Tuesday, March 3, 2015

“Kings Will Come From You?” (Genesis 17:3b-6)

S-1480 2SIL/3B 2/15/2015 Hymns: (O) #145; (S) #130; (C) #149

Texts: 2 Kings 2:1-12; 2 Corinthians 3:12-13; 4:1-6; Mark 9:2-9

Theme: “Kings Will Come From You?” (Genesis 17:3b-6)

Question: “Do you have any royalty blood in your veins?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia. The text is from the O. T. lesson: “And God said to him, ‘Behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you’” (Genesis 17:3b-6).

Saints in Christ, Moses, the author of the text before us today reveals to us, the God we serve, is the God of the impossible! He creates out of nothing. He brings light to a dark world and He even opens wombs to be a blessing for generations to come.

The truth of the matter is that every problem of faith humans have regarding the living God, how He works, and what He does is a result of people forgetting aspects of His infinite love, His infinite compassion, His infinite care and His infinite involvement in our lives. The story of Abram today reaffirms this blessed truth.

At the time of our text Abram was now ninety-nine years old. By the standards of his day the time for him and Sarah to pro-create had passed them. Although Abram had fathered Ishmael, this wild son with warring children was not the son of the promise. As a couple with the promise of a child Abram and Sarah were over the hill and from finite human standards...hopeless.

But, God had given a promise. He promised them a child from Sarah’s womb and Abram’s seed. For this promise to be fulfilled a miracle was necessary. The God of the impossible would have to show His hand to fulfill His plan.

Now, bear in mind that the name Abram means “The exalted father.” Abram was seventy years old when the God of all grace called him out of the darkness of polytheism. The gracious splendid call was so moving that Abram and his family packed up their belongings and walked a thousand miles to the land of promise.

Keep in mind also that Abram had all kinds of servants, wealth, was rich in cattle, in silver, and gold. He was the head of a caravan. He was a rich merchant. This is the man Jesus called out of darkness into the marvelous light of grace. Yet he has no sons out of Sarah’s womb. PAUSE

Into this life of heartache, empty arms and even emptier womb, God intervenes. Now after decades the God of the impossible comes to Abram and reveals to him another promise. Notice it is God coming to Abram—this is the movement of grace. His salvation was by Grace—God calling him out of the darkness of worshipping false gods. Now God amps up the promise—amplify the promise—add to the promise.

“Abram, I want you to change your name!” God said,

“Oh?” Abraham answered.

“Yes, I want you to change your name from Abram “The exalted father” to Abraham something more spectacular “father of many nations or father of great multitudes.” From a human point of view, this promise to Abraham and Sarah to see and hold their own offspring, and this child to multitudes of nations and people... seemed impossible. It was as challenging as a salvation by works, camel going through the eye of a needle. However, the same Person saying, “With man this is impossible,” said Jesus, “But with almighty God all things are possible.PAUSE

By the Spirit's power through a Christ-centered promise Abraham is given a new lease, added joy, increased hope. He took God at His Word and put that promise in His heart. But God in His infinite love and power had more to give. God promised Him saying: “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.”

Whether incarnation, salvation, or the birth of a nation, the God of the impossible would bring grace, almighty power, and powerful promises to bear.

Out of this man and his wife who were as good as dead, God will raise nations, multitudes and kings. You can still see the effect of this promise even today and even here. We have the story of Abraham’s descendants in Scripture. We have read of some of these nations, multitudes and kings who have come from Him. The history of these kings can be summed up under the title of a Clint Eastwood movie: the good, the bad and the ugly. The Scriptures share with us the fame and the infamy of these kings: the Good—David, the bad-Manasseh, and the Ugly—Ahab; who was constantly pouting. But the promise is real and certain. Through all of the good, the bad and the ugly, by the power and promise of God, kings came from this faithful, former pagan, elderly Chaldean and His wife.

This line of kings ran through those offspring. Generation after generation they were born, they reigned and they died. And by God’s promise this line was leading to an ultimate king. Finally, that king was born. In all royalty, the King of Kings robed Himself in flesh descended from Abraham. This King, Jesus, born to what looked like peasants, grew to wear a crown, not of gold but of thorns. He would be enthroned not on a golden chair, but on a rough-hewn cross. Instead of being hailed, this king would be heckled! Instead of being cheered, this King would be crucified. And it was all part of the promise! For through this King that came from the promise of God to an old man and his wife, all nations of the world would be blessed! AND WE ARE!!!

In fact we are blessed by this line AND we are part of this great and glorious promise. By virtue of our adoption through Holy Baptism WE are part of that Royal priesthood. We are part of that great line of kings, part of the Kingdom of God, by way of King Jesus.

Every child of God baptized into the body of Christ is a fellow Israelite, royalty, forgiven, an heir of eternal life, and a member of a Kingdom that will last forever. The Apostle Peter put it this way as a reminder of this great promise: “But you (every one of you seated here) are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). PAUSE.

This promise is ours even when we look back on our life as princes and princesses and realize that we have not always lived like it. When we think on our sin, we find ourselves much more like the old person at the end of life that is full of regret and remorse. Even as the baptized, where we should be seeing and realizing our potential, it is clear that we daily fall short in sin. As kings, we would be more likely listed with Manasseh and Ahab than David, let alone Jesus! It might well seem impossible for you to be a faithful part of this noble line of royalty! But our God does the impossible! We have His word of promise on it!

This glorious promise is ours today because God in His infinite love and mercy made an eternal Covenant with Abraham. By the Spirit’s leading, like Father Abraham, we are able to take God’s Word at face value! Because of this grace we can rejoice with St. Paul who said: … in Messiah Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ—the Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-28).

This promise, given to Abraham 3,900 plus years ago is for you! You are in Messiah Jesus through baptism. You are made part of Abraham’s seed. You have been purchased with the treasury of the Kingdom—Christ’s crimson blood. You have been clothed with the righteousness of Jesus which He earned through His suffering, death and glorious resurrection. In God’s sight you are children of God and you are princes and princesses, members of the Royal Kingdom of Christ who is King of kings and Lord of lords!

Let this be your identity.

Let this be your serenity.

Let this be your foundation for eternity.

This connection to Christ in baptism brings us joy today and always! It is a joy we feel here in the Lord’s house. It is a joy we feast on in the Holy Supper. Fellow princes and princesses of the King of kings hear again and taste again the joy of a promise made and kept to Abraham and Sarah and YOU! May it ring and make your heart sing! The God of all grace is the God of the impossible. He spoke creation into being. He gave life through and old man and woman and He gives life in Christ to you for this world and for eternity! Amen and Amen.

Now the peace of God…


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