A sermon for the Watford church of Christ

A sermon for the Watford church of Christ

Watershed moment: CH 12-16 all point to this moment
Interesting that this comes after the mess of Gen 16!
God’s long speeches: blessings; commands; answers
Abraham’s responses: falls down twice; laughter; question/request; circumcises
Upgraded blessings, vv1-8
Land….this land
Great nation…dust…stars…many nations…kings
Covenant…protection…slavery/exodus…eternal (everlasting)
Abraham’s part, vv9-14
God enacted his part in Gen 15
Circumcision – the sign of the covenant
What happens to who, vv15-21
Sarai…Sarah mother of the son of the promise
Isaac…continuance of the covenant
Ishmael…great nation
Abraham’s response, vv22-27
Urgent…that very day
Thorough…all, every, every

  1. God
    Q: “What does God expect of Abraham?” “What does he hope this will achieve?” “What do we make of the fact he waited until Abraham was 99 and Sarah 90 years old?” “What might be the reason God does not rebuke Abraham for his laughter (Isaac means laugh)?”

A growing relationship – walking before God; deeper relationship as time goes by;

A growing set of promises – expanded….; Sarai – Sarah; Abram – Abraham

A growing partnership – God devoted to covenant, asks for Abraham’s devotion in circumcision (explain some background to circumcision)

  1. Abram – “as for you”, v9
    Q: “How do you suppose Abraham might be feeling as he hears these upgraded promises?” “How do you suppose he felt about circumcision?” “What do you make of his request regarding Ishmael?” “Given there was a year or so before Isaac was to be born, what do you make of Abraham’s urgency?”

Receives grace – laughed in heart; prayer answered re Ishmael

Called to greater faith (devotion) – walk before God (how know we are doing this?); circumcise – trust God;

Urgent and thorough – faith in action (son not coming until next year, but gets on with circumcision)

Lesson for us today:

Circumcised hearts: Lev 26:41; Deut 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; Rom 2.29;

We need a deeper walk with God as life goes on.
Longer spiritual life leads to greater clarity on our weaknesses and the joys of a relationship with God
In Christian life walking with God is designed to be increasingly challenging and rewarding! Like any human relationship in fact. Layers of an onion. Discovery. Adventure. Exploration.
We all have challenges – COVID part 2,3,4……

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” (Galatians 6:1–18 NIV11)
Jesus: has made us a new creation via the cross

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm