Monthly Archives: December 2013

Genesis 16.1-16

Title: Making Matters Worse

Text: Gen 16.1-16

Introduction: Let’s begin by reading v 1;

We’ve seen Abram struggle in his faith; believing and trusting at one point and then trying to make things happen at other points. Believing God at his word in 12.1-3; they travel through the holy land and down to Egypt because there is a famine in the land. It is probably here, in Egypt that Sarah acquires Hagar to be, I’m pretty sure, one of her servants (v1). In Ch. 13, Abram and Lot part ways. Lot chooses what looks Good and God chooses for Abram what is best. Lot get himself in to trouble and Abram comes to his rescue in Ch. 14. Here, once again God proves himself faithful and Abram proves himself to be trusting in God’s Word. IN Chapter 15, it appears that Abram begins to struggle a bit, still believing and trusting God, but not seeing it really working out. God then condescends to Abram and makes a unilateral, unconditional covenant with Abram. It is a beautiful picture that God paints for Abram reminding Abram that God cannot be unfaithful to his promises as he moves between the animals that have cut in half.

Now we come to Chapter 16. Look at how Sarai now struggles; rd v 1 again; she hasn’t bore any children for him, but she does have this servant and that is a way the culture dictates a man can have children; so what does she do? rd v 2;

Transition: There is a book/Bible study my wife has done with the women in our church entitled: The power of a woman’s words. That’s my 1st point.

I.               The Power of a Woman’s Word (1-3)

exp.: I wonder if women know, really know the power they have to build up or to destroy. Sure, the man stands before his family, but the woman, she can steer her family any direction she wants. She has so much more power than she realizes: for good or for bad!

Why would she do this? Let’s look at her situation.

  • Her situation: V2 blames the LORD; there is some truth here. She’s been waiting a long time; rd v 3;
    • 12.4 – 75 years old
    • 16.3 – he had lived there 10 years – 85 years old
    • 16.16 – He was 86 years old (makes sense)
    • 17.1, 17 – 99 (100 years old); Sarah is 89 (90 years old)
  • Abraham listened – he didn’t have to; he could have done the right thing; He should have, but he trusted his wife, he listened to her words of advice or counsel and decided to make things work out on his own.

exp.: this is wrong on so many levels. Maybe Sarai had good intentions. Maybe she loved her husband and ached inside that her body failed her; that God didn’t promise this to her, but to Abram. But still, what she did was wrong. She should have continued to wait on God and let God perform in her what he desired. It was wrong to put her husband in that situation. She should be supporting God’s plan for him and not leading her husband down a path he shouldn’t go. It was wrong to put Hagar in the position. Sarai was responsible to care for and protect her servants.

app.: Women, I hope you’ll recognize the power you have to build up your family and to destroy your family.

Needs: your husband needs to know you respect him. you can build him up with your words of respect, or destroy him with words of disgust. Your children see this. If you don’t hold your man in the highest regard, neither will your children. My children love me and they respect me. If they don’t, they hide it well. I believe their perception of me has been undergirded with the respect and love my wife has shown, and still to this day, shows me.

exp.: have you seen the parallels in this story to Adam and Eve’s?

  • He listened to his wife (16.2 v. 3.17)
  • She took Hagar, Eve took the fruit (16.3a v. 3.6a)
  • Sarai gave her to Abram, Eve gave the fruit to her husband (16.3b v. 3.6b)
  • In both cases the husbands followed the bad advice by knowingly and willingly participating.

Transition: the power of a woman’s words. Next, the pressure of a woman’s wrath!

II.             The Pressure of a Woman’s Wrath (4-6)

exp.: What’s the saying: if mom ain’t happy…; well, how true that is! Rd v 4a; that’s bad enough; rd 4b; that makes it worse; Now, this is Sarai’s doing, but Abraham is a willing participant; so, Sarai gets what she planned; maybe not what she wants, but everything works according to her plans; except she’s not happy!

