Monday, February 27, 2012
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/27/2012
v. 5 WORSHIP’S SEPARATION, Lesson 31b
When this small band of pilgrims arrived at the place God revealed to Abraham, a separation took place. He said, “... unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Those two young men were not a part of the worship experience. They would have hindered Abraham from doing what the Lord had called him to do. Therefore, they had to be left behind. The only two elements allowed in the place of worship was Abraham and the treasure of his heart.
There is a lesson here for the person who would worship God today. There are many things in life that would hinder our worship. Like those two young men, things would intrude themselves into our worship that have no business being there. We must say to those things, “Abide ye here, while I go yonder and worship.”
We are all aware of the things that compete for our attention when we seek to worship the Lord. Meals have been prepared in services set aside for worship. Problems have been thought through, relationships pondered, and deals struck in services set aside for worship. All the things that would hinder us: the problems of the flesh, the mind, the world, etc., must be banished when we go to seek the Lord in worship. Anything that distracts the mind from Him is a hindrance to genuine, biblical worship.
Heb. 10:21-22 says, “And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith...” We have a “High Priest”, that is the privilege of God’s grace. Since we have been given that privilege, we have a responsibility. We are to “draw near with a true heart.” This is a call to approach the Lord with a heart that is focused wholly on Him. Anything that would distract the mind must be cast out and left behind so that we, like Abraham, can go from “here” to “yonder”.
For Abraham, the place of worship was not “here” in the valley with the young men, it was “yonder” on the mountain with the Lord. If I am going to worship, the I too must move from “here” to “yonder”. The only way I can do that is separate my mind from any that would hinder it from being totally given over to Him. (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 10:5)
What occupies your mind when you come to worship? What has had your attention in this service?
v. 5 WORSHIP’S SELF-DENIAL
When Abraham told to young men that he was going up to “worship”, he knew that it meant the sacrifice of his son. This was nothing less than absolute self-denial on Abraham’s part. He yielded himself to the will of God with no regard for his own will or feelings. He sacrificed his opinions, his desires, his will, his preferences, and his very future to the glory of God.
Abraham’s worship was not about him; it was about the Lord. Abraham did not seek to worship in a way that would allow him to be exalted; he worshiped in a way that brought all glory to God. In other words, Abraham lost himself in the person of God. Abraham forgot about self and did only thing which glorified the Lord.
The believer would worship must learn the truth of Philippians 3:3, which says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” If we would worship the Lord, then we must not come to Him full of ourselves. We must come to Him full of the very thing that delights His heart. Nothing delights the heart of God more than His Son Jesus.
On more than one occasion, God said, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” God is infinitely delighted with His Son. If I will enter His presence with a mind and heart full of Christ; if I will speak of the glories of His Darling Son; if I make my worship focused on Jesus, my worship will rise before the Lord like sweet incense.
I am simply reminding us that worship is never about us. We can’t worship as long as we are focused on self. If we would worship the Lord, we must cease to exalt self and we must focus on exalting Him and Him alone! Real worship happens when we forget about self and get lost in His glory for His glory!
v. 16-18 WORSHIP’S SERVICE
Abraham climbed that mountain with Isaac. Abraham answered Isaac’s fears. Abraham took his son, bond him and placed him on the altar. Abraham raised the knife and fully intended to sacrifice his son to the Lord. He held nothing back! He yielded every ounce of self to the perfect will of God. God intervened and provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in the place of Isaac.
In the end, Abraham’s worship served to glorify God alone. Abraham’s faith and act of selfless worship delighted the heart of God. It also brought a statement of appreciation from the Lord.
When we devote ourselves to selfless worship we bring glory to Him. Psa. 50:23 quotes God as saying, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” True biblical worship gives God the place of absolute preeminence in our lives. He alone is glorified in genuine worship. That is how worship serves the Lord!
v. 16-18 WORSHIP’S SATISFACTION
God will be no man’s debtor! After Abraham’s demonstration of absolute faith in God, God gave Isaac back to him. Abraham ascended that mountain with a heavy heart. He was going to honor God, but honoring God would cost him his son. He obeyed God, and in return, God rewarded Abraham. He might have climbed the mountain scared and defeated, but he came down rejoicing and thankful. He might have climbed that mountain questioning the ways of God, but he came back down understanding God better than he ever had. He might have climbed that mountain ready to give up his Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, but he came back down more thankful than ever for Isaac. When Abraham placed Isaac on the altar, God gave him back, and Isaac was more precious than he had ever been before!
One of the greatest blessings of genuine, biblical worship is that it brings the manifold blessings of God back to the believer. God will honor those who honor Him through worship. When we are willing to sacrifice all that we have, all that we are, and all that we care about on the altar of His glory, He will respond by blessing us and using us in greater ways than we could ever imagine.
The greatest key to having God’s power and presence manifested in our lives is worship. If we could just learn to take all that we are and yield it to all that He is, we would enjoy greater spiritual blessings than we have ever dreamed up. If we could learn to offer up real worship to Almighty God, He would honor us with His blessings.
As we respond in worship to all that Jesus is, as He is revealed in the Word of God, God responds by doing for us what he did for Abraham. He gives us the Son in greater measure. That is, he gives us a greater appreciate for the Person of Christ and the gifts of Christ.
