Summary: Discover the qualities God uses and the blessings He shares with the person who is willing to be a funnel of His blessings.
As I gave my Forward With Faith testimony (This testimony was given at the kick off of a capital funds campaign.) a few minutes ago I closed by saying, it is exciting to step out in faith “and watch our gracious God bless our faith efforts.” God’s desire for our lives is that we be a funnel of His blessings. We have been doing a series of sermons entitled “Stretching Our Faith.” The focus of today’s sermon is a man who was a funnel of God’s blessings. The man was the Old Testament patriarch, Abraham. Look at his story.
"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” Heb. 11:8
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him.” Gen. 12:1-4
The outline today is very simple. I want to look at the person God blesses (the person God funnels His blessings through). Next, I want to look at the promise of God’s blessings.
I. First, what do we notice about the Person God blesses.
A. The person God blesses has had a conversion to God’s ways. Where do I get this concept? I get it from Abram’s name change. When we first meet him he is known as "Abram." After an encounter with God (Gen. 17:5) he is known as "Abraham." In the Bible a person’s name often reflects his/her character. Abram became known as Abraham. Jacob became known as Israel. Saul became known as Paul. The name change reflected a change or conversion that occured in the person’s relationship with God.
B. The person God blesses has a personal relationship with God. I draw your attention to Gen. 12:1. Notice two key words in verse 1, the word “Lord” and the word “Abram.” Both of those are personal names. The word “Lord” is God’s personal name. It is used in God’s dealings with man. It is the name we notice when God began to approach man after the beginning of creation. The word “Abram” was his personal name. There is a warmth to this interaction. As you study the Bible you also discover that Abraham, three different times, is called the “Friend of God.” In Genesis 12 Abram was at the point whereby he was deciding if he wanted to obey and follow God. He made the decision to trust God and follow Him.
Illustration: Years ago I cut out a little story from Reader’s digest that speaks volumes about a personal relationship with God. John Dulmage said during Sunday mass at the church where his mother attends, the priest told of a conversation he had had with a young parishioner. When the priest asked the little boy if he believed in God, the child quickly responded, “Yes, I do.”
“Well,” said the priest, “why do you believe in God?”
The boy said “I don’t know why, I think it runs in our family.”
That boy reflects the opinion by which many people live. Many people are holding to a faith experience because it was passed down from their family. It is wonderful to pass along a faith heritage. However, there must come a point when it becomes personal.
The person who has a relationship with God displays several qualities.
1. A person with a relationship with God displays commitment.
Illustration: I performed a wedding yesterday, over on the beach. This young couple was willing to make a life long commitment to each other. Their relationship was reflected by a commitment. Have you made a commitment to God?
2. A person in a relationship with God reflects a closeness to God. I mentioned that Abraham was given the title of God’s friend.
C. The person God blesses hears and obeys God.
Illustration: When Judy and I first got married we lived way out in the country about five miles from Port Gibson, Ms. We owned a dog named Moe. Moe was short for Moses. He was rescued from an animal shelter. Moe started out being a wonderful little indoor pet. However, he got a taste of the playboy life and started chasing the girl dogs in our community. One afternoon I let Moe out to run and he ran away from me as I called his name. I called with a sense of disgust because he would not obey me. As I called, Moe ran in front of a phone truck and was killed.