11/08/15 A Friendof God!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Sunday, November 8, 2015 Under: Sermon
New Beginnings Series – Genesis 18:16-33

Intro: Called the friend of God!

I remember a time when a hand shake was an indication of respect or friendship, when a man’s word was his bond; if he told you this was what he was going to do he would do it! It was his word. God gave His Word and promised Abraham he would be blessed, it was His handshake, HIS WORD. Abraham was a friend of God. Last week we read where God had given Abram a new name, he was given the name of Abraham; meaning high father, the father of a multitude. We our one of his descendants and we have been given a new name (Christian) and we can chose to be a friend of God! “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.” James 2:23

Text: Genesis 18:16-33

“Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” 20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” 27 Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28 Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” 29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.”

30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

Application: God hears the prayers of His friends.

1. Abraham's Position: Vs. 18-19 “Friend of God”

“Since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

“Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day.” Genesis 18:1

The narrative in this story today allows the reader to learn of a Theophany: In simple terms, a theophany is a visible appearance of God to man, usually in a human form. This is a manifestation of God! God presented Himself to Abraham. Abraham was a friend of God. Abraham’s position allowed him to have intimate relational fellowship with God. It reminds me of a song many of us grew up hearing: “What a friend we have in Jesus” What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.” James 2:23

The text makes it clear that Christ was one of the three angels and the great theme of this chapter is the believer’s fellowship with Christ, for Abraham was “the friend of God.”

The angels left and went to Sodom, but Christ stayed behind to visit with Abraham. What a scene! Christ would not hide anything from His friend. The Lord will reveal Himself and His Will to His friends. Abraham position meets all the conditions given there. Abraham knew more about Sodom than Lot did, and Lot was living in Sodom! The separated obedient Christian knows more about this world than the atheistic philosophers do! Abraham's position what that of a friend of God.

2. Abraham's Plea: Vs. 20-23 “Consider my family”

“And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”

There was a little problem here: have you ever dealt with something in life that was a little bit of a problem? Abraham had a problem, it wasn’t that it was so much of his personal struggle as it was of a concern for his family and you could even say his community. Sodom and Gomorrah was a major problem in Abraham’s day. Sin had become a major issue. If this scene was in our media today it would have been in all of the tabloids, front page in all the papers, the media would repeat this visual for a long time to come.

Our text says: “Abraham came near” he drew near and approached, walked up closer—to the Lord. The Hebrew word for drew near means “to come to court to argue a case.” Abraham was approaching God to pray, to intercede for both the righteous and the ungodly of the cities. Abraham stood before God just like an attorney to plead for the souls of the people. O that more of us would do that! Abraham continued (6 times) to ask God if there were to be any righteous at all in the city of Sodom would you save them. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Abraham knew of the consequences: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:14-15

Abraham’s plea was for the welfare of his family, time hasn’t changed - if you’re a friend of God, He will hear your prayer.

3. Abraham's Prayer: Vs. 24-33 “If there are any righteous ones”

Abraham’s position allowed him to bring his life’s concern to the throne room of a God that hears and answers prayer. God wanted Abraham to do something special, very special. God wanted Abraham to become an intercessor, that is, a believer who struggles and wrestles in prayer for others, and who does it often. The words struggle, wrestle, and often are the key words. God wants believers who will pray to pray often—constantly who will struggle and wrestle in prayer for people and for the needs of the world. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

God knew exactly what was going to happen to Sodom before this event with Abraham took place. He knew that Lot was the only righteous person in the city. What then was God's purpose in leading Abraham to intercede in prayer time and time again? God's purpose was at least threefold: This should say three things to us as it did Abraham. First, all who follow Christ should become intercessors and prayer warriors, for both the righteous and wicked of the earth. Second, that God's justice must be executed. Every human being will face the judgment of God. Third, to become stronger witnesses for Him, Abraham had been a strong witness to Lot and, no doubt, to his family. Abraham had taken Lot in as a child when Lot's father had died, treated him as a son, given him first choice of the land, and saved him from an invading army, risking his own life. We are to focus as Abraham did; thinking of God’s great call and purpose. Thinking about our duty to teach the ways of the Lord, and thinking about our great need to be faithful and the great reward promised us if we are faithful.

Conclusion: “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians. 5:17

Abraham had such love for Lot, in spite of his worldliness and unbelief. Abraham was not pleading the grace of God, but the justice of God: how could God destroy the righteous with the wicked? At Calvary, God punished the Righteous One instead of the wicked. Persistently and tenderly Abraham interceded on behalf of Sodom. If only ten believers could be found, God said he would spare the whole city. Chapter 19 indicates that Lot had at least two married daughters and two single daughters, so, with his wife and sons-in-law, there were eight in the family. If Lot had won his own family, plus only two neighbors, God would have spared a whole city! But he failed to meet even those conditions. Scripture assures us: if we persevere in prayer, God will hear and answer.

Song: “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer: Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

WITH GOD - YOU CAN HAVE A FRIEND: Take that position, make that plea and pray! God hears the prayers of His friends.

In : Sermon 


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