Sermons

Summary: God calls us to leave our comfort zones and step out in faith. Many people refuse to move because they believe that “blessed” people live in comfort and security.

Intro: Expectations

VIDEO: Shrek

Plot: The irreverent fairy tale of an ogre (Shrek) who sets out on a daring quest to rescue the feisty Princess Fiona with the help of a loudmouthed Donkey and win back the deed to his beloved swamp from scheming Lord Farquaad.

SCENE: Fiona thanks Shrek and asks to see his face since she believes it is destiny for him to be her true love. Shrek and Donkey laugh hysterically. Shrek removes his helmet to reveal he’s an ogre. Fiona gets upset because he is supposed to be a prince!

One thing in life that is guaranteed is that everyone has expectations as to how things are going to go in life. Often those expectations seem rarely met.

This morning our journey through Genesis sees the notion of “blessing” progress to a man in the Old Testament first known as Abram and later God changes his name to the more familiar Abraham.

Abraham:

Born circa 2100 BC in Ur of the Chaldeans (Mesopotamia)

Pagan Orfamily worshiped deities

His father, Terah was named after the moon god worshipped at Ur

Abraham’s story is told in Genesis 11-25

In the past few weeks we have also talked about covenant

God says, “I will be your God and you will be my people”

Personal relationship with creation, created order and in particular human beings, whom he created

Despite their disobedience, God chose to reveal himself to human beings, in order that they would want a relationship with him.

This morning we pick up the story in Genesis 12:1-4

1. God’s Promises

Things never happen as you expect them

How did Abram expect God to fulfil his promise?

How did God actually fulfil this promise?

Abraham left his family and migrated to Canaan (God’s Promised Land)

Genesis 15:1-2

God promised Abraham and a son (an heir)

PROBLEM: his wife Sarah was beyond child baring age

Because the promise seemed out of reach for Sarah, she had her maidservant sleep with Abraham so they promise could be fulfilled

Abraham’s first son, Ishmael was born

This had disastrous consequences for Abraham and his wife

and yet, God still promised Abraham and Sarah another son

Genesis 17:17 tells that,

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

15 years later, Sarah miraculously gave birth to another son, Isaac

Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. [Genesis 21:1-3]

In response to this miracle, Sarah said,

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” [Genesis 21:6]

2. How to plan for the future without having detailed expectations of God

Scroll dropping from the sky, “This is your life ... this is what I want you to do.”

It just isn’t going to happen.

So why does God often do things in a way that we don’t expect?

a. Trust

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness

and who seek the LORD:

Look to the rock from which you were cut

and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

look to Abraham, your father,

and to Sarah, who gave you birth.

When I called him he was only one man,

and I blessed him and made him many.

[Isaiah 51:1-2]

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” [Romans 4:20-22]

Despite the odds, Abraham trusted God to fulfil his promise

What would happen if the church (God’s chosen people today) would trust God implicitly to continue to fulfil his purposes? Think what God could do through a faithful people today.

b. Obedience

Abraham’s life was filled with faith. At God’s command, he left home and went to another land — obeying without question (Genesis 12:1ff). He believed the covenant that God made with him

Make his name known

Make him into a great nation

That he would be a blessing to all the nations

(Genesis 12:2,3; 13:14-16; 15:1-6).

In obedience to God, Abraham was even willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19).

Do not be surprised if God asks you to give up secure, familiar surroundings in order to carry out his will.

c. Perseverance

God wants us to persevere

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. [James 2:21-22]

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