Connecting the Good News to Abraham's Sacrifice

Connecting the Good News
To Abraham's Sacrifice
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
April 23rd, 2017
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Connecting the Good News:
Abraham’s Sacrifice
Genesis 22:1-19

1. Why is the story of Abraham’s Sacrifice important?

It is important for many reasons, there is so much going on in this story we could probably spend a month or more on this story alone, but we won’t and instead we are going to look at two reasons this story is important, and those 2 reasons are faith and sacrifice.

Let’s start with faith.  Abraham had extreme faith in this story.  A faith that I believe we can have also.  In this instance, Abraham had faith that God would provide.  When Isaac asked in Vs. 7 where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

Notice here what Abraham didn’t say…He didn’t say, “I trust that God will provide us a lamb”.  He didn’t say… “I’m hoping God will provide…”  He didn’t say… “I believe God will provide in His timing”…instead he said… “God Himself WILL provide.”

Perhaps we are arguing semantics here, but there didn’t seem to be any doubt in Abraham’s words.  He didn’t leave himself an out…He was confident.  GOD WILL PROVIDE THE LAMB….And this is how God asks us to believe with this kind of confidence as well.

In Mark 11:24 Jesus says..
Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God. 23 I assure you: If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for—believe that you have received them, and you will have them.

Now admittedly, this is hard for us to do.  Usually when we talk about what we believe God will do, we say things like… “well, I believe that God will provide, and if He doesn’t then…” or we will say “I’m going to do something, because I think it is what God wants me to do, and I hope that He will provide…”

We typically leave ourselves an out… “if God doesn’t then…” And it is difficult for us to have the faith that Jesus asks us to have.

Because…what if he doesn’t?  What if I tell the mountain to move and it doesn’t… What if I ask him to cure me of cancer and He doesn’t?  I mean let’s face it, we have all prayed and ask for things that have not been given.  And so we become afraid to pray with boldness and confidence.  But when it comes to praying God’s promises over one another, or praying within God’s will, then we shouldn’t pray with doubt.  We should pray and believe with confidence.

One of the ways, that I combat this in my prayers, is to change the way I pray.  Instead of praying, “Lord, I please help me through my meeting tomorrow…” I change my prayer, to praying… “Lord thank you for helping me through my meeting tomorrow.”  I say thank you, knowing that He already has a plan for it.

No matter what you do, to help you have confidence in your prayers or in your faith, the key is, that we do indeed need to have confidence in God.

The second thing we should notice is Abraham’s faith is faith even in God’s timing.  And this is one of the most difficult areas of faith to have.  Notice in this story, WHEN the angel of the Lord stepped in…

9 When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.”

In this test of Abraham’s faith, it wasn’t until the last second that God provided. It wasn’t when he started the trip, it wasn’t after he built the altar, it wasn’t after he bound his son to the altar, it was when he pulled the knife out…

Abraham, never stopped pushing forward in what God had asked Him to do.  In other words, he never gave up on God’s plan.  And sure enough, even though it looked as though God’s provision was going to fail, God did indeed come through.

So, faith is one reason this story is important…the next reason this story is important is sacrifice.  

God asked Abraham to sacrifice the thing that was most important to him. And by asking him this, God was asking Abraham, to make what God wanted more important than what Abraham wanted.

God asks us to sacrifice things that are important to us as well.  He tests us. He wants to know that He is more important to us than anything else in this world.   And if, in our heart, this test proves God to be the most important thing to us, then we are blessed far beyond what we could have ever imagined.
But sometimes there are things that become more important to us than God.  Not on purpose…I don’t think most people set out to put anything before God.  This is why this test is so difficult, because we think God is our number one, but if we look at our actions, what we will realize and what He will point out to us, is that there are things that we hold on to more tightly than we hold on to God.  

Maybe it’s our reputation…Maybe it’s a relationship….maybe it’s our family….maybe it’s safety and security….maybe it’s our comfort zone.  I personally think our comfort zone is probably the number one thing that Christians refuse to let go to follow Jesus.  We act as though stepping our of our comfort zone to serve Him is a choice…when it really it shouldn’t be.

But when God finds out that there are other things that are more important to us, than He is then He must push us to our limits in order to get us to let go of whatever it is, so that we can hold on to Him.  And the tighter our grip is on whatever it is, the harder He has to push to break our grip.

He will test us and ask us to sacrifice those things that are important to us…So the question becomes, what are you willing to sacrifice for God? Or more importantly, what are you NOT willing to sacrifice in order to obey God?

2. Where are we in the story of Abraham’s Sacrifice?

First, we are Abraham.  This means that if we are Christians then should expect to be tested and we should expect to be pushed to our limits.  Not for God’s amusement, but to grow us in our faith.

And second, we are Isaac.  We know from Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23 that wages of sin is death and all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  This means that we are the ones who should be on the altar or we are the ones who should have been us on the cross.  We are the ones who are broken, not Jesus… It should have been us who died.

But just as in this story of Abraham, God provided a lamb to redeem Isaac, God provided Jesus to redeem us.  Which of course is the answer to our last question…

3. How does the story of Abraham’s Sacrifice point to Christ?

This story mirrors the story of Jesus Christ.  It is a foreshadowing of His coming and His sacrifice for us.  It is an example of how God would provide a way for us to be saved, by sacrificing His one and only son.

And it should be noted here, that this would be no easy task for God to do.  In fact, I think may be why God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.  To just for one brief moment, get some insight as to the sacrifice God was willing to make for us.  When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, He asked in this way.  He said… “take Isaac, your only son, whom you love.”  Jesus, is God’s one and only son.  And God loves Him (Mt 3:17, Mt. 17:5).

We often talk about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, but God the father made a great sacrifice as well.  He sacrificed His greatest love, His only son in order to save us from a world of Sin.  That’s how much God loves us.  John 3:16, “for God so Loved the World…that He gave His one and only Son…that whosoever, believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God and Jesus both made a great sacrifice for us, what is God asking you to sacrifice for Him?

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