Following In The Footsteps Of Faith – Sermon #12
THREE SIDES OF A MAN NAMED ABRAHAM
Genesis 18:1-33 (NKJV)
The Son of Promise
1 Then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,
3 and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. 4 Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.”
They said, “Do as you have said.”
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.” 7 And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. 8 So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.
9 Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”
So he said, “Here, in the tent.”
10 And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”
(Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
13 And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid.
And He said, “No, but you did laugh!”
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
16 Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. 17 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” 20 And the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”
22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”
27 Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28 Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?”
So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.”
29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?”
So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.”
30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?”
So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?”
So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.”
32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?”
And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33 So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
Everyone who is living today wears many different hats. For instance, I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a Pastor, a friend, among many other things. This passage reveal three sides of the life of this man named Abraham.
In this passage, he is visited personally by the Lord. During this visit we are given a glimpse at three sides of this great man’s life.
As Abraham is revealed to us here, we see some characteristics in his life that need to be seen in every life today.
For a few minutes, I want to look into this personal encounter between the Lord and Abraham. I want to preach to you about THREE SIDES OF A MAN NAMED ABRAHAM. Let’s examine our lives to determine whether or not we are made of the same stuff as this great man was.
I. V. 18 THE MINISTRY OF A SERVANT
(Ill. The identity of Abraham’s visitors. One of these beings was the Lord Jesus Himself. The other two were angels. It seems that Abraham recognized the heavenly origin of his guests, because he sprang into action to serve them when they appeared. That reaction sets a good example for us because you never know when the Lord will show up at your place! When He does, He is looking for the same servant heart He found in Abraham. Notice three aspects of that servant’s heart.)
A. V. 1-6 The Quickness Of His Ministry – Abraham springs into action speedily trying to supply every need of his heavenly visitors. He may be 100, but there is not hesitation as he flies from one task to the next, until all is completed.
(Note: Here is a man who recognized his duty and set about to do it as quickly as possible! May I just remind you that the Lord deserves the best service we can give Him?! When we are serving Him, regardless of how menial the task, we should do our best to recognize Who we are serving and we should seek to do the best possible job for the glory of the Lord! Ill. Col. 3:23; Eph. 6:6. If it is worth doing for the Lord, it is worth doing right, 1 Cor. 10:13.)
B. V. 7-8 The Quality Of His Ministry – Not only was Abraham swift in his service to the Lord, but he was also sacrificial in his service to the Lord. He went to his flock and personally selected, killed and prepared a calf for their meal.
(Note: You haven’t really become a servant until your service costs you personally. Being willing to sacrifice for your master is a sign that you are possessed of a servant’s heart. Whether the service is time, tithe or talents and resources, it is willingly rendered at the request of the Master and for His glory. The greatest sacrifice you can offer, of course, is yourself, Rom. 12:1! That is a sacrifice that no one else can give to Him! By the way, when He has you, He has everything you have anyway!)
C. V. 8 The Quietness Of His Ministry – While his visitors were eating their meal, Abraham stood quietly by to serve them in any way they might need. He simply stood beside them, adopting the pose of a servant, listening for the voice of his Lord!
(Note: Imagine the reaction of Abraham’s servants as they watched him assume the role of a servant to the Lord. What a powerful testimony it was to them! By the way, others are watching! Make sure your service and testimony are all they should be!)
(Note: Real servants of God are those individuals who make themselves ever available to the Lord and His work. They are ready and willing to serve Him on a moments notice. When there are no orders to follow, they continue to do the last thing He told them until new orders come. They are His and they have no will of their own, but they are lost in His Will for their lives! That is a servant’s heart!)
II. V. 9-21 THE MESSAGE FOR A SAINT
(Note: God always rewards the faithful service that is rendered to Him. In Abraham’s case, He does this by reassuring Abraham regarding the birth of Isaac. Verses 18-19 tell us of the great affection, knowledge and care God possessed for this man Abraham. God knew what caliber of man Abraham was. He knew that Abraham would stand the test and be all that God wanted him to be. He is clearly pictured as God’s saint in these verses. )
A. v. 9-15 A Message About A Child – God had given this promise repeatedly to Abraham. The last time, Gen. 17:17, Abraham had laughed for joy when he heard again the glorious promise of hope from the Lord. This time, the promise is repeated for the benefit of Sarah. All she had heard was second hand promises from Abraham, this time she hears the promise directly from the mouth of God. Her reaction is vastly different from that of her husband. He laughed for joy, she laughs from doubt! She is confronted and rebuked.
