Sermon Outline February 11, 18 & 25, 2018

“The Pledge of Faith”

Genesis 15

Introduction

We have already considered part of this chapter, but we will do a bit of review before we finish.

Genesis 15:7-21

He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

8 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

9 So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.

11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.

14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.

15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.

16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.

18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[a] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—

19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,

20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,

21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

The first thing I want us to consider is:

A. Abraham’s Conversion
• He became a believer in the most high God, around 2100 B.C. while he was living in UR of the Chaldees.

Acts 7:1-4
Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our
father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’[a]4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.

B. Next, we see Abraham’s Calling.
• We read about it in Joshua 24:2-3
Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants.

C. Then we see Abraham’s Commission.
Genesis 12:1-3
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.[a] 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”[b]

God made the following promises to the Patriarch:
1. I will make you a great nation.
2. I will bless you.
3. I will make your name great.
4. You will be a blessing.
5. I will bless those that bless you.
6. I will curse him that curses you.
7. In you all the families of the earth will blessed.

D. Look at Abraham’s Caution.
1. He gave partial obedience.
2. He was supposed to leave country and kin, but instead he left with his father and his nephew Lot.
3. They stopped in Haran and stayed there until his father died.

E. Abraham’s Canaan.
1. When he entered the land, he set up camp near Shechem, 30 mi. north of Jerusalem.
• Here the LORD appeared to him and promised him the land.

Genesis 12:6-7
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

After this Abraham moved to Bethel. Bethel means “House of God” and he built an altar there.

F. Abraham displayed some Carnality.

1. A famine broke out in the land.

2. Catering to fear, he gathered up family and flocks and went to Egypt. He did not seek God’s counsel.

3. He also misled the Pharaoh by indicating that Sarai was his sister. A half-truth is a whole lie.

4. In this he jeopardized his wife’s well-being and greatly annoyed the Pharaoh. The Bible says, “Be sure, your sins will find you out”.

5. He was given a strong rebuke by Pharaoh and escorted back to Canaan.

G. Now we see Abraham’s Condescension.

1. Trouble began to brew between Abraham’s herdsmen and Lot’s over-grazing rights.

2. Unwilling to agree, Abraham graciously allowed Lot to choose the land he wanted. Of course, he took what he believed to be the best.

3. After Lot left, God appeared to Abraham and promised him . . .
a. Soil – the land of Palestine
b. Seed – he would be father of a great nation.

Genesis 13:14-16
The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.

H. Abraham was a man of Courage.

1. Some pagan kings marched against Sodom and carried away its’ citizens, including Lot, into captivity.

Genesis 14:10-12
Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.

11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.

12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

2. After a night march with 318 trained servants, Abraham caught up with their adversaries. Put the fear of God in them, and secured the release of Lot and the people and spoils of Sodom.

Genesis 14:14-16
When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15

During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people

This is the first that war is mentioned in the Bible.

I. Now we see Abraham’s Communion.

1. Upon returning from battle, Abraham was met by Melchizedek, the priest – king of Jerusalem.

2. Abraham honored Melchizedek by giving tithes to this man of God. Here, tithing is first mentioned in the Bible.

3. The Priest-King blessed Abraham and served him the equivalent of the Lord’s Supper – bread and wine.

Genesis 14:18-20

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
J. Consider God’s Covenant with Abraham
• Abraham and Sarah were getting older.
• They still had no children.
• He wanted to designate his servant Eliezer as his physical heir.
• God refused, saying his heir would come from him and Sarah.
• In this way, Abraham would become the founder of a mighty nation.

Genesis 15:5-6
He took Abram outside and said, “Now look up at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He also said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 6 Then Abram believed Yahweh, and that faith was regarded as the basis of Abram’s approval by Yahweh.

1. God now ratified His three-fold promise to Abraham who is now believing in Him.

• The promise concerned soil, seed and salvation and it was ratified with a blood covenant.

Genesis 15:8-12

But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

9 So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.

11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

K. Now, let’s Consider the Brightness of Abraham’s Future.
Once again, we have God speaking to Abraham.

Aren’t you glad that God still speaks to us today!)
1. There was a specific time involved.

Genesis 15:13-14

a. In addition to the time frame we have the permissive will of God.
“Know of a certainty that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them 400 years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

b. The personal will of God is also involved.

Genesis 15:15

“Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.”

• It was God’s will that Abraham would one day die in peace.

• We tend to view death as a disaster but God’s view is quite different – “welcome home!”

• Paul, “I have a desire to depart and be with the LORD which is better by far.”

Philippians 1:21-23

Christ means everything to me in this life, and when I die I’ll have even more.

22 If I continue to live in this life, my work will produce more results. I don’t know which I would prefer.

23 I find it hard to choose between the two. I would like to leave this life and be with Christ. That’s by far the better choice.

c. We also have the preordained will of God.

Genesis 15:16

“But in the 4th generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

1. There isn’t anything that escapes the all-seeing eyes of God.

2. There isn’t anything that escapes the all-hearing ears of God.

Exodus 3:7-10
Yahweh said, “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I have heard them crying out because of the slave drivers. I know how much they’re suffering.

8 I have come to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good land with plenty of room for everyone. It is a land flowing with milk and honey where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites live.

9 I have heard the cry of the people of Israel. I have seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them.

10 Now, go! I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you can bring my people Israel out of Egypt.”

2. We See the Specific Territory that Would Be Involved.
a. First of all, we have the guarantee of the land.

Genesis 15:17

The sun had gone down, and it was dark. Suddenly a smoking oven and a flaming torch passed between the animal pieces.
• In Genesis 14:8-12 we read that Abraham brought, at God’s instruction, a 3-year-old heifer, a 3-year-old female goat and a 3-year-old ram, plus a turtledove and a young pigeon.

• Abraham prepared them for sacrifice.

• When night came, he fell into a deep sleep and he experienced horror and darkness. In Abraham’s day when two parties were entering into a covenant or contract, they walked together between the animals that had been prepared for sacrifice.

• It is significant that only God walked between the pieces prepared for sacrifice.

• The fulfillment of this covenant was dependent upon God alone. We cannot save ourselves.

b. We also have the greatness of the land promised.

Genesis 15:18

“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates …”

Note: The promised land from the Nile to the Euphrates would encompass some 300 thousand square miles of territory, much of what is now claimed by Arabs. Earlier, God had promised, “I will give”, but now He says “I have given this land.” Israel has never possessed all the land that God promised, but one day they will.

Summary
1. God has a plan for your life.
2. He has redeemed us for a purpose – His purpose.
3. God fortifies our lives with His promises.
4. He is the ultimate Promise Keeper.

Will you present your life to God right now and partner with Him in carrying out

His ultimate plan and purpose through you to impact the world