Tonight, we had a special Large Group, featuring Pastor Michael Wilburn from Lexington Baptist Church. He preached from Genesis 22 and took us deeper into the story.
For so many of us, we've encountered God's command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and jumped straight to thinking about ourselves. "What might God ask me to sacrifice?" we ask ourselves. And that's appropriate. We should go there. But what about the questions raised by God's command. What does it look like to have faith in the justice of God?
Check out the sermon:
Here're my notes from the sermon:
Three true/false questions to start off...
1) Isaac's death would have violated God's moral character
2) Abraham believed Isaac would die (or stay dead)
3) The enjoyment of God's covenant required Abraham to act out his faith
Isaac was at between 10 and 15 at the time of this story (called "lad", asks insightful questions, carries wood, and is small enough to be lifted by his father). This means Abraham was at least 110 at this point (see Gen 21:5).
Your faith is going to be tested through trial
The trials increase...the hardest trials come at the end
1) The test was not the same as a temptation (James 1:13)
God was revealing what was in Abraham's heart
To point out that God stopped the sacrifice does not resolve the dilemma
Death would not void God's character
-Presupposition...God is light, in him there is no darkness (1 Jn)
-The sacrifice of Jesus...God doesn't ask what he would do himself
2) Abraham did not believe Isaac would die (and stay dead)
His focus was not on death, but on God's provision in the midst of uncertainty
"We will return" notice the "we"...response to Isaac's question
While Abraham is obeying, he is teaching Isaac to trust...what are you teaching?
Heb 11:17ff...God could raise him from the dead
3) Faith always has to be acted out in your life
Sacrifice is both a noun and a verb
See the reaffirmation of the covenant blessing
Why did God stop the sacrifice? No benefit for others, Abraham's faith sufficiently tested when he raised his arms
Now, we can ask, are you willing to sacrifice anything that hinders?
Love the world less and love Jesus more.