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Let Everything Go – Part 4

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
December 5, 2021 3:00 pm

Let Everything Go – Part 4

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Are the vultures of doubt circling in your head, picking at your sacrifice of faith? Drive away the doubts. Place your faith in God's Word if for no other reason that it is God's Word.

Then just wait. He may be delaying giving you any feeling of assurance in order to strengthen your faith in Him alone. But the assurance will come. This is Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz and her series of weekly messages on the life of Abraham.

When your world looks like it's falling apart, it may just be falling into place. Faith in God alone. It's the title of today's message.

Here's Anne. Abraham in verse 6 believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. He just believed God. He just took God at His Word.

Romans 4. Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform. And he just believed God's Word, that he would give him a seed, and that through that seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. And Galatians tells us and John tells us that Abraham could see through that promise that the promised seed was not just Isaac and not a multitude of descendants, but it was the Messiah, the promised seed of Genesis 3.15, who would take away our sin and bring us back into a right relationship with the Creator. He saw through this promise a prophecy of the coming of Jesus. And he believed God's Word and it was credited to him for righteousness. He just put his faith in God's Word and God's Word alone.

And I don't want to stretch this, maybe I am, but I wonder from a New Testament point of view, is this the moment when Abraham was actually in a sense converted? And then that made me wonder in the church today, are there people who have left everything behind and they're pursuing knowledge of God and they've gotten off the fence and they're leaving behind their failures and building their altars and they're praying and they're reading their Bibles and they let everything go and they've decided they want God more than they want the world and Sodom and they give up their rights. But could it be that some of those people have never actually been born again and they've never put their faith in God and God alone and it's never been credited to them for righteousness because they still think it's up to their self effort and they've got to do this or they've got to study harder. They've got to pray every day or, you know, still trusting a little bit in themselves. And you have to trust God and God alone for your salvation. And I think it's true because I taught Bible study fellowship for 12 years and in that 12 year period we had several thousand people go through our class and I have had dozens, maybe hundreds of women and these are basically church women who thought they were Christians come into the class and God's word came into their lives and they realized they had never put their faith in God and God alone for their salvation and they were born again after they came into class. Just give me Jesus. We target Christian women, church women I should say, and they come into the arenas by the thousands and every Friday night I give an invitation for them to come to the cross and repent of their sin and claim Christ as their Savior and we've seen hundreds and thousands of women come to the cross and claim Christ as Savior. And so I just share that with you.

Maybe there's somebody here. When was that point in time that you confessed your sin and you told God you were sorry and you put your faith in Jesus alone as your Savior believing he died on the cross for you and nobody else, if nobody else benefited you knew it was for you and you alone. And he was raised from the dead to give you life and you claimed him for yourself and you put your faith in him and him alone. None of any work that you've done, none of your church activity or your reputation, just in God's Word when God said all have sinned, come short of his glory you say God that's me I've sinned and the wages of sin is death God I know that I'm separated from you going to hell when I die. But the gift of God is eternal life and God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that if you place your faith in him you won't perish, you won't die, you won't go to hell you'll have everlasting life and you should put your faith in God's Word that says if you confess your sin he's faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness and you don't have any feelings and for no other reason except God says so.

You confess your sin and you claim Christ as Savior and you invite him to come into your life and you're born again and it's through faith alone and I just throw that out there not only for you but I wonder in your Sunday school class, in your church, in your Bible study don't assume just because the people in your class or your church are members of a church or call themselves Christians that they've been born again tuck in the gospel whenever you have a chance and give opportunity for people to put their faith in Jesus because I think there are many many people out there within the church walls who've never put their faith in Jesus and Jesus alone and they need to be challenged again and again until finally they come to that point where they get it and they put their faith in God and he credits it to them for righteousness. Abraham believed God as it was pointing to Jesus and Jesus was in the future. You and I believe God as it points back to Jesus but it's Jesus who saves isn't it and our faith in God and God alone as it concerns his son and Abraham brought God his tears of disappointment and God used it to bring him to a new level of faith and you bring God your tears of disappointment, your troubled questions and your tough questions and you let God use that to bring you to a new level of faith.

