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Counting Stars in an Empty Sky (Part 5)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
September 6, 2019 1:00 am

Counting Stars in an Empty Sky (Part 5)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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In fact, all of life. If you think about it. There are also some covenants and all sorts of agreements and all sorts of contracts. Most of them are agreements between two equals in marriage, the husband and wife to equals standard make an agreement or covenant before God. He is a witness to primary witness and then the congregation is a second witness in business thanks to lawyers, even if we exchange a few dollars would have 100 page document to sign in the Bible we often see God making covenant God speaks as the covenant making God.

This heat makes covenant with people but the covenants of God makes with man far from two equals. Indeed, it is a covenant of two very unequal. It is a covenant where God does all of the heavy lifting.

It's a covenant where God takes upon himself hundred percent of the responsibility.

For example, we see that God made a covenant with Adam and Eve in Genesis 315 where he promised Jesus the Messiah will come then we see him making a covenant with Noah after the flood in here in Genesis chapter 15 we see him making a covenant with Abraham but the greatest of all covenants was on the cross of Jesus Christ were he invited everyone who would come and believe in him and when they do everyone who comes to put the whole trust in Jesus Christ. Everyone who comes and look upon that cross that is very across but he took it upon himself.

It is their punishment that he took upon himself that his death on the cross is their death that Jesus is suffering on the cross is there suffering he took all of it on himself. He took RC in the punishment and the wages of sin that is Julie hours. He took it all on himself. He does all hundred percent of the heavy lifting. That's a covenant not between two equals four, God so loved the world, the Bible said that everyone is going to make it to heaven in the end, right.

For God so loved the world that anyone who follows any of these good religions going to be saved right for God so loved the world that whoever tries hard to live a good life will be saved right now for God so loved the world that whosoever believes in him will escape the judgment will escape the punishment into eternal life.

That's the truth of the gospel. That's the truth of the gospel. Sadly and I mean sadly in the truest sense of the word that anyone who rejects Jesus and his cross are never going to be saved and until they do, they will never experience salvation. We are in the middle of a series of messages entitled counting stars when you cannot see any. This is a series based on the life of the great patriarch Abraham.

First we saw how God asked Abraham to leave the order of Chaldees that is modern day Iraq and go to Canaan.

He said not only will I show you that land of promise. I'm going to give it to you.

I'm going to give it your descendents. We saw there, God made Abraham seven fold promise sevenfold blessings, Abraham took his father bear his father being a moon worshiper goes the horizon and as I shared with you.

You probably know more about her another near woman or that was a Las Vegas for the moon worshiper's and the so he ended up in the detour and he was there for six years until his father, Darrell died and then he continued on onto the land of promise of God promised him and his descendents, and when Abraham gets to Canaan. Finally, he finds that there is a shortage of food, there is little starvation and so instead of asking God to provide for him. He took matters into his own hands and he went to Egypt. Egypt is not dependent on the rain because they have the river now and so there was always food there and so he goes to Egypt and there he lies his schemes and he manipulates his wife to live for him so that he can save his skin but God taught him through his failure. An unforgettable lesson God supernaturally intervene, even in the house of Pharaoh and revealed the truth to Pharaoh that Sarah is not the sister but she is his wife and so he gets thrown out of Egypt. Once he gets thrown out of Egypt, he goes back to the heart of worship where Bethel is where he set the first altar to God and so he comes back to the heart of worship and he comes back to Canaan. But as he goes to Canaan, his selfish nephew is been tagging along in this journey. Lots law looked at the land of Canaan, and he looked how lush and how green and how beautiful the land of Sodom and Gomorrah is that I want to take this his gracious uncle Abraham let him have it, and he went and settled contented the leftover but God blessed them. Nonetheless, lot his nephew gets kidnapped by 4 Kings Ter. always in the Middle East so he gets kidnapped and out taken as hostages and saw uncle Abraham again springs into action at the age of 85 egos on tax on all those four Kings and he freezes nephew and set them free. After that, Abraham turns down a huge fortune that was offered to him by the king of Sodom. Peace of God forbid that it be said that you made me rich. God is the one who promised to bless me.

