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A Step Of Faith

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
July 31, 2022 1:00 am

A Step Of Faith

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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July 31, 2022 1:00 am

The losses, challenges, and heartaches God brings on life’s journey reveal we were made for another world. God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, promising to make of him a great nation. In this message, we find three lessons from Abraham’s first steps of faith that prepare us to trust God with our own journey. Are you living and longing for eternity?

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He began life as a broom and ended as Abraham called out of the pagan land by God. Abraham became the father of the nation Israel for much of his life. He was on the move on a journey to a promised land. He never got to enjoy. As a result, his life was one of faith as ours must be if we are to please God from Chicago.

This is The Moody Church.

Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer today. Dr. Lidster begins a series on strength for the journey taking your next steps with God. A study in the life of Abraham. Later in our broadcast.

The journey begins with a step of faith. The Moody choir comes now to open our service in a moment were going to sing together him 100 and 40 worship the King.

We hope that you'll take time to find it in your hymnal and then when we stand to sing. We sing at as a song of adoration and praise and our hearts expression to God. 104 our scripture reading today by Pastor Andy Lindquist pastor Lindquist is our pastor of you here young people and you'll notice that we will have an opportunity to participate in that reading two courses are listed step-by-step Jesus all for Jesus.

The psalmist said, oh Lord, I have sought the with all my heart. May I begin today by asking you is there something with in your heart that does not give you permission to say that whatever it might be, would you confess it and by God's grace for sake today so that you might be able to say that with your heart and to worship the Lord acceptably through Jesus Christ our Lord and our king would you join me as we pray together and after we have prayed we shall stand to sing and then we shall continue to stand until we have son Jesus all for Jesus. Let us pray together.

And Lord, we do seek you with our whole heart we ask today that you will rid us of all those things that might prevent us from total and complete yielded nests in your blessed presence directors today father and take this song of worship and use it to bless your name and may it be the complete expression of our hearts, our minds and souls. We ask in Jesus name, amen. Our Scripture reading this morning is taken from Psalm 16, verses one through 11. Please join me on the bold print preserves me oh God, for in you. I take refuge, I say to the Lord, you are my Lord, I have no good apart from you. As for the saints in the land. They are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight the sorrows of those who run after another, God shall multiply their drink offerings of blood, I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. The Lord is my chosen portion and Micah you hold my line lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.

Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel in the night. Also, my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me because he is in my right hand I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad in my whole being rejoices. My flesh also dwell secure for you will not abandon my soul to Sheol or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life in your presence there is fullness of joy at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

So what do we make of the present conflict that is taking place in the land of Israel. The conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Israel giving back the land, the endless conflict, endless terrorism.

How do we connect that in biblical history standing at the headwaters of it all is a man by the name of Abraham, a colossus of a man, historically speaking, he's the one who is claimed by all three faiths, the Jews, of course, claim him as the first Hebrew fact in the 14th chapter of Genesis.

He is called a Hebrew. The use of the word. The first time in the Bible is really the first Jew and so they look at him as their ancestor. He's claimed by us as Christians because the apostle Paul says in the book of Galatians that true faith in Jesus Christ.

Abraham is the father of us all.

So we all claim him and say he's ours and he's also claimed by the Muslims who refer to him as well. Parallel as we would also Abraham the friend of God repeated twice in Scripture that is God's friend and so there stands Abraham controversial figure at figure of great impact not only in biblical history, but the ongoing consequences, as we shall see.

Even today when he was living there in the Chaldees. It was a very, very sophisticated place in the year 2000.

It was one of the high points of ancient religion. It had a library that third dynasty of the time was very high class so far as people were concerned. They lived in houses not tents. So when God came to Abraham and asked him to leave. God was asking a great deal of him is about 250 miles from Baghdad.

It's in the country of Iraq you know if a rat could ever solve its problems and become a nation of peace. It could make millions and millions of dollars on tourism because we think of Baghdad babbling is just close by. Maybe 50 or 75 miles away, ancient Babylon, we'd all love to go there but probably will never happen and so Abraham leaves and he goes on a journey that will take him nearly 1000 miles to the land of Canaan.

