Romans #8 – Start Here Faith Comes First For Abraham (Romans 4:1-12)

Romans #8 – Start Here Faith Comes First For Abraham (Romans 4:1-12)

– Ooh howdy, if you got a Bible go to Romans chapter four, we’re taking about a year, we’re going through this amazing, epic, fantastic book of the Bible. Today we’re in chapter four. So let’s have a little participation here. I’m a little tired. And this is not a library. So you’re welcome to be involved. So I’m gonna ask you a question, if you had to pick one word to summarize 2020 what might that word be? Oh that was quick. One at a time kids come on. Horrible, awful.

– [Congregant] Strange.

– Strange.

– [Congregant] Chaos.

– Chaos

– [Congregant] Awesome.

– Awesome, okay, we’re all coming to your house after church you heard. How about fear? Would any of you pick fear? I thought of a lot of potential four letter words. That’s the one I finally landed on was fear. Fear has controlled our politics, our economics, our relationships. People are isolated, they’re scared. Welcome to election season. Welcome to COVID season. Welcome to the planet is officially on the decline cycle amen, and everyone is gripped with fear, because we don’t know what the future holds. But it doesn’t look very good. And so we’re all scared and isolated and fearful. And here’s what I know. Fear never let anyone into the will of God. God never blesses fear. God only blesses faith. And faith is trusting that there is a God over what we see. And he sees what we don’t see. And he can get us through what is in front of us. And the Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear behind fear oftentimes at work is a paralyzing demonic force, a spirit. And the Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. So the way you cast out a demon, is you replace it with a Holy Spirit, the way you cast out a spirit of fear is to have faith in the love of God. And so we’re gonna talk a lot about faith today. And what does it mean to have faith in God? And what does it mean to live by faith in God? And what does it mean to have a God who is faithful, amen. And so to do so, we’re gonna look at the life of Abraham, and how faith comes first for Abraham in Romans, chapter four verses one through 12. And what Paul here is doing, he’s taking this Old Testament character, Abraham, and establishing him for us as the father and prototype of faith. When you want to mass produce something, you start with a prototype. And Abraham is for us the prototype of faith. Here are some examples. What’s that on the far left?

– [Congregant] Model T.

– It’s the Model T. That was Henry Ford’s first mass produced car. It was the prototype and to this day, I think that came out in 1908. To this day, we still have cars built on that similar prototype. We have four wheels, steering wheel, motor, transmission, exhaust, radiator, and also seats, unless you drive a Tesla. Congratulations, winner, winner chicken dinner. You went next level, okay. On the bottom right, what is that?

– [Congregant] Wright brothers.

– That’s the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk flying the prototype that would become the airplane. Thankfully, ours is a little better. Probably don’t need to wear a mask on that one looks like plenty of fresh air. But what you have, you have this long sort of tube and then you have a router and you’ve got wheels and you’ve got a motor and you’ve got a seat. So the prototype remains many, many years later. On the top right, that is Lisa, that was the first personal computer for sale in 1983. How many of you love the 80s? Woop, woop, all right, yeah we, just so you kids know, we have mullets and we wore pastels. And the Holy Spirit was not involved in any of that. And there was also it was also guys in leather pants with hairspray trying to be tough in rock man’s. There’s never been a tough guy in leather pants with hair product, I’m just throwing it out there. It was all the demonic counterfeit that we talked about a few months ago. So what this was, this was the first computer it was $10,000 for your first personal home computer. And it had very little capacity, your alarm clock probably does more than that personal computer right now. And the point is that we start with a prototype for faith, the prototype for faith is Abraham. Three major world religions point to him as the father or founder or prototype of faith. Jewish people, Christian people, and Muslim people all say that he is the father of their faith. Three major world religions claim, not all rightly, but all claim to descend from his faith and follow in his footsteps. This is why when Jesus came along in John chapter eight, he’s arguing with the Jewish people, and they said, we have Abraham as our father. So he is the prototype. And even if today, if you were to take a poll on planet Earth, the number one person who would be chosen as the prototype or father of faith would be Abraham. So we’re gonna look at Abraham’s relationship with God starting in Romans four, one through five, as the pattern and precedent and prototype for yours and mine and ours. What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather, according to the flesh that’s during his life, in his physical body here on planet Earth. For if Abraham was justified, declared righteous, made right with God, entered into relationship with God, by works, by something that he did, by his performance, his morality, his spirituality, his obedience, he has something to boast about because he participated in it. But not before God. For what does scripture say? And then the Apostle Paul quotes the Old Testament book of Genesis, and he quotes Genesis 15:6, if you wanna just pray about it, I’m thinking we’re gonna finish Romans around next Labor Day, I’m thinking after that we might do the book of Genesis, we might do the book of Genesis, but Genesis 15:6 says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted or credited, that’s a accounting term for economics, to him as righteousness, or right in the sight of God. This verse is so important. It’s repeated multiple times in the New Testament. Now to the one who works, you go earn it, you labor for it, his wages are not counted as a gift, but his due. So he distinguishes between works and grace, that which you earn and that which is just a gift, and to the one who does not work, but believes, that’s faith, he’s gonna use believe and believe throughout this section to talk about faith, in Him or justifies the ungodly, who’s ungodly?

– [Congregation] Everyone is.

