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Counting Stars in an Empty Sky (Part 8)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
September 11, 2019 1:00 am

Counting Stars in an Empty Sky (Part 8)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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September 11, 2019 1:00 am

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I find that the older I get, the more I cherish true and genuine friendship and just let me explain to you what I mean by true and genuine friendship definition of friendship of those people who come into your life when everybody else is leaving or about else leaves true friendship is those who love you with all of your quirks and with all of your idiosyncrasies.

True friends are the people who know everything about you and they still love y'all the same. That's true friendship is on talking about is a matter of fact in the Middle East.

We have a saying that goes something like this in the drives in the original language, but I couldn't get it running in English without changing the meaning it goes something like this. Your enemy will count to you every one of your faults but your friends will even swallow gravel for you powerful vivid language now wanted to turn with me please to Genesis 18 and here we come in this chapter we discover something in the relationship between Abraham and the Lord to be priceless.

Truly, you cannot place a value on it. Abraham becomes God's friend. Some will say well, Michael is an everybody friend of God. No, not really been the question would be how can we human beings with all of our weaknesses with all of our failures with all of our foibles and and with all of our sins, and how can we be friends who are righteous and holy God great?

I'm ready to answer you see the basis of the foundation on which of friendship with God can ever be established is faith. Faith is the basis of the foundation of friendship of the Lord faith in God that connects us to God. Faith is what made Abraham to be God's friend.

With all of his weaknesses with all of his failures, and we been seeing all the way through the series but he became God's friend because of his faith. Faith, in spite of his weakness and failure and sin made David King David to be a friend of God. Even God said that I saw David's hard after my own heart faith is what caused Enoch not only to walk with God in this life, but he will literally was translated into heaven as he walked with God. Faith is what can turn an enemy of God to be a friend of God.

Don't ever forget that God is the one who extended friendship with us by giving up his one and only son to die on the cross and rise again so that he may extend friendship to us and that is why choosing Jesus above all else. Loving Jesus above everybody else identifying with Jesus unashamedly being concerned about what concerns the heart of Jesus being anxious to please him above pleasing anybody else never tiring from his companionship always delighting in his presence, longing to spend unhurried time with him all of those are indication that you are a friend of God. If you look at Genesis 18 you're gonna find us a remarkable chapter because all aspects of friendship with God out in this chapter, all evidence of his friendship with God is in this chapter, and yet the word friends of friendship is never mentioned here, look at with Abraham was called God's friends, three times in the Scripture, but not in the chapter where evidence of friendship is clear three times the first time we read about it is in the book of second Chronicles chapter 20 verse seven with me set the stage Israel. This time was Judah who suffered a great deal from their enemies are always being harassed by their enemies that were facing two powerful enemies of the Amorites and the ammonites, and there were really in terrible danger and so Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of the people before the temple, and he petitioned God and here's what he said this is our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendents of your friend Abraham James 223 is that the Scripture fulfilled in the saying Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. And he was called God's friend. But truly the most powerful, the most amazing passage is found in Isaiah 41 eight because God himself for the first time God himself declares that Abraham was his friend. It's what you Israel, my servant Jacob who I have chosen your descendent of Abraham. My friend, how do you like to be called God's friend. We can be. As a matter of fact there is a key verse here, which is verse 17 that indicates that show clearly that special friendship in verse 17, chapter 18 here you see God's friendship so implicit with Abraham. Shall I hide from Abraham what I'm about to do is he that is a friend trusted a friend. In fact, God's friendship with Abraham makes it very very clear that no matter who you are, no matter where you been, no matter what you have done. I have not done today. You can be a friend of God. Today God desires to be your friend if you are not experiencing the friendship with God at this very moment it is not because of God's reluctance, but it is because you have allowed as sin or a person or something to come between you and God's friendship.

I pray to God today that this will be changed.

Look at verses three and four. Abraham opens the door of his tent wide and welcomes Lord and the Lord willingly enters and provides friendship and companionship.

Abraham now you remember the very beginning when Abraham, who lived in what is today modern-day Iraq when God appeared in for the first time in this etymology to leave your family. I wanted to leave your possessions.

