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Living by Faith (Vol 26) - Abraham's Faith - Promises #2

Sunday English Service - 10 FEB 19


Please turn with me to Hebrews chapter 11 and let me read to you verse 8. 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. From Hebrews chapter 11 we've been teaching it verse by verse, we've been learning about faith, living by faith, or the life of faith. It is a New Testament epistle. It's called the epistle to the Hebrews because it is written to Hebrew or Jewish converts to Christianity in the first century. They're undergoing a lot of problem, a lot of persecution, ridicule from the Jewish community. So, the author of this epistle is writing to encourage them in the midst of all that they're experiencing, to encourage them in their faith in Christ. So, Hebrews chapter 11 is a wonderful chapter that focuses on lot of the great personalities of the Old Testament and through their life, he begins to teach the New Testament Christians new covenant truths. Even though the old and the new covenant there are differences and so on, it is wrong to say that the old covenant or the Old Testament books have become irrelevant for us today because we are living in the new covenant. The old actually, foretells the new. You can understand the new sometimes better when you look at the old. The new is played out in the new. So, the old is still very relevant truth that is why he can use personalities like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so on and teach faith to the New Testament Christians. So, that is what is happening here.

In verse 8 which we read just now, talking about how by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance, God promised him a land. And when he was promised that, he went out not knowing where he went. So, he is referring to the whole call of Abraham. And why he's talking about it to the people of his time, the first century Christians, because this plays out before our eyes. The story of salvation, how God calls a man to salvation, it is wonderfully played out in the Old Testament story of Abraham. So, we talked about God's call of Abraham, how he was in idol worshipping community, totally lacked the knowledge of God, lived as part of a culture and a community that did not know the living God, and God reaches out to him and picks him up from that. From a rock, He really cuts him out, from that culture, from that ignorance, from that darkness He picks him up and brings him out. From the hole He picks him up, Isaiah says. Isaiah tells the Jewish people, “Remember the rock from which He hewed you out. Remember the hole from which he dug you out.” He’s referring to Abraham. “Where your forefather came from. He’s part of a totally another culture, another way of life. But look what God has done. He has taken you and brought you,” he says.

When God called him like that, not only God brought him out of the darkness, ignorance and all of that from a totally different culture and so on, He also told him to leave his country and his family and come and follow Him. Country and the people, he must leave. Now, I told you how we must take that. Christianity, we don't teach like that today. We don't tell people to leave their country when they come to believe in Jesus. We don't tell the people to leave their people. We remain in the country of our origin many times and we remain with our people, but yet in a certain way we come out. We walk out of that old way of life. It is talking about a separated life. I showed you that in the New Testament, that same teaching is given. God told Abraham to, “Leave your country, leave your people, go out.” And in 1 Corinthians 6, we see Paul telling Christians to leave those filthy things that they have been involved in before their salvation, before they came to Christ and not touch them, not have anything to do with them and leave and depart from them and go. Same call basically, if you understand it rightly. That is still relevant to us. Abraham's call contained that separation from the old, an identification with the new and that is what is happening with the Christians here. That is why this author can use it wonderfully here.

Now, today we want to take you a little further in this thing, and I want to talk about the promises that were given to them. Now, the call came with promises and I'll show you today before it's over that when God calls you to salvation, it is always accompanied by promises. Wonderful promises. So, no different with Abraham. God calls him but look at the promises, wonderful, amazing promises. Chapter 12 of Genesis is where we have the call of Abraham. Let me read to you verses 1 to 3 and then verse 7. Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family, from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 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.” Now, verse 7. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” 

Now, in English, the promises that God gave comes out very clearly. In Tamil, it comes out as a sentence so it is not distinctly seen there. But in English it is seven I wills, seven ‘I will’ statements. So, it is easily identifiable. Seven times God says, “I will, I will, I will, I will.” That is why I showed you the difference between the 11th chapter and the 12th chapter. The 11th chapter is where the people went to build the Tower of Babel and so on. God had to come and confuse them so that their project will be aborted and so on. It's an ungodly man's project to glorify himself. So, 11th chapter is a chapter about people living without God and 12th chapter is exactly the opposite, a man living under God. In the 11th chapter, the most distinct thing there is, people say to one another, “Come, let us go here, let's live here. Let's do this.” They speak to one another. God is not speaking to them. There is no guidance of God. There is no God to give them wisdom, God to reveal His will, nothing. They are speaking to one another. It's their brain, their wisdom, their understanding, their desires, that's all mattered. They are people without God. But chapter 12 is a totally different thing. It begins by saying, “And God said to Abraham,” here God is speaking to a man. In chapter 11, secondly, I showed you that they looked at the land and they chose a place to go to and live there. Here God comes and speaks to Abraham and says, “I will show you a land and you go there.” What a difference. Here is a man totally dependent upon God. The third thing is, they say in chapter 11, those ungodly people say, “We will build a city and we will build a temple so that we will have a great name and fame.” This is their project. In chapter 12, God tells Abraham, “I will make you great. You don't try to make yourself great, I will make you great.”  See, there is a big difference between how the world lives and how you and I live. There's a total difference between how 11th chapter goes and how 12th chapter goes.

