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Surrender to Me and Multiply

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2020 9:00 am

Surrender to Me and Multiply

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 8, 2020 9:00 am

Abraham is given the ultimate test of surrender and sacrifice as Pastor J.D. Greear concludes the series called, Multiply. God is committed to us far more than we could ever imagine.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. The only thing that will drive you onward as a husband, as a father, in ministry, through difficult times, through financial hardship, in a season where you feel like you don't know what's going on. The only thing that drives you onward is your confidence in the goodness and the character and the promises of God. Hi, welcome to Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Okay, we've been taking a lot of looks in the mirror during this series, and today is no exception. We'll see today that Abraham is given the ultimate test of surrender and sacrifice. We'll learn that God is committed to us far more than we could ever imagine. Don't forget, today is the last day to get Pastor J.D. 's new evangelistic book titled Searching for Christmas. So make sure you stick around until the end.

of the program for a special offer. Now, here's Pastor J.D. who's son of laughter because this whole thing is just funny. They all seem to understand that.

I mean, think about it. Abraham and I, Abraham and Sarah were both about 100 when they had this miracle baby, which means that for their birthdays that year, Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac all got diapers, right? And they just think that that's funny, so they named him son of laughter. Genesis 22, verse 1, after these things, after all the birth things, Isaac is now, scholars say, about 15 years old. After these things, God tested Abraham. It's a key word if you want to underline stuff in your Bible, and said to him, Abraham. And Abraham responds with, Here am I. Now, here am I is not just Hebrew for hello. It is a way of saying, I stand ready now for your command. It is a statement that indicates surrender.

Here am I. I'm ready for whatever you're going to say. To be frank with you, I find that reaction. That response pretty remarkable considering that every time God has called Abraham up to this point, he seems to ask him to leave something good, to give up something cherished, or to attempt something impossible.

I'll be honest. I think by this point in Abraham's life, I'd be tempted to be like, Oh, no. What is it that you were going to ask me this time? I remember in college, there was a mission speaker who was pretty frequent at the church that I attended that he was so persuasive and so challenging about the mission field. I just dreaded when he would speak because I just knew that this was the week that God was going to call me to go to the mission field. I remember one of my roommates was like, Who's speaking at church this week? And I told him, and he was like, Oh, get ready for conviction. Abraham doesn't respond this way.

And it's pretty remarkable. And there's one reason that he doesn't respond that way. And that's because Abraham has learned to trust God. Abraham says, Here am I because you trust God. You see the difference in a life of drudgery and a life of joy is based on one factor, and that is whether you actually trust God.

If you have a life of faith and joy, it is because you have learned to trust God. You show me a happy Christian. You show me a consistent Christian, and I'll show you somebody who's learned to trust. You show me a faltering Christian. You show me a Christian who goes through a lot of ups and downs and hot and cold and wandering and following. I'll show you somebody who has yet to learn how good God is and how committed he is to us.

It has nothing to do with how strong of a character you have and everything to do with your confidence in the goodness of God. Verse two. So God says, So God says, Take your son. By the way, Hebrew scholars tell us that at this point, the language here in Hebrew suddenly slows down dramatically. Scholars say you should almost read it like you would put a period after every couple of words, after every word for emphasis.

So you would read it like this. Take your son, your only son. Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall tell you.

The word for son in Hebrew, the word Ben, is used 10 times over and over and over again. Your son, your only son, the son whom you love. It reverberates through Abraham's soul because what God is asking here seems unbelievable. You see, this child represented everything to Abraham. This was the child of promise. This was what they had left everything for. All their hopes and all their dreams and all their affections centered upon this child. Now as an old man, this is all Abraham really loves and lives for in the world anymore. I mean, think about it. Abraham was rich.

He was an old man, which means that all he basically did every day was play with Isaac. And now God is saying to him about that thing that he loves and he lives for and he trusts himself with. Offer that to me now as a burnt offering. And I know you might ask the question here, well, how could God ever ask something like that? And I will deal with that in just a moment.