I want you to leave your country. I wanted to leave the near and the beer I wanted to leave everything that is remotely familiar to you and I want to take you to a land that you don't know never been there before. I'm not only going to show it to you. I'm going to give it to you and Abraham. The Bible said by faith that exactly what God said and from that moment, God did not deprive Abraham of his friendship did not deprive Abraham of his companionship and he walked with Abraham. Here the Lord sits with Abraham. What a beautiful picture the Lord eats with Abraham, the Lord walks with Abraham limiting something just from the depths of my heart. Perhaps you have loved that something or someone above Jesus. Perhaps you have become so preoccupied with your work with your profession. We'll possessions reposition whatever it may be I want to tell you on the authority of God's word that God is anxious to renew his friendship with you and then God is anxious to deepen his friendship with you. God is longing for you to be in a close communion with him. Here's a fact. Friends talk to each other friends share thoughts with each other. That's why verse 17 is a crucial verse Cheryl hide from Abraham what I'm about to do is what a friend does. He shares even though God is God and Abraham was a man but God tells Abraham confides in him and God's friendship with Abraham gave Abraham boldness to ask on behalf of his rebellious nephew Lot and his family and God answered his prayer enjoying the Lord's company sharing secrets with each other. The Lord hearing and answering his intercession.

These are all clear indication of a deep friendship. I know there are so many people who really want friendship with God, but they don't want to come clean with God that so many people want friendship with God. But they're not willing to pay the price.

I was thinking about how God was sharing secret with his friend Deborah Hammond and how the heart of true friendship is the ability to keep confidential information confidential. How at the very heart of a dear friendship people keep secrets and and I was truly amazed to read that psychology today's northern evangelical magazine conducted a survey among 40,000 Americans asking what are the three things in order of priority that you cherish the most in the friendship. It's amazing how they placed another order not.

Perhaps what you and I would have thought suburban priority was warmth and affection, not the first. Secondly, it was loyalty and then the first. The most important things the most cherished thing in a friendship, the vast majority of people said the ability to keep confidences. The ability to keep confidences. Isn't that amazing. Not surprising, therefore, that God confides in his friend Abraham he tell them what is about to do in Genesis 18. Obviously, the Lord's appearance.

This time is different from other times he did not appear to him in a dream.

He did not materialize as ill July, but the pre-incarnate Christ himself showed up with two angels, one on each side and Abraham immediately recognized that these are no ordinary visitors.

These are very special people. So, in an act of worship. Abraham would bow down at the feet of the pre-incarnate Christ as if to say, my Lord, I'm Abraham I know you know me, and if you're pleased with me. Stay with me though Mr. I'm gonna tell you though Mrs. does not want you to comprehend Abraham's longing for the Lord's companionship and I believe with all my heart that the Lord will answer the prayer if you express longing to a true fellowship and friendship with Jesus.

He will show it.

He will answer and then Abraham rises up from worshiping to go into sacrificial mode, bringing his best in offering it as food. This heavenly visitors love and listen to me, worshiping and sacrificial giving other Siamese twins of a Christian discipleship because to Abraham. This was not just a lipservice. He worship and then he rose to sacrifice verses 6 to 8 Abraham springs into action. Abraham's friendship with God not lipservice.

It involved action and involve a sacrifice certitude graciously responds in unity with her husband to honor the Lord. No wonder the apostle Peter in first Peter three of all the women in the Old Testament.

He selects Sarah to illustrate godliness, listen to me. Sarah was not perfect.

Did you hear that neither was Abraham but with resilience she showed her metal under pressure of the unexpected verses 9 to 12.

You see, the Lord asks for Sarah by name and he said by name. He asked for her by name and asking for Sarah by name is loaded. It's not that simple. Don't Scripture he did not say Abraham, where is your wife, because he would immediately might've thought at least one into the mother of his son, whom he wanted to live before God and be the one. Ishmael, God did not want to confuse anybody is a God of precision. He asked for Sarah by name, beloved, limit tell you something Jesus asks and speaks and knows you by name.