So, seven I wills. God says, “I'll do this, I'll do that,” and so on. So, let's look at the seven I wills and I just want to go through that quickly to say a few things about it. But then I want to show you how as New Testament Christians we must take it. How do we take the promises that God made to Abraham? There’s a big confusion about it because a lot of people say, “Well, those are things that are promised to Abraham. Abraham was Old Testament. These promises belong to Abraham and his descendants and not for us and so on.” This I've heard a lot of times. Therefore, I want to show you how to take that, how to take this thing and apply to us if with Abraham everything ends, if the Old Testament and Abraham’s story is about what God told Abraham and his descendants, then how can the author of the epistle of Hebrews use it here to teach anything to the Christians? It becomes irrelevant to the Christians then. I'll show you that it is not so. I'll show you how we must apply it. We showed you how we must apply the statement, “Leave your country and leave your family.” I showed you that it's a separated life. The New Testament teaches it as a separated life where you separate from the world and the worldly way of doing things and identify with a new way. That is the way the New Testament teaches; the call is very similar. This is the meaning with which you should apply. Similarly, I'll show you how to take the promises of God and apply to yourself today so that you can live under the blessing of Abraham.

So, let's go over the seven ‘I will’ statements. Let me first state the seven ‘I will’ statements and then we will look at them one by one. First is, “I will show you a land,” That is verse 1. “The land that I will show you,” He says. Secondly, “I will make you a great nation.” That's verse 2. Thirdly, “I'll bless you,” that’s verse 2. And fourthly, “I will make your name great,” that is also verse 2. And fifthly, “I will bless those who bless you.” And sixthly, “I will curse those who curse you,” that is verse 3. And seventhly, “To your offspring, I will give you this land. I'll give this land to your offspring.” That is verse 7. So, the seven statements. Let's go through them one by one.

First, I will show you a land. The Bible says that God looked at all the lands that are flowing with milk and honey, one prophet says, don't have the time to go through all the verses but one prophet says, God looked through all the lands that were flowing with milk and honey and chose the best among the lands that were flowing with milk and honey for them and made it ready, then only called them. When He called the people of Israel from the slavery in Egypt and told them, “I will take you to a good and a vast land,” this is Exodus chapter 3 verse 8 and 9. I'll take you to a good and vast land flowing with milk and honey. There are many verses that carry the description of the land. The land is a very important idea in the Bible, it is a very important truth for the New Testament people also. The land signifies the life that is in Christ Jesus. The Psalmist, for example, says, “You have brought us to a wealthy place,” he says. What is the place? That place is not Canaan land. We can get on a flight and go to Palestine and land up there and claim Canaan land as ours. The wealthy place that the Psalmist is talking, he has understood the message right, it's the place of redemption. It's life in Christ. The wealthy place is in Jesus and all that Jesus brings to us. So, God brings them to such a land. He has prepared a land. The Bible talks about how He has even prepared a land with houses, wells and plantations and so on, so that you will live in a house that you never built and drink out of the wells that you never dug and eat out of the plantations that you've never planted. So, God has prepared it well. So, this talks about how in and through redemption, God prepares for us. And I'll show you when we come down to it later when I show you the meaning and how to take this, you'll see that God prepares for us a savior, prepares for us the blessings and then only comes and saves us. This is the New Testament truth.

So, Donald Grey Barnhouse is a preacher that I like very much, preaching back in America, in the Presbyterian Church in the 50s and 60s. Very famous for his preaching on the book of Romans, verse by verse and so on. And even after he died, until today, he's heard on radio. He was very famous on radio back in the 50s and the 60s. Millions of people literally heard him every day. He says this, “If it makes no difference, where it is or what its geology and geography, if the Lord leads us there it is the land for us. If the Lord does not lead us, it can never be the right land even though it is paved with diamonds.” So, the land is God prepared life for us, the redemptive blessings and the life that God has prepared for us.

Secondly, “I'll make you a great nation,” God says. Now, Martin Luther made a big deal out of this. He said, “This is one of the most outstanding, most important passages of all the Scripture,” he says. “It sounds also very impossible, unbelievable and untrue.” If you follow reason, you can't see how this is possible because Abraham was already 70 years old. His wife was 10 years younger to him, beyond the child -bearing age. No possibility of bearing a child but God promises them that He will make them a great nation. He will not only give them land, the most interesting thing is He will make them a great nation, they don't even have one child. And Abraham believed, that is the most amazing thing about that. This is where the Old Testament truth is very important. This is trying to illustrate how salvation is totally the work of God. Nothing comes out by man's efforts.