I don't want your money so he turns down that fortune and the same time when Melchizedek, who is a type of Christ appears from nowhere.

Abraham sticks 10% of all of his net worth, not his income 10% of all of his net worth and he offers it for the Lord and I shared with you in the last message after this exhausting experience. Abraham gets into a funk and in the first few verses of chapter 15 Abraham was looking for assurance from the Lord. He was looking for assurance of God's promises. He was looking for a confirmation that all of that God promised him is going to come to pass. He was looking for a word of affirmation of what he knew that God promised 10 years earlier. Don't ever forget that. He was 75 at the time now is 85.

He was looking for a word of encouragement that he could keep on counting stars. This part of the fact that he and Sarah not getting any younger.

God not only assures him. I showed you what the shield visited on your shield on your great reward that no matter what happens, no matter how long it takes, I'm going to keep my word to you. Abraham, when Abraham was still not sure even though God said, I am your shield, I will grade toward the Lord consents that he still not certain, but God so gracious even when we are not certain who said how could this happen when Sarah and I not getting any younger and so God does something so stupendous. God does something so magnificent he does something so unprecedented he does something that is unheard of. God does something beyond anyone his imagination. At that time.

Not only that, he makes a covenant with Abraham. But God's commits himself and his honor in a tangible demonstration of hard hard is going to keep his word, no matter what, but there's something here. I want to learn from Abraham ability to miss it. I wanted to see how God was not offended by Abraham's candor, God was not offended by Abraham on the loading of his burdens before the Lord God was not offended when Abraham poured his innermost in the presence of God is innermost thoughts what he was thinking and how is feeling. He poured it all out to God and God was never offended, don't you think God knows if you God volcanoes inside of you will not do think he already knows that it is unhealthy for you to repress how you really feel or what you thinking do you think that God would fall off his throne.

If you come clean and unload on God of how you're feeling and what's going on because God already knows what's inside of us. He longs for us to verbalize it.

He longs for us to speak it out to him for that is the mark of an honest relationship with God to be polite with gardeners on the Savior from polite things not enough already knows what's inside of her and say I'm so glad when I'm alone with God. Nobody's around me. I really hadn't because I mean I let it all hang before God. Not that I'm disrespectful like some people I know in their pride in this regard, I want you to do this right and I'll have you do it that way. Also, the women are you not talking to a bellhop. This is the God of heaven and earth.

I do it without the most respect by reviewing and fearing God with all my heart, but nonetheless I pour my heart out to him. He already knows it anyway knowing full well that God is honored that I am as vociferous in my petition as I am in my praise of him look with me. Verse eight, Genesis 15, eight his Abraham with other most respect to God. But he's pouring out his sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will possess these promises.

Now I want to ask your question. Does this represent unbelief on the part of Abraham. Now, absolutely not. I know in Luke chapter 1 verse 18. When God supernaturally promise Zechariah the priest is going to give them a son and not being John the Baptist and he didn't believe it.

So you struck dumb until the baby is born, and then finally God that is that that's unbelief but not all asking. Not all questioning is unbelief on the cross, Jesus, the second member of the Trinity, who he and the father have been worn before all eternity intimacy. He hung on the cross, though he knew the answer. He asked why sometimes to ask why is nothing unbelief.

God understands our weaknesses here really does he understand our weaknesses more than we do. In fact, that is why the apostle Paul said, even when our conscience condemn us.

He is greater than our conscience are to be sure God does not wink at our disobedience.

He does not wink at our sin, he does not wink at our failure, but he gives us the strength to overcome. Like the man in Mark chapter 9 verse 24 he came to Jesus, crying out, and said, I believe, help my unbelief. That is a true, genuine pouring of the heart to God and that is why, in response to Abraham's query God and acted a covenant with him. God actually gave him a tangible sign when he made that covenant with him. God gave him his word, but he realized that this man is weak like we all are, so he graciously give him a sign. God sometimes does that when he makes a covenant he gives a tangible sign when he met a covenant with Noah after the flood. He gave him a tangible sign. The rainbow when Gideon came to him twice not sure uncertain card graciously twice took care of that fleecy so I wanted what he did it, what it a lot brighter. God is gracious and is merciful God responded to Hezekiah's request in second Kings chapter 20 by making the shadow of the sundial move backward Novell times in my life not testify this to the graciousness of God. When I am not absolutely sure if it is God orders me and before our run headlong.