He goes to Iran and there he is, for about it says that he settled there until his dad died until Tara died about 600 miles from and then another 400 miles to the land. Imagine traveling with camels and she and goats and herdsmen 300 and you have to negotiate all the way along the line for food and for water because most of that area is desert want to track.

He assumed Bible tells us in Genesis chapter 12 and that's the passage that I want you to turn to today. Genesis chapter 12 the opening of Genesis 12 really begins in the last part of chapter 11 where we have the story of Tara and that the journey to her ran and Abraham was there until his dad died and then he left for the land but it says in chapter 12 verse one.

One of the most important chapters in all of the Bible it says now the Lord said to Abraham, and I'm going to use the word Abraham even though your Bible says Abram because at this time. He was not get cold. Abraham but for sake of consistency, all always refer to him as Abraham. Now the Lord said to Abraham go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you God came and says I want to take you somewhere go to a land that I will lead you to remember that the Chaldees was polytheistic, they believed in many gods. If you are there today you could even see a monument to the son God because people worship the sun. They worship nature. The temptation to do that is very strong.

We think of Katrina I should say the hurricane that took place there was a sign put up in New Orleans that said all Katrina, have mercy on us, that course back of Katrina is God, but but people tended to worship nature and so it was there that they had many different kinds of gods and God steps onto the into Abraham's life announces Abraham you come with me. I am Jehovah, and I will show you a land that you are going to inherit, and Abraham becomes the first clear monotheist in that pagan culture.

He now believes in only one God. Yes it will. How did God come to Abraham. I did he come with a voice most assuredly because God spoke directly. How did Abraham know that this was the true God. Very probably that boys had such a sense of authenticity and integrity that Abraham knew that he was hearing from the true and the one God and God steps onto the scene.

Even though Abraham is a pagan and sovereignly chooses Abraham to be his man to begin the process of bringing a Redeemer to the world. God had said in Genesis chapter 3 that he's going to through the seed of the woman. The work of the enemy is going to be destroyed and so God now begins that process and Abraham is going to be the man through whom it will be accomplished now. God not only called Abraham, but God had to give to Abraham the faith to be obedient to that calling.

This is all one sided. This is all of God. And so God says Abraham leave your country, leave your kindred, that is your immediate family and even your immediate family.

Your father's house and go to a land that I will show you and when Abraham leaves with his dad Tara. He doesn't enter into the land. As I mentioned, he goes to her ran and they settle down there until Tara dies.

God says Abraham you can't go into the land until the death of your father you have to leave all of those family members behind what can go with you that your parents can't. God sometimes calls us into great things and he asks us to leave our families for his glory and for his purposes without background what I want us to do very briefly is to see. First of all the promises that God made to Abraham, the promises that he received in these promises are really three in number. The first is a personal promise, he says, verse two and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great. Go to Israel today and you'll find out that that has been accomplished because people will be talking about Abraham. The controversy that has to do with Abraham and God says I'm going to bless you personally, I'm going to give you even more flux and more herds and more servants and you're going to become a very very wealthy man.

I will bless you and I will make of you a great name. Interestingly, at the Tower of Babel.

The people built that tower because they said we want to make for ourselves and name and God says I'm putting an end to those plans never have in life, a desire to make for yourself a name. Years ago, the Lord impressed upon my heart. Those words of Scripture that say seek a style great things for thyself, seek them, not don't seek to be great seek to be godly and if in the process. God wants to make you great. That has to be his decision and not yours. Abraham plucked out of paganism and God says I'm going to make you great and that of course has been fulfilled. So the first blessing was personal. The second was a national blessing.

He says I will make of you a great nation, and that's been accomplished, the Jewish nation has been a great nation. It is becoming a great nation, and it will still be a great nation in the future because God says Abraham seed. I will make of you that great nation so the Jews had never really been assimilated into other kinds of cultures like the rest of us have been a day or something like the Gulfstream, the Gulfstream flows through the ocean.

