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When God Makes His Mark - Genesis 17:9-27

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9/28/2003
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When God Makes His Mark
Genesis 17:9-27
Skip Heitzig
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Making Your Mark

Are you satisfied with just getting through life or do you want to make a difference? God calls each of us to play an important role during our lifetime, but we often forget to seek His will. Join Pastor Skip Heitzig as he looks at the life of Abraham in this two-volume series. Abraham had both ups and downs when it came to his spiritual journey, but he made a lasting mark deep within the fabric of three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You may find striking parallels between Abraham's life and your own experiences. Learn how to leave a lasting impression on your world as you study the life of this great father of faith. Don't just live--make a mark with your life!

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Tonight would you open your Bibles to, well, it was already said, Genesis chapter 17. We ask you to find a seat. We ask you to get nestled in, and we ask you to sit for the entire service. We feel that God is going to speak through his word, and that no one here would want to be a distraction as God would speak to somebody else by a movement, or a cell phone, or a stun gun, or whatever else you might be carrying.

And also, as you know, this service is carried live from coast to coast in over 300 radio stations now on the Calvary Satellite Network, and they tell me when I travel and they say they hear this service they love to hear your greeting. So would you please welcome our audience here.

[applause and cheers]

Okay. Settle down. You know, much of life is lived in the mode that could be simply called "just getting by." Just getting by. That is it's not lived in excellence, it's rather lived in indifference. Natalie Gable reminds us of the consequences of 99.9% if that was considered good enough. If the attitude was always, oh, that's good enough, let's move on. She said if that were true, then this year alone 2 million documents would be lost by the IRS. I bet there's a lot already that are lost by the IRS. Twelve babies would be given to the wrong parents each day, 291 pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly, 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions would be written, and 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes would be shipped. That's living life with just a little bit of mediocrity.

Isaac Disraeli said, "It's a wretched waste of time to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us." Now, that's a problem that Abram is slipping into. In fact, we'll read about it. We touched on it last week, but in verse 18 he will cry out, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before you." Now here's God wanting to make great nations come out of him. In fact, eventually the Messiah would come out of this man, but Abram's getting settled in. He likes things just the way they are. God wants Abram to make his mark, and he will. But before that happens God has to make his mark in Abram's life.

There's a story told of a young naval ensign who took his first cruise overseas. Then it was his turn once they were overseas to command the vessel, turn it around, and head it back toward the U.S. He was so excited. He spouted out commands, got the ship's deck buzzing with activity, and managed to get that huge ship sailing out of the channel back to the United States. He did it in record speed for a destroyer. Well, as they're going out a seaman walked up to that young ensign with a message, a note, from the captain, which surprised this young guy a little bit, especially since it was a radio message. And it simply read, "My personal congratulations. You completed the exercise according to the book at amazing speed. In your haste, however, you overlooked one of the unwritten rules: make sure the captain is aboard before getting underway."

Key factor number one in living your life: make sure God is onboard and calling the shots, because if he is not you will end up, as we have seen, with an Ishmael.

Now, God has made a marvelous covenant with Abraham. He told him what he would do. Abraham has already believed God. God spelled out the terms of the covenant. We know what the terms of the covenant are in brief: a huge portion of real estate from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates River. Some 300,000 square miles are promised; but it's not only property, but posterity that God promises. He'll have a huge family. In fact, back in verse 6, "I will make nations of you," and, boy, is that true. Not only is there the nation of Israel. Not only are there 13.3 million Jews worldwide in 134 countries, but there are 22 Arab nations. There are over 300 million Arabs on planet earth; 5% of the earth's population. All of them tracing their heritage back to Abraham.

So here's a guy who made his mark. Called the father of all those who believe. He is the friend of God the Scripture calls him, and all these peoples, nations, trace their heritage back to Father Abraham. But God is going to do something unusual. We're going to finish out this chapter, and look at it. And I want to give you tonight, if you're taking notes, three principles. You might say three prerequisites to making your mark.

Number one, you must permit God to speak into your life. Now, I want you to look at some verses with me. I know I haven't started and read the whole story, and that's for a reason. Verse 9 says, "And God said to Abraham," and then verses 9-14 is what God said to Abraham. Verse 15, look at it. "Then God said to Abraham," and again verse 15 and 16 is what God said to Abraham. Verse 19, "Then God said," and verse 19-21 is what God said. Verse 22, "Then he finished talking with him."

And here's the point: Three times we are told God said something to Abraham, and 11 verses tell us what God said to him. So we have a lot of God speaking into this man's life.

Okay. What exactly did he tell him? Well, let's look at a few verses. Look at verse 9. "And God said to Abraham, 'As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant that you shall keep between me and you and your descendants after you. Every male child among you shall be circumcised.'" I don't know if you're picturing Abraham as he's listening to this. He's 99, remember. "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money, or any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, must be circumcised, and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant."