  • Abram is blamed: Rd v 5; there is some truth here, too. So, Abram tries to get the wrath of his wife off of him; rd v 6a; rd 6b;
  • Hagar is mistreated; I wonder what part she played in all of this? It wasn’t her scheming that brought this about. Rd 6c; oppp
  • Hagar flees the wrath of Sarai; what else can she do?

Transition: I wonder where she’s planning on going. My guess is that she has no idea. But God finds her out in the wilderness and blesses her. And that brings us to the 3rd point tonight…

III.           The Presence of God brings a Woman’s Worship (7-16)

exp.: rd v 7-8;

  • An Angel of the LORD found her (four sayings in this passage)
    • Where have you come from and where are you going? she only knows where she has come from; she has no idea where she’s going. Rd v 9;
    • Return to your mistress and submit to her. What? Didn’t just hear what I said! But he continues; rd v 10;
    • I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude. And then more; rd v 11-12
    • Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.
  • How is it that this was all done of free will, but yet is all a part of God’s plan?

app.: Oh how I wish I could learn this truth, that God is in my struggle. Sure, I have free will, but God is sovereign and He’s working in and through me to glorify Himself!

I wonder if we too often write people off who’ve committed very public sins. I wonder if we write ourselves off as being unusable for God. I think this is a beautiful part of the story: the sinner flees into the wilderness, but God seeks her out. He sees her where she is!

Transition: I’m reminded of Psalm 139; read; I don’t know about you but it amazes me and leads me to praise. It does the same for Hagar, which is the 4th point…

IV.           The Praise of a Woman Blessed (4-6)

exp.: the God who sees her in the wilderness comes to her and meets her needs.

  • She praises God in her situation;
  • she trusts him and returns;
  • She bears a son for Abram
  • Abram’s age

Observations & Implications:

  1. I think we should be reminded that the unborn need our protection. Sure, we’re appalled by the behavior of those who brought about this pregnancy. Sure, there needs to be repentance and a re-commitment to the teachings and principles of Christ. But, with that said, there is no reason to blame or mistreat the child. We don’t celebrate the immoral actions that create babies, but God can take those mistakes and poor choices and turn them into something he can use. If you wonder what can come of a child conceived out of wedlock, take a look at me. Gal 1.15f reminds me that even in the womb, God has a plan.
  2. What about you? What will you take home with you this evening?

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A Christmas Carol

Title: The Character of Christ

Text: Matthew 8.1-17

CIT: Jesus is sovereign over all – all places, all people, all problems

CIS: Jesus is sovereign over all – all places, all people, all problems

Introduction: Show the video from 1.25.00-1.27.54 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a tale about a man named Ebenezer Scrooge. So famous is this character, that you’ll often find his name attributed to someone who doesn’t like Christmas. And so the story begins by letting us in on his ways. Jacob Marley, a former partner who has passed away some 7 years ago, visits Scrooge (obviously as a ghost/spirit) and warns him of the error of his ways, pleading with him to change his life before it’s too late. Scrooge is then visited by three more ghosts: Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas yet to come. What Scrooge sees about his life moves him to change and the story ends with Scrooge opening up his heart and his pocketbook. Here is the lesson: You can find meaning for your life

Today I’d like to look at three different stories in the Bible. Our text is found in Matthew 8.1-17. These three stories reveal to us the character of Christ. To be sure, this list is not exhaustive, that is to say, it doesn’t list for us every character trait of Christ. This list is not meant to be.

Context: Jesus has just completed the Sermon on the Mount; rd 7.28-29;

Context: bookends (similar phrases/words)

Matt 4.23-24

5.1-7.29 – Principles

8.1-9.34 – Practice

Matt 9.35-38

Specifically in Ch. 8: 8.1 great crowds followed him & 8.16 – crowds bringing their sick to him.

Structure: this message could be presented in various ways.

