Call of Abraham
INTRODUCTION Perhaps more clearly than any other Old Testament saint, Abraham exemplifies the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith as more explicitly set forth in the New Testament. Abraham simply believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. So in the sense of example he became "the father of all them that believe" [Romans 4:11; see also Galatians 3]. Ultradispensationalism is willfully and wickedly blinded to this plain truth of the Bible that God never has had and never will have any other way of salvation for lost sinners than faith in the everlasting gospel of His Son. We too must simply believe God in order to be justified in His sight. Brief lesson outline follows:1. Blessings, Genesis 12:1-3. a. Divine separation, 1. b. Divine sponsorship, 2. c. Divine salvation, 3. 2. Barriers, Genesis 12:4-6. a. Advancing age, 4. b. Family fidelity, 5. c. Canaanite claimants, 6. 3. Borders, Genesis 12:7-9. a. Inheritance explained, 7. b. Inheritance enlarged, 8. c. Inheritance explored, 9. NOTES ON THE TEXT: BLESSINGS, Genesis 12:1-3. God multiplies His blessings for those whom He calls to Himself. So it was in the experience of Abraham, and so it is with all true heirs of salvation. In fact, He had so ordered His creation that all things work together for good [Romans 8:28]. Divine Separation, 1. Always God's call of His people to Himself is a call to separation from this world. With Abraham this separation involved physical movement; with most of us it is more a matter of attitudes and affections, but the fact remains that we are called to depart from all the natural attachments of this world so far as they would hinder us in following Jesus. Divine Sponsorship, 2. Separation from the things and people of this world is not too hard when we realize that God is with us. We have no real need of anything or of anyone else. Our divine Sponsor is Himself our greatest and all-inclusive Blessing [Romans 8:32; Colossians 2:10], and to the extent that we realize this fact, He makes us, like Abraham, instruments of blessing to others. Divine Sa1vation, 3. No doubt the ultimate reference here is to the Messiah, Whose human genealogy is traced through Abraham. It is really in Christ that all families of the earth are blessed. God still identifies Himself with His people, so that Jesus tells us of blessing and cursing in a future judgment according to how people have treated His brethren [Matthew 25:31- 46].
BARRIERS, Genesis 12:4-6. Obstacles and barriers abound in the life of a believer, offering challenges to faith and incentives to growth. Obedience must not be too easy or there would be no need for grace, but it is never too hard for God's grace to accomplish. Advancing Age, 4. Certainly great changes in life become more difficult with advancing age, but the more time we have wasted on a wrong course the more urgent is our need to get stared in the right direction. If God called us to Himself early in life we have so much more to be thankful for and so much more time to serve Him, but while life and mind remain in the flesh it is never too late to hear and heed His call. Family Fidelity, 5. Within proper bounds family fidelity is a virtue. Obligations and responsibilities to family are surely not to be treated lightly. But when any earthly ties interfere with our obedience to God, those earthly ties must take second place. Sometimes, if we cannot break the ties ourselves, God breaks them for us. Abraham did not get beyond Haran in his pilgrimage until after the death of his father, and a fuller expression and enjoyment of the divine promises awaited his separation from his nephew. Canaanite Claimants, 6. The meek "shall inherit the earth" [Matthew 5:5], but only in due time. For the present the Canaanites, Philistines, Amorites, etc., occupy the land, and they generally have no room for the children of God, except as God overrules. But God is able to give us a place of testimony in this world, and a greater inheritance in the world to come.
BORDERS, Genesis 12:7-9. Abraham had set out from Ur "not knowing whiter he went," but he learned more as he went along with God, and now he was within the borders of the promised land. Inheritance Explained, 7. Hebrews 11:13-16 informs us that Abraham's desires, hopes, and expectations went far above and beyond any earthly possessions. He learned now that God would give the promised land on earth not to him personally and immediately, but to his seed. Nevertheless Jehovah "appeared unto Abram," and this was a greater blessing than possessing all the earth. In acknowledgment of this blessing he built an altar "unto the Lord, who appeared unto him." Inheritance Enlarged, 8. Probably Abraham understood that the way to enlarge his inheritance was to keep moving on with God. As he proceeded on his journey from place to place, he stopped again and took time to build another altar for the worship of God. Inheritance Explored, 9. Later on [Genesis 13:17] God commanded Abraham to "walk through the land in the length of it and in the breath of it; for I will give it unto thee." He got outside of its boundaries when he went down into Egypt, but within the appointed bounds he did well to explore the promised inheritance. So ought we to search out the good things that God has for us, but within the bounds prescribed in His Word.
CONCLUSION [Hebrews 11:8] He went by faith. He went when he was called. He went where God led. He knew not whither he went, but he knew that God had an inheritance for him worth going after, and so he obeyed and went out. =============
[From Ashlamd Avenue Baptist, October 3, 1975, p. 2. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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