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A Generous Faith

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 21, 2022 1:00 am

A Generous Faith

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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August 21, 2022 1:00 am

The decisions we make—even about money—have eternal consequences. After an unusual victory, Abraham is given a choice of allegiances between two kings. In this message, we perform a heart check on what possesses us. Are we living like God owns everything or do our decisions and bank accounts say otherwise?

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When a believer embarks on a life of faith. The believer will overly learn how to give on his journey, Abraham met a mysterious man named Melchizedek, a priest of God most high, and gave him 1/10 of all the goods he had this story in Genesis 14 is our focus today, as we learn how our faith impacts our resources stay with us from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer today. Dr. Blitzer continues his series on strength for the journey taken your next steps with God. A study in the life of Abraham. Later in our broadcast will see Abraham display a generous thing. Our service begins with singing.

Amen. Our Scripture reading this morning comes from Psalm 103 versus eight through 14. I will read the plane print please. Drawing on the bold print. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast, he will not always try, nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sin nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far as he removed our transgressions from as a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him, for he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust we like you to join in singing with us now because it's one of the songs we sang comes from that area from Sweden and it's how great the art were going to sing in Swedish. Are there any Swedish people here this morning okay I hope you enjoy singing a solo you're the only one in the auditorium that okay we will be singing some Swedish with you, but then when you get near the last chorus will all stand together and you can sing in English.

When we do that okay thank so, how loyal do you think you would need to somebody who made a decision to make you poor to enrich himself. Maybe I can put the question a little differently. To what extent would you be willing to take a risk for someone who you know would never take a risk you back was the decision that Abraham faced the story of the 14th chapter of Genesis can be summarized in this way and take your Bibles and turn to Genesis 14 because were going to be doing some digging in the Scriptures today as we look at this passage. Bottom line, there were five kings along the Jordan Valley all the way to Sodom and Gomorrah next to the Dead Sea. These five kings were in subjection to the four kings who lived in the north west and the five kings decided to revolt.

So the four kings came down to the Jordan Valley in the area of Sodom and they said were going to fight against you, and they plundered to cities such as Sodom, mind you, the king of Sodom somehow escaped. He probably went to some of the hills. But the city was plundered along with the other cities in that coalition and people were taken captive as well as goods, so we open the story here in chapter 14 of Genesis verse 13. Then, when one who had escaped came and told Abraham the Hebrew who is living by the Oaks of mammary meta goes on to say, the specific Area in which he was living and who owned the trees but that Abraham was there and that lo and behold somebody comes and tells him that lot who is living in Sodom, his nephew was taken captive. This is the first time in all the Bible that the word Hebrew occurs Abraham. The Hebrew were not sure of the derivation of the word, but it may refer to someone who is crossed over. Maybe somebody who crossed over the river, but it shows you the extent to which Abraham had become a big man with lots of livestock and lots of people under his direction, so lots been taken captive. So Abraham begins to wonder what do I do with this nephew of mine chose the best pastureland.

Abraham made a decision and the decision was to help a lot and that decision would lead to another, even bigger decision and the reason that it is important that we listen to God's word today is because we are going to be talking about the kinds of decisions we can make that have eternal consequences. If you're facing a decision this week. Listen, especially carefully so Abraham decides to get 318 of of his men together and he pursues them. It says in verse 14. As far as Dan 100 miles.

Imagine the supply lines.

All of the things that they needed for 318 men, and then he catches up any surprises them by a sneak attack at night. He divides his forces and overcomes these kings that have just been rejoicing in their own victory in their own strength and so he overtakes them. He rescues lot and then he continues to pursue them for another 100 miles all the way to Damascus and then he returns he a lot. I'm sure had some very interesting conversations on the way back I can imagine Abraham saying a lot. Is it really wise for you to live in Sodom I know that you took the best pastureland and that was okay with me but Sodom is a dangerous place to raise a family.

