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God is True to His Promises

This week we are heading into the second sermon of our “Beginnings” series. We are going to be taking a closer look at Jacob, the son of Isaac, and grandson of Abraham. As we prepare our hearts and minds for the teaching of Gods Word this Sunday, I want us to take a closer look at Genesis 28 where we find Isaac teaching his son Jacob to remember and believe in God’s promises.

 

Isaac said to Jacob, “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you so that you become an assembly of peoples. May God give you and your offspring the blessing of Abraham so that you may possess the land where you live as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham” (Genesis 28:3-4, HCSB).

 

These few sentences are filled with several beautiful parallels that we could (and should) meditate on. We should recognize the familiar language of Genesis 1 when God commands Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, or the use of the name “God Almighty,” which is the same name that God uses to identify Himself when He reaffirmed the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:1). But for now, I want to take a closer look at the latter part of these verses.

 

“May God give you and your offspring the blessing of Abraham so that you may possess the land where you live as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.”

 

At the time that Jacob is hearing these words generations have gone by since God gave this promise to Abraham. Not just a few days or weeks or even a year, but generations. Can you imagine? I mean we live in a world where we can have just about anything we want with the push of a few buttons, and we get a little annoyed if it takes longer than a few days to get here. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this, I love Amazon Prime as much as the next person, but I do think we should look to Isaac and Jacob as a reminder of what it looks like to faithfully wait on the Lord.

 

You see, the words in these verses give us some insight into Isaac’s thinking. His words tell us that even in the midst of waiting when they are living as foreigners in the land that God has promised them, they are faithfully trusting in the Lord. Their current circumstances did not deter them from the certainty of God’s promise. As a Christian, I want to wait faithfully for the Lord even when my circumstances don’t make sense. I want to trust His Word even when my feelings say otherwise.

 

So, what are some practical ways that we can faithfully wait on the Lord? I will give you three from Genesis 28.

 

  1. Remember His promises (28:3-4)

 

Recounting God’s past faithfulness encourages us to trust in His future promises. Isaac and Jacob only needed to consider their own lives to be reminded of this faithfulness. They were the outcome of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 21:1-3). In God’s Word, He is repeatedly telling His people to remember because in the midst of darkness and uncertain circumstances we tend to become forgetful of all that God has done. So we should remind ourselves of His past faithfulness in our lives and as we do our confidence in Him and thankfulness for all He has already done will grow.

 

  1. Rely on God’s Sovereignty (28:15b)

 

Later on in chapter 28 Jacob has a dream, and in his dream, the Lord reaffirms the covenant. In doing so He says to Jacob, “Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (28:15). Did you notice who is doing the work of this promise? The Lord. He will fulfill all of the promises that He has made because He is our Sovereign Lord. Of course this doesn’t mean that we do nothing, because we are still called to be obedient (see Romans 1:5 for example), but it does remind us that God is faithful to His promises even when His people are unfaithful, and He does not rely on us to ensure that His Words are true.

 

  1. Worship Him in the waiting (28:22).

 

As we remember the Lord’s past faithfulness and trust in His sovereignty we should come to a place of worship. At the end of this chapter, we find Jacob in awe of the Lord, the God of Abraham, and his response is to worship Him. In a commentary by John MacArthur he says this, “We should see Jacob’s vow and offering as genuine worship based on confidence in God’s promise.”

 

So believer, are you faithfully waiting on the Lord and confidently trusting that His promises are true? I hope you will be encouraged as I was by our forefathers who believed that God was true to His promises and worshipped Him in the waiting.

Posted by Joey Tomlinson with

Three Ways to Abide in Christ in all Circumstances

 “In all circumstances take up…” (Ephesians 6:16a)

This is the last week in our “Strong in His Might” series. I have been encouraged and challenged as we worked through Ephesians 6:10-20 together. As we approach Sunday, I want to emphasize the beginning part of our text for this week. The Apostle Paul charges the church at Ephesus to take up the armor of God in all circumstances.

All circumstances indicate that there is never a time for a believer to not abide (John 15) in Christ. The Lord often uses difficult circumstances to help us learn to abide in Christ, but we also must learn to abide in Christ during the daily mundane seasons of life. For most of us, most of our lives are spent in what we would label as mundane. And if we aren’t abiding in Christ during those seasons, we may go most of our Christian lives not abiding. There is a difference between being positionally right with God based on the actions of Jesus Christ and consciously and daily abiding in Jesus.  

As a Christian, I want to be more aware of God’s presence in my life and His calling on my life. I want to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I am often times too callous and desensitized. The remedy for that is abiding in Jesus in all circumstances.

What are some practical and biblical helps God has given believers so that they may abide in Christ in all circumstances? I will give you three from Ephesians 6:16-18.

  1. Helmet of Salvation (6:17a)

This is a meditation on both our present salvation that we enjoy and our future hope of salvation. In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul says, “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.” Paul here is speaking of the present salvation that all believers enjoy. We stand positionally right with God because salvation is a gift. In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 Paul says, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” Paul here is encouraging the persecuted Thessalonians by reminding them of the hope of salvation. He encourages them to meditate on “the day” when God through Christ makes all things new. This is the hope of a believer’s future salvation. Believer, thinking on your salvation helps you abide in Christ.

  1. Sword of the Spirit/The Word of God (6:17b)

God has graciously given us His Scripture. Interestingly, this is the only offensive weapon Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6. This is because God’s Word is sufficient and authoritative. We don’t need anything else. God has given us everything in His Word. As we read, internalize, and respond to Scripture, we really are changed (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:22). Believer, to engage daily with the Scripture helps us abide in Christ.

  1. Prayer (6:18)

 The God of the Cosmos wants us to pray to Him. This is a way by which we may commune with Him. And God wants us to bring everything to Him in prayer. Our Ephesians 6 text says that we are to pray in the Spirit asking for supplication for ourselves and for brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul urges us to persevere in this. Believer, to persevere in prayer helps us abide in Christ.

 So, are you abiding in Christ in all circumstances, especially the mundane seasons of life? If you are reading this particular blog post, we would love to hear how meditating on salvation, being in the Scripture, and prayer happens in your life. What are your disciplines? Feel free to comment on Facebook. Your story may help spur a brother or sister on to engage in these spiritual disciplines.

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