When we worship Christ in light of His death on the cross, the cross becomes more precious. As we worship Him in His resurrection, His resurrection become more precious. As we worship Him for grace, love, salvation ,eternal life, heaven, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the church, and everything else He has given to us in Christ, those things become infinitely more precious to us.
When we give God pure worship for Who He is and what He has done for us, He responds by giving those things back to us in greater degree. It is not that we have more of those things, it is that those things become more real and precious to us. That is one of the great benefits of true worship.
Conc: Abraham’s worship honored the Lord. He placed all that he was and all that he had on the altar of submission and humble obedience to the God Who loved him and saved him. In response, God blessed Abraham in ways he could never have imagined. Have you examined your worship in light of what we have learned from Abraham? Are you worshiping Him as he is revealed to you in the Word of God, the source of worship? Are you absolutely submissive to His will? Is you worship sacrificial? Are you practicing self-denial and separation? Does your worship serve the Lord by glorifying Him? Does your worship provide satisfaction as he becomes more precious to you? Or, is there room for improvement in your worship? If the Lord has spoken to you about your worship, come to Him today and let Him work in your heart to bring you to a place of pleasing, biblical worship.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“None of Self and All of Thee” By T. Monod (1874).
1. Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow That a time could ever be, When I proudly said to Jesus,
"All of self and none of Thee." All of self and none of Thee, All of self and none of Thee,
When I proudly said to Jesus, All of self and none of Thee."
2. Yet He found me; I beheld Him, Bleeding on th' accursed tree; And my wistful heart said faintly, "Some of self and some of Thee." Some of self and some of Thee, Some of self and some of Thee, And my wistful heart said faintly, "Some of self and some of Thee."
3. Day by day His tender mercy, Healing, helping, full and free, Brought me lower, while I whispered, "Less of self and more of Thee." Less of self and more of Thee, Less of self and more of Thee, Brought me lower while I whispered, "Less of self and more of Thee."
4. Higher than the highest heavens, Deeper than the deepest sea, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, "None of self and all of Thee." None of self and all of Thee, None of self and all of Thee, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, "None of self and all of Thee."
Invite A Friend To Join The Team!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/26/2012
THE SETTING OF BIBLICAL WORSHIP, Lesson 31a
There is a hermeneutical principle known as The Principle Of First Mention. This principle teaches that the first mention of a word, or a doctrine, in the Bible, determines its meaning throughout the rest of Scripture. For instance, Egypt is first mentioned in Gen. 12:10. In that verse, Abram leaves Canaan during a time of famine and goes to Egypt. While he is there, he suffers spiritual loss and damages his testimony. Thus, Egypt is presented in a negative light and, as a general rule, that is the way Egypt is perceived throughout the Bible.
The passage before us today gives us the first mention of the word “worship”. People had worshiped before the events of this passage take place. Gen. 4 shows Cain and Abel engaged in sacrifice and worship. Gen. 4:26 says, “... then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” Gen. 5:22 tells us that “Enoch walked with God...” Gen. 6:9 tells us that Noah also “walked with God.”
People had been worshiping the Lord since the very beginning, but this is the first time the word “worship” is used. This passage that describes the faith of Abraham teaches us some very powerful truths about worship. The word translated “worship” means to “bow down; to prostrate oneself before a superior; to humble oneself before God.” Abraham uses this word in the midst of the most difficult trial he ever faced. He was in the deepest valley of his life, yet he saw the experience as a time of worship.
I think Abraham’s experience has something to say to us about our own worship. In fact, the truths revealed here teach us about The Setting For Biblical Worship. These verses teach us about the character, the conditions and the challenges of biblical worship. Let’s examine these truths together as we think about “The Setting For Biblical Worship“.
v. 1-2 WORSHIP’S SOURCE
Abraham’s worship in these verses was based on a clear word from the Lord. Verse 1 says, “God...said unto him.” Verse 2 says, “And He said...” Abraham found himself engaged in the worship of Almighty God because God told him exactly what He wanted. God told Abraham what to do, “Take now thy son...and offer him for a burnt offering”. God told him where to go, “get thee into the land of Moriah...upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Abraham’s worship was based on a clear word from God.
True worship is always guided by the Word of God. True worship is always a response to revelation. Thus, true worship is always a matter of faith, (Rom. 10:17). God has revealed Himself to us in His Word. We respond to that revelation by humbling ourselves to Him and bowing down before Him in reverence and adoration.
Many will go to their churches and engage in responsive readings, dead liturgies and empty formalism, and call it worship. Others will dance around, lift their arms and shout. Some speak in tongues and faint dead away and call it worship. Still others will go to church, sit quietly in their pew, sing the songs, bow for prayer, listen to the preacher and call it worship. Does any of these methods of assembly and doing church really result in worship? If we are going to worship the Lord, we must do it His way in the manner that he has prescribed. Following the traditions and customs of man is simply not worship. Genuine biblical worship is all that I am responding to all that God is, as He is revealed in the Bible.
In other words, God says He loves me. God says He sent His Son to die for me. God says He will never leave me. God says that He will supply all my needs. God says He is my Father. The list could go on. When I understand Who God is and what He has done for me, I worship Him when I respond to His revelation with humility, gratitude and reverence. So, yes, the person in the emotional church can worship. The person in the formal church can worship,. The person in the church like ours can worship. The key is the attitude of the heart.