But for now, for right now, just know that you could let this represent for you that one thing in your life that you treasure and trust the most. That one thing that makes life worth living for you. As the text proceeds, you're going to notice that nobody's talking. Nobody's talking. There's only silence. What is that one thing for you that if you lost it, you would be speechless?

You would just be in stunned silence. Verse three, so Abraham arose early in the morning, saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and he arose and went to the place in which God had told him. Verse four, on the third day, the third day.

Honestly, y'all, I think in three days I would have taught myself out of this. But see, Abraham's faith is not just an initial response. It's not something emotional in a service. Abraham's faith is going to come from somewhere different. I'm going to show you that. Verse five, then Abraham said to his young men, stay here with the donkey. I and the boy will go over there and worship.

That's an interesting word that he chose to describe what he was going to do. Going to worship, and watch this, we will come again to you. In Hebrew, the word for come again is plural. Which Abraham was going off by himself and he's saying, we're going to come back.

Not just me, there's going to be two of us that come back. He knew somehow, he was convinced that they were both coming back because he knew God had a promise to fulfill. And he didn't know how it was going to work out, but he knew that it was going to work out because God had promised it. Verse six, and Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and he laid it on Isaac his son.

And he took the hand in his hand, the fire in the knife, and they both went on together, just the two of them. And Isaac, at some point, said to his daddy Abraham, daddy, and his daddy said, here am I, my son. And he said, behold dad, I see the fire and I see the wood, but where's the lamb for the burnt offering?

Isn't that the most important part of the offering? Abraham said, God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son. Now, by the way, you see what Abraham has been doing for three days in that dark silence. He has been rehearsing to himself the promises of God. He was probably recounting the encounter in Genesis 15 where God, if you recall, made himself responsible for both sides of the covenant. Not just his part, he made himself responsible for Abraham's promise, for part of it. And you can see Abraham walking up that mountain in silence just saying to himself, and God, God, you said this, this is what you promised. I don't see how it's going to happen, but God, you've got to provide.

I don't know what you're going to do. This is so important, listen, what drove Abraham up the mountain was not the strength of his character. It was not Abraham saying, you can do it, you can do it, be a brave man.

What he was saying in his heart is, God is faithful. The only thing that will drive you onward as a husband, as a father, in ministry, through difficult times, through financial hardship, in a season where you feel like you don't know what's going on, the only thing that drives you onward is your confidence in the goodness and the character and the promises of God. Even the youth shall falter, even the strongest men shall utterly fall, says Isaiah, but it's those who wait upon the Lord. They are the ones who will renew their strength. They're the ones who will mount up with wings as eagles. They're the ones who will walk and not be weary. They're the ones who will run and never grow faint.

You want to fly like an eagle, it has nothing to do with you being a superman or superwoman. It has to do with you understanding and believing the promises of God. That's what turns people into heroes of faith. Verse 9, when they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built that altar there and he laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him up on the altar on top of the wood. By the way, kudos to Isaac here. If Isaac were strong enough to carry the wood, he definitely would have been strong enough to evade or overcome a frail old man. Remember, scholars say he was at least 15.

Some say he may have been 20 years old by this point. Here he is crawling up on the altar trusting God and his dad. The only way Isaac could do this is if he had inherited his daddy's trust in God. And the way that he did that is by hearing his daddy talk about the promises of God all the time.

And then he saw his daddy live out his faith in the promises of God. It's not bringing your kid to church. It's not calling them a Christian.

It's not sending them to a Christian school that's going to do this. It's when they hear you in difficult times rehearse the promises of God and you live it out so consistently and so faithfully that their trust, your trust, becomes their trust. And when it comes time for them to get on the altar, they do so without question. Verse 10, then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.

Now let me take a moment to address the question many of you asked a moment ago. How could God ever command something like this? Well, see, this was not just a command to murder Isaac. If so, Abraham could have just stabbed him in the tent and been done with it.

