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Kingdom of God Anticipated: The Sacrifice of the Beloved Son

September 6, 2015 Speaker: Ben Watson Series: The Kingdom of God Anticipated

Passage: Genesis 22:1–22:18

Sermon from Genesis 22:1-18 by Ben Watson, Pastor
Series: Kingdom of God Anticipated (Part 1 of 3)
Delivered on September 6, 2015

This week I want to think together with you about Missions. And not just this week. This week, and next week, and the next week, and the next week, Redeemer church is going to devote time, energy, and resources to the study of Missions. If you’re new to our church, we call this effort the “Global Missions Emphasis Month.” Every year in September we take time to think about Missions, we set aside time to reach out to our missionaries, we set aside time to study the Scriptures in order to identify the purpose, the meaning, and the importance of Missions, and we set aside time to devote ourselves to prayer on behalf of missionaries and missions movements. One month of every year is devoted to Missions.

One month.

Every year.

Such a concerted effort is paralleled only by our celebration of Advent. Think about that for a moment. We devote this much time to two things: one- our rescue which was inaugurated by the birth of Christ, and two- the proclamation of that rescue to every tribe, tongue, and nation.

I want you to get the significance. And I think the best way to do that is to talk for a moment about what this month is not.

This month is not merely an obligatory shout out to our brothers and sisters who have, and who are, and who will give their lives so that the gospel might be heard by men and women who don’t speak English, or who don’t live close to a major city, or whose culture or nation fights to suppress the gospel. This month is not merely a shout out. This month is not merely a “Thank You.”

No. That is not what this month is about.

This month is not designed to comfort the “senders.” The fact that we devote this much time to Missions does not, and should not, allow us to feel okay (if) we living comfortable lives without sacrifice while our brothers and sisters are isolated, exhausted, unsupported, or scared.

No. That is not what this month is about.

This month is not designed to ease your conscience. The fact that we devote this much time to Missions should not foster stagnation. It is not intended to lift the burden you feel when you realize occasionally that you have neglected your brothers and sisters who are working in the field. This month will not ease the burden (which, by the way, you ought to feel) to care for your gospel coworkers.

No. That is not what this month is about.

Nor will this month heap burden upon burden upon your tired shoulders. You are not the point of this month. If you leave this place with nothing beyond guilt- conviction that you haven’t done enough, or served enough, or sent enough emails, or prayed enough prayers- then we have failed you. This month is not about you, it is not about your sin, it’s not about your failures, it’s not about your decisions, it’s not about your life.

No. That is not what this month is about.

This month is a celebration. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believed in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

We spend a month every year in December celebrating Christ’s rescue. He traded our sin for his righteousness. He stepped down from glory and he took on flesh in order to win his people. So every December we slow down our crazy lives and we gaze upon the manger. We celebrate Christ’s dramatic rescue at Advent.

And every September, we celebrate the grace of God, who loved us so much that he sent his son to secure our redemption, and then he sent son after son after son and daughter after daughter after daughter to proclaim Christ’s redemption to every tribe and tongue and people. That’s you. Unless you can trace your lineage back to first-century Judea, your faith is a product of Missions. Your faith, your hope, your eternity, your joy, your peace, your church, your redemption was secured because God moved in the hearts of men and women to give up their homes, their favorite foods, their couches, their entertainment, their friends- to leave everything they knew and loved- and to blister their feet and break their backs so that you or your great, great, great, great grandfather might hear the good news of the gospel.

We celebrate this month a God who sends and saves.

We celebrate a God who sends the weak in order to save the hopeless. We celebrate a God who sends and saves, and who will continue to send and save until his Kingdom is colored with the praise of every tribe, tongue and nation. We celebrate a God who sends and saves until his Son returns to reign, forever and ever, Amen.

This month we celebrate the sending and saving of a God who sends and saves. We will rejoice over the redemption of God’s people in every tribe and tongue and nation. And we will ask God to keep sending and saving, even if that means that our lives change radically.