Genuine worship takes place when my spirit responds to God’s revelation of Himself in His word, and I bow myself before Him in reverence, love and adoration. So, like Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,”( John 4:24).
v. 3 WORSHIP’S SUBMISSION
As soon as Abraham hears the command of God, there is no hesitation. He responds in faith and submits himself to the will of the Lord. Notice how Abraham’s submissive faith manifested itself.
He “...rose up early in the morning.”
He “saddled” his donkey.
He “took two of his young men with him...”
He took “Isaac his son.”
He “clave (spilt) the wood for the burnt offering”
He “rose up”.
He “went his way unto the place of which God had told him.”
Abraham’s worship manifested itself in humble submission to the will of God. Surely, Abraham could not understand the Lord’s command. Surely, his heart was heavy as he went about his tasks. Surely, he was troubled and confused. Still, he did what the Lord told him to do. Abraham heard the word of the Lord and he submitted himself to that word. Abraham humbly obeyed God, and that is the essence of worship!
Not only does worship find its root in what the Word of God says; it is also rooted in obedience to what the Word of God says. There, anyone who does not obey the Word of God cannot be a true worshiper. It is one thing to know what God says, but it is another thing altogether to obey God, even when His commands and demands make no sense. What the Lord called Abraham to do was unprecedented. No one had ever been asked to do that before. Yet, Abraham obeyed God because Abraham trusted God to do the right thing. He trusted the Lord to know best. He humbled himself by faith and left the consequences with God.
That kind of faith is an essential component of true biblical worship. Thus, even the smallest act of obedience to the Word of God is a form of worship! Praying, reading the Bible, tithing, witnessing, faithfulness to the house of God, all the things we ought to be doing anyway, are all acts of worship, when they are done out of a heart of love and humble submission to God.
v. 2, 5 WORSHIP’S SACRIFICE
Abraham’s worship wasn’t cheap. Abraham’s worship would cost him his precious son. Notice how God approaches Abraham in verse 2. “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest...” Isaac was the light of Abraham’s life. Isaac was the most precious person in the world to Abraham. Isaac was his dearest possession. Isaac represented all of Abraham’s hopes for the future. To Abraham, Isaac was life itself.
God commands Abraham to take that which is most precious to him and sacrifice him to God. Abraham’s worship was costly.
In verse 5, he told his servants, “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” When Abraham spoke of “worship”, he knew that true worship involved him making the greatest sacrifice possible. Abraham’s heart was wrapped up in his son, yet he willing gave God the treasure of his heart because of his love for the Lord.
Real worship is always costly! David knew this, for he said, “...neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing,” (2 Sam. 24:24). Mary of Bethany knew this, (John 12:1-8). She sacrificed her pride, her glory and her treasure for the opportunity to worship the Lord Jesus. The wise men knew this, (Matt. 2:1-12). These rich, wise, powerful men humbled themselves before a child and worshiped Him. They sacrificed their pride, their glory and their treasure to honor the Lord. Through the ages many millions have given the all, even their lives, as sacrifices of worship for His glory.
We need to keep in mind that worship is a sacrifice, (Heb. 13:15). It always costs something to worship the Lord! It costs time in spiritual preparation, for no one just walks in and goes right to worship. It costs time in Bible study, for the truth must be encountered before God can be worshiped. It can cost the loss of prestige and acceptance with friends, family, society and even the church, but God’s worship is worth more than the praises of me. It costs treasure, because often God will ask us to worship Him through giving to others.
Real worship is a sacrifice, and a sacrifice making. This is true because through true worship God is honored and the saint who worships is blessed.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“How Beautiful” by Twila Paris (1993).
How Beautiful the hands that served
The Wine and the Bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
How Beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes
How Beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How Beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
SHARE TODAY’S LESSON WITH A FRIEND!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Abraham and Isaac, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/25/2012
Gen. 22:1-14 THE TRIAL OF FAITH, Lesson 30
The Siamese twins joined at the waist. Both could not live, so the parents had to choose which child lived and which child died. What a terrible predicament to be in. That, however, is the position that God placed Abraham in this passage. Abraham had a choice to make, and it involved the live of his son. Abraham’s faith was on trial before the Lord. 1 Pet. 1:7, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"
Through the centuries, Abraham has stood as a monument to true faith in God. He trusted God in every area of his life and he was vindicated by God every time. He was tried, but he came forth from the trial shining in the glory of the Lord. In these verses, we can learn much about the trial of faith. We can learn how to handle the trials of life and about the One who makes the victory possible for us. Notice with me three aspects of the trial of faith.
v. 1-2a A LOVING FATHER (Evidenced by:)
Isaac’s Appearing – He was:
The Son Of Promise – (Gen. 17:19);
The Son of Prophecy – (Gen. 17:19);
The Son of Abraham’s Old Age – (Gen. 17:17).
These three facts caused Isaac to hold a high place in his father’s life.
Abraham’s Actions – (Gen. 21:8-14).
Abraham held Isaac higher in his esteem than he did Ishmael.
