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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Merritt » James Merritt - Faithfulness, You Can Count on Me

James Merritt - Faithfulness, You Can Count on Me

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    James Merritt - Faithfulness, You Can Count on Me
TOPICS: Faithfulness, Abraham

I'm always excited when I preach. I am pumped today, I really am. So I want you to kinda get ready 'cause this is gonna be... I'm telling you this is such an incredible story. You see, America has a cheating problem. And I'm not talking about... You're a high schooler, or you may or may not cheat on history exam. I'm talking about cheating in marriage. A recent Gallup poll said that 20% of men and 13% of women admitted to cheating on their spouse. But the key word is admitted. Because pollsters say that, "Many people will lie in a survey like that, because of what they call social acceptability bias".

Here's what that means. Everybody believes it's almost universal, that infidelity is wrong. That's still one of the things we still believe that's just not a cool thing to do. So people have this internal kind of a subliminal thinking that even though nobody's gonna know who you are, somebody might find out. So the cheaters will lie and deny that they're cheating. And so, the poll also say that the real numbers are probably double or even triple what we think they are. And we all know that just behind financial problems, the number two cause of divorce is adultery. Or if you suspect your spouse is guilty of adultery.

Now, I've been married for 43 years happily married. And I know that the foundation of marriage is trust. Once a spouse loses trust in the other spouse, whether it's deserved or not, it's gonna go sideways every single time. And we also know and I'm convinced that trust is not just a central to a marriage. I found that every real strong true relationship I have with anybody, is built on trust. But trust of itself is not enough. Because trust is built on the foundation of faithfulness. And I'm not just talking about sexual faithfulness. I'm talking about financial faithfulness. I'm talking about emotional faithfulness, faithfulness to tell the truth, faithfulness to hear the truth.

The wisest man who ever lived according to the Bible, a man named Solomon said this thousands of years ago. He said, "Many claimed I have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find"? And I wanna be honest. I think it's harder to answer that question now than it was thousands of years ago. It's hard to find truly faithful people. We're concluding a series I've so enjoyed. I hope you have. We've been calling it "Mirror Image". What we've been saying is, "Imagine you had a mirror that would show you what you look like not on the outside, but on the inside. What would you see? What kind of a character would you have"?

Today we're gonna look at a bedrock of character that I think is both a great revealer and a great developer of character. And that is faithfulness. It is just one of the rocks, is one of the breaks that have to go into the foundation. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna do something today that it takes a lot for me to do this. Some of you, I've been your pastor for 30 years. Some of you 25, some 20, some 15, some 10. For a lot of you have been your pastor for a long time. I'm finally gonna tell you, I have been preaching something for years. And I was just dead wrong. Now I've totally changed my mind.

Matter of fact, I've only been wrong twice in my life. This one I'm about to tell you. The other time I was wrong, was when I thought I was but I wasn't. I have said all of my ministry that the greatest ability is availability. I now realize that's wrong. It really that's not wrong. It's just not right. The greatest ability anybody can have is not availability. The greatest ability anybody can have is reliability. Because if you're available, but you're not reliable, it'd be better off if you just weren't available. So the greatest ability of all is availability. And today we're going to look at a man who was inducted into God's hall of fame, for one reason. He was a faithful man.

We have a Savior who was born 2000 years ago, who died on a cross and came back from the grave because this man was faithful. There is a nation in existence today, one of the most powerful nations in the world that history have given up for dead many, many years ago. But it came back to life because of this man's faithfulness. He has been called the father of the faithful. Somebody else has called him the brightest star in the Hebrew heaven, because of his faithfulness. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Who am I talking about? Abraham, that's right. I'm talking about Abraham. And there was an incident that took place in his life about 3000 years ago, that gave him an opportunity to both demonstrate and define what true faithfulness really is.

