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Gods Redemptive Plan
01/08/2012
Scripture: Romans 1:22-29; Romans 2:1-3; Romans 3:2...
Track 1 of 11 in the Abraham series
Abraham begins in chapter 12 of Genesis. In fact, that is where the main story of the Bible begins. All the chapters before Abraham represent compressed history. The Bible doesnt report on all ancient history, only the essential things that set the stage for when Abraham enters the picture.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Abraham
Godís Redemptive Plan

We spent a lot of time studying and discussing the idea and reality of freedom as Christians. What is scary to many in the church, freedom + the type of society we live in today could spell disaster for many churches. But as we discovered, freedom doesnít mean we are free from something, we are free to be someone, someone God intended for us to be and only through the freedom God has given us can we be the type of people the world around us needs us to be.

Think a moment what is happening in American culture today. All we have to do is open our newspapers, watch the news and read what we see as news on the internet and we will discover nothing but cultural trash being spewed out all over society today. TV is filled with topics such as husbands who cheat, adulterous wives, unfaithful lovers, transvestism, sex changes, homosexual lovers, group sex, and a mound of topics that deal with these issues in more explicit details. Many of these programs are in prime time programming slots for our kids to see.

But this isnít new stuff, in fact centuries before, mankind dealt with the same old issues that destroyed earlier civilizations, the method of spreading the influence was different. Even Paul wrote about the same evils during his time:

Romans 1:24-29 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creatorówho is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.

What is interesting in history, once a civilization stooped into the low levels described by Paul, it wasnít long until the society that upheld civil living was destroyed and the civilization itself collapsed. I wonder how far America and our civilization are in stooping to the low level described by Paul? Are we there yet or are we just beginning to bend the knee in a direction that leads to destruction?

But, in chapter 2 of Romans, Paul turns his attention to the religious who do the same things but only in secret. Studies reveal that sinful behavior is not that visible and many Christians do sinful things but behind closed doors. What is worse is when Christians do the same things in secret but condemn those who sin outwardly. They wear two faces but the double life doesnít escape Godís attention.

Romans 2:1-3 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that Godís judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape Godís judgment?

What we need today was what the world needed back several thousand years ago, people who stood up for what they truly believed in like the man, Abraham. Several times when Paul needed an example to use to demonstrate faithful living, it was Abraham that Paul turned to. Our study will look at the man Abraham and we will examine the roots of Christianity. Moses was a very powerful figure in the Old Testament but had it not been for Abraham, there wouldnít be a nation for Moses to rescue.

Tell me what you know about Abraham? What kind of a man was he? Where did he come from and what were his strengths? What were his weaknesses? How much has man changed since Abraham lived? What is different? What is the same?

Today you and I live in a high tech world. Our world today and the ability to travel, move and communicate instantly is mind boggling and when we compare what we can do today to the technology Abraham had, there is little resemblance. But one thing remains the same, it was true back then and is still true today, man is still a sinner.

Romans 3:23 There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Man has the natural tendency to deteriorate morally and ethically and will chose to follow after sinful ways. Our technology only allows the process to speed up all over the world. But in essence, mankind has been the same ever since Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world.

Do you think God was surprised that man chose to sin and eat from the forbidden tree rather than live a close relationship with Him? If this is true, then why create a being that would eventually mess up and sin? What was the point?

Godís intent and desire is to be in a close relationship with us. He designed the relationship to be one of mutual desire and love for one another, not by compulsion, but by choice. In order for man to fully choose to be with God, man was created with the propensity not to chose God as well or the choice would not be true free choice.

Genesis 2:15-17 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, ďYou are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.Ē

2:22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib£ he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Did Adam and Eve really have a choice in the beginning? Did they really want to be in Eden and in a close relationship with God? Or were they put in the Garden without any choice? Where does it say that Adam and Eve joined the Garden Club? Where is it recorded that God sent an invitation and both came willingly to be a friend of Godís? Also, was the marriage between Adam and Eve a marriage of choice or an arranged marriage? Where is the choice?

