1. Hello our listening friends and welcome to this broadcast.
2. We are glad that you have tuned in to listen to this program.
3. We are coming very close to concluding our series of messages on the life of Abraham.
4. And I want to begin by telling you about a well-known fact.
5. And that is that all of the ancient gods and goddesses and their modern manifestations... have one common message.
6. The message is one word.
8. Whether you turn this message sideways or upside down…
9. whether you dress it up in religious dress... or put it in a secular suit,
10. whether you cover it up... or you display it...
11. whether you look at it in its essence... or in one of it’s many forms,
12. the goddess of self... is at the core of all rebellion.
13. The goddess of self... is at the very root of all unbelief.
14. Self is often frantically trying to unseat the living God from His rightful place in our lives.
15. Self is forever demanding our allegiance...
16. demanding our time...
17. demanding our energy...
18. self is forever demanding our money...
19. and our attention.
20. A modern day prophetess of the Religion of Self said the following:
21. “The most pleasurable journey you can take is through your self...”
22. “The only sustaining love involvement is with yourself...”
23. When you look back on your life and try to figure out where you have been and where you are going…”
24. she continues to say “when you examine all of that closely...”
25. “what you really find out is that the only person that matters is yourself.”
26. End of quote.
27. As this religion of self is constantly preached throughout the movies and through television...
28. you will find that even church goers have developed a sentimental type of self-centered Christianity.
29. Because of the incredible impact of this type of message of divine self,
30. today’s Christians have shaped an image of God that is more like “self” than the God of the Bible.
31. Yet God’s design... and God’s desire... is for Christians to have a true Biblical perspective.
32. God’s design... and God’s desire is for us to know Him as He has revealed Himself to us...
33. and not the way that we would like Him to be.
34. God’s design... and God’s desire... is that we may know Him... love Him... and worship Him…
35. even if we don’t understand all that He does.
36. God’s design... and God’s desire... is for us to obey Him and to trust Him...
37. even when His ways and means are not fathomable to our puny brains.
38. For those of you joining this broadcast for the first time,
39. we have come to the end of the study of Abraham.
40. Today, we are going to find that God puts Abraham to the test.
41. It is a test we do not fully comprehend...
42. a test that we can’t fully understand...
43. but it is a test that has magnificent results.
44. Today, Abraham graduates with a spiritual doctorate of philosophy.
45. Abraham passed Elementary school when he finally left Haran and went to Bethel.
46. Then he passed Middle School and the adolescent years when He came out of Egypt.
47. Then he graduated from High School when he let his nephew Lot go his own way.
48. In college, Abraham learned that the “Do-It-Yourself” type of religion was useless... and painful.
49. So after graduating from college... he went through 13 years of a spiritual slump.
50. In post-graduate school, he went through the test of letting Ishmael and Hagar go.
51. And today, we see Abraham finally coming through his comprehensive examinations with flying colors.
52. Turn with me to Genesis 22 and verse 1.
53. And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham,
(Gen 22:1a KJV)
54. What is “After these things.”
55. Everything in Abraham’s life has been building up to this moment of testing.
56. My listening friends, please listen carefully.
57. There is no doubt that God wants to mature His people.
58. And, the way He does that...
59. by permitting testing in our lives.
60. Now, if I was in charge... and not God... I would exempt all Christians from trials and testing.
61. I would have spared believers any trouble.
62. My reasoning would be this simple.
63. We could win more friends that way.
64. We could win more disciples that way.
65. It was Saint Theresa who was quoted to have said to the Lord:
66. “If that is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!”
67. Again my friends, please listen carefully.
68. A trouble free life is not the way God matures His saints.
69. We must go through the valley of testing in order to get to the mountain of triumph.
70. We must go through Gethsemane in order to experience the resurrection.
71. We must endure the cross if we are to receive the crown.
72. Testing is not a strange thing for the Saints of God.
73. Many Christians have grown comfortable and filled with false sentimentality about the Christian faith.
74. They talk about loving God... and yet are not willing to give up anything, let alone everything, for him.
75. For Abraham... “everything” was a five letter word...
77. Isaac... the child of promise.
78. Isaac... the child of his old age.
79. Isaac... the hope of his future.
80. Isaac... the treasure of his life.
81. Isaac... the child for whom Abraham waited 25 years.
82. In verse 1 of chapter 22 “After these things”
83. You see, Abraham must have focused on Isaac.
84. Abraham must have poured all of his hopes and dreams and aspirations on Isaac.
85. Abraham must have been obsessed with Isaac.
86. Abraham must have made an idol out of Isaac.
87. Let me tell you a fact.
88. God does not like to be in second place.
89. Either He is in first place or He is in no place at all.
90. Someone said to me years ago:
91. “I cannot comprehend that God would ask anyone to do such a terrible thing!”
92. I understood how he felt... who wouldn’t?
93. But my answer to him was this.
94. Abraham lived at a time when human sacrifice was accepted.
95. It was a common practice among the pagan nations that surrounded him.
96. What Abraham did not know was that his God wouldn’t require him to offer his son as a burnt offering... like the other gods.
97. Abraham did not know that His God was only testing him.
98. Listen to what God said,
99. "Take your son, “
1. your only son,
3. whom you love,
4. and go to the region of Moriah.
5. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
6. I cannot imagine any knife that could cut any deeper into a Father’s heart... like these words.
7. But what is truly amazing here is that there is no evidence that Abraham argued with God.
8. Any one of us would have said many things.
9. “Wait a minute Lord!”
10. “Do you know what you are saying?”
11. “This is the son of the promise!”
12. “Lord, I have a thousand rams... I give them all to you.”
13. “Lord, I have thousands of heads of cattle, they are all yours... take them!”
14. Or “Lord, take me, I have lived all these years, take my life instead.”
15. “Lord, do you understand the implication here?”
16. “Lord, your promise will go down the drain.”
17. “Lord, your reputation will be marred in the land.”
18. “Lord, my testimony will be tarnished forever.”
19. Yet none of that seemed to be Abraham’s response.
20. Abraham’s response was that of submission.
21. Abraham’s response was that of obedience.
22. What was his secret?
23. Abraham, at this point of his life had learned not to limit God with human experience.
24. I don’t want you to overlook the little detail of the fact that it was a three days journey.
25. It is one thing to be assigned a distasteful task... and be able to get it out of the way quickly.
26. And it is quite another thing to have to stretch the distasteful task out over a long period of time.
27. We do not know how Abraham handled the inner pain during those three days.
28. We don’t know the level of anguish during those three days... that must have felt like three years.
29. When they got to the bottom of the mountain, Abraham told the two servants something very curious.
30. Verse 5 of chapter 22 of the book of Genesis.
31. Let us read it.
32. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."
(Gen 22:5 NIV)
33. You notice Abraham used the word “we.”
34. Abraham knew that if Isaac died he would have been resurrected from the dead.
35. Abraham believed that the God who rejuvenated Sarah’s dead womb would bring Isaac back to life.
36. Abraham believed that both of them would come back to the servants.
37. And that is how strong his faith in God had become.
38. And here, perhaps, we can observe from the human perspective...
39. How both the Father and the Son must have felt when the Son hung on the cross in Calvary.
40. And I want you to tune in next time and I will tell you all about the relationship between Abraham and the Cross of Christ.
41. I don’t want you to miss this very important last message.
42. I will look forward to speaking to in the next broadcast.
43. Until the next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.