Summary: how to be a spiritual christain
We will be talking primarily to do with the faith of Abraham as he believed God.
1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
4So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
In Hebrews we are told of Abraham’s journey of faith
In 11:9-10 9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
This can be summarized in one word – he was a ‘pilgrim’.
The dictionary definition of a pilgrim is:
“a person regarded as journeying to a future life.” In other words, it’s a journey undertaken with an end view, a purpose, all together different than the journeying of a tourist.
We’ve all seen these western movies and the like about the early pilgrims going west and the hard times they often saw and had.
And yet they were determined to reach their destination
Our life on Earth can helpfully be seen as a journey but the question is: Are we making it as a “pilgrim” or a “tourist”?
The mindset of these categories in a spiritual context is different. Being a “pilgrim”: it’s what we become; what we strive to be all the time, not just for a few weeks of holiday each year. The “tourist” lives life fairly casually, responding to whims and changing directions.
We don’t want to be trapped in a place, relationships or situations from which we can’t escape or find uncomfortable.
It’s all about being in control, being in charge and getting our choice.
· Let us look at the contrast between the biblical “pilgrim” and “tourist” and see how different they are in the story of Abraham. God calls us to be “pilgrims” under His rules, not just mere “tourists” doing “our own thing”, in the journey of life.
Abraham’s journeying was at a different level. His was a pilgrimage from the city of mankind to the city of God.
We don’t know exactly when or how Abraham came to know God. It’s likely that he heard about Him through-- ----stories passed down by word of mouth from his ancestors, and also by seeing Gods creation and through the stirring of his conscience. But primarily, it was through a personal encounter with the living God.
We’re told by the first martyr, Stephen (Acts 7:2The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, ), that’s ancient Babylon, now Iraq and Iran.
It was a religious culture of worshipping the moon and kneeling before idols, but following this encounter with the One and only True God he was told to distance himself from this city of human arrogance and wickedness. As the story unfolds we see Abraham’s:
· CALL TO A NEW LIFE
The Bible’s account makes the point that it wasn’t Abraham who found God; it was God who found Abraham.
He received a call to which he had to respond, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Gen 12:1).
Abraham isn’t called simply to adopt a new set of ideas, which would leave his outward life untouched. It was something far more radical; it was to be a crossroad in his life. It was a call to a decisive turning away from the past, a public rejection of his ancestors’ pagan religion.
God is a jealous God who will not allow His followers to have a mixture of old and new gods.
Other religions may have high ideals but can’t hope to offer redemption of mankind where “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
It’s only in the atonement of Jesus on the Cross that we have the gift of forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
· The call of God to Abraham to a new life was followed by his: