First Baptist Church of Minneola
Some Big Blessing
- I wrote this introduction while waiting for my doctor to call me back for a checkup. The news was playing on a television in the doctor’s waiting room. I’ve concluded that the new media attempts to capture the attention of watches by making them scared or angry.I think we are overdue for some news that makes us happy. Today I want you to know that God tells you that everyone, regardless of race, class, or nationality, can share in Abraham’s blessing.That’s right, ethnicity, age, personal history, stupid choices, or credit don’t matter. God wants you to know that you, regardless of all else, can share in Abraham’s blessing.Check out this verse from our passage this morning:So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.This is better than finding a big check in the mailbox. It’s better than winning a new car. It beats anything this world can offer.For some, Abraham’s blessing might not mean too much. He is, after all, a bit mysterious. You might only know about him from Sunday School songs like the one that went “Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had father Abraham...”For those not raised in church, Abraham’s blessing probably has no meaning whatsoever. It would, for them, mean more to win the lottery.The Jesus followers of Galatian were interested in this blessing. As a mater of fact, Abraham’s blessing was the topic of many intense conversations. Paul comes across like a lion in this book in order to give perspective about the recipients of Abraham’s blessing.There was lots of interest in the topic of Abraham’s blessing. The topic, however, is not simply one of antiquity. Abraham’s blessing is important today. Three of the world’s great religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—trace their origin back to God’s promise of blessing to Abraham.Let’s put this into perspective. More than half of the world’s population have an interest in this topic.TRANS - Let’s dive in to discover just how relevant Abraham’s blessing is to us today, how we can share in it, and hear how wonderful is this good news.First our text for today:Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.PRAYThe Blessing that Solves the World’s ProblemsPaul is saying that Abraham’s blessing in the cure to all the word’s problems.What are the problems of the world?Simple, the evil in every person’s heart.The drudgery and violence we have between one another, between groups, and between countries.All through history humankind is plagued with domestic troubles, racist attitudes, elimination of entire people groups, and on and on.This includes both people and all of creation. We see earthquakes and destructive storms that bury and drown people. We hear of people dying with cancer and miscarriages taking the unborn. Hearts are troubled and people saddened but so many tragedies.But get this. Abraham’s blessing is how God turns back the results of the curse. God called Abraham and promised him blessing in the 12th chapter of Genesis. That’s just following the fall and its effects. Chapter 12 is God’s response to what we read prior to that.Chapters 3-11 of Genesis describe how every part of life had drifted from God’s purpose. Because of that humanity and the world are cursed by God; its due to the sin of humankind.Generations come and go and humankind add to the list of evils plaguing the world. Jealousy, viciousness, vengeance, violence, corruption, sexual crimes, addictions, and arrogance....Women know the joy of childbirth, but must endure it with great pain. Men enjoy subduing the earth, but only with great effort and frustration. Men and women enjoy intimacy while also knowing lust and domination.Every aspect of the human heart is run through with evil. Science and technology advance, but so often the skills we attain lead to new weapons forged to bring about violent death. Nations know the wonder of diversity and growth along with confusion and strife.Abraham’s blessing is God’s solution to all of these problems. This is why the blessing is relevant to every person. This blessing from God is His way of Solving the World’s Problems.Consider the images of Hurricane Dorian as it pounded the Bahamas for days. Recall the 9/11 tragedy. Look closely at the arguments among our political leaders. Recall the images of war.Now, think of Abraham’s blessing as turning all that back. Imagine God undoing all devastation and destruction. What might it be like to see God restoring the world to his original purpose? What might be the sound of God’s peace restored to the world and all through creation?That is what the Bible teaches is Abraham’s blessing. That is way God blessed Abraham and said he’ be a blessing to the nations. Imaging a world free from sickness, sin, and death. This is the Solution to the Worlds Problems. This is the answer to all our questions, the prescription to all sickness, the end to every conflict. This is what each of us needs, wants, truly desires with all we are. This is the blessing God promised Abraham and to all who are blessed with him.TRANS - One day all will be well with the world. But what part of the blessing might we see at this day and age?The Blessing of one Big Happy FamilyHow do we get to be part of Abraham’s blessing?Well, we share in the blessing by joining his family. If you were to