TEXT: Gen. 12:1-9ff Heb. 11:8-19
INTRO: What have you set your heart and sights on for your life? The direction you are looking in is where you are heading; and wherever your heart is set there you will find your commitments of time and resources.
While God’s call is different for each one of us, the courage to obey is equally important to us all! God calls everyone of us to do something for His kingdom’s sake, what we need is the courage to obey that call no matter what it is, no matter where it takes us, no matter what demand it makes on our life!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches that everyone has a call of God on their life and that each needs to courageously follow that call whether it is a call to be a godly parent or a call to be a world-wide evangelist like Billy Graham … or anything in between! It takes great courage to obey God’s call no matter what it is!
I. FORMATION STAGE Gen. 12:1-3; Heb. 11:8
A. Plans Gen. 12:1; Heb. 11:8
1. Abraham was very comfortable in UR of the Chaldeans, this was a huge city in northern Mesopotamia in the area today known as southern Iraq near the Euphrates River.
a. It was a very large city even by today’s standards, about 500,000 people!
b. It had a very sophisticated culture, i.e. extensive library, postal system, large factories, public school system, 2 story homes, well developed art, mathematics, and sciences, and one of the highest cultures of ancient times!
c. All the comforts and opportunities for wealth and happiness were to be found here. Here a man and his family could have everything they wanted or needed to be comfortable and happy for an entire lifetime.
2. BUT, God had other plans for a man named ABRAM and his wife SARAI.
3. God’s plan for Abraham’s life included a far different road than the one the world offered, and it would take him out of his comfortable surroundings to encounter a strange new land filled with many challenges!
a. God sometimes asks us to do things that we are not comfortable with or familiar with.
b. God’s plans don’t always follow what we anticipate.
4. God asks Abram to leave 3 things behind and blindly follow His plan for his life:
a. “Leave your own country.”
b. “Leave your people.”
c. “Leave your father’s house.”
d. “And go to a land I will show you!” 12:1
B. Promises Gen. 12:2-3
1. God’s plans are never without God’s promises — this is what gives us the courage to act on His will for our lives.
a. God never calls us to do something without promising to help us do what He calls us to do!
b. Sometimes those promises are the only things we have to stand on when things don’t go as we hoped or planned!
c. It is many times the promises of God that keep us going in the face of loss and confusion.
2. Sometimes God’s promises are personal, even when THINGS don’t go as we thought God had planned God could very well be using the circumstances to build our character, something that God is far more interested in than just what we DO for HIM!
a. God makes 7 wonderful promises to Abraham, promises that are inspiring and wonderful — and promises that Abraham saw little to no fulfillment of in his lifetime!
b. Yet, Abraham held to those promises like they were his bread and water, even though he saw little of them fulfilled in his own lifetime, it was these 7 promises that kept him going when opposition and trouble came. It was these 7 promises that continued to give him courage to obey!
c. Obedience however was still a choice at every junction in his life, something that had to be made over and over again!
3. It is important to know God’s promises in His Word, sometimes they are the only things that can give you courage to obey and keep going!
a. There were times when all Abraham had were God’s promises to fall back on.
b. But this was always enough for him, and it will be for us also.
II. FAULTS AND FAITH STAGE! Gen. 12:4-9ff. Heb. 11:17-19
A. Problems Gen. 12:4-9ff
1. What was life like for Abraham when he chose to have the courage to obey?
a. Well, he got bogged down for a while in Haran, he didn’t leave here until his father Terah passed away, he was delayed for a while (interestingly enough his father’s name “Terah” in Hebrew means, “DELAY”), and this happens sometimes in our life!
b. Though he was told to leave his family he finds himself stuck with Lot until things separated them later, Lot going along wasn’t in the original plan!
c. Things were not easy in the desert areas with all his flocks and servants.
d. Not long into the journey a horrible famine hit, so bad that it forced Abraham and Sarah to travel to Egypt where he nearly got himself killed because he told a half lie about his wife and his relationship to her!
e. He found himself having to go to war over freeing his nephew Lot, not something that fit into those promises too well!
f. He never did have deed to the property God told him would be his and his descendants, the most he actually owned in his lifetime was a burial plot near the Hittites, a cave called Machpelah.
g. A second time Abraham lies about his wife and almost messes up God’s plan for his life, he makes this same mistake twice! Fortunately God warned king Abimelech before any damage was done! (Gen. 20)
h. Also, we know that Abraham and Sarah both attempted to help God with one of His promises … that of a son, they tried to adopt Eliezer of Damascus — but God said that wasn’t the answer so then they used Hagar to give birth to Ishmael, but that wasn’t the answer either — not until Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 did they find God’s promise coming true!
i. They made numerous mistakes and faltered several times but they kept coming back to God’s promises and found faith again to keep the courage to obey!
2. You can’t just sit still and hope for God to give you courage, you have to act to experience it!
3. Abraham’s life journey was full of setbacks and faults, but he didn’t just sit there … he kept going with the courage to obey.
B. Perseverance Heb. 11:17-19
1. There were also times of victory and great courage as he clung to those promises of God.
a. When God asked Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac he took great courage and obeyed even though it made little sense, Abraham considered God capable of raising him from the dead if necessary, he knew God’s promise on this issue and he stood upon it unwaveringly!
b. He considered God as good as His Word!
2. These times of courage to obey is what set Abraham apart from others of his day and of our day as well!
3. Abraham’s life was one of perseverance, of trusting God to keep His promises if he simply obeyed, even when he didn’t understand!
4. Sometimes it is hard to obey God’s Word and His principles, especially when they make our life harder at times. Like tithing … it doesn’t make sense but it either works or it doesn’t — and if they are God’s plans and promises they always work!
a. We simply must learn to trust and obey!
b. Obedience to God driven by faith was what made Abraham a righteous man in God’s eyes; it was his faith that moved him to obedience that God counted as righteousness!
5. This is why we remember Abraham so well, he was not a quitter and his name still stands today as a testimony for all those who have the courage to obey!
III. FRUITFUL STAGE Heb. 11:11-13, 16
A. Partial Heb. 11:11-13
1. Abraham’s life wasn’t completely absent of the fulfillment of God’s promises … though he never saw most of God’s promises come to reality in his life he did see some fulfillment.
a. At 100 he finally got the promised son, hardly the descendants like the sand of the seashore, but one was a good start anyway!
b. He only had one son his entire lifetime, he never really saw God’s promise of a great nation, of descendants by the millions; he saw only a small start toward it!
c. Even partial fruit was enough for him however to continue the courage to obey!
2. While he didn’t get everything he wanted in his life he got enough of what God would do to keep him faithful in following Him!
3. Too many Christians do nothing if they don’t see all their big dreams come true, they are unwilling to accept less than grandiose things and thus they often miss out on great adventures for God!