In the Protestant doctrine, they teach certain things that are very important truths like faith alone, by grace alone, by the word alone, and so on. The five alones, the statements, are great doctrines of the of the Reformation. Those things are taught wonderfully and illustrated wonderfully in the Old Testament itself in the story of Abraham, particularly. Justification by faith, and by grace alone, by faith alone, all of these things are taught here wonderfully. So, here is a man and a woman who cannot even produce a child but God takes them in that state where everything is impossible. If anything should happen to them only God must do it. This is salvation. Salvation is not man reforming himself, it is not some man changing a little bit here and there and becoming better, it is something where God is presented with an impossibility that man is in sin, he's deep in his sin, he is lost, it is impossible to turn him around. But God comes in there, turns the impossibilities to possibilities. And that is why God picks a man like that. Where everybody says it's not possible God says, “It's possible. Not only will I give him a child, will I give him the seed like the stars of the sky, the sand of the sea, the dust of the earth, I'll make him a nation. I'll do it,” God says. Salvation is God's work. God says, “I will do it. It's my work. I will do it.” No matter how deep a person is in sin, how lost he is, how impossible he is to turn around, God says, “I will do it. I can do it.” How many of you believe that God can do it? Salvation is where God shows His mighty power. God shows His power much more in salvation than in creation, than in splitting the Red Sea, and making the manna come out of heaven and all that. God demonstrates His power in salvation and these are all things to convey that kind of a truth.

Thirdly, God says, “I'll bless you.” Look at how God blessed Abraham. Amazing ways God blessed him. God blessed him in his business. He was raising cattle, that was his business, and God blessed him and increased him. So that chapter 13 verse 2 says, Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold and male and female servants. So, Abraham had a battalion. I remember reading in one of the famous Bible notes, I think, Scofield notes, where it's talking about Abraham living in a tent. We think tent means hut because we think of tent like that. But Abraham lived in tents, he never built a house. Rich man but never built a house. We’ll talk about that later on why he never built a house. Just imagine how frustrating it would have been for his wife. She would have thought, “What this man is doing? He's got so much money he’s not even building a house. What's wrong with you?” But he doesn't want to build a house because he wants to convey a spiritual truth. And we'll come to it later on.

But the thing is this, Abraham was such a blessed man and he became so wealthy in livestock, silver, gold, male and female servants. God prospered his family and blessed him in every way. In spirit, soul and body, became the friend of God. He had a great favor of God. He had a status in society. If you read chapter 13 it says that he was rich, in chapter 14, he was feared by everyone. He was able to defeat kings. This is the way story of Abraham goes. So, God had blessed him and given him status, given him power financially and raised him up in the society and so on. So, God says, “I'll bless you.” Does this blessing in some way belong to us? Think about it, we’ll come to it later on.

Fourthly, “I will make your name great and you will be a blessing,” He says. I’ll make your name great. The name of Abraham becoming great. In what way is Abraham's name great? I'm sure for 4,000 years, people from Jewish backgrounds, Arabic backgrounds, as well as Christian backgrounds were proud to name their children Abraham because the name Abraham was a proud name to have. So, people always love to name their children Abraham. And 4,000 years, this has been happening in at least three different major communities of the world. Just imagine how many thousands and maybe even millions of children over the history have been named Abraham. But the greatness of his name is not just because of how many people carried his name, it is because what that name represented. That name represented the blessing, Abrahamic blessing. Abraham is known for his blessing. Two things he's known for in the New Testament, is often referred to: the blessing of Abraham and the faith of Abraham. That's the name known for, blessing and faith. So, that is what makes his name great.

God said, “I'll make your name great.” Today, we're going to preach so many weeks on Abraham and I've preached so many years about Abraham, still it's not over. I'm still learning a lot of things about Abraham. Such is his name. God has prospered his name, God has made his name great. His name stands for every blessing that God could give mankind. His name stands for how a man can believe God and believe the impossible and walk in the supernatural. His name stands for that. When you say the name of Abraham, it means all of these things. The name of Abraham is a great name.

