Worshiping the Possessor of Heaven and Earth

5.17.15 | Rev. Darin pesnell | Genesis 14

           On May 17, 2015 pastor Darin preached from Genesis 14:1 – 15:1, Worshiping the Possessor of Heaven and Earth. In our text, we find Sodom (where Abram’s nephew Lot live) and its allies waging war with other nations, and Lot is captured. Abram then rescues Lot with a band of 318 men. After the rescue, instead of taking all of the spoils of victory for himself, Abram gives and offering to the Lord. The main idea of the text is that since God is the generous possessor of heaven and earth, he calls us to give generously of our possessions. There are three questions that arise from this text:

 

1. How are you to relate to a culture that values things differently than you do?

  • Sodom is known in Scripture as a place of God’s judgment. But when we first read of Sodom, we see Abram serving them.
  • There are 3 different responses to culture by the church:
  1.  Separate from the culture: Christians withdrawal.
  2. Assimilate: we adopt what the culture values at the expense of biblical truth.
  3. Serve the culture: this is the biblical response, where we do not abandon biblical truth, nor separate from the culture, but serve the culture in submission to biblical truth.

DIG DEEPER: We should think of ways we can serve our city, while still sharing the truth with them in love. Read and reflect on 1 Peter 2:9 – 12; 3:15.

 

2. What does the Lord want us to do with our possessions?

  • Abram refuses the bounty of war that was rightfully his.
  • Abram gives 1/10 of his possessions to Melchizedek as an offering to God. Dig Deeper: Money and possessions rule our culture, so to be a servant, we have to change our approach and not adopt the worlds approach.
  • Every time God moves upon His people, we see remarkable generosity. Why? Because God is lavishly generous!
    • John 3:16 – God so loved the world that he gave His One and only Son!
    • DIG DEEPER: read and reflect on Acts 2:42-47; 2 Cor 8-9.

  • Abram calls God the possessor of heaven and earth, and he related to God that way by giving him 1/10 of his possessions. This pattern of giving is found throughout the Bible:

    • The offerings of Cain and Abel: how they brought their sacrifice was an indication of their heart for giving.      

    •  We see Abram give a 10th, which comes prior to the giving of the law.

    • We see the principle of the 10th found in the mosaic law.

    • The New Testament: the practice is expanded where we see believers giving not just a 10th, but all that they could (Acts 2:42-47).

    • The book of Revelation: we see the 24 elders who cast their crowns in heaven before the Lord: even in heaven we want to offer things to the Lord.

  • The tithe is a very helpful principle for giving that the New Testament does not abolish. The starting place for giving is the tithe (1/10 of our total income), and God promises to bless and reward those who are faithful in giving generously to the Lord.
    • Genesis 15:1 – God tells Abram He is his shield and will reward Abram, the one who lives by faith.
    • God rewards His people (Hebrews 11:6) 

 

3. How can we be cheerful givers?

  • Because we are giving to the one who gives lavishly!
  • We want to give the best we have out of love for God (Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10). DIG DEEPER Our joy is maximized when we are generous in our giving. Read and reflect on Luke 6:38.
  • The way that we relate to our possessions is fundamental to who we are. Giving is one significant way that God uses to bring healing to us. You will not make it into the unknown unless you know that God is your provider, and He rewards those who diligently seek him.

 

Conclusion:

Jesus is our greatest example. Jesus willingly went to the cross for the joy of the reward that was set before him (Heb 12:2). He gave not just 1/10, but all that He had—His very life—to redeem a multitude of sinners who stood under the just condemnation of a holy God. In His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus is saying that you are worth it, an.d He holds out to us the greatest reward of all: forgiveness of sins, and a living and loving relationship with the Lord for ever and ever. As we are gripped by this grace, we are compelled to give sacrificially out of love for God, and reliance upon His Spirit and faith in Christ, that God might be glorified and others may also be blessed