Sunday Sermon by Pastor Rajesh Mathew, 22 May 2022
Genesis 22:23- 3 And Bethuel begot Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
Genesis 22:1 - 22 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
- This is how the scripture starts. After many tests and trials, the Lord again tested Abraham. • The Lord is saying to those who are going through trials and tests that HE is sending victory over your life. The Lord who called, blessed and delivered Abraham is also your God. He will make you stand.
Genesis 12:1-3- Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 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.”
God called Abraham. He went through several tests:
- The FAMILY TEST
- This was a family test. God was checking if Abraham will obey the voice of God. He was asked to leave everything he had. Lord said I won’t give you the address but you will need to go where I show. If you have the faith that I will lead you, you may leave.
- Tell the Lord, “I will let go. I believe You will lead me Jesus and you will direct my steps. Take me to a Land that I have never seen before. You are faithful. I am not someone who has stepped out knowing where I am going but I am stepping out in faith. Have you stepped out listening to God’s voice?
- We want to know where God is taking us, what time we will reach, is there GPS, is there a house there?
Don’t see and leave but by faith you see only Christ and listen to His voice and step out.
- Kept everything familiar to the side. God’s voice is not predictable. Abraham let go.
Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was called the Iron lady. One day the Finance minister John Major, in her cabinet went to the parliament as usual. That day because of some political conditions, Margaret Thatcher had resigned as the PM and John Major was made the PM. The media got to know of this and reached his home and met his wife. They referred to him as the Pm and she refused that title. She wasn’t aware. She kept insisting that he was not the PM but he was the finance minister. There was a sudden shift!
- Even your family members will not know. The Lord has kept something for you. God has called you for certain things that even you and your family don’t know.
The Holy Spirit will cause you to witness great shifts in your life. When God directs us, we can leave in courage.
- The FAMINE TEST
Genesis 12:10- 10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.
- In Genesis 12, we see that Abraham left and moved forward and there was a famine in that land. He failed this test. When there was a famine, he went to Egypt tempted by the greenery there. When famine came he did not listen to the voice of is God. Of his own wish, he went to Egypt. He went to Potiphar’s house. Hagar too joined their lives from Egypt.
Certain things enter your life, because you have not listened to God’s voice. You need to know that if God called you, he knows how to look after you even in famine.
Famine times is abundance for a child of God. When there is famine in the world, those of us who worship the Lord will experience abundance.
God said, many during Corona saw a dip in business, but for those who worship God, even in the midst of it, there is abundance and growth.
- The Lord is brining new souls. The church did not diminish in the time of corona, not a single bus is being let out into the city, still the church is filling up.
- Even during lockdown, God sent blessings into your homes. It is enough if you just obey God. • Noah built an ark upon listening to God. People may have made fun of him. Do not be upset if people make fun of you. God knows how to build you up and bring things to your doorsteps.
Genesis 13:3- And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
- Every step that you take without obeying God is a wasted step. It is wasted time. Abraham went to Egypt, travelled several kilometers, but he came right back the starting point again. He went on for several kilometers. But Abraham came back to the place where he had first built the altar.
Do not be heavy because of the wasted time, if you come back to Him, the heavens are faithful to direct you again.
- THE FELLOWSHIP TEST
- Lot too had a lot of herds and cattle. There was strife between the workers of Lot and Abraham. Abraham said, “this not going to work. You choose what you want Lot. If you go north I will go south. If you go east, I will go west.” Abraham did not say “I am your senior, you are my junior. I came to the Lord before you and you need to listen to me. I will choose first”!
Spirituality is not seniority. You need to let go what you need to let go.
Genesis 20:14-15- 4 Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.
- Abimelech saying to Abraham take what you want from my kingdom.
- When you let go of few things, God will release HIS blessings to you. If you are willing to let go, in love, in faith, and forgive by faith among your circles, God will send rulers, influencers, landlords who will be raised just to bless you and give you more than what you need, over and above what you gave.
- If you hold on, you miss out. Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt. Let go.
- If someone takes 1 cent of your 10 cents, we create a real ruckus. But let go. If you keep holding into this, it will not be a blessing to you. That is a sign of spirituality.