It's a part of the ocean and yet it remains to have its distinctive identity and the Gulfstream can have a great impact. In fact, their places in northern Scotland, even though it is very cold where the Gulfstream has such an influence that it's almost tropical in the very same way the Jewish nation has become a part of culture, of course, but it has retained its identity throughout all these years, so there is still many people, many of whom are listening to me today saying yes I am Jewish. It has maintained its identity and God says that there are going to be national blessings.

I will bless you, if you know me at all you know that I often say to people.

God bless you said that twice yesterday to people in a restaurant. Even as I was paying for our breakfast that my wife and I had together.

God bless you. But when I say that's only a wish.

I'm only praying I'm only wishing that God will bless them. But when God says I will bless you. God has the resources for that blessing because everything that God promises he has the ability and the resource to carry out God says I will bless you and if there's someone who is going to curse you I will curse that person. If someone dishonors you I will curse that person and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. God says anti-Semitism at its root is rebellion and anger against God's choice. As we shall see in later messages so there are personal blessings. There are national blessings and there are also universal blessings. I already read the text it says in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. When the Bible uses the word all it doesn't mean every single person on planet Earth is going to be blessed. It means all in terms of classes, some people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Because of what God has done and so it means all not in terms of every particular. But all generally all at least from the standpoint of the representatives of the world. They will be blessed through you and you and I have been blessed because of Abraham because it is through Abraham that the seed of Jesus Christ has come.

And now look at that little phrase in the last part of verse three and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you. In that phrase in you entailed in it is the Messiah, because there's no way that Abraham could be a blessing to everybody that's not possible and so God says it's going to happen in you because God knows that the seed is going to come from Abraham.

So those are the promises that God gave to Abraham personal promises national promises universal promises and now the journey to the land begin. You'll notice it says in verse four so Abraham went as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. That is his nephew.

Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from her. Ran that's where his father died and Abraham took Sarah his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions and all that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in her ran and they set out to go to the land of Canaan and so they began their journey probably a journey of many many months and then finally they arrived in the land that God has promised them in the land is peopled by folks who are called Canaanites, but it is there that God now appears to Abraham again then God is going to confirm his covenant with Abraham. Many many times and he says in verse seven then the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to your offspring I will give this land, my wife and I have never had a title deed to a house usually is because we own the part of the house and the bank always owned most of the house, so I assume that the bank had the title deed, but some of you may have. The title deed to your house and that title deed you know is stamped and it's signed and you've had attorneys making sure that it's absolutely right.

So you are the owner of the house and here's the piece of paper to prove it my friend. Believe me when I tell you that there is no title deed to the land, but is more impeccable. There is no title deed to the land that is more certain that is more sure than the one that God gave to Abraham that day when he said to you I will give this land, God has spoken, and when God speaks it happens that land and that promise belongs to Abraham. The Jews believe that the Muslims believe it to in this series were going to study the conflict between Islam and the Jewish religion as it relates to the promises and we will find out that the Quran speaks about Abraham and will find out also that Muslim tradition says that it is really to Ishmael, who is the inheritor of the promise, and so the conflict in the Middle East is set up. But God says to Abraham I'm giving you the land and it's going to be yours and later on he is going to say I'm giving it to you for an everlasting possession and he's even going to give them the boundaries of it and so Abraham has this experience of going into the land he's received this word from God. It is not an agreement among equals the covenant that God made with Abraham is unconditional in the sense that God is saying I'm taking full responsibility for it. I give you the revelation and then I give you the grace and the strength and the faith and the ability to obey so that it will be carried out in the word of God is sure and will come to pass.

What are some of the lessons that Abraham learned that you and I need to learn as well.

First of all, the lesson that God always calls us by his promises. God always calls us by his promises again and again God is going to reiterate these promises to Abraham. God is going to assure him that the land is going to be his body. Abraham is going to struggle massively with these promises. For example, the promise regarding the seed. He is going to fall into disobedience trying to help God out to make sure that the promise happens because this is going to be on Abraham's mind all the time he's going to have to learn to live with delayed promises, delayed promises, he begins to see how the promise that he will have a seed will be fulfilled and it is fulfilled.