Something much deeper is going on. You see, the offering of the firstborn in the Old Testament was supposed to symbolize the debt that every man and every woman owed to God. Throughout the Old Testament, God lays claim to our firstborn because our firstborn represents our very lives. So in the Hebrew sacrificial system, God requires the firstborn of the cattle or the sheep to be sacrificed to Him as well as the firstfruits of the grain. The only way you could spare the life of the firstborn was to make a substitute sacrifice to give something to release the firstborn from its obligation. So, for example, at the Passover when God delivers the children of Israel, He kills the firstborn of every household in Egypt except the ones that have taken a firstborn lamb and taken the blood and put it on the doorpost. In other words, the life of the firstborn was forfeit unless some sort of redeeming sacrifice was made. God was showing through this that there is a debt that every family owes to Him and it goes to the core of our very lives.

It is a debt we owe because of our sin. We, all of us, are underneath the condemnation of death and so this firstborn represents the debt we owe to God. That's why Abraham understood what God was asking of him. Back to verse 11, with the knife now suspended in the air, the angel of the Lord suddenly appears from heaven and says, Abraham, Abraham, and he said, here am I. Verse 12, do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know, now I know, says God, that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son. You have not withheld your only son from me.

I see now the love that you have for me. I see the commitment to me because you wouldn't even withhold Isaac. Abraham proved himself. Abraham passed the test. Abraham showed that there was nothing he would not trust to God. There was nowhere he would not go with God. Verse 13, and Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, watch this, and behold, behind him was a ram.

He hadn't noticed that before, caught in a thicket by its horns, a thorn bush by its horns, and Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in the place of his son. So Abraham called, watch this, the name of that place the Lord will provide. As it is said to this day on the mount of the Lord, it shall be provided. He called it Jehovah-jireh, which means God is my provider. Now see, when you give a name to something in Hebrew, it's very significant because it is supposed to encapsulate or summarize the significance of what happened there. Do you not find it interesting that the name of the place is the Lord will provide, not how Abraham obeyed? Isn't the whole story about how Abraham obeys? Why would he call the place the Lord provides? It's because you see something more important than Abraham's impressive obedience that is being demonstrated to us here.

It is God's commitment to us that is being demonstrated. You see, centuries later, another son, another one and only son whom the father loves, would walk up a mountain. And again, that son would willingly crawl up on the wood, but this time, the knife would not be stopped in midair.

This time, the knife would slash straight into the heart of the beloved son, Jesus, God's son. By the way, these mountains of Moriah that we notice, you ever wonder why did he make him walk three days to the mountains of Moriah? There were closer mountains to where he was.

The mountains of Moriah, scholars tell us, were right outside of what later became Jerusalem. Scholars say that is precisely the place where Mount Calvary would have been where Jesus was crucified on the cross. In other words, on the very mountain where Jesus would one day die, a drama was enacted hundreds of years before Jesus came. It is as if Abraham plays the part of God. The father in Isaac plays the part of Jesus, the son. But only up until the moment that God stopped the sacrifice and pointed to the lamb caught in the thorn bushes. You see, this story is not first and foremost about Abraham's commitment to God. It is about God's commitment to Abraham, which is why they named the place God will provide, not Abraham will obey.

But there's a profound connection, you see, between the two. There's a connection between your understanding of God's commitment to you and your willingness to give everything to him. It is only when you see that God has not withheld his son, his only son, the son that he loves for you, it is only then that you will release everything that you have to him. For those of you who will not give God everything, for those of you for whom the Christian life is drudgery, it is precisely because you do not understand the commitment of the Lord Jesus Christ to you. Though he was rich for your sake, you became poor so that he you through his poverty might become rich.

Watch what happens as a result of all this. Verse 15, and the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and he said, By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because, if you underline stuff in your Bible, that's what you underline, because you've done this and you have not withheld your son, your only son, I surely will bless you and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed because you have obeyed my voice. It is because of obedience that the blessing will extend to the earth.

