Faith in an Inheritance, Sight Unseen

Faith in an Inheritance, Sight Unseen
Covenant Words
Faith in an Inheritance, Sight Unseen

Feb 12 2024 | 00:31:18

Episode February 12, 2024 00:31:18

Show Notes

Pastor Robert Ulrich

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:02] Father, as we've sung through that recounting of how you brought about the fulfillment of those promises that you made to Abraham, we see that the people, his people, your people, did not enter into the land until after Abraham was long gone. [00:00:30] And yet you were faithful that they entered into that land and you blessed them with a land that was flowing with milk and honey. [00:00:48] Father, you have brought us through difficult times. [00:00:53] Father, we pray this evening for Tom. [00:00:58] You've brought him through a lot of things, and especially recently. [00:01:05] But now these test results and the decision about the next step to take. [00:01:12] Father, may your spirit guide him in those decisions that he has to make. [00:01:23] Father, we pray that you'll be with Mike's mom and this thyroid problem that she has once again, that you would be guiding the doctors in treatment and that it would be successful. [00:01:41] We pray for Mark and this possibility of having open heart surgery. [00:01:50] We pray, Father, that whatever may come about, that you would strengthen him through this experience and that you would be with those around him that are concerned for him. [00:02:07] We pray for this work that's coming up, that's going to be overnight work. And, Father, we're comforted in knowing that when we're up in the middle of the night, you are not asleep, for you never sleep. You watch us day and night, and you give us the strength to do things and to accomplish the things that you have for us. [00:02:33] So, Father, we pray for success in that endeavor. [00:02:39] And for Lynn Mason's client, who is troubled and is in need of peace. [00:02:51] Father, we pray that she might find that peace in Christ Jesus, a peace that the world cannot give and the world cannot take away. [00:03:05] We pray also for this young man, Jason, who has been taught some very deceptive things about you. [00:03:14] And yet we know, Father, the power of your word. [00:03:20] And so we pray that your word would be strong in his life and that he would come to see the truth about you and about the nature of our triune God. [00:03:32] Father, son, and Holy Spirit, and see clearly the work of Christ. [00:03:41] Father, Help him to open his eyes to these truths as he looks into the scriPtures. [00:03:50] And, father, now, as we come to look into this passage, help us to understand it better, to see the things that you have for us there, that we might go from this place, rejoicing that we know the God of AbraHAM. [00:04:14] We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ. [00:04:19] Amen. [00:04:24] Hebrews, chapter eleven. [00:04:53] By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. [00:05:02] And he went out not knowing where he was. Going by faith, he went to live in the land of promise as a foreign land, living tents with IsAac and JACOb, heirs with him of the SaME promise. [00:05:18] For he was looking forward to a CiTy that has foundation, whose designer and builder is God. [00:05:27] Please be seated. [00:06:04] What do you think of when you think of AbrAHAM? [00:06:08] How do you picture him as a child? I remember BeiNg told, and we had some questions. They were BibLE questions. It was kind of a contest to see if you could answer them. [00:06:33] And one of the questions was, who in the Bible is God's friend? Is called God's friend, and it's abrahaM. [00:06:46] And Abraham was also the answer to the question, who is the father of the faithful? [00:06:53] Abraham. [00:07:00] We think of Abraham as this wonderful man in that he was. [00:07:07] And we think of him in terms of his faith. [00:07:11] And it was genuine. [00:07:19] Um, but who was Abraham to start with? [00:07:25] Please turn with me to Joshua. Chapter 24 begins. Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shekham and summoned the elders and heads and the judges and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God. [00:08:02] And JOSHUa said to all the people, thus says the Lord, the God of ISRAEL. [00:08:09] Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates Tira, the father of Abraham and of Nahor. And they served other gods. [00:08:24] Then I took your father abraham, from beyond the river and led him through all the land of CANaAN and made his OfFspring MaNY. [00:08:35] I gave him IsAaC. [00:08:42] What did that verse tell us about abraham? [00:08:47] ABraham, TyrA, nahor served other gods. [00:09:03] Some of you here can identify with AbraHAM in a closer way than I can. [00:09:12] My personal experience in coming to christ was similar to timothY's, where paul says that the faith of his grandmother and his mother had become his faith. He had been raised in that faith. Now, in my case, it was a grandfather and my mother, my father was not a believer. [00:09:38] But I was raised in the faith and CANnot remember a time when I did not believe in jesus as my savior. [00:09:55] Some of you here are adult converts to the faith. I know that because some of you have shared your testimony. I know that's not totally uncommon in this church. For people to say that they were well into their adult years, maybe college, maybe beyond that, even before they came to faith in Christ. [00:10:15] ABRAHAM, we're told, 75 years old, and he was WORshipping other gods. [00:10:28] And as far as I can tell from