- Abraham got the desert and everything that was green and lush was Lot’s. Even you get a desert, do not be afraid. God is able to make it green for you.
Mathew 14: 13, 15- 13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” 19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
- Jesus went into a deserted place. Two verses earlier, it was a deserted place and after 2 verses, there was grass in the same place! If you obey God, where you saw dryness and unfruitfulness, God will cause the grass to sprout up.
- May people told me not to buy this deserted place for the church, but God brought fruitfulness out of it. But I just obeyed what God told me to do. If you listen to God’s WORD, there will be greenery there.
Genesis 13:14- 14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward;
- When Lot left, God spoke to Abraham and said lift up your eyes and see. In the earlier chapters, we see that Abraham had not heard God’s voice for a long time. God had never told Abraham to take Lot with him. Block and unfriend people that you need to. This is difficult but you need to do it. If you do so, God will speak to you.
If some relationships are with you, you can’t hear God’s voice.
Genesis 13:18- 18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by [a]the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.
- Hebron means communion, fellowship with God. Do you have fellowship with God? In whichever relationship, if a friend is stopping you from having fellowship with God, get out of it. Then God’s voice will descend for you.
- The FIGHT TEST
- In Genesis 14, we see that five kings were defeated by four kings. They were mighty strong. Abraham got the news that these four kings were out to defeat them. 318 people who were born and raised in Abraham’s house went on to defeat them under Abraham’s leadership. Abraham won. It is not in People power, muscle power, Nuclear Bomb, but if you have 318 people with God’s presence, even if a big army comes against you, God is the one who gives victory.
- Why are you afraid of? If God be for us, who or what can be against us. No matter who come against us, God is with you! Even if they were only 318 who prayed, worshipped, stayed faithful, walked with God, they are more than enough. They are sufficient!
- This morning certain unique capabilities are being released on some of you. Don’t be afraid. Know that God is with you. He is releasing grace upon you.
- The FORTUNE TEST
Genesis 14:21-22- 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to
you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”
- In Genesis 14, after the victory we see that the king of Sodom says to Abraham, keep the wealth and give me the people. But Abraham did not let go of his people. No matter what wealth you let of, there is a shepherd who will not let go of His people. Abraham says, I do not want even a sandal strap lest people say that you are the one that made me prosperous.
- My God will give me, bless me, provide for me according to His riches and glory in Jesus. Today people let go of their children to build their careers and forsake God
- Joseph was a good-looking boy with a Promise. Potiphar’s wife would keep tempting him. Daily. She must have said; my husband is not here. But Joseph would said, the Lord is here! We are a generation that will walk in the fear of the Lord.
- Joseph was not just denying to lay with her, he wasn’t even sitting with her! Walk with God, if you desire to hear HIS voice. I want to walk with my Jesus, do not even venture nearby that house! God is raising a generation that will be victorious.
- I don’t have the time to go through everything in detail but other tests include 6. The FATHER TEST
- The FAREWELL TEST
- Hagar was asked to leave as per the Lord’s voice. Abraham gave them some water and asked them to leave. That is all he could do. Even when that water was over, heavens opened a well for them. If someone sent you away with just a little bit of water, GOD will open up a well for you and your children.
- This is followed by Chapter 21 and then came Genesis 22:1 where God again tested Abraham.
The Msg Bible says: After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, “Abraham!” “Yes?” answered Abraham. “I’m listening.”
- God, after all this God tested Abraham. He says, “yes, I am still listening. If it were us, after all the tests, we would left and gone our way. But even after all these tests, Abraham said, I am still listening Lord. We would have complained to the Lord saying “I listened to you many a time but still nothing has happened and you are testing me still!”. God is still looking for people who will listen to Him.
If you are not still listening in Christian life, you are in danger. Jesus said. “My sheep will hear my voice and obey”.
- Just come to church and listen to some Word and keep listening to prophets. If you can’t listen to God’s voice, you are in great danger in your Christian life. “Lord, I want to still be listening to you. Direct me, Lord.’
- If there is no communication between the father and his children, what is the point? Imagine your father in the Gulf, calling your neighbour to ask about your wellbeing!
Many are out of range. You should not go out of range.
