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April 27, 2022 7:00 am
Our world is full of people who stand out from the crowd.
Whether it's in the world towards like Margie through your industry like Steve Jobs or music like Carrie Underwood, a religion like Mother Teresa. These are people that other people know who they are.
Other people remember what they do other people are influenced by their lives and this is what we want to talk about today. As we continue in our study of the book of Genesis, we want to talk about as followers of Christ being people who stand out from the crowd around us and who influenced those people for the Lord Jesus Christ were going to be in Genesis chapter 17.
But before we did. Again, I think a little review would be in order if you been with us.
You remember that in Genesis 17 God appears to Abraham and he reconfirms up this covenant with Abraham three promises to be specific, number one promise number one.
That Abraham would become the father of multitudes of people number two that God would give Abraham's descendents through Isaac, the Jewish people, the land of Canaan and promise. Number three.
That God would single out the Jewish people to have a special relationship with him that the rest of the human race would not have and then after reiterating all of this to Abraham. God then gives Abraham a final command and that's where we pick up.
So are you ready okay here we go first 10 Genesis 17 God said further to Abraham this is my covenant, which you shall keep between you and me and your disk pendants after you every male among you shall be circumcised and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you in every generation to come every male who is eight days old shall be circumcised.
Thus, my covenant shall be addressed in your flash as an everlasting covenant. Now I don't know how many of us here have ever done an exhaustive body on the subject of circumcision. Anybody near okay. I didn't think you had, but if you did hear some of what you would discover you would discover the circumcision was not invented did not begin here in Genesis chapter 17.
It was actually practiced before Genesis 17 in the ancient near East, but erratically. In other words, circumcision was never the defining mark of an entire race of people until here in Genesis 17 when God made it. The defining mark of Isaac's descendents and then Jacob's descendents. That is the Jewish people and even to this day when a newborn Jewish baby male comes along on the eighth day exactly the way the Bible says there is a huge ceremony held called a brisk, which literally in Hebrew means covenant because this is the sign of the covenant between God and the Jewish people and there's tremendous rejoicing in their there's tremendous celebration folks. The point is that whether they're religious or not, whether they're observant or not, whether they keep kosher or not, whether they go to God or not. Every Jewish male in the world is circumcised because circumcision is the universal sign of being Jewish. You say on your right. That is more information than I ever needed on circumcision 10 wait a minute. This is a Bible teaching church right and circumcision is in the Bible so we teach on it. A man disabled lawn. That's enough okay I agree.
So let's move on to what the question is that we really ought to be asking. That is why me, why did God command that for all time and eternity. Every Jewish male, was to be circumcised and the answer God tells us right here in this chapter and verse 11 we already read it.
Let's go back and look at it. God says it circumcision will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. In other words, the point of circumcision is to highlight the fact that the Jewish people are God's westerly chosen people. Circumcision was a permanent out word marking a sign that said Jewish people apart from all other people as belonging to the true and living God because God knew that other men would see this other man would ask about this difference and that that would create a platform for Jewish men tell non-Jews about the true and living God of the universe go. Let's summarize what we learned so far, we've learned that God wanted his people.
The Jewish people to stand out from the crowd in an obvious way a way that would provoke interest a way that would provoke questions in a way that would create a platform for them to tell people about the living God of the universe do we all understand this, we unduly understand this okay now that the stars were going to go on that topic but were going to stop now and ask our most important question you know what this is. So all of you loud and all of your professors and all of your Prince William and around the world. The Internet down an edge in here. The Tysons in the main auditorium way are you ready, here we go we need a deep breath. Are you ready to go want to go through a that was so we come on you can do better than that on this at Christmas 123 way home see one that better use a long spoke what I mean you know we ever going to stop talking about circumcision here and I mean I mean if I would invite a neighbor to church and they were to say what y'all talking about non-SI sentences, I mean you was coming to church talk about that. Okay, I promises last week were talking about circumcision.
