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Let Go, Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2021 8:00 am

Let Go, Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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March 24, 2021 8:00 am

An overview of the life of Abraham.


Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ.

I remember when I was called to go to seminary, to go into ministry. I got to tell you something, I love my job. I not only love my job, but I love my friends.

And I love my family. And they were all right there. And my mother had MS and Velma's mother was old and it was a really good logical thing for us to stay there. We had a responsibility. I loved the kids that I coached.

I loved all of it. God just let go. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana.

Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. A young man decided that he wanted to be a missionary. And so one of the final steps in order to be a missionary was to be examined by an examiner from the mission board itself. And that's where I pick up the story. At 3 a.m. one cold morning, a missionary candidate walked into an office for a scheduled interview with the examiner of a mission board.

He waited until 8 a.m. when the examiner arrived. The examiner said, let us begin. First, please spell Baker. The young man said B-A-K-E-R. Very good. Now let's see how well you do with math. How much is two times two?

Four. The young man said. Very good, the examiner said. I'll recommend to the board tomorrow that you be appointed. You have passed the test. At the board meeting, the examiner spoke highly of the applicant and said he has all the qualifications to be a fine missionary.

First, let me explain. First, I tested him on self-denial. I told him to be at my house at 3 in the morning.

He left a warm bed and came out in the cold without a word of complaint. Second, I tried him out on punctuality. He appeared on time. Third, I examined his patience. I made him wait five hours to see me after telling him to come at 3. Fourth, I tested him on temper. He failed to show any sign of it at all. He didn't even question my delay. Fifth, I tried his humility. I asked him questions that a small child can answer and he showed no offense. He meets the requirements.

He's the kind of missionary this board needs. See, what appeared to be a completely illogical test turns out to be an extremely revealing test. That's what God does. One of God's most revealing and yet seemingly illogical tests that he gives to people just like you and me is what I call the let go test.

The let go test has been illustrated over all the years. One story that shows up I think ever since I was a Christian illustrates it so well. A man's walking along a narrow path and not paying much attention to where he goes. And he slips over the edge of a cliff and he begins to fall and he puts his hands out and he grabs a branch on his way over the cliff and he's realizing that he's hanging there but that he couldn't hold on for very long. And so he calls for help and he said, Is anybody up there? And the voice comes Yes, I'm here.

Who's that? So does the Lord? Lord, help me. So do you trust me? He said yes, I trust you completely, Lord. Good. Let go of the branch. Long pause. Is there anybody else up there?

Chuck Swindoll and thankfully writes after he uses that illustration, like this dangling cliffhanger. Are you ever afraid that God might ask too much of you? Consider for a moment what would be too much. Our daily lives are built around people and things we enjoy a spouse, children, friends, a job a hobby, possession, future plans. These are the pillars and beams of our earthly support system. And if one of them is removed, we sometimes feel as though the framework of our lives is collapsing around us. But there are times when God says. Let go. And the nuts and bolts that hold our world together suddenly snap. If you've ever been in that situation, you know, the pressure a test like that can exert on your faith.

The let go test seems counterintuitive to us. I mean, it's the things I love. The things I treasure my possessions. My vocation. My dreams. My relationships.

You see, the key to understanding the let go test. Is not the words possession, vocation, dreams, relationship. It's the word my. Mine.

A.W. Tozer in the pursuit of God says there is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess. Always to possess.

It covets things with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns my and mine look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of our old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The root of our hearts have grown down into things.

And he says, and we dare not pull one rootlet up lest we think we die. There is no more difficult test than the let go test. And there is no greater example of the let go test than you'll find in Genesis chapter 22. Open your Bibles to Genesis 22. There is so much emotion in these 18 verses in this first two thirds of this chapter.

That all of us can identify with it, but I think so often we identify with it in sort of the wrong way. There are two great points that Moses is making when he writes of this let go test. In the first two verses, we see that God tests the faithfulness of believers by asking us to let go of the best we have.

God tests the faithfulness of believers by asking us to let go of the best we have. It says now it came about after these things that God tested Abraham. By the way, Abraham didn't know it was a test. He didn't know. He didn't have a lot of scripture to look back on and see the way God operates. He didn't understand.

Moses is the one God reveals to that this was a test. That so often happens to us. It sort of just comes out of the woodwork.

It comes out of nowhere. He is testing Abraham. Please understand a framework here. God is omniscient.

That's very important to understand. God understands he knows the future as clearly as he knows the past. He knows the future as clearly as he knows the moment. And so when you think of a test like this, please understand it also from God's perspective. He knows exactly how this is going to turn out. And then it's almost like you're in a classroom.

Attendance is going to be asked. Abraham, here I am, present and accounted for. What a great statement. I couldn't imagine just all of a sudden you hear your name spoken by God. And Abraham's response is, here I am. Wonder what he wants. Wow. He said, take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac. And go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I would tell you.

Wow. Your son, Nahar, can mean a young boy. There's a lot of debate as to the age of Isaac here. But he's somewhere, most people feel somewhere between 8 and 30. But most likely he's around 15 or 16.

Now Abraham's 115 or 16. So you have a very old man and a very young, vibrant boy. But can you read the pain here? It's almost as God goes out of his way to let him know how painful this sounds. He says to him, take your son. And then he says, your only son.

Ishmael is no longer there, but God never recognized him that way. He says, this is the son of the covenant. He knows it. Abraham knows it. Your only son.

And there's a good reason God uses that term, by the way. And then he says, whom you love. Isaac. Laughter. I couldn't even imagine the joy he has had with his son.

Watching him grow into a young man. And God says, take him. Where am I going to take him, Lord? You're going to take him to Moriah. Wow. About 50 miles away. Yeah.