So buckle up. We’re not here this month to give you a checklist. We’re not here to guilt you into calling more, or giving more, or praying more. We’re here to ignite the kindling in your heart. We’re here to set fire to your affections. We are here to plead for the grace of God to ignite our affections for the God who sends and saves. Because when that happens, you cannot help but shout, “SEND ME!”

I don’t think it’s possible to appropriately appreciate, to appropriately praise, and to appropriately serve the saving and sending God without understanding what we’ve been saved from and what we’re being saved to.

I want to repeat that, because I just hung a lot of prepositions out there, and that can be confusing. The goal of this month is to give you the equipment to appropriately appreciate, appropriately praise, and appropriately serve the God who sends and saves. That’s not possible unless you understand that from which you’ve been saved, and that to which you’re being saved. So for the next three weeks I want to dive deep into the Old Testament. I want to highlight a few key moments, a few very significant moments in the story of our salvation. And I want to trace the trajectory of these moments all the way to our redemption in Christ and even further to the Mission today- happening right now in villages and towns and cities all over the globe.

I want you to make a connection today. I want you to look at God’s promise to weary Abraham and I want you to see the fulfillment of that promise not only on the cross, but also in the sweat and tears of missionaries. I want you to look at believers, won by the grace of God through the isolated, back-breaking, joy-filled labor of missionaries and I want you to shout, “That’s the House of David, established and growing just like God promised!” I want you to look at Facebook pictures the precious little girls in Pierre and Lorphine St. Louis’ Haitian orphanage, and I want you to be moved to tears because of the work accomplished by the suffering servant-king. He has won the nations by his blood. By his stripes they are healed. We go to the nations to proclaim his victory and to win his children.

That’s the connection that prepares to you stand in awe of the majesty and grace of the God who sends and saves.

That’s the goal. So let’s get to it.

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

(Genesis 22:1-18 ESV)

Now, it’s never a good idea to start reading a story in the middle. I mean, some stories, like the Odyssey, start in the middle and work their way backwards, but the Bible isn’t like that book. The story of the Bible starts and the beginning and ends at the end. You ought to treat the Bible with at least as much respect as you’d treat popular fiction. So it’s always a good idea to have a decent understanding of “the ,” because the author assumes that you’ve been paying attention. When you open the Bible, you should always ask yourself, “where am I in the story?”

So this is “the story so far,” or at least my attempt to summarize, no kidding, some of the most important words and sentences and paragraphs ever given to mankind:

Every man woman and child since Adam is separated from God. And this is a problem, because human beings were built to remain in fellowship with their creator. That’s the only way things work. This world and everything in it only works properly when it is reconciled to God. Without reconciliation, the world is cracked at its foundation. As it is, the world is separated from God. A wide chasm separates creation from Creator. And everything awful is a result of the chasm separating man from God.

War.

Adultery.

Theft.

Murder.

Hypocrisy.

Poverty.

Starvation.

Man is not built to survive or to flourish without God. Without him we are “foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” Without him “every intention of our hearts is wicked.” Our only hope is our greatest enemy.

You should feel the gravity of this story. You should feel the weight and the darkness. It’s yet the dawn of creation, and every man, woman and child is dying. They cannot save themselves. They are doomed, because they are helpless. Even the finest among them is lost without hope.

If you want proof, look back to the first few stories.

Genesis 3- An innocent man prefers creation over creator and partakes of the fruit. He leaves destitute, his children cursed by God.

Genesis 9- A righteous man and his family are rescued and the wicked world is wiped clean. Clean slate. Do-over. He prefers creation over creator, partakes of the fruit, awakes destitute, and curses his own children.

The point of these stories is the pattern which they impress. You can wipe fallen man clean, remove every temptation, and provide everything he needs, yet he will still shake his fist to the heavens. Ideal situations are ruined by “good guys.” Good guys will not bridge the chasm between God and man. Even if we’re spotless, heads and shoulders about our pagan peers, we are hopeless without him and hopelessly exposed to his justice. And we see this pattern play out over, and over, and over again.

