Summary: How God used Abraham to make a Difference, partners with God in changing our world
Beginnings # 6
"He Remembered Abraham"- Working With God On Behalf of our World
Most Believers want to make a difference in the world of which we are part!
We want to see our friends and family come to know God so they share in our hope of eternal life.
We want to see sick people healed, people with broken lives restored to wholeness.
We want to see hatred replaced with love, don’t we?
We want to see lives that are lived aimlessly without purpose given direction and meaning by God.
We want to see evil defeated and goodness established!
Are those achievable goals, worthy of our investment? Of course they are. Each of these are part of God’s commission given to His followers.
HOW are these aims accomplished? That’s the lesson from Genesis today. I invite you to turn to Genesis 18. We will reading another "Abraham" story this morning: a beautiful lesson about prayer and partnership with God that is written around sordid stories of human sinfulness.
PRAY - Genesis 18:1-2, 16-21
Principle # 1 - God’s work must be done at God’s direction
In this story we learn that God has a plan to bring judgment on the city of Sodom and that He discloses that plan to Abraham, who then has the privilege of being God’s partner in the story as it unfolds in subsequent verses. Based on what God showed him, Abraham was called into a place as an intercessor for the city before God.
One of the most important lessons a effective Christian must learn is that we are not need-driven, we are call-driven! Many is the wonderful plan for doing good works that has failed because it was a noble impulse of the human heart that was not based on the purposes of God. Christian, we are surrounded by need. IF we try to do everything, we won’t do anything well or effectively. The question we must ask ourselves as we see need: "What, if anything, does the Lord God want me to do about this?" When we are operating under His guidance and power, we can move mountains and change our world! When we are operating out of our own strength, even with the best of motives, we will accomplish little of lasting effect!
A couple of weeks ago, I briefly mentioned prayer that slides into presumption. This happens when a person attempts to order God instead of being ordered by God. Presumption is a BIG problem for us!
We Americans have such an exalted sense of self and destiny that gets dragged into our relationship with God. We think that surely since we are so clever, He must respond to our demands.
A few years ago there was a hit movie, Patch Adams. It is the story of an unconventional medical doctor who believes in the power of compassion and humor for healing. He is an idealist whose dream to make the world a better place is very nearly wiped out when his girlfriend, following the idealistic ways he taught her, is murdered by a psychotic man she is attempting to help. Patch is so disillusioned he considers suicide and as he stands on the cliff, he addresses God. His manner is so American and so wrong!
"So answer me, please - tell me what you’re doing... You create man, man suffers enormous amounts of pain, main dies. Maybe you should have had a few more brainstorming sessions prior to Creation. You rested on the 7th day - maybe you should have spent that day working on compassion!"
Patch decides not to jump from the cliff, but tragically turns from God, saying "You’re not worth it!"
Patch Adams was hurting terribly, but he also was in the grip of a terrible conceit - "I know better than God. I could do a better job in ordering the world than He is doing."
Presumptive Christians are not to that extreme, but their lives come from the same reversal of roles. "God, as long I’m doing a good thing, I can crawl out on this limb, and it’s Your obligation to keep me from falling." Not so, friend. IF God sends you out on a limb, He’ll care for you. If you crawl out because YOU think it’s a good idea, you have no right to demand that He keep you safe there!
God proposes to destroy Sodom and calls Abraham in as a partner.
Why Abraham? Was he smarter, taller, or richer than others? Of course not!
Two reasons are given in the text:
1. Abraham is ’graced’ to be God’s friend. God says, "I have chosen him."
2. Abraham will teach others what he learns from God. "He directs his household to keep the way of the Lord."
Does God see that kind of intimacy with Him, that kind of surrender to Him in YOUR life?