Later on in Isaac.

But as far as the promise of the land is concerned, he dies without it being fulfilled. The Bible says that he dies in faith, not having seen the promises you see in God wants to teach Abraham faith by delaying the promises God gives us promises in his word and those promises are not ours today. Yet we don't see them happen, but the invisible God invites us to believe in him no matter what. Whether those promises can be substantiated right in the here and now or not. God says I will keep my word, you have patience and you believe the promises will be fulfilled. God's word says that a time is coming when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth's waters cover the sea were a long way from seeing that fulfilled aren't we. We see waters cover New Orleans. We have noisy at what that would be like to have the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth is waters cover the sea.

God, since it's going to happen.

In fact, there is a passage in the book of Psalms that says that the time is coming when all the families are going to do. Obedience to Jesus Christ. There's a time coming.

When the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And they shall eat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore's not been fulfilled is not to be fulfilled by the United Nations but God says in my word, I have made this promise. Whether you see it in this life were not my word will not broken, I'm going to keep it keep believing and trusting in Abraham's going to have to live with that Scott have to live with the struggle of a God whom he has come to know who's promises he has believe it, but his promises. He does not see being fulfilled, so he knows now that God has led him by his promises and we are led by the promises of God, not the promises that God gave to Abraham necessarily when I was in Sunday school, we used to sing a little coarse that went every promise in the book is mine every chapter every verse, every line but that's not true. Is it when God says to Abraham I'm going to make your name great and you're going to have the right see that's not a promise for us, but we had plenty of promises. The New Testament talks about exceeding great and precious promises that by D's. We might be partakers of the divine nature and so God says I always call you through my promises. The promises that I will be with you the promise that I have sent to Redeemer the promise that your sins can be forgiven. God calls us through his promises. Abraham learned that second Abraham learned that we are but pilgrims in this world don't notice it says in verse seven then the Lord appeared to him and God made that promise. So he built there an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him.

From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent with Bethel on the West and AI on the east and there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord wherever Abraham goes. Now he's got a tent. He had a home and in they had houses but God says if you're going to be mine you have to exchange your house for a tent and the tent becomes symbolic of the fact that Abraham is a wanderer.

He is a pilgrim. This world is not his home. I love that old song that many of us used to sing this world is not my home, I'm just a passing through and so Abraham has to realize now that this is not permanent. This is this is only a very temporary place in the Scripture says that he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker was God even in Jewish tradition today. The idea that the world is not our home is carried out, for example, Rothschilds house in London. There's a part of it that is unfinished and people used to come there and say why This wealthy man finish his own house will answer it was deliberately left unfinished because there was a time in Jewish customs when houses were left unfinished.

As a reminder that in this life we are never finished, we are only passing through and we are going somewhere else. God says to Abraham want you to know that this isn't the place where you put down deep roots. There is that old story of the man who was using a tent and going from place to place with his friend and as the man was pounding those pegs into the ground. His friends said to him, don't pound them into deeply because were leaving in the morning, but we are leaving in the morning every loss that we endure every challenge that we face every heart ache. Every health issue that God brings into our life. All of that is a reminder that this world is not where it is at. We are passing through and we have a country and we have a hope and we have a city to which we look forward to and it is beyond this present world goddesses Abraham you're only a pilgrim you're not an owner you're not an owner and he dies a pilgrim my wife whom I've had the privilege of marrying 36 years ago and what a blessing she has been she nevertheless has a peculiar habit. Can I tell you about it when were flying to Europe in that big jet takes off before it lands in a European capital whether Frankfurt or London.

I already have changed my wristwatch to local time.

I want to know what time it is over there.

She never changes her wristwatch to local time. She always has it Chicago time. Now she knows that when she's there. She knows what time it is locally because it's seven hours different and she constantly looks at her watch and she does the math and so she knows exactly what time it is where she is, but it's always Chicago time I've been troubled by that I say Rebecca, honey, why don't you change that wristwatch the local time.

She's is no every time I look at my wristwatch want to be reminded of home and what my children and grandchildren are doing you know in this life we never really do adjust our wristwatch so to speak.