– We all are, we all are. If you say I’m not, you’re the most ungodly, congratulations, you just cut to the front of the line, cause pride is the worst sin of all, gotcha. And if you don’t agree, ask your spouse, two or three witnesses, we got you, I’m just telling you how this works. His faith is counted or credit or reckoned as righteousness. So when he talks about believe God, he’s talking about faith, faith, let me define it for you. It’s an internal conviction that leads to an external action. Faith is something that you believe in here, and it affects how you behave out there. Faith starts in here, but it doesn’t stay in here. So for example, here in the front row is my wife and best friend Grace. I had faith that God wanted us to be together, and I had faith that we should be married, that resulted in a wedding and a life. Okay, so conviction in here leads to action out there. And ultimately, there is among theologians, historically a bit of a debate, because here in Romans, Paul says that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works. In James, another book in the New Testament, penned by Jesus’ own brother, he says that faith without works is dead. And some would think that they’re in conflict. Even the great Protestant reformer Martin Luther thought that perhaps they were in conflict. They are not. What Paul is talking about is the internal conviction. What James is focused on is the external action. Paul is talking about how people come into relationship with God. James is writing to people who know the Bible and know God, but they don’t do anything. For them their faith is just in here, not out there. It’s private, not public. It is theoretical, it is not practical. And it starts in here and it works out there. Good tree, good fruit. The Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, new nature, new lifestyle, relationship with God, new life in relationship with God, that’s faith. And then he’s talking about the faith of Abraham. Now, Abraham’s name is interesting. It’s curious, because it means father of a multitude. And as an elderly man who first meets God at age 75, he has no children. So how can you be a father when he has no kids and the father of a multitude when he doesn’t have one child? That’s gonna be God’s faithfulness, and Abraham’s faith is in that God. He is also called a friend of God. And so what we ultimately want for you to be like Abraham is to have faith in God so you can be friends with God. This is largely about relationship when it talks through the Bible over and over about people walking with God, that is faith in relationship. When our kids were little, I would take them by the hand, we had a relationship, they would have faith in me to lead them. They didn’t know everywhere we were going, or everything we were doing. But they had faith that their father was in relationship with them, that knew what they did not know that saw what they could not see and would lead where they needed to go. The faith walk with God is that, it is I am his child, he is my father, I trust him. And we have a relationship. That’s the language of friendship. Also, he’s called the father of faith. And it’s gonna use this language, a lot of Abraham father. So let me just say something very practical. How many of you are fathers? Any dads in the house? I got five kids. If you are a father, you are to be the leader of faith in your family. Abraham is the father of our faith, and his family follows him in his faith. I was thinking about it this morning, it’s very easy to overlook the obvious, and that the reason that his family for generations had faith is because he led in faith, we’re gonna talk about this at Real Men on Wednesday, I would encourage you men to come back on Wednesday at 6:30. And we’re gonna talk about what it means to have Abrahamic like faith that leads your family. Cause faith is not just for you, it’s for you to lead your family into the purposes of God.

– [Congregant] Amen.

– Okay and that’s what we need we don’t need more government, we need more men. We don’t need more government, we need more men. And these are the only two options you either get rid of the men and then the government has to take their place. Or if you have good men, you need less government.

– [Congregant] Amen.

– And ultimately, that’s why we say here we open our Bibles to learn, we open our lives to love so that lives in legacies are transformed. That Abraham is the father of faith, that spiritually, we look to him as a father in the faith. And we want the men to be fathers in the faith and their faith to continue through generations. That’s the whole prayer and goal. And so he is a tremendous example for all of us, though imperfect. In addition, his name has remained perennially popular. His name Abraham appears about 300 times in the Bible. And even in the more modern years we have people who are named Abraham, it’s actually a very popular name. Can you think of one famous American with that name? Abraham

– [Congregant] Lincoln.

– Lincoln, so we call him one of our fathers in America and Abraham is one of our fathers in the Christian faith. Now, when it comes to Abraham’s story, God first shows up in his life around Genesis chapter 12. Abraham is just a pagan having a regular old day, God shows up and introduces himself, I am God. He doesn’t see this coming. He’s not looking for God, God’s looking for him. How many of you, that’s your story? You’re just living your life, and God just showed up? He’s like hi, I’m in charge now. Okay who are you? I’m God, okay, good to know. He just shows up and Abraham’s about 75 years of age, about 75 years of age. And Abraham begins by God just speaking to him. And what Abraham has, is he has God speak to him and then he trusts what God says. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. When you hear what God says, you need to believe what God says until you see what God does. Faith precedes sight. God tells you to trust Him, until he shows up and does what he promises to do. Now, that being said, regarding Abraham, when God first showed up in Genesis 12, and he’s about 75 years of age, did he know a lot about God or very little about God?

– [Congregant] Very little.