Fifthly, I'll bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I’ll curse, sixthly. All right, let's look at those two together. History shows that this has been true. In reality, it happened exactly like that in Abraham's life as well as throughout all history in the Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament times, and currently it is happening in this way. History shows that God takes His promise very seriously and fulfills it and continues to fulfill it. You see, even in Abraham's days, you remember, he leaves his country and everything and comes out to go to the land that God has called him. In 12th chapter itself, you see that he encounters a famine in the land where God had called him. And to escape from famine, to get some food, he goes into Egypt and the Egyptian King, the pharaoh, looks at his wife and he's attracted to her and they lied saying that, “We are brother and sister.” In those days anything would happen if you had a beautiful wife, somebody with the power of a king can kill you and take your wife. So, they lied and as a result the man takes his wife thinking that it's his sister and gives him a big dowry. Just imagine a king's dowry. Truckloads would have come, cattle, male, female servants, gold, silver everything arriving in Abraham's house because this brother-in-law is getting a big dowry.

But nighttime God spoke to that king. He said, “If you touch her, you’re a dead man. She’s another man's wife.” So, morning he called Abraham and said, “Why did you lie to me? You didn't tell me it's your wife. I've not done anything wrong. I would have done something wrong but I have not touched her. Please take her and go.” And I think Abraham said, “What about all the truckloads you sent?” The king said, “Take it and go. Leave me alone.” So, Abraham walks out of there. That is where you come to 13th chapter that Abraham came out of Egypt, verse one says, and verse two says he was very rich. God in the time of the greatest famine in the world, where the whole world was going through a famine, took him to Egypt and made him rich and brought him out.

And God never forgot the favor that pharaoh did for Abraham by making him rich so that centuries later, in Joseph's days, God sends Joseph into Egypt, just before a big famine was to arrive, and helps the Egyptian government to have a policy where they will store grain and totally escape the famines. And the rest of the world was suffering from famine but they had a revelation from God through Joseph. So, they stored all the grain that was needed so nobody died of famine there. And people from all these other countries had to come to Egypt and rely on pharaoh to get their food. So, they came and gave their lands, they give their money, when the money was run out, they gave their lands to pharaoh. God made pharaoh rich, literally and made Egypt a superpower. The blessing of Abraham. Because God said, “I'll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you,” God blessed this man who helped Abraham, paid him back. How many of you remember, the Bible says that if you give to the poor, you lend to the Lord and He will pay you back? And God gives good interest, my friend.

And more than what pharaoh gave to Abraham, he got back abundant blessing. But many centuries later, those very same people that enjoyed the blessings through Joseph forgot who Joseph was and started persecuting them because they became jealous, because these people prospered in the land of Goshen and they became very jealous because of their prosperity. And so, they wanted to kill all the male children so that this race, the Jewish race, will not prosper, that Abraham's children will go extinct. So, the king orders the people that attend to those that are giving birth... In those days, midwives helped those that were giving birth, the king ordered them to kill male children and allow the females to live so that there will not be an increase in their population. See, back then they were worried about population. Why that population is increasing? So, king thought, “I have a good idea. Kill all the male children. Let the female children live.” And do you know what happened? Let me read to you from 16th verse in Exodus chapter 1. It's a very wonderful story. Look at the order. “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God... God is working in the hearts of the midwives who don't even know God. The midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them... the news goes to the king, that they’re not killing all the male children. He called them and asked them, “Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?” And the midwives said to pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.” They're lively means they're very strong people. These women are very strong that before the midwife goes to attend to the childbirth, these people are able to give birth and go on as if nothing happened. They're very alive. They say they're very strong. And the midwives said to pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women. They’re lively, gave birth before the midwives came to them.”

Verse 20. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives. That means God blessed the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very mighty. The people of Israel as a result became very numerous. That's what it means. And verse 21. And so it was, because the midwives feared God... listen to this, that He provided households for them. That means He gave them families because the midwives helped save the lives of these male children that God increased them also, God blessed them, gave them families, increased them. In Tamil a beautiful word is used – avarkalai thazhaika panninaar - that sentence means, that God prospered them in every way so that they increased and they became mighty. The midwives they were blessed because they blessed Abraham's children. They were blessed because God said, “I will bless those who bless you.” When the people of Egypt got very mad and persecuted them, made them slaves, God in the end dumped them all in the Red Sea, their chariots and horses and their soldiers died in the Red Sea, immersed there and the people of Israel crossed over. God is keeping His promise. “I'll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Is this blessing ours? Think about that. It happened literally.

And, you remember the story of Rahab? She was a prostitute living in the city of Jericho. When the people of Israel were about to enter the promised land, they sent a couple of spies to spy out the land, and the spies landed in the house of this prostitute. She hid them there and gave them all the news about what was going on in that city and allowed them to escape the next day safely. And as a result, the people of Israel took over Jericho, captured Jericho, killed everyone there, destroyed the city, burned it down except Rahab and her family. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you,” came to reality that day. Even after entering Canaan the promised land, people of Israel were required to drive out everyone and destroy everyone and take over the land. But they did not do that to Gibeonites. Gibeonites were a group that managed to strike a deal, an agreement, with the people of Israel, came into a covenant with the people of Israel. Therefore, just that one tribe of people were saved, the Bible says. These are biblical stories that happened in bible history itself, that God was continuing to keep His promise which He said, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.”

