Genesis 12:1-8- Being blessed, let us be a blessing! Pent. 16/Mission Festival 09/26/2019
By Pastor Ken Mellon, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Pleasant Valley Rd., West Bend, WI
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
God’s Word for missions is written in Genesis 12:1-8
This is Your Word, heavenly Father. Your Word is full of blessings for all who believe. Your Word…
Dear Christians, blessed by God,
We are celebrating mission festival. Our guest speaker for Sunday couldn’t be here tonight. But God will speak to us in His Word about mission work that takes place in our everyday lives.
As we have been blessed, let us be a blessing!
First, how thankful we should be for God’s blessing! We have a church. We have a beautiful organ to accompany our singing. We have large of group of believing members and a Christian school. The two mission churches that I started began with none of these. Abraham also started in life with a few blessings, but he was thankful for them. God brought him to faith when he was still living among people worshipping idols. Abraham was sinner like anyone else. But God chose him by grace. He said, “Get out of your country and away from your relatives and from your father’s house and go to the land that I will show you” (v.1). God called him to a new life. It was an honor for Abraham. But, it had challenges, too
With just his small family he left everything else behind. For us it would be like leaving our country to move to Iran, where Christians are hated. But God’s Word became Abraham’s protection, and that was better than an army! His promises convinced Abraham to trust God and move.
These were the promises God made to him: “I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. You will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse anyone who dishonors you. All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you” (v.2, 3).
Abraham trusted God and went to the Promised Land alone. As he entered the land, he was unknown. Yet, it wasn’t long before people knew him because of the powerful God who was with him. Even kings and the Pharaoh of Egypt knew him. When they wanted to take Abraham’s wife Sarah as their own wife, Abraham felt threatened and lied. When the kings found out the truth, rather than hurt him, they asked for his help. For God had so protected Abraham that the kings’ families were hurting. Their cure came when Abraham prayed for them. Through this, Abraham knew that God would keep His promises.
God also promised to bless those who were kind to Abraham. So many people treated him with respect. This made Abraham certain that wherever he traveled, the Lord would keep him safe. Even when Abraham doubted, God remained faithful!
How has God blessed us as His people in Christ? Here are some promises: “The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Although the devil is much more powerful an enemy than Abraham ever faced, God has rescued us from Satan’s power by sending His Son to crush the serpent’s head. Jesus, who won the victory at the cross and rose from death promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The Bible also states that even when we have what is considered a bad day, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthian 12:9). “This is the promise that He has promised us; eternal life” (1 John 2:25).
These wonderful promises of God were written nearly 2,000 years ago. Are they still valid? Jesus assures us: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Luke 21:33). God’s promises are certain. We know this because God sent His Son to be our Savior. Just as He promised, Jesus lived perfectly for us and died to pay for our sins and make us God’s people forever! These blessings are ours through faith in Him worked by the Holy Spirit as we hear His promises.
Second, a true faith shows itself by blessing others. We see Abraham’s faith by what he did. First, he moved to the Promised Land in “Canaan” (v.4, 5). Abraham realized that if he was to be a blessing to others, he needed to be where God guided him. We don’t need to second guess God and move from place to place wondering where God wants us to be. God has called to live by faith and bless others right where we are! If God truly wants us to move or make other changes, He will guide us to do so! Are we ready to serve where we are? It begins by having faith in God and being certain of His blessings no matter what our circumstances. Whatever we do, it should be to honor our God. Think of Joseph in Egypt. Life had its twists and downturns for him. But, through all the things that happened, God blessed him and made him a blessing for others. Abraham was the same way.
Abraham’s faith was shown by more than traveling to the Promised Land. God led him to proclaim His name to others. The Promised Land was full of people who worshipped false gods, yet Abraham openly expressed his faith in the true God. Our verse states, “He moved … to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent there…. There he built an altar to the Lord and proclaimed the name of the Lord” (v.8). Abraham knew that He had an awesome God who was greater than the gods that people claimed to have in Canaan. He worshipped God by publically making sacrifices to Him. He openly prayed before his family, his workers, and neighbors and they also got to know the true God!
That doesn’t mean that Abraham was perfect. He doubted God’s power to keep him safe at times. As I said before, he lied to kings saying that his wife Sarah was his sister when they wanted to marry her. Yet, Abraham received forgiveness. Paul wrote, “He did not waver in unbelief with respect to God’s promise, but he grew strong in faith, giving glory to God…” (Romans 4:21-22).
We can go through rough times. We may doubt that God will take care of us as His people, especially when we hurt or have problems. But, it is during those times that God shows He is faithful. We must cast aside our doubt, openly trust in God, and call on Him. Abraham’s life reminds us that God always keeps His promises. We have more proof of His faithfulness than with Abraham. God sent His Son just as He promised: to live for us, to suffer in our place for our sins, and to rise from death in order that we might be His people now in life and forever in heaven. In Christ, we can trust in God!
When we trust God’s promises it will show in our lives. When people are in doubt, we can be confident in the Lord. We can rejoice in the Lord who works for our good even in bad times. We can assure people we know that God loves them. When Abraham was blessed by God, he shared those blessings with everyone with him. And even as Abraham became a blessing to all nations by having Jesus as a descendent, so we can share the message of Jesus to people we know, and through our local and synod offerings we can help people across the country and around the world to know Jesus.
So, Abraham was a believer who heard the promises of the true God and followed. He received many undeserved blessings. In faith, he not only received them but shared them. Let this lesson of faith remind us of how God has blessed us in order that we can be a blessing to others for life! Amen.