Beginnings Series – Genesis 17:1-7
Intro: Give it All!
I believe there are many in this world today that have either given up or never really stayed the course and followed through with God’s plan for their life. You might be that person who has had to adjust to what you might call a handicap. I have always thought – it only becomes a handicap when you allow the world to convince you it is. It might just be God’s plan all along. Maybe you have been in an accident and have loss something? A part of your body, a function of your body (you know something that doesn’t work anymore), eyes, a leg, arm, something… So you decide the almighty God isn’t all that almighty! Look at the couple in this narrative, they’re both real close to a 100! Look at Sarai; did she give it her all or did she give up on it all? 13 years had pass since Ishmael was born and Sarai at her advance stage in life had given up the idea of having a son that would become the heir. This can apply to a lot of us here today, have you given up on the idea that God can do something miraculously through you? I know what you’re thinking, you’re too old, not smart enough, you have a handicap.
It is my prayer with this message in mind, you’re never too anything and God is the almighty God! Maybe it is time you give it ALL!
“Just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” Galatians 3:6-9
Text: Genesis 17:1-8
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”
Application: "Those who are of faith are blessed!”
God had to wait for Abraham and Sarah to die to self so that His resurrection power might be displayed in their lives. God revealed Himself as “God Almighty”—El Shaddai, “the all-sufficient One.”
Abram’s faith needed to be aroused once again. This text is the story of Abram and Sarai’s need to never lose focus or faith in God no matter what the age or circumstance one might face in life. Abram is 99 and Sarai is 89 and both had become comfortable and settled in life, they have become somewhat complacent, lethargic, even slumbering to the point of slacking off. Abram just accepted reality: he was too old to bear any more children, and Ishmael was the only child he had. Thus he felt Ishmael was bound to be the son promised by God. Abram loved Ishmael as did God, but Ishmael was not the promise seed, not the son promised to Abram. Abram's faith needed to be aroused once again. Abram needed God to stir his faith to look beyond Ishmael, beyond the present beyond the physical and beyond the possible.
1. Beyond the Present: vs. 1-2
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."
Abram and Sarai in the present needed to see God as the Almighty: God is the Almighty God; He possesses all might and all power. He can do all things; in fact, there is nothing that God cannot do. Thus when we face difficult, impossible circumstances, we should seek God; seek the power and promises of God. We should seek a fresh revelation from God, to see God as the Almighty God, as the God who can do all things. “For with God nothing will be impossible." Luke 1:37
“Walk before Me!” You might just be the person who needs to make a new commitment and walk before God blameless. You can’t afford to be complacent. The believer's life is not a static, complacent life. When God gives us a fresh revelation—some new insight or knowledge—He expects us to act, to experience growth through this process, this was true of Abram. God gave Abram a fresh revelation of Himself as the Almighty God, but God also told Abram to recommit his life and to do so more diligently than ever before. Abram was to make two commitments. First he was to walk before God: this means to live step by step in the presence of God; to live moment by moment in fellowship with God; to live in an unbroken consciousness of God; to be always aware of God's presence, power, and security. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
Secondly Abram was to be perfect or blameless. Scripture is not teaching sinless perfection, for no person has or ever will live a sinless and perfect life, no person other than Jesus Christ our Lord. But Scripture is teaching holiness, that Abram and all other believers are to walk before God diligently seeking to live perfect, blameless lives. “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4
Have you ever really thought much about why we should seek to be blameless? God has saved us and given us eternal life. He has forgiven our sins and accepted us, and He continues to forgive our sins when we stumble and fall. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
God says that He will fulfill His covenant, His promises in the life of the believer. God made a covenant with Abram: if Abram would walk before God diligently seeking to be perfect or blameless, then God would fulfill His promises; He would send the promised seed through Abram's descendants. God gives the same assurance to us all: God will fulfill His promises in the life of any person who walks before Him and diligently seeks to be perfect or blameless, in the present and beyond. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
2. Beyond the Physical: vs. 3-5
“Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.”
Abram humbled himself before God; he got as low as he could to show reverence for God, that he was ready to listen and receive whatever message God had for him. Abram had been chosen to receive the covenant of the promised seed. He and he alone, not someone else, had been chosen to be the father of many nations. Abram's name was to be changed to Abraham. The meaning of Abram is high father; the meaning of Abraham is the father of a multitude. This experience with God was to be a turning point in Abram's life: the promised seed was soon to be born through Sarai. God gave Abram a new name to remind him of this experience with God. We too have been given a new name, the very name of His own dear Son, Christian. To go beyond the physical the Christian must trust the Almighty. “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” 1 Peter 4:16
The great need of the hour is for believers to humble themselves before God and remember the great name He has given, the name of Christian. The name should remind us; of our conversion experience, of other deep experiences with God, of God's great call to us, the great task He has given each of us to do and His promises (covenant) of His assurance to fulfill the promises made to us.
3. Beyond the Possible: vs. 6-8
“I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”
We must hear and believe the great promises of God. Abram was promised the seed of Christ, he was to be fruitful. I believe we have that in common with Abram. God says: the promised seed is an everlasting covenant established by Him. What does this mean? It means that Abraham will have descendants upon earth as long as the earth stands. God established the promised seed as an everlasting covenant for a reason: that He might be the God of the promised seed, be their God forever. God wants a personal relationship with Abraham's descendants; He wants a people with whom He can fellowship and pour out His mercy and grace, a people who will worship, serve, and live for Him eternally. The everlasting covenant applies to Abraham and all those who follow in the steps of Abraham. Who are they? Believers. All persons who walk upon earth believing God just as Abraham believed God; all persons who follow after God just like Abraham did.
Conclusion: Are you stuck in the present, maybe somewhat complacent, lethargic? Your world is not falling apart it is falling into place. Sometimes your almighty God is just waiting for you to have some faith, possibly something as small as a mustard seed. The All-mighty offered Abraham a New Beginning. Can you see beyond the present, beyond the physical and beyond the possible? The 17th Chapter of Genesis had its place, had its purpose and its person. DO YOU BELIEVE? Maybe it is time you give it all and never allow a circumstance to control you!
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
In : Sermon
Tags: "new beginnings series" "book of genesis"
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