– He, very little, the Bible wasn’t written. He didn’t know this God. He didn’t have a relationship with God, nobody that he knew this God, he had very little knowledge. But his faith in obedience was it small or great? It was great. So here’s the thing. You and I do we tend to know more than Abraham, we do. Do we tend to believe less than Abraham, we do. See, we tend to have more knowledge, but less trust. His knowledge was minimal, but his trust or faith was massive. It’s not just what you know, it’s what you believe and how you live in light of what God says. The problem with some of you, you’re like, I wish God would just speak to me, he probably already has. You need to believe and obey. You may not need more information from him, you may need more faith in him and more obedience to Him. And so the story of Abraham really is an incredible story. And God shows up in Genesis 12 and begins telling him over and over and over, leave everyone leave everything, start over at 75. How many of you are at or near 75? Raise your hand. Okay, raise your hand. How many of you don’t wanna start over right now? Right now, if God said start over, you’re like no. I mean, he’s telling him leave your country. Leave your city, leave your extended family. Leave your wealthy, a fluent extended family, the business the land, all of the employees, everything you’ve inherited, leave it all. Leave everyone and everything, you know. Okay, God, where am I gonna go? None of your business. What am I gonna do? None of your business. Well, what’s the plan? It’s none of your business, trust me. How many of you at 75? You wouldn’t do that? How hard is it to get a 75 year old man out of a chair? Let alone to reset his life. Let me say this just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re done. And let me say this, one of the worst things that happens is that people not only retire from their job, they retire from their faith. You older saints, we need you in the fights. Die with your boots on die with your boots on, right. And you might be 75 years old, and God might be like, I got a new calling on your life in a ministry. So you know what you do, you take a nap, you get up and you try. That’s what you do. That’s what you do. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna summarize Genesis 11:26 through 25:11. I’m gonna look at how God spoke, and then Abraham believed. I’m gonna show you how God initiated and Abraham responded. And I’m gonna summarize it for you. It’s a, if you go to realfaith.com, you’ll find the sermon in audio, in video, you’ll find the sermon notes, it’s all in there, you’ll find a free study guide. It’s in there, you’ll find the sermon transcripts. So I’m gonna move fast. And if you’re a nerdy note taker, that’s totally fine. I’ve got it all taken care of for you. But the whole point of Abraham is that Jesus Christ needs to come to the earth. So all of history is driving to bring us to Jesus. So God shows up in Genesis 12 and he tells Abraham, I’m gonna give you a son, I’m gonna make you a great nation. I’m gonna give you a great name. And I’m gonna bless you so that you can be a blessing to the nations of the earth. The point is, when God blesses you, it’s to bless others. God gives you money, it’s to be generous to them. God gives you love, it’s to love them. God gives you forgiveness, it’s to forgive them. God gives you wisdom, it’s to help them. God gives you ability, it’s to serve them. We are to be the conduit of God’s blessings, not just the recipient of God’s blessings. Well, at this point, he’s 75, his wife is very elderly and very barren. They have never had any children. And he is telling them, I’m gonna bring a son who’s gonna bring a nation who’s gonna bring Jesus because your son will lead to the Son of God. Now his response is legendary. It says at 75, without kids, he packed everything up, he left everyone and everything, he obeyed God and started over. That’s massive, some of you have recently moved here, you’re in the middle of your Abraham journey. We’re in the fastest growing city and county in America, and many of you are trying to figure out okay, God, where are you leading us? And why are we landing here? And is this our promised land? And why is it so hot? You’re trying to figure all this out? And they’ll tell you it’s a dry heat. So is hell, it’s still hot, I’ll just tell you. And I always like to say June, July, August to the beast, the false prophet and the anti Christ, they just unleash hell on the valley. That’s the way it is. So people say you’ll get used to it. No, you won’t, you won’t, you won’t. That’s why they got to pool, you’re gonna feel like you’re on fire and you need to jump in. The second thing that happens is in Genesis 12, God comes and says, I’m also gonna give you a land, you’re gonna leave this land, get a new land, it’s the land of the promise. It’s the promised land. And it’s the nation of Israel, the nation of Israel is the only nation that God literally establishes the borders of he tells us, that’s Israel. The reason that there’s so much conflict over Israel, that was the land that was promised to the descendants of Abraham, through whom would come Jesus, the Son of God, to be the blessing to the nations of the earth. So he’s gonna give him a great piece of land. And then it says that Abraham built an altar there, and he worshiped God. There are times in your life that you got to just stop and build an altar and worship God. And what I would say is you need to build an altar in your house. And what that means is, read the Bible, pray, worship God, meet with God in your house. When you’re in your car going to work, you need to turn that into an altar, you gotta listen to Bible teaching, or you gotta listen to Bible reading, or podcasts or worship music or just pray to God. That ultimately you need to build an altar at your place at work. You need to have a habit of meeting with God and inviting God’s presence into the midst of your day. And when God speaks to you, the key is to stop and worship Him. Now Abraham doesn’t see everything God is going to do. But he believes everything God says he will do. And what you do is you worship while you wait. See, sometimes in the waiting, we get very anxious and we take matters into our own hands. You’re like well, I need to do something. You do, you need to worship while you wait. You need to worship while you wait. And that’s what Abraham does. Number three, in Genesis 15, we are told Abraham was told by God, that He would have numerous descendants and a land. And God keeps repeating the promise. And this has been over the course of many years. How many of you have been waiting for God? You feel like he said, he’s gonna do something, but he’s not done it yet. Abraham is in the waiting pattern. How many of you oftentimes feel like God is late? Just be honest. Hey, God, I don’t know if you got like a watch up there. If not, you could rapture one and maybe, you know, show up on time, it seems like you’re late a lot. It always feels like God is late. But God is always right on time. And there’s a difference between God’s will and God’s timing. So God keeps telling Abraham his will, but God hasn’t arrived yet. Because it’s not God’s timing. Faith, trust’s in God’s will and God’s timing. Some of the greatest mistakes in my life, are knowing God’s will, but getting ahead of God’s timing. How many of you have done that? We all have right? Sometimes you’re young, and you’re like, I feel called to ministry. Great, but is that God’s timing? Are you ready? This happens all the time with single people. God wants me to marry them. That’s God’s will. What’s God’s timing? After you get a job, sir, that’s when it is. That’s when it’s God’s timing. How do you know Pastor Mark, cause I’m a dad, I see these things real clearly. If you’re unemployed, it’s not God’s time, that’s for sure. So there’s God’s will, and there’s God’s timing. And God keeps showing up over the course of many years and declaring his will, and Abraham is waiting and worshiping, waiting on his timing. And it says simply then in Genesis 15:6, the scripture that Paul quotes here in Romans four, Abraham believed God. He says ah God, you said, you’re gonna do it. I don’t know when you’re gonna do it, I don’t know how you’re gonna do it. But I know you’re gonna do it. I trust you, I trust you. Number four, God shows up in no number five, God shows up in Genesis 17. It says, you’re gonna be the father of many nations, you’re gonna have a son, he is gonna be a blessing and through him will come the blessing of Jesus Christ. All of this will happen in the next year. At this point, he’s 99. He’s been waiting 24 years. That’s a lot of waiting. So God says one final act of faith. Trust me, your wife, Sarah is gonna give birth to the son I promised you, everything’s gonna happen as I told you. So in faith, I just need you to do one more thing, circumcise yourself. He’s 99, this is great faith, right? How many guys would be like, I don’t need that level of faith, I’m good. How many of you be like, okay, God, if you give me a son, then I’ll pray about circumcising myself. But how about you just go first? No, trust me. Not only that, he says you gotta take all the males in your household, relatives, employees servants, and they all need to circumcise themselves. This is leadership. Hey, guys, good news, God’s got a plan for us. Awesome, okay, everybody grab a flint knife, huh? How many of you guys don’t have that level of faith? Amen, theologians have often debated why does God require that? Here’s what I’m telling you. If God can get that aspect of a man, then he’s totally surrendered. That’s what I’m telling you, okay. So what Abraham, you should see the guy’s faces. This is so funny. Every guy’s like, no blinking, dude leaving, amazing, okay, he’s out, he’s out, thank you for joining us, sir. Didn’t even make eye contact. So he’s 99 How many of you at 99 don’t wanna start your family? If you’re 99, I’m not gonna ask you to raise your hand cause we can’t ask you to do anything. But if you’re 99, how many of you don’t wanna have a baby? Can you imagine going into the store? You’re like, I need diapers, adult or child? Yes, yes, that’s a lot of diapers. And what it says is that he believed God even at 99 years of age. And then at 100, 25 years after the promise, God was faithful, Sarah his wife gives birth to a son. They name him Isaac, which means?

