Ultimate Test of Faith

Genesis 22:1-8

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “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.”

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of 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. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is 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 went on together.

Pastor Search

Each believer is a significant part of the body of Christ—the church. Christ is the head of the church. When a local church chooses a pastor, do you agree that Christ inspires members to decide? Who should take the credit when a pastor succeeds? Who should be blamed when a pastor fails?

Success or failure in the ministry is not our duty to judge, take credit or blame anybody. Searching for pastors is a major church decision that should be prayed for earnestly, and wait for the Lord’s perfect timing.

It says in Ephesians 4:11-13, 11Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

To be trained and apply what has been learned is a practical proof that a believer is significant part of the body of Christ. God expects believers grow mature spiritually. Each of us should be equipped and serve, why?

Serving together shows unity in faith and knowledge the Lord Jesus Christ. And, all of us should aim to attain the fullness of Christ.

In Matthew 22:14, 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Christ teaches that God’s kingdom is an open invitation but only those who have faith are allowed to enter. It’s easy to say, “I have faith in God,” or claim, “I am also a Christian!” It is imperative and necessary to be sure that we’ve faith in God. Don’t just assume it.

God knows who has faith in Him and who has none. Have you been tested lately? God occasionally tests us to help us know the level of our faith. The more we grow mature spiritually the tougher test we may face.

God knew how strong Abraham’s faith was but He didn’t spare him from the ultimate test of faith.

1. Test

      1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “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.”

After passing the ultimate test of faith, did God test Abraham again?

What’s the most important thing that you’ve received from God? You may sacrifice your reputation as long as that important thing that God has given you won’t be taken away from you. What if God will tell you, “Give it back to me,” will you give it back to God?

Isaac was most valuable to Abraham more than all his wealth. Isaac was more valuable to Abraham than his older son Ishmael. He gave a great feast when Isaac was weaned but not for Ishmael. When Sarah told him to get rid of Ishmael, Abraham was distressed but he obliged, anyway, why?

God told him to obey what Sarah demanded. Actually, it prepared Abraham to obey when God told him, “Go to the region of Moriah and sacrifice your son Isaac?” Where was Moriah located?

In 2 Chronicles 3:1, 1Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah.

Many believe that Mt. Moriah where Solomon built the temple was the same place where Abraham sacrificed Isaac. Some theologians suggest that the exact spot where Isaac was sacrificed could be the same spot where Jesus was crucified. The region of Moriah includes the hill where Jesus was crucified which was located about less than a kilometre from the temple.

Anyway, we learn from Abraham’s testing that it is also necessary for our faith to be tested. King David claimed to have blameless life but he sought for testing. In Psalm 26:1-2, Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.

Testing that comes from God helps us realize if we are living according to His righteousness. When we put our faith in Christ, Christ’s Spirit inspires us to live righteously. Righteous lifestyle proves God’s grace at work in us.

But, why is it that we still struggle to live a lifestyle of righteousness?

Throw it Right!

Most of the time, we don’t recognize that Christ is with us. Let’s learn from the first disciples in John 21:4-9, Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

It’s interesting that the disciple whom Jesus loved was the first to recognize the Lord. Surely, Christ loved them all but the disciple whom Jesus loved sensed Christ’s love the most and perhaps, other disciples may have observed it and agreed with his claim of being loved by the Lord.

That’s one thing that we should aim for—the love of the Lord. If we sense His love, we obey without delay when we hear His voice.

When Jesus told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat, they caught much fish. It teaches us that obeying Christ’s instructions is the right decision we should take to have abundant result.

The disciples decided to go fishing but they caught nothing at that time. Peter, James and John were expert fishermen. They knew where and when to fish anytime of the year. That morning they caught nothing. Did Christ prevent them to catch nothing, and use that moment as object lesson to teach the need to listen and obey His instruction for productive result?

When our faith is active, we would acknowledge that obedience to the Lord’s instruction is designed for our betterment. Did Abraham hesitate when God told him to take Isaac to Mt. Moriah to sacrifice his son?

2. Take

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of 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.

The term “early” implies that Abraham prioritized God’s instruction.

