Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 22:1-12; Psalm 13 or Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42
Let us look to Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
In Genesis 21:22-34, we see Abraham in his relationship with the world.
In Genesis 22:1-14, we see Abraham in his relationship with the Lord.
Abraham deals honestly and wisely with the pagan king, Abimelech, who acknowledges Abraham's closeness to God - ‘God is with you in all that you do’ (Genesis 21:22).
We are to be honest and wise in our relationship with the world (Romans 12:17; Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:12). Our relationship with the world is to be grounded in our relationship with God.
In the testing of Abraham, we catch a glimpse of ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Christ is the Lamb whom God will provide (Genesis 22:8). In Genesis 22:14, we read, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’ On Calvary’s hill, Christ died to bring us to God, so that we might learn to live for Him in this world (1 Peter 3:18; 2:24).
Through Christ our Saviour, “God is able to make all grace abound to us.”
'The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven': We 'take refuge' in Him (Psalm 11:4, 1).
We are to seek His face, confident that 'when He appears...we shall see Him as He is' (Psalm 11:7; 27:8; 1 John 3:2). Seeking God's face, we learn to rest in His promises, we are protected, we are kept (Psalm 12:6-7).
We may face difficult circumstances (Psalm 13:1-4). We can still trust in the Lord's 'steadfast love'. We can still 'rejoice' in His 'salvation'. We can still say with the Psalmist, 'I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me' – ‘God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work’ (Psalm 13:5-6; 2 Corinthians 9:8).
Let us exchange our weakness for the strength of our Saviour.
‘Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie’ (Jeremiah 28:15).
What a difference there is between those who wait on the Lord for His strength and those who rush ahead in their own strength!
The Word of God warns us against trying to serve God in our own strength: ‘Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted’.
If we are to be true servants of the Lord, we must learn to wait upon the Lord and receive His strength: ‘Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength’. What a difference the strength of the Lord makes - ‘They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’ (Isaiah 40:30-31)!
Let us exchange our weakness for God’s strength - then we will truly be ‘sent’ by the Lord and will speak His truth.
Christ has died for us. Christ has risen for us. Let us sing of His great love for us.
‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness through all generations’ (Psalm 89:1).
Many years have passed since these words were written by the Psalmist. Many generations have come and gone since Jesus Christ came to our world. The years come and go. The centuries run their course. One generation gives way to another generation. Time moves on relentlessly. None of us can halt the march of time. Many changes have taken place over the course of time.
There is something which must never change. The Lord is to be praised ‘for ever’. He is to be praised ‘through all generations’.
We must look back and remember. Jesus Christ was crucified for us. Jesus Christ has risen for us.
This is the Good News which inspires our praise: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever...’
With Christ as our Saviour, let us walk in newness of life.
(a) ‘We know that our old self was crucified’ (Romans 6:6) - What a great thing God has done! He has made you ‘a new creation in Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
(b) ‘Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 6:11) - Believe it. This is what the Lord has done: ‘you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit... the Spirit of God dwells in you... Christ is in you... the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you... His Spirit dwells in you’ (Romans 8:9-11).
(c) ‘Yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life’ (Romans 6:13) - Act upon it’. ‘Walk in newness of life’ (Romans 6:4). Live as those whom God has made new.
(d) We are ‘not under law but under grace’ (Romans 6:14). Keep your eyes fixed on the Saviour and your obedience will be Gospel obedience and not merely legal obedience.
Let us learn from our Saviour. Let us walk with Him in the way of the Cross.
Jesus tells us that ‘a student is not above his teacher nor a servant above his master’ (Matthew 10:24). Our Teacher is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Master. Jesus emphasizes that ‘it is enough for the student to be like his teacher and the servant like his master’ (Matthew 10:25). This is the goal of the Christian life - we are to be like Jesus.
This will not be an easy life. There will be persecution (Matthew 10:22; 2 Timothy 3:12).
In this situation - going the way of the Cross with Jesus (Matthew 10:38) - we need to hear and heed the Word of the Lord: Do not fear man. Fear God (Matthew 10:28). The fear of men is to be avoided. The fear of God is to be treasured greatly.
There will be conflict with those who do not honour God (Matthew 10:34-37). We must remember: pleasing God is more important than pleasing people. Our prayer is that our hearers will receive Christ as well as ourselves (Matthew 10:40).