1. Hello, listening friends, and welcome to this last in our series of messages entitled, “Portrait of Grace.”
2. Today, we will be looking at Genesis 35, verses 1 to 15;
3. but I want to begin by telling you something that probably is familiar to most students.
4. In school, you may have studied the second law of thermodynamics;
5. but, if you haven’t, I want to explain it to you.
6. The second law of thermodynamics declares that matter always proceeds from order to disorder.
7. The second law of thermodynamics affirms that everything ultimately decays and falls apart.
8. For example, bread does not stay as fresh as on the day it was baked.
9. Clothing becomes faded and threadbare and, ultimately, returns to dust.
10. Everything ages and wears out;
11. but, today, I’m going to introduce you to another law that has the opposite effect of the second law of thermodynamics.
12. It is what I call the “first law of God-dynamics.”
13. The first law of God-dynamics” says, “In the life of God’s children, things go from disorder to order.”
14. For believers, things go from the pit to the highest mountain.
15. For God’s obedient children, they progressively become less like themselves and more like Christ.
16. God’s obedient children gradually go from disobedience to total surrender.
17. The bodies of the children of God may decay, but their spirits soar like eagles.
18. God’s children’s lives go from power to power.
19. They go from glory to glory.
20. As you and I face challenges of life, we face the ups and downs of life, but we go forward.
21. We may have joys and sorrows, but we always march upward.
22. We may experience failure and success, but we’re always improving.
23. That is God’s first law of God-dynamics in the believer’s life;
24. and we’re going to see this in Jacob’s life.
25. God speaks to him and he becomes passionate about God;
26. then, he gets busy making a living and he forgets about God;
27. then, he faces a crisis in his life and he comes running back to God.
28. God renews him and blesses him;
29. and, soon, he is back into his old ways of taking things into his own hands.
30. Does this describe your life?
31. Without a doubt, Jacob is a portrait of many Christians today.
32. I don’t know about you, but I often ask myself the following question:
33. why does it take a crisis in my life to make me a powerful prayer warrior?
34. Now let’s go to Genesis 35.
35. There, we find Jacob in one of those crises that will ignite his passion for God.
36. At this point in his life, Jacob allowed the material attraction of Shechem to keep him from being at Bethel.
37. Bethel, in Jacob’s life, represents God’s presence in his life.
38. Bethel, in Jacob’s life, represents God’s blessing and God’s leadership.
39. On the other hand, in Shechem, there may have been material gain, but there was spiritual loss.
40. In Shechem, there were so many business deals that Jacob forgot his parental responsibilities.
41. In Shechem, there were many opportunities to go upward and forward, humanly speaking, but his family completely fell apart;
42. and, so here, once again, we see God’s first law of God-dynamics in operation.
43. God manifests His grace yet again,
44. and God’s grace overwhelms sin and grief yet again.
45. God’s grace calls Jacob back once again.
46. My listening friend, wherever you are right now,
47. whether you are in deliberate sin or whether you are in deliberate disobedience,
48. whether you are in an ungodly relationship or whether you are taking things into your own hands,
49. whether you are doing your will instead of the will of God,
50. wherever you are, God is calling you yet again.
51. God’s arms are open to you once again.
52. You may be too busy for God.
53. You may be too busy doing your thing, while your family is spiritually disintegrating.
54. You may be too busy doing what pleases you, while your soul is rusting out.
55. No matter where you are, the God who called Jacob is calling you.
56. In Genesis 35, verse 1, God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there,
57. and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother, Esau.”
58. My listening friend, let me tell you three ways to appropriate the blessing of the first law of God-dynamics.
59. Number one, remember God’s past blessings.
60. Number two, release your false idols.
61. Number three, reaffirm God’s covenant.
62. Let’s look at number one, remember God’s past blessings.
63. At this point in Jacob’s life, he was cut off from behind by Laban.
64. He did not want to go forward toward Esau;
65. and where is he now?
66. His sons made enemies in the land of Shechem;
67. and, when you are penned in from the back and from the front, what should you do?
68. You don’t panic and you don’t fret;
69. but you begin to remember God’s past blessings;
70. and that is why, as soon as Jacob heard the call of God’s grace,
71. he immediately responded by calling to his family.
