A God Who Shows Up Scripture Introduction: Turn to Genesis 22:1-19 Illustration: Admiral Rickover Warning: We are about to read a story

in which God seems to act out of character. Enticement: If we are patient, we will learn a lot about what God is like and what it looks like for us to trust him with our futures. Text: Just read verses 1-2 Pray: wisdom and encouragement Sermon Introduction Illustration: Father who lost son on Christmas. I could identify because I was expecting my first child and already felt like a father. FCF: We often doubt that God can be trusted with our futures. Sometimes the events in our lives challenge our opinion of God. It often seems as if God is acting out of character because of something that has happened to us or a decision we have to make. CORE: A world in which child sacrifice existed: is God the kind of God who wishes to be manipulated in this way? Other times our faith is tested: We live in a world where the future is never certain. Everything is subject to change. Death of children or others in whom we have placed our hopes, floundering of a dream, disappointed expectations, loss of hope, feeling like everything is up to us to make things turn out alright, we are called upon to make a decision or accept responsibility for some task for which we are utterly unprepared. Questions: Can the God of Abraham be trusted with your future? What does trusting God look like? Scene 1: Read verses 3-8 Illustrative re-cap of Abraham’s life up till this point. Sub-point 1: We can trust God even if we have failed to trust him in the past (preceding chapters). Sub-point 2: We can trust God before we know how things are going to turn out (3-5). When we are still in the midst of our test—before we know what the outcome will be —before we know how some situation might work out for our good—when we still feel confused—that’s when we should trust God. Before we know how God can still be good and faithful to his promises, we can trust him. Main Point 1: Christians can trust God when he tests us. Application: Trusting God during a test could mean that we stubbornly continue to believe that he is good even if one can’t see how. Cross-Examination: What kind of behavior does this kind of trust lead to? Scene 2: Read verses 9-10 Illustration: Imagine a man so devoted to his God that he is willing to kill to prove his devotion. What does that man look like to you? Describe an Islamist terrorist. How is Abraham different from contemporary religious extremists? Connection-Redirection: Violent religious extremists believe that their violence advances God’s cause in the world. Abraham had every reason to think that his impending act of violence was actually going to give God a tremendous set-back.

Sub-point 1: Devotion to God sometimes means that we follow his instructions even if that seems to jeopardize our future. Sub-point 2: Devotion to God sometimes means that we follow his instructions even in the face of great loss. Main Point 2: We can trust God by following his instructions. Application: Sometimes our faith in God will lead us to costly obedience. If we look at two places in the NT where Abraham’s obedience is cited as a good example, we find two different writers writing for two different reasons: 1. Hebrews: encourage persecuted Christians to keep believing and talking about Christ. 2. James: encourage head-knowledge-only Christians to acts of good deeds and generosity to the poor. Cross-Examination: Do we have anything to gain by trusting God with our obedience? Scene 3: Read verses 11-19 Illustration: Allegory of the Christian life as a journey: like a mother celebrating so much over her child’s first step, you’d think he had just finished a marathon. a. First step: internal faith treated as if it was a perfect lifetime of obedience. You get credit for finishing the journey as soon as you begin. b. Along the way: times of testing, failure and success, and periodic moments of vindication by God and assurance of our acceptance and the future fulfillment of all his promises. c. Final destination: well done: entire Christian life, however faithful or successful, is treated as if it was an absolute triumph. Sub-point 1: God rewards us with his vindication (11-12). Sub-point 2: God rewards us with re-assurances that we will receive his promises (1519). Main Point 3: We can trust God for his reward … by Jesus’ merit. Application: Some of you here today need to hear a restatement or a reassurance that you are a child of God, you are right in his eyes. God sees your faith, and you will receive all of his promises. Restate original Question: So if this is what a life of faith and devotion look like, does the God of Abraham deserve it? Is he worthy of the trust that so many people have placed in him throughout the centuries? Proposition: he is the one who provides… a. For our futures (13-14). b. He provides the very devotion he requires, like a father who gives his daughter some money so she can experience the joy of giving him a birthday present. c. He is more devoted to us and to our futures than we will ever be to him (Romans 8:31-32).

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