Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SERMON: What is a life of obedience worth?

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 8/22/2014

In Genesis 12 we read of God’s call to Abram. The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your Father’s household to go to a land I will show you.” God goes on to tell Abram that he (God) will make him into a great nation, to bless him and make his name great.

Abram was seventy five years old when set out on his journey. In Genesis 25 we read Abram lived a hundred and seventy five years. “Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age an old man full of years.” Interestingly enough in this span of one hundred years Abraham had only one son and the only land he ever possessed was Machpelah where he buried his wife Sarah.

In Genesis 12 we read of God’s call to Abram. The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your Father’s household to go to a land I will show you.” God goes on to tell Abram that he (God) will make him into a great nation, to bless him and make his name great.

Abram was seventy five years old when set out on his journey. In Genesis 25 we read Abram lived a hundred and seventy five years. “Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age an old man full of years.” Interestingly enough in this span of one hundred years Abraham had only one son and the only land he ever possessed was Machpelah where he buried his wife Sarah.

Abram left a very prosperous life in Haran to fulfill God’s request. While he accumulated vast herds of livestock and servants, he never realized all the possessions and blessings that God had promised him in his lifetime. Yet through this one son the entire Hebrew nation came into being.

Jesus made a similar promise to the apostles in Matthew 19:29, “And for everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” How do we interpret this promise from God? In my own life I spent many years working to accumulate the things I put value on. I denied God service in my life and seemed to move along fine. The problem with this is if we strive to do everything ourselves in our time God cannot provide any blessing to what we are doing which reduces the joy we experience in the thing we love to do. What Jesus was telling the apostles was that serving God costs something, but God does not expect his people to labor in vain. He will multiply the fruit of their labor.

Abraham did not see all the blessings God would bring forth from his obedience. Many occurred after his death but they were fulfilled. Jesus said anyone who leaves something to follow him will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. In other words the blessings of salvation far exceed anything which one must forsake to obtain them. The best interpretation of this text might be that the spiritual insight achieved through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the self-sacrifice which result from that multiplies even the common joys of life. Obedience to God leads to a joyful life.

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