- In John 21, Jesus asks all the backslid children, “have you caught anything?” John says, that is the Lord. Peter did not understand. Peter was only following Jesus from a distance. John had to say it is the Lord. Others did not understand it was the Lord.
If you are following Him only at distance, you can’t hear and understand His voice.
- If you surrender once again, the voice of Jesus our Master will be very clear to you.
John 22:2- 2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
- Less talking and more listening. Here we see the Lord speaking to Abraham and saying, “The son that youlove, your son whom youlove”. We keep saying this- me, mine, my. On Mount Moriah, you need to surrender the “I, me, myself”. That is what you need to let go.
- Hold tight to the Lord instead and worship HIM. When you go to sacrifice, surrender and say Lord, this is yours. Only when you do that, is Presence will descend upon you. Your interest, your wish, your needs to be placed on the altar. That is where Jehovah Jireh was revealed. That is where Abraham understand that He is a God who provides.
Jesus says, I will provide for MYSELF. He tells Abraham, “Go to the mountain that I will show you” (not whichever mountain you want to go to).
You need to be positioned for His provision
- Brook Cherith is where you need to go to, Elijah. Only there the provision will come. You need to go to Moriah hill. That is where provision will come.
- Wherever God tells you to go and wherever He tells you to sacrifice, obey Him and that is where you will see His blessing.
Genesis 22:3- So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the [a]lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
- Will Abraham sleep the previous night if He has to sacrifice His only son the next day? He had earned this son at the age of 100 years! Despite this, he woke up early and said he needed to do what the FATHER in heaven was telling him to. They journeyed.
- Isaac was carrying the firewood. Abraham’s own flesh was carrying the firewood. However strong your flesh is (desire), you need to carry it and surrender and sacrifice it at His presence.
- Abraham took the fire. Not a lighter or a matchstick. It was a three-day journey to Mount Moriah. There was wind, wind and breeze. But Abraham made sure that the fire was not going off. You need to walk with the same fire.
In the midst of the journey, he had to walk without the fire going off.
- Lord do not let my fire and my giftings be quenched. No matter how much wind blows or who opposes me, do not let the fire go off. I will keep the fire. I will keep the fire. I will carry the fire!
- Let us be a generation that will walk without the fire going off. Put into flame the Gift of God that is within you. Your ministry, your authority, your calling should not leave your life. The journey might be long, but don’t put out the fire.
- Isaac is walking with him and following his father’s footsteps.
Is there anybody who is following the footsteps of the father? That is where Jehovah Jireh is revealed.
- Are you willing to follow your father? How can God not provide for you if you are following His footsteps. Jesu himself followed the footsteps of the father.
- There Abraham built an altar, tied Isaac’s feet and hands and Isaac stood there as a sacrificial lamb. How will not GOD provide? Isaac was at a place where he should have asked Abraham maximum questions. But he never spoke a single word. Abraham, was about to sacrifice him and there the voice of God reached him and said STOP!
Not your zeal but your obedience is more important. Only those who can hear God’s voice can understand this.
- Abraham first took the lamb and sacrificed it on the altar even before he could hug and cuddle his son who he thought he would lose. When God blesses you on the way do not forget why he first called you. It is to worship him in spirit and in truth, it is not to kiss your Isaac.
- You may have businesses, jobs, careers but God called you first to be His worshipper. The Lord may give you a great family life, but your key purpose is to please God in all your ways. Have you forgotten why you first stepped out and came into this church?
- Why did God call you in the first place? You got Isaac, you got the blessing, now everything else has become a show. I want to worship My Jesus for who He is and not for anything else.
Genesis 22:23- 23 And Bethuel begot [a]Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
- Bethuel begot Rebekah. In that same chapter when Isaac lies down on that altar to be sacrificed, the woman that will marry him was born. All in the same chapter! • Hallelujah. This is a shadow. When Jesus was dying on the Cross, the church was born! The bride of Christ was born. Are you a part of that church? I love you Jesus.
When Jesus was dying on the Cross, the church was born! The bride of Christ was born
- Have you obeyed him? Listen to HIS voice when you go through various trials. He will protect you and bring you through if you obey HIS voice. It is lasted time to do what GOD has not told you to do.