Now, Barnhouse again, Donald Grey Barnhouse. I like him. He's a Bible believing preacher. That's why I like him. He believes the Bible. Barnhouse writes, “When a man dies, a physician has to give a death certificate.” The main thing in the death certificate is the cause of death, heart attack and so on. They’ll write what the cause of death is. He says, “When a nation dies, and when you write a death certificate for a nation that dies, or a kingdom that dies, very often the cause of death of that nation or that kingdom will be their persecution of the Jews, that they mistreated the Jews,” he says. And he quotes several instances. He says, “When Greeks overran Palestine, they desecrated the altar in the Jewish temple and what happened? As a result, later on, they were conquered by Rome.” The Greek culture, language, everything was dominant in those days. They spread it everywhere. And it was a dominating factor in those days, but totally disappeared also. They erased them out completely when the Romans came. The Romans took over. And Rome later on became very bad also. They are the ones that killed Paul and many saints of God. Burnt them, kill them persecuted them. In the first, second, and third centuries, there was such great persecution there. And as a result, what happened? Rome fell later on. They got paid back. God said, “I’ll bless those who bless you, curse those who curse.”

Rome which ruled the world. They said they governed very well. Their laws were so good. Talking about good governance, they had good governance. The roads which they laid are still there. So effective. We don't know lay roads like that. It only lasts for three months. The Roman roads are still there. They're such good government, but it didn't matter, they persecuted the Jews and they were gone. Rome as a kingdom, as a superpower, fell and today no traces of it left. It’s history, gone completely. How can a kingdom that ruled over so many nations and tribes and people completely disappear? It’s gone.

Spain. Spain is another country where the Jews were hunted and persecuted, and as a result, they were reduced to a fifth-rate type of nation after that. Poland fell after the persecution of the Jews also. A nation that should have risen up and shined, but never did it because of the persecution of the Jews. Germany. Germany, among European countries, it was a very prosperous country. That is where Protestantism was born and as a result of Protestantism itself it prospered. Literacy rate was the highest among Europe and they were the most educated people, they were coming up with all kinds of inventions and so on. But under Hitler, when they persecuted Jews, the importance of the nation was reduced and they lost it. Even Britain, when they failed the support Israel, Barnhouse writes that they lost their empire. The British lost their empire as a result of that. Now, this is history all the way from the beginning to the end that I just quoted to you. The words, “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.” God has not forgotten that. It seems like God is keeping that all the time.

Seventhly, God says, “I'll give your offspring, your descendants, this land.” At the time when God said it, it looked so totally impossible because Abraham was old, his wife was old. It seemed like it will never happen. How can God give the land to the descendants when he doesn't even have descendants and there is no possibility of descendants? But God says, “I will do it.” See, the work of salvation, this inheritance, all of it depends upon God. It's a work of God's grace and God's power. God did it.

In the next few minutes, I just want to show you how do we take it in the New Testament times? How does the New Testament teach this? Is it true when God calls a man to salvation that it’s is accompanied by wonderful promises? A lot of Christian people fail to recognize this. When God calls a man to salvation, is it accompanied by promises? Does God say, “You come, I'll bless you. You come, I’ll prosper you. You come, I'll give you victory. You come, you'll be a different person. You come. That when you come to Me that significant change will come into your life, that everything that you're missing and everything that you're seeking and longing for you can receive.” Does God promise any blessing like that when He invites people to salvation? That's the question. To Abraham, God called him to salvation and with the promises, sevenfold promises that has to do with spirit, soul and body, the work of his hands, his material side, everything, all those blessings he was given.

Is it true today that when God calls a man to salvation, or woman to salvation, is it accompanied with promises? Turn with me to Matthew chapter 11. I'll show you just three different passages to show you that. Matthew 11 verse 28. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He is inviting people who are heavy laden, who are carrying the burdens of life, life is not what it should be. And Jesus is saying, “Come unto Me, all you are burdened and are heavy laden, burdened with life, suffering through life. You're looking for answers to your problems, you got questions unanswered. You got confusion. You got worries, you got fears, you got failures. You're trying to go up, but you're not able to go up. Come to Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Now what is this rest? The concept of rest starts with Genesis chapter 2. In chapter 1, God creates the heaven and earth and finally on the sixth day He creates man. Six days of creation. The last and final creation of the sixth day is the creation of man. So, when God created man everything that man needs, He has already created. Finally, only, He created man. After He got through creating man, sixth day is over. What is next? The seventh day. What is the seventh day? Rest.

