and bail you out of the mess you're in. Stay with us. The second half of Pastor Paul Shepherd's message is coming right up. We want to thank all of you who support Destined for Victory with your prayers and financial support. Gifts that help Pastor Paul share the good news of salvation in Christ with a growing audience. Destined for Victory is a listener support of ministry. And as we find ourselves still walking through a season of uncertainty, your support is even more critical today because in times of crisis, people are looking for a reason to have hope.

Well, we know Jesus is that hope. So please, prayerfully consider making a gift to Destined for Victory today. Give online safely and securely from our website, or give us a call at 855-339-5500.

Again, the number is 855-339-5500. Well, no matter how long you've been a believer in Christ, no matter how spiritually mature he may have helped you become, you'll never outlive your need for the power of God in your life. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's message.

Ishmael versus Isaac. We all need the Lord because we're all slaves to sin. And just because you've been in church a long time doesn't mean you don't need the Lord. Just because your Bible's worn out, you've been reading it so long and it's nice and raggedy looking and stuff, that make you look holy when you have a raggedy Bible, you know. I love it when I see folk with them raggedy Bibles that mean it's been through trials and tribulations with them. Sometimes you open somebody's Bible and some of the pages, you know, are a little crispy.

They've been crying and tears been dropping on it and all that. Oh, that's somebody that's been walking with Jesus. Raggedy Bible, tear-stained Bible. I love that. When you see somebody with a nice crisp Bible, you say, oh, y'all got to come on.

You got to come on up. But listen, let me tell you something. Doesn't matter how raggedy your Bible, how long you've been in church. You can fail as miserably today as you could 20 or 30 years ago when you first got saved. If you don't walk in the freedom that Christ has given you.

Because it's not about us, it's about his power. And the Lord had predicted that in Peter's life. He said, Peter, Satan himself petitioned heaven to shake you. Now Satan wanted to shake you up to destroy your faith. But the Lord said to Peter, but I prayed for you.

And I didn't pray that the Father wouldn't allow you to be shaken because, tell you the truth, the shakeup is going to help you. Do you know that some of us don't begin to put our trust in God? I'm talking about your everyday trust in God.

To begin to live with a dependence on the power of God. Some of us don't do that until we fail miserably. So sometimes God has a vested interest in letting you fail.

Because he needs you to see without him you can do nothing. And so Peter failed and Jesus said, I knew it was going to happen, but I prayed that when you have your fall your faith doesn't fail. And he says later on when you're converted, when you finally get it Peter, that it's not about your power, it's about you trusting Christ.

Then I want you to strengthen your brothers. That's where all of us are. Having to learn that God's plan of redemption in our lives is one designed to take us into freedom rather than slavery. But the only way you experience the freedom to live the way God wants you to live is you must understand it is Christ in you. Your flesh doesn't get saved. You've got to let Christ into your life so that you don't walk according to the flesh, you walk by the Spirit. And that is what produces the freedom that Christ has promised us. Now I want to move on and look at a second lesson we can learn from this Ishmael and Isaac analogy that we find in Galatians chapter 4. Not only does Christ offer freedom instead of slavery, but number two, Christ offers purpose instead of insignificance.

Christ offers purpose instead of insignificance. Now look at what is said here in Galatians chapter 4. It's said that Abraham had two sons, verse 22, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman, watch this, was born in the ordinary way. But his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. One was born, it was not God's purpose, it wasn't connected to God's promise. One was born out of ordinary circumstances because of a lack of faith. And he said, but the other son, his birth was the result of a promise. If you know the story, back in Genesis, when Abraham and Sarah missed the first test, and Sarah said, no I'm going to give you Hagar and I'm going to build a family through her. Sarah was 70 in her 70s when they made this decision. And what did God do?

He waited 13 years. And when Abraham was 99 and Sarah was 89, God said, alright, if you all are ready now to take the make-up exam since you failed the first one, I'm going to bring my promise to pass. Now when you read in Genesis chapter 17, there's a portion in there, in fact let me read it with you. Go to Genesis chapter 17 and you're going to see that Abraham tries to sell God on switching his plan. He tries to sell God on, okay now Ishmael's here already, Lord, so why don't you just do something with him? I'm telling you, your Bible is funny, man, you got to get into the Bible.