– [Congregant] Laughter

– Laughter cause God gets the last laugh. When God told Sarah, you’re gonna have a baby, and she’s a barren, elderly grand mother of age, she laughed at God ha ha ha, God, you’re funny. God’s like ha, ha, ha, how’s the baby grandma? The moral of the story is God always gets the last laugh. So Isaac is born as the son of the promise. Now this being said, the question is, was Abraham saved by something that he did, or something that God did? If it was something that he did, it was works, he could boast. God, I helped, I participated, you know, you did your part, I did my part. And what it says is, he was saved by God’s works, not his works by grace, that ultimately Abraham didn’t save himself. And what happened was years after people read the scriptures, and they looked at the laws. The first five books of the law, have 600 laws in them. And so the Jews decided, well, if you do the right things, and don’t do the wrong things, then God judges you, and the good people go to heaven, and the bad people go to hell. And the point is, if that’s the case, then you can boast, Scott I made it, I earned it, and we didn’t. Furthermore, the law was given 500 years after Abraham lived. So it wasn’t like Abraham got up every day and read the Old Testament and did it, the Old Testament wouldn’t come until Moses started writing it 500 years later. Furthermore, this entire argument is nullified in Genesis 15. When God entered into covenant relationship with Abraham, the Old Testament language is literally the cutting of a covenant. So they would take an animal, they would sacrifice it, separate it, you would pass through the animal that was dead, and it was saying, I oath in the sight of God, to follow through with the deal terms. And if I breached this agreement, God and you can kill me. It was a death sentence. That’s how serious, somber and sober some covenants were. Well, in Genesis 15, God, sacrificed the animal God passed through, usually two parties would enter through the sacrifice. In this case, it was only one cause this relationship was solely by God, not Abraham’s participation. For those of you who know the story, what was Abraham doing while God was covenanting? Sleeping, he did nothing. You can’t have less participation than a guy who’s asleep. So God saved him, entered into relationship with Him covenanted with him while he was asleep. The moral of the story is sometimes God does his best work when you’re asleep. Sometimes God gets you out of the way, we stay up late at night, all anxious and frantic, oh, my God, something needs to be done. God’s like go to bed so I can go to work. That’s what the Bible says that he gives his beloved sleep in the Psalms. That sometimes sleeping is an act of faith. If some of you don’t sleep well, it’s maybe because you don’t trust God to work when you’re asleep. Abraham trusts God, and how do we know he trusts God? He sleeps well. Faith has some very practical implications and applications. Sometimes it’s like, it’s out of control, you’re in control. I’ll go to bed, see you in the morning, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. In addition, Abraham, if he was saved by his obedience to God’s word, being a great guy, let’s just evaluate his life. Did he make any big errors? Okay, we’ll talk about it. We got nothing else to do. Let’s talk about this. So God told him, here’s the promised land. That’s the land that I promised for you, for the nation of Israel to bring Jesus as the blessing of the nations there. What did he do with the promised land? He gave it away. God had to bring it back. In addition, God said through your wife, Sarah, I’m gonna give you a son. What did he do with his wife? What did he do? Gave her away? How many times?

– [Congregant] Twice.

– Twice. How many of you ladies, are like, no, after one and done, son, that’s it. That’s how that’s gonna go. How many of you if your husband gave you away once, there would not be an opportunity for a second chance of giving you away. And Abraham in those moments, he didn’t have faith, he had fear. He’s going into a place and his wife is elderly, but she’s very beautiful. And so the ruler sees her and says, oh, she’s very beautiful. And Abraham is now filled with fear rather than faith. And he’s saying, well, if that guy’s powerful, and he wants her, he might hurt me, so I’m gonna pretend that she’s my sister, and then give my wife to this guy. Now, let me say this. It’s not his sister, but even if it was, he’s still not a good brother, amen. How many of you if your brother’s like, oh, you want her? You’re gonna hurt me? Bad day for you sis, that’s a bad guy. So he gives his wife away. So what does God do? Brings her back, and then it happens again. And then God brings her back. The point is that sometimes we actually sabotage God’s will for our life. And then God salvages what we sabotage. You see, God sometimes saves us from us. So, ladies, let’s have this conversation. So looking at his life worst thing he did.

– [Congregants] Hagar

– Hagar, that’s a girlfriend. If you have a wife, should you have a girlfriend?

– [Congregation] No.

– No. The wives are clear on this. The men are like, I don’t know it’s in the Bible, I need to pray about it. No, you don’t. So what happens is at 75 they’re told that eventually they’re gonna have a baby. They wait a while, no baby cubs, who comes up with a crazy idea to go get another wife?

– [Congregants] Sarah.

– Sarah, the wife comes up with a worst idea ever. Oh, maybe a girlfriend will fix it. Never happened, so Abraham’s like what honey you want me to find a young girl and sleep with her and get her pregnant? Well, I mean, you know, I’m willing to serve the family, you know, so and there’s a lot of people are going, This a terrible story and there’s a lot of dudes going hmm, bad idea, you’re naughty, knock it off. Okay, so what happens is, he takes a girl named Hagar she gets pregnant with a son. Could there be any potential conflict in this house? Yep, first wife, second wife, older wife, younger wife, barren wife, baby wife, baby mama drama. That’s where we’re at. Now we’re in a full blown Jerry Springer episode. Now, there’s a paternity test. There’s security guards with neck tattoos, pulling the girls off of each other cause they’re pulling hair. It’s a total situation. So here’s Hagar, I have a baby, you don’t. God said he was gonna bless the son, must be this son. Now the conflict is will she have a son? Does she, does Sarah get a baby?

– [Congregant] Yes.

– She does. Right, well, two wives, two sons, which is the son of the promise. Is it Isaac or Ishmael?

– [Congregants] Isaac.

– It depends on who you ask. Like every crazy family, like every crazy family, and here’s the point, men, if you sleep with the wrong woman, you could cause pain for generations, you could cause pain for millennium. I got no amens from the men nothing. A lot of the wives like yeah. Lads are like mmh okay. So what happens is the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. Islam is from the descendants of Ishmael. They reread the entire Genesis story, that Hagar and Ishmael are the inheritors of the promise that they should have the nation of Israel that their religion should rule and that they are the children of the promise. The reason we have geopolitical conflict, the reason that we have wars over Israel, the reason that we have Islam and global conflict, one dude slept with two women. It’s a long time family feud. So it’s adorable when American politicians are like, well, let’s have a meeting and sort it out. Yeah, you’ve never had to pregnant ladies, you can’t reconcile that. It’s a family feud forever. And ultimately, Isaac is the son of the promise. God promised that he would work through Isaac, to bring forth Israel the nation, to bring forth Jesus the blessing to the nations of the earth. And what he says is this was by grace through faith. When he says, it was credited or counted to him, that’s grace. And he believed God, that’s faith. That Abraham believed God, faith, and it was credited or given to him, counted to him, gifted to him as righteousness, that ultimately, it’s by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Here’s what I’m telling you, everybody in the history of the world who has a relationship with God, it’s by grace from through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s the same for the Old Testament and also the New Testament. And so what he’s saying here is, it’s a gift that Abraham didn’t work for. It’s a gift that ultimately Jesus, the Son of God would earn for him. So Abraham is gonna have a son, leading to Jesus as the Son of God. So I was gonna do this as an illustration. Let me pick somebody. I’mma pick you sweetheart. Come on up, come on up. She didn’t know I was gonna do this. How old are you sweetheart?