Chapter 2 begins like this. 1 verse 1 says that God made the heaven and earth. And then verse 2 says that God made man. And then it says, then it was the sixth day and in the seventh day God rested from his labors. That's the way the chapter begins. God rested from His labors on the seventh day. God worked six days, rested from His labors. So, I can imagine God makes man at the end of the sixth day, Adam opens his eyes and sees that he’s in the seventh day. Asks God, “God, what is the program?” God says, “Rest.” Rest. He hasn't even started living yet but rest. God introduces man to rest first, then only to work. Important truth. First rest then work. Hello. Why? The world says, “First work then rest.” God says, “First rest then work.” What did rest mean there in 2nd chapter of Genesis? What is the meaning of this word rest? See, when God said, “Today is rest,” why rest? Where is my food going to come from? Where am I going to live? How my needs are going to be met? What's going to happen? God says, “Rest because last six days I've been working. I've been preparing heaven and earth for you, sun, moon and the stars, the plants and herbs and trees and fruit and fish and the birds and the animals, everything. I've been preparing for you. Six days I have worked to prepare everything for you. Therefore, rest.”

So, man began the first day of his life with rest. What is rest then? Rest is knowing that all my needs are supplied by my God. My God is the source of every good thing. He has supplied all my needs, I don't need anything. My God made me and before He made me, He made sure everything is there. What kind of rest it will bring? Nobody needs to say to Adam, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” He said, “No, no, I'm not burdened. I'm not heavy laden. I'm not worried. I'm not afraid. I am not apprehensive about what's going to happen. I'm not worried about the inflation and all that business. I'm not worried about whether the stock market is doing well or not. I'm not worried about GDP. I am assured that God has done everything well for me, prepared everything for me. Therefore, I trust in him. I live in the life that He has provided me. He has made the provision, I just enter into it.” So, entering into God's provisions is rest. Living in God's provisions is rest. Hello. Are you there?

So, Jesus says to people, “You’re burdened, heavy laden, worried about tomorrow? Worried about what you’ll eat, what you will drink, what you’ll be clothed with, worried about your sins, worried about so many things? Don't have happiness in your home, don't have peace, confused, torn apart, your life is in a mess? Come to Me all ye that are burdened and are heavy laden, I will give you rest.” In other words, He's saying, “Look, whatever you're looking for in spirit, soul and body in every area of life, I've already prepared and readied. That's what salvation is for. And I'm calling you to salvation. Come to Me, I will give you rest,” He says. “Come, enter into this rest, trust in Me, believe in Me that I am the source. I will give you rest.”

Then He says, verse 29, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” “Come and learn from Me,” He says. “Take My yoke upon you. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Jesus came to make life a little easier and light. I'm not saying that every day is going to be like heaven or anything like that. But I'm saying you can have days like heaven on this earth, and you can have times of refreshing. Life doesn't have to be hell, life can have all kinds of joy and peace and happiness. And even in the midst of turmoil and problems and difficulties and struggles in so many ways, you can have the peace of God and the confidence that God is with you, that God will help you, that everything is going to be all right. That's what rest means. Hello? Are you there? “Learn from Me,” He says, “Come to Me. Learn from Me.”

When you come and become a Christian believer, you're hooked up with Jesus. The people that use the oxen to plow their lands, how they do it is this it seems. The ones that do it really well they put an experienced ox on one side and inexperienced new one on the other side because the new one doesn't know where to go, what to do, and the burden is too much for it. It can't carry anything. But the experienced one has been doing it for many years. It's nothing. It's something that it's done for so long. So, the experienced one is much stronger also. So, it carries most of the burden, it knows the way, how to go and what to do. So, the new one has to simply give its neck, join with it, and just go wherever he goes. And pretty soon this one becomes experienced.

First you may say, “Oh, it's too difficult. I may not be able to do it.” But once you join the experienced one, you will become an expert also. That's what happens when you come to Christ. You take His yoke upon you. His yoke is easy, His burden is light. You go along with Him. He will teach you. He says, “Learn from Me. I'll teach you,” He says. “I'll teach you how things can be easy. I’ll teach you to trust in God. I'll teach you to believe God. I'll teach you to have faith in God.” God teaches Abraham faith, I'll show you that. Abraham was not a perfect man. Many times, he was not able to believe. He struggled, he did things wrong. Unbelievingly he goes and does things in a carnal way to make things happen. That's how he got a child through another woman. But God teaches him faith, chose him and as a result he has now become the father of faith. He’s the great example of how faith works.