Okay, but there is a lesson here for you and me as followers of Christ today. Listen to first Peter chapter 2 verse nine Peter says but you. That is, if you know Christ you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation of people belonging to God, the Bible is telling us that as followers of Christ we are God's chosen people, not physically like the Jewish people are as a nation, but spiritually.
Now we need to stop for a moment and make sure were clear about what the Bible is not saying here the Bible is not saying that we as Christians have replaced the Jewish people as God's chosen people on earth or that we have inherited their promises, or that we have taken over their covenants not at all. Romans 11 verse 28 from the standpoint of preaching the gospel, the Jewish people are enemies for your say why because they oppose the preaching of the gospel, but from the standpoint of God's choice of them as his chosen earthly people. They are beloved the father's sake, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, for the gifts and the calling of God on the Jewish people are your revocable what God gave the Jewish people what God promised the Jewish people would God covenanted with the Jewish people belongs to the Jewish people, and it always will. And Peter is not saying anything different when he calls us God's chosen people you say will then what is he say he saying that is Christians as the church God has set us apart unto himself. Spiritually, as a chosen people, as a royal priesthood as a holy nation as a people belonging to God on the spiritual level, we are us peer ritual people who belongs to God and why has God done this with the church will very simply, the verse continues, that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light pay as born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are God's chosen people spiritually, and as such, God wants us this land out from the crowd, not by circumcision but rather by our behavior so we can attract proper good attention because of that behavior which creates for a platform that we can use to share Christ with people. God got it. Yes now Peter goes on in his letter to Telus. Four ways that we can stand out from the crowd and create this, platform, and I want to say that these four things were going to talk about other marks of a true disciple a true disciple of Jesus is not a person who shows up to church every once in a while or who joins the choir sings a few hymns or who even put a little money in the offering plate.
That's not the mark of the disciples my friends at the Bible is English. By the way he or she lives that they live in a way that causes them to stand out from the crowd. They live in a way that causes them to have a platform with people to share Christ. And so these 4 Things Just Dr. what it does rightful looks like and how they run their lives. And remember, God didn't say go out to all the world and make believers. He said go make disciples. It is not God's goal that you just be a believer that I just be a believer. He wants us to be a disciple you want to definition of a disciple, give you one year ago. Peter mentions all four of number one. The first way in which we as disciples should stand out different from the crowd is by living alive of moral excellence. Peter says, first Peter 211 dear friends, I urge you to up thing from sinful desires that wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior morally excellent among unbelievers, so they may see your good behavior and glorify God. Look as disciples. The 1st Way, God wants us to stand out from the crowd around us is by just living this thing actively holy lives, Christ honoring biblical lives. The non-sinful lives morally upright lives and not just of the big fish like murder or embezzlement or kidnapping. But really even more importantly in the every day things of life, dirty jokes and and cursing and foul language with sexual impurity and sexual innuendo in it.
Lusting over women or men, for that matter, unethical business practices, gossiping, backbiting cutting people up with our tongues ungodly scheming to get ahead, cheating, lying, stealing, affairs, adulteries sex outside of marriage. These things have become so commonplace among the people of America, the day the people of America today have their consciences so Golda by years of sinful behavior.
They don't even notice this stuff anymore, but when we as Christians come along and we live differently, not out of self-righteous pride, but out of a genuine love for the Lord Jesus Christ. People notice and when they noticed there is our platform to give witness you know I came to Christ at the age of 22 I had a filthy filthy mouth.
I mean the stuff that came out of my mouth.
Beyond comprehension, and then I started reading the Bible and I read Ephesians 429 which says let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth and I read Colossians 4 verse six which says let your speech always be full of grace. Season with salt and the Lord convicted me about my dirty mouth, and with the power the Holy Spirit's help, I stop cursing. I cleaned up my mouth and is been cleaned up.
