Summary: Abraham discovered that real LIFE is about walking with God! Getting to know God! And in the text Paul tells us that God still wants people to walk with Him by faith.
March 7, 1993
Romans 4:1 "What shall we say that Abraham ... has found?"
The question of our text, "What has Abraham discovered?" comes between two Bible stories in our lesson for today; one from the Old Testament, one from the New. Both of these stories touch on the profound mystery of life itself. Let us start with the Old Testament story. I hope that you can come to it with "fresh eyes."
I. THE CALL FOR 'A RADICAL DEPARTURE'
(A story. A true story.) Once upon a time there was a good man. He had a good family. He had good connections. He was living in a reasonably comfortable manner. He was abreast of the latest modern technology. His life was not in crisis. But deep in his heart there was the nagging uncertainty, the question he could not put into words:
"IS THIS ALL THERE IS TO LIFE?"
Then one day this good man became aware that Almighty God was talking to him. Just how this awareness came about I can not tell you. [ We're so sophisticated... we "know" God doesn't talk to people ... now! Or does He? ] But Abraham heard a call from God that sent him packing. It was a call of a loving God, calling a seeker to Himself.
We usually miss this basic fact in the telling of this great story. But God was answering the question that sooner or later we all come to ask: IS THIS ALL THERE IS TO LIFE? God was saying, "Well, no, as a matter of fact THIS isn't all there is to life! And if you are willing and obedient, I will show you what your heart is seeking! I want you to "come home" and live your earthly life WITH ME as your closest Friend!"
In order to find his true home in God's Presence, Abraham had to LEAVE all false security behind. ("Entering" almost always also means "leaving.") God said, "I want you to LEAVE... your country your people your father's relatives and above all your right to control your own direction!"
But never lose sight of the fact that this was (1) a call from God (2) inviting Abraham into a one-on-one relationship with Himself!
II. QUESTIONS THIS PASSAGE RAISES:
1) Does God still call people like He did Abraham?
2) How would God get your attention if He wanted to speak to you?
3) How might we respond to a call from God in 1993?
Does God still call individual people?
My 'message' is "yes:" I am convinced that God is thundering His call to a "radical departure" ... all the life stories of conversion and salvation, from Noah, and Abraham, and the Exodus, and the prophets are being echoed today in one great call "Save yourselves from this reprobate civilization!" In a society where it is a criminal offense to hand out Bibles in the schools - while it is commendable to teach perversion and hand out birth control devices; where millions of people use abortion as a means of birth control after the fact; where public media does its best to ridicule anything supernatural that has to do with God Almighty, while at the same time promotes the worship of Mother Earth and in the name of Pluralism makes Jesus Christ sound like a bigot when He declares:
"No one comes to the Father but by Me!" ... still in all this God calls, "Leave the prison of your self-made gods— come away from a Scripture that YOU edit and cut and pick and choose and stand in judgment over — leave the bondage of "what so-called sophisticates might think," — and step out on a journey of faith with Me!
My personal testimony is "yes:" I know you would expect an evangelical Christian minister to answer in the affirmative. I can answer that I am certain, convinced, sure, that God spoke to me when I was living selfishly and out of fellowship with Him. He spoke to me by both love and fear; by what I might call "Behold the goodness and the severity of God" (Romans 11:22)
How would God call YOU, if He wanted to call you?
God speaks through dramatically unspectacular, quiet "means of grace," through a regular submission to the Word; by an habitual obedience in prayer; by the sacrifice of praise and worship in the corporate worship of the church.
It might just be that God has a quiet but absolutely vital message for you during this next week of revival services. I ask you now if you have re-arranged your schedule even one little bit in order to give God a chance to communicate with you during this Lenten Season— and even perhaps through Floyd and Barbara Flemming, who have been praying and preparing for their ministry in the Word to us? It doesn't make much difference HOW God is calling if you are not listening, or tuning in on a completely different channel.