If they had that discussion. It's not recorded, and if they had it. It didn't do any good, but Abraham is coming back now and if you can visualize the land of Israel. He's coming from the north and so he's going to go to the South and he is bringing back people and the goods that had been plundered and he ends up right next to where Jerusalem is today. In fact, when it talks about the Valley of shape that is the Kings Valley in verse 17 it most probably is referring to what we call today the Kidron Valley. If your event Israel. You know that on one side is the Mount of olives with the garden of Gethsemane and on the other side is the great city of Jerusalem and it is there that he encounters to kings to kings.

And that's the essence of our message today, we pick it up in verse 17, after his return from the defeat of Catalonia and the kings who were with him.

The king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of shape that is the Kings Valley and Melchizedek king of Salem brought out wine and bread. He was priest of God most high, and he brings out bread and wine to refresh Abraham after his victory and he blessed them and said, blessed be Abraham by God most high possessor of heaven and earth and blessed be God most high, who has delivered your enemies into your hand, and Abraham gave them 1/10 of everything who in this world is Melchizedek.

Well that name Melchizedek means king of righteousness smell like an Hebrew meaning king ascetic righteousness king of righteousness, king of Salem, Salem, shalom Salim piece king of peace. This Took Pl. in Jerusalem very ancient Jerusalem city of peace here shalom in Hebrew, city of peace and apparently this set Melchizedek was king of the small area there in the city of Jerusalem, or where Jerusalem is today, so he was a king but notice he wasn't just a king. He was also a priest. He was the priest of the most high God. Think about it. Abraham receives a revelation from God to go into the land.

Abraham is a friend of God. Abraham loves God. God talks to Abraham directly and here Abraham meets someone who is superior to him spiritually speaking, Abraham has in himself the entire hope of the world, the hope of redemption because of the blessing to Abraham and to his seed. Jesus Christ is wrapped up in that blessing. And here Abraham with all of the hope of the world, wrapped in himself meets someone who is nearer to God and superior to him.

That must've been a surprise in a pagan culture. So Abraham evidently if we interpret the text this way is we must initially at least, Abraham is met by someone who has a closer relationship and more revelation from God than he is, has an Abraham takes any any pays him attempts of all showing the superiority of Melchizedek to Abraham mysterious man this Melchizedek know what we make of it, many centuries past and David is beginning to write the songs and he writes in Psalm 110 verse four he says regarding the coming of Jesus is says is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.after the order of Aaron, not after the order of Levi. But a priest for ever after the order of milk has a deck now in the seventh chapter of Hebrews, we find an entire chapter devoted to this argument and I want you to follow it carefully. If you're listening on the radio. This is the time to pull off to the side of the road.

Don't hit a curb, but just pull off a little bit if you're listening on the Internet it's time to tell the children to be quiet for the next few moments. And if you're here at The Moody Church. Nudge your neighbor and say just listen to this. Here's the entire argument of Hebrews chapter 7 and I'm summarizing it for you. The author says that Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, who is superior to Aaron for this reason. Here's Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek, admitting that he is priest of the most high God. And where was Erin and Levi. When this was happening, but of course they weren't even born to use the King James version of the Bible.

They were in those law and of their father Abraham. So the author's argument is this. When you have the father of Levi and Aaron, when you have the father bowing down and in effect if not bowing down at least giving allegiance to Melchizedek. Clearly Melchizedek has a superior priesthood.

In fact, because he does not have any genealogies. It says in the book of Hebrews. We don't know where in the world, he came from. He really is a better picture of Jesus than even Erin and Levi because that priesthood has been passed away. It no longer applies. Now that Jesus has come, and so we know now that Melchizedek is a king. He is a priest and he blesses Abraham and this is what he says. Blessed be Abraham by God most high possessor of heaven and earth and blessed be God most high, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.

Possessor. Some translations say creator it can be translated that way.

Probably better to translate it possessor of heaven and earth, and he blesses Abraham why this here. Why does Melchizedek come out of nowhere and bestow this blessing upon Abraham because Abraham is about to face a great test and the test is going to come from another king whose name is Vera, who is King of Sodom were lot lived and so what God wants to do here in this situation is to prepare Abraham to remind him that God is the possessor of heaven and earth. God is not up for God is not a confused deity.

