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Grace Bible Church

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.

The Tree of Life for week ending 03/24/02.

Why Abraham finally received the blessings God promised him. Gen 17:4

As we continued our study of Genesis chapter 17 this week, we took a look at fear, we noted some interesting principles concerning Abram and his humility and fear toward God as being that which qualified him finally to be blessed by God.  Abraham came to a place where he became serious about his relationship to God.
Our corrected translation reads GEN 17:1-3 "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, Jehovah appeared to Abram and said; I am omnipotent God of many breasts. Continue to advance under My supervision maintain spiritual maturity And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you with power of power. And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,"

This is the first time that Abram fell on his face when the Lord spoke to him. This was the attitude that He had toward the Living word, The Lord Jesus Christ, who was about to speak the spoken word that became the written word, the word of God. Abram now has learned who to truly fear.
Sadly many of the believers alive today have not learned who to truly fear.
We know that because the one to truly fear, God, says in HEB 10:25 "Do not forsake assembling yourselves together"
But many believers say no to God.

God says in HEB 13:17 "Keep obeying those pastors who themselves are ruling over you, and submit to their authority,"
But many believers say no to God.

God says in 1CO 16:2 "On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for the offering."
But many believers say no to God.

God says in 1CO 11:24-25, "Keep on doing this [celebrating the Lord's supper] in remembrance of Me."
But many believers say "no."

God says in 1PE 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
But many believers say no to God.

Many individuals today are living in fear because of the current events that are taking place.
2TI 1:7 says "For God has not given us a lifestyle of fear, but of power and love and discipline."

When a believer surrenders to any aspect of fear in his or her life, that fear begins to escalate and gains control over the believer. In fact, Satan requires fear to have control over the human race and without fear he has no point of contact to control the believer.  The Bible says that we have not been born again and saved and a placed in union with Christ in order to fear AGAIN. 

ROM 8:15 says For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
Notice the phrase leading to fear again because that is what all of us had been subject to ever since our first birth, the physical birth.
However, once we are born again, JOH 3:3 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
We now have a second birth which should be manifested by JOH 8:32 You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

All of humanity, by virtue of the first birth, is under some form of fear, the ultimate one being fear of death.  All fears in the human race are traceable to that fear of death, something that we should not have, because of what our Lord Jesus Christ did. 

In MAT 10:28 our Lord said "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
There is no reason for any of us to fear.

1JO 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Christians do not fear death because of the truth that God has provided through Jesus Christ and the victory over death.

Satan knows that if he can get an individual to fear death, they will not truly live and they will not be able to fight the spiritual conflict they have been called to fight.
HEB 2:15 says that our Lord came and died so that "He might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery to the devil all their lives."

Once our enemy can get us to fear, he then can get us to become emotional, and once we give way to the emotional reaction of fear, we become a slave in our soul and cannot deal with the actual reality.
We become disarmed towards the real things in our life that require claiming the promises of God. To have no fears in our lives is the first expression of our love toward God.
We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have no reason to fear because;
We are new creatures and children of the King.
We are part of a Royal family, part of the body of Christ.
We are an heir to the throne, ambassadors for Christ and royal priests.

The point is that all fears are related to some for of death. When we realize that the Lord has delivered us from the greatest fear, the fear of death, it will cause us bow down before Him, like Abram did, and realize what His justice and righteousness has done, to make us exempt from eternal condemnation.
This is what finally happened to Abram, he had times when he was living in fear, but during those 13 silent years, he has grown-up spiritually.
He is humbled before the Lord, now he has reached the point in his spiritual life where he was now ready for divine blessing.
GEN 17:3 And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,

In verses four through eight, we come to the reassurance of the Abrahamic covenant and the divine decree.  We start with Gen 17:4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations."

Notice the phrase "As for Me," it doesn't say, As for your part in the covenant this is what you must do," it says "As for me," and it represents the guarantee of the fulfillment of the unconditional Abrahamic covenant which is the very essence or character of God.

This magnifies the party of the first part, the members of the Godhead, the Trinity, with Jesus Christ acting as the spokesman, it does not magnify the party of the second part, Abraham.  The Lord will do all the providing, He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our provider.