  1. Location: When came down; When he entered (temporal participles) verses 1, 5, 14; the 3rd location is still Capernaum (Mt 4.13, 18) but more specific (i.e. Peter’s home)
  2. People: All are sick, most are outcasts (i.e.: of different social standings); looked down on by the Jews
    1. Leper: unclean (v 2 make me clean)
    2. Centurion: Gentile; (v 8 I am not worthy to have you come under my roof) Question: was his slave Jewish?
    3. Woman: Peter’s mother-in-law
    4. Demon oppressed: healed all who were sick
    5. Faith:
      1. The faith of the leper (v 2); the faith of the centurion soldier (v 10, 13); the faith of the oppressed.
      2. Point of Contention: there is no mention of faith by the slave (even though the centurion had it), or even Peter’s mother-in-law (it could be implied that Peter did).
      3. I think the focus of Scripture isn’t so much about us (i.e.: the faith we have), but rather upon Christ.
  3. Character: The Character of Jesus is revealed in each individual circumstance. These stories tell us more about Him (different facets of his character)
        1. I’ve divided my message into three parts, the three parts you find in v 1-17
          1. The Compassion of Christ
          2. The Authority of Christ
          3. The Power of Christ

Transition: Let’s begin looking at Christ’s Character as found in v 1 – The Compassion of Christ

1.     The Compassion of Christ (8.1-4)

exp.: rd 1-3; The Lord Jesus demonstrates his power through his compassion. This man has leprosy, sometimes this word is used to describe various skin diseases; some observations;

  1. Society saw this affliction as The Judgment of God; who sinned?
  2. Therefore, the afflicted were ostracized by the people.
  3. This was seen as permanent. No healing was available. Only God could heal a leper.
  4. Considered Unclean – outcast from the people. “outside the camp” Rd v 4; proof – now he would be allowed ‘back into the camp’.

This guy has been rejected by his society. So what does Jesus do? rd v 3; he touches him; I wonder how long it had been since someone touched this guy? I wonder if this is just what he needed? That’s a demonstration of his compassion! Jesus knew what He needed. He could have just said, as he does to the next person: Go; let it be done for you as you have believed. But, He didn’t. Jesus knew what the leper needed even more than the leper did! Then, he cleanses him, according to the law, and sets him free from his isolation.

Question: why keep quiet about this? Theories:

  • More and more people would hinder his ministry.
  • They would recognize him as the messiah and force him to become king. We know the result of that (cf. Judas).
  • With our penchant for the miraculous, supernatural as humans, they might begin worshipping the miracles, the creation rather than the creator.
  • Jesus knows this man and what he needs to do; Mk 5.18-20

app.: God knows our needs even better than we do!

t.s.: And often times, we see this displayed in his compassion toward us. 2nd we see…

2.     The Authority of Christ (8.5-13)

exp.: Really, this whole section, ch. 8-9 is all about his authority. We do see that specifically here, though, with the soldier in this passage, rd v 5-8; wow! Just say the word;

  1. The Centurion’s Appeal (5-6)– servant is sick; Humble; Honest; What he seeks is healing.
  2. The Centurion’s Acknowledgement of Christ’s Authority (7-9) – This is truly amazing! Maybe not for you and me in this day. But at that particular time, to recognize the authority of Christ over the situation – wow.
  3. The Lord’s Astonishment – I haven’t seen this kind of faith in all of Israel (people – not geography). Rd v 11-12;

Question: How does this fit? This isn’t about healing! Gathering from the east & west – not for Jews, but of these Gentiles. Many of the Jews will be cast out, but the Gentiles will dine with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. The central truth is what we believe about Jesus. Wow! The ones who are supposed to get in to dine (according to human thinking) are left out. The ones who are to be left out (according to human thinking) are invited in! It’s not your health, your wealth, your nationality, or whom you know. So, this isn’t about healing! It’s about Christ.