what the scriptures tell us, he was really into it. There's no indication that he had any doubts about it. Now, I do realize that there is a Jewish myth. [00:10:44] I have it on good authority. Titus, chapter one, verse 14, that we are to ignore JEWISh myths. We're not to take them into consideration, but some people DO. [00:10:55] And one of those Jewish myths is about Abraham and the idol shop. [00:11:05] And the idol shop wasn't where PEOPle were just sitting around. It was where people were creating idols. The story goes that according to this Jewish myth, Abraham's father ran the shop and made idols. [00:11:24] And Abraham, while he was in the shop as a young man, began to question idolatry. And there's all these little clever tales about what he did. One of the things he did was some woman came in with an offering to give to the gods. And he was so disgusted with the whole THIng, he looked around, he picked out the biggest idol and then took a stick and broke all the other idols, and then put the stick in the hand of the biggest idol. When his dad got home and said, what happened here? He said, well, someone brought an offering in, and the idols started arguing among themselves as to who was entitled to it. And that Big one there broke all those others. [00:12:06] And according to the tale, his father says, that's ridiculous. And he says, yeah, it know it is ridiculous because they're not real. And this has some kind of a notion that Abraham had come to some conclusion about idolatry, that it was wrong before God had spoken to him. But I don't see that in the Bible. [00:12:38] Turn with me to acts chapter seven and verses two through five. [00:13:01] This is Stephen's sermon, where he's presenting his case before the high priests. [00:13:14] Acts seven, beginning with verse two. And Stephen said, brothers and fathers, hear me. [00:13:22] The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, go out from your land and from your kindred, and go into the land that I will show you. [00:13:42] Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. [00:13:59] Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised to give him it to him as a possession. And his offspring after him, though he had no child, appeared to a pagan idolater. [00:14:31] And that pagan idolater believed, certainly believed, that God exists. [00:14:50] I've never seen God. [00:14:55] Now, I can't exactly say that I've never heard God's voice, because it's right here for us, but not audible. [00:15:10] God came to this man who had grown up in a society that worshipped the moon, that was the chief God of ur, the Chaldees. When they excavated that area, and found it. They found there that that was the central worship was to worship the moon. [00:15:30] I thought it was kind of curious. That in most of the pagan religions. The moon is a feminine character. [00:15:38] But in their religion, the moon was masculine. [00:15:42] Not quite sure why that was the case. But that was what was worshiped. And in all likelihood, I see no reason to believe that Abraham hadn't been involved in that. [00:15:52] And that he hadn't been worshipping this moon that he could see at night. It's a marvelous thing, the way it goes across the sky. [00:16:01] And marks out the months. [00:16:07] And that he had bowed down to idols. [00:16:10] And thought that this is the way you worship the God. [00:16:16] And you didn't have to necessarily believe that the idol was a living thing. [00:16:22] Because idolatry can be committed. In the sense that you place something physical, something you can see and identify that as your God. [00:16:47] Tells Abraham, or Abram, as he was known at that time, to leave there. [00:17:02] And he leaves. And he takes his father with him. [00:17:05] Family members with him, his nephew, lot. [00:17:12] And he takes along with him his wife. [00:17:19] He's 75 years old, if I remember right. I think Sarah's ten years younger, something like that. So she'd be 65. She's not young. [00:17:32] And the one thing we're told about Sarah at this point next week, I'm going to be preaching on her, the Lord willing. But the one thing we're told about Sarah. Was that she was childless. [00:17:49] Back in that day and age, when someone was childless like that. There was no way of someone knowing for sure. [00:17:58] That the problem rests with the woman or with the man. [00:18:08] Now, later on, Abraham has a son by the slave woman. And it proved that the problem wasn't his. So we know at that point that it's pretty clear the problem was Sarah's. Sarah's could not conceive. [00:18:29] And yet God is telling Abraham that I have this land for you. And I'm going to through you populate that land that he was told of. A land sight unseen. [00:19:00] You ever bought anything sight unseen? [00:19:06] I wouldn't recommend that in real estate at all. Although I realize nowadays you can see pictures of whatever it is. But I still wouldn't trust the pictures, folks. There are old pictures of places that have run down since then. [00:19:22] My youngest daughter bought a car in Texas. We're living in Kansas. She bought a car in Texas. [00:19:30] And her friend, her girlfriend was taking her down there. And the two of them were going to go there. And she's going to pick the car up. But I warned her, and I said, don't take the car. Don't drive away in the car at all. Don't sign anything until you're sure that this is the very vehicle that you think you're getting. [00:19:55] And she was pretty confident of that, that it would be that way. And it did turn out okay. [00:20:00] Turned out fine. [00:20:06] Abraham, who