I cried to God.

Just show me a suck. Just let me know that this is you, and I'm ready to obey and God graciously every time gives me a clear sign covenant in its basic definition word covenant. Ms. promise in this case, a promise that is made by God to Abraham. I personally prefer the word promise than the word covenant to the word covenant sometimes comes across as let's make a deal. God, you do this and I do this and if I do this God would you do this doesn't mean that sadly many of us don't keep us out of the bug, but not so with God.

Why, as we see here in Genesis 15, because God's covenant of promise is unilateral is unilateral. God took it all upon himself first. All of God's covenants are unilateral when he makes them he makes them unilaterally. Secondly, all of God's covenants are eternal, not temporary or just for a season. They are eternal, fairly all of God's covenantal promises that he makes a based on his grace, not on our performance for a great God we worship. What a great God we worship, so that his covenants are unilateral, eternal, and dependent on his grace, let's say those together unilateral, eternal, and based on his grace. Here is a fact none of us deserve the promise of God through Jesus Christ for salvation. I know I don't. None of us and that is why I wanted to look at the three characteristics. The Bible tells us in Galatians and Romans that all of the promises all the sevenfold promises that God gave Abraham, all of them fulfilled in Jesus Christ and the descendents of Jesus Christ are numerous as the star in the sands of the sea. First, it is one-sided covenant is unilateral. You may know that an oath or promise or covenant or contract is executed in different cultures of different countries in different parts of the world differently. For example, in Africa there is a tribe called the house of tribe have not word for contractor covenant because when they do make a covenant what the two parties of the covenant discredit each other's feet, and so the Bible translators will try to translate the Bible that God is a covenant making God are basically several does it. Here's the one who spits at your feet and that they begin to understand what it means. In America we go to court and raise our right hand and say promise to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth in the old days used to be a Bible. Now they moved the Bible but nonetheless that's it away by which will make a promise in Abraham's day. A covenant is made based on a ceremony this what was done in the day and look how gracious Scott is that he did something not strange, not unusual, not something Abraham could never understand or comprehend that he can down programs level to what is familiar to him to what he knows.

It happens when people make contract and what do they do they cut them animal and half that's a ceremony in the put the two halves across from each other and the two contracting parties would walk in the space between those two halves. That's how covenant was conducted.

In those days and so God says to Abraham I'm going to do it the way you understand and so he cuts the animals and half. But instead of Abraham and God walk through the space he noticed something out of your stupendous is unprecedented, unheard-of God that long walks in the middle, he takes the full responsibility. The reason they do this as ceremonially as we study in history is because is it to announce to the world are those who are witnessing the covenant that if any of us will break the covenant. What happened to that animal happened to him. As a matter fact, the shedding of blood was a clear indication of the seriousness by which a covenant is taken that if you look at verse 17 of Genesis 15 you'll see what I'm talking about God alone passes through the pieces by himself on Abraham just sitting tight, trying to keep the wild animals and the bird away from the sacrifice. Not only did God come down to Abraham's level but God assures Abraham that he is not on only covenant making God, but he's a covenant keeping God what a gracious God, we have that is why Hebrews chapter 6 beginning at verse 13 says and saw after waiting patiently numbers that work after waiting patiently. Abraham received what was promised, God chose Abraham the refiner's fire and then he shows him the blazing torch all of the symbolizing of God's perseverance. So God's promise unilateral. Secondly, there are eternal God's promise.

All of his promises always eternal, always eternal. There are unchangeable they are unshakable. Listen to me. God is not sitting in heaven when a person repent of their sins and become born-again and adopted in God's family. He writes her name in the book of life with a pencil and the moment they mess up returns the pencil over and erases that name and then the repent and come back to God for he writes in them back and then they mess up again, and God erases and on and on and on. No no no that is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. God loved us and he loved us to the end. His love is eternal.