    4.  The Lord’s Answer – “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed.

Transition: Christ’s Compassion, His Authority, and finally, His Power

3.     The Power of Christ (8.14-17)

exp.: rd v 14-16; a couple of quick observations:

  • The Results are By his Word – v 16; rd v 3; I will, be clean; v 13; go, let it be done; he need not even be present; he just speaks the word;
  • The results are Immediate: rd v 13c; And the servant was healed at that very moment; rd v 3c – And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. She rose; She served; I don’t know about you, but for me, when I’ve been sick, it takes a couple of days to get my strength back.
  • The results are a fulfillment of Prophecy. Rd v 17; Isaiah 53.4; Craig Bloomberg says that Matthew closely follows the MT in which Isaiah probably intends to use a double entendre – two meanings: there is the physical sickness, but there is also the spiritual sickness of sin.

app.: He bore our sins for us on the Cross of Calvary. Peter gets this clearly when he says in 1 Peter 2.24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Conclusion: I’m sure you’ve heard of the illustration where the Sunday School answer is always Jesus. Well, really, the answer is always Jesus. Especially, when you consider what the text is probably pointing toward. Yes, Scripture is filled with many life lessons and illustrations. I think it’s true that we need encouragement in our faith. But honestly, faith is only as strong as the object of your faith. Consider the fans in the stands who cry the chant: We Believe! And then their team loses! What good was their faith? Anaware Thabitye: Our faith is only as good as the object of our faith. Ladies and Gentlemen, we can put our faith in Jesus because His word is good.

Transition: So, what are we to make of all this?

Observations & Implications:

  1. You can find meaning for your life when you put your faith in Christ.
  2. The emphasis of this passage is placed on the sovereignty of the Messiah over all
    1. all people – the down and out and the up and in.
    2. all places – near and far,
    3. all problems – no matter the problem too great or too small
    4. Jesus cares about our sickness and our sorrows, but he is most concerned about our souls. Remember v 11? 1 Peter 2.24

Invitation: Come to Christ

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A Christmas Story

Title: A Christmas Story

Text: Matt 2.1-11

CIT: Wise men sought Jesus out; however, many were so caught up in events, that they missed that 1st Christmas.

CIS: You can miss Christmas

Introduction: Source: Wikipedia

In each of the film’s three acts, Ralphie makes his case to another adult and each time receives the same reply. When Ralphie asks his mother for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, she refuses. Next, when Ralphie writes an essay about wanting the BB gun for Miss Shields, his teacher at Warren G. Harding Elementary School, Ralphie gets a C+ and Miss Shields warns him of shooting his eye out. Later, Ralphie asks a local department store’s Santa Clause or a Red Ryder BB gun, and Santa tells him the same thing before pushing Ralphie down a long exit slide with his boot.

One day after he gets the C+ on his composition, Ralphie is hit in the face with a snowball thrown by the local bully, Scut Farkus and his sidekick, Grover Dill. Ralphie begins to cry and Farkus teases and taunts him until he snaps. Ralphie charges Farkus and begins to pummel him. During the fight, Ralphie shouts profanity non-stop as he lands blow after blow to the squealing Farkus. When Dill attempts to intervene, Ralphie pushes him away and continues beating Farkus at will. Ralphie’s brother, Randy, gets their mother who pulls her son off the bully and takes him home. This incident occurs shortly after Ralphie was punished for cursing while helping his father change a flat tire. Ralphie is worried about the cursing and is sure he will be punished again when his father gets home from work. Instead, Ralphie’s mother tells his father about the fight casually at the dinner table. She then changes the subject of the conversation to an upcoming Chicago Bears game, distracting his father and getting Ralphie off the hook in the process.

On Christmas morning, Ralphie looks frantically for a box that would hold the BB gun to no avail. He and Randy received several presents, but he is disappointed because he did not get the gun. As he accepts this fact and sits with his parents, his father points out one last half-hidden present, ostensibly from Santa. As the joyful Ralphie unwraps the BB gun, Mr. Parker explains the purchase to his surprised wife, stating that he had one himself when he was 8 years old.

