If you will just allow me to preach this message the way that I feel it. I need to start by saying that in spite of the economy, in spite of the possibility of war, in spite of what ever may be going on in your life right at this moment, God is still God, and he has it all in control! I want to strengthen your faith on today by saying just as the prophet Samuel said in 1 Samuel 3:18…. It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
I know that we say it, but do we really believe that everything that comes to us as the children of God is orchestrated by the father for our good. I need to challenge us today. I know we are saved and we love the Lord that is not the issue. But I want to know are we in the faith. I’m not talking about any doctrinal or theological issues. I want you to evaluate the situation that you’re in right now that makes you feel as if you want it give up, that situation that causes you to wonder how and how long. Do you have the faith that we shout about in that situation. Are you really praying are have you almost given up.
But today God is going to help us in our faith, by using the story of Abraham. In our story we see Abraham receiving instructions from God. Think about what I’m saying, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Genesis 22:1-2 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham (some translations say tested), and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am]. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
God didn’t ask for Abraham to have and ox or a goat or a lamb. Abraham had plenty of animals.
We are in a time now were God is going to require more from you than just your coming to church, more than just your giving and offering, more than your ushering are any of the services that we normally do.
God wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. You know Isaac, whose name meant laughter, named that do to his mother Sara laughing at the promise of God to give her a son in her old age. You remember Isaac, the promise child that caused God to change Abraham’s name from Abram (Exalted father) to Abraham (Father of a multitude).
After all that it took to get the promise now God wants Abraham to sacrifice him.
I know that some of us like to be real deep and wonderful. But is there anyone in the building that will be honest with me and say that sometimes the demands of God try your faith. But the real problem is not the demand of God but our lack of willingness to Obey.
When God ask Abraham to offer up Isaac, Isaac was not the issue. God knew that the key to every promise He made to Abraham, was on the life of Isaac. What God wanted to do was use that situation to take Abraham to another place in his faith.
What we are going through right now as a church as a people as individuals has nothing to do with what is on the surface. Too many times we miss God looking at the situation.
1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
We have to pray that God gives us his prospective on what we are in. Stop comparing your situation to that of people that are outside of the will of God. I don’t care what the other people on your job are saying or the people in your neighborhood, I’m not going to stand in the wisdom of man, but I can rest in the power of God.
Tell the person beside you, after I past this test I’ll still have what is mine.
Now allow me just for a few minutes to teach us how to keep what yours in the mist of testing.
In verse two God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.
1. To keep what is yours in the mist of your testing, be willing to give it all up for Christ.
Abraham’s faith in God was so strong that he trusted what ever God said. The song writer picked in up and said “trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey”.
In matters of God, if you consult with your flesh, you want be willing to offer your Isaac to God.
We all have an Isaac. Our Isaac is our life. It took us so long to get it and now this situation threatens to take it. The demands of God are calling me to give up more of what I thought Christ came to give me, life.
But my faith in God should cause me to be as Abraham, who didn’t argue with God. Abraham’s faith caused him to trust without understanding. To many times in the church the question that causes our rebellion is our unanswered “Why”.
Why do I have to go through this?
Why my family?
Why my job?
Why my home?
I think James gives us a good enough answer.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
I know this will go against what your flesh may feel in the heat of the battle, but my test and my trial should be just another opportunity for me to give God praise. I didn’t say that you’re going to feel like it, but when I began to see that what I’m going through is just making me better and bringing me closer to God I have a reason to rejoice.
I’m not talking to everyone. You have to make the decision to find joy in your suffering. You make the decision to allow your situation to take you either closer to God or farther way.
Verse 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Listen to the Basic English bibles translation.
James 1:3 Because you have the knowledge that the testing of your faith gives you the power of going on in hope;
Abraham knew that the test he was in was just an instrument of God to give him more than what he had.
How many of you are believing God for something? How many of you want what you want from God quick fast and in a hurry?
It’s your trouble that delivers your miracle.
It is sorrow that ends in joy.
It is your pain that brings you in to comfort.
Many of us are saying that we want to know more about God and come into a deeper relationship with God. It is the testing of our faith that brings us into the next revelation of who God is.
Elder Steele said it best, “My trouble pushed me into my Destiny”. What is that saying? What it is saying is many of us get in what we commonly now refer to as comfort zones. So to get you to your next level, God allows what we respond to best to help move us, pain and difficulty.
I know we would love for God to bless us into our next season, but it was the blessings of God that made some of us turn from God. Think about how we prayed when we didn’t have. Then God blesses us and we stop coming to bible study. We hold back on our tithes. So what God does is allow trouble to stir our nest.
One of the biggest problems with the body of Christ is not that it seems as if we all are going though something, but that very few of us are learning anything from what we are going through. What every your dealing with right now ask God to show you the lesson.
Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Not only was Abraham willing to give everything.
2. The second way to keep what is yours in the mist of your testing is to be willing to go when and where God leads.
When we call ourselves Christians and are to busy to do the things that God has call for Christians to do we can look for trouble.
Not only does trouble deliver us our miracle, trouble helps us to regain proper focus.
I just believe that Abraham was more focused on the promise of God at this point than he had ever been.
Just think of how intense your prayers are when you have run out of options and human trickery and you’re at the point that if God does not do this it want be done. But God doesn’t just want that kind of intensity when your face is in the dirt. David said I will bless the Lord at all times and his praise shall continuously be in my mouth.
Then, if though you’re in a bad situation don’t allow yourself to get the sad mouth.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Your situation may be looking bad, sound bad, and very well may be bad, but we have to walk by our faith and not by our senses.
Abraham didn’t know where he was going but his faith guided him.
Genesis 22:5, Abraham has reached the place that God showed him.
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
3. The third way to keep what is yours in the mist of your testing is to prophesy your outcome based on your confidence in God.
Many of us cause our own death in certain situations, or the death of others, by a false or injurious tongue. It never matters what people say about your as long as you don’t start to agree and speak the same thing.
Abraham not only here, but also in verse 8 prophesied of the provision of God.
Genesis 22:7-8 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here [am] I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where [is] the lamb for a burnt offering? 8.And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
I don’t care how bad things may get in your life you have to have the faith of Abraham, God will provide!
I don’t know how he will, but he will.
I don’t know when he will, but he will.
And for God sake take God out of the box that many of us have created. Lazarus was dead and God still delivered.
Don’t give up on your situation so fast. It may look like it. The bell may have rang and the round may be over, but if God had anything to do with it he will still provide himself a lamb.
No money, God will provide.
Sickness in your body, God will provide.
The key is to get to the place of sacrifice. That is the place where I’m willing to give it all to God. I’m willing to go when and where he leads. And because I trust him Paul said, I believe therefore I speak.
Tell someone beside you “I’m not Losing anything” and the only thing that is going to die is my flesh.
+Dr. Martin Wilson, Sr
Senior Pastor, Divinity Temple of Christ, UPCC
Lenoir NC, 28645