Thursday, May 23, 2019

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon My Interview With Abraham ]


 Hebewsl 1:8-10 says, " By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God." The book of Hebews contains one of God's pilgrim names, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob What Anglo-Saxon could look without emotion on the granite boulder at  Plymouth, Mass., "the cornerstone of a new nation,." upon which the Pilgrim fathers of New England stepped ashore from the Mayflower? And in like manner what Jew can think but with enthusiasm of those three glorious names-Abraham, Isaac and Jaccob. The verses before us were well suited to stir the hearts' blood of the Hebrews to whom the Hebrews letter was addressed. Abraham was immensely wealthy , but he continued spiritually as a pilgrim. The fatherland for which he longed was not the place of his birth. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never considered Canaan anymore that a type of heaven. They considered themselves pilgrims on this earth.  If I get to heaven it would be very interesting to have a conversation with Abraham and ask him some questions about  the trials he faced n his lifetime. However, I think I know the answers he would give because I have studied so carefully what God's word says about his life. Therefore this message will be a biographical study of his life, and it will assume the format of a dialogue between Abraham and myself. I will ask him the questions, and I will answer the questions since he has been dead for 4,000 years. However, dear reader, I would like for you to suppose that Abraham is sitting here beside me participating in this discussion. I have entitled this sermon, "My Interview with Abraham." I hope you will enjoy it. Let' begin the interview.

Abraham, where did you spend your early life?

I was born in southern Mesopotamia in the city Ur. I grew up in that city. I didn't know Jehovah in those early years. My father's name was Terah and he was an idolater as most people were in Mesopotamia. By race he was a Hebrew. I had two brothers, Nahor and Haran. Unfortunately Nahor passed away early  in life, and left behind one son whose name was lot. I assumed the  responsibility for his and looked upon as my own son.  I maarried a beautiful woman whose name was Sarai.

What was the first great test in your life? 

After I lived comfortably situated in Ur for 75 years, one day God appeared to me and commanded me  to leave  my country,  my people,  my father's house and go  to a land that  he would show me. He said he woul;d bless me, make me a great nation, and  that he would bless all nations of the earth through me.  I cosidered this a call from God, and I  obeyed him. . We collected our possessions together and  I, Sarai. amd left, not knowing where we were going.  Our first stop was in the city  of  Haran where my brother's people lived in northern Messopotamia.  The people there were major idol worshipers.  After my father's death Sarai, Lot and I set out for   Canaan with all our possessions.  In Canaan God appeared to me agan and said, "To your descendants  I will give this land, and I built an altar of sacrifice to the Lord who had appeared to me there.  But there was a terrible famine in  Canaan so we moved to Egypt for a short time  and then returned to Canaan.  I  became very rich in livestock, silver and gold. 


 Whatever happened to your Nephew Lot?

Lot maarried and had two daughters, and he  too became rich in livestock, silver and gold, We both had so much livestock there was not enough pasture land around Bethel to feed both flocks. Sadly we agreed to separate, and I offered him the choice of the land. He went one way, and I went the other. Lot chose the fertile plain near Sodom and Gomorrah. He eventually moved to Sodom.  God appeared to me again and informed that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of the evil immoral  lifestyle practiced in that city. For the sake of  Lot I interceded with God to spare Sodom and Gomorah, and . God agreed to spare the cities if  I could find as many as ten righteous people in Sodom, but  they could not be found. Yet God graciously sent angels there to notify Lot and his family to leave at once and warned them not to look back. . Lot and his two daughters escaped but Lot's wife looked back  and was turned to a pillar of salt. Those cities were blotted out of existence by fire and  brimstone. 


Tell us about your children?  

I  first had a son by Hagar. the maid of my wife at her request and with her permission. But when I was 99 years old and my wife was 90 God appeared to me again and said that my wife was to have son. At that time my name was changed from Abram to Abraham which means a father of a multitude,  and my wife's name was changed from Sarai, my princess,  to Sarah which means  simply  princess, that is, everyone's princess, that is for all the human race.

How could you ever believe that Sarah could bear you a son when she was childless for 90 years and you yourself was 99. This is contrary to nature. I believed it because God said it would happen, and he made it happen. . I believe in God and I put my trust in God. My son Isaac was born just as He said. God appeared to me again one night and said, "Look now toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he  said, "So shall your descendants be." I didn't understand how I could have that many descendants, but I believed it only because He is God. How could I not believe it? It was at that time that God forgave my sins and added me to His family on earth.

One of the greatest tests of your faith was when God commanded you to offer your only son to Him as a human sacrifice. Did you really intend to kill Isaac, and if so, how did you reason that out i your mind? How could you as a loving father agree to do such a thing?