Go to Genesis chapter 17 and let's begin our reading at verse 15. God said to Abraham, ask for Sarah your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai, but her name will be Sarah. I will bless her, I will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations, kings of peoples will come from her. Look at Abraham, he fell face down, he laughed and said to himself, will a son be born to a man 100 years old?

Will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90? And then look at what he says in verse 18, he says, if only Ishmael might live under your blessing. What he's saying is, Lord, okay, we messed up, we shouldn't have had Ishmael, I'm sorry.

He said, but since he's here, why don't you just go ahead and whatever it is you plan to do that you promised me, just transfer it to him. What you got to understand is, God doesn't operate like that. God is a God of purpose.

He knows what he wants out of every life. And he cannot transfer somebody else's blessings into yours, nor will he transfer yours into somebody else's. Our God is a God of purpose. And Paul is teaching us here in Galatians that Christ offers us purpose instead of insignificance. What we must learn is that God knows why he saved you, he knows where he's taking you, he has a destination, a destiny for each of our lives, and we must learn to follow God's purpose. For years, I've talked about principles of purpose that I learned a couple of decades ago that have blessed me richly over time.

They're not original with me, but they have blessed me over the years. Let me share five of the principles of purpose with you. Number one, everything God creates has a purpose. Note that everything God creates has a purpose.

Ecclesiastes chapter three will tell you that. God is a God of purpose. It tells you that everything there is a season and a purpose for every activity under heaven. When God creates something or someone, there is purpose attached to his creation. Everything God creates has a purpose.

Number two, where purpose is unknown or rejected, abuse is inevitable. Where purpose is unknown, if you don't know why God purposed you or purposed something in your life, all you can do is abuse it. And that is a profound truth that if you don't understand God's purposes, you'll abuse the resources he gives you. When God gives you money, if you don't know why he gave you money, you will abuse it. You'll use it for your own purposes rather than God's purposes.

If God brings you into meaningful relationships, if you don't discover from the pages of scripture why God brought those people into your life, you will only abuse them. What is abuse? Abuse is abnormal use. It's a combination of two words, abnormal use. If you don't know the purpose of a thing, you can't use it normally.

You will use it abnormally. So it is not enough for us to settle into roles and to settle into resources. We must look through God's word, which is the owner's manual for living, to discover, Lord, what is your purpose in bringing this into my life? Our marriages will get better when we realize that God is a God of purpose and that includes marriage. God created marriage. He knows why he gave you a wife, man. God knows why he gave you a wife. It's right in the pages of scripture. The Bible says that the Lord said he looked at Adam and he said, I will create a help suitable for him. Men, do you know why God gave you a wife?

Because you need help. Thanks so much for joining us for today's Destined for Victory message by Pastor Paul Shepherd. You know, God has a unique purpose for all who have put their faith in Christ, but he also has a plan for those who haven't. Consider Second Peter three, verse nine.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This is our primary calling as Christians to go out into the world and share our faith with others. And there's no better time than now to help Pastor Paul do just that. People are often more willing to accept the cross in times of crisis as we continue to walk together through a challenging and chaotic season in our history.

Now is a great time to offer Destined for Victory your prayers and financial support. When you give, we're always glad to share a gift of our own. And this month, that gift is a booklet from Pastor Paul called Little is Much When God is in it.

Have you ever felt like what you have, whether money or talent, is too insufficient to be of any real use? Well, if so, Pastor Paul wrote this booklet with you in mind. As you follow along, you'll be reminded that God can take the limited and do the legendary. That's Little is Much When God is in it, our gift to you by request for your generous donation to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 to give that gift over the phone or visit to make a safe and secure donation online.

And you can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. God wants to do something special in your life. That's why he allows you to go through some of the things you go through because he wants to work out his own purpose in you. God says that's because I want you to trust me and to follow my purpose in your life. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul shares his message, Ishmael versus Isaac. Until then, remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-05 14:41:24 / 2024-02-05 14:50:57 / 10

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