This is the story thus far. The author has framed every episode, included every conversation, and arranged every detail so that the reader would ask one fundamental question:

“How can man be reconciled to God? In whom shall we place our hope, if our only hope is our greatest enemy? If man cannot save himself, who will save him?”

Now look back at the text.

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac.

So, in case you’re new to the story, or rusty, there are two important things you need to know about Abraham.

First, Abraham has one defining characteristic. He isn’t the best husband, he isn’t the best father. He’s a sinner, like everybody else. But he trusts God. Abraham trusted God. He had faith, and God counted his faith as righteousness. Abraham believed God, and he believed that God would reward those who seek him. That’s why this moment in the story is so significant.

Let me explain. Abraham had no hope because he had no heir. He was old, and his wife was old, and they were barren. But God chose Abraham from among his people, and he called him to a new place, and he promised him not only a son, but a great nation- more grandkids and great grandkids than there were stars in the heavens. We call Israel the “Promised Land” because it was promised to Abraham. God would make Abraham great, he would give him a precious son, and his precious son would be the first of many sons.

But there’s the rub. Important detail number two: God’s promises to Abraham hinged upon his gift of a beloved son. Hear what I’m saying. All of God’s promises to Abraham could only be fulfilled through the gift of a beloved son. Does that remind you of anything? Repeat after me:

God’s promises are always fulfilled through the gift of a beloved son.

The Old Testament is punctuated with Messianic moments. As the story unfolds, if you’re paying attention, you’ll begin to notice these oddly familiar moments. They remind you of something. They remind you of someone.

When Jesus was speaking about the scriptures, he said something seemingly crazy and seemingly heretical that infuriated the religious establishment. He said, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you’ll find eternal life. But the Scriptures testify about me.”

Okay. Three options.

Either, Jesus was lying, and the Old Testament is not about Jesus.

Or, Jesus was exaggerating, and some of the Old Testament is about him, but some of it isn’t.

Or, Jesus was being who he always is- a bright, shining light of truth and justice with no equal in the history of humanity or anything.

Now, if we take Jesus at his word, then we have to rethink how we read these stories. These are not merely historical accounts of the Israeli people. These are not merely historical episodes with moral applications. This text is about Jesus. It ought to remind us of Jesus because it is about him. And if ever you find yourself confused, lost, or bewildered, you need to remind yourself what this story is about. It’s about Jesus. Now go find him. Go find him in the text. He’s there. Hope in a deliverer is there. Hope in redemption, in changed hearts, in adoption, in a faithful husband, in a suffering servant, in a King like David, it’s all there in the text. And moments like these should fuel our faith. Because Christ was the point of the story from the very beginning. We’re seeing the seeds of the Christ story here. We’re seeing the very beginning of the greatest narrative that’s every graced this planet.

Okay, back to the text.

So Abraham’s only hope is this son, whom God gave him- Isaac. He had no hope because he had no heir, until God gave him a beloved son, a precious son. Now take that knowledge and think again about the words that God uses.

“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

God demands a sacrifice. And the sacrifice that he demands is the beloved son whom he had just given. Trace the pattern for a moment. Do you hear it? Abraham’s only hope was this beloved son, given to him only by the power of God. And now God demands him as a sacrifice. Can you feel the pattern? Just imagine what he’s thinking. “This son of yours was a gift. He was given to me, to my people. This son you’ve given was to be my salvation. My hope was laid up in this son. And now he’ll die?”

“Far be it from you, Lord!”

That’s what Peter said. Jesus was Peter’s hope, like Isaac was Abraham’s. Because Jesus was the Messiah, and he was going to lead this oppressed people to victory over Roman oppression. He was their only hope. And now he was to be sacrificed!? Over my dead body! Peter encountered the same crushing blow as Abraham. God demanded the beloved son for a sacrifice. But Abraham trusted God. Abraham had greater faith. But faith in what?

Keep reading.

