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Sermon 5/29/05 – The Mission
Genesis 12:1-2

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Sermon 5/29/05 – The Mission – Genesis 12:1-2

The Mission

Now the Lord had said to Abram, ‘Get out of your country, from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1-2)

And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6)

Dennis Prager wrote a column dated May 12, 2005, entitled “The Jews’ Mission.”  Mr. Prager is a columnist, and also an author, speaker, filmmaker, radio talk show host, a teacher of college-level classes that have included Russian and Jewish history, and in his spare time he conducts orchestras – an interesting and talented person.  We have permission to quote him and his website address is www.dennisprager.com.

In the article he asks this question of believing Christians – What is your mission? and then answers the question: “To bring people to Christ” or “spread the Gospel.”  As a physical descendent of Abraham, he has the right to assume our answer.  God decided before this world existed that Y’shua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ, would be born a Jewish boy in the tiny community of Bethlehem – “You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2, written at or before 700 BC).  Christianity is rooted in Israel, and our Messiah was a very Jewish man.

Mr. Prager asks the Jews a similar question: “What is the JEWISH mission?” and he answers that one as well, saying that most will likely respond: ‘What do you mean?’”  He states that Jews “are preoccupied with SURVIVALof the Jewish religion (observance of religious laws) and of the Jewish people.”  Mr. Prager observed that the only large group of Jews with a mission are those who are LEAST interested in the Jewish religion.  They tend to be involved, he said, with ideologies of the political “Left,” like “Marxism, socialism, feminism, environmentalism, gay rights, and animal rights.”  Among the reasons cited for Jewish secularism include the terrible experiences they endured under Christianity and under Islam.  It was safe to be secular, dangerous to be religious.  Only the U. S. has truly accepted Jewish participation, and the typical Jew, he said, is drawn to humanistic issues.

He went on, “it is tragic for humanity because the people who brought the Bible and its Ten Commandments TO the world are often the most active in seeking its removal FROM the world.”  He points out that the Jewish people DO have a mission – “to bring the world to ethical monotheism,” defined as the truth that “there is one God and therefore one moral standard” for us all.  He compares the Jews to Jonah in the Bible, who was told by God to carry a message to Nineveh.  He didn’t want to go and ran away on a ship, which was then in a storm that he understood was caused by his running away.  Mr. Prager concluded, “Most Jews are still running away from their divine mission and causing storms in many places as a result.  Only by bringing the ethical monotheist message to mankind, and working with like-minded Christians to do so, will the world’s seas ever calm down.

Actually, I disagree with Mr. Prager in minor areas.  First, if you ask the typical “believing Christian” in the Western World, “What is your mission?” and then could somehow get an HONEST response out of them, it would be something like, “I hope there’s a sale this weekend!” or “What’s on TV tonight?” or “Who won the game?”  The other disagreement, which is also minor, relates to the secularism of the Jewish people.  When we were in Israel, some years ago, there was a PRESENCE of the Lord in that land which was very profound, and as I concluded at the time: we can be far from the Lord, but the Lord is not far from His people.  “Our” mission is more about the Lord Himself, than it is about us.  It can be argued that ALL have failed God, but He will never fail us in return.

Our mission, here at Friday Study Ministries, the First Church On The Net, is indeed to “reach the world for Jesus Christ,” and yet it isn’t that we have some great faith to make it happen, but it is the Lord who has the drive, the resources and the love; and I often feel like the passenger in an airplane, rather than its pilot.  There was a great woman of God named Corrie Ten Boom, of a generation ago.  Her family in Holland was instrumental in the saving of many Jewish lives during the Holocaust then upon Europe.  A movie was made about her life, entitled “The Hiding Place,” and at the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, a tree is planted in her honor.  In her book, “Each New Day,” here’s what she said: “Some people think that I have great faith, but that is not true.  I do not have great faith – I have faith in a great God!

In our Scriptures for today, we see Abraham (Abram), a man listed among the “heroes of the faith” in the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11.  The assumption is that he personally had tremendous faith, and he is indeed described as the “father of all who believe” (Romans 4:11) - he is a model for us all.  To be right with God is to have a faith like his.

But the miracle isn’t only that any of us have faith, it’s that GOD ACCEPTS the faith we have.  He communicated to the man to “Get out of your country,” to leave family behind, and GO!  And the difference about Abraham was that he WENT!  In all of the situations that Abraham endured, through the mistakes he made and the successes that indeed were his, he continued to BELIEVE that God would see him through.

And here is what Scripture says about this interesting man who was willing to follow God, even though he actually acquired, in his lifetime, very few of the remarkable promises that were offered to him: “he (Abraham) believed in the Lord, and He (God) accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).  “Righteousness” consists of BELIEVING in the Lord!

Mr. Prager is right – we have a mission.  God chose a people through Abraham, and through him God’s Promise came to this world.  Our mission is to trust, to have faith in the One who is our Promise.  When He says, “Go,” we are to go, and when He says love God and love one another (Matthew 22:37-40), we are to love.  Let’s pray:

Lord, I give myself to You.  Please forgive my unbelief and let me have FAITH in You.  You ARE my mission.  When You say, “Go,” I will go.  When You say, “love,” I will love, because I trust in You.  Thank You, Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
www.FridayStudy.org
Ron@FridayStudy.org
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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