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INTERMISSION/INTRO TO ABRAM - Part 1 - Gen. 11:27-12:9
In the last few months since we’ve begun our adventure through Genesis, we have covered many people and learned many lessons. And before we get into our next session I want take this time to review why we are going through the Book of Genesis.
Many people disregard the OT, but we can learn much from the it. Rom. 15:4 tells us: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance (Perseverance) and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Instruction, endurance and Perseverance, (Continuing Christian commitment in the face of difficulty), encouragement of the Scriptures, and hope. It is my prayer that this is what I have accomplished in the last few months in covering Genesis
Every part of God’s revelation written in earlier times is still valuable for OUR instruction. Knowledge of ALL Scripture had spiritual benefit for Christians in Paul’s day and still has benefit for Christians of all time.
With just a few exceptions, The New Testament references to scripture signify the OT. Paul’s well known statement that: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) certainly applies to the NT. But in the minds of the initial readers, it referred to “the sacred writings of the OT: (vs 15) “...and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”
That same understanding was in the minds of those whom Peter wrote, saying: “That no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Paul reminded believers in Corinth that the events of the Exodus under Moses “Happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved...Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Cor. 10:6,11).
Our part in this blessing is Perseverance, which is related to patience! In regard to the Lord’s return, James admonishes us to: “Be patient, therefore, bretheren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You to be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8).
Like saving faith, perseverance is both commanded of us and given to us by God, as Paul assures us in Romans 15:5. It is continuing faithfulness to the Lord through all circumstances.
Rev. 14:12 identifies Perseverance with sustained faith and obedience: “Here is the call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus Christ.”
2 Thess.1:4 says that perseverance is faith that does not fail: “...in the midst of all you're persecutions and afflictions which you endure.”
The clearest command to perseverance is found in Col. 1:22-23- “Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach - if indeed you continue through the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven.”
God also gives us Encouragement to persevere. He provides this by means of the Scriptures, which chronicle all the reasons to keep believing. And they give us the reason to sustain HOPE for our glorious future.
Jeremiah speaks of God, the author of Scripture, and the “Hope of Israel, it's Savior in time of distress.” (Jer. 14:8; 17:7).
The Psalmists repeatedly speak of their HOPE in the Lord, and we read in the book of Job that: “the hope of the godless will perish” (Job 8:13) - unlike Job himself, of whom James writes: “Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” (James 5:11).
It was his certain HOPE in the Lord’s righteousness and justice that gave Job the unimaginable perseverance to endure his torments with which God allowed Satan to afflict His “blameless and upright” servant.
From those passages and many others in both testaments, it is clear that, as far as the believers HOPE is concerned, God and His word are inseparable.
We know that God’s LIVING word, His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Hope, because that glorious truth is made known to us in God’s written word.
And even more importantly than those things is to always be pointing these Scriptures to Jesus and the Gospel message.
Join us next week as we continue with the review of what we have covered thus far in Genesis. Blessings to you all during the holidays.