Summary: Homecoming Sunday message that looks at the lessons Abraham learned about the blessing of God
Charles Schultz, in a peanuts comic strip showed a conversation between Lucy and Charlie Brown. Lucy said that life is like a deck chair. Some place it so they can see where they are going; some place it so they can see where they have been; and some place it so they can see where they are at present. Charlie Brown’s reply: “I can’t even get mine unfolded.”
One man put it this way:
"My great-grandfather rode a horse, but was afraid of the train.
My grandfather rode on a train, but was afraid of a car.
My father rode in a car, but was afraid of an airplane.
I ride in an airplane, but I’m afraid of a horse."
Hebrews 11:10, “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
What are you looking forward to? Abraham had wandered into a place not really knowing what to look for!
God desires to bless His children. Scripture gives us numerous examples of God granting blessing to those who longed for it.
• God heard the prayer of Jabez.
• Jacob wouldn’t let go of the man from God until he blessed him.
• The Psalmists record God’s desire to bless nearly 50 times.
• Jesus told of the persistent widow
• The thief on the cross received the blessing of Jesus
I want God to bless me! But I don’t always recognize God’s blessing. I know God is not trying to confuse me. I know it is not some kind of sadistic trick to hold things out from me. If I want to know God’s blessing, I have to understand His will. And the only way I can understand God’s will is through change!
RO 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
These verses tell us plainly the principles which allowed Abraham to receive God’s blessing:
Abraham offered himself as a clean man. (holy and pure)
Abraham was a counter-culture man. (do not be conformed)
Abraham was a changed man. (be transformed)
o A legend from India tells about a mouse that was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to transform him into a cat. That resolved his fear…until he met a dog, so the magician changed him into a dog. The mouse-turned-cat-turned-dog was content until he met a tiger-so, once again; the magician changed him into what he feared. But when the tiger came complaining that he had met a hunter, the magician refused to help. “I will make you into a mouse again, for though you have the body of a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse.”
o There is a man I know that just recently gave his heart to the Lord. This man was transformed. He had been coming to church, participating in services, fellowships and even some ministry. But his heart was not fully surrendered. You ought to see this man now.
Abraham was a certain man. (able to test and approve)
Three lessons from Abraham’s journey from Ur to Canaan:
1. There is no blessing without letting go!
• “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” –Hebrews 11:8
• Letting go is surrender. Abraham surrendered his comfort, his plans, and his traditions.
• The essence of a fully surrendered life is trust. --Rick Warren "The Purpose Driven Life"
o Abraham followed God’s leading without knowing where it would take him.
o Hannah waited for God’s perfect timing without knowing when.
o Mary expected a miracle without knowing how.
o Joseph trusted God’s purpose without knowing why circumstances happened the way they did.
• E. Stanley Jones said, “If you don’t surrender to Christ, you’ll surrender to chaos.”
• How has this church been blessed? When has God’s blessing come without surrender?
• Homecoming is a good time to recall what wonderful things God has accomplished in a local congregation but we shouldn’t stop with looking into the past. We must look to the God formed future.
• Church life spans are typically 70 to 100 years. The death is usually slow and painful for those who remain and have loved the church. But life can come if we are willing to surrender to God’s perfect plan.
• Churches get off their number one priority and begin to decline.