Now, God gave the covenant. God established the terms of it. Now God is giving to Abraham a sign, a token you might say. But I don't think this is what Abraham had in mind when God started talking to him. Now, Abraham knew about covenants. He was Semitic, and he knew that every single contract must be sealed with a token, with a sign, with some outward demonstration of the covenant.

If you went back in history, when God gave Noah a covenant, God gave him a sign. And what was that sign? It was a rainbow. Colorful, beautiful, visible. Later on when God will make a covenant with the children of Israel through Moses of the Law, he will give them a sign called Shabbat, Sabbath. What a great sign. Peaceful, restful. In the New Testament when the new covenant is established Jesus gives an outward sign. We call it baptism. It's cleansing. It's refreshing. And even in a marriage a husband will give a ring, a diamond ring usually, to his bride. That's the outward sign of the covenant. It's sparkly. It's brilliant. It's beautiful. It's thoughtful. It's expensive.

Abram knew about covenants. So here he is waiting as God is going to give him some token. What would it be? Will it be some angelic apparition, some sign in the sky like Noah? And can you see this man as he's smiling and waiting for this gift, and then God whispers to him. "pshpshpsh." His face grows sullen, and he goes, "What!" You know, verse 10 was okay because he mentions "You and your descendants," but in verse 11 he mentioned, "and you shall be circumcised." And just keep in mind, we won't dwell on this, but he's 99 and I'm sure he's thinking, "Nobody told me that old age would be this tough. I wasn't thinking that God was going to come up with this kind of an arrangement." And maybe he was even thinking, "Boy, it was great when God said," a few chapters back, "I'll bless you. I'll make you a blessing, and I'll give you this, and I'll give you that, but I don't like this second part."

Now here's a point: We are not always going to like what God has to say to us. Sometimes God will speak into our lives, and it won't be easy to hear, but it will be necessary to hear. It's funny, isn't it how we like to gravitate toward certain promises in the Bible, underline them, and mark them in yellow, orange, and in purple, and write things by them; but avoid other verses of Scripture that are also promises. We love the text that says, Ephesians 3, "Now to him who is able to keep you from falling," or "Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think,' or Philippians 4, "My God shall supply all your need," or Jesus in Matthew 11, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden. I'll give you rest." They're underlined in a lot of our Bibles, and that's good. They ought to be, but perhaps we shy away from other promises like, "In the world you will have tribulation," or Matthew 10, "Behold, I send you out like sheep in the midst of wolves, and you will be hated by all men for my namesake," or 2 Timothy 3, "All those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." You might read those texts and go, "Now wait a minute. I didn't bargain for that. I didn't sign up for that." What about the four spiritual laws? What about God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?

And that brings us to an even greater point. Some people who call themselves Christians really don't allow God to speak into their lives. They have cleverly devised barriers to keep that from happening. They will read passages they like. Avoid those they don't like. Read books that tickle their fancy. Stay away from the edgy, exhortive type. Go to a counselor who will tell them exactly what they want to hear. Avoid a counselor who will tell them the truth. Listen to a sermon only so far, and if it gets a little uncomfortable tune out or get up and walk out.

You see, at what point will we allow God to be God and speak his truth into our lives, and for that matter God using other people in our lives to hold us accountable. To say, "Brother or sister, I know you. I love you. That's not right," because you know what so often happens when that happens? We come up with this, "Don't be so legalistic," or "What gives you the right to judge me. Jesus wouldn't do that." All sorts of clever barriers to keep God out.

Now, I want you to keep this marked, and turn to a New Testament passage. Would you? John chapter six. We can't read it all. Promise, I mean, I promise you that. It's 71 verses, but I want to have you look at a couple of them in John chapter six. The onion skin has ended so I know you're there. "After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberius, and a great multitude followed him because they saw his signs, which he performed on those who were diseased." Look over at verse 14. "Then those men when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, he performed another miracle, they said, 'This is truly the prophet who is come into the world.'" We love this guy, they said. But look at verse 25. "When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said, 'Rabbi, when did you come here?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'Most assuredly I say to you, you seek me not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.'" Look at verse 30. "Therefore he said to them, they said to him, 'What sign will you perform that we may see it and believe you? What work will you do? Our fathers ate manna in the desert. As it is written, 'He gave them manna from heaven to eat.' Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' And then they said to him, 'Lord, give us this bread always.'" Okay, same crowd. Keep following me here.

