Summary: Abraham’s offering up of isaac is not only a beautiful foreshadowing of God’s offering up of His only Son, Jesus, but it also shows us and important principle for our own Christian walk. Have you offered up any Isaacs lately ?
(1) INTRODUCTION: What is the ’Isaac Test’(see verse 1)
"God will test our faith by asking us to sacrifice those things that are most dear to us that He has blessed us with." (we are tested as Abraham was as we are the ’seed of Abraham’ - Galatians 3:29)
He is not asking us something that He Himself is not willing to do, indeed He’s done it in
offering Jesus. The offering of Isaac is foreshadowing Jesus’ death in that....
(i) He was the ONLY son who he LOVED (verse 2, see John 3:16 & 5:20)
(ii) The sacrifice took place in the land of Moriah (’seen of God’), modern day Jerusalem.
(iii) They arrived on donkeys with two men (verse 3, see Matthew 21:1-2)
(iv) Isaac carried the instrument of his death - wood (verse 6, see John 19:17).
(v) It was a willing sacrifice - Isaac was a teen (verses 5 & 9 , see Luke 22:42).
(vi) There was deliverance from death (verse 5; Hebrews 11:19)
(vii) Sacrifice of the promised seed (Genesis 12:3)
(2) THREE AREAS OF TESTING...
(a continuation of the previous sermon on Building Altars about the three altars of Genesis 12-13)
(i) Personal Altar- Romans 12:1
Offering up all the things that God has personally blessed us with (wealth, talent etc...).
In the Congo poor people who have nothing to offer when the Church offering is taken will dip their hand in the offering plate to symbolize the giving of themselves.
There’s also a story of a little crippled girl with a crutch who came to church and saw everyone place their offerings in the offering bag. She had no money on her but wanted to give to God so much that she gave the usher her crutch!
This offering is more of an attitudinal one. It is the attitude of not clinging to your personal possessions or talents. As we offer them up to God the Lord often gives these things back to us with resurrection power!
(I offered my musical ability up to the Lord and even threw away many musical records I had collected over the years - the Lord gave me back the gift of writing songs for Him and leading worship).
(ii) Family Altar - Matthew 19:29
Offering up dear ones to the Lord (not having an attitude where you put them before God).
Once I was praying for one of my Church members and the Lord gave me a picture of him carrying a sack with something kicking inside it. The Lord’s voice came very clearly saying ’Tell him to offer the person he is carrying as a burden to Me’ - this member said that he had been carrying the burden of his teenage daughter’s rebellion, and there and then he offered her up before the Lord.
(iii) Ministry Altar -
Offering up God’s promised ministry. If it’s God’s will He will return it with resurrection power.
Once I was in a conference in the Philippines and the speaker was talking about Joseph and the fact that he had to firstly die to his own dream and interpret the dreams of others before his own ministry dream came into being. During the ministry time at the end I broke down sobbing like a baby and realized I was holding onto ’my’ ministry and needed to let go. There and then I offered up all ’my’ ministry as a pastor/teacher to Him. There was a real breakthrough after that - but it also meant I started to be the interpreter of others dreams and much of what I thought I should be doing before had to die so that He can raise it in due course!
(3) CONCLUSION: You will be tested as Abraham was in your personal, family and ministry arenas . God will challenge you to let go of your ’Isaacs’ so the Lord can show His resurrection power in and through them.
What or who are your ’Isaacs’ - offer them up to the Lord now and let Him give you breakthrough concerning them.
Read through Genesis 22:1-14 again.
1. Ask each person to say one thing about Isaac’s offering that is like Jesus’ sacrifice. Discuss each point as to how it is like our sacrifices we should make to God.
2. Ask each person to talk about ’Isaacs’ they should lay down on their PERSONAL ALTAR (i.e. Things God has blessed you personally with but you sometimes look more to than God).
Do the same with FAMILY ALTAR and MINISTRY ALTAR if there is time.
3. End the time by having an ’Isaac Offering Session’ where you all lift these things to the Lord.