He is not a week deity is not a deity whose hands are tied in terms of blessing because he is possessor. He is creator of heaven and earth remember that Abraham, when your test, as it's coming right now and before we get to the second king. Notice that Abraham paid him 1/10 of all he paid tithes.

Some people think the tithing came about as the result of the Mosaic law, but here hundreds of years before Moses you have Abraham paying tithes. Jacob tithed it was a principle that God obviously revealed very early.

Now here at The Moody Church. We do not require tithing because the New Testament does not require it. We encourage it. We think it's a good benchmark for people. It's a good way to begin the giving process and did you know that if all of our members and all the people who attended Moody Church were to tie we would never need a capital campaign to raise funds. Our missionaries would never lack for money. If only we gave the 10th of all. So here you have the story of Abraham's generosity in the presence of this mysterious man milk has a deck king and priest prefiguring Jesus. Now we have a second king that enters into the picture. You'll notice it says in verse 21 of the king of Sodom said to Abraham give me the persons but take the goods for yourself as you recovered the spoil you can keep the spoil that you recovered but of course you return the person sandlot. Of course, would be among that group that had been taken captive and that Abraham was able to return. Now think about that for a moment that was a reasonable deal. Abraham could say that the spoils that I received from this incursion into the territory of these four kings is legitimate payment for my risk. I took a risk and the spoils.

Therefore, should be mine. Obviously, the king of Sodom would not get anything if I had not gone so y'all keep it. Notice the what Abraham says.

Verse 22 but Abraham said to the king of Sodom. I have lifted up my hand to the Lord God most high possessor of heaven and earth using the same language of the blessing given to him by Melchizedek that I would not take a Fred or a sandal strap or anything that is yours last you should say I have made Abraham rich. Some of the young men who are here what they ate and and what they want to take that's their business.

But as for me, we would translated I will not take one red cent less.

The king of Sodom say well yes, Abraham is rich, but I just want you to know I contributed to that riches. He has some of our goods. He had it coming to him, but we decided to be generous and to give them whatever it is that he captured Abraham says I don't want to hear one word along that line because if the king of Sodom were to speak that way I'd be robbing God of his glory is not the God that I serve the possessor of heaven and earth didn't he bring everything into existence. Does it not say in the Old Testament and Abraham wouldn't have known this, but we do that all the gold is mine the silver is mine the cattle on a thousand hills, is mine says the Lord, even that which people grab for themselves belongs to God. The possessor of heaven and earth, and Abraham says I want to make a clear distinction here. I will receive God's blessing, but I am refusing the manipulation and the deals of the world so that God gets all the glory. I woke up this morning quite early 4:45. Actually, before I got out of bed. I was praying and saying, Lord, you know, I'd really like to find an illustration. To illustrate this, and none came to mind. I searched around couldn't find it. And then God did something very special this morning as I was getting ready for the baptism.

I have a friend of mine who's a prayer partner prays for me all the time who will receive in heaven. Reward of any good thing that I've ever done and he was helping me get into my garb that I need for baptism and he told me he was just on a weekend journey that was very very profitable from the standpoint of his business and he wanted to do something he told me I was volunteering all this. He doesn't have a clue what the sermon is about. He wanted to do something that would violate a principal. He had always held to in terms of relationship with unbelievers.

Of course we have to do business with all kinds of people in the world most assuredly, but it had to do with a partnership and he decided to go along this way at first thinking that you know it'll work and the potential here is awesome until he was rebuked in his spirit last night.

Took a walk decided that the answer was no. And God confirmed it by having this man back out of the deal by leaving a voicemail message on his phone. You see the temptation that we get to when we want to have opportunity, and when we want to make a deal. Nothing wrong with deals. But when you're in partnerships with those who do not know the Savior. They might say it is because of me that you today have been blessed. I know that that's complicated and there may be some exceptions and some on answered questions, but the main thing I want to leave with you today is this, don't ever.

