“If you love Me, sacrifice your best to Me” (Genesis 22:2)
FBC Earlville 2-10-13 10:30 AM Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor

INTRODUCTION Today’s special: “2 Doug Specials” One of the men of the church has been concerned in my lack of newness to my Sunday morning “specials”. So for Christmas he gave me a Christian joke calendar, with a new joke for each day. Here are 2 from this previous week: #1: “The Sunday school teacher asked her class if anyone could recite the tenth commandment. Little Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and said, “Thou shalt not take the covers off thy neighbor’s wife.” #2: The entry for today, February 10th!: The Golfer’s Hymn: “There Is a Green Hill Far Away”
February is “Love Month” at FBC! Look at the intimacy that our Savior has with His children: John 14:15,21,23,24,28 “If you love Me” is the Savior’s motto of the fellowship He hungers for to have with us.
Last week we began our “Love Month” series with some thoughts from Exodus 21:5, where the servant loved his master so much he was willing to be sold – pierced through the ear – to be identified as belonging to the master. Our Savior did the same when He was pierced for us. Today, we’re going to look at the first instance of “love” in Scripture. PRAYER

“after these things”(Genesis 22:1) – what things? – the agreement with Abimelech and the altar where Abe called on the Lord while living in a foreign land (21:33)
“God tested Abraham” (v. 1) WHAT! the Lord causes His people to sin? No, the “test” is not an “allurement to evil” but God’s creation of a situation that will cause Abraham to check his heart to examine its worship
God speaks, and Abe says “here I am” – had God lost Abe? No, God knew where Abe was (Psalm 139 tells us that GOD IS OMNISCIENT! – He’s everywhere). But Abe is telling God, “you have my undivided attention”
See Isaiah 6:8 “Here am I, send me”, Isaiah said to God. God has Isaiah’s undivided attention, and Isaiah went where God sent him – to the house of Israel, even if they wouldn’t listen!
See v. 7 – didn’t Isaac know where Abraham was? Yes, but Abe was telling his son, “you have my undivided attention”
APPLICATION: does God when He tugs on our heart? does our family when they talk to us?

#2 SACRIFICE YOUR BEST: “your son, your only son”
* NOW that God has Abe’s undivided attention, He gives Abe His assignment. Note the progression (v. 2): “your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love” – first use of “love” in the Bible is a father/son relationship
* “burnt offering” (v.2)- the complete giving to the Lord of the best of the offerer. The fire symbolizes a complete sacrifice.
* Key verses: vs. 8,9 God provides (Jehovah Jireh – eternal lesson in Who God is); “bound Isaac” – Isaac surrendered himself to the father!
APPLICATION #1 See Romans 12:1,2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We are to be a complete, LIVING sacrifice!
APPLICATION #2 What is OUR best? Have we surrendered ownership to God?

#3 SACRIFICE THE SON: “the third day” (v. 4) – the day of resurrection, combine with “God will provide for Himself the lamb” (v. 8) – See John 1:29: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
This is a picture of the Lord Jesus, and our subsequent identity with Him as being raised with Him to new life (see Eph. 2:4-6; Romans 6:4)

CONCLUSION: The Third Day’s Application:
#1 Remember the day you came to Christ-God still has eternal purposes for you!
#2 Basketball illus.: “here I am”. Sports Spectrum Ministries tells the story about how that, in 1983, Michael Jordan had won the NCAA basketball championship at North Carolina, was a first-team All-American, and was headed for the Olympics. At the same time, a skinny, 6’2” kid from Hamburg, Arkansas, graduated from high school with no future in basketball. Sports Spectrum relates how his role with the University of Central Arkansas was as their basketball team’s manager. The kid was Scottie Pippen. And in several years, he and Michael would team up together to win, count them, SIX NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. God takes us where we are and is able to do much with those who simply say to Him, “here I am.”
#3: The Abe Knife Trick – The Lord in His grace and wisdom honored and acknowledged Abraham’s faith at the point that he was to sacrifice his only son. This reminds us of Paul’s encouraging challenge in Romans 8:29: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.“ Trust God’s conforming work in your heart today!

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