These are important questions to ask and to think about thus the reason for Abraham. Abraham begins in chapter 12 of Genesis. In fact, that is where the main story of the Bible begins. All the chapters before Abraham represent compressed history. The Bible doesnít report on all ancient history, only the essential things that set the stage for when Abraham enters the picture. The Holy Spirit reveals for us the important facts about Creation and the origin of man. We were created, we didnít happen to come into being by a random act of chance. The universe and man were created by God.

Also the Holy Spirit tells us the origin of sin, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. We are also exposed to the first murder, Cain killed his younger brother Able. From this point on, there is a rapid multiplication and spread of violence in the world. All of this led to Godís judgment on a wicked society. But Noah was a righteous man and because he walked with God, a remnant of mankind was saved so the presence of man didnít diminish from the earth. But it didnít take long for man to fall back into his evil ways and the scale of wickedness was greater than it was before the flood.

Based on what we saw with the fall of Adam and Eve, describe for me the pattern for how man finds the path of sin in his life? Paul even described the pattern in Romans 1.

Romans 1:22-23 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

ē First, they became fools by believing in their own ideas. They quit seeing things the way God saw them and started to follow their own ideas.

ē Second, they exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like mortal man. They did see God to be God anymore and saw themselves to be better than God. They decided that man made a better God. Since God was invisible, they made an image of God and that image looked like a man.

ē Third, they started to worship birds, animals and reptiles. All that they worshiped came from and lived upon the earth. Instead of having their focus upward toward heaven, their focus was down upon the physical. They worshiped the creation, not the Creator.

Is this pattern still being played out today? Is man any better or different? Who or what s the real one true God in this world, our civilization, our own society? I always said there are really only two Gods that exist and we have to choose between the two, God Almighty or Us.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ďIf anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow

The true fact is simple, there is a choice to be made and the choice is who will man follow as God. Will man follow Jesus or will man follow himself as god? When man decides to exchange the glory of the immortal God and follow after himself, the results are really evil.

When man chooses to make himself God, what are the birds, animals and reptiles man then decides to worship? What are the modern birds, animals and reptiles we worship as gods or allow them to be our god to follow after?

As we look into the Old and New Testament, have you ever noticed what the first step was and is toward the downward spiral? Sexual Immorality. Someone define for me what sexual immorality is? Sexual immorality is any sexual act performed outside the marriage covenant. Sex is reserved only for the husband and wife in the covenant of marriage.

How powerful is sexual immorality and what influence does it have on our society today?

The setting for Abraham was a world and a society that was full of pagan worship, abundant sexual immorality and a heart for wickedness. Chapter 11 of Genesis ends with the genealogy of Shem going all the way down to Abraham. When the Old Testament starts to give an account of a genealogy, that means something important is coming and it is wise to pay attention to the characters in the genealogy. We know little to nothing about Abrahamís life before Genesis 12 and we are not told why God picks Abraham but if we can learn from Noah, most likely Abraham had a heart that was open to God. God was ready to move and he needed a servant who was willing to listen and follow.

What was Abrahamís society like? Do you think Abraham was a pagan who worshiped other gods like everyone else in his culture?

Joshua 24:2 Joshua said to all the people, ďThis is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ĎLong ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods.

Maybe Abraham did worship other gods. What is interesting to me, why then did God pick a man like Abraham who might have been a pagan? We really donít know the answer but we do know that Godís choice was a sovereign choice, one that only He could make. Abraham didnít deserve to be chosen, he too was worshiping other Gods but we will see the beginning of a pattern that will be the foundation of the salvation we hold as our own, being chosen by God strictly due to grace.

Romans 4:1-3 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast aboutóbut not before God. What does the Scripture say? ďAbraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.Ē

Before Abraham heard Godís voice and responded by doing what God told him to do out of faith, he really was just as lost as everyone else in the world. God called him totally due to grace. The man we will study for the next number of weeks was no different than you or me. Outside of God he was nothing, lost and part of an evil generation. But once God called to him from the position of grace and mercy, Abraham responded. Everything changed for Abraham and for millions of people to follow in the generations to come. We are recipients of the blessings first brought on by Abraham as he walked in faith with God.