Don't ever make a decision that will rob God of his glory. It's better to be blessed by God most high possessor of heaven and earth than to manipulate it, deal with the kings of Sodom. Three very important lessons grow out of this. First of all, the lesson is we always face a choice between two Kings.

We always face a choice between two Kings. It's either King Jesus or its ourselves and the world, but all of our choices boil down to that one more time I'm going to look at this man. Melchizedek, who was he, anyway comes out of nowhere. No genealogy superior to Abraham king priest of the most high God, who was he, anyway, many Bible scholars feel, and I've come to this conclusion, though I cannot prove it absolutely that Melchizedek was Jesus. Melchizedek was Jesus in the Old Testament. What you find is from time to time God revealed himself. Jesus became flesh, and sometimes he became an angel for a very specific reason and then after his work was done, he would disappear and then later on. Of course he came in Bethlehem to permanently accept humanity so that he could be our brother and our Savior.

This is called by theologians pre-incarnate manifestation that is prior to Bethlehem when God became flesh manifestations of God and and here Abraham doesn't know it. He doesn't understand the Trinity like we do, but I believe that is in the presence of deity. And isn't it interesting that Melchizedek gave him bread and wine which later, of course, would be symbolic of the blood and body of Jesus is in the presence of Christ. Yesterday I called my mother on the phone as I always do on Saturday. Some of you know that she's 97 and whenever I call her the last question Joyce asks what are you preaching on tomorrow. Now my mother had only about a grade 3 education at best, but she taught herself to read reads well in German and English spends most of her time now reading the Bible and singing hymns and I didn't know whether she would remember Melchizedek or not. I said it's Abraham meeting addict and my mother who's not read a single commentary in her life. I'm sure said well wasn't Melchizedek really Jesus I thought mom way to go mom I think you're right.

I think Melchizedek was Jesus. And that's where we stand today. Always a choice between two Kings King Jesus and all of the options and the kings of this world you young people you stand today between two King tomorrow when you go to school. It's going to be either King Jesus or other things that are going to be thrown in your direction and the temptations of the world are going to be there and you have to choose you businessmen you have to always choose between King Jesus and some other King some other King of Sodom who offers you a deal for the purpose of opportunity and there you stand making your choice every choice almost every choice is King Jesus or someone else. Many of you know the story of George Beverly Shea.

He has been for many years. The singer for the Billy Graham evangelistic Association. Some of us have had the privilege of meeting him. He is son to millions and aliens of people and you know about that story don't you that he loves to tell because it's his personal testimony of how he had been offered a job because of his wonderful baritone voice had been offered a job by radio company back in the 30s and all that they dangled before him is fame and fortune if he were to sign up with them and his mother put a Pro-Am on the piano so that when he sat down, he'd see the poem and you know what the poem was that he wrote the music to the song that we often sing. I'd rather have Jesus than silver and gold. I'd rather be his then have riches untold.

I'd rather be his than the houses or land. I'd rather be led by his nailed peers.

Dan then to be the king of a vast domain and be held in the sins dread sway.

I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. We all stand in the presence of Jesus making our choice first lesson second, our choices determined by our hearts. Your choice will be determined by your heart.

Case in point lot peers lot who chose the best pastureland he pitches his tent toward Sodom. Now he's living in Sodom he's carried off and then he's brought back by his uncle Abraham. You think to himself he would say you know this is a real bad deal living in Sodom and it's going to get worse by the way, if you know how the story ended.

So I'm going to do is to move out of Sodom and begin to follow the Lord I'm going to begin to have an altar in my life just like my uncle Abraham's that woodlot does know lots heart was in Sodom so his body had to follow because your body will go where your heart once to go. It's basically a matter of what you love. That's why the Bible says love not the world, neither the things that are in the world for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not from the father but is from the world and the world passes away, and all of its lusts, but he who does the will of God abides forever.

And then notice this if you love the world, the love of the father is not in you. It's always a choice as to what you love, that will determine your decision.

No question about it. Now I don't mean that. Simply, if you love God that that means you're always going to be kept from sin.