So if you bought a copy of God's word, you wanna look on your tablet or phone. We're in the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, chapter 22. Now before I get into the story, let me kinda set this up, tell you what's going on. The story actually begins 25 years before the story we're about to read. God called Abraham, a man who lives in the land called Ur. God called Abraham to leave the land of Ur, and go to a land he had never seen before. And he made Abraham a promise. He said, "Abraham, if you obey me, if you'll follow me. I'm gonna bring out of you a descendant that will absolutely transform the world. I'm actually gonna bring someone that will just make this world so completely, totally different".

And his faithfulness kicks in the very first day of the story. Because when God told Abraham to leave his country and his people and his family, you gotta understand the sacrifice Abraham was making. Back in the day when Abraham was alive, your identity was tied up in two things. The clan that you belong to, and the land that you lived on. Your security depended upon those same things. Because back in that day, there were no police. So the only protection you had against robbery and assault, and thievery and violence was your family or your extended family. As a matter of fact, your future prosperity was at stake. Because they didn't have social security or welfare 3000 years ago.

So if you got old, your only hope of being taken care of, do you have children? Do you have grandchildren? Do you have an extended family that will take care of you? So, Abraham obeys God, leaves with the assurance of God's promise that he was gonna make for him a great nation and bless him for all eternity. But there was a clear... There was a little bit of a hitch in Abraham's thinking. Because at that time, Abraham and Sarah had been married conservatively for about 50 years. And here's what we read about them. Now, Sarah was childless because she was not able to conceive. So God is telling Abraham "Abraham, I'm gonna give you a child. I'm going to give you a son, and out of your son, I'm going to make a great nation". But Abraham says, "Look, we've been married 50 years, and we've not had any children". But he trusted God. He knew somehow God's gonna keep his promise.

Now, what you're about to read, let me just warn you. At first is gonna be very confusing. It's going to be very hard to believe. Yet it's what makes the story so confusing and so hard to believe, that makes it such an inspiring lesson of what faithfulness really means and why faithfulness is so important to character. So if you wanna know, I'm gonna give you a test today. Okay, this is a faithfulness test. Would you say about yourself, "I am reliable". Would you say to yourself, "I think God would consider me faithful"? Well, let's just put that to the test. Because if you are faithful, number one, you will go where you need to go. If you're faithful, you'll go where you need to go.

Now, spoiler alert, right off the bat. The beginning of the story is gonna leave you dazed, is gonna leave you confused. It's gonna make some of you even a little bit angry. It's gonna be why some people say, "I don't like the God of the Old Testament. I don't think we ought to read the Old Testament. I don't think we need the Old Testament. I think we need to cut the Old Testament loose. This is a great example of why I don't even like to read the Old Testament". So we're gonna pick it up here in Genesis 22. Sometime later, God tested Abraham. He said to Abraham, "Abraham". "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the region of Moriah, sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you".

Now never before and never since had God ever asked for human sacrifice. That had never happened. God had given Abraham and Sarah what they thought would never happen. God gave them a son. His name is Isaac. Now here's God telling Abraham to take the son that he had promised him. The son that carried his every hope and sacrifice him. Now, before you jump to any conclusions, before you start going, "How in the world could a good God do that? Why in the world would God ask that"? Before you do that, There's a key word you need to remember. I will remind you of it over and over. There's a key word that you need to remember in the story that governs the entire story.

Now, I'm gonna date some of us right now, okay? Between 1963 and 1997, you heard this message more than once. Some of you remember this. This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test. How many of you remember that? You're showing your age? Okay, some of you are going, "I don't know what you're talking about". So for those of you don't know. You'd be sitting there watching your favorite ball game or your soap opera you're watching, or the news or whatever. And all of a sudden you hear this er, er, er, this is a test. It's only a test, okay? This is what I want you to hear. The first sentence of this story is the key to the entire story. God is testing, Abraham, okay? Everybody hear that? God is testing Abraham.

The Hebrew word for tested literally means to prove the quality of something by putting it through some kind of trial. Now, here's where we're gonna get kinda deep little bit so hang with me. You need to understand something about you and God and if you forget this, you're gonna go sideways with God. If you forget this, you're gonna shake your fist at God. If you get this, you're gonna be disappointed in God. If you forget this, you're gonna to get angry with God. Okay, you're ready? You and I are in the trusting business. God is in the testing business. We're the trusting business, God is in the business. And I'm gonna tell you, God is a great tester.