– I’m 12.

– You’re 12? And what’s your name?

– Abby.

– Abby, here’s 100 bucks, cool, thank you. You can go sit down. Good to see you honey okay. So what is that?

– [Congregant] It’s a gift.

– That’s a gift. Did she earn it?

– [Congregant] No. No, okay, no, now you’re looking at me like you want 100 bucks. I had a guy in the last service, he’s like, I want 100 bucks. And I was like, well then get a job, sir, you’re a grown man. You know, like, I’m not Bernie Sanders, I’m Mark Driscoll. We don’t do that here, you got gotta go to work so. So I don’t write the mail I just deliver it. So that’s a true. What he’s saying is this is that if Abraham went to work and earned his salvation, he could boast. But instead, Jesus would go to work and he would earn it and give it to him as a gift. See, it’s a gift. That’s what salvation is, it’s a gift. The reason that we throw parties at this church, the reason we give away candy to kids, the reason that we give away Bibles is because we believe in not just a theology of grace, something that lives in here, but a lifestyle of grace, some fun out there. That grace shows up in generosity. And that’s why the Bible says, it’s more blessed to give than receive, and God is the most blessed because he’s the biggest giver of all time. And so ultimately, what he’s saying is for Abraham, this is how it works. And some people will say, oh, it’s so easy to become a Christian. All you gotta do is just, you just gotta receive Jesus. No, it’s actually really hard because you gotta be humble enough to come empty handed, and needy, and receive a gift that you did not earn and cannot boast in and worship God, because he’s been generous to you, amen. So he uses Abraham as a case study before the law. And then he’s gonna look at David as a second case study after the law was given. And so then he tells us about David’s relationship with God. Romans four, six through eight. Just as David also speaks of the blessing, you need to know this. God likes to bless people, He does. He blesses people who are in relationship with him. That’s who God blesses. When God made Adam and Eve, it says, one of the first things he did, he blessed them. Every good thing we have is a blessing from God, just as David also speaks to the blessing of the one to whom God counts or credits, righteousness, apart from work, so that’s grace, by grace through faith. And then he quotes Psalm 32:102, blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven. Forgiveness is the issue. And whose sins, we are sinners, are covered, blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. In bringing Abraham and David together, he was gonna give Abraham a son who would bring forth Jesus, the Son of God. And David is the king who would bring forth Jesus as the King of kings. It says in Matthew chapter one, verse one, that Jesus Christ is the Son of David, the son of Abraham. He says right at the beginning, Jesus comes from the family line of Abraham, through the family line of David, the son who would come forth, the Son of God, the king, through whom would come, the King of kings that’s Jesus. All of history is pointing to Jesus, all of Scripture is pointing to Jesus. Everything’s about Jesus. When you understand Jesus, you start to understand everything. If you don’t understand Jesus, you understand nothing. Okay, we start with Jesus. Now, let’s talk a little bit about David. His name means beloved of God, God loves him. It doesn’t mean that he’s lovable. It means that he’s loved. His name appears about 1,000 times in Scripture, Abraham’s appears about 300, David about 1,000. To this day, he is one of the most popular names every year for babies. There’s a lot of guys that are here in this live and online, their name is David. They’re named after the Great King David. He ruled in Israel as King for 40 years. That’s a long time. It’s hard to be president for four, imagine being king for 40. During his rule, it was unparalleled unprecedented peace and prosperity. He had a great military mind, and he was economically blessed by God, as was the entire nation. To this day, the city of Jerusalem is known as the city of who?

– [Congregant] David

– David. When they named the capital city after you, you’re a big deal. Like if you come back next week and Scottsdale is called Marksville, it’s been a good week for me, amen something really great happened. The City of David, the books of first Samuel and first Chronicles tell us about his life and his reign. He also wrote perhaps half of the book of Psalms. It’s a 150 chapter book in the Old Testament, prayers, worship songs, and he is considered to be the man after God’s own heart. He is a warrior, poet, he is a king, a artist and he writes upwards of half of the prayers and worship songs in the book of Psalms. What that means is, that when you would go to church in the Old Covenant, most of the songs you would sing were written by David. That’s a big deal. You’re worshiping God with the words that God gave him. Furthermore, his life is legendary. When he’s a little boy, he’s a shepherd, and what does he kill? Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my, okay. If and I was thinking about it, if your kid has to do that, you’re probably not a great parent. I’m just throwing it out there. Like if your parent, if I meet one of you dads like my kids really good at killing bobcats, coyotes and rattlers at my house. I’d be like you’re a terrible dad. If that’s what they have to do for their chores. If on the fridge, it’s like, killing. Anyway, so he’s a tough kid, but he’s most well known for doing what? Killing?

– [Congregants] Goliath.

– Goliath, the little Jewish boys just like the little Christian boys, they grew up ah they love David, cause he’s the little tough guy. When my kids were little, we would dress up and act out the Bible stories. My son’s favorite two stories, David, and Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus, you’re probably what? He’s a little guy who wanted to see Jesus, so he climbed up in a high tree. My kids would use this as an opportunity to disobey and to climb on things. My sons would climb up on bookshelves, they would stand on the table, they would stand on the countertop in the kitchen, I’d be like, what are you doing? You’re not supposed to climb on stuff, dad we are acting out the story of Zacchaeus we are trying to organize our theology, please do not get in the way of our Bible study. I raised very small attorneys, and they use this as an opportunity to climb and stand on things. But their favorite thing was to play David and Goliath. Guess who was Goliath? I was every day, I got murdered by my sons over and over and over. Dad you sit there and we’re gonna throw things at you and then you die. Okay, great, this is what we’re doing. Little boys love David. He grew up to be king, the most powerful, and the most blessed King in the history of the nation of Israel. There was a low point to his life, though. Let’s talk about that. Once again, it’s a belt related issue, you will see a theme. All right, so David, what was his big fail?

– [Congregant] Bathsheba.

