170312 Genesis 12:1-8

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 March 2017 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Genesis 12:1-8

Sermon Theme: Promises! Promises!

Which do you think is easier to do: to make a promise or to keep a promise? Of course it is easier for us to say the words, "I promise!" But it may be more difficult for us to follow through and keep the promises we make to others. If you fail to keep your promises too often, someone will say, "Promises! Promises! You say 'I promise', but then you never keep your promise." In our worship services this weekend, you and I have the opportunity to hear promises that we know will always be kept. Today you and I take a few moments to consider the promises of our gracious Lord. It is the Lord who makes them and then we respond.

In Genesis chapter 12 we see how a loving Lord God makes and keeps promises to a man named Abram. Perhaps you know him better by his full name, Abraham. The Lord promised Abram that he would arrive in a new land. Abram did. When you read the chapters in Genesis following chapter 12, you read how the Lord kept all his promises to bless Abram with a large family and make his name great in his new homeland. As you read through the rest of the Old and New Testament, you read how God kept all his promises that the Savior of the world would be a descendent of Abram.

In the same way, in his great love, the Lord keeps the promises that he makes to you and me. The Lord made a promise that he would send sinful mankind a Savior. And he kept that promise by sending you and me Jesus. The Lord keeps his promise to strengthen our faith in him as we hear and study his Word. The Lord keeps his promise to watch over you and me and be with us as we live out our days here on earth. The Lord keeps his promise to hear and answer each one of our prayers that we bring before him. The Lord keeps his promise to work out all things for our eternal good.

This is how the gracious Lord deals with his people. He doesn't come to you and me and demand this or that from us in order for him to keep his promises or to earn our way into heaven. Rather, in his great love, through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord promises and keeps his promise of the forgiveness of all our sins and eternal life at his side in heaven. Promises! Promises! It is the God of love and mercy who makes these promises to you and me. It is our God of love and mercy who keeps all his promises that he makes to you and me.

How do you respond if someone says to you, "I promise that I will pick you up at 8:00!" Don't you respond by being ready by 8:00? In Genesis chapter 12 we see that it is a gracious, loving Lord who makes his promises. Now the question is: How will you and I respond to these promises?

How did Abram respond to the promises the Lord made to him? We read, "So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran." Trusting only in the promise that God would show him the land to go to, we read that the 75 year old Abram "took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there." We don't read of any hesitation on the part of Abram. No questions are asked. Why? Because Abram trusted that the Lord would keep the promises he had made to him.

Yes, it would be a challenge for Abram to live in this new land. Yet God promised Abram that he would be with him, and give this new land to his descendants. Do you remember Abram's response to this promise? We are told that "he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him." Here is another response of faith to the promises of the Lord. Publicly, for all to see, Abram worshipped the Lord.
The worship didn't stop there. As Abram traveled on in this new land, and came to a new location we read that again "he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord." Abram responds to the promises of the Lord by offering to the Lord God the worship and praise he alone deserves. It is important to note that in this new land Abram was surrounded by unbelievers. Yet he boldly confessed the Lord's name for all to see and hear.

How do you and I respond to the promises the Lord makes to us? Do you and I always take him at his word completely, 100%? Do you and I always make it clear to those around us that we have faith and trust that our God will keep all the promises he makes to us?

When you are sick, is it far too easy to respond by grumbling and complaining about your health? Or, do you respond by trusting in the promises of your gracious Lord that he is watching over you, and that he will take care of you?

When a loved one dies, do you respond by questioning the Lord, or do you respond confidently trusting his promises with the words of Job, "'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.'"

When you get laid off or fired at work, do you respond by worrying about how you will pay the bills, or do you respond with faith and trust that the Lord will keep his promise to provide all that you need day after day?

When we as a congregation look at the fact that we are talking about borrowing millions of dollars to complete our goal of building new facilities out on our Highway P property, do we worry or complain about how we will be able to repay such a debt? Or, do we respond with faith and trust that the Lord of the Church will keep his promises to us and continue to bless our congregation as he has in the past?

When we talk about our response to the promises our Lord makes to you and me as individuals and as a congregation, it all points back to the source of those promises. It is because the promise maker is our gracious Lord in heaven. He keeps promise after promise that he makes to you and me. It is the Lord who promises that he will keep his promises to provide for all of our spiritual and physical. It is the Lord who kept his promise and sent Jesus to be your Savior and mine. It is the Lord who will keep his promise to watch over you and me during our days on earth. It is the Lord who watched over our congregation in the past. It is the Lord who will keep his promise and continue to watch over our congregation in the future. As Paul writes in Galatians 3, "So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith."

Promises! Promises! It can be easy for us to make promise after promise to people. However, it may not be as easy for us to keep all the promises we make day after day. Our gracious Lord makes you and me promise after promise. Unlike us, however, our faithful Lord keeps all the promises that he makes to us. Because it is our loving Savior-God who makes his promises to us and keeps all those promises, you and I are able to respond in faith and trust in those promises. In the words of King David found in Psalm 145, you and I join with him and say in confidence, "The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." (Psalm 145:13). Amen.

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
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9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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