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Grace In Genesis - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
March 30, 2022 8:00 am

Grace In Genesis - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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March 30, 2022 8:00 am

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. And that is, even in Christianity, we start setting people aside as though there's something phenomenally wonderful about certain people. That some people are a whole different class than other people. Some people have titles that other people can't. Some people can get canonized because of what they did so many great things. But when God is talking, He doesn't see it that way at all. He says, you know what the champion of Genesis is?

Do you know what it is? My grace. That's the champion. 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. We all live in the real world. Everything that goes around, comes around. Actions have consequences. You reap what you sow. Eventually you get what you have coming.

There are no free rides. And if something seems too good to be true, it's too good to be true. There's a lot of truth in those statements. But they're not entirely true. There are exceptions. Some of the exceptions are disturbing. Sometimes the wicked prosper. Sometimes the guilty are acquitted. Sometimes the frugal still lose their money.

Sometimes the healthy still get diseases. We know that's all because we live in a fallen world. But sometimes the exception can be delightful. In fact, the grace of God is the ultimate exception to the real world. Because grace is the vehicle that God uses to give us precisely what we don't deserve. In fact, this morning I'd like to look at the entire book of Genesis and see that principle at work. And what you're really going to see there is that no one, and I mean no one, can be so undeserving that they do not qualify for the grace of God. And when you begin to read throughout Genesis, you begin to see that the grace of God abounds all the more as you go on. In Genesis 6, for example, we find out that the world goes from bad to worse. In fact, Moses writes this, that every intent of the thoughts of a man's heart was only on evil.

It couldn't get worse than that. But then a few verses later, just three verses, Noah is mentioned. And Moses writes this, but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. What did he do? You see, what did he do?

We don't know. I mean, we know what he did later. He spent about 100 years doing it. But we know he built an ark, but we don't know what he did. But he found favor in the sight of the Lord, and I believe that's just grace. In fact, when you think of his children, Shem and Ham and Japheth, they don't demonstrate much righteousness in their lives at all. In fact, there's nothing righteous about them. And yet each of them got their ticket punched for the ark, which is the grace of God one more time.

So that's what I want to do. I want to take a tour through the book of Genesis, because I think it will be extremely beneficial to you for this point, that no one can be so undeserving that they do not qualify for the grace of God. Open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 11 and verse 27. Genesis is an interesting book when you think of why it's written. The children of Israel have been in slavery for 400 years.

They really don't know anything about their self-identity. Moses then decides to write to them and let them know who they are. And so what he wants to do is to give them their heritage. But what's interesting about this book is it's not like any other book in ancient literature. Whenever you're trying to lay a foundation for a religion of the world, when you read the stories about the heroes of that religion, it's amazing how wonderful the characters are. The characters are overwhelming. The characters are almost supernatural. The characters are without fault.

The characters are almost God-like. But that's not what Moses writes in Genesis. Moses writes about characters that are despicable. And it's very important for us, because you see, once religion gets a hold of us, religion does the same thing that false religions do. And that is, even in Christianity, we start setting people aside as though there's something phenomenally wonderful about certain people. That some people are a whole different class than other people. Some people have titles that other people can't.

Some people can get canonized because of what they did so many great things. But when God is talking, he doesn't see it that way at all. He says, you know what the champion of Genesis is?

Do you know what it is? My grace. That's the champion. He said, my grace prevails.

It's not based on what the people did. And that's what I want you to see this morning. In chapter 11, verse 27, it says these are the records of the generations of Terah. And Terah became the father of Abraham. I just wanted to mention that because we're now to a very famous man, Abraham. And in verse 28, it says, Haran, who was his brother, he says, died in the presence of his father, Terah, in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. That's where Abraham is.

He's in Ur. Not far from what we think where the Garden of Eden was. The Fertile Crescent on the Euphrates, where the Tigris and Euphrates meet. Ur is a remarkable city, one of the great ancient cities of the world. In fact, archaeologists imply that at this time, Ur would have been the largest city on earth.

And it had about 65,000 or 70,000 people. Ur means source of light. That's what it means, light, source of light, in Hebrew. As a matter of fact, the high priests were a breastplate. And it was called the Urim, or Urim, and Thummim. And the Urim, or Urim, was the source of light from the breastplate. They were worshippers of the light of the night. They were known for their moon worship.

That's what they did. So God shows up where a bunch of people are moon worshippers. And he picks out a guy. And his name is Abram. And in chapter 12, verse 1, it says, 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. He says, And I will bless you and make your name great. And so 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.

Wow. Whoever had God speak to them like that? You hear blessing, blessing, blessing, and then look at the magnitude of it.

All the families on the earth are going to be blessed because of you. He must be a remarkable man. He must be exemplary in his character. He's not.

Not at all. As a matter of fact, he has one good quality, really good quality. In verse 4, it says, So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken. God said, Go, Abram went. He had faith.

