THE PRIVILEGES OF THE GODLY MAN
Genesis 18:17-19 (NKJV)
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.”
Illustration – The Context. God is about to bring His wrath to bear upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Before He does this, He takes the time to speak to Abraham about His plans.
In this passage, we are permitted to see a glimpse of the special relationship that existed between Abraham and the Lord. From this glimpse at their relationship, we are also permitted to see a snapshot of the relationship that is possible for every godly man living today.
As you know this morning, there are many advantages to being saved today! For instance, missing Hell ranks near the top of my (our) list! Having my sins forgiven, being able to fellowship with God, etc. are all wonderful possessions enjoyed by the redeemed man. But, along with those precious possessions also come some tremendous privileges.
What are the privileges of the godly man? This text points out a few of the more prominent ones. Allow me to share these with you today.
But, as I do, also allow me today that with great privilege comes great responsibility! God gives us the privileges we enjoy so that He might use us for His glory in this present world.
While we have a few minutes together today, let’s take some time and look into these verses. As we do, I want to point out The Privileges Of The Godly Man.
I. THE PRIVILEGE OF AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.
(Note: Few of us grasp the intimate relationship that we possess with our Heavenly Father! These verses give a little insight into the matter. Abraham looked upon the Lord with awe and reverence, and rightly so! But, verse 17 seems to indicate that God looked upon Abraham as a friend, Isaiah. 41:8!
How does He see us? Probably with a desire for far more intimacy than we ourselves desire! Ill. Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6. I would just remind you that, if you are saved, you are a child of God, 1 John 3:1-3. His Spirit dwells within your heart, John 14:16-18. You are on intensely intimate terms with the Lord.)
A. Involves Divine Discernment – (v. 19 – “I know him…”) God knows us, Heb. 4:13; Pro. 15:3, and His knowledge of us should cause us to gravitate toward honesty with Him.
(Ill. All His knowledge of us involves!) Isn’t it time God’s men became transparent in their walk with the Lord? Regardless of what we try, we can never hide anything from the Lord!)
B. Involves Divine Dialogue – (v. 17-18; 20-33) The Lord opened a dialogue with Abraham, giving Abraham the opportunity to become and intercessor for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
(Ill. The godly man has the privilege of being an intercessor for his family, friends and neighbors. He can, in a sense, become Jesus to others as he intercedes for them, Heb. 7:25. Ill. Job – Job 1:5.)
(Ill. One of the greatest privileges enjoyed by redeemed men is the privilege of prayer (PRAYER). Just the fact that we have unhindered, unfettered access into the presence of God is a blessing without compare, Heb. 4:15-16! May we be careful to exercise the gift of dialogue with the Almighty as we pass through this earthly life!)
(Ill. It has been said that “prayer changes things.” I know prayer is mighty in power through the power of God, Eph. 3:20, but what is changed more often in those engaged in prayer! As you spend time before the throne of grace, you become more like the One to Whom you are praying!
Ill. Abraham didn’t “Jew” God down, vs. 23-33! Abraham was just brought to the same place of grace. Love and mercy that God already occupied!
C. Involves Divine Decrees – (v. 18) This relationship brings with it glorious blessings that flow to us from the Lord. We have the privilege of enjoying His blessings and plans for us!
(Ill. What a great privilege to be known of the Lord; to be the focus of His precious plans, Jeremiah. 29:11.)
(Ill. Psa. 139:17 – God has His eye on your life!)
(Ill. We may not know where the path of our lives will lead us, but when God does the planning of those paths, they always lead into glorious avenues of spiritual delight and power.
Ill. Prophet Elijah never imagined where is path would take him, but in the end, it took him home to be with the Lord is a great demonstration of divine power and glory!
Ill. Abraham, Job, Daniel, David, etc. God had greater plans for each of them than could have ever imagined!)
(Ill. Never fear to walk with the Lord, for He always orders our steps along the best path, Psa. 37:23; Job 23:10.)
II. THE PRIVILEGE OF AN INVOLVEMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FAMILY
(Ill. Abraham’s privileges extended beyond his relationship with the Lord. According to the last phrase of verse 18, all the world would be blessed because of this man. What a privilege to be used by the Lord to touch those around you. What a privilege to be used to impact the lives of those yet unborn! Yet, that is how the Lord used this man and that is how He intends to use each of us to influence the lives around us! Notice how the grace of the Lord allows us to be involved in the lives of others.)