72. He told them to turn from idols and impurities to the true worship of God.
73. Here, we see the first law of God-dynamics.
74. Jacob did not take long to respond to God.
75. His life, like our lives, moved from disintegration to wholeness;
76. from slowness to immediate response to God;
77. and, so, Jacob remembers God’s vision in Bethel some 20 years earlier;
78. and, there, he remembered God’s dream.
79. There, he remembered his vow to the Lord.
80. There, he remembers how God kept His promise to him.
81. Jacob can look back and say, “God is good all the time.”
82. Let me ask you this, my friend.
83. When you look back at your life, can you see God’s hand of blessing?
84. Can you see God’s hand of protection?
85. Can you see God’s hand of faithfulness?
86. Can you see God’s patience with you?
87. I sure can.
88. First, remember God’s past blessings.
89. Secondly, release your false idols.
90. One of Jacob’s shortcomings was that he failed to instruct his family.
91. He failed to do his part in modeling worshiping God for his family.
92. Jacob failed to instruct his household by words and example about the one true God;
93. but Jacob also failed in another area of his life.
94. Jacob failed to keep his promise of giving back ten percent of everything that God has given him;
95. and, so here, in Genesis 35, God graciously gives him another opportunity;
96. but, this time, Jacob does the right thing.
97. In verse 2, he turns to his family and he says, “All right, I may have messed up in the past, but now I want to get it right this time.
98. Hand over all of the idols and the earrings and the clothings of sin,
99. because, from now on, we are going to give up false idols.
1. We are going to give up false belief systems.
2. We are going to give up false ideas about who God is.”
3. How do people know that God has changed your heart?
4. By the change in your behavior.
5. The only way the world is going to know whether you are a believer in Jesus Christ or not is by your behavior.
6. Let me ask you, my listening friend, is your behavior different after you became a believer?
7. Is your behavior different from non-believers when it comes to moral purity?
8. Is it different when it comes to cheating and lying?
9. Is it different when it comes to gossiping and backbiting?
10. Is it different because you do not live in fear and anxiety?
11. All these idols must be buried, just like Jacob buried those of his household.
12. Jacob called his family to purify themselves.
13. Remember God’s past blessings.
14. Release false idols.
15. Thirdly, reaffirm God’s promises.
16. After Jacob led his family to repentance, worship, and obedience to the one living God,
17. God affirms to him the promises that He gave to him.
18. These are the same promises that God gave his father before him and his grandfather, Abraham, before that.
19. What was the promise?
20. That the Messiah will come through his descendants.
21. If you have a Bible, you can read the list of [the] genealogy of Jesus.
22. It is found both in Luke, Chapter 3, and in Matthew, Chapter 1.
23. There, you can trace the physical line of Jesus to Jacob;
24. and, so, Jacob built an altar and, there, he changes the name that he gave to that place 20 years earlier.
25. You remember he called the place where he saw the Lord “Bethel,” or, the “house of God?”
26. Now, he calls it “El Bethel,”
27. the “God of the house of God;”
28. but, before renaming the place, Jacob keeps the vow that he had made to the Lord 20 years earlier.
29. He offers the Lord the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
30. My listening friend, please listen carefully, as we conclude.
31. I want to come back to where I began.
32. The second law of thermodynamics may say that matter deteriorates and goes from order to disorder,
33. but the first law of God-dynamics says, “My children will go from glory to glory.
34. My children will move from good to great.
35. My children will soar like eagles to greater heights.
36. My children will not deteriorate;
37. but they will be daily renewed.”
38. The first law of God-dynamics says,
39. “Even youth shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
40. but they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
41. They shall mount up with wings like eagles.
42. They shall run and not be weary.
43. They shall walk and not faint...”
44. and, so, my dear listening friend, my prayer is that you will remember God’s past blessings,
45. that you would release your false idols and affirm your covenant with God;
46. then, He will have His heart’s delight to bless you with the first law of God’s dynamic;
47. and, as we conclude this whole series of messages on Portrait of Grace,
48. we look forward to bringing you a new series of messages the next time;
49. so please join us next time;
50. and, until then, I wish you God’s richest blessing.