Change can be very hard. The world is changing so quickly that we awaken with new anxieties each day. Rick Joyner once said that, “change is coming on the world so fast, that the only thing we can count on is change.”
Change even affects the church. Worship music is changing. Worship service is changing. Denominations are changing. Teaching methods are changing. And some of the changes are good, and very good. And others are not so good. We’re all familiar with the expression, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Sometimes that’s how it feels in the church. We can be too quick to adapt to worldly influence, especially in the area of music, and in the process we are throwing out the old traditions that moved our parents and grandparents from sin to salvation.
We serve a God of tradition AND a God of change. He is ever changing His methods to reach the lost and dieing, but His message always stays the same.
The most dramatic change a man may face in his lifetime is the change from sinner to saint. God desires that all mankind would experience this change, and He never stops trying to reach each of us with His special delivery message of love. The trouble is that many people miss their opportunity to experience this transformation. So I thought we’d examine the story of Abram’s change to Abraham, to single out the three steps God uses to change a man.
God did three things with Abram that changed his whole life. First, He communicated with Abram; second, He converted Abram; and third, He consecrated Abram.
God communicated with Abram. God can’t do a thing with us until He first establishes a line of communication with us. God actually spoke to Abram, and he listened. He responded positively to God’s conversation. He paid attention and demonstrated his interest in what God had to say. I know what you’re thinking. “If God spoke to me, I’d listen too!” But God speaks to us every day through His Word, and many Christians pick and choose what they will listen to.
• God tells teens to honor their father and their mother, but some just decide to ignore God.
• God tells us to bridle our tongue and refrain from gossip, but some flap their jaws anyway.
• God tells us to be faithful to the church and “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”, but some visit church only on Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter. They have a denomination all their own…we call them CME Christians.
• God tells us to forgive our enemies, but we hold grudges for decades.
• God tells us to be faithful to the tithe, but we leave a tip.
• God tells us not to steal, but we take the extra sweeteners from the restaurant so we don’t have to buy them at the supermarket.
• God tells us not to commit adultery, but we buy Harlequin novels, and watch Rated R movies, and listen to music with suggestive lyrics.
God IS speaking to us. The problem is that we have trouble listening. God spoke to all mankind from Calvary’s mountain, through the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son on the Cross. If that doesn’t get our attention, what will?
God said to Abram, “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” And Abram HEARD God. God may be speaking to you right now. If He is…your change is coming!
God converted Abram. Once God has your attention, He’s not going to leave you in your present state. He’s going to cause a change in you. He’s going to transform you from someone who has a deaf ear to His word, to someone who HEARS His Word and desires to know more about Him. You can be sure that once God’s conversion process is started…your change is coming!
Once God had Abram’s attention, He converted ABRAM from just a FATHER, and changed his name to ABRAHAM, which meant FATHER OF MANY NATIONS.
When God starts to change you, He may have to take away some things.
• He may have to take away a lying tongue.
• He may have to take away a taste for alcohol and crack or weed
• He may have to take away a fondness for gossip.
• He may have to take away a hardened heart.
But He won’t leave you empty. He’ll replace the emptiness with love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, goodness and more…much more!
God made a covenant with man through Abraham…the purpose of which was to be a binding contract between God and His creation, Man. And it changed everything. For New Testament believers…(pause) turn to your neighbor and say, THAT’S US! …(continue) we have a new covenant through Jesus Christ. Our covenant changed everything too. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” In other words, if you accept Christ….your change is coming!
God wants us to change. He wants us to move our lives forward, away from the pain of the past, away from past regrets, away from temptation and sin. God wants to transform us into men and women who act wisely, who live holy, who speak sweetly, and who perform dutifully. He wants us to achieve the utmost that he wants for us.
Which brings me to the third thing God did for Abraham. He consecrated Abraham for service. He didn’t give the details of His plan to Abraham in advance. He just said, “Get up and Go!” And Abraham went. He trusted God. Faith is that pause between knowing what God’s plan is and seeing it actually take place. So Abraham took his new faith, and obeyed God without knowing where it would lead him. He left the familiar city he had called home, the city of UR, and he traveled to a new destination as yet unrevealed by God, because God had consecrated, or set him apart, for a great work.
God wants each of us to reach the destiny He has chosen for us. But He doesn’t convert us and put us on auto-pilot, just because we belong to Him. As Christians, we have to cooperate and participate with the plan of God, so we can move toward all that He has for us.
That’s what Abraham did! He cooperated with God. He put God first, followed the covenant agreement God laid out for him, and sought to live separated from the world…separate and PERFECT.
Each of us has a God-given destiny for success. It’s part of the inheritance we have as God’s children under the new covenant. It’s a spiritual inheritance that showers us with blessings of love, joy, peace and other fruits of the spirit. But it is also an inheritance that provides for us material things…houses, land, and other things for our general comfort. Material things are just as important for the advancement of God’s kingdom as are the spiritual things. Your job is to be like Abraham, and possess the portion that God has given to YOU…and if you obey and follow, your change is coming!
God gave Abram a new ear to hear God’s voice; a new name with which to sign a new covenant, and a new assignment.
God wants to do the same for you! He’s using the same three steps that He used with Abraham.
Step One – Hear His voice!
Step two – Be converted through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Step Three – Be consecrated, and claim your inheritance.
There’s a change in the wind, and it’s a good change.
For some, it’s the voice of God calling you to listen and heed.
For others, it’s the voice of God saying, “Get up and get moving!”
Just because God desires for you to have something, that doesn’t make it a GIVEN that you’ll get it. You have to become an active participant in the process. God is sovereign…YES! He is the Author and Creator of our existence…YES. But God gave you FREE WILL. You were not created as a puppet…but as a participant. To claim your inheritance, you have to REACT and then you have to REACH.
Run to the end:
Abraham had FREE WILL. He could have disobeyed God, but he chose to obey, to trust, and to travel. Maybe its time for you to put on your traveling shoes, and move forward to where God wants YOU to go, not just materially, but spiritually.
If you hear God’s voice, your change is coming!
If you trust God’s promise, your change is coming.
If you submit to God’s Will, your change is coming.
If you bask in God’s peace, your change is coming!
If you embrace God’s love, your change is coming!
If you succumb to God’s power, your change is coming!
If you focus on God’s hope; your change is coming!
If you surrender to God’s grace, your change is coming!
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