What will God say is your legacy? Can he call you friend?

It is a new year.  What are your plans for carrying out the Great Commission? How will you show obedience to this command from our Heavenly Father as your live your life this year?  Let’s look at one of the patriarchs of the Bible and see what we can glean from his obedience to God.

Abraham’s Story/his legacy

There are numerous people in the Bible of whom many stories have been written.  However, there are few people in the Bible whom God calls his friend.  David was one and Abraham was another.

Where did he come from?

This man from Ur of the Chaldeans loved God with an intensity that we cannot begin to comprehend.  He obeyed him without questioning his motives (“Take your son your only Son and sacrifice him to me. [He got up early the next morning and took his two servants and his only son..].  He ranks among the top “heroes” of the Bible.  However can you relate to him?  Is his story so ‘supernatural” that you cannot connect with it?

 Well, when we take a close look at his life we can see that, 1) he was not sinless; 2) he had many frailties’ 3) he had some significant weaknesses.  However, in spite of all of these character challenges, he became a Godly man who “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 NIV[1]).

Incidences in his life

The journey of faith

At age 75 God spoke to Abram and told him to leave everything he knew; his family; his homeland; his social status and move to a new land.  What would you do if God told you to leave everything you know and go off on a mission trip to an area of the world that no one knew about? It was a huge leap of faith for Abram, but he did it anyway.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation,  and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.  (Genesis 12: read the whole story here.)

He left his family and went on his journey. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8). He trusted God, but he was an imperfect man.

Abram lies about his wife, Sarah

1Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.  As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”  When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was aN exquisite woman.  And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken to his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.  But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife, Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?  Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!”  Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.  If wasn’t a matter of a lack of faith on Abram’s part what was it?  He just feared the pharaoh. Fearing for his life, he lied to Pharaoh into believing his beautiful wife was his sister.  She was indeed his sister, but she was also his wife.

The peaceful man who gave up his rights 

Lot and Abram had a contention.  Abraham chose to give up his rights to the land that God had given him—the promise was not made to Lot (Genesis 12:1-3).  Now we see Lot, who mainly wanted the “fat” of the land.  Abram took the high road and told him to choose what he wanted.  Peace was more important to Abram than being right.  Have you ever had to make that choice in your life? (Genesis 13:5-12). Although Abram loved the Lord and loved to live “peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18) God was not sure if he had learned how to trust Him entirely.

The ultimate test: will God or won’t God?

Abraham explained to God that he just did not see how he was going to be the father of many nations.[2]  He wanted his own solution to God’s promise God promised Abram that he would be the father of many nations, but his wife Sarai was still barren.[3] God’s word never returns to him empty.[4]  When God gives you an assignment, don’t ever turn your back on it because of family pressures.  Your relationship with God comes before mother father, sister, brother, or even your own child (Matthew 19:29).

 However, Abram and Sarai were not willing to wait on God.  They wanted to fulfill his promises their own way.[5]  Their disobedience brought sorrow to everyone involved.  Who are the sons of Ishmael today?  That is a controversial topic. Here is another reference.  Many believe that the conflict in the Middle East stems from this decision of Abram.

Many of us make mistakes that are similar to Abram.  In the same manner, that Abram reaped the consequences of his mistakes so do we! That does not mean that God is finished with us.  It only means that the law of sowing and reaping applies to us even when we are faithful saints who have made mistakes (Galatians 6:7; Ecclesiastes 3:1-9).

God did not fulfill his promise to Abram and Sarai until they were 100 and 90 respectively (Genesis 17:17).The book of Hebrews records this event and references Abram’s faith. “And by faith, even Sarah, who was passed childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” (Hebrews 11:11).  Eventually, both parents did demonstrate faith; their lives pictured a mixture of faith and human misgivings as well as doubt and poor choices  (Genesis 17:15-19;18:10-15).  The promised child was born. The one God promised to Sarai and Abram (Genesis 21:1-3).

The big test

After waiting for such a long time for Isaac God told Abram to offer him up as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-2).  Can you imagine? You have waited for what seems like forever for God to fulfill his promise to you and now you have to sacrifice the only child that he gave to you. Abram obeyed he thought that God was God and he could raise him from the dead if he had to (Hebrews 11:17-19).

When was the last time that God asked you to do something for him and you turned away from it because you decided it was too much of a sacrifice for you?  Did you ever consider that God has the ability to handle all of your problems?  When you turned away from God and his calling on your life, did you find that there were consequences for your actions?  The Paul referenced Abram’s faith in the Book of Romans (Romans 4:20-21).

The timely intervention

 Just as Abram was about sacrifice his son God intervened “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12). It is interesting that God says, “NOW I KNOW!” Not until Abram was willing to give up his son his ONLY son, in the same manner, that God was going to give up His son His ONLY son, did God know that he would be obedient to the end.[6] What was your test from the Lord?  Did you walk away from your calling or did your stand up for Jesus?

What is your story?

This is the majority of Abram’s story.  Each child of God has a story to tell.  What is your story?   What will be written in the final chapters of the book of Acts about your life and the decisions that you made for Christ? Start writing your story right now.  Use this story template to write your story. Follow the guidelines to assist you.  Share your story with another person.  Send us a message on through the Contact Us link to let us know if anyone with whom you have shared this story has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

My Conversion Story

Use the following outline to prepare your conversion story: “I have not always been a Christian.” (Briefly describe your life before becoming a Christian.) 

  1. “I realized I needed Jesus and received Him into my life when…” 
  1. “The biggest change I have noticed in my life is…” 
  1. “May I share how something like this can happen to you?” 

The heart of your conversion testimony is answering the first 3 questions above. Question number 4 is a transition question into a Gospel presentation. You are not required to write anything about question 4. The key to your conversion story is brevity (no more than 2 pages) while retaining the essential elements. You should be able to communicate your story in about 2–3 minutes! A few things to remember:

  • Be real and guardedly vulnerable!
  • Do not use “church” words. Remember, you are sharing with unsaved people who do not attend church. Be conversational.
  • Always point people to Christ regardless of how incredible your story may be. Christ is always the point of our testimonies!
  • Be truthful and honest. Do not embellish your past life and story.
  • A good approach is to write out a first draft and practice sharing it. This will give you a gauge as to the need for more or less information.
  • Don’t treat this like a report. This is much more than an academic pursuit.
  • It would be a mistake to worry too much about your grade. Only relax and recall how God worked to bring you to Himself. Then, exalt Him by communicating how He has changed your life![7]

In spite of all that we have done with our lives, if we will only believe like Abraham, God will call os His friend. He will use us to reach the perverted and dying nation and or world.  Look at yourself where you are in the world and ask Him to use you as His friend to reach people for His glory.

Notes

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).

[7] David Wheeler, “Conversion Testimony” (video of the lecture, EVAN 525-B12LUO, week1, Liberty University), accessed January 12, 2015. Lynchburg, VA, January 13, 2015).

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You’re Not the Only One

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