A sermon for the Watford church of Christ
A sermon for the Watford church of Christ.
Opening question: How is your faith going to help you handle the latest tests to your life?
- Extension to lockdown is next phase of God refining us as people and a church
- How will we respond to not being able to see parents, relatives, homeschooling, no hugs with friends, no church services together etc?
- Abram’s world a tough place
- Conflict with relatives; wars etc. (following on from famine)
How can we summarise Abrahams perspective, attitude, character?
- How is his faith expressed and evidenced?
- In meekness – remember Sermon on the Mount from one year ago?
- Beatitudes – blessed are the meek
- “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5 NIV11)
- What is this meekness?
- “Meekness is a controlled desire to see the other’s interests advance ahead of one’s own.” Carson, 23. See Gal 6:1.
- “those who do not throw their weight about.” France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew. NICNT
- “Those who know how to use a sword, but keep it sheathed” Jordan B Peterson
- Not seen in some of our world leaders? What about us?
- Jesus lived like this
- Abram a tremendous example
1. Meekness takes us back to God, Gen 13.1-4
- He’s been humbled in Egypt
- Does not sulk
- Goes back to reconnect with God
- More ‘listening’!
- Even though God does not speak-yet.
- Dry times are not wasted
- Dry times are a preparation
- What does that look like for us?
- How do we respond to sin, guilt, regret?
- Whatever you have done there is a warm welcome from God waiting for you (remember the prodigal)
How do you know if you are meek?
- Consistent devotion
- We go to God even when he does not speak.
- We get strengthened by God whether we notice it or not
- We get equipped by God whether we notice it or not
- Looks to me like this ‘quiet time’ prepared Abram for the next challenge
2. Meekness helps us act like God, Gen 13.5-13
- Final recorded conversation with Lot
- Lot seeks material over spiritual
- Living by sight, not faith
- East – away from Eden
- Excellent example of how to deal with a dispute – notes on that in the podcast on this section
- Grace and meekness go together
- Last time tried to control his fate
- This time gives up control
- Not dominating the decision making
- Content with land – not necessarily the best land!
- Seeking benefit of the undeserving
- Like Jesus
- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:3–7 NIV11)
- Meekness demonstrated by generosity inspired by God’s generosity to us
- In what ways are we tempted into self-preservation?
- Are you generous by nature/habit?
- If not, the answer will not be in making yourself be generous, but in connecting with the source of generosity.
- Can we generous with time etc – in touch with one another
How do you know if you are meek?
- When you are generous towards other people
Interlude: Gen 13:14-18 – Meekness enables God to draw close to us and bless us
- Promises more expansive: “all…you see”; dust; forever
- Another altar – celebrating God’s mercy to him (after what happened in Egypt)
- When we own our faults, experience God’s generous mercy, we are able to draw closer to the heart of God.
3. Meekness helps us to act courageously for God, Gen 14.1-16, 21-24
- Lot near (Gen 13:12), now in (Gen 14:12)
- Meekness is not passivity
- Not his fight, but compassion moves him
- Firm against those who wish to harm Lot. Would not allow those he loved and felt responsible for to be taken advantage of, like Jesus and the apostle Paul
- Sign of a mature leader & Christian – compassionate, merciful, generous and courageous, sacrificial
- Strength and warmth. Jesus – grace and truth.
- “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIV11)
- Strength in his leadership:
- Prepared – 318 men trained, equipped and ready
- Takes initiative
- Cost in risk to his life, time, money (men on the battlefield not in the harvest field etc), lives (if some die or wounded)
- Emotional/spiritual – Lot getting what he ‘deserved’? Yet, Abram self-controlled and spiritual enough not to abandon him
- King of Sodom, vv21-24
- Handles his ingratitude and arrogance well, “give me…”. Very strong in the Hebrew.
- Integrity – could have become more rich, but God is the focus
- Lets king of Sodom know about God – he should have been impressed!
- When we are in a secure place with God (we are nothing, but God has chosen us), we are able to live a courageous faith.
How do you know if you are meek?
- When you fight for the benefit of other people
- In prayer
- Practically, for example, injustice
Conclusion, Gen 14.18-20
- Each God-like act brings a blessing from God (13:14-17; 14:19-20)
- Two-way relationship voluntarily offered – blessing and tithe
- Mel came to bless him because he saw God was with Abram
- People see this when we are generous and courageous in faith
- Meek in dependence on God
- Meek in generosity
- Meek in courageous action
- People who’s faith inspires them to live this way change the world and leave a spiritual legacy
- Impact multi-generational:
- “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”” (Revelation 7:9–10 NIV11)
- Bread and wine: Royal banquet
- What do you find attractive/unattractive about meekness?
- What do you find inspiring/challenging about Abram’s faith in these chapters?
- In which quality of meekness are you stronger in – grace/generosity/mercy/warmth, or, courage/confrontation/strength?
- What could help you to grow in the weaker area?
- How might you exercise your strength to its potential capacity?
- In what way do you sense God inspiring you to act in meekness this coming week?