A. We Are Involved Through Our Counsel – (v. 19) The word “command” carries the idea of “issuing orders”. The godly man has the great privilege of counseling others to follow the commands of the Word of God (The BIBLE). We have been given the charge of sharing the Word of God with the generations which will follow us through this world. We have the privilege of passing on truth through our words!
(Ill. This speaks of our personal witness to others and to the next generation. As we pass through this world, we should leave behind a trail of heavenly counsel for others to follow. Let us be quick to share the message of the Cross and the Word of God with a lost and dying world, Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15. We only pass this way once, let’s make sure we leave a mark for the Lord as we do!)
B. We Are Involved Through Our Character – (v. 19) The little phrase “after Him”, has the idea of “leaving a legacy for others to follow.” In other words, it isn’t just our words that are important, it is also our walk that matters greatly! We have been given the privilege of walking in integrity before a lost and dying world.
We have a responsibility to the young ones, to our peer groups, to those who are weaker in the faith, to anyone who is walking the path of life and may watch our steps. We have a great duty to walk in integrity!
(Note: Just as our speech is important so are our steps. It has been said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say!” May we strive to walk the right kind of walk as we pass through this world, Phil. 1:27. People are watching, let’s be sure they see the right thing! One of the greatest privileges of life is that of being able to walk like Him, 1 John 2:6!)
C. We Are Involved Through Our Continuation – (v. 19) “and they shall keep the way of the Lord”. The godly man need not fear that his involvement with the family and others around him will be in vain. This verse points out the fact that the godly man can invest his life without fear, knowing that in due time, the Lord will see to it that a harvest is reaped for the glory of God!
(Note: What you do and say will not die when you die! Your involvement with those around you will continue to bear fruit long after you have departed this world. Ill. Preacher who didn’t see fruit during his lifetime, but reaped it after death.)
(Note: Men have been given the privilege of leadership within the home and within the church, Eph. 5. That places a tremendous responsibility upon each of our shoulders. Yet, it also places before us blessings that women will never experience! It is time that the men in our churches and in our homes stepped up to the plate and took the responsibility of leadership seriously before the Lord!)
III. THE PRIVILEGE OF AN INVESTMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FUTURE
(Ill. Abraham doesn’t realize it yet, but his investment in the generations unborn are going to make the Lord’s promises to him a reality. Because Abraham understood and walked in his privileges as a godly man, his future was far more glorious than his past. His investment continues to pay dividends today, and will continue to do so forever! In fact, you and I enjoy the fruit of Abraham’s investment every day we live on this earth! Amen!)
A. Guaranteed By God’s Promises – “that which He hath spoken of him”, indicates that God is as good as His Word. When we see the investment of our lives as a privilege before the Lord and we exercise that privilege in faith, we can rest easy knowing the Lord will honor His promises to us!
When you share His Word, remember that He has promised to honor that Word, Isa. 55:11. When you sow that Gospel seed, know that He will water it and give the increase in His time, 1 Cor. 3:6. Do not be afraid to live full tilt for Jesus Christ, knowing that He will honor your sacrifice and that He will keep His promises to you, Rom. 4:21!
B. Guaranteed By God’s Presence – “LORD” – God refers to Himself by the name of LORD. This name refers to the “Self-Existent One. The One Who fills all things, sees all things and knows all things.”
In other words, Abraham is being watched over by One Who is always there! What a privilege to exist in the presence of One Who will never leave us, Heb. 13:5. What an honor to dwell with One Who knows us intimately, yet loves us still and Who refuses to leave us! Hallelujah!
C. Guaranteed By God’s Power – “may bring upon Abraham” – We still serve a God Who is able to do everything He has promised and more!
(Ill. The vastness of His great power, Isa. 40:12, Job 42:2; Luke 1:38.)
It is a privilege to serve a God Who is so powerful and so mighty. We serve a God Who not only proposes, but He also disposes!
(Note: In other words, your future is safe in the hands of the Lord! Son, invest everything you have in Him and in His work today, He will see to it that the harvest is matured, and gathered for His glory!)
Men, live up to your potential in Jesus and exercise the privileges you have been given! Thank God for the privilege of being a man! Let Him use you to accomplish His will in the world. Be a man after God’s Own heart!
Be a man who fulfills God’s design for making man! Be intimate with God. Be involved with those around for His glory.
And, always invest your life in the future. Those are your privileges, God help us all to be all we can be for His glory!
All Glory to Jesus!