Ralphie goes out to test his new gun, shooting at a paper target perched on top of a metal sign, and predictably gets a ricochet from the metal sign. This ricochet ends up hitting his cheek and glasses, sending them flying and knocking out a lens. While searching for the glasses, Ralphie inadvertently steps on and crushes the other side. He concocts a story about an icicle falling on him and breaking his glasses, which his mother believes, thanks in part to Ralphie’s realistic sobbing. She takes him upstairs to dry his face and forgets to close the door. This allows the pack of dogs from the Bumpus family (the hillbilly neighbors), who frequently torment Ralphie’s father, to enter the house and devour the Christmas turkey that is cooling on the kitchen table. Making a last-minute decision, Mr. Parker takes the family out to a Chinese restaurant where they have a hilarious time dining on duck, which adult Ralphie calls “Chinese turkey”.

The film ends with Ralphie lying in bed on Christmas night with his gun by his side. Randy is holding the toy zeppelin he received. The voiceover states that this was the best present he had ever received or would ever receive.

Application: I think this movie resonates with many of us Baby Boomers because it is not too unlike the childhood Christmas stories we lived. However, in all of the short stories that make up this movie and all of the sub-plots that fill the story line, never once is Jesus mentioned; never once is Christmas recognized as a time to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior. The movie is funny and nostalgic. It conjures images of an era when it was fun to be a kid. I suspect that there are many here who will not want to watch this with their children and will be offended at the movie. Others won’t see anything wrong with it. I’ll leave that judgment to you, as parents. However, if you watch this movie with your kids, you might want to preview it first.

Transition: This movie is a great reminder for me to make sure that I don’t miss Christmas by placing all of my attention and focus upon the secular and traditional. These in themselves are not bad; however, they can be when they replace the real reason for the season! They can be, if you get to the end of the Christmas season and say: This was the best Christmas ever and yet you never acknowledge Jesus.

So, how can you miss Christmas this year? Our text this morning is from Matthew 2.1-11, where we find some folks who missed that 1st Christmas. I’ve identified them and have listed them as being: The Intolerant, The Indifferent, The Ignorant

Intolerant – like Herod (The Potentate; The Ruler of the People)

Indifferent – like the Religious Leaders (The Priests; The Religious Leaders)

Ignorant  – like the people of Jerusalem (The People; The Region of Jerusalem)

So, who are the ones who miss Christmas in this story?

  1. The Intolerant

exp.: The intolerant are the ones who choose to make Christmas all about them. That is how Herod was! And, that’s how Ralphie was, too. Look at Herod’s response to the situation; Rd 2.1-4; the verbs

  1. He was troubled; stirred up
  2. He Inquired by assembling his team of scholars
  3. He summoned and ascertained the time

exp.: he sure is doing a lot here! Why? He’s intolerant. He’s king of this domain and he doesn’t want to give it up! He doesn’t want any interference with his position in life.

app.: It seems to me that there are those who are king of their own lives – ruling over all they survey! They don’t want to give up that spot.  They sit on the throne of their lives and refuse to get up and give that spot to Jesus. Along comes Christmas and messes up their plans by removing the focus from them to Jesus

Transition: But look, there are more here who miss that 1st Christmas. 1st it was the intolerant now it is …

2.     The Indifferent

exp.: look at the chief priests and the scribes of the people: we read Herod inquired of them where the Christ was to be born; that’s huge! It seems that something should have triggered their thoughts, but no, they were indifferent to this inquiry! They give him the answer and they quote the scripture! Rd v 5-6;

  1. They know where he is going to be born: Bethlehem of Judea, some 6 miles away. He’ll be born in Gresham.
  2. They know the Scripture that tells them this. Micah 5.2 – Book, Chapter, Verse. How do I know this? They quote it!
  3. Notice then they say to the King, “Why do you ask?” No! they didn’t, did they? Why not? Because they were indifferent! They’re happy with the way things are. They’re happy with their ritual and tradition. They don’t want someone or something to come in and mess that up.

app.: Here’s what really gets me: Israel had been looking for the messiah since Deu. 18:15; How long ago was that? Some 1800-2000 years; Here the religious leaders knew the answer, but couldn’t care any less.

ill.:  J. MacArthur: These men were too busy with themselves to be concerned about Jesus. Engrossed in their own pride, their self-righteousness, their self-sufficiency, they carried on their ritual and their petty theological discussion in the confines of their own comfortable system. They had no time for the Son of God.