The sexual blessing and prosperity, changing him to a new race, the pregnancy of Sarah, the birth of Isaac, these things could have occurred many years before, but they would have gone unappreciated.
God's timing for the blessing is perfect, it is compatible with our spiritual status.
Abram's physical status is hopeless, now bowed down on the ground but his soul status is improving everyday and it is the status of soul to which the justice of God responds.
There's another principle in Gen 17 that is applicable for all of us, God looks at our recognition towards the authority of the one who teaches, and then He looks at the content which has been accumulated through the daily function of perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine.
Therefore, an important question for believers to answer is what is their attitude toward the one who teaches and toward his authority?

You see, in Abram's case, Abram is not only occupied with the blessor, Abram has subjected himself to the authority of the blessor. It took Abram a long time to realize that, but once he did life became simple.
Look at the corrected translation of 1TI 5:17 Those pastor-teachers [presbuteros] who have ruled well with the result that they keep ruling honorably, they must be considered worthy of double honor, most of all those who work hard to the point of exhaustion in the study of the word and the teaching of doctrine.

Pastors must always remember that what they are communicating is not theirs, it belongs to God, to all members of the Trinity and nothing can be more sacred, more important then what is communicated from the pulpit.  Therefore it must be accurate, it must be right, it must be correct, it must be the truth, otherwise the justice of the Father, the justice of the Son, the justice of the Holy Spirit all vote for double-discipline for the pastor.  Therefore not too many are pastors because the pastor has a tremendous authority assigned to him, regardless of the size of the church.  This is why those who have the gift of pastor-teacher are always males, because females cannot exercise this authority. They are designed to be responders and such an authority cannot and does not reside in them.

This is why members of the congregation are commanded to respect the office and the authority of the Pastor not the individual.  The personality of the pastor, or the manner of his communication, or the way he looks, or any other factor, is not the issue, the issue is the communication of the message.
God uses all different types of personalities.

Some of you would not have liked Peter because he was known for being too impulsive, James perhaps too fanatical.  While John was too serious and passionate and Philip asked too many questions.  Bartholomew was very composed and to some he seemed boring while Matthew was humble and to some he seemed weak.  Thomas was known for his pessimism.
James {the son} of Alphaeus was quiet while Simon the Zealot was strong-willed and Judas (son of James) was intense.  Of course, the apostle Paul was a genius and a prepared man, the greatest intellect and eloquence of his day, however, he used a lot of divine sarcasm.

That gives us some idea of the individuals that the Lord chose.
The point is to pay attention to the message not intellectual ability.

When we accept the authority of a pastor, we accept the teaching that he communicates and two things are emphasized in the teaching of doctrine. 

First the authority of the pastor, secondly his message.
One is emphasized in the congregation, submission to that authority, so that there can be concentration on the message.

One can never concentrate on the message until they separate the authority of the pastor from his personality or any other factor.
In order to take in doctrine, you must concentrate on the teaching of doctrine, not on the individual characteristics of the pastor.

So Abram has learned who to truly fear and he has accepted the authority and adjusted to the justice of God, he is now ready to receive the blessing that God has for him, this also gives us our introduction to verse 4,
Gen 17:4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations."

The word for covenant in the Hebrew is beriyth which refers to an unconditional covenant.
Being adjusted to the justice of God is being adjusted to every characteristic in the essence of God, and therefore is no compromise of the divine essence in giving Abram this wonderful ultra supergrace blessing.

The covenant blessing to Abram includes the original paragraph of GEN 12:2-3, a new race and a new nation will come from Abram. The new race of Jews will eventually become the new nation at the time of Moses.
The new race of Jews and the new nation of Israel are guaranteed to have certain parts of planet earth. 
The Abrahamic covenant then becomes pivotal in the history of the human race because it provides a new race to become custodians of doctrine in human history, and to serve God in both evangelism and the communication of doctrine.

Gen 17:4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations."

The Hebrew word for nations is goyim (go'-eem); and it means a foreign nation, it refers to Gentile nations.
When it says "You shall become a father of many nations," these are Gentile nations and do not include the Jewish nation, which is going to be a new race in Abram's time, but not a nation for nearly five hundred years.

We also have the word for father is the Hebrew word `ab, and means the father of many gentile nations.

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