Worship Service 12 March 2017
Delivered By
Pastor Doug Groen and LaVerne Wiginton Accompanist
Delivered On
March 12, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Central Passage
Genesis 12: 1-4
Subject
The No- Risk Relationship
Description

Scriptures: 

Genesis 12: 1-4;

Psalm 121: 1-8;

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17;

John 3:1-17

 

Genesis 12:1-4                                      New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Call of Abram

12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[a]

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Psalm 121

Assurance of God’s Protection

A Song of Ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.

Romans 4:1-5                                         New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Example of Abraham

4 What then are we to say was gained by[a] Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Romans 4:13-17                                     New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

God’s Promise Realized through Faith

13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

John 3:1-17                                            New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Nicodemus Visits Jesus

3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”[b] Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born from above.’[e]The wind[f] blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you[g] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[h] 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[i]

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Pastor's Summary of Genesis 12:1-4a

In a time of migration of peoples about 4,000 years ago, Terah has travelled west with his son Abram. Abram's wife Sarai and his grandson Lot from Ur, near the delta of the Tigris and Eurphrates rivers. Terah and his family settle for a time in "Haran (11:31), where Terah dies. Abram now comes to center-stage.

God makes a pact with Abram: if Abram will leave behind his land and kin (and his pagan past), and live in "the land that I will show you" (12:1, cease to be semi-nomadic), God will honor him in seven ways: (1) make of him "a great nation" (v. 2), (2) confer favor on him ("bless you") (3) make his name renowned ("great") (4) make him a vehicle of good fortune ("be a blessing"), (5) show favor to those who show him favor ("bless, v.3), (6) exclude those who show him disrespect ("the one...") and (7) as other peoples come to trust in God, they will find themselves similarly blessed. In doing "as the Lord had told him" (v. 4), Abram shows his trust (faith) in God. This covenant marks the start of communal relations with God. Being blessed seven ways is being blessed totally: he, his family and his people. In v. 5, "the land" is identified as Canaan. At Shechem, when Abram erects an altar at a pagan shrine ("the oak of Moreh"), God promises the land to his descendants. At "Bethel" (v. 8), Abram builds another altar. God is god of the whole land. Abram and his family continue southward in stages and, due to famine, go on to Egypt-to return later.