On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

“I and the boy will go over there to worship and come again to you.” Isaac asks, “What about the lamb?” And Abraham looks to his son and says, “God will provide for himself a lamb.” Okay, so we’ve just stumbled upon the answer to our question. What is the substance of Abraham’s faith? Abraham trusted God to do what? Abraham was obedient because he trusted that God would do what?

I’ve heard this text read two ways. I’ve heard guys claim that Abraham was lying, both to his son and to the servants. Abraham was headed to the mountain, knife and fire in hand. They suppose that he knew he would slaughter his son. They suppose that he knew he’d be alone on the way back. But these servants needn’t know all of the details. They needn’t try to dissuade him. So he lied. “We’re both coming back,” he said. “God will provide a lamb.”

Look, I don’t think that’s what is unfolding in this story. First of all, it’s clear from the prior narrative that Abraham’s servants trusted him even with their own lives. They followed him into a battle against kings. These were his people, and he need not lie to them about the requests of God. He wasn’t ashamed. I think what we see in this episode is the faith of Abraham blossoming. Abraham trusted that God would fulfill his promise to make his people a great nation through his son, Isaac. God said it, and Abraham believed it. He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. That’s the difference between Abraham and Peter. Peter believed that Jesus was the messiah, that he would bring salvation to Israel. But as soon as that salvation began to look different than Peter expected, his faith crumbled. He didn’t believe that God was capable of miraculous redemption. He didn’t believe that God would keep his promises, even if it meant the sacrifice of the Messiah. But Abraham did.

Abraham believed that God would keep his promise. He believed that God would make his people a great nation through Isaac. So when God asks that Isaac be sacrificed, Abraham didn’t despair. He trusted God, and he knew that God wasn’t a liar. So, if God says that Isaac will be the first of many sons, and then God says that Isaac must be a sacrifice, then God must be planning to work miracles.

That’s the substance of Abraham’s faith. He trusted that God would keep his promises, even if it meant raising the promised, beloved son from the dead after sacrifice. God will provide a lamb.

Keep reading.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

Abraham’s faith was realized when he was willing to sacrifice even his beloved son. But God wouldn’t require that sacrifice from Abraham. Only one beloved son would be necessary to fulfill God’s promises to Abraham. Jesus is the lamb that God has provided. On the mount of the Lord a ram shall be provided. Christ was offered in our stead, and God made himself just and justifier. When Abraham ascended the mountain, and assured his son that a lamb would be provided, he wasn’t only talking about the ram in the thickets. He was talking about Jesus. And when Abraham’s faith became sight, he gazed upon the lamb that God provided to be sacrificed on the mount of the Lord. This passage is about Jesus, the hope of Abraham and the hope of the nations. His sacrifice will secure reconciliation. His sacrifice will secure redemption. But to what end?

Keep reading.

And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

God tested the faith of Abraham by requiring the sacrifice of a beloved son. And God secured Abraham’s redemption by providing the sacrifice of his own beloved son. These promises, given to Abraham, could only be fulfilled through Jesus, the beloved son whose sacrifice on the mount of the Lord would secure the Kingdom of God.

So early in the dawn of fallen creation we stumble upon the distant shadows of the Kingdom of God. Listen to the promises. The sons of Abraham will be multiplied as the stars and as the sand. And the son of Abraham shall possess the gate of his enemies. In the son of Abraham the nations of the earth shall be blessed.

Notice there are two references here. First, to the multiplication of Abraham’s seed. His sons will be many (so many that one could never possible count them). But then the attention of the prophecy shifts. Now the reader encounters The Seed. First, Abraham’s “seed” will be multiplied. But it isn’t the many that are discussed in this second promise. In this second promise the author’s attention is set upon The Seed. The Seed, capital “T,” capital “S,” will possess the gate of his enemies. His kingdom will not fail, his kingdom will not be stopped, his kingdom will not be contained. No enemy will stand in the way of The Seed. And all the nations of the earth will be blessed in The Seed.