had been so much a part of this idolatry. [00:20:12] When he meets with, somehow God appears to him. [00:20:22] He, at that point, comes to trust in this God of all the people in the world at that time. [00:20:38] Why Abraham? [00:20:43] There were a lot of people in the world at that time. [00:20:47] Things had obviously gone downhill pretty badly. After the flood incident with the Tower of Babel. [00:21:00] With the dividing of the languages. [00:21:09] Nehemiah, chapter 19. [00:21:31] And beginning with verse six. [00:21:34] You are the Lord alone. [00:21:37] You have made heaven and the heaven of heavens. [00:21:42] With all their hosts, the earth and all that is in it, the seas and all that is in them. And you preserve all of them. And the hosts of heaven worships you. [00:21:55] You are the Lord, the God who chose Abraham. [00:22:01] And brought him out of of ur, the Chaldees. And gave him the name Abraham. [00:22:09] You found his heart faithful before you. And you made with him a covenant to give his offspring the land of the Canaanite. [00:22:28] God chose Abraham. [00:22:32] That's election. [00:22:35] It's not that Abraham was ready to give up idolatry. [00:22:42] Maybe when Christ called you, if he called you as an adult, maybe you weren't the least bit interested at that point in giving up what you had. [00:22:55] But by God's grace and by his holy spirit, your eyes were open to the truth. And that's what happened to Abraham. [00:23:26] By faith. Abraham obeyed. When he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. [00:23:36] And he went out not knowing where he was going. [00:23:41] By faith, he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to a city that has foundation. [00:23:58] Whose designer and builder is God. [00:24:15] Is quite amazing when you think about it. [00:24:20] That Abraham. Even when he came to that land that God had promised him. And he ends up. I won't go into reading all the passages. You can look it up for yourself. But he ends up buying a little plot of land to bury Sarah, his wife. [00:24:38] And it's the land that he would be buried in. Just a real small plot, a cave. [00:24:48] There he was in that land. And he believed, because God had told him, God told Abraham. That Abraham's descendants would be in Egypt those 400 years and he believed that. And he believed that his children, after those 400 years, and populations expand greatly in 400 years time. [00:25:16] When I found out that I was a direct descendant of one of the passengers on the Mayflower coming to America, I thought I was pretty important until I found out there were millions of us. [00:25:33] And that's just in the time since that occurred. [00:25:41] But even seeing that and knowing that and believing that, we're told that he was looking forward to the city that has foundation, whose designer and builder is God. [00:25:58] There's just one place that fits that description. The new Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem. [00:26:11] That place where all of the saints will dwell together. [00:26:17] We'll sit down there. I think about it every time we have communion. I think of the privilege it is to sit here and share the Lord's supper with all of you. [00:26:30] But one day, we're going to sit at that table, and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Sarah and the saints throughout the years will be there. [00:26:53] And God had somehow given Abraham a vision of that, that what he had here and now, there was something greater coming. And I hope you see that as well, because I have close friends who came to Christ as later in life, and they really look back on the past that they had before, and they regret that, and rightly so. [00:27:22] But the joy that they have now is so great that often I've been told by some people, they can't imagine anything greater. [00:27:36] We do have a wonderful joy right here and now. [00:27:42] But there is something greater, a place where no one will need to put their hand up and make a prayer request. [00:28:01] And I'm not sure whether there'll be opportunities to make requests as to what we'll be singing, but we will be singing praises to God. [00:28:21] May we enjoy that same vision that Father Abraham had. And he is our father by faith and look forward to that day when we will see him. But more importantly than that, and that's what I tell everybody. I said, if you die and you ask, where's Jesus? And nobody knows, you went to the wrong place, because Jesus is there. That's what makes it heaven. Someone asked me one time, where is heaven? I said, we point up people in China point in the opposite direction in the universe. [00:29:16] Heaven is where our Lord and savior is, and the place from which he is coming for us. [00:29:28] That is our hope. [00:29:32] And our hope is in a land that we have yet to see. [00:29:58] Let's look to God in prayer. [00:30:06] Father, we rejoice this evening in knowing you and confess and recognize that whether that knowledge came through. Parents, when we were small, children and grew up with that, or whether it was something that was shared with us by a friend, or whether it was shared by someone who came in contact with us when we were adults. [00:30:37] And we saw our eyes were opened. We saw that which we did not have, and we desired it. Because you gave us that thirst and that hunger. [00:30:57] And you continue to fill us as we come to you with empty hands, reaching out to receive the blessing that you alone can give. [00:31:14] In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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