It was because of Jesus' obedience to willingly crawl up on the altar that you and I got to be saved. By extension, listen to this, it is also by Abraham's obedience and our obedience that the blessing extends to the rest of the world. It's not that God needs our Isaac.

He does not need our Isaac. God could make as many sons as he needed to from Abraham. It's that when we take our first and our best, when we take what is most precious to us and we offer it in surrender to God, that is the means by which God multiplies the kingdom in the earth. It is the means by which other people come to faith in Christ.

It ought to make you, it ought to inspire you and scare you, but what you do literally changes the eternities of people around the world. You and I are sitting here because Abraham, by the grace of God, obeyed. There are other people who will one day sit in the kingdom as sons and daughters of the king because you and I do the same thing that Abraham did in this chapter here, which leads me to two, I would say, profound questions I need to ask you about your life.

The first one is very important. Do you actually understand the gospel? Because, see, a lot of people read stories like this one and think it's all about how well that they can obey. They think, oh, am I going to be like Abraham? I don't know if I can be as surrendered as Abraham. I hope that maybe God, if God let Abraham in, maybe he'll let me in, but I'm not as good as Abraham. This story is not about how well Abraham obeyed compared to how well you obey. This story is ultimately about the fact that Jesus would obey in your place. He is the son who did it all so that you could go free. You're Isaac in this story. You get to go free while the lamb dies in your place. All you do is believe and receive it. In response to that, you realize that a God who saved you when you were hopeless and gave everything up for you in your place is a God who deserves the full and total and unrestricted offering of your life back to him.

We're the whole realm of nature, mine. That would be a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all. That word demands there. It's not like a tyrant demands, you got to give me this or I'm going to punish you.

That word demands being deserves. In light of how hopeless I was, in light of the nothingness that I had, a God who rescued me this way, there is nothing I can withhold from him. Everything has to be a blank check that I laid down at his feet because that is what he is worthy of and that's what he deserves.

Full and total sacrifice comes from understanding the sacrifice that Jesus made for you which leads me to the second question. In response, are you fully surrendered in all things to him? In response, are you fully surrendered in all things to him? In response to what God's done for you, have you offered yourself as a living sacrifice back to him? Have you given him that blank check that we often talk about?

A blank check that says anywhere, anytime, any place, you cash it whenever you want for whatever amount. My name is signed to it because all that I am, all that I have, all that I ever hope to be now and forever is your possession. I owe my life to you. The point is not that you identify your Isaac and give it to God as if that's what God needs from you. The point is that you give God all things which includes your Isaac. Your Isaac just represents that one thing that makes full surrender difficult for you. What is that for you? What is that thing that would make full and total surrender difficult for you?

That kind of last holdout that says, God, you can have anything, but don't touch this. The point is not that God needs your Isaac. The point is that in every single part of your life, in response to God's extravagant gift, you have offered yourself back without restriction to him. You see, Abraham's offering on this mountain encapsulates the things that we have said should characterize how we offer ourselves back to God during this season. I've told you multiply is not about us supplying some need for God and doing something for God in the world that he needs done. Multiply is primarily about us saying back to God, God, we owe you everything, and God, you have promised to bless us, so as you have given yourself to us, we're gonna offer ourselves back to you.

I've told you that apart from faith, there is no work that God does in and through us. It's always supposed to feel like a risk because that's what it means to live by faith. Remember that in the analogy of the seed?

I used it the first week. When a farmer takes seed and he plants it, a seed is a risk because you can take most seeds and grind them up for food and consume them, but to take a seed and put it in the ground, you're taking a risk because you're saying if the sun doesn't shine and the rain doesn't come, then that seed is just gonna go to waste. There's a risk that is involved. That's why I've told you C.S. Lewis, in the mere Christianity, he says the only safe guideline, the only safe guideline that I can give you for giving, says C.S. Lewis, that can't give you a rule because there's no rules in the New Testament about this. He said the only safe guideline that I can give you is to give in a way that scares you because only when it scares you do you know that you're taking a risk and do you know that you're trusting God.