God’s Acknowledgment – God knew Abraham better than anyone else and he stated the fact that Abraham loved Isaac! Love made the task hard!
v. 2b-14 A LIVING FAITH (Evidenced By)
v. 2b A Requirement – This was a hard request which God placed upon Abraham. True faith is always tested (1 Pet. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Tim. 3:12). Faith that is never tested is not a faith at all!
v. 3-10 A Response – Without question, Abraham set about doing that which God demanded. True faith always responds to God’s call! Abraham’s faith revealed the fact that he loved God more than he loved Isaac! (John 14:15). We see this in the particulars of the journey! (v. 8-10 ) These verses reveal the true faith of Abraham! How could Abraham do it all? Because in his mind Isaac died when God spoke. He had already put Isaac to death before he ever left home! This is the secret to a walk of total faith. That is, a mind absolutely yielded to the Lord and ready at once to surrender all to Him!
v. 11-14 A Reward – True faith in God is always rewarded by God. When we respond to Him in absolute trust and faith, He gets the glory and He blesses. God honors faith, because true faith honors God! He doesn’t always pay off on Friday, but He always pays off!
God may require that you and I walk through some pretty hard places, but it is faith that will deliver us and get us through all the valleys. Faith is the key ingredient that makes all the difference between worry and winning, struggling and succeeding, tragedy and triumph. Faith is the key to victory in the Christian life ( 1 Cor. 15:57).
v. 12-14 SOME LASTING FEATURES !
This story still speaks to us today because of three outstanding features!
The Picture In Isaac – (A Portrait of Jesus through and through)
1. Only Son –(John 3:16; Matt. 3:17).
2. Son was Obedient To The Father’s Will – Isaac was about 15-to-20, Abraham was about 100. Isaac was more than able to overcome his father, yet he submitted, just like Jesus. (John 4:34; Luke 22:42).
3. Isaac carried the wood for the offering – Jesus carried His own cross – (John 19:17).
4. Isaac prayed to his Father – So did Jesus (Luke 22:42).
5. Isaac willingly surrender to the appointed task (John 10:18). So did Jesus; no one had to force Him to go to the cross (Isa. 53:7).
6. Isaac dead for three days in Abraham’s mind! – Jesus was in the tomb for three days (Matt. 16:21).
7. Isaac Raised from the dead - (Heb. 11:17-19) – Jesus was also raised from the dead (Matt. 28:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:1-23, Rev. 1:18!)
The Peace In Abraham – Abraham is a wonderful portrait of the grace and peace of God. He was certainly heartbroken and miserable, yet somehow, he knew that God would intervene. His attitude perhaps, was even excited as he contemplated what God would do, (Heb 11:17-19). Surely, he would see a new side of the Lord in this work. This is an encouragement for you and me to continue to trust in the Lord. He has “no respect of persons“, and what He did for Abraham, He will do for you!
The Provision Of God – The Ram in the thorns. God abundantly intervened and met the need. Abraham name of the place – Jehovah-Jireh – "The Lord Will See To It." While pain, heartache, grief, sorrow, dread, death, and brokenness went up one side of the mountain, provision, healing, glory, salvation, delight, deliverance, and blessing was coming up the other. He was Jehovah-Jireh then, and He still is today! He is what you need today in every area of your life!
Conc: Your faith, if it is real, will be tested, but rest assured today that Jesus is and has all you need to have the victory in your life. The primary thing that needs to be settled is this: Are you trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation today? Just like Isaac, Jesus climbed Mt. Moriah carrying His cross and your sins. He died there to save your soul and today, you can be saved if you will come to Him by faith. Will you do that today? Christian, are you undergoing a trial today? If so, please come to the Lord, He is still the God who will see to it. Bring your need to Him right now.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
My Faith Looks Up To Thee By Ray Palmer (1830)
My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine! Now hear me while I pray, Take all my guilt away, Oh, let me from this day Be wholly Thine!
May Thy rich grace impart Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire! As Thou hast died for me, Oh, may my love to Thee Pure, warm, and changeless be, A living fire!
While life’s dark maze I tread, And griefs around me spread, Be Thou my guide; Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow’s tears away, Nor let me ever stray From Thee aside.
When ends life’s transient dream, When death’s cold, sullen stream Shall o’er me roll; Blest Savior, then in love, Fear and distrust remove; Oh, bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!
SHARE TODAY’S LESSON WITH A FRIEND!
Friday, February 24, 2012
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 2/24/2012
ON THE MOUNTAIN OF ABSOLUTE SURRENDER, Lesson 29
This is one of the great mountain top passages of the Bible. In it, we find one of the clearest pictures of the coming sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. It seems as though God used the life of Abraham as a canvas to pain a portrait of His Own heart as He willingly gave His Own darling Son to die for the sin of man. This is usually how we approach this passage. However, there is another dimension to this text.
I would like to look at this passage from Abraham's perspective. As I read the Bible, I am confronted with the truth that no other man was called upon to give so much. Yet, as Abraham's sacrifice to the Lord is offered, we do not see the heart of a devastated broken man. Instead, we see the heart of a worshiper! I believe there are lessons that we can learn from Abraham today.
As you and I pass through this life, there will be demands made on our lives by God. Often, these demands will call for personal and profound sacrifices on our part. From a human perspective, we may not want to participate in what God calls us to do. However, God's demand from your life and mine is total, absolute and unquestioning obedience to His perfect will, (1 Sam. 15:22; Rom. 12:1-2). Even though we know this, there is still a part of us that wants to rebel against the command of God for our lives. Today, I would like for us to join Abraham as he climbs the lonely Mountain Of Absolute Surrender. There are steps we must take if we will climb that mountain. Let's join this great man of God on this mountain and see what it would take for us to be “On The Mountain Of Absolute Surrender” as well.