And by the way, testing can be a really good thing. I mean, some of you'll say, "I don't like to be tested". Were you better? I mean, listen, to how would you like to get on an airplane and you're flying from here, let's say you're flying to Los Angeles. And the pilot comes on and says, "We have a real treat for you today. This plane has never been tested. You're the first one to fly this plane". So I don't think that'd be a cool idea, right? Or how would you like for a doctor to perform surgery on you who never took one test in medical school? Fact, I heard about a man who was having surgeries in the hospital, sweating bullets, he was shaking like a leaf, 'cause he's about to have surgery. So his doctor walked in and he said, "Son, you look kinda nervous". He said, "I am". He said, "What are you nervous about"? He said, "Well, this is my first surgery". Doctor said, "Well, I know how you feel. It's my first surgery".

I mean, how'd you like that? So no, I want that doctor to be tested. Well, the opening line of the story is kinda helping cushion us from the shock of the story that follows. So keep in mind now, this entire story is a what? It's a test. Okay, it is a test. Now question, wait a minute, timeout. Why does God test us? Why can't God just leave us alone? Why can't he just leave and let leave? Why does God test us? Great question, two easy answers. God tests us, number one, testing is an opportunity for God to prove his faithfulness to us. Number two, testing is an opportunity for us to prove our faith in God. So that's why God tests us. He says, "Look, you know why I'm gonna to test you? I wanna prove to you I'm faithful. But I want you to prove to me and prove to you that you have faith in me".

So remember, but remember, what business are we in? We're in the trusting business. What business is he in? He's in the testing business, okay? Faith is shown in faithfulness. And faith is grown through faithfulness. God not only gives us faith, he grows our faith. And the way God grows our faith is by testing our faith. And when God tests you, as I said, he does a great job. Because probably nobody in the Old Testament was ever tested like Abraham. Because the test comes in the form of a command in three words. Here's what he says to Abraham, "Abraham, take Isaac, I want you to go, take and sacrifice as a burnt offering".

Now, we don't really know what he just said to him 'cause we didn't live back in that day. 'Cause these words really kinda hide how graphic this is. 'Cause let me tell you what happened in a burnt sacrifice. When you offer the burnt sacrifice, number one, you would slit the throat of the animal and bleed him to death. When the animal died, you would cut the animal up into pieces. You would dismember that animal. Then you would offer the various body parts, one part at a time as a sacrifice by fire. That is what God is asking Abraham to do. No lethal injection. No quick shot. He's going to suffer. You're gonna slit his throat. You're gonna dismember him. You're gonna put him on the altar. You are going, "Man, how strange is it that God would ask Abraham to sacrifice the very son he'd given him and promised him. This son this to be the forerunner of the Jewish nation. This is the son that Abraham love".

By the way, this is the first time the word love is ever used in the Bible. Abraham, this is the son that you love. Incidentally, the first time the word love is ever used in the New Testament is in the Gospel of Matthew, when God the Father so told us, "This is my beloved son, whom I love and whom I am will please". Now, before I tell you the story about how Abraham responds, here's the question. How do you think you would respond? Your son. That grandson that's the apple of your eye. God says, "I want you to offer him. I want you to offer her as a burnt offering sacrifice". How do you think you'd respond?

Well, you know what? It all depends on how faithful you are. 'Cause I want you to watch Abraham's response. Watch this. Early the next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. Every time I read that story, now come to verse three, it's just mind blowing to me. There's no hesitation. There's no deliberation. There's no argumentation. There's no confrontation. Is just I go where I need to go. 'Cause the ultimate test of faithfulness is when you're willing to take the thing that is dearest to your heart. And you're willing to lay it at the feet of God. And you're willing to put it in the hands of God.