Throughout the Bible, one can observe the phrase “Early the next morning,” implies priority of obedience to the Lord. First thing the next morning that Abraham did after he heard the Lord’s instruction was to take his son to the region of Moriah. He cut wood needed for the sacrifice.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham, Isaac and two servants traveled for 3 days before they reached the region of Moriah. Why did Abraham not bring his servant to the place where he sacrificed Isaac? They might think Abraham was insane.

Furthermore, there are things that God wants us to obey and we need help but there are also things that we need to do personally.

As a church, we serve God together in the church setting. At home, school, work places or usual activities outside church setting, it is where our faith is tested more often individually. How can we live a righteous lifestyle?

It says in Galatians 3:24-27, 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

What does it mean, “The law as our guardian?” What does it mean to be, “No longer under a guardian?” What does it mean to be, “Baptized into Christ have clothed with Christ?”

Tithes

Many people do not want to attend the church because the church teaches about giving God’s tithes. Our attitude about giving God’s tithes would reveal if we are still under “The law as our guardian” or “No longer under the law as our guardian.” How’s that?

Giving God’s tithe is God’s law. Tithe means 10 percent. When you are pressured by giving God’s tithes, God’s law tries to dictate your lifestyle. When you argue if tithes come from net income or gross income, the law of tithing has returned a guardian of your spiritual, why? It is because you are still responding to the pressure of living according to the law of tithing.

The one who is no longer under the guardian of the law would give cheerfully not arguing if it is 10% or more than 10%. For believers who are not under “the law as guardian,” there’s no pressure to obey the law. They just want to please the Lord and not trying to satisfy what the law dictates.

When we are baptized in Christ, we are clothed with Christ. How’s that? We obey God just like Christ obeyed His Father even to His death.

He said in John 20:21, 21As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.

The basis of our obedience to God is the obedience of Christ to His Father. That’s why God sent Christ’ Spirit into our life so that He would teach us how we may obey Him. And when we allow the Lord to lead us, there is spontaneous obedience. We sense joy and peace serving God instead of living under the pressure God’s commands.

When Abraham obeyed and sacrificed Isaac, he believed God knows what’s best. Isaac born in his old age is a proof. Indeed, God honoured it when Abraham testified to Isaac that God will provide.

3. Testify

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is 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 went on together.

Leaving his servants and donkey behind, Abraham carried the fire and knife while Isaac carried the wood for burnt offering. Carrying the wood for burn offering suggests that Isaac must have grown up to carry a heavy load.

By faith, Abraham testified that God will provide for the lamb offering when Isaac asked for it. Abraham did not tell anyone that God commanded to sacrifice Isaac. He instructed his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy… will worship and then we will come back to you.”

When Abraham said that they will come back, he expected that he and Isaac will be back together. Did Abraham expect God to resurrect Isaac after he sacrificed Isaac as burnt offering? Did he inform Sarah about it?

Isaac was born when Abraham and Sarah were old. Sarah was past her child bearing age. It’s not by natural means or husband and wife activity that Isaac was born. Abraham must have believed that Isaac was born by the power of God. He believed that obeying God is designed for betterment.

It says in Galatians 4:28-31, 28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

By faith in Christ, we are freed from the slavery of sin. Disobedience to God’s commands tells us that we committed sin. When we are pressured to obey that law, it signals that sin is actively pressuring us to commit sin.

When we put of faith in Christ as our Savior, we were freed from the penalty of sin—eternal death, we are also freed from the pressure and influence of sin. Sin would dictate, “Are you obeying God’s commands?”

Instead of pressure, we love to obey the Lord. We sense total freedom from pressure of sin when the righteousness of Christ becomes our lifestyle.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21, 21God made him who had no sin to be sin offering for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So when Christ is active as Lord and Master of our life, He reigns over our lives and we live a lifestyle of righteousness. That’s shows we obey His instruction in Matthew 6:33, 33Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

When Christ lords over our heart, mind, soul and strength there are practical benefits He provides for us to live a righteous lifestyle. When God tests our faith, He wants us, like Abraham, to testify about His provision.

It says in 2 Peter 1:3-4, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

<‘))):< ltysii/2018 >:(((‘>

 

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