There is a need some time for rules remember that story in Homer's Odyssey were Knows that he is going to be so tempted by the siren song as the boat goes along and he knows that many captains have actually turned away and hit the rocks because they could not overcome the temptation and he asks that all of his sailors had wax put in their ears and then he himself is tied to the mast and he told his men no matter how much I struggle no matter what happens, no matter what I tell you no matter what promises I make. Do not unbind me on till we are past the siren songs. Yes, there is the need for rules and for accountability and binding ourselves to the mast, but the end of the day. It is what is in our hearts that will determine what our decision is. Abraham loves God, he turns to the possessor of heaven and earth and says no to the king of Sodom lot love Sodom returns away from God and says yes to Sodom, which means burning, not knowing that all that he has in all that he accomplishes will someday soon be burned up.

Final lesson and that is that our hearts are hearts need to be changed by God, our hearts need to be changed by God.

You see we can't wake up in the morning and say to ourselves. You know what I'm going to do today.

I just made a choice. Today I'm going to love God and love righteousness and hated iniquity.

That's my choice today. You can change your heart by saying that, in the immortal words of Woody Allen, the heart wants what it wants.

You can't change your heart, leopard changes spots.

The Bible says no leopard cannot change its spots. Can you clean your heart. Can you change your heart.

Can you use steel wool and scrub it in make it clean. No, you can't do that. But God says a new heart. I give you. And with that new heart comes new, love's until we may find ourselves in sin.

But if we do we hate what we are doing because fundamentally we do love God and the first commandment is, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy soul and with all thy mind, and when we love God like that sin loses its attractiveness. We no longer love it because we love God but God bursts that in us you can change people. You can't even change them by putting pressure on them about 15 years ago, a young man wandered into my office that I'd known from a previous church and he was really far from God. He was doing his own thing and saying no to his parents. I knew his parents and I put a lot of pressure on him. I said you want to get on your knees right here and repent. Well when I told him that he was a little sheepish, but thought well my goodness of Pastor Lutzer thinks I should do it and I want to get out of here so I guess I will so I got down on my knees with him and he quote repented, never changed a bit. There is a form of saying sorry and even a form of repentance that does not bring about the change of heart that Jesus called the new birth which gives you new loves this past week in a certain context that I will not take time to tell you about. I put my hand in a young man I've never met him before but I simply said to him, have you accepted Christ as your Savior and he said oh yeah, I do it every day you met that kind heaven they do it every day. You do it every day you don't understand what you're doing.

You may confess your sins every day. But once you've made the transfer of trust to Christ, you become God's children, you begin to live for him every day that you don't receive him every day. But the real issue is this you accept Christ everyday. Great idea, has God given you a new heart with new loves so that now you love righteousness. The contrast couldn't be clear here between Abraham and Lot both did what they love to do. Abraham serving the possessor of heaven and earth lot serving Sodom. They were were there hearts wanted to be. Let's pray father. Our hearts are so deceitful they are so filled with our self-love and self-absorption and ego show us that today father that we might genuinely that we might genuinely be led to a point of saying God I can't change my heart. Words of the song that we sang last week. Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. If gods talk to you today. Would you talk to him say, God give me a new heart do in me. What I cannot do myself.

I embrace Christ to change my heart, would you tell them that father give us the faith of Abraham take from us, Lord, the heart of lot in Jesus name we pray. Amen, amen. Let's sing together 602. We sang this last week 602.

I have decided to follow Jesus, but remember that for some of you. There's even a prior step that is to have Jesus change your heart and after your heart is changed, we can sing, I have decided to follow Jesus, 602.

Let's all stand as we sing the first third and fourth stances first, third and fourth on today's Moody Church over Pastor Lutzer spoke about a generous frame before in a 10 part series on strength for the journey study in the life of Abraham next week. Don't miss Abraham's dramatic encounter with God when is a made man. He has promised countless posterity join us then for a lasting frame our 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 to come as the CD album with all 10 messages on strength of 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 Moody 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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