So here's a test question. Remember, we're testing. Here's a test question, you ready? Which do you love more, and you fill in the blank. The blank God has given to you, or the God who has given you the blank. Then put any word in that you want to. Which do you love more. The children that God has given you, or the God that has given you the children. The family that God has given you, or the God that has given you the family. The success that God has given you, or the God that has given you the success. The life that God has given you, or the God that has given you life. The job that God has given you, or the God that has given you the job. And once you answer that question, then you gotta ask, am I willing to go where I need to go even if I need to let that go?

Faithfulness is when you go where you need to go. Faithfulness is when you give what you need to give. You go where you need to go, then you give what you need to give. Now, the next sentence paints a picture I want you to kinda chew over in your mind for just a moment, watch this. Abraham took the woods for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. Abraham and Isaac are going up to a place called Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah is not a particularly high mountain, so about 2700 feet above sea level. But I don't think anybody outside of Jesus ever climbed a higher mountain than Abraham and Isaac did that day.

Because let me remind you, today when we think about people being successful, here's what we think, they got a lot of money. They've got a big position, they got a lot of power, they've got a lot of influence. That's what we think about when it comes to success. In Abraham's day, success was measured in one word, family. All wrapped up in family. Everything came down to family. 'Cause the greatest hope a person would have 3000 years ago to live a meaningful life and leave behind some kind of viable legacy would be become the father or become the mother, become the parent of descendants who would go on to become people of wealth and influence.

Now God is saying to Abraham, "Abraham, you've only got one chance to leave something behind that's worth leaving behind. And I want you to burn it up. I want you to sacrifice it. I want you to kill it". And you know, God even almost kinda rubs it in. I mean, Abraham, this is your only son. This is the son that you love. So now Abraham, you got a dilemma. So what's it gonna be Abraham? Do you love the son that God gave you more than the God that gave you that son? I mean, am I really your one and only God, Abraham? Because Abraham, I wanna tell you something. And by the way, he's telling us too. Anything you love more. Anything you want more. Anything you desire more. Anything you crave more. Anything you deserve more than God, that's your God. That's your idol. That's who you really worship.

So this is a checkpoint of Abraham's faith in God and faithfulness to God. God's asking Abraham a hard question. Abraham is your love for me greater than your love for that boy? Is your faith in me greater than your feelings for that boy? And, folks, it's a question. We'll have to answer on a daily basis. Will I be faithful now to the God that's always faithful to me? Will I be faithful now to the God that's always faithful me? See, this is the way our faith and God's faithfulness operates. We don't like this, but I need to let you in a little secret. God will not reveal His faithfulness to us until we reveal our faith in him.

So here's what we don't like, you know what God always says to us? You go first. "God, I can hardly pay my bills. It's hard for me to make ends meet. And I know what you promised, I know what you said in your word. I know you said, 'Hey, if you'll give me your tithe, I promise you, I'll bless you.' You will now give me". And here's what we wanna say, "Alright, God, I tell you what? Let me win the good housekeeping sweepstakes, and I'll give". God says, "You go first". "God, you give me a job that doubles my salary, I'll start giving". God says, "You go first. You reveal your faith in me, then I will show my faithfulness to you".

And by the way, here's what faith means. We all talk about having faith. We all talk, "Oh yeah, I trust God, I believe in God". I want you to understand what the Bible says as faith. 'Cause what we call faith is not faith oftentimes. Faith means you go all in. Faith means it's all or nothing sellout. So I'm gonna say something now, some of you not gonna like it. It's gonna call you to examine your own life, but I'm just being honest with you. This is where some of you are right now. You cannot be half faithful to God. You can't be faithful part of the time to God. You can't be faithful to God only when it's not raining. Or you don't feel like it. Or it's inconvenient. Or may cost you some money.

I mean, I want you to imagine this. I mean, Teresa and I have been married, 43 years happily married, loved her more than I've ever loved her. I want you to imagine I came in the other day and I said, "Teresa, I have some bad news and some good news". She say, "What's the bad news"? I say, "Honey, I haven't always been faithful to you". She says, "What's the good news"? And I say, "Well, I only messed up one day in the last month. How do you think that's gonna work out for me"? How about this one? Teresa, you won't believe this. You're gonna be so proud of me. What do you mean? I met this woman the other day. Beautiful blonde. I mean, she was a knockout. She was just drop, dead, gorgeous. You'll be so proud of me. She says, "Why"? "I was almost faithful to you. How do you think that's gonna work out for me"?