– Bathsheba. Yeah, here we go. He should have seen that this was gonna be a problem. He’s up on his roof, and what’s interesting, we like to live as high as we can, cause we like to look down on everybody else and feel like God. This is why we fight to get to the top of the condo building. It’s why we want the house up on the hill. The more money you make the higher up you get to go. Well, David was literally at the top. He was literally at the top looking down on everybody. The only person looking down on him was God. So he’s looking over his kingdom and he sees a girl taking a bath on a roof. Her name, Bathsheba. Should have known this is a problem. When Bathsheba is in a bath, that’s God turning on the check engine light right? Warning, waring, warning. So Bathsheba is in the bath, he looks at her. Now David had already violated God’s commandments in Deuteronomy 17, it forbid a king from being polygamous and having multiple wives. And David had multiple wives. He was a passionate man. But just like you and I, he had a shadow side. There’s you in the spirit, there’s you in the flesh. He was passionate for God and for women. That’s a problem. You can’t just say this is how I am. It needs to be how you are under the control of the Holy Spirit. It needs to be you in the side that God made you not the shadow side. Well, he gets into his shadow side, his passion takes him from God to women. He sees Bathsheba taking a bath. Have you seen the Veggietales on this? The Veggietales says that King David stole somebodies rubber ducky, that’s what it says. It was worse than that. He stole somebody’s wife. It’s much worse. He then seduces her, sleeps with her, impregnates her, she’s married to another man Uriah the Hittite. Is this wrong? Lot of women said yes. A lot of dudes were checking sports scores. Okay, is this wrong?

– [In Unison] Yes.

– Yes. Should you be looking at naked people you’re not married to?

– [In Unison] No.

– What about if it’s from your rooftop or on your phone?

– [In Unison] No.