When God commanded me to sacrifice Isaac to him I was greatly disturbed in mind. But I left immediately for Jerusalem. I built an altar, laid my son on he wood, bound  him  so he could no escape, stretched out my hand and took my knife to kill my son, but God stopped me God  by sayilng,  "Do the lad no harm or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God since you have not witheld your only son from me." But to answer your question. I had reasoned it out in my mind beforehand that in view of all the promises made to me about the numberless descendants I would have in the world, it was my belief that if I was required to kill Isaac, God would raise him from the dead for this son was destined for greatness in this world.

Now this is the end of the interview. No one can do justice to this man's life in a thirty minute study. As a final consideration I want to tell you some things about the impact Abraham made on the world that were beyond his wildest dreams. For one thing God's plan to save the world and  all that God intended to accomplish in the world was  revealed in the first p[romise God made to Abraham. That first promise is recorded in Genesis 12:2,3 which says, "I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." In addition to personal blessings he would enjoy in his lifetime, God revealed that through him God would bestowe the blessing of eternal life on all members of the human race who submitted to Jesus Christ  his diivne Son. . He was to impact the world in two different and by two different promises

The first promise made to him says, "I will make of you a great nation." Abraham had Isaac; Isaac had Jacob, and his 12 sons became the twelve tribes of f Israel. Israel was the great nation of Abraham. He is the ancestral father of the Jewish nation and  introduced circumcision to the nation of Israel. For 1500 years that nation kept the knowledge of the One True

God alive in the world. The rest of the world wandered away from God into idolatry, the superstitious belief  in man gods who had no actual existence. The nation off Israel,  directly connected to Abraham,  was part of the great impact he made on the world before the coming of Christ. The promise to make him a great nation produced the Jewish religion and the Bible. 38  of the 39 books in the   Bible record the history of the Jewish nation until 400 years before Christ was born. We can thank Abraham for he Bible. We can thank Abraham for keeping the knowledge of the One true God alivefornearly two thousand years.   

The second promise made to Abraham was, "And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." The first promise was just to one nation, the Jewish nation. The second promise referred to Gentiles or all nations. The blessing made to Abraham to bless all nations was the gift of eternal life. The first promise had reference only to the Jewish religion, but the second promise had reference only to the Christian religion. This offer was to all families of earth, and that included the Jewish nation, for it is one of the families of the earth, but not them alone. The second promise was based on the coming of Christ, and the establishment of the Christian religion in the world. The Jewish nation in general did not understand this second promise, but the thousands of Jews who became Christians in the first three hundred years of Christianity understood this second promise made to Abraham. They forsook the Jewish religion for the Christian religion,  amd all Jews should do the same today.  There is no longer any promise of eternal life in the law of Moses. God no longer authorized the observance of the  Jewish religion after the death of Christ. The Christian religion clearly teaches that Christ nailed the Jewish religion to the cross. It died when Jesus died.  To make sure that religion would no longer be observed scripturally, God allowed the temple to be destroyed in 70 A.D.  Israel has not scripturally observed the Jewish religion since the first century A.D. They are presently observing that religion but not scripturally or with God's approval. They stand in disobedience to him as they did in the days of Jeremiah. Read that book.  We can thank Abraham for the Christian religion. One of Abraham's descendants, Jesus Christ, established the New Covenant religion of Christ. Because of these two different promises, we can with authority say that a correct understanding of the promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12 is the key to understanding the Bible, the Old Testament as well as the New Testament..

Another important truth that Abraham never understood about the second promise was that people in all families of the earth whos would  became Christians automatically became the children of Abraham. Neither did he understand the blessing that would come through him would be eternal life in heaven. Did you know that all Christians are the descendants and members of the circumcised family of Abraham? The second promise distinctly said all families of the earth would be blessed though Abraham. That means that all people who go to heaven must be circumcised members of Abraham's family which is the Church of Christ, the Church of  God.. There is no promise of eternal life to anyone else. God's eternal plan of salvation is stated in the promises made to Abraham and cannot be understood apart from those promises. Galatians 3:8 says, "The scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, In you all the nations shall be blessed." God preached the gospel to Abraham by the second promise to him." Galatians 3:13,14 says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law ...that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28 says, "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs of eternal life according to the promise." The Christian religion clearly teaches that all Christians are the children of Abraham by faith in Christ.

Christ was the most famous  descendant of Abraham and through Him we become descendants of Abraham. It necessarily follows no one but Christians who have been spiritually circumcised by Christ are in Abraham's family in the 21st century. Baptism has taken the place of physical circumcision in Abraham's  ancient family. How great was this man? How great he is today. Colossians 2:11 says, "In Christ you were also circumciseds with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of C hrist. This is done in when a penitent believes immersed in the wateers of baptism which results in the forgiveness of all past sins in one's life.(Acts 2:38)  I close with these remarks about him. In all of human history from the flood of Noah to the coming of Christ, Abraham was the center of the human race and it all revolved about him. But from the coming of Christ till the end of the world Christ is the center of the world and it all revolves around Him. 

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