ask what the big idea of this passage is, this is it. You share in the blessing by joining the family.Paul quotes from Genesis 12:3cAnd I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”See that last phrase “in you all the families of the earth”? The blessings to us comes through Abraham. It does not come from Oprah, Buddha, your savings account, your pastor, or your church. You share in the blessing of God by being in Abraham.Joining the family means becoming children of Abraham.We get the idea of inheritance. A relative dies and passes on something (blessings) to the relatives they leave behind. They don’t usually bless strangers, but leave the inheritance to family members. If you are Abraham’s family, you are an heir to his blessing.So how do we get into Abraham’s family? This is where things get a bit unruly for Paul. The Jews assume you have to be circumcised; be a Jew. Consider the covenant God gave Abraham:This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.Paul knows this Scripture, but also knows God said He’d bless the nations that were not Jews. This is why Paul can say:The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”All along God planned to justify sinners by faith. This is why God told Abraham, way before Jesus, that through him God’s blessing is for all nations.Catch this, circumcision was never the requirement for being in Abraham’s family. It was always about faith:Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.It was God’s plan from the beginning to include the Gentiles into Abraham’s family. God’s plan was always about family of faith and not one of works of the Law.The big point of this:Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.If you have the faith of Abraham, you share in his blessing.If you want to be like Abraham, share his faith, you must live like him.So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.Another way to say this is you must be a person of faith, a believer like Abraham.TRANS - A big blessing for a big family. Can there be more. Yes indeed there is!!!The Blessing Active in the One Who Looks Like AbrahamWhat does a person of faith look like?Exactly what does it mean to be a person of faith?Look again to Genesis:Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.Abraham’s belief was more than simply thinking there is something out there.We don’t hear Abraham saying saying “higher power” or “divine being.”Abraham believed that God spoke to him this very specific message about the blessing. Abraham knew that God made a promise to him.Today, Christians know God spoke through Jesus:in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.Jesus is the one that died for our sins, was raised from the dead, now is seated by God, and will return one day. Jesus will judge the living and the dead.To be a person of faith that makes you a child of Abraham, you must live a Christ-centered life focused on what God promises to do for you in Jesus.Faith, like Abraham, is an obedient faith. Abraham shows us how to live obediently. His faith was not simply something he knew, but what he did; his faith was not dead but alive.Abraham followed God even when he didn’t know where God was leading:By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.Abraham’s faith helped him offer up his son:By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;Abraham’s faith was one of doing. James relates the priority of Abraham’s active obedience:You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.Abraham was not perfect, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to serve God. As a result, Abraham’s faith grew with each passing day.Our ability to glorify God happens as we realize He will do what He promised:yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.That is why Pauls continues in Romas to say, of Abraham:Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness.But don’t miss the last two verses of that passage in Romans because they speak about you:Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,TRANS - The Blessing that solves all our problems, that blessing that makes us part of one big family, and the blessing that is active right now in the lives or believers is all traces back to the original blessing God gave to Abraham. Let’s wrap up our time today.ConclusionSimply put, living like Abraham means we will need to go, will need to leave, will need to seek.God first told Abraham to “Go.” So that is where we must start. We must “Go” out from the world to be set apart for God:And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.Next we need to leave; say bye-bye to our self-made lives:So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.Like Abraham, we will leave when we want more from God:for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.Like Abraham we must begin a journey, not considering this our stopping place:For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.That “city which is to come” is our hope. It’s more than simply going to Heaven, but moving into the city where God’s promise to Abraham is fulfilled. That is where God brings all things together. It is there God brings all things He’d planned from the beginning—all because of Jesus and through Him.Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”(end)
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