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SEEKING AFTER GOD

SERMON STARTER

 

Last night at 7 pm my son-in-law, daughter and grand daughter little Hope Celeste pulled out of their driveway on West State Street, Sharon. There was a car-a-van with Henry in front with the largest “Cab Over” van that U-Haul rents: then there was Lisa with her mom-in-law, Erma and bringing up the rear was Dad Sollenberger. The event reminded me of August 1976 when we rented a similar U-Haul truck and made a two-thousand, six-hundred mile journey to NE Ohio.

Lisa and family will be settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania in a small, semi-rural Carbon county seat town, Jim Thorpe. Henry will serve a judge’s office as his law clerk. They have secured an apartment 20 minutes from Henry’s work.

As I looked at the huge van in the driveway I felt as our parents must have felt when we pulled out of Orange, California. We left it all behind in pursuit of God’s call on our lives. We, like they, gave our hugs, wiped our tears and released them.

            Abram must have felt that same lump in the throat as he left Ur in the Babylonian countryside of what is now South East Iraq. He had all his possessions, his family and his servants  that traveled with him as he went on an eighteen-hundred mile journey from the Euphrates River to the Nile in Egypt. We call that stretch of land, “The Fertile Crescent.” Abraham was told in Deuteronomy 11:12

"Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory.”

            This sermon explores God’s Call and Commissioning upon Abraham’s life. I wrote another sermon on Saturday and the Lord awoke me in the early morning and told me to preach this lesson from His Word.

 

Pastor Phil Roland - Sheepfold Ministries

March 30, 2008

SEEKING AFTER GOD

Selected Scriptures

“The journey to find God can be a life-long pursuit. Leaving father and mother as well as houses and/or lands may be part of what you leave behind. Most importantly, we leave behind immaturity, childish thinking and responses in our pursuit of God and finding and obeying His call.”                                              Pastor Phil

 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

I.  ABRAM IS A MAN WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD

          A. He is a “Monotheist”

          B. Abram’s City of Ur is Babylonian and “Polytheist”

                   1. They worshipped the Moon-God, “Sin”

                   2. Also worshipped the Moon-Goddess, “Ningal”

                   3. Worshipped fire, the sun, stars

                   4. Various forces of nature

          C. Abram finds God for himself

                   1. Have you sought Him, personally?

                   2. You know He is God, but is He your God? – Phil 12b, 13

                   “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who

works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

II.  ABRAM SEEKS GOD 75 YEARS – Genesis 12:4; Jere. 29:12,13

          A. Call upon Him – Jeremiah 33:3 (God’s telephone number)

          “'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which

you do not know.'”

          B. Come to Him (Draw near to God and He will draw near you

          C. Pray to Him

          D. Know He is Listening

          E. Seek Him with your whole heart

III.  ABRAM IS CALLED BY GOD IN HIS 75th YEAR       

  • God’s Call – Phil. 3:13,14

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

    • God’s Call is a specific deep Spiritual Longing
    • See the Wagner Revised Hoyt’s Spiritual Gift Inventory
    • Rooted in your own Giftings and Abilities
  • A “Word from God” -

1. “Ray-ma” – Specific Word to you

2. God’s Direction and Instruction at a specific time

C. God’s commissioning

     1. Authority to do God’s work at a specific place or time

     2. Links up Rayma with God’s Direction and Empowerment

IV.  ABRAM BELIEVED GOD – Genesis 15:6

“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

          A. God made a Promise Abram wouldn’t see in his lifetime

            Genesis 15:5

          “Then He (God) brought him (Abram) outside and said, "Look now toward

heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him,

"So shall your descendants be."

B. He believed in the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1

            “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

V. ABRAM OBEYED THE LORD – Genesis 12:4; Hebrews 11:8

“So Abram left, as the LORD had told him. . .”

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”

            A. Obedience is better than sacrifice – 1 Samuel 15:22,23

            “Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings an

sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and

idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected

you from being king."

B. David’s Key - David heard the Voice of God and Obeyed Him

The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and

no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open.” Isaiah 22:22

"And when He had removed him,(Saul) He raised up for them David as king, to

whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a

man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'” Acts 13:22

 

 

 

SEEKING AFTER GOD, Texts:

Abraham’s Covenant

Genesis 11:31-32

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

32  Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

Genesis 12:1-5

The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

2  "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

4  So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.

5  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abraham’s On-Going Covenant

Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.

2  I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers."

3  Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,

4  "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.

5  No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

6  I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

7  I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

8  The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."