And you're going to offer him. You see, what's happened so often is we put ourself exactly in that place and we keep thinking, wait a minute. I remember when I've actually taught this and people were upset. I had a Bible study because what kind of God would do that?

Keith Carroll writes this. He said, the question that is often asked at this point in the text is, how could a God of love command Abraham to offer up his only son as a sacrifice? He says this then, for family devotions, Martin Luther once read this account.

And his wife, Katie. She said, I don't believe it. God would not have treated his son like that. Luther said, but Katie, he did. He says, thus we are forced to the conclusion that the sacrifice of Isaac could not have been wrong.

Whether only attempted or accomplished because God is incapable of evil. Much more than this, as Luther recognized, it could not be wrong as a sacrifice of his only son because that's actually what God did with his only begotten son. God tests the faithfulness of believers by asking them to let go of the best that we have. Have you ever been tested like that? Have you ever been asked of that with God? It's an amazing thing.

You see, because it's not necessarily to this degree, that's a very rare and unusual situation, but God does this kind of thing all the time. I can remember when I was called to go to seminary, to go into ministry. I got to tell you something, I love my job. I not only love my job, but I love my friends.

And I love my family. And they were all right there. And my mother had MS and Velma's mother was old and it was a really good logical thing for us to stay there. We had a responsibility. I loved the kids that I coached.

I loved all of it. God says let go. And she just let go.

And I can't tell you that that's not without a lot of consternation. You see, I knew what I wanted. That's the way God operates. Wow. There's something else here though. And that is simply this. That faithful believers are willing to let go of the best they have because they trust God to provide. That's the great lesson here. God tests the faithfulness of believers by asking us to let go of the best that we have.

But faithful believers are willing to let go of the best they have because they trust that God will provide. I'm amazed there was no dialogue. There's almost no dialogue in this whole episode. And I don't know about you and me, but I'd want to talk this to death. I would want to, wait God, I want clarification here.

What do you mean burnt offering? You see, there'd be a lot of things I'd want to say. None of it. And you know why? This is a friend of God. This is the father of faith.

He is our model. That's what makes Abraham so special. So Abraham rose early in the morning and he saddled his donkey. And he took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son. And he split wood for the burnt offering. And he rose and he went to the place where God had told him. As I said, it was about 50 miles.

He's 115. This is a long way to go. It says on the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. You see, there's no talk.

I don't know what. But I know this, there had to be a lot of thinking. If you're Abraham, what are you thinking for three days?

For three days you're just thinking about this. See, from our point of view, we think that the problem is with the request. But that's not Abraham's point of view. To Abraham, the problem is probably with the deed.

Because he's not too bothered by the request. You could say, well, how could you ever say something like that? Well, first in verse five, look what happens. Abraham said to the young men, stay here with the donkey. And I and the lad will go over there and we will worship and return to you. Do you see that? It's all in the pronoun. Do you see that? We are going over there and we will worship and we will return to you. Wow.

How do you say we? You have to trust God. You see, that's why he's the father of faith. He trusts God. Hold your place here and go with me to the book of Hebrews chapter 11.

The hall of fame of faith. Abraham gets mentioned more than once. In verse eight he gets mentioned that when he was called he obeyed by going out of the place to receive his inheritance when he left Ur of the Chaldees. But look at verse 17 of Hebrews 11. By faith, Abraham when he was tested. You see, even the writer of Hebrews knows this is a test.

When he was tested with the great let go test. By faith, Abraham when he was tested offered up Isaac. And he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son. For it was he to whom it was said in Isaac your descendants shall be called. In this reason, he considered, he reckoned, he believed, he trusted that God is able to raise people even from the dead from which he also received him back as a type. What did Abraham believe? Even if I take his life, we can go back to Genesis, even if I take his life God will raise him from the dead because God told me he's the child of promise.

What does it take to do that? Tremendous faith. Tremendous faith. His only begotten. Willing to give up his only begotten.

That's just like the father, doesn't it? Willing to give up his only begotten. Willing to sacrifice him, oh by the way, on the same hills, in the same place. Mariah, the hills around Jerusalem.

The same, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the very place. Why? Because the writer of Hebrews says it's a type. You see, God was willing to do that. Abraham didn't have the same kind of consternation you and I would have had. And the reason is, he had an A from the beginning. Because this test, the let go test is always the same. Do you trust me?

And Abraham is emphatically yes. How much will you let go of? He says the best I have. Everything.

My son. You see, we read the story from a completely different perspective. This is the triumphant story.

This isn't a story that's filled with all the fear and trepidation that we read into it. Because Abraham wasn't feeling that. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and he laid it on Isaac, his son. Probably because he was much stronger. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. And so the two of them walked together. There's two perspectives I'd like to see this from.

Actually three. One is the perspective of Abraham. I will trust God. But if the writer of Hebrews is correct, then he is. Abraham believes that he is going to slit the throat of his own son. And that God would raise him. But just imagine if you were Abraham walking with your son.

What he's thinking. Then there's the point of view of Isaac. Isaac has been with Abraham when they've made offerings before. And you're going to see in a moment Isaac's like, well look it's all here, we've got the wood, we've got the knife. There's something missing here. You see that seems odd. We always have a ram or a goat. Or we have a sheep, we have something.

Where is it? There's another perspective though to look at this. Don't underestimate the feelings of God. How do you think God felt when he watched this man, old man walk with this young boy? Wow, what kind of faith is this?

This man is walking with his son. I had to believe it's overwhelmingly emotional just for God. And he knows it's a type, it's a picture of what's going to transpire in the future. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time.

Remember that you can go to a great website called That's and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online. At that website you will find not only today's broadcast but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift.

Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website At our website you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for you can listen online or if you prefer you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember you can do all this absolutely free of charge. Once again our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-12 03:26:18 / 2023-12-12 03:34:29 / 8

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