He calls you by name. He doesn't say hey there bluntly tell you Brown. I come here. He doesn't say you housewife over there, none none none none none none.

He called Zacchaeus to come down from the tree by name.

He called Nathaniel by name and he saw him before he saw Jesus, he called Saul of Tarsus by name on the road to Damascus and he calls you by name. He knows you by name. He loves you by name and he cares for you).

The title of this message counting stars when you see none gives your friend in high places and the really does obedience of faith makes God to be your friend. Beloved, I'm convinced I'm convinced that whenever we forget this fact that God knows you by name calls you by name loves you by name when we forget that fact is the cause of most of our troubles and so in verse 10, the Lord repeats a promise of the coming son by Sarah. Now those of you who are a student. Following this, is to know what a minute Michael didn't he just give the promise in chapter 17. In the last message yes but he see Abraham heard the promise, but he didn't tell Sarah is a how do you know them, ensuring a minute NEC.

The Lord knew that Sarah is eavesdropping from inside the tent, and he wanted to make sure that she hears it. And so, in Genesis 17 God prepares Abraham for that supernatural shock. It is a supernatural shock in any way shape or form but Abraham did not want to tell Sarah and we don't know why.

I probably didn't want to have a heart attack and so in Genesis 18 is not like our Lord in Genesis 18, he presently shows up to tell Sarah verse 12. Sarah just could not fathom that a 90-year-old woman to have a baby from a human point of view, her reaction is very understandable really is why Abraham was reluctant to sell is a 99-year-old man looking at his nine-year-old wife and a set sugar cup. Guess what, we can have a baby as I was nothing of a heart attack, but instead of a heart attack. She laughs, not knowing that anybody was listening. So the Lord asks Abraham did not. Sarah don't miss these things.

He asked Abraham why did Sarah laugh, beloved, I personally think that this is a rebuke to Abraham more than it was for Sarah, do you know why for not passing the good news to his wife.

Verse 14 is one of the many favorite verses in the Bible is anything too difficult for the Lord.

Can you say that with me.

Is there anything in the answer is a man Christian believers now want to speak to you candidly as I'm looking around and I was seeing that more and more believers walking around and going around work that they been baptized in vinegar.

They look like they been weaned on lemon juice. They really are.

They never remind themselves of the promise of God is anything James tells us that we ask that we don't receive because we are strongly we ask selflessly. We are asking ignorantly. Is there anything too difficult for the Lord and the answer is no.

Where the ones who need to learn the lesson of what to do with what he gives us his ear. When Jesus said he was faithful and little bit of the faithful and much he gives you a little and he watches this is what you gonna do with it is in the book of Numbers chapter 11 verse 23 God said to Moses is the Lord's power limited in Jeremiah 3217 Jeremiah set the Lord. Nothing is too difficult for you in Luke chapter 1 verse 37 when the angel announced Gabriel announced to Mary she's going to have a child and she said how can that be, version of never being with a man and he said to her, for nothing is impossible with God.

If believers at this time. Truly, genuinely honestly believe these words, we would have every church in America to be packed to the help not on Sunday morning, but the prayer meetings but like all unbelief always leads to more sin is. It is nothing wrong with experiencing some doubt with momentarily unbelief or discipline or whatever it is, it's how long you stay there that matters because if you don't get out of there is going to lead you to deeper sin and this will happen here. You see her laughing did not stop there. Laugh of unbelief did not stop there.

It led her to lying unbelief always leads to more sin. She denied that she left but beloved listen to Mrs. as a result of that encounter with the Lord. As a result of that encounter. She became a great woman of faith. No wonder in the book of Hebrews epistle to the Hebrews 1111 said by faith Sarah herself received the ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life. Since she considered him faithful to his promises, beginning at verse 16.

You see a beautiful picture. It's absolutely beautiful picture of Abraham walking with the Lord communing with the Lord fellowship and with the Lord communicating with the Lord again.

