27rd January 2023
Read - Hebrews 11:13-16 Genesis 12:1-20 and 22:1-19
Message Alan Burke
When Abraham and Sarah were given promises by God they only saw a small part of their fulfilment, Abraham and Sarah exemplify those who did not receive the promises that they were given, for they were promised innumerable offspring and they had to wait and wait until finally they were given Isaac by the Lord but they died before being able to see the fulness of that promise that was given to them. Others too, Abel, Noah, Jacob, Issac all of these were looking forward to the hope that there is in the Christ that was promised by God himself. They were shaped by their faith living according to the promises of God and looking to the hope that they had in Christ. In this they understood that the promises of God speak of a hope that is beyond this life.
They understood that they were waiting for what lies ahead, they lived with hope, but that hope is not here, it is not in the things that this life offers for this is not our home. For in Christ as we are reminded in Philippians 3 “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phl 3:19–21).
That was the hope of Abraham, as he looked to the promises of God. His citizenship was in heaven, through the saviour, the Christ, the promised serpent crusher of Genesis 3:15. When people come to saving faith in the Christ the promised one of God then it changes their priorities, it transforms our lives, we become less concerned about this life and what we have and experience to know what lies ahead is our hope. The struggle is keeping our eyes fixed upon that hope that we have for satan will do all that he can to move our focus to something else.
Yet we are reminded of the wonder of that hope we have every day, the fall should make us long for it, fractured relationships, the toil we face, the way that our bodies age and decay should make us all long for that better country, that is, a heavenly one where there death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Rev 21:4). Think how good that heavenly country is when God graciously blesses us in this life much more than we deserve.
Also before we move on, often when people consider heaven it is more like that which is portrayed in the Tom and Jerry cartoons that we grew up with, clouds, the big pearly gates, angels and harps and white robes. But we actually believe that after Christ's return the heavens and the earth will be restored to their pre-fall glory. The church, God’s people will dwell with Christ and we will live in the new heavens and the new earth where righteousness dwells. Equally we won't be floating around as spirits with no body - when Christ returns He will raise us to life. We will dwell in heaven with body and soul reunited forever. We believe in the resurrection and Abraham believed it too. And one day through faith we will be with our God, we will meet our forefather Abraham whom we are among his many descendants though faith in the Christ that he looked to and has come and will come again.
Q61 What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, (Amos 8:5, Mal. 1:13) and the profaning the day by idleness, (Acts 20:7,9) or doing that which is in itself sinful, (Ezek. 23:38) or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations. (Jer. 17:24–26, Isa. 58:13)