Transition: This should get our attention. It’s been a long time – nearly 2,000 years; we’ve become comfortable with our ritual and tradition for years now. We must be careful to not grow indifferent to Christ at Christmas. There is a 3rd group mentioned here: The Intolerant, The Indifferent, and now…

3.     The Ignorant

exp.: Ignorant simply means: without knowledge. There are people in the region of Jerusalem who are also caught up in a stir with the king. They’ll do whatever he does. Their main concern is with the one who governs them. They follow along ignorantly. As long as the king is happy, their ok; whatever he says goes; rd v 3; ταράσσω; To stir-up; John 5.6-7; When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”

app.: that’s the picture of what’s happened to king and to the people; they’re stirred up because he is; but, they really don’t know why? My guess is that they’re not even aware of all that’s going on. If they did, if they truly understood, I think they’d follow this caravan south, to Bethlehem. Instead, they’re happy to get along with their daily lives as the caravan makes it’s way out of Jerusalem.

ill.: A recent interview of people on T.V.: The views ranged from sentimental to irreverent. Some were sentimental saying Christmas is a time for family and friends. Others said it is a time for Children. Some people were humanistic saying it is a time for brotherly love, to put aside our differences and come together. Others were just down right rude, saying that it was just another excuse to party. Not one person said it was a time to recognize the birth of Christ.

To further illustrate this point: Is Jesus featured on television at Christmastime? According to a National Religious Broadcasters analysis of 48,000 hours of programming during December 2002, 90 percent of programming did not have a significant spiritual theme.

Some 7 percent had a religious or spiritual theme but did not refer to Jesus.

Jesus was the focus of only 3 percent of Christmas programming.

Transition: So, with so many ways to miss Christmas, how can you be sure you won’t miss Christmas? Enter the Wise men who incessantly search for the Christ Child.

4.     The Insistent  (3-5)

exp.: Those who incessantly insist that Christ be the focus – like the wise men; I think we are already doing that around here; in commercials; in Christmas displays; In the songs playing in stores; more and more, people are saying let’s not let commercialism detract from the real reason for the season.

app.: you won’t find Christmas on TV or in the papers; you’ll find him…we’ll may I quote: Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Transition: Van Morris from Mt. Washington, KY tells the story of a woman was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles looking for a gift that had sold out days before.

Her arms were full of bulky packages when an elevator door opened. It was full. The occupants of the elevator grudgingly tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load.

As the doors closed, she blurted out, “Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot!”

A few others nodded theirs heads or grunted in agreement.

Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator, came a single voice that said: “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.”

I get the idea that this woman was missing Christmas. The truth is that Jesus is responsible for this season, but he’s not responsible for what we’ve turned it into!

This season, as you make your plans, do your shopping, attend your parties and celebrations. Don’t forget the baby and real reason for why it all takes place.

Observations & Implications:

  1. Christmas isn’t about you, Herod.
  2. Don’t confuse religion and tradition. You might miss the real party!
  3. Don’t blindly follow the god of commerce and secularism. You’ll walk right by God in the Manger.
  4. Assiduously seek the Christ Child, the real reason for the season – Jesus.

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Genesis 15.7-21

Title: The Abrahamic Covenant

Text: Gen 15.7-21

Introduction: Gen 15.5-6

  • Romans 3.19-26
  • The Covenant of Works (Basics of the Adamic Covenant)
  • The Law as given to Moses – Mosaic Law

The Promise has two parts:

1.  Land – Gen 12.1

2.  People – Gen 12.2

t.s.: Most Covenants have similar patterns; Wayne Grudem: A covenant is an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship.