Maybe that's why he's let you have the disappointments. Maybe that's why he's let you struggle because he's wanting to bring you to a new level of faith in your life and Abraham brought him also his tears of doubt and he'd already expressed his disappointment in not having a son and then God has answered that I'm going to give you a son from your own body and your descendants are going to be like the stars at the sky but God had given him another promise, do you remember? And it was that he would possess the land and so now Abraham's coming back and said well God since you answered that one you answered my questions about a son I want to ask you about the land and I think he must have said that even though it's not recorded because God answers the unspoken question and maybe it was a question maybe after believing God's word about a son maybe he hadn't voiced his concern about God's promise for the land but God answers him anyway.

So in verse 7 God also said to him I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees I will give you this land to take possession of it and I don't know what your doubts are. Do you have doubt in something that God's promised you? Maybe there's somebody here who's doubting your salvation.

Jump into people like that from time to time just don't have the assurance of their salvation. Maybe you're doubting God's word to you concerning a child or concerning your future or concerning your career some promise he's given you and you're just doubting it and bring your doubts to him also. He knows the secrets in your heart so he's reading your heart and you might as well voice it to him and in this case I believe Abraham was able to overcome his doubt when God said Abraham remember my promise to you and let me remind you that I wouldn't have leaned down into your life in Ur of the Chaldees and called you to follow me if I wasn't going to do something dramatic and I'm going to give you a son and I'm going to give you this land I'm the same God who spoke to you in Ur the same God who's speaking to you today and have an unanswered prayer in my life and I've prayed it and prayed it and prayed and from time to time God will give me a promise and then he'll give me a little bit more information he'll add a promise to it something for me to keep hanging my faith on and I keep a list of those promises in my devotional Bible and from time to time when the doubts overwhelm me because he just hasn't answered yet I go back to my list of promises and I read those verses and I just remember what God has said to me and it strengthens my faith and I just remind myself to put my faith in his word and claim the promises that he's given me and I think we can overcome doubts by just remembering the promises that he's given and that includes if your doubt is about your own salvation you go back to those verses that say that if you confess your sin he will forgive you and you put your name in those verses and the verse in Revelation if you open up your heart he will come in you put your name in that verse John 1 12 to as many as receive him to them he gives a power to become a child of God put your name in the verse and you just remember the promises and it helps you to overcome the doubts and not only the remembrance of the promises but I think there needs to be an obedience to any command God gives you and people say and I am not sure of my salvation I doubt it and I ask them if they've prayed a prayer of repentance and asking God to come into their lives and they say yes and I say you know then just get on with your Christian life you read your Bible you apply it you obey it as you live it out by experience you're going to know that you know that you know you're a child of God because you just develop that relationship and so now God gives Abram a command that he's to obey because faith without works is dead isn't it so he follows up Abram has said he believed God's credited him for righteousness but now he's got to act it out through his obedience and God gives him a pretty weird command and he says Abram I want you to bring me a heifer go to ram you know three years old a dove and a pigeon and I mean just so strange but you know what God was doing archeologists and historians tell us that this is the way people entered into a covenant back in those days and that they would take these animals and they would cut them in half and they would lay them out in two rows so two people entering into an agreement or covenant would pass between those rows of pieces of animals and the idea was that if they would enter into a covenant and that if either of them broke the covenant it was it would cost them their lives that's how serious it was that it could only be broken by death and so they would pass through these rows of animals that had been slain and it was just indicating the seriousness of the covenant and that it was it was life binding only broken by death and so he tells Abraham to gather these pieces and Abraham does and he lays them out like God said and then Abraham's waiting for God to enter into this covenant with him and he waits and he waits and the vultures begin to circle and they start picking up the sacrifice has to shoo them away and sometimes when we're obedient and we've done what God's told us to do it just doesn't seem to work and he seems to delay in a sense accepting the sacrifice that we've brought him and we don't see it's working and the vultures of doubt and criticism begin circling in our minds and I expect as Abraham was shooing the physical vultures away in his mind the vultures of doubt were circulating like you know did I understand God right and was I supposed to do this and is he going to enter into this covenant with me and you know I feel sort of strange shooing away these