– Pastor Mark, please move forward. Okay, so what happens is, he sees the girl, he seduces her, he impregnate her, and then her husband is a warrior. He’s a soldier, he’s off in battle, he is putting his life on the line to defend the king and the kingdom. He is the portrait of absolute loyalty. And David is not. And David realizes she’s pregnant, he’s at war, he’s gonna know, this ain’t his baby. So I’ll bring him home. And then he’ll sleep with his wife. And then his wife and I will come up with this great scheme, where she will sleep with him. And then she will tell him that it’s his baby. And he’ll never know that I committed adultery, and that he’s raising my child. Okay, now, some of you don’t know the Bible very well. And when you walked in, if I asked you, do you want to be like, David, you’re like, yes, I’d be like, no. Especially us married guys. Please don’t be like David. So Uriah, the Hittite, comes home from war. And he is such an incredible man of character. What he says is, all my brothers in arms who are off at war are not able to be with their wife, it would be unfair and unjust for me to enjoy my wife. Therefore I will abstain from relations, and I’ll go back to war with the men. David has two choices. I repent, or I murder that man. What does he choose? Murder that man. You could see where he’s saying, Abraham, or Abraham and David, neither of them could stand before God and say, I lived a great life, you’re welcome. They need to stand before God and say I need great forgiveness. And he devises a plan that Uriah the Hittite would be exposed in battle and killed in war. And he was, and he was. If it was saved by works, behavior, morality, obedience, who should be saved? Uriah, not David, not David. These sins continued into his family. Not only do our children inherit sometimes our faith but sometimes our flaws. As a result, his son Amman committed incest his other son Absalon murdered a brother, his other son Solomon, who built the temple that he got the prototype for he got the plans for was an idolater. His son Absalom sought to overthrow him ultimately died, which broke his heart. He was oftentimes also motivated not just by the Spirit of God, but by the enemy of God. Satan prompted him to take a census and to count all of the soldiers in his nation, cause he was proud and he wanted to know how many people do I rule over? And how many men do I lead? And God said no son, these are my people, not yours. These are my soldiers, not yours. This is my nation, not yours. I know the headcount you don’t need to know. And he was prompted by Satan and he disobeyed God. And he counted that he had 1.5 million active duty soldiers in his little Kingdom. Now, I looked it up on the internet. I don’t know if it’s true, cause everything on the internet is a lie. But what I read was, that today we have about 1.3 active duty military in the United States of America. What that means is thousands of years ago, in his little tiny nation, he had more soldiers than America. Incredibly powerful, successful man but sometimes driven by passion, and sometimes driven by pride. Nonetheless, God forgave him and God blessed him. And what he quotes here is Psalm 32:102. Blessed is the man against whom God does not count his sins but forgives them. Here’s the point. God forgave David. There’s no relationship without forgiveness. You can’t have a relationship with God or anyone else unless there is forgiveness. Unless God forgives you, you have no relationship with him. Unless you forgive them, you have no relationship with them. Abraham was not a good man. He was a forgiven man. David was not a good man. He was forgiven man. Is adultery wrong? Can God save an adulterer? Yes, and Yes. Is murder wrong? Yes. Can God save a murderer? Yes and yes. Is pride wrong? Yes. But can God save a person who is proud? Yes. These things are wrong, but God is good. And even as he got older, David still was not perfect. Sometimes you tell like, sometimes here’s how people tell their stories, I was really bad, I met God, and I’ve been really good, and the older I get, the better I get. David, did he finish well? Not really on his deathbed, as an elderly man, he was very cold. So they brought a bunch of virgins to sleep with him to keep him warm. I would vote for a blanket. That’s what I would vote for. I just don’t think the optics are good at the very least. In addition, on his deathbed, the sons come to him they’re like dad, any final dying wishes, any final dying wishes? He’s like the Billy Graham or the Mother Teresa in his day. He’s the legend of faith. He’s had an amazing run. Here’s what he says. Yeah, there’s a couple of guys I need you to kill. Grandpa, I some. I mean, imagine Billy Graham on his deathbed, yeah, there’s a couple guys at CNN, I’m gonna need you to shoot them in the head and hide the body. What, what, what? Crushing the satellite, but it made the point. God gives grace to him all the way to the end. Okay, so he moves from Abraham to David to you. These are prototypes and precedents before and after the law of faith. And here’s what he says about your faith and our faith journey with God. He says, Romans four verses nine through 12, please. Amen, well, I’m 50, I can’t read that fast. Okay, is the blessing then, so this blessing of God, is it only for the circumcised the Jewish people? Or also for the uncircumcised? Those of us who are the Gentiles? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness? How then was it counted him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? I’ll explain all this in a moment. It was not after but before he was circumcised, he received the sign of circumcision, as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well and to make him the father of the circumcised, who are not merely circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. So again, he’s talking about internal conviction leading to external action in the language of a walk. That’s obedience predicated upon gifted righteousness. And the question is, does everybody come into saving relationship with God the same way? That the Jewish people and the Gentile people both come to God in the same way. Do the saints in the Old Testament, and the New Testament and our present day, do we come into relationship with God in the exact same way? And the answer is yes. And what he’s saying is, there’s a difference between a means of relationship with God and a sign of relationship with God. The means of relationship with God is God gives you grace, and you trust him by faith. It’s not what you do for God. It’s what God does for you. And ultimately, faith is in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Abraham was trusting in the coming of Jesus, David was trusting in the coming of Jesus, we are trusting in the second coming of Jesus. The big idea is this. If you want a relationship with God, you need Jesus. You say, what do I give him? Give him your sin, and he gives you His righteousness, give him your worst, and He will give you his best. Give him your shortcomings, and He will give you his Son. Okay, it’s all about Jesus, amen. And what he’s saying is the means of relationship with God is grace from God and faith in God. And then there are signs that point to this relationship. In the same way, my wife, Grace and I are in a covenant relationship. And a ring is a sign pointing to the reality of the relationship. So I’m wearing the ring, we’re married, if I take the ring off, are we still married? Yes, yes. Because the sign points to the relationship, the relationship is real, whether or not the sign is visible. In their day, the sign with circumcision, in our day, it might be something like baptism. So can you go to heaven if you love Jesus, and Jesus loves you without being baptized? Yes, cause you have the relationship, whether or not you have the sign. Should you have the sign? Yes. Can you have the sign without the relationship? Some people do. The Jews would be circumcised or some people get baptized, but they don’t really know and love Jesus, they don’t trust him. The key is you need both. But it’s the means that saves you not the sign that saves you. That being said, if you do love Jesus, you should want the sign to point to the relationship, just like a husband or wife should want to wear a ring. For us that is baptism. We’re gonna have baptisms, December fifth and sixth. If you do belong to Jesus, and you’ve not been baptized, let us know and we’d love to meet with you and baptize you. But the question is this, the Jewish people saw that Abraham was circumcised, so they start circumcising their males. And they’re thinking that circumcision is the means of salvation, not the sign. So they go back here to Abraham, at age 75, God saved Abraham, they had a relationship. 24 years later, at age 99, he circumcised himself, the relationship preceded the sign of the relationship, by 24 years. This is why we don’t baptize babies. We don’t put the sign before the relationship. We put the relationship before the sign. That’s what he’s talking about. And what he’s asking here is, are all people to follow Abraham’s prototype, precedent and pattern of faith? Yes. So let me ask you a question. When was Abraham a Jew or a Gentile? Yes, most people don’t know this. I’ve got this in the notes, in Acts and in Nehemiah New Testament and Old Testament book, it says that his father comes from Ur of the Chaldees which was the capital of Babylon. Godless, pagan, horrible nation. We looked at it when we studied the book of Daniel, they came together to try and build the Tower of Babel. Heaven on earth without God, these are godless people. God picks a Babylonian and the son of a Babylonian, a guy named Abraham. It says, you’re just as bad as everybody else. But I’m gonna start with you. Cause here’s the thing, God can start with anybody, God could start with anything. Okay, there’s hope for us. And what he says is I’m gonna be your God now. And then 24 years later, at age 99, he circumcises himself, and that begins the Jewish nation through His Son, who then comes forth as Isaac. He was a Gentile, and a Jew. And so he is the father of faith for Jews and Gentiles, Jews and Gentiles. Now, what happens a little bit later, is that God gives him the son. He gets the son he’s wanted his whole life, it’s the son of his beloved wife, Sarah, this boy grows up to be healthy and strong and belong to the Lord. And he loves his mom and dad and his mom and dad love him. And now Isaac is a grown man. He’s not a young man. And Abraham is an elderly man. And God shows up to give him the greatest faith test. Let me say this, your faith is like a muscle, it gets stronger, the more you use it. That your faith grows through hardship and adversity. That some of you are in a season right now, where God is bringing you into a season or a circumstance, that is a next level faith requirement it is more than you have ever endured. And sometimes people say, I can’t handle this, I can’t do this. You can, God would not allow it to come if he did not have faith sufficient to get you through it. And perhaps the reason God did not allow this to be revealed previously or to occur previously, maybe even it was a trauma from the past that was triggered in the present, is because now your faith is finally strong enough that you can make it through this. I want it to encourage you. God shows up and says that son you really love, here’s what I need you to do. I need you to kill him. How many of you are dads? How many of your dads? How many of you if God told you to murder your kid? God, this is the kid I waited 25 years for, this is our son. He’s supposed to inherit the promised land and be the nation and Jesus is supposed to come to save everybody, we kill him, we kill the whole plan. Hebrews 11 says that Abraham trusted God so deeply, that he believed that even if he killed his son, that God would raise him from the dead. That is profound faith. And so not only is Abraham the prototype of faith, his son Isaac is the prototype of Jesus. Wanna compare and contrast how Jesus is the greater Isaac. And the story continues, I’ll summarize it, and then I’ll show you these two correlations. Tell your son to submit to you. So he has to walk willingly. He’s an old man, he can’t make his son do anything. His son is a young, strong man. Tell your son to carry the wood on his back. Does that sound familiar? I’m gonna take you to a place where you’re gonna sacrifice your son. It’s a place that later the temple was built, same region. And as he goes to slaughter his son, the angel of the Lord shows up, when an angel of the Lord shows up, it’s usually an angel, which means messenger when the angel of the Lord shows up, it’s usually Jesus Christ. Jesus shows up and says, this was just a test you passed. I will provide the sacrifice, God says. Here’s what I’m telling you. Sometimes there are people and things that God wants us to lay on the altar and be willing to sacrifice. And it doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice them. Sometimes God doesn’t call us to sacrifice them. But sometimes we need to be willing to sacrifice them. And it’s a test to see if we love God more than them. And Abraham passed the test. So God didn’t make him slaughter his son. Isaac and Jesus were both born in accordance with the promises given many years prior. Isaac and Jesus were both born at the appointed time, after years of waiting. Isaac and Jesus were both born of miracles. Isaac and Jesus were both firstborn sons positionally. Isaac and Jesus were both dearly loved by their fathers. Isaac and Jesus both left their father’s homes, Beersheba and heaven respectively. Isaac and Jesus both journeyed three days. Isaac went from Beersheba to Moriah. Jesus went from the cross to the empty tomb. Three days journey. Isaac and Jesus were both escorted by two men to their place of sacrifice. Isaac was joined by two servants, Jesus was joined by two thieves. Isaac and Jesus were both young men who carried the wood for their sacrifice on their back. Isaac and Jesus both willingly submitted their lives to their father. Isaac and Jesus were both laid down as an offering for sin. Isaac and Jesus both ask their father a question. Where is the Lamb? And why have you forsaken me? Jesus is the angel of the Lord who spared Isaac and died for sin. Isaac was promise that God would provide and Jesus was that provision. Isaac was raised from the dead figuratively, Jesus was raised from the dead literally. And both Isaac and Jesus both went forth, to be with their bride, Rebecca and the church, respectively. The Bible is all about Jesus. History is all about Jesus. Faith is all about Jesus. Salvation is all about Jesus. Grace is all about Jesus. If you have Jesus, you have everything. If you don’t have Jesus, you have nothing. If you know Jesus, you know what you need to know. And if you don’t know Jesus, you don’t know anything. Faith not only gets you into heaven, faith gets you through this life. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know the one who does. And just like a kid reaches up and takes a hand of a father to lead and guide them, faith is trusting that the father sees what we don’t see, and will lead us to where we need to be. I’ll close with a little summary as your pastor cause I love you, about what real faith is looking at these men of David and Abraham. Number one, real faith comes with risk and loss. How many of you walking with God in obedience by faith, it involves risk and loss. Abraham lost his home, his business, his land, his family, he lost a lot and he risked a lot. If you’re looking for the easiest, most guaranteed secure success path, I promise you, you can’t walk in faith. Number two, real faith is not perfect faith. Abraham’s faith was not perfect. David’s faith was not perfect. But their faith was in a perfect God. The Bible says even when we’re faithless, He’s faithful. Their faith was imperfect, but the object of their faith, the God of the Bible, he was and is perfect, amen. And God does perfect work through imperfect people. That is a great encouragement. Number three real faith struggles to trust both God’s will and timing. Both men Abraham and David, they struggled with God’s timing. Number four, real faith has always been in Jesus Christ. They were looking forward to Jesus coming, we’re looking forward to him coming again. Sometimes people will think that the Old Testament and the New Testament there are different paths to relationship with God, they are the same. Jesus is the way the truth, the life no one comes to the Father but by Him. And it doesn’t matter what year they were born. Real faith results in obedience, not perfect obedience, but obedience. They had to do some things that God asked them to do. Number six, real faith grows as God proves faithful. I don’t think that at the beginning of his faith journey that Abraham had the faith to sacrifice Isaac. It grows over time. And let me say this to you older saints, you can retire from your job, but please don’t retire from your faith. Okay, we need you. We need those of you that are seasoned veterans in the faith battle, to help train up the next generation of troops. And lastly, real faith sees beyond this life. Hebrews 11, the great treatise on faith in the New Testament says that Abraham was looking forward to a country that was made by God and a city it was ruled by God. Faith not only gets us through this life, it gets us into eternal life. Faith has not death as the finish line but the starting line. Faith sees into eternity and it continues the walk with God into forever. Now I’m gonna bring up my wife Grace, and I’m just gonna close with an illustration and have her pray for us. Some of you, you’re in the, thanks baby. Some of you are, I’ll take