Go down to verse 60. "Therefore," now Jesus in that interim speaks some pretty heavy sayings to them, pretty heavy words. "Therefore, many of his disciples when they heard this said, 'This is a hard saying. Who can understand it?' When Jesus knew in himself that the disciples complained about this, he said to them, 'Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before? It's the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life, but there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe and who would betray him. And he said, 'Therefore, I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted to him by my father.' From that time many of his disciples went back and walked with him no more." Notice that. Many of his disciples walked away and they followed him no more. These were, you might say believers who were not really "belongers." "I'll follow you Jesus as long as you give me what I want to hear, but if I don't like it I'm going somewhere else." That's the sentiment. That's not allowing God to speak into your life. Do you let God do that? Do you give God the permission, "Lord, you can tell me anything, because you are the Lord."

Now I'm going to press it a little further, because God speaks primarily through his word, and that's what we're doing, isn't it? We're reading his word. What's your attitude when you come to church? You don't have to answer out loud or tell anyone next to you, because it might not be the best attitude. "I have to come." "She makes me come." "I promised my mom and dad I'd show up, and then I get my allowance. So I'm here." What's the attitude?

You see, in 2 Timothy 4, where Paul writes, "Preach the word of God. Be persistent whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, encourage your people with good teaching. For the time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching, but will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will let them tell them whatever they want to hear. Whatever they want to hear. How does God primarily try to speak to us? Well, primarily through the book. His body, yes, but primarily through the word of God. Does it hurt? Sometimes. If you're honest, doesn't it? Doesn't the word of God sometimes when it penetrates it hurts. That's what the writer of Hebrews said. Hebrews four, "For the word of God is alive, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. Piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Now listen what else it says. "All things are naked and open before the eyes of him with whom we must give an account." I found an interesting truth in that text. The word "open", all things are naked and open before God's eyes. It is a Greek word that is trakelidzo, which we get the word trachea from, the throat. It means to lay bare, and here was the thought. When a priest would make sacrifice he would pull the lamb's neck back, and stretch it, and run the blade across the juggler, and bleed that thing to death.

The point is this: God's word often goes for the juggler, doesn't it? And that's why sermons sometimes will comfort the afflicted, but sometimes they're meant to afflict the comfortable. And we have to allow God to speak into our lives his truth. We can't erect the barriers, tune this out, or think this is for somebody else; but say, "God, what are you trying to tell me?" Some people say, "Well, God doesn't speak like he used to." I'll contest that. I think people don't listen like they used to.

A couple of authors wrote, "Many irregular church attendees consistently focus their minds on sporting events, business affairs, or matters of personal interest as soon as the sermon begins. Many so-called worshippers can tell you what dress that pastor's wife wore in the service, but they cannot recall the text of the sermon or the application of the message in their lives. Hey, you want to make your mark in life? Let God's word penetrate you all through as he speaks. So that's the first step, the first prerequisite. There's a second.

Not only permit God to speak into your live, but number two, portray God's mark upon your life.

Now go back to verse 13. "He who is born in your house, he who is bought with your money, must be circumcised. And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin that person shall be cut off from his people. He has broken my covenant." Go down to verse 23. "So Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all who were born in his house, all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day as God said to him."

Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised in the flesh. Ishmael, his son, was 13 years old. Verse 26, "The very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael, and all the men of his house born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner were circumcised with him." You ought to know something. This is where circumcision first shows up as a symbol of the covenant God makes with Israel, but Abraham would've known about it from surrounding nations. The Ammonites practiced it. The Moabites practiced it. The sixth dynasty of the Egyptians practiced it, and even later on the sons of the priests in Rome practiced it. Now, we don't know exactly why they practiced it. Some say it was to, for hygiene purposes. Some say it was to ward off demons. There's all sorts of ideas, but here God tells Abraham to practice it, and it becomes a mandate for the Jewish nation, prescribed by their law later on in Leviticus chapter 23, "That every male child on the eighth day of his life will bear the mark of the covenant." The Jews call it the berit milah, the symbol of the covenant.

Look at verse 13 in our text. "My covenant shall be in your flesh." God made a covenant with him. This was the sign. In other words, "Abraham, here is an outward action to display, to portray, an inward reality, an inward truth." And here's the inward truth. It shows faith in God and repentance toward God. That was a symbol that was meant to portray I believe in God, and I have turned away, I have cut away, sin, the flesh, in my life.

Romans 4:11 says, "Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and God already accepted him and declared him righteous." That's what it was for. It was the symbol to symbolize the cutting away of the life lived according to my own desires, the life of the flesh, and now a life lived in repentance and faith. But as some of you know, the Jews made more out of it than even God intended, especially post-Biblical Jews. They added additions later on. God gave it as a symbol. The Jews made it a sacrament, and there's a difference. One symbolizes truth. One, the sacrament idea is that I get blessed and it conveys something to me when I do it. It conveys a spiritual blessing.

Listen to this: The Talmud states, "If an Israelite practices idolatry he's going to hell, but before he goes to hell his circumcision shall be first removed. In other words, God would somehow surgically remove it before sending them to punishment