He's got to multiply both for your provision and for the blessing of the world. When we looked at Cain and Abel last week, we saw two young men who made an offering to God. Both of them were generous offerings. The only distinguishable difference between Cain and Abel's offering I showed you was that Abel gave of his first. He gave before the rest of it came in, which meant the first and the best went to God and he trusted God with what God would provide after. Cain's, by contrast, was very generous, but Cain waited until it was all in so he could see what he had and then he gave out of the excess. Cain is, I told you, what we call a December giver, somebody who waits to the end, makes sure everything's taken care of, and then out of the excess they give to God. They were both generous offerings, but God was pleased with Abel's and he disliked Cain's. And the reason is not because of the amount, the reason is because of the faith that either one declared. Cain had no faith and Abel did and without faith it is impossible to please God says the writer of Hebrews.

So faith ought to be reflected in what you go through. Number two, sacrifice. Sacrifice, this is about what Abraham loved and cherished most in the world. We often define sacrifice here as giving up something you love for something you love even more. And God says to Abraham, the way that I know that you love me, the way that I know that you honor me is because even that thing that is most precious to you, you've laid on the altar and said God, even that is something that you are in control of. You see, what we do ought to reflect the fact that our heart is declaring to God this is what I love you.

It costs me, it costs me. But this is my declaration of your value to me. It's a story I haven't told you this time around, but it's one of the most profound stories in the Old Testament about giving to God about responding to God. It is a story that King David, right toward the end of his life, King David is going to make an offering to God and he's going to give the piece of property that will one day become the property they build the temple on. And so a God comes to David and says, David, I own this piece of property that would be great for the temple.

Why don't I just give it to you and then you just give it to God? And David responds, 2 Samuel 24, 24 by saying, no, I must pay you full price because I cannot give to the Lord that which costs me nothing. Now, if this had been about supplying the needs of God, then David would not have said that because he would have been like, here's the property, hey, I didn't have to pay anything, it just goes straight to God. But David knew that his response was not about meeting the needs of God, his response was about making a declaration to God about the amount that he loved him. And so he said, I can't give unto the Lord that which costs me nothing. I've got to give unto the Lord that which costs me dearly because only then will I be able to make a statement that shows that I love him. You see, you measure generosity in the Bible, not by the size of the gift. You measure generosity in the Bible by the size of the sacrifice. This story is not primarily about Abraham's commitment to God.

It's about God's commitment to Abraham. What an amazing truth to remember each and every day. We've heard from so many of you this year and we'd love to hear from even more of you. I'm thankful for listeners like Cal who wrote to us recently and said, he said, my wife and I are 800 miles from home receiving cancer treatments.

We listen to Summit Life almost every night before falling asleep. God's message through Pastor JD is a wonderful blessing to us. Cal, we want you to know that we're praying that God would heal you. In fact, let me just ask our Summit Life community, would you join us in praying for Cal that God would just work a miracle in his family and would sustain his family during this time and give him healing? He and his wife have been faithful to trust in Jesus and continue to bless others with the joy of their salvation.

So it's an honor to stand with you and pray for you. If you've been impacted by the ministry of Summit Life, we'd love to hear from you. You can reach us anytime at jdgrier.com.

Please reach out and share. Today is the final day to get your copies of the new evangelistic book by Pastor JD titled Searching for Christmas when you donate to support this ministry. Your gift helps keep these daily messages on the radio and online. So give right now by calling 866-335-5220.

Or you can give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vitovich. Thank you for joining us today. Remember to tune in tomorrow for the start of a brand new teaching series called Staying Faith. That's Wednesday on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-15 21:26:15 / 2023-08-15 21:37:48 / 12

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