The promise to Abraham is a promise of a seed, a beloved son who will be sacrificed to secure the redemption of Abraham’s people. But the promise doesn’t stop at Abraham’s people. The Seed will bless every nation. The nations will be blessed. The vision of the Messiah’s redemption doesn’t terminate on his rescue of Abraham’s people. No. That’s not the end of the story. That’s only the beginning. The Kingdom of this Seed will stretch all over the globe. His redemption will secure the faith of people from every tribe. Every tongue will be blessed by the redemption of this Seed. Every nation shall feel the warm blessings of this Seed.

Remember, we’re still at the beginning of the story. The reader who opens this book is turning page after page, asking, “How can man be reconciled to God? In whom shall we place our hope, if our only hope is our greatest enemy? If man cannot save himself, who will save him?”

Who will end the pain? Who will restore all things?

We’re yet at the dawn of the fall of man, and the darkness that has been building for 22 chapters is vanquished by a shining ray of hope. The seed of Abraham will rescue the people of Israel. The seed of Abraham will vanquish the gate of his enemies. The seed of Abraham will bless every nation.

Every nation.

Every single nation will be blessed by the seed of Abraham.

Capture this vision of our redemption. Not a breath separates the redemption of Abraham’s people from the redemption of the nations. Not a breath. There is not logical distance, no temporal gap, between the redemption of Israel and the rescue of the nations. The nations will be blessed. Israel will be rescued and the nations will be blessed. The shining light of redemption illuminates every crevice of this fallen world. The gospel never stops with the redemption of one man, or one group, or one people, or one language. Christ died to save Israel. Yes and no. Christ died to save the nations. The Cross of Christ is the cornerstone of a Kingdom that stretches, and will stretch, in every direction. It will not be stopped. The Kingdom of God will not be stopped. It cannot be stopped.

God’s promise to Abraham is a promise that the Missions movement- which began when spirit-filled 1st century Jews gazed upon an empty cross and ran shouting, “HE IS RISEN!”; a movement which proclaims the redemption of Christ to every Judean and then to every Samaritan, and then to every citizen of every nation in every corner of the planet; a movement which shouts with every ounce of courage and conviction, “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!”; a movement that is the necessary consequence of hearts changed by the gospel; this Missions movement will be, without doubt, the most successful enterprise in the history of men. There is no better investment than the Kingdom of God, which cannot be stopped. All the weight of the great glory and power of God, who cannot be stopped, who cannot lie, who cannot make false promises, who will see his word come to fruition, is behind Christ’s Kingdom. The promise to Abraham is a prophecy of the unstoppable success of missionaries who proclaim the redemption of Christ. There is no better investment. The story of Scripture is a story of the Messiah’s rescue of the nations. We are living testimony to the brilliant success of the Kingdom of God, and the Scriptures are God’s promise that the Kingdom will be populated by men and women of every tribe, tongue, and nation.

The story of Scripture is the story of Abraham’s Seed blessing the nations.

Let’s take part in this story. If you trust Christ, you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God. The good news of Christ’s redemption, the good news of Abraham’s seed and the Kingdom of God, has been shouted in your midst. The gospel has stretched to your tribe, to your tongue, to your nation. Now go shout the good news to everybody else. That’s why we do missions. Because the story isn’t finished at our redemption. Christ’s Kingdom stretches to every nook and cranny of this fallen world. The boundaries of his kingdom are ever expanding. We shout the good news of Abraham’s seed, of the sacrifice of the beloved son, because the Kingdom of God cannot be stopped, and because every nation will be blessed.

Okay. So what does this mean? What does this mean for you? What does this mean for your family? What does this mean for your resources? How does this change how you spend your time? Your money? Your energy?

I can think of a few ways.