V. 1-2 INVOLVES PERCEPTION
We must be in a position to hear God.
This Demands A Relationship - Abraham came to know the Lord back in Genesis chapter 12. The reality of his conversion is revealed in Gen. 15:6. Their relationship had often been rocky, (Lot - 12:4; Egypt - 12:10-20; Hagar - 16:1-4; Gerar - 20:1-18 ). He wasn't perfect, but he knew the Lord. How about you? Have you been saved? If so, then no doubt your relationship has been rocky too. Be that as it may, there is still a relationship. If you have not been saved, you need to bow to His will and be saved!
This Demands A Readiness - As soon as God speaks, Abraham responds! This implies that he had been listening for the voice of His Lord, and he was not disappointed. God is on the lookout for people who want to be in a deep, close relationship with Himself (John 4:23). If you ever get hungry for the Lord, you will not be disappointed!
This Demands A Revelation - God revealed His plan for Abraham's life. This was a necessary part of the process, for no man can know the mind of God until it is revealed to man by God.
1. Notice How God Defines His Commands - "thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest." Abraham's son Ishmael had already been sent away. Now, the command comes that would take Isaac away as well. God was asking for everything Abraham had! All his hopes, his dreams and his plans were bound up in Isaac. God says "give it all to me!" God wants nothing less than everything ( Rom. 12:1; Luke 14:26-27).
2. Notice How God Details His Commands - God was very precise about what Abraham was to do. When God speaks, He may not reveal every detail of His plan, but your next step will always be made clear.
3. Notice How God Darkens His Commands - God does not explain the "why?" to men! Does the "why?" even matter? It shouldn't! Faith knows that the path of God always leads to good for us and to glory for Him ( Rom. 8:28).
V. 3-5 INVOLVES PREPARATIONS
As we observe Abraham doing what the Lord commanded, we see a man who is thoroughly prepared. There are three areas in which Abraham made his preparations.
V. 3 His Hands Were Prepared - Abraham wasted no time, but got himself up and gathered everything he would need to do what God had commanded. He left nothing out, but he took nothing extra! There is an urgency to the commands of God. The moment He calls is the moment you should act ( John 9:4). Procrastination has caused the death on many profound spiritual experiences. We miss them because we hesitate. “Carpe Diem” should be the rallying cry of the church! If anything is worth doing for the Lord, it is worth doing right! May we always refuse to build with cheap materials! (1 Cor. 3:12).
V. 4-5a His Head Was Prepared - Abraham had three days and three nights to think about what was about to happen. To him, it must have made no sense at all, yet he did it without question! All he knew was: 1.) Isaac was the future ( Gen. 17; and 2.) God wanted Isaac back! Even though he couldn't make it add up mentally, by faith he was willing to obey God. This is the key to consistent spiritual victory! We are called to walk by faith, (Rom. 1:17; 2 Cor. 5:7). God help us to come to the place where, even when God's commands make absolutely no sense, we will still obey Him without question or reservation!
V. 5b His Heart Was Prepared - Abraham knew why he was there. He was there to offer his beloved son to God. He was there to give everything that was present in that day and all that was promised for tomorrow. Yet, he looked at it as a service of worship! Worship is ascribing worth to someone! Worship is taking a place of absolute humility before God, thereby leaving Him, alone, in the place of exaltation! Abraham viewed God as being worthy of receiving all he had without question or without reservation. How could he do this? Because Abraham knew that God ALWAYS honors His Word (Heb. 11:17-19). Notice his great statement of faith in Gen. 22:8 - "will come again!" This is the place God would have us all to come to! He wants you and me in a place in life where no one or no thing in our lives is more precious to us than He is! Can you honestly say that God is more important to you than anything else in life? Be careful before you answer! (Matt. 10:35-37). Have you honestly come to the place of total and absolute surrender to God? If you ever do, you will learn that you have no rights, no possessions, no positions, nothing but Him and His will for your life, (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Where are you in regard to this matter of total surrender? Have you come to the place where nothing is more precious to God.
V. 6-14 INVOLVES PARTICIPATION
V. 6 This Participation Is Personal - Abraham personally placed the wood on Isaac. He personally took the fire and the knife and he personally lead the way. For Abraham, this was an event of personal commitment and sacrifice. God has determined that you and I are to be personally and intimately involved in His service and worship (Rom. 12:1). This kind of life was modeled by Caleb (Josh. 14). Jesus Himself is the supreme example (Phil. 2:5-8; Luke 22:42). Are you personally, intimately involved with God and His work? God has a perfect, precious plan for your life. Only your involvement will result in its being accomplished.
V. 7-10 This Participation Is Profound - Abraham willingly and completely obeyed the command of God. He held nothing back! He gave up everything he had longed for, lived for and loved at the simple command of God! What and act of love and worship! Have you come to that place in your life? Do you even want to? How could Abraham do this? Easy! Isaac was already dead! He died in verse 2 when of God asked for him. That was the level of this man's commitment to the Lord! And, that is the secret to arriving at the summit of the mountain of absolute surrender. It's not about the altitude of the body, but it's all about the altitude of the heart! Isaac had already been offered in Abraham's heart, the rest was mere window dressing!
V. 11-14 This Participation Is Powerful - Abraham's participation was powerful because it gave God an opportunity to flex His muscles, and it gave Abraham the opportunity to receive some special blessings that he would have otherwise missed out on.