– That’s okay.

– Okay we’re good. So that was not a fight that was just working it out. So some of you are in the middle of your faith journey. And sometimes when you leave things and you haven’t received the next season, that time in the middle can be really scary. And we had a time like that. We had a, now that I look back on it. We have kind of our Abraham’s season. We knew our city, we were near our family. I’ve got 22, my mom and dad have 22 grandkids, they all live in the same area, except for our five kids that we moved away. We knew our city, we knew our family was nearby. We knew our church, I knew my job. We just built our forever home. The kids had a great school, I’d worked my whole life to get it set up. And then God literally spoke to us at age I think it was 45. Grace was in the kitchen, I was in the bedroom, and God said you’re released, resign. I was like, okay, God, well, where do we go? Silence. What do we do? Silence. Where’s our church? Silence. What’s my job? I’m 45, I got five kids, silence. Well what’s the plan? How many of you, you’re if God’s like, trust me, you’re like, show me the plan, and I’ll figure out whether or not I’m gonna trust the plan. God’s like you can’t trust the plan, you gotta trust me. And I’m not going to show you the plan. I like plans, I like plans. So Grace comes running. And she’s like, God spoke to me, I was like he spoke to me as well. We left everyone and everything that we knew, for nothing, and no one that was certain or even anticipated. And then God led us to Arizona. So this is our Promise Land. If you’re new here, we hope it’s a promise land for you. God, we then had to find schools for our kids, elementary, middle school, high school, college, and God provided. We needed to find a house, God provided. We decided to plant a church, God provided. I had no, we have no anticipation that not only would this season be different, that it would be better. That we left what we had for what we did not know. And then what God has given is actually the best and most blessed season of our life. And right now to own a building, to be open to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ freely, it’s something that was not going to be possible for me. And our whole family loves and walks with Jesus. And they all walked in faith, and it was a struggle along the way. So if you’re married, or you got kids, the faith journey includes the whole household and family. But I will tell you that I have great hope and encouragement for you. And we wanna serve as an encouragement for you that God didn’t leave us or forsake us that in fact, he pursued us and he blessed us. And to see you guys is just evidence of God’s grace to us and you’re part of God’s blessing. And you’re part of the people that he’s brought together to be an extended family. And we love you very much. And it’s a great honor to be here with you. And so thank you. I’m gonna bring the band up and have Grace close us in prayer. And it’s really crazy. The average church in America is running 36% and this weekend, I think we’re over 200. That’s blessing, that’s grace. And what Paul says, and when you get blessing and grace, don’t boast, worship. The difference between boasting and worshiping is who you brag on. So I’m gonna have Grace pray, and we’re gonna brag on God, amen.

– [In Unison] Amen

– Thank you, God, that you are a good God. Lord, I just pray that we would see these examples that you’ve given us in your word, as you allowing messes to glorify you ultimately, Lord, that our lives are messy, our lives are hurt and broken, and yet you have a path forward for us, Lord, I pray that our faith would be such that we look to you who knows everything. You know, the future, Lord, that we would not look at the future with fear but that we would look at the future with faith in a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. In ways we don’t deserve but Lord you do, you love us. So I just pray that you would grow our faith that you would meet each of us where we’re at and help us walk forward in the clear path that you have for us in Jesus name, amen.

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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