BETTER THAN NEW
Sunday, April 29, 2018
What’s your favorite comeback story?
- Abraham / “Father of Many Nations” / His story has an amazing ending – but it didn’t always look that great
- Abraham’s Hope – Genesis 12:1-5 (10)
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan.
- Abraham has a lot of hope because he has this incredible promise from God
God reminded Abraham often of the promise He had made. “Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” – Genesis 15:1 (12). But there was something that was coming apart in his life and he struggled with it.
- Abraham’s Struggle – Genesis 15:2 (12)
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”
- Abraham had no kids. This was a HUGE deal for Abraham. He was promised a great nation, but had no child, no heir, to carry on his legacy.
- Despite everything that was RIGHT about Abraham’s life, he felt like it was all coming apart because of this.
- God renews that promise a little later in Abraham’s life:
Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” – Genesis 17:17 (13)
Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children.12 So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” – Genesis 18:11-12 (14)
Where do we find hope and what do we base our hope on?
- Abraham’s Hope – Romans 4:17-21 (860)
That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
- The Apostle Paul is describing this to the Christians in Rome to help them understand what FAITH and putting their HOPE in Christ was all about.
- It’s the FOCUS of your HOPE, not the SIZE of your HOPE that matters.
- How much you HOPE in something or someone isn’t the issue – it’s WHO or WHAT you hope in.
Abraham not only put his hope in God, Paul says his hope actually got stronger as time went on. He believed that God was going to do something better in his life. Here’s what happened:
- Abraham Restored – Genesis 21:1-2 (16)
The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.
- God didn’t just get Abraham through, He made everything better than new.
And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. – Hebrews 11:12 (927)
- God wants to work in the broken areas of your life
- Japanese art of Kintsugi / “patch with Gold” / use lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum to put the object back together
- Doesn’t just fix the break, it greatly increases the value of the object
- It treats brokenness and repair as part of the history of the object, rather than something to disguise
- That’s what God wants to do in the broken places of our lives.
- We tend to want to hide our brokenness, to disguise our flaws – to superglue them and hope no one notices – but like Kintsugi, God treats our brokenness as part of our story – and part of our value
- Here’s God’s promise to us:
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. – 1 Peter 5:10 (937)
- Restore = same Greek word as “mend” in Matthew 4, talking about fishing nets
- Complete restoration
- Not as good as new – better