The name of every believer in Jesus Christ all his children whom he adopted a written in the book of life, but no other than the blood of Jesus Christ himself and nobody can erase the reason I'm sure is because God's love for us was always there before we were ever born. His love for us was always there before we ever responded to his love is pure grace is what caused us to respond in obedience. It is his gracious love that because verse two could be delighted and loving him back in his is pure grace and love that caused us to lie in serving him.

He see God's love is not dependent on women's and and moods are God's love is not limited to, a moment of time or space God's love is always for better for worse our worst and his better, no matter what we do is love and promise of love is everlasting, all to be sure the scars of our rebellion. The scars of our disobedience will always be there is Leica Molly that says to her little boy don't touch the stove you burn the board tries it and he gets burnt and he said I'm sorry mommy is a roof going into the ambulance to get some medical help.

I'm so sorry course of Mumford gives but that's because my stressful life is to those scars of our disobedience will always be there to remind us of our disobedience, but it doesn't mean that God does not forgive us. Please listen carefully. Don't let anyone mislead you until you that the God of the Old Testament is the God of wrath, but the God of the New Testament is the God of love that is alive from the pit of hell. It is the same God in the Old Testament, who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. All you need to do. Take them to this passage here in Genesis chapter 15 take them to Genesis showed up before the law was ever given and show them the incredible love and grace of God that he poured on Abraham.

Here you see the promise of God to Abraham and to you is unilateral. It's eternal. And when you see the promise of God to Abraham.

You understand why we have one to God consistent throughout the Scripture.

First of all, God exercises his love by choosing us and electing us in and bringing us to himself that his love is being exercised. As he perseveres with us without foolishness and without disobedience. He continuously perseveres with us for God's love is a steadfast love, not an emotional and changeable love and he gets mad at us when we not good when he gets happy when we're good now that is a human image of God. I am convinced that the reason why we have a messed up view of God is because we have a messed up view of love, really. I hear people as well as her arm and love him out of love. I'm in love amount of love is like I'm in the shower matter shall that's not how God loves us because God's love is unilateral because God's love is eternal and that is why the Bible said he talk our infirmity.

He carried our sorrows. He removed our sins, he took upon himself our deserved punishment, and he did all of this not so that he may forgive you one day and Turner near the other so that you can change from day to day from season to season is for eternity all the way to heaven is our Paul can say who can separate us from the love of God and in their lives is nothing will separate us from the love of God. God is not changing dependent on our faithfulness or lack of it now is the one you took time when you really think, and are pleased that you would at some point in the just reflect on the unbelievable and merited love of God is love, and therefore his covenant of promise is unilateral.

His love and therefore his covenant of promise is eternal. And thirdly, his love, and therefore his covenant of promise is totally undeserved, totally undeserved, but I know human nature.

The weight is human pride.

The weight is human arrogance the way it is. We want to credit for only what God could've done. I know that I know that.

What did Abraham do to deserve this magnificent act of unilateral and eternal grace.

Nothing. He was an idol worshiper and orders of Chaldeans, what did I deserve what did you deserve what did you do what did I do to deserve the love of Christ, the forgiveness of my sins and the assurance of eternal life. Nothing. As a matter fact I can only speak for me at that something that is worth nothing and that is I rebelled against God. I shook my fist of God. I falsely accused God there is anything I deserve or be judgment, but instead I received grace upon grace upon grace. Now I know in this day and age, there are so many churches, the teaching stuff that's perverts the grace of God and turning into a licensed but that's a subject for another time.

What you think I lose it every time when I talk about the grace of God because it pleased God, and nothing else it please God to save me. It please God to save your nothing else. My Jesus did not walk through the cut sacrifice. Not just give his feet messed up with blood as he walk-throughs he himself became the sacrifice he himself has his body torn on the cross, he shed his own blood he offered his own sinless body for sinners like us his love, then compelled me to come his love wooed me his grace constrain me and that is why Ahmed God, a promise that for the rest of my life.

I'll spend my life thanking him, praising him honoring him and serving him and lifting up his great name that magnificent name of Jesus for all to see, for he loved us first, and he loved us to the end and his love is unilateral. His love is eternal in his love is gracious. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way.

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