That's it. He just believed God. God said, Go. He said, Okay, I'll go. But as far as being exemplary, being special.

Well, let's see how special he was. Look at chapter 12, verse 10. Now there was a famine in the land. And so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there.

For the famine was severe in the land. And it came about that when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai, his wife, See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman. And it will come about that when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife, and they will kill me, but they will let you live.

Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you and that I may live on account of you. Quite a husband, ladies. What a guy. We're going down to the Egyptians.

Man, you are stunning. They see you coming in as a foreigner. One of the dignitaries is going to grab you, and then they're going to kill me. So please, please, please, just tell them you're my sister.

They say they'll still grab you, but they'll let me live because I'm just your brother. What kind of man is that? You see, what kind of man is that?

Is that an exemplary man? Now remember, he's probably the most blessed, recognized-by-God man of all time. He is Abraham.

Well, you might say, he was new at this. So let's go all the way to chapter 20. And in chapter 20, we're only two chapters before chapter 22 where he offers up Isaac. Isaac, the child of the promise. But I want you to see something here in chapter 20, first three verses.

Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur, and then he surged near Ger. And Abraham said to Sarah his wife, she is my sister. Abimelech, king of Ger, sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night and said to him, behold, you are a dead man because the woman whom you have taken, she is married. Now Abimelech had not come near her and he said, Lord, will you slay a nation even though blameless? Did he not himself say to me, she is my sister? And she herself said, he is my brother.

In the integrity of my heart and in the innocence of my hands, I have done this. Abimelech's a pagan. He has more integrity, I would have never done this. But he said, she's my sister. So what did Abraham learn? Notice he's called Abraham now, not Abram. He's growing. Well, let's see what he learned. Whenever he is confronted with this in verse 13, it says, and it came about, Abraham is talking, he says, and it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, this is the kindness which you will show me everywhere we go. Say of me, he is my brother.

Now don't miss this. It sounds a little bit like Adam. And it came about when God caused me to wander from my father's house. Look, I was happy in Ur. Everything was going fine in Ur and everybody knew she was my wife and I never said she was my sister, but God caused me to wander. And then once he caused me to wander, you have to say she's my sister. This is really God's fault. What kind of man does that? He's Abraham.

Let's go on. Abraham and Sarah are blessed with Isaac, as you know. Isaac then takes a wife, by the way, not until he was 40, which is extremely unusual in that culture. And he takes Rebecca. And Rebecca is barren, like Isaac's mom was, for a while, and then she conceives. And she has twins. And it says in the scriptures that they struggle even within her. And when they're struggling, God intercedes and speaks to her and he tells her that there will be two great nations that come from her.

But he said the older will serve the younger. And, of course, this is the story of Esau and Jacob. Now, you know how the story plays out, these two characters. Esau is a man's man. He is his dad's favorite. Isaac is prejudiced. He loves Esau. Esau, to me, there's not much going on up there. He reminds me of sort of Jethro Bodine from the Beverly Hillbillies. I mean, he's a big, strong guy, but he sold his birthright, his blessing, for oatmeal because he was hungry that day.

I'm telling you, this guy was like one taco short of a combination plate. There's another character involved, Jacob, Jacob. Jacob in Hebrew means to grab the heel.

That's what he did. Remember, he grabbed the heel and the womb. And it came to mean in Hebrew, conniver.

It came to mean swindler, scoundrel. That's who Jacob is. And Jacob lives up to it. Remember what he did with his dad when his dad was in his old age and his sight was failing? He disguised himself up like his brother so his father would give him the blessing with, by the way, the support of his mother.

These are all exemplary people. Notice how this works. And so Jacob gets the blessing. Now, if you remember, he then went away and decided to live and work for a man named Laban.

Now, this part is true. Everything that goes around comes around because Jacob says falls in love with a woman named Rachel. Now, it says in Scripture that he loved her because she had a beautiful face and beautiful form.

I don't know, guys, but that's not a good start. That's not necessarily love. But he loved her because of that. And so he said, I'll work seven years for you so I can have Rachel.

Laban said great. He works the seven years. They're going to consummate the marriage and the old switcheroo takes place. Laban sends in Leah, his older daughter. And now Leah is there in the darkness of the tent and she becomes Jacob's wife. Jacob is outraged.

How could someone swindle you like that? Everything that goes around comes around. But Jacob agrees to work seven more years for Rachel.

And he does. And so he takes Rachel as his wife. Now, what's interesting with these two wives is what happens next.

And I want you to understand this because we have a tendency to romanticize this. The 12 tribes of Israel. Boy, God's hand-picked people.

Yes, but let's look at the reality of this situation. Leah gets pregnant and the firstborn is Reuben. He's the oldest. The second is Simeon. The third is Levi who becomes the head of all the priests. And the fourth is Judah. Now, by now, Rachel is beside herself.

