Summary: As Christians, we must learn to appreciate and enjoy the image of God in others – even those who do not know Jesus Christ. Sometimes, lost people can be wonderful -- and may be more gracious than some who know the Lord.
Gracious Lost People
1. Lots of things in life are relative.
2. Do you know what the snail said as it road on the back of a tortoise? Wheeeee!
3. When we talk about people, we are usually talking in relative terms. In guys eyes, "all of sinned and fall short of the glory of God…There is none righteous, no, not one."
4. But, in human terms, we recognize that one can be relatively one way or another.
"He is a good guy. He is a creep." The good guy probably has his bad moment, and the creep probably has his good moments.
5. We have to take two truths into account: (1) Common grace and (2) the image of God.
Human beings – whether saved or lost, are in the image of God. Lost people are still in the damaged image of God. Saved people still have a sin nature.
6. As a result, it is not unusual to find some wonderful qualities in lost people, and some undesirable qualities in those who know the Lord.
7. Still, when we come to the Lord, there is that hunger that is inexplicable. Why is the Lord important – and fascinating – to some of us? Yet, when you talk to some people about your relationship to God, all you get is silence. No contribution to the discussion, no input from them, just silence.
8. Now I am not talking about people who are silent about everything, the very introverted types. No, I am talking about people who are good conversationalists – but just not comfortable talking about the Lord and His Word. Church, yes; the Lord, no.
9. Some people can be so nice that we wonder if they might not be saved – even though they do not profess Christ, or they profess Christ but are trusting in religious observances. I have known wonderful people professing all sorts of religion – or no religion at all. And I have known some professing Christians that I try to avoid. You have probably had the same experience.
Main Idea: As Christians, we must learn to appreciate and enjoy the image of God in others – even those who do not know Jesus Christ. Sometimes, lost people can be wonderful -- and may be more gracious than some who know the Lord.
I. Esau is GRACIOUS to His Brother (1-20)
A. Esau RECEIVES Jacob (1-7)
1. Jacob BRACES for the worst (1-2)
2. Jacob completely HUMBLES himself (3)
3. Esau EMBRACES his brother (4-5)
B. Esau Seeks to HELP Jacob Settle (8-15)
1. He RECEIVES Jacob’s Gift (8-11)
Proverbs 16:7, " When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him."
David Guzik comments, "…when Jacob gave such generous gifts, it was his way of saying to Esau he was sorry, and when Esau accepted the gifts, it was his way of accepting Jacob and saying he was forgiven. In that culture, you would never accept a gift from an enemy, only from a friend. To accept the gift was to accept the friendship."
2. He Offers to Bring Jacob HOME (9-15)
3. Jacob CAREFULLY Chooses Where He Will Live (16-19)
I think Jacob wanted to gain his bearings and not just go with his brother’s offer.
The virtue of DELAY!
➢ He had come from a bad experience with working with family.
➢ Shepherds who worked too closely together often had strife. Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban; we need to be realistic, not idealistic, about the nature of relationships.
➢ We make big mistakes sometimes if we do not take the time to think things through.
Sometimes you have to meander as you go:
Illustration: The Jesus Lodge. We know how we will start it, but it could meander in many directions.
For some things, trying to preclude every problem or determine a course something may not want to follow is a foolish approach…
• Life is not neat and predictable. Wisdom does not come on our terms. We have to be willing to trust God, flex, think on our feet, and delay making immediate decisions when we can.
4. Once settled, Jacob Builds An ALTAR (20)
It is ironic, but when God blesses us, sometimes we are so busy enjoying the blessing that we no longer take out time for God. God gives technology, money for athletic equipment or whatever you are into; they you end up being absorbed in those things, and God is no longer the top priority.
But Jacob did not get caught up in the wonder of a new town or building a new home. He still made time for God. He builds an altar, a place of sacrifice.
As Christians, our lives are to "living sacrifices." We are to live the altar. And our acts of praise and thanksgivings are considered a sacrifice. But God wants our hearts above sacrifice; the time you spend in the Word and prayer, for example, is a great help toward becoming living sacrifices.