Let's be honest. That's exactly how we relate to God in our lives so often. If it doesn't cost me anything, if I don't have to get wet, if I don't have to get into a bad industry in front of a bunch of people I don't even know, I'll be faithful to you. Otherwise, count me out. You know what that woman wants of me right there? She wants me to be faithful in every way, on every day that ends in Y. God desires and God demands and God deserves no less. God says, "I want you to be faithful in every way, every day". And look, thank you, all to Jesus. Abraham comes with flying colors.

Watch this. Abraham took the word for burnt offering, placed on his son Isaac. He himself carried the fire and the knife, and as the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Yes, my son". Abraham replied. "The fire and the wood are here," Isaac said, "but where's the lamb for the burnt offering"? Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son". And the two of them when on together. Now Isaac's a smart boy. He'd been around the block, not his first rodeo. He's seen a lot of sacrifices and he goes, "Dad, I know you got the wood, I know you got the knife, but you forgot the lamb. Where's the lamb, dad"? If you just gotta love Abraham's answer, "God will provide".

See, Abraham is teaching Isaac, one of the most valuable lessons. Mom and Dad, you will never teach your child a more valuable lesson than this lesson. Grandparents, you will never teach your grandkids a more valuable lesson. Watch this, God's business is to keep his promises. Our business is to believe he will keep them and live like we believe it. Can I be honest? Go on and clap. Give the Lord a hand, that's good. Yeah, we're gonna be charismatic today. Listen. Let's be honest. Let's just call it like it is. And I'm in your group. I'm preaching to me, you get in a way. We don't always live like we believe God.

And we should be honest. If we all live like we believe God, you know what I'm about to say. This church would have more money than we know what to do with. If we really live what we believe God. If we really live like we believe God, wild horses couldn't keep you from telling other people about Jesus. If we really believed God. If we really believe God, we take this book and say, "I don't care what it says, I'm gonna live it. I'm gonna do what you tell me to do". And that's what that is, I'll keep the promises. That my business. Your business is live like a wheel.

So here's what Abraham is doing. He's declaring his faith. He's expressing his faithfulness. And you know what else he's doing. He didn't know he's doing this. He's actually prophesying about the future. Because this story is a perfect type and a picture of what happened nearly 2000 years later. Because God would provide 2,000 years later a sacrificial lamb, except it would be his own son. And he would sacrifice his son, so our sins could be forgiven. And so here's the point. As I go through life and you go through life, God is going to test your faith, and God will stretch your faith. But here's what you'll always... I've learned this, if there's one thing I know about God, I've seen it happen in my life, millions and millions of time for you to be speaking, God always provides. Not some of the time, not most of the time. God always provides. He always has and he always will.

Now here's what I would say. This is the part of the story. If you've ever been asked and you will be, to give up your Isaac. You need to understand, God will provide. Now realize that right now you're saying, "Boy, this is too big. Boy, is a hard sermon, man" You saying, "Go where I need to go and I don't always wanna go there". I get it, neither have I. And then you want me to give what I need to give and then, there's just sometimes it's hard to give. I get it, it's been hard for me. But this is what will motivate you. I hope it will set you on fire to walk out these doors and say, "Pastor, I'm gonna go where God tells me to go and only give what God tells me to give".

'Cause here's how God operates. If you didn't like the first two parts of the message, you're gonna love this part. When you go where you need to go, Ad when you give what you need to give, then you will get what you need to get. Then you'll get what you need to get. Now, the story is coming to a breathtakingly climactic conclusion, right? Watch this. Watch what happens here. When they reach the place God had told him about. Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac, laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. He's gonna do the deal. He's gonna keep his end of the bargain. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham, here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on that boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you've not withheld from me your son, your only son".

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket, he saw ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place we say, Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said on the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided. The angel of Lord called Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son". Watch this, this is about to climax. Abraham's about to do the unthinkable, the unbelievable. If you've been standing off to the side, you would have said, "He's really gonna do it. He's really gonna do this. He's gonna kill that boy". And God stops him.