1. V. 11-14 He Received God's Provision - Abraham gave up Isaac and got him back again because he minded God. Simply put, Abraham's faith honored the Lord and God in turn honored Abraham's faith. Think about it, while Abraham and Isaac climbed one side of the mountain, a ram was coming up the other side of the mountain! God had already gone ahead and made a way! That will still work today! Our God is still Jehovah-Jireh. When we do what He tells us, no matter what the cost, we will see Him bless in a profound way!
2. V. 12 He Received God's Praise - Abraham got to hear the Lord say, "I am pleased with you!" This verse points out the whole purpose behind this episode. This was never about Isaac, it had always been about Abraham! God wanted Abraham in that place of total surrender and love for Him. That's what it's about in our lives as well! When God's commands calls for sacrifice, it has nothing to do with what we are told to give up. It has everything to do with our being willing to give it up at the simply command of God. God doesn't want you Isaac's, He wants you! Is there anything in your life that you have not been willing to give to the Lord?
3. V. 15-19 He Received God's Promise - God renewed His covenant with Abraham. This is merely a reminder that the condition of their relationship was still intact. God knew what Abraham would do! He put him to the test so that Abraham might see what was in his own heart. He was brought to a blessed place of peace, provision and promise, because he put God ahead of everything else in life. If you really want God's best, then put God first, (Matt. 6:33).
Conc: So, is everything you have and are, totally, absolutely and completely surrendered to God? God isn't really interested in your Isaac's, it's you He wants! Does He have all of you there is to have?
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“All To Jesus I Surrender” by J. W. Van Venter (1896)
1. All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
2. All to Jesus I surrender;
humbly at his feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken;
take me, Jesus, take me now.
3. All to Jesus I surrender;
make me, Savior, wholly thine;
fill me with thy love and power;
truly know that thou art mine.
4. All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to thee;
fill me with thy love and power;
let thy blessing fall on me.
5. All to Jesus I surrender;
now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to his name!
INVITE A FRIEND TO JOIN THE TEAM!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/23/2012
THE LAMB ON MOUNT MORIAH, Lesson 28
There are several places in the Bible that I would describe as holy ground. This chapter is one of those places. In fact, there is too much good stuff here to even hope to get it all proclaimed in one message. Therefore, I want to look into these verses today and try to catch a glimpse of the Lamb.
We saw the Lamb in the story of Cain and Abel. Today, I would like for us to see the Lamb on Mount Moriah. As we move through this great story from the life of Abraham, I hope we will see that there is something far larger in view here. I hope we will see today that there is a clear portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the price He paid for sinners.
As this story unfolds, I ask you to give the Lord your undivided attention. Allow Him to speak to your heart today and let Him have His way in your life.
This is a chapter that is filled with great blessings. Allow me to share a few of them with you as we look at “The Lamb On Mount Moriah“.
I. V. 1 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SAINT
His Name - The man's name is "Abraham". It means "Father of a multitude." When the Lord first called this man to follow Him, his name was "Abram". That name meant "Exalted Father." Yet, at that time, Abram was 75 years old and he was childless. As Abram began to follow the Lord, the Lord changed his name to "Abraham". When he had no children, his name was "Exalted Father". Now, he has one child and God calls him "Father of a Multitude." Imagine the reaction of those around Abram when he announced the name change.
While some surely laughed at this old man and his strange name, that name was, in fact, the promise of God to Abraham. While he only had one son, the Lord promised him that he would have many more, "Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.", (Gen. 17:5).
By the time we arrive at today's text, Abraham has two sons. The first, Ishmael, has already left the home, (Gen. 21:9-21), and Isaac, the son of promise, who was born when Abraham was 99, is the only one there. While people may have mocked this man of God, he placed his trust in the Lord even though he only had one son, Abraham looked ahead to a time when the Lord would keep His promises! My friends, this is what saved Abraham's soul. Simple faith in the Word of the Lord, (Gen. 15:5-6), "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
Friend, that is how salvation worked then, and it is how salvation works today! You hear the promise of God and you accept it by faith! That is what saves the soul, (Rom. 10:13; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:17).
His Nature - Notice that as soon as the Lord speaks, Abraham responds. This tells us a lot about this great man of faith. He has his ear tuned to the voice of the Lord. He is literally waiting for orders from headquarters. Here is a man who is literally living by faith, (Rom. 1:17). Here is a man who lives his life for the will of God. What a lesson for those who claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ! Most of us are so busy listening to the call of the world and the flesh that we cannot even hear His voice when He does speak to us!
What are you living for today? Is it wealth? Is it family? Is it job? What has your attention today? Don't you think men should be listening for the voice of the Lord? I think so! After all, He is the only voice in the world today that is speaking the truth. He holds the way of salvation for you if you will listen to Him!
After all these thousands of years, Abraham is still viewed as a great saint of God. He is revered by the Jew, the Muslim and by the Christian. He is called by name 284 times in the Word of God. Why? Because he believed God! What about you? What legacy are you leaving behind? Where is your faith this morning?
