(Pentecost Sunday and the engagement of Victor and Sophie – see photos below)
Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 24 May 2015
Abraham is known as the father of believers. There is so much we can learn from him. We are told that they will come from the east and west and sit together with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the tables of heaven (Matt 8:11-12). But what is shocking is that that passage goes on to say that the children of the Kingdom will be cast out! Every child of God should test and examine himself that he is not counted with those who are cast out of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Abraham was 75 years old when God gave him a promise and told him to leave the land of his forefathers. And he left everything (Gen 12:1-4). We can learn so much from him. If we want to follow Jesus, we must also leave everything behind. But his father Terah wanted to go with him. He respected his father and allowed him to go with him. He was promised that although he was 75 years old and had no children, his offspring will be as the stars of heaven (Gen 15:5, 22:17, 26:4, 12:7). Abraham also took Lot along as a nephew and son, since he had no children of his own. It’s so easy to make a mistake. Lot was a very nice person and it was difficult for Abraham to refuse. They traveled as far as Haran and settled there (Gen 11:31). God stopped speaking to Abraham until his father passed away. When his father had died, then God spoke again to him to continue (Gen 11:32 – 12:1). When God calls you, don’t take anything along except what God says you should take along.
When Abraham was 99 years old, God again spoke to Abraham that He would bless him with a child from Sarah his wife (Gen 17:1, 15-16). Abraham was a very patient man. He could wait. But it was now almost 25 years later after God made the promise to him at first. Isaac was only born when Abraham was hundred (Gen 21:5), and Isaac only married Rebekah 40 years later. He was gifted in being patient and being able to wait.
However, during the 25 years when Abraham and Sarah waited, Sarah gave her servant girl to Abraham in marriage and Ishmael was born. And that deed is accursed till today and Ishmael’s descendants are enemies of Isaac’s descendants till today. We must be very careful not to make our own plans. Just like a mule is a wild animal, so the offspring of Ishmael are wild people, and we see it till today in the things that the Muslims are perpetrating continually. The Ishmaelites, the Muslims, say that he should be the heir, but Abraham never gave him the inheritance.
When Abraham was very old, and Isaac was 40 years old, Abraham called his chief servant to go to the country from which he came to get a wife for his son. Eleazar then asked Abraham if they refused to send her, if he should take Isaac back there. And Abraham said that that should never happen, and he made him to take a vow that he won’t do it. He also told him to not take a wife for his son from the nations around them.
The servant took camels and gold and silver and went to the country from whence Abraham came and wondered where he would find a wife for his master’s son. He arrived at a well, and prayed that God would lead him to the right one. We see how Abraham could command his household and and teach them to know God. Even if you don’t know what to do, God can lead you on the proper path. He asked for a sign, that the one God had chosen would offer him drink and to draw water for his camels. And that is exactly what happened. When they invited him to their house, he was overflowing with thankfulness to God for the way in which He answered his prayer.
When the servant wanted to go the family first asked that she remains with them for awhile. But the servant answered that God had made his way prosperous and he had to return. The family asked Rebekah and she agreed to go with him. Do you see the way of believers who are lead by the Holy Spirit?
And she and her servant girls went with him and his entourage. When they got to Abraham’s country, Rebekah saw a person afar off and asked who it was. The servant answered that it was Isaac, the son of Abraham. We see the beautiful parallel here between Jesus and his Bride. It is such a difference to those who are lead by the lusts of the flesh. That’s why there’s so much divorce and fighting like cat and dog in the world and those who follow the ways of the world.
Be filled with the Holy Spirit and be lead by Him, whether you’re young or old. We see in this text what it means to be lead by the Holy Spirit. Even if the years have gone by, be like Abraham. Don’t push for your own way, but rather be lead by the Holy Spirit.
Engagement of Victor and Sophie – South Africa
Engagement of Victor and Sophie – France – (A simultaneous engagement for Sophie was held in France)