vultures and where is God and when is he going to come and I wonder this is one application maybe when you go back home and God's put it on your heart to lead a Bible study in your church or teach your Sunday school class using the scripture novel idea and you go back and you share with your class you want them to just study the scripture and you believe this is something God's called you to do and you're going to lay out a passage and have them just say what does it say what does it mean what does it mean to me and then the vultures begin to circle don't they and they start picking at your sacrifice I don't know if we can do that people won't study it for themselves they need blanks to fill and you're going to lose members in your class pastors wife won't like it and you know the vultures are just circling aren't they and you just have to shoo them away maybe something else you've done in obedience to God and other people just don't understand and they think you're stepping out and you're doing something not right but you know God has called you and people are whispering behind your back and they're criticizing you and you just shoo the vultures away have a friend back home one of the sacrifices that she felt God was calling her to make was that she was to submit to her husband with a sweet expression on her face and had to be thankful God hadn't called me to make a sacrifice like that although I felt convicted for a moment and so she said she made the sacrifice submitted with a sweet expression on her face and her husband got meaner and the vultures were circling are you sure you're doing the right thing are you just going to be walked all over you're going to set him up in his authoritarian role and you know sometimes we make the sacrifice and before God accepts us and gives us that assurance that he's going to follow through we just have to protect it don't we and April's protecting the sacrifice you overcome your doubts I think with not only your faith and trust but with your obedience you remember the promises that he's given you and then you obey the commands that he gives you and you just have to protect it and follow it through until until he accepts it but bring your tears of disappointment your tears of doubt to the Lord's you can trust them with your fears and you can trust him with your tears and you can trust him with your years and God now gives Abram a vision of the future the end of this remarkable day the sun goes down and Abram falls into a deep sleep and a horror of darkness descends I think he goes into a deep spiral of depression and maybe that's why God doesn't let us see the future but Abraham goes in this depression and then what God is saying is Abram you can trust me with your years because I'm in control and then he tells how he's in control he says I'm in control with sovereignty and he says in verse 13 know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own they'll be enslaved and mistreated 400 years that's when you know Joseph was sold into Egypt and Jacob followed with the 11 brothers and they lived under there under Joseph and in a nation that wasn't their own they grew up and multiplied and several generations passed and a Pharaoh rose up that knew not Joseph and he put them all into slavery and mistreated them 400 years and God may allow our children and our grandchildren to suffer so I don't want to look too far into the future God's in control maybe he won't but I'm just saying he's in control he knows what he's doing and he's saying Abram I'm going to allow your children and your grandchildren to suffer but I'm in control and I just choose certain things I am sovereign and not only is he in control with sovereignty but he's in control with authority because he says in verse 14 I will punish the nation they serve as slaves and he did Egypt didn't he when Moses led the children of Israel out and he destroyed the army in the Red Sea and they came out with all the loot and the plunder but then he's also in control with mercy because he says in verse 15 you however will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age and then I'll deal with the people here and I'll bring your children back and he's just saying Abraham you can trust me with your years because I'm in control I know what the future holds and I hold the future and when we look at the future the war on terrorism the economy going back and forth things happening in our country things that are being said the division the hurt the anger the bitterness and the things going on in the rest of the world and you know sometimes I wonder how people can stand facing the future without the Lord I would be so terrified but we can trust him with our years we can trust him with the future because God is in control you might just read the end of the story read the book of Revelation the revelation of Jesus Christ not only the revelation of the future the revelation of Jesus and when we think the world is falling apart revelation tells us it's just falling into place right at the feet of Jesus God is in control in control of your future in control of your children in control of your descendants in control of the world in control of the universe he's in charge with sovereignty and authority and mercy and not only is in control but God is absolutely committed to you and apparently Abraham awoke from his vision the sun had set darkness fell verse 17 the sunset darkness had fallen a smoking fire pot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces and on that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said to your descendants I will give this land now I want you to note something what's absent Abraham is not walking through the pieces this is just God walking through the pieces and if you can just hang with me for