V. 1-5 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SACRIFICE
V. 1 The Challenge - The Bible tells us that the Lord "tempted" Abraham. This was not a temptation to do evil. The Lord is never a party to sin, (James 1:13). This is a trial or test of Abraham's faith. There is no doubt that Abraham loved Isaac, (v. 2). There can be no doubt that Abraham loved God. Just look at his life from chapter 12 until this time. He has proven his love over and over again. After all, he left his home, his country, and his family all because God called him to do so. He journeyed as a stranger in a foreign because he loved the Lord. Now, he about to prove the depths of his love for the Lord God. It is one thing to trust God while waiting on a promise to be fulfilled and quiet another thing to trust Him when He asks us to give that thing back to Him. Abraham had waited for 25 years for Isaac to be born. Now, Isaac is somewhere around 15 or even older. He is the fulfillment of all the promises God ever made to Abraham, and yet the Lord asks Abraham to give him back to God. What a test of this man's faith! Abraham has spoken of his faith in the Lord for years. Now, he is given the opportunity to prove his love for the Lord.
On the surface, this may seem like a cruel thing the Lord is doing. However, we know the outcome! God is demonstrating that there are some people who love the Lord more than anything else in this world. Even more than themselves or their families. God is also painting a picture of His love for humanity. This picture will become clearer as we move through these verses. At this point, do not miss this lesson: real faith is always tested! God never tested Lot. Why? Everyone knew what Lot was. He was worldly, selfish and foolish. He could not be trusted in a time of testing. Abraham, on the other hand, could be trusted! When God trusts you, He will test you! Why? Two reasons.
1. To show you that He can take care of you in the test.
2. To show the world that He is worthy of faith. He does it to get glory for His name!
V. 2 The Cost - The cost is almost beyond calculation. God tells Abraham to take, and notice how the cost is kept constantly before Abraham, your son, your only son, the son you love more than life itself, and offer him to Me as a burnt offering! Surely, this must have broken Abraham's heart! After all, Isaac represented all the promises of God for Abraham. In truth, to Abraham, Isaac was life, (Gen. 17:19-20)! If Isaac were dead and gone, then the promises of God would become worthless. If Isaac were to die, then the hopes of Abraham would die as well. Yet we do not find him trying to negotiate with the Lord. As we will see, this father, brokenhearted though he was, was willing to pay the price!
What a portrait this paints of our great God: the Heavenly Father! He also gave up a Son! Notice the similarities between Isaac and the Lord Jesus.
1. Thy son - Isa. 9:6 - "unto us a son is given."
2. Thy only son - John 3:16 - "only begotten son"
3. Whom thou lovest - Matt. 17:5 - "this is My beloved Son."
Yet, when the Lord looked at the plight of humanity, He loved us so much that He willingly allowed His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die in our place on the cross, (Rom. 5:8). Never be guilty of thinking that salvation is a cheap thing to be taken lightly! Your salvation cost the Lord Jesus His life on a Roman cross. The price was pain, agony and death, but He paid it because He loved us , (Isa. 53:3-7).
V. 3-4 The Compliance - Abraham never wavered! He simply gathered together all the things he needed to worship God through a sacrifice and he headed to the place that God told him about. His heart was fixed on doing the thing God had called him to do! What a man of faith! It must have been a difficult journey for Abraham, but he continued until he arrived at the place!
What a picture paints for us of our heavenly Father! It must have broken the heart of God to know that the man He had made in His own image had sinned against Him and had to die. However, God was not deterred! He had already formulated a plan to pay the price for mankind. He knew what had to be done and He set out to do it, (Rev. 13:8). You see, the Lord knew the place to which He was leading Abraham. When He fashioned this world the Lord knew that on that very spot, He would ask Abraham to take the life of his beloved son Isaac. But, God knew something else about that place. He knew that centuries later, Mount Moriah would become known as Mount Calvary. He knew that His Own darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ would die on a cross there to save humanity. Even though He knew, He still formed the place! Bless His good Name! He fixed it so Jesus would die for me!
V. 5 The Confidence - When they arrived at the place, Abraham instructed the servants to wait while he and Isaac went to worship. He told them that they would worship and that they would return. There are two great truths that must be noted right here.
1. Even though Abraham had come to this place to kill his son, he still viewed what he was about to do as worship! When you love the Lord with all your heart, everything you do is a form of worship before the Lord.
2. Abraham still had faith that even though he was about to kill Isaac, God would keep His promises. God had promised that Isaac would be the father of 12 princes and of a vast multitude, (Gen. 17:20). However, Abraham must have known that a dead man does not father children! How can he believe that God will keep His word? The writer of Hebrews answers that question for us, (Heb. 11:17-19), "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." Simply stated, Abraham knew that even if he killed Isaac, God would bring him back from the dead. He believed God!
So it is with the Lord Jesus! God knew that His Son had to go to the cross, but God already knew the end of that story before the beginning! He knew that when Jesus died on the cross, He would not stay dead. God knew that when Jesus died, He would raise Jesus from the dead after three days, (Ps. 16:10.)
V. 6-10 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SON
V. 6 He Is Working - As they head to the top of the mountain, Abraham lays the wood for the fire on the back of his son Isaac. Isaac is literally bearing the wood upon which he will die. He is carrying the burden of death upon his shoulders. What a picture this paints for us of the Lord Jesus. He too labored under the burden of death. He carried on His shoulders the very wood upon which He was to die, (John 19:17). But, there were greater burdens that Jesus bore that day, (Isa. 53:4-6). He bore our sins, this was the thing upon which He died, (2 Cor. 5:21). I am glad Jesus completed the job that the Father sent Him to do!