Thank God for 40 years will a few years ago I was playing golf with an unbelieving friend of mine and we were talking about some I remember what it was and I got myself a little worked up whatever was and I said you know what, to be honest with you I don't give a flying flip about that and he said to me, long, he said you know for a moment there I thought for the very first time in all the years I've known you that I was going to hear use day and a dolt word we sent an adult word, though I say more alive at all and a missing child words all these years. An adult word and you know what that was my platform got handed it to me and I said no.
All my friends I said when Jesus Christ saved me he saved my mouth right along with the rest of praise Lord Melissa wasn't the whole gospel presentation, but it was a witness and listen. Please don't think that unbelievers around you are not watching everything you do every word that comes out of your mouth.
Every action you do, every reaction you have, every attitude you just play and win. We live a life of consistent moral excellence.
It speaks to them because they're not used to seeing that this is how a disciple lives number two disciple live. Second of all, in the way we can stand out from the crowd.
Second of all, is by submitting to human authority. Peter says in first Peter chapter 2 verse 13 he says, submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority for such is the will of God, that by doing right. We may silence the ignorance of foolish men pay as Christians we are to obey the laws of our land where to pay our taxes honestly were to honor our parents and honor our husbands and honor the elders of our church and honor the police and honor government officials and everybody in authority over us were to receive that tarballs both in front of his face and behind his or her back where to seek to be the best employee, our company has the most loyal, the most diligent the most hard-working, the most dedicated to promoting peace and harmony in our organization, and the reason were to do this is not because we own stock in the company or because we agree all the time with our bosses decisions, but because as disciples we are under authority. We understand it a few years ago before I came to this church actually had a very good friend who was the manager of a Giant Food store over in Maryland and Lanham was right near Washington Bible College and I got to know in the church and he was telling me he had come to Christ. He was a pretty much brand-new believer and his passion was to reach every single employee in his store for Christ were wonderful passion, so he thought. Well, what I need to do to the best of my ability to start hiring students from the Bible college. These are people who are Christians. These are people preparing for the ministry and and and let them become part of the meat department in the produce department and the and the cashiers and and and everything and they will help enhance my witness throughout this door for Christ. Sounds like a solid theory to meet other to you while I saw them a while later in us today has nothing going hard all these vodkas is that I had stopped that one. He said because they were the worst workers I had. There were lazy. They want dependable. They were disloyal.
He said, and I had my unbelieving employees coming and complaining about the Bible college student. He said it was hurting my own personal witness and inhibiting my ability to reach them for the Lord because of their behavior, not friends that terrible Internet. I agree with you so let me go from preaching the Medlin and ask you, what would your boss say about you. I mean does your behavior at work, enhance your witness for Christ or does it hurt just the way you respond to authority enhance your witness for Christ. Does it hurt. One thing about a disciple. They understand what it means to be under authority, and they do with cheerfully is on the Lord number three was mean to be a disciple and stand out from the crowd. Number three it means to forgive other people first Peter chapter 3 verse nine says do not repay evil with evil, or insult within so, but with blessing Colossians 3 verse 13 says forgive others as the Lord forgave you, not friends.
Without a doubt forgiving people who have hurt us is one of the hardest things to do. In fact, the reason it's so hard is because it's downright unnatural human nature to do that. This is why Galatians 5 verse 20 says that the works of our flesh are hatred strive jealousy, anger, German poet Heinrich Heine said we should forgive our enemies but not before they are hangdog welcome to the flesh. The truth is, my friends, that true forgiveness from the heart is so rare in our world that it commands people's immediate attention and he gives us a platform where we can say you want to know why I forgave them I forgave them because the Lord forgave me and you know what he's anxious to forgive you to. If you just letting not the whole gospel but witness all brought on by our willingness to forgive of people number four and finally Mark of a disciple way we can stand out from the crowd. Number four is by trusting God, even through suffering.
First Peter again. Verse 19 chapter 2 for this finds favor if for the sake of conscience towards God. A person bears up under sorrow for Christ left us an example that we should follow in his steps and what is that example here comes he committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth while being reviled. He did not revile in return, look, here it is, while suffering he uttered no threats but he kept entrusting himself to him to God who judges righteously. This behavior that the Lord Jesus Christ model for us trusting the Lord even in the midst of his suffering has an enormous impact on people around us.