a minute I don't want to confuse you but I think God the father is represented by the fire because Hebrew says our God is a consuming fire and I think it's God the son that's represented by the torch because John says that Jesus on the light of the world and I think it's God the spirit that's represented by the oath when God swore by himself because Ephesians says he has marked us with a seal it's the oath of his spirits and God the father God the son God the spirit passing through those pieces and the Bible says that God not knowing somebody greater to swear by he swore by himself Abraham do you want to know how you can know that I'm going to keep my word to you because I swear by myself and my promises are backed by my character and I back up my word with myself and you don't have to enter into this contract because I'm just committing myself to you and since you didn't have to do anything to earn this contract you can't do anything to lose the contract and when you enter into the covenant listen to me God is committed to you if you doubt it do you doubt it then look at the cross that's the sign of the covenant he's made with you he didn't pass through pieces of broken animals he gave you the broken body of his own son and he says if you're ever tempted to doubt that I'm committed to you look at the cross and at the cross I swear by myself all you have to do is place your faith in my word and put your faith in Jesus and enter into this contract and because you can't do anything to earn your salvation you can't do anything to lose it he's just committed to you and he was just committed to Abraham Abraham could do nothing to lose it because he had done nothing to earn it and enter into it it was just God swearing by himself and you can trust God with your years you can trust him he's in control and he's absolutely totally committed to you forever and the sign of his commitment and the sign of his covenant is the cross and the blood of his own dear son and he who gave up his own son for you will he not freely give you all things you can trust him with your fears and you can trust him with your tears and you can trust him with your years just trust everything to him as you embrace the magnificent obsession and you choose to pursue knowing him and making him known and receiving his blessing to be a blessing and fulfilling the potential that he has for your life would you just trust him trust him trust him with everything would you pray with me please and father the answer to our doubts and our disappointments the answer to our tough and our troubled questions the answer to our concerns for the future is just so simple we make it hard the answer is just you so Lord help us to get our focus off of ourselves and just put it on you and your words and believe that your word is backed by the integrity of who you are you're a gentleman you don't lie you don't mock your children we can take you at your word so Lord we thank you for your word recorded in Genesis 15 and through this passage you have spoken to us relevantly at this particular time in our lives personally parts of this just have our name on it and clearly through Abram's example and so we trust you with our fears Lord you understand and you know us inside out and backwards you've proven that by the way you've spoken to us and we trust you with our tears of doubt disappointment whatever our tears are Lord and that's between you and me and we weep into our pillow but our tears are precious to you and the psalmist says that you collect our tears and you put them in a bottle and we trust you Lord when we don't understand and we trust you with our years not just our years Lord but the years ahead for our children and our grandchildren we trust you with the future and we know whatever the future holds you hold the future and the God that's the same today is the same God of Abraham's day is the same God tomorrow you're going to see us through to the end of the story when Jesus comes back in all of his glory to reign and rule and we'll know our faith becomes sight and we did the right thing when we placed all of our faith in you and you alone because you're trustworthy so we commit this to you with praise and thanksgiving for who you are trusting you in the name of the one who is the son of the new covenant even the broken body of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ whose name we pray amen.

Now here's Anne with this final word. Could it really be that simple? Could it be that you and I don't have to do anything because he has done it all? Can I know for sure God has accepted my obedient faith? Can I know for sure he has forgiven me of my sin? Can I know he has placed his Holy Spirit within me? Can I know he has given me eternal life? Can I know he is even now preparing a heavenly home for me?

Yes, yes, yes, I can know for sure and so can you because Abraham's God is our God and he says so. Your hope is secure because God has made a new covenant with you. At the cross God swore by himself that he's committed to you. There's nothing you could ever do, nothing you could ever fail to do. There's nothing that can or will ever, ever, ever break the covenant. Romans 8 32 says, And if he has not withheld his only son from you, will he not also freely give you all things? Trust him, trust everything completely to him.

Trust him completely because he says so. And who is he? He is the God of Abraham. Join us again next week for Living in the Light as Anne Graham Lotz continues in her message series on the life of Abraham. And in the meantime, be sure to go to for more on the life of Abraham in The Magnificent Obsession.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-13 17:18:04 / 2023-07-13 17:27:28 / 9

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