Application:

First- and I think perhaps this is the most important point of application- rejoice. Rejoice because God has indeed kept his promise. Rejoice because God didn’t spare his only son. Rejoice because God has provided a lamb for sacrifice. Rejoice because God loved us so much that he sent his only, his beloved son. He did what he wouldn’t require even his most faithful servant to do. God sacrificed his only son in order to reconcile God and man. We made an enemy of our only hope. But God is both just and justifier. God kept his promise to bless the nations with Abraham’s seed. Rejoice, because if you are in Christ, you are reconciled to God. Rejoice, because if you are in Christ, you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Rejoice because you play a primarily passive role in the greatest story that has ever been told. When you praise God, you should remember that all was darkness until the light of the Seed of Abraham. You should remember that every intention of your heart was wicked until the light of the Seed of Abraham. You should remember that God required a sacrifice, and the seed of Abraham bore your sin, carried your judgment. You are reconciled to God because of the seed of Abraham. Dance with the nations. You have been blessed, you have been adopted, you have become a citizen of the unstoppable Kingdom of God.

Second- we are stewards of our possession, of our time, of our families, of our attention and mental energy. We have been given these things as stewards. And just like the master, who gave his servants one or two or five talents, God has given us stewardship over his possessions. We will be held accountable for how we use his stuff. When we spend our money, or when we spend our time, or when we devote our mental energy into anything, we are making an investment. Every expense is an investment.

There is no better investment than the Kingdom of God.

Look, I don’t how this plays out in your life, but I want to be very clear. In economics, almost everything that we have access to is called a “scarce resource.” In other words, it’s not unlimited. You don’t have any more than 24 hours in a day. Your money is limited. Your mental energy is limited. So everything you do with your stuff is an important decision. Everything you do with your resources is an investment. It may be a bad investment. Right? If you’re spending the bulk of your time in front of your television, you’re probably not making a good investment. You’re investing, but you’re not investing in anything that will yield growth. If you’re spending all of your cash on tacos, you’re investing (and you might yield growth, but not the right kind).

But if you invest your energy, your time, your resources, in the Kingdom of God, you have God’s promise that your investment will yield incalculable growth. There is no better investment than the Kingdom of God.

When you think about how you relate to the mission’s field, think about it in these terms. What are you presently investing in? I’m not suggesting that there’s no other place to invest your time and money and energy. But I want you to think about the mission’s field in the same terms that you’d think about an investment account. When you write an email to a missionary, or when you visit a missionaries for help and encouragement, or when you devote money to a mission, or when you devote your life by becoming a missionary, you’re making a risk-free investment in the Kingdom of God. Risk-free because he’s promised the outcome, and the outcome is huge.

Now, I know that this isn’t merely one point of application. I know that this suggestion may influence every aspect of your life. So this is what I want you to do this week. This is what I want you to talk about in Care Group. How are you investing your resources? And how might you invest them in the Kingdom of God?

Third- and this is the last one for this week- take a moment (10, maybe 20 minutes of your week) and think about your story. Think about your redemption. Now, force yourself to retell that story as one part of the unfolding story of the Kingdom of God in scripture. Force yourself to re-think the story of your redemption as one phase in the unfolding, glorious, magisterial rescue of the Seed of Abraham.

I think that one of the reasons that we don’t think often of missions- or that we can become distracted and forget about our brothers and sisters in the field, or that we can neglect to consider our own obligation to support them, to encourage them, or to join them- is merely because we don’t see our redemption as a product of the missions movement. We don’t see Texas as a Missions frontier. We don’t see Texas as the nations. We don’t think about the story of our redemption as a story of the nations being blessed by the seed of Abraham. Perhaps if we remembered that our faith came by the grace of God upon the backs of missionaries, by the sweat and tears and appeals of missionaries, through the service of missionaries, by the testimony of martyrs, perhaps we might feel more compelled to take part in the mission.

So let’s pray now. Let’s pray that we might see ourselves as one part of the story of the seed of Abraham, who rescued his people and blessed the nations. Let’s pray that we’d reconsider our resources, our investments, and the unshakable risk-free investment of the Kingdom of God. And let’s pray that we would exhaust the rest of our days rejoicing in the sacrifice of the beloved son, the seed of Abraham whom God sent to secure our redemption.

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