She is not able to conceive and Leah's given Jacob four children. So she comes up with an idea. And it sounds a little bit like Abram and Sarah. Here's her idea. I have a handmaiden. How about if I use her to give you children? And so the handmaiden's name is Bilna. And Bilna then, the handmaiden of Rachel, gives Jacob two more sons, Dan and Naphtali. So she has two more sons.

We're up to six. But then Bilna doesn't conceive anymore so Rachel comes up with another idea. She has another handmaiden named Zilpah. And she says, how about if we use Zilpah to have children?

Zilpah gives Jacob Gad and Asher. So now there are eight children, four of them through his first wife, four of them through maidens of Rachel. Then, at that time, Leah gets pregnant again, twice.

Issachar and Zebulun. Now we have ten tribes, ten sons. And then, finally, Rachel gets pregnant. And she has the first son, Joseph.

Now remember, she's the apple of his eye. And now he has a son named Joseph. And then she has a second son. She calls him Benoi. And the reason she calls him Benoi is it means son of my misfortune or son of my sorrow because she dies in that childbirth. But Jacob doesn't like that name, so he calls him Benjamin, son of my right hand.

And the idea is there's something positive out of this. And that's how you get the twelve tribes of Israel. Six to Leah, a wife by deception. Four to maidens or slaves of Rachel. And two to Rachel. They're the twelve tribes.

It's a soap opera if you've ever heard of one. In any culture. But these become the twelve tribes. And Jacob's name is changed to Israel.

What a great name. You see, no one can be so undeserving that they do not qualify for the grace of God. And that's what God is showing here.

But boy, it goes from bad to worse. I want you now to go to chapter 37 with me. Genesis 37.

This was dysfunction long before anyone ever even knew the word dysfunction. Jacob lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. And these are the records of the generations of Jacob.

Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pastoring the flock with his brothers while still a youth, along with the sons of Bilna and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. He's a snitch.

Notice, they go out there just trying to do their job. He doesn't like something. He said, boy, wait till dad hears about this. And he goes back and says, let me tell you about what they did.

Well, if it only would have stopped there, but it doesn't. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons. This is a lot just like his dad.

Isn't it interesting? Isaac loved Esau more than he loved Jacob. Jacob now loves Joseph more than all of his other children.

Same problem. He says because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a very colored tunic. Oh, boy, that's what you need. Something to let every one of your siblings know how much more God loves you. Everybody in the family wears khaki. And this guy is in his multicolored tunic. Every day they get to see this, what his father made for him.

And it's expensive because it dies at that time. Dad loves me best. It gets worse. His brother saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. So they won't even speak to him every time it's nasty, and he knows that they hate him.

So here's what he does about it. Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, please listen to this dream which I've had, for behold, we are binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect, and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.

You like me now? Remember, he's the youngest. Who would do that? Then his brother said to him, are you actually going to reign over us, or are you really going to rule over us? And so they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Now he still had another dream, and he related it to his brothers and said, lo, I've had another dream, and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down before me. He related it to his father and his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said, what is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come and bow down ourselves before you to the ground?

Yeah, everybody's bowing down before me. Well, you kind of know what happens. The brothers all go off, and they say we're going to Shechem. Joseph is told to go find your brothers at Shechem, but on the way, they weren't going to Shechem. They went to Dothan. And so someone tells Joseph they're not even there. I'm sure they didn't want to let him know where they were because he'll go and snitch on them.

And so consequently, they went to Dothan. And this is where we pick it up in verse 18. And when they saw him from a distance, and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. Let's kill our brother. Now remember, these are the 12 tribes.

This is the basis of Israel, the people of God. And they said to one another, here comes this dreamer. Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. And we will say that a wild beast devoured him and then let us see what will become of his dreams. But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, let us not take his life. Reuben further said to them, shed no blood and throw him into the pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay your hands on him that he might rescue him out of their hands to restore him to his father. He said, look, just throw him in a pit.

I'll come back and get him later. Reuben's the oldest. So it came about when Joseph reached his brothers that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the very color of tunic that was on him. And they took him and they threw him into a pit.

Now the pit was empty without water in it. And then they sat down to eat the meal. Notice how shook up they are about this whole thing. And they raised their eyes and they looked and behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead with the camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh on their way to bring them down to Egypt. And Judah said to his brothers, wait a minute, what profit is in it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Let's try to make money on this. I mean, so what? We kill him, we get rid of him.

Great, but can't we make a few bucks? Notice what exemplary guy Judah is. And he says, come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh, and his brothers listen to him.

And then some of the Midianite traders passed by and they pulled him up and they lifted Joseph out of the pit and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 shekels of silver, and thus Joseph was brought to Egypt. 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 oneplace.com. That's oneplace.com, 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, fbcnola.org.

That's fbcnola.org. 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 of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is fbcnola.org. For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 06:30:56 / 2023-05-14 06:41:19 / 10

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