Verse 17 the Lord said program shall I hide from Abraham what I'm about to do some 2514 said the secret of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he will make them know his covenant in the book of Amos chapter 3 verse seven. This is surely the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals his secret counsel to his servants the prophets, and so the Lord confides in Abraham, as if to say, Abraham, my friend. That is a disaster looming on the horizon and it's in your backyard.

Abraham Sodom and Gomorrah is overgrown with immorality the cup of iniquity is full to the brim. Judgment is on its way. My patience has run out, the abomination has reached bottom. We ask you honestly have you ever thought of you were thinking Tom Fink what is God saying to us, you don't have to be a prophet to answer that question. You don't have to be a similar graduate all you need to do is read Romans one. I have no doubt in my heart that the Lord is saying, my patience is running out the nation that once honored me now displaces me the nation that once wanted to be a city on a hill now is provoking me with their abomination, the nation and whose pulpits my gospel running across the world is now preaching falsehoods, the nation, who once took the gospel to the ends of the earth now become so self-centered that they are drunk on entertainment and self worship. I have no doubt the Lord is saying that the nation that once fasted and prayed and humbled themselves in repentance and seeking my face and now use my name is a curse word the nation that once revered Muslim is now forbidding his name from being mentioned in public, the nation that once sought my righteousness and holiness now has a leader who is ashamed of me, my beloved friends.

God's cup is getting filled to the brim each passing day module also convinced of God's judgment already begun.

But you know what, the saddest part.

So many believers totally oblivious to God the Holy Spirit began to depart from our shores, leaving us to our own devices, God is about to leave us to the consequences of our choices look with me please versus 23 to 33. Here you see an incredible level of maturity that Abraham has reached always seeing him in Egypt with seeing him volunteering with seeing him fearful receiving him angry, receiving him, tried to settle for second best.

We've seen them.

Thank God, the Bible shows us all these characters put them under a microscope did not count or wash them out and taken to the laundromat and start Sherman cover them with cellophane and play someone up the stolen said now you need to be like this. Thank God, the Bible doesn't do that. We seen them but now we see him reaching an incredible level of my spiritual maturity.

Come a long way. Why because he immediately began to intercede on behalf of his unsaved family members may ask you this. Honestly, the me ask you this, when was the last time did you actually take hold of God and I'm not talking about a day or two a week or two months until a year or two that you have taken hold of God's promises and you never let go is a will. Michael R prayed for a certain period of time and I just her think my not be according to the will of God. How do you know the will of God.tell you not to pray about that. I believe God will answer and I know putting my neck all the way up to a prayer for unsaved child because first cruises seven said they are sanctified in the believing parents that means God has a special plan for them. Don't ever give up.

Don't ever give up and he said that with me. Don't ever give up if you want to know the level of spiritual maturity. If you want another level of your spiritual maturity manager the time that you spend in prayer on behalf of a lost person but there's one thing you need to understand about this whole negotiation that Abraham was getting into with God in first 5045 4030 father was an auction is just a cultural thing as auditors. This is just the way how things are done back then but I hate to tell you that's how things are done.

Even now, the bargain and negotiate for everything and that's what Abraham is doing is not nothing really unusual limited view this as I conclude there are three things the Lord always does before he withdraws his hand of blessing. Three things. First of all, he holds an inquest on the moral condition before judgment comes holds an inquest. Secondly, what he does here he become really accessible to his people's earnest intercession is very accessible to and the third thing is the faithfulness of the righteous.

No matter how small the number they will make a difference that will make a difference.

God agreed that even if there were 10 people in Sodom and Gomorrah. It was not going to destroy it went all the way to the bottom. I guess Abraham and his heart of hard was hoping to at least 10 people.

But alas, there were no 10 people in Sodom but in honor of his friend. He saved Lawton his family every day, every day we are watching with our own eyes the beginning of what Jesus calls in Matthew 24 birth pangs preceding the beginning of it.

The hours here. Labor pains are coming in shorter and shorter intervals. The question is are you fearful or are you rejoicing Jesus said when you hear these things left up your heads for your value of your redemption is drawing. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit that LTW.Ward

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