So, what is the point of the story? Okay, so again, the whole story, is a It's a test, right? The whole story is a test. Now Abraham understood something, are you ready? This is the point of the story. This is where you come into the story. God, didn't want Isaac. God wanted Abraham I'll take you. I'll never do this but I'm having such a good time. What is your name? Chris, how you doing, Chris? Hey, how are you? You look like the cheapskate in the family. Just a joke. Chris, look at me. God doesn't want you money. God wants Chris. He doesn't want you money? He don't need you your money. You think God needs you money? He didn't... Listen, God did not operate on blue light specials. God didn't look for a divine discount. God says, "I don't want your money".

So next time you hear somebody say, "Well, I'll tell you what, the church just wants my money". I'm gonna help you out. Look him in the eye and say nothing. They owe you. I don't your money? I want Abraham. He didn't want Abraham's son. He wanted Abraham surrender. He didn't want Abraham's family. He wanted Abraham's faith demonstrated in faithfulness. Listen, God knew what was in Abraham's heart. Well, then why did he do that? God wanted Abraham to know what was in his heart. So watch this, okay. God tested Abraham. Abraham passed the test. That's how you get a testimony. Now give me some love. I made that up, listen... God gave Abraham a test. Abraham passes the test. Abraham now has a testimony.

So the next time you're going through a test, I met a man right out there. He knows who I'm talking to. He's in the service. Boy, he's in a test. I love this man and I'm praying for him every Monday. He knows who I'm talking to. When God puts you in a test, God is giving you an opportunity to gain a testimony. So you can give a testimony. You've never been through a test, you'll never have a testimony. That's what a testimony is all about. And did Abraham ever have a testimony? His testimony is more amazing, because let me tell you this, there's a secret source to his fate. 'Cause I know some of you're still wondering like I would the first time I read the story as a kid. How can a dad do that to his son?

Man, I'm nine years old, first time I read the story and wonder how in the world? Abraham, how could you do that? Well, I left out a part of the story on purpose. 'Cause I want you to listen to what he said to the men who had come up with him before he took Isaac up to that mountain, okay? Listen to what he said. On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to a servant, "Stay here with a donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then..." What's that word? We will come back to you. you've heard the old joke about the lone Ranger and Tonto. And they're surrounded by all these Indians and the lone Ranger says to Tonto, "What are we gonna do"? And he says, "What do you mean, we pay your face"?

We are going to come back. What do you mean WE? Isaac's not coming? No, we are going to come back. What? Abraham is absolutely convinced, even though he's going to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, they're gonna come back together. Now, I promise you at this time. He didn't know how that was gonna happen. He didn't really say what he's being asked to do. But he trusted the one that was asking him to do it. He said, I don't understand this, God. I don't have to understand it. I believe you. Now big question. Why did Abraham think that? Why did Abraham think? No, he didn't just think it he said it because he believed it. Why did he believe and was convinced, they would come back together?

Well, the answer is found in a verse of scripture that looks back over 2000 years before that to what happened. Listen to this. By faith Abraham, when God tested him offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned". And Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead. And so in a manner of speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Here's what happened. Abraham's going up that mountain. He's got that knife. He's thinking in 30 says, "Okay, God, you promised through Isaac, not through anybody else. You promised me that through that boy right there. I will have descendants come that will be greater than the number of the sands of the sea. Through my son, you're gonna bring a Messiah. Through my son, you're going to actually bring the salvation of the world. You made a promise. That's point A. Point B, now you're asking me to sacrifice Isaac. But I know you're not going to break your promise".