V. 7 He Is Wondering - Isaac's question is one that touches the heart! He sees the knife in his father's hand. He feels the weight of the wood upon his own back. He feels the heat of the fire from the torch his father carries. Yet, there is no lamb to offer to the Lord. So, he asks his father, "Where is the Lamb?" Isaac knew that a blood sacrifice was required to allow one to enter God's presence in worship. Abraham's answer surely did little to ease the concern that the boy must have been feeling. But, as he studies the aged and weathered face of his father, he trusted him and he trusted his father's God, and if Abraham said that God would provide a lamb, then surely God would do just that.
People today are still wondering how they can come into the presence of God. They go to church and see the knife, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb? They go into beautiful buildings where men stand and preach sermons, where singers stand and sing songs, where people pray and give money, but they leave unchanged and unmoved. They leave still asking, "Where is the Lamb?" I want you to know that the Lamb is here! His name is Jesus and He has already died for you sins on the cross. He shed His blood for you and if you will come to Him, He will save you by His power. Wonder no more, but come to Jesus and He will bring you into the presence of the Lord.
V.6, 8-9 He Is Willing - Notice the phrase "they went both of them together." There is no rebellion detected in Isaac. Amos the prophet lets us know that men cannot walk together unless they are agreed, (Amos 3:3). Even though Isaac doesn't understand all that is happening, still he follows his father. Even when they arrive at the place of sacrifice, this strong, young man allows his father, a man who is at least 115 years old, tie him up and lay him on an altar to take his life. It seems that Isaac is willing to obey his father, even unto death! Again, what a picture this is of the Lord Jesus! He wasn't forced to go to the cross and die a horrible death. No! He willing gave Himself up to die on that cross! Even when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying, He prayed to the Father to allow Him to live long enough to go to Calvary and die for sin, (Luke 22:42). This is the heart of the One Who died for you!
V. 11-14 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SUBSTITUTE
V. 11-13 It's Provision - Just as Abraham is about to kill Isaac, God stops him! He calls to him again and provides a substitute for Isaac. Did God actually expect Abraham to kill his son? Yes! Would Abraham have killed Isaac had the Lord not intervened? Yes! It all boils down to grace. God provided a substitute for Isaac through His matchless, boundless grace. God moved to provide for the need of Abraham and Isaac!
V. 14 It's Purpose - The whole purpose in that ram being there was for it to take the place of Isaac on that altar. Abraham hadn't noticed the ram, because he wasn't looking for a substitute, but while he and Isaac were coming up one side of the mountain, that ram was coming up the other side. It arrived at the right place at the right time. It was there to take the place of Isaac!
V. 11-14 It's Picture - This ram paints a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, every sinner, just like Isaac, was doomed to die a terrible death. In fact, all sinners are headed to Hell. However, the Lord Jesus Christ, just like that ram became our substitute on the cross. Put yourself in Isaac's shoes that day as his father untied him and then took that ram, tied it up, placed it in the wood and plunged that knife into it. I can see the tears running down the Isaac's face as he watched that lamb bleed to death. Isaac knew that he was the one who should have died, but he lived because another had taken his place. I am sure his heart was filled with gratitude over what the Lord had provided for him!
My friends, from where you stand today, can you see the One Who died on the cross for your sins? Does it move your heart to know that Jesus loved you so much that He died in your place on the cross? Does it thrill you to know that by simply trusting and obeying Him, you can be forever free from the penalty of sin? Does it fill you with gratitude to know that He died so that you could live? Notice the last phrase in verse 14, "in the mount of the LORD it shall be seen." That was a prophetic statement! Many centuries later, Jesus Christ died on that same mountaintop. He wasn't dying just for Isaac, He was dying for you and me. Just as God provided a ram for Isaac on Moriah, He provided a Lamb for you on Calvary.
Conc: Now, the question that must be asked is this : What are you going to do with Jesus? Isaac and Abraham trusted that lamb to take Isaac's place. They offered it, worshiped before the Lord and then they came back down the mountain together. Have you come to the place today where you are willing to come before the Lord and trust Jesus as your substitute? Are you will to come to Him and trust what He died on the cross to set you free?
Yes, Jesus died a terrible death. Yes, He paid a high price. A price, I might add, that He did not owe! Are you going to allow His death to be in vain as far as you are concerned? Or, will you come to Him right now and be saved by the grace of God? One day, you will reach the end of life. Wouldn't you like to know that you are saved when that day comes? You can, but only if you will come to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will turn to the Lamb of God and receive Him as your Savior, you can be free today. You can worship and go back down the mountain, alive and free because of the One Who took your place.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“What Will You Do With Jesus?” By Albert Simpson, 1897.
Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall,
Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all;
Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call?
What will you do with Jesus?
What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be;
Some day your heart will be asking,
“What will He do with me?”
Jesus is standing on trial still,
You can be false to Him if you will,
You can be faithful through good or ill:
What will you do with Jesus?
Will you evade him as Pilate tried?
Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide?
Vainly you struggle from Him to hide:
What will you do with Jesus?
Will you, like Peter, your Lord deny?
Or will you scorn from His foes to fly,
Daring for Jesus to live or die?
What will you do with Jesus?
“Jesus, I give Thee my heart today!
Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,
Gladly obeying Thee!” will you say:
“This I will do with Jesus!”
SHARE TODAY’S MESSAGE WITH A FRIEND!
Get An Email Alert Each Time MJRVIC2000 Posts