So, does God promise amazing things when He calls a person to salvation? Here is the proof. Matthew 19. And in the story, you remember... I just want to make it short. Remember that this man comes and says, “Rabbi, what should I do to receive eternal life?” And Jesus said, “Well, do all what the Ten Commandments say.” And the guy says to Jesus, “Well, I've been doing it all through my life. Ever since I was little, I was doing it.” But the truth is, he could not have been possibly doing it because the Ten Commandments were never given so people can do it. Ten Commandments were given to prove that people can't do it. It was given so that they will try to do it and in the end cry to God saying, “Lord, I'm trying so hard, I can't do it. And then God will say, “You can't do it. By the law can no man be justified.” “Then how can I be justified? Oh, deliver me from this wretchedness. Sin is abiding in me. I'm not able to get rid of it. I'm not able to do it. The law of God is good, but I'm not able to do what the law says.” It causes you to cry out to God when you get a knowledge of what law is. Paul says, when I understood the 10th commandment, that is how I learned that I was a sinner. Otherwise he was impeccable pharisee in his own eyes. That he didn’t have anything wrong. He couldn't see himself as a sinner. But one day, I saw the 10th commandment, the meaning of it.” What is the 10th commandment? The first nine commandments are about doing and not doing something, do's and don'ts. The 10th commandment has nothing to do with what you do or don't do. It has to do with what is happening in your heart. It says, do not covet. You may not have done it but you have it in your heart. Do not covet.

So, this man was coveting, in his case he was coveting his money, his riches, his wealth. He has a lot of wealth. So, Jesus looks at him and feels very sorry for him because here is a nice young man, very rich, he thinks he's perfect. “From young age I've been doing all the commandments of God.” And Jesus looks at him and says, He wants to tell him, “No, no, no, you've not been doing it, you could not have been doing it.” Nobody has done what the law says. No one has ever fulfilled the law. Only Jesus has fulfilled the law. He wants to say it but the fellow will be offended. So, how to say it. We can learn a lot of things from Jesus.  Jesus says, “Go sell everything that you have and give it to the poor.” He never said that anybody except this man. Never said that to anybody. People take that verse and apply to everybody. “Sell everything, give it to the poor.” I say, “You do it first.”

Jesus never said it to anybody. Only to this man He said it. Jesus was buried in a rich man's grave. He didn't tell that rich man, “Give everything to the poor.” If he gave everything to the poor, he wouldn't have had a grave to bury Jesus. He didn’t tell Zacchaeus who gave four times as much as he took illegally from people and half his wealth he gave to the poor when he got converted. He said, “I'll give half the wealth. Jesus didn’t say, “What about the other half? You cannot come to heaven if you don't give the other half.” No, He never said that. Why to this man He says, “Go sell everything that you have, give to the poor, then come and follow Me? Because this man's problem is the love of money. He’s sold out to his wealth. He lives for his wealth. He cannot come and receive eternal life because wealth is more important to him. That is the reason that God told Abraham, “Leave your country, leave your family, leave your everything.” See, you can follow Jesus only when you make Jesus the number one person in your life. As long as you have something else as number one, you cannot follow Jesus. That's the deal.

So, when Jesus said that, that man went away sad because he couldn't do it. See there, Jesus has proved that this man has not obeyed the Ten Commandments. Covetousness got him. And then Jesus says, “How hard is it for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God?” This is like eating halwa for our Indian Christians, “Oh, Jesus has said it brother. Preach it nicely.” That's why rich people don't come to church because these preachers are preaching rich men cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus corrected it because they were astonished. Plus, He said, “It's easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” That's a very favorite verse also for a lot of people. And disciples were astonished. They said, “Who then can be saved? Only poor people, only beggars who have nothing? Who then can be saved?” That's what they said. And Jesus says, “No, no. See, the rich people sometimes end up trusting their money more than God and they don't want to take their trust and put it in Jesus. That is why it's difficult for them to get saved. But it's not impossible with God. All things are possible with God.” God says. Look how many rich people God has saved today. There's a lot of rich people in the world that have accepted Christ and use their riches for His glory.

So, in that chapter 19 verse 21 Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you have. Give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come and follow Me. So, people think, “See, treasure in heaven, brother. In the earth you cannot have anything. That's what Jesus promised. He promised treasure in heaven.” Peter, hearing Jesus on that day, asked Him, “See, we have left everything and followed You.” Verse 27. “Therefore, what shall we have?” He says, “You say, you have to leave everything come and follow You. We left our business, we left everything to come and follow You. What shall we have?” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes. “You will judge with Me, you'll be like kings,” He says. And everyone who has left houses, listen to this, left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake. Now that sounds like what God told Abraham, “Leave your country, leave your people.” Anybody, for my sake who has left anything, houses, father, mother, brother, sisters, lands, houses, for my sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

