Happy Father’s Day! Today, we acknowledge and honor the fathers that God has blessed us with. Fathers have been given the privilege and responsibility of raising children for the Lord, our heavenly Father.
Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
As fathers, our primary calling with regard to our children is to train and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. We do that in two ways. Through example and through teaching. Both are vitally important. Whether your children are still at home or have begun families of their own, you will always be their father. They will always be looking to you to set an example of a godly father and to give godly counsel.
Today, we begin a new message series entitled “Abraham – Hearing God’s Call.” We’re going to be looking at the life of Abraham from the book of Genesis. Our message today is “God’s Call for Fathers.” Abraham is called in the Bible our father in the faith.
Romans 4:11 (ESV) He [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
God called Abraham to be the father of a great nation before he was the father of any children at all. God called Abraham to believe and obey, even though Abraham had been raised in a pagan, idol-worshipping culture. God called Abraham to take radical steps of faith throughout his life. And Abraham responded to God’s call by following God’s plan. As we’ll see, Abraham didn’t always follow God’s plan, sometimes he followed his own plan. And when he did, things did not go so well for him. Over his life, Abraham grew in faith and followed God’s plan ever more closely. The end results is that ultimately Abraham brought blessing to the entire world. In fact, he brought blessing to you and I in our day.
So, today’s message will be directed to fathers. We’ll look to answer the question “How can we as fathers, hear and respond to God’s call in our own lives?” Although, we are not called by God to do the exact same things as Abraham was, many of the principles that God called Abraham to follow, we are called to as well. As fathers we are …
Hebrews 11:8 (ESV) By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Abraham was raised in the pagan idol-worshipping country of Ur of the Chaldeans. But God had a plan for Abraham. God wanted to reveal Himself, not just to one person, but to a nation of people. And God chose Abraham to be the one to begin that mission. God called Abraham to …
Genesis 12:1 (ESV) Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
We know from Stephen’s speech in Acts 7, that God first spoke to Abram in Ur, probably modern Iraq. Abram and his father’s family moved to Haran in modern Turkey. After Terah, Abram’s father, died, Abram continued his journey to the land of Canaan. Now, let’s think about this for a few minutes. The Lord spoke to Abram and called him to leave his home, his relatives, his religion and go to a new place, not knowing where this place even was. So, Abram chose to believe the Lord’s voice and obey the Lord’s command. He chose to believe that the Lord would guide his journey to a new place. If Abraham obeyed the Lord, the Lord promised that he would …
Genesis 12:2 (ESV) And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
At this point, Abram was married to Sarai, but they had no children. Yet, God promised Abram that he would make him into a great nation. God desired to make Abram the father of many people who also were people of faith. God’s plan was to bless Abram, so that Abram could in turn bless others. In the Bible, to be blessed, was to have God’s favor and protection upon your life. God desired to bless Abram and through him create the nation of Israel. But God’s plan was even bigger than the nation of Israel. God planned for Abram to …
Genesis 12:3 (ESV) I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God’s next promise to Abram was even more amazing. People who blessed Abram would be blessed and those who dishonored him would be cursed. God’s ultimate plan was that through Abram all the people of the world would be blessed. And we know now, that through Abram, the nation of Israel was created that produced the Messiah, Jesus, the Savior of the world. How did Abram respond?
Genesis 12:4 (ESV) So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Abram, in faith, continued to followed God’s mission for his life and family. He believed in God’s promises and obeyed God’s instructions.
So, what can we as fathers or fathers to be learn from this story? God has a mission for your life, just as He had for Abram. God’s mission for your life involves going to new places. Now, sometimes, this may mean a geographic move, but often it does not. The new place that God is calling you to is a place of influence. For some, this new place may be a place of influence at work, or in the church, or in outreach. Your mission will not be just doing the same thing your whole life.
Your mission will involve reproducing the life of God that you have in others. For many, this will involve fathering physical children. For all, this will involve fathering spiritual children. God wants to bless you, so that you can bring more children into His family. As you walk in God’s blessing, He will bless those who bless you. Not only does God desire you to be a blessing to those you personally know, He desires you to be a blessing around the world, as you participate in supporting missions.
The mission that God has for you can only be fulfilled as you have an ongoing relationship with the Lord. A relationship in which you talk to God and listen to what He has to say. That’s really what worship is all about. Worship is about two-way communication with God. As you praise and honor God in worship, you are preparing your heart to hear Him speak to you. Abram learned to …
Genesis 12:6-7 (ESV) Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
What is the difficulty in these verses? As Abram traveled, guided by God, he arrived a the town of Shechem. The Scripture adds that the Canaanites were in the land. So, the land that God was leading Abram to was not vacant, it was inhabited by people. Then the Lord appeared to Abram again and said “To your offspring I will give this land.”