When we do this for watching us because when a nonbeliever sees us as a follower of Christ, having the tranquility of spirit even in the middle of sorrow and suffering and pain that they know they wouldn't have if the situation were reversed and they were going through it friends, it it it it makes them want to know how can we do this and it gives us the witness to say I have a sovereign God who has a sovereign plan for my life who's in complete control and even though I may not understand. I know this God is working for my good and I'm trusted witness. You know my daughter Jill turns 21 years old next month. I can't believe it honest that it's been 21 years and as many of you know my daughter Jill has severe disabilities such as mental retardation. She is nonverbal. She wears a diaper all day. She's 24 seven care, Jill would go out in the winter and freeze to death and never even know she needed a coat and as she's probably had 6000 grand mal seizures are more in her life with numerous nights in the hospital and the rescue squads coming in. The whole thing. I have to tell you Brendan, I have suffered more in these last 21 years. Then we ever suffered combined in the years before that. But you know before God. We have tried with all of our heart to trust God through this to believe that God has a sovereign plan because he does to believe that God is working that plan out for our good and Jill's good because he is in the trust Christ even though we don't understand exactly what he's doing and not too long ago I did an interview with PBS and that we talked about Jill a little bit because they wanted all about my family. The reporter that was here and I when we were off-camera. The lady sat down and we were just sitting there and she turned to me and she said how you done done what she said have you done all those years with you. And I said the man said we had wonderful friends stuck with us and just stood bias, prayed for us as we had a wonderful church family who you know has just allowed us to be what we needed to be to take care of our daughter.
But most important of all, we have a sovereign God we believe is in control of this whole thing and has a good plan. Look at Jill's house over there, see part of this plan and ma'am, we believe that God knows what is to even though we don't understand was the whole gospel.
No was a witness yeah and it was brought on not because of our suffering because of our willingness to do the best we could to trust God in the suffering. Listen folks, everybody here has suffering every believer in this room has sorrow tragedy in every believer watching by satellite is difficult times. You know that's that's a constant in our lives and we often ask God why are you doing this to me why you sending this to know I'm my life, but a disciple understands the answer to that disciple understands suffering can be converted into witness. If we handle it right and the godsend suffering into our life. So we will rise above our flesh, which always despise the suffering but a disciple rises above their flesh and says now if I trust God, I can turn this into a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. That's what a disciple we follow the example of Jesus who kept entrusting himself to God in the middle of the suffering is if you got suffering in your life today and I be shocked if you did please if you want to be a disciple. Let me urge you stop resenting it, hating it and trying to get rid of it and see it instead as a way of trusting Christ and converting it into a witness for people who are watching that's what disciples do all right were done must conclude what we learned today what we've learned that we as Christians are God's chosen people spiritually, and that God wants us to stand out from the crowd as true Disciples of Christ, not by circumcision, like the Jewish people were to stand out from the crowd, but by our behavior and what behavior we talking about number one by living lives of moral excellence. Number two by submitting to human authority cheerfully from the heart. Number three. By forgiving other people genuinely as unto the Lord, and number four by trusting God, even through suffering and then friends by using the platform.
This gives us not to exalt ourselves. But the point people to the Lord Jesus Christ who enables us and empowers us to live this way. That's a disciple and that's when God calls you would need to be I hope will aspire to this with Lord's help spread heavenly father, thank you today for challenging us not to be content just to be a believer who has eternal life is going to have is a good thing. But the great commission didn't say go ye and all the world and make believers to go ye into all the world and make disciples and teach us what distinguishes a disciple from everyone else around him and her these things we talked about today. Lord Jesus, may we aspire for higher ground.
May we aspire to stand out from the crowd as disciples, may we aspire for our life to create platforms for witness everywhere we go, or challenge us to live that way for your glory and we pray these things in Jesus name.
What are God's people say amen