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God’s Word – Being Sure, Having Faith, Obeying without Withholding (Genesis 22:16-18)

Sermon on 6 June 2023 by Pastor Paul

Introduction

What should our attitude towards God’s word be? Let us look at Abraham’s experience.

Message

and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” – Genesis 22:16-18

1. Being Sure

How could Abraham be so sure that it was God’s voice, especially when it was such a major request to sacrifice his only son, Isaac? We know from the book of Genesis that before God gave this command to Abraham, God had spoken to Abraham many times.

For us, how do we know God’s voice? Read the bible always – every day. Meditate on God’s words, day and night. The more we read God’s word, the easier it is for us to recognise God’s voice. We read the whole bible to understand the heart of God.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercyand to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:6-8

The best offering we can give is to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. The more we are humbled, the more we allow His words to teach us.

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. – Hosea 6:6

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Matthew 9:13

But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

It is NEVER God’s intent for anyone to sacrifice to God by killing our children. Then what about the case of Abraham? Note that God has instructed Abraham only, and no one else. God also eventually stopped Abraham at the final moment, to test Abraham’s faith. In response, God offered a ram as a sacrifice on behalf of Isaac, and His only Son Jesus to die for us.

What is meant by a living sacrifice? It means to dedicate ourselves, holy and blameless, to God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. – Romans 12:1

2. Having Faith

Faith without words is a dead faith. Works without faith is self-righteous. Faith with works is a living faith. Our works can never save us (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, we need to show good works as acts of obedience, that demonstrate our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (James 2:20-24).

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. – Romans 10:17

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. – John 6:63

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. – 2 Timothy 1:13

If we have faith in God’s words, we will have works of repentance and obedience (Acts 26:20; Romans 16:26).

3. Obeying without Withholding

After receiving God’s command, Abraham got up early the next morning to prepare – he chopped word and set off. Abraham had faith – he knew that God will surely raise Isaac up from the dead. Hence he told his servant that they would return (Genesis 22:3-5). Abraham did not hesitate in his responses and actions to obey God wholeheartedly.

Do we obey God’s words with some reservations or without withholding? If we are sure in God’s words, what is stopping us from believing wholeheartedly?

We can only obey God without withholding if we love Him wholeheartedly (John 14:15).

“If you love me, keep my commands. – John 14:15

Closing

Do we want to receive God’s blessings, like Abraham? Always read and meditate on God’s words. Don’t’ use God’s words to condemn others but use them for encouragement. Don’t doubt, believe in God’s words, for His words will lead us to live. Love God and keep His words.

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