So Abraham's reading it out. I got it. You made a promise Isaac would be the guy. You've told me to sacrifice Isaac. There can only be one conclusion. You're gonna raise that boy from the dead. You're gonna bring my boy back to life. Only conclusion you could draw. Well, guess what, once again, he's prophesying an event he didn't even know that would happen 2000 years later. 'Cause 2000 years later, God would provide a sacrifice. It would be his own son. And you remember how Abraham caught the lamb? Where was the lamb caught in a what? Yeah, fonge. What did they put on the head of Jesus? Crown of thorns. God takes the sacrifice. God puts the crown of thorns but instead this time, God goes through with it. He sacrifices his own son. Bad news, he died. Oh, no, it's Good Friday, not bad Friday. But he died for our sins. Yes, but God brought him back from the dead. Just like Abraham believed 2000 years earlier. That's why the proof of your faith in God is your faithfulness to God.

Listen, if God never fails to do what he says he will do, we never have to hesitate to be faithful to do what He tells us to do. So you see, when you put all this in context, what a beautiful story, it's a preview of coming attractions. It's a picture of a God that loves us so much. He makes the ultimate sacrifice. He puts His one and only beloved son on the altar of sacrifice for us. And oh, by the way, everybody believes here that Abraham loved Isaac. I believe that. How much more did God love his beloved son than Abraham loved Isaac?

God might love, but God put his son on the altar sacrifice. You know why? He sacrificed Jesus for my sin, so I wouldn't have to be sacrificed for my sin. And then three days later, to prove that he was who He said He was, God raised Him from the dead. By the way, do you know where mount Moriah is? If you've been with me to Israel, you've walked on it and didn't know it. Do you know where Mount Moriah is? That's where the Temple Mount is. That's where Jerusalem is. Is where Jesus was crucified, same place at 2000 years before that Abraham took Isaac. Same exact place where God provided a Savior for the world.

Now we'll wrap this up, what's God's final words, we're gonna be finished. Watch this, God's final words, "I swear by myself," declares the Lord, "I will surely bless you and through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me". God raises his hand and he said, "Abraham, I'm telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me..." Wait a minute, I am God. No higher oath could be given. No sure promise could be made, because it's made by the God who always keeps his word, who never breaks a promise.

Now, we're going to wrap this up. There's one thing we can all know from this story and I don't want you to ever forget it. God will never give you a reason to distrust him even though your reason says you can't trust Him. God will never give you a reason to distrust him. Even though your reason says you can't trust him. And because Abraham remain faithful, I go where I need to go. I give what I need to give. He got what he needed to get, because he became not only the father of the Jews, he became the father of everyone who believes in the one who sacrificed Jesus. And because of his faithfulness, he became the father of a family that exceeds the sands of the sea.

Now, here's the good news. Your faithfulness will never exceed God's favor. If you honor God with your faithfulness, God will honor you more. If you bless God with your faithfulness, God will bless you more. So, let me just tell you this and then we're gonna be done. When you get up in the morning and go to work. You get up in the morning and go to school. When you slide your legs off the side of your bed and you sit up, just do this just for one day just for tomorrow, okay? But try to remember to do this. When you get up, before you get out of bed, I want you to say four words. This is a test. Because every day is a test. You never get a break from a test. Everyday is a test.

So for example, will you be faithful to worship God privately and corporately? Will you be faithful to be in this building on Sundays when you can't be here? Will you be faithful to serve God in His church and outside his church? Will you go where you're needed to go? Give what you're need to give. Helping with children, helping with preschoolers, helping with teenagers, helping park cars, helping serve. Will you serve? Will you be faithful? Will you be faithful to do what Jesus did for three years of his life. Be in a small group, be discipled. Be in a group where you need to encourage others and you need to be encouraged. Will you be faithful to be sent? Whether it's to your neighbor across the street or to a country around the world? Will you be faithful to be sent wherever God wants you to go to share the gospel that can change anybody's life?

So as we wrap up this series about mirror image, and it kinda amazing that we land on this one little trait called faithfulness. When you think about, of all the things that Jesus said he wants to say to all of us when we meet him the first time. He only says one thing he wants to say to all of us, right? Now, hello. Welcome to my house. Good to see you. Where have you begin? It's well done, good and... faithful servant. So the question is, every day, in every way, the rest of your life, will you get up and look at him and say, "God, I don't have all the ability in the world. But I've got reliability, you can count on me".
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