(Note: This episode is a reminder that God knows everything there is to know about you and me. He knows our motives, our secret sins and all things that we do. Nothing is hidden from His eyes, Heb. 4:13.)
B. V. 16-21 A Message About A City – This is a precious point in Abraham’s relationship with the Lord. Because of who he is, how he has conducted himself and the future he is to enjoy, God is determined to share His heart with Abraham. Imagine being in a position of closeness to the Lord that motivated Him to share His heart with you. No doubt this is among the passage that prompted the Jews to refer to Abraham as “the friend of God.”, James 2:23; Isa. 41:8; Ex. 33:11.
(Note: God wants to have that same kind of relationship with each and every one of us this evening! When we are in a position of closeness to Him, He will share His heart and His will with us. Never feel that this kind of relationship is only for the super saints! I will remind you of the great truth that as we seek to get closer to Him, He responds by moving closer to us, James 4:8.)
III. V. 22-33 THE MEDIATION OF A SON
(Ill. The message that the Lord had shared with Abraham was a difficult message to hear. It had been revealed to him that his kinsmen, Lot and his family, were in danger of death and destruction.
(Note: “The cry” of that place and their “grievous sin” was the reason for the coming destruction. To many, Sodom must have been viewed as a showplace and a success story. They probably bragged about how it had been rebuilt after the great war of Gen. 14. Abraham knew different. He knew the city was slated for destruction. Those of us who know the Bible know that our world thinks awfully highly of itself. However, it too is slated for destruction! May we learn to pray like Abraham did so that we can see our world saved!)
He received the message and it motivated him to action before the Lord. Perhaps this was a factor in God’s desire to share the message with Abraham! Perhaps he wanted to motivate Abraham to move deeper in his relationship with God. We have seen Abraham the servant. We have seen Abraham the Saint. Now, we are given a chance to see Abraham the son speaking with his heavenly Father!)
A. V. 22-23 The Distance Between Them – Abraham stood before the Lord and when the angels departed, he drew near to the Lord. (Note: I praise the Lord for the truth that God’s children can approach Him and draw as near as they please to their heavenly Father. Listen to His invitation to you and me, Matt. 11:28; Heb. 4:15-16; Rom. 8:15-17.)
B. V. 24-33 The Dialogue Between Them – Abraham’s prayer to the Lord arises out of several burdens he carries because of the revelation he has just received.
First, he is concerned about God’s reputation. If the Lord simply destroys the people of Sodom out of hand, Abraham is concerned that people will get the wrong impression of God and of His love for sinners.
Secondly, he is thinking about Lot and his family, who live in Sodom. He wants to see them spared, at the very least. So he begins to talk to God about the situation and gets God to agree to spare the city if just 10 righteous people can be found there. In Lot’s family, there was Lot, his wife, two unmarried daughters and at least two married daughters and their husbands. This was a total of at least eight people in that family. Abraham must have thought that Lot would have at least won his family and a few others.
(Note: Although Abraham did not know it at the time, his prayer was answered! God did spare the righteous when He destroyed the wicked. When the morning came and Abraham looked toward Sodom and saw the smoke of that place, Gen. 19:27-28, he must have been discouraged. However, his prayer had been heard and it had been successful, Gen 19:29. Sometimes, our prayers seem to be very ineffective and weak, but only in eternity will know the full impact of our personal ministry of prayer in the lives of others. Therefore, do not be discouraged, just pray and trust the Lord to bring it to pass!)
If there is anything that you need to take away from this sermon, it is this: a close, personal relationship with God is possible for anyone who desires it!
In your heart, are you honestly as close to the Lord as you would like to be? Are you His servant, running eagerly and speedily to do His will? Are you His saint, listening intently as He reveals His will and ways to you? Are you His son, His child, interceding before the throne of the Heavenly Father on behalf of those who do not have access to Him?
Do you need to work on one or more of these areas of your relationship with the Lord? If so, there is help to be found in His altar!