  • A clear definition of Parties involved (God & Abram)
  • A legally binding set of provisions  that stipulates the conditions (I’m giving you this land)
  • The Promise of Blessings for Obedience (not always); cf. rainbow of Noah
  • The Conditions for obtaining those Blessings;

I.      The Promise of the Covenant


  • I Am – this is who He is! ; cf. Exodus 20.2
    • It’s contents; Pure Nard (Indian root) mean less to her than he does to her.
    • It’s value; sold for 300 denari ($64 x’s = $19,200.00)
    • It’s purpose; Anointed his feet; anointed for burial
    • I give you this land; what he does!

Transition: rd v 8; he asked in faith; I think it’s ok to believe God and ask him how he’s going to bring this about; as opposed to asking in disbelief; Luk 1.18-20; Mk 9.23-24


II.      The Preparation for the Covenant

exp.: rd v9; Bring me; v 10 and he Brought;

  • The Practice
    • The Old Practice; Mesopotamia – a donkey
    • If I break my word, my what has happened to this animal happen to me.
    • Jeremiah 34.17-20
    • The Presentation; Rd v 10
      • 5 animals are introduced that are the same animals used in the Mosaic Law
      • See how they’re arranged
      • Ø The Passion and Protection; rd v 11
        • Birds of Prey
        • Symbolism of the future
        • Are we as diligent about protecting our presentations to God, be it sacrifice, obedience, or ???? 2 Sam 24.24

III.  The Parts of the Covenant

exp.: rd v 12; a theophany – a vision; The parts are basically: who what when where why and how.

  • How: Abram’s Question – how can I know?
    • know for certain; yada, yada; yada teda; lit.: know that you know; rd v 13;
    • your offspring will be foreigners in a land, no, more than that, they’ll be slaves;
    • they’ll be afflicted; Exodus 1.11;
    • for a long time! 400 years; repeated later; rd v 14
    • But, I’ll bring Judgment on those they serve (Egypt)
    • I’ll bring them out with great possessions
    • Who: or here would be to whom; rd v 15
      • Abram
      • You’ll go to your fathers – that is to say, you’ll die and won’t see any of this!
      • In case you don’t understand: you’ll die and you’ll be buried at a ripe old age
      • When and why: rd v 16;
        • 400 years; or 4 generations; or 430 years (Gal 3.17)
  • Rd v 16; Amorites will be punished; were these people major sinners? Yes; Leviticus 18 is dedicated to confronting their immorality, that the nation of Israel wouldn’t be the same way – immoral.
  • 400 years – that’s plenty of time to repent; what a great reminder that God is patient!

Transition: So, we see God’s Promise; Abram’s preparation; the Parts or details of the covenant and finally, we see the covenant ratified;

IV.  The Picture of the Covenant

exp.: rd v 17; here’s the picture – God moving between the parts;

  • A smoking pot and a flaming torch; Ex. 3.1-2; 13.17-22; 19.16-19; cf.: Deut. 4.11;
  • Passed between those pieces; Then the glowing furnace moved, gliding down the aisle lined with the animals parts that glistened in the fire’s light. Surely an ecstasy gripped Abram’s soul! He had not been asked to join in the pageant – to pass with God between the pieces. It was God alone. This was an unconditional, unilateral covenant. God (with astounding condescension) was symbolizing that if he were to break his word, he would be sundered like the butchered animals. It was an acted-out curse, a divine self-imprecation guaranteeing that Abram’s descendants would get the land or God would die. And God cannot die.
  • Note: this covenant is unconditional and unilateral

Conclusion: so, what? What does this mean for us today?

  • Gal 3.29; we are heirs of the promise; we await a city, too;

i.     God’s Condescension

ii.      Seen also in Christ! Phil 3.5-11; 2 Cor. 5.21; Gal 3.13-14

  • Do you find your mind too often is focused on the past? (Why was…)

i.     How good it was and how you don’t like the way things are now? Or

ii.     Do you have regrets? Investments, poor choices, wasted time?

  • What promise do you have from God that you’re holding on to?

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