Our wristwatch to this life and to this environment as Christians were on a different divine timetable. We have different interests and were always supposed to be reminded that were not home yet. Like Morrison, I read the story yesterday actually and it is a true story about he and his wife doing mission work and then coming over landing in New York on a ship being on a ship and coming into the harbor of New York with Rosenfeld, who also had been on the ship and you have this huge delegation that meets them there in the harbor, New York meets the president and his entourage and Morrison beginning to think you know we serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and there was nobody there at the harbor to meet us. We had to pick up our own suitcases and go our own way and he complained to the Lord about it and said, Lord, this isn't right.

We come home nobody there for us. The president comes home.

There's a delegation to meet them in goddesses. Morrison you're not home yet you're not home yet world is not our home. It's only a tent. Abraham learned that God calls by his promises. God now expects us only to be pilgrims and third, there has to be an altar. You'll notice wherever Abraham goes when he's in fellowship with God. He has an altar.

It says here and there he built an altar to the Lord. It says it in the previous verse he built an altar to the Lord. I'm in verse eight now and he called on the name of the Lord. What does the altar signify the altar signifies sin. It signifies sacrifice an animal dies so that you don't have to die. Of course you die physically, but you don't die spiritually. Your sin is forgiven whole idea of substitution is found there in an altar and he cries to the name of the Lord. These altars in the Old Testament prefigured the coming of Jesus Christ.

Because when Jesus Christ would die on the cross, that in effect became the altar and he died once for all four sinners and he died in such a way that we who trust him as Savior. Discover that we have access to God. And we also can cry unto the Lord, even as Abraham did, and we will be hurt if we come in the name of Jesus, and based on what he has done and the completeness of his work is so so astounding and so wonderful. Nothing can ever be added to what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us and as a result, we here at The Moody Church today do not have an altar. Did you know that we do not have an altar.

Some of you come from churches where they had altars. The reason that they had altars is that they believe that the work that Jesus did on the cross was not yet totally complete and Jesus has to be re-offered or some kind of a sacrifice has to be made again. You say will Pastor Lutzer you have a communion table here. Yes, we have a communion table, but the communion table is only a table. It is not an altar. We come to God through Jesus Christ who died on the cross, who shed his blood died for sinners and we come in such a way with confidence and with the joy we draw near, in faith believing that the work was totally and completely accomplished. It is finished.

It is finished, but Abraham had an altar that became the means by which God graciously allowed him to understand redemption and to come to faith in what a gracious God would do, but today we have the cross and the cross is empty because Jesus rose from the dead. I'm reminded of the story of the little boy who was lost in the police were trying to find out whether or not he knew where he lived, and he did not know his address and he did not know his street and then he said, but you know we live close to that church, with that great big cross. He said if you take me to the cross.

I'll find my way home. When it comes time for you and me to die take us to the cross and will find our way home. Let's pray for father. We want to thank you today for the life of this remarkable man.

Thank you that he becomes a model of faith despite his failures, which are all recorded in your holy word and we pray today that you might invigorate us by his example and to remember that we too are cold to the book were called to the book and its promises were called to the tent to be pilgrims and were called to the altar of the cross teaches that today. Father we pray and for those who are here, who'd never trusted Christ as Savior we ask father that in grace, you will cause them to believe, help them to see the wonder and the beauty of Jesus and may they accept him as their very own. Now before I close this prayer. What is it that you need to tell God today is a Christian or as one who's never trusted Christ you talk to God. If God is talk to you hear our prayer today. The Lord God, for we are needy. In Jesus name Amen amen. Let's sing together him number 690 690 690.

He lead if me delete if me. Let's all stand to sing on today's Moody Church. Our Pastor Lutzer spoke about a step of faith. The first in a 10 part series on strength for the journey. A study in the life of Abraham next week.

Join us for unwavering faith are series on Abraham can be yours for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Churches ministry our thank you to you will come as a CD album with all 10 messages on strength for the journey. Call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to Moody that's join us next time for another Moody Church. Our with pastor Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago.

This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church

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