There are two difficulties with what God said to Abram. First of all, Abram had no children, his wife Sarai was barren. Secondly, how could God give him the land, because it was the land of other people. What did Abram do? He didn’t argue with God, he didn’t turn around and try to go back to his homeland. No, he built an altar and worshipped the Lord. He learned that …
Genesis 12:8 (ESV) From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
As Abram continued to follow the Lord’s direction, he came to Bethel and settled for a time. While there, he build another altar to the Lord. We see that Abram made worship an integral part of his life, wherever he went. Not only did he build another altar, but this verse says that he called upon the name of the Lord. In other words, he didn’t just listen to God speak, he began to pray to God. As we go through the story of Abram in this message series, we’re going to see Abram growing spiritually all through his life, as he continued to worship.
The mission that God has called you to as a father will not be revealed all at once. God will guide you each step along the way. But in order to be successful in your mission, you must learn to be a worshipper. Your mission will be opposed and attacked by the enemy. But do not be discouraged or try to find your own way. Worship, even when you don’t see how it all will work out. Believe the promises that God has spoken to you. Learn to worship and call on God in every circumstance. As you do, God will guide you through your own exciting mission. A mission as unique as the person God created you to be. Finally, as a father, you are …
Genesis 12:10 (ESV) Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.
God had called Abram to go to Canaan and make his home there, but another difficulty arises, famine. There is not enough food to feed Abram and his family. So, he decides to go down to Egypt, where there was sufficient food. We’re not told whether God directed Abram to go to Egypt or not. As we continue with our story today, we’re going to see that Abram did not always make the right decisions. Sometimes he didn’t trust God as he should, sometimes he sinned. So, we have both positive and negative examples from Abram’s life to learn from. On our mission, we must not …
Genesis 12:11-13 (ESV) When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”
Abram at this time was over 75 years old and Sarai was ten years younger, which would have made her over 65 years old. But she was still a beautiful woman. Abram was afraid that the Pharoah would desire Sarai for his wife and kill Abram in order have her. So, Abram instructed Sarai to lie to the Egyptians and say that she was Abram’s sister and not his wife. Abram was not trusting God’s protection and was resorting to sin to try to protect himself.
Genesis 12:15, 17 (ESV) And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. … But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.
Abram should have known that if Sarai was introduced as his sister, Pharaoh would take her as one of his wives. And that’s exactly what happened. This was a disaster on many levels. First of all, Sarai was now committing adultery with the Pharaoh. Secondly, God’s whole mission and plan for Abram and Sarai was at risk. Abram could never become the father of the nation without his wife Sarai, who was not in the Pharaoh’s harem. And if this part of the mission failed, the entire plan to bring the Messiah into the world would also fail. Satan was obviously at work behind the scenes, attempting to abort the mission. So, the Lord stepped in and brought a curse on Pharaoh and his house, bringing diseases upon them. So, Pharaoh investigated and discovered that Sarai was not Abram’s sister, but his wife. What would Pharaoh do now? Abram needed to learn that …
Genesis 12:19 (ESV) Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.”
Abram was afraid that Pharaoh would kill him if he told the truth that Sarai was his wife. Now, Pharaoh knew the truth, but he didn’t kill Abram. Pharaoh simply told Abram to take his wife and go. Pharaoh understood that the plagues or diseases that had come upon his house were a curse from the Lord because he was unknowingly committing adultery with Sarai. So, God had protected Abram. Even though Abram had put his wife Sarai through a horrible ordeal because of his lies. So, Abram and Sarai left Egypt and went back to Canaan, where God took care of them.
In the mission that God has for your life, there will be times of difficulty. Times when you may be tempted to think that God’s plan cannot possibly work out. Times when you think you’ll need to not follow God’s Word in order to protect yourself or to take care of your needs. We should learn from Abram’s story not to doubt God, but always trust and obey Him. But none of us is perfect. This will not be the last time that Abram messes up.
And each of us will be tempted to doubt God from time to time. When you realize that you’ve gone off mission, ask God to forgive you and help you get back on track. God isn’t going to abandon you. He’s always there to lift you back on your feet when you stumble and fall. Just don’t ever give up on Him. On your mission, you are called to trust in God at all times.
Of course, the lessons we’ve learned from Abram’s life this morning apply to all of us, not just fathers. As fathers, we are called to mission. First of all to raise our children to serve God. Secondly, to reproduce spiritual children that will impact our nation and the world. The only way to fulfill our mission is to learn to be worshippers of God. Not just on Sundays, but all the time. Worshipping and listening to God’s direction. As we go on our mission, there will be opposition, there will be difficulty. Yet, we must learn to trust God. As we do, He will protect us and help us to complete our mission, one step at a time. May God help every father and every person here fulfill God’s mission for their lives.