Some people are not satisfied. See, He says that you'll receive a hundredfold maybe you'll receive it in heaven. See, Christian people like to shift the focus on heaven. That everything we can receive only in heaven. Nothing is promised here. Turn to chapter 10 of Mark, the same story comes and now Mark says it more emphatically here. Same verse 29. Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake, listen to this, and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time.” Hello. Everybody say now in this time. Now, in this time, hundredfold. Now, in this time, if you left anything you will receive now in this time, hundredfold “—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions”, because if you're going to get hundredfold blessing, some people are going to be mad at you, that's why persecution “—and in the age to come, eternal life.” Hello. This is what Jesus is offering that man. He says, “You sell everything. Come and follow Me. Trust Me. Put Me first. Don't trust your riches, trust Me. Come and follow Me.” And that man is thinking, “My God, I earned all this and He wants me to give up everything. I'll become a poor man.” Jesus says, “No, if anybody left anything for My sake or for the kingdom’s sake, I will give in this life. Can you trust Me for it? Can you leave your country, your father, mother, everybody, and come and follow Me? Can you make Me number one in life? I will show you that I will give you a hundredfold in this life.” This is the amazing promise of God that accompanies a man's salvation.

God says, “You come and follow Me. You will not be missing anything. You will not go empty handed. You will not go without any blessing. If you happen to give up anything for My sake or for the kingdom’s sake in this life and in the life to come, you’re going to have blessings.” So, don't tell me, like some people say, that in the New Testament Abraham's blessing don't apply. That is not true. This is all Abrahamic language. Just like He spoke to Abraham, “Leave everything and come. I will show you a land. I will bless you.” That's exactly what He's saying. Words are different but the concept is same. “I will bless you. I'll make you great. I’ll bless everybody that blesses you, curse everyone that curses you.” Words are different but exactly the same. “If you leave everything and come and follow Me, this is what I’ll do,” God says.

Finally, one verse and that I want to read in Amplified Version. Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 10. This verse you must always read in Amplified. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Now, look at how Amplified says it in Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 10, the Amplified Version. Listen to this. For we are His workmanship, within bracket [His own masterwork, a work of art], that is us, created in Christ Jesus. When God made us a new creation in salvation through Christ Jesus, He formed us and shaped us as a work of art. We are very wonderfully made, he says. [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set]. Beforehand means before the world even began. The Lord has prepared for us beforehand. In Hebrews chapter 4, it talks about people of Israel who failed to enter into the promised land because of their unbelief, hardness of heart. It says everything was prepared beforehand before the world began. It says in verse 4 if you read, Hebrews chapter 4 verse 4. Everything God prepared and got them ready and invited them to salvation, wanting to take them into the promised land, the good land. They have failed to enter. Why? Because of the hardness of their heart. But God had prepared it way before even before the world began Got had taken it, so that we would walk in them. See, God has prepared that land, so that we can walk in them, living the good life. Now listen to this, [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. Prearranged again refers to how He got everything ready.

That's a whole new sermon but let me just say, what does it mean it was all prearranged? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit got together before the creation itself came about, before even one man was made. And there Jesus was appointed as our Savior to do the work of salvation. A decree was passed that Jesus will do the work of salvation. That He will come and die for us on the cross and rise again and make a way of salvation. And the Holy Spirit will draw people to salvation. This is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit's plan. That is why the Bible says that Jesus is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Before the foundations were laid in the world, before the first man was created, God has already prepared a savior, God has prepared the land, the life, that is represented by the word ‘land’ promised to Abraham, represented by the word ‘inheritance’ in Hebrews 11:8. He was promised an inheritance. Your inheritance and my inheritance is the life in Jesus. Long before, Jesus has prepared it, got it ready.

Are you going to enter into it? It's yours, my friend. It's mine. He prepared it and then only came and saved us. He prepared this life for me, then only He saved me, then only He formed me in my mother's womb, then only He crafted me as a work of art, made me for this work, and made me born in this world. And don't look at me, you are made like that also. He formed you for something. The way you are made is for some reason. And I’ll tell you, walk into your inheritance. What is your inheritance? What is your job? What is the purpose of God in life for you? What is your inheritance in this world? What are you here to achieve? Walk into your inheritance and I’ll tell you that is the meaning of Christian life, that is the call of Abraham, that is the promise made to Abraham. Let's all stand together and we'll talk next week. Amen. I'm doing ministry today. This is part of the inheritance in Christ Jesus that God has given to me. What is your inheritance? For some people, doing business is your inheritance, living like that in this world is your inheritance. For some other people, some other thing, some job, some profession. Enter into your inheritance. Find meaning through Jesus in salvation, in the life that is in Christ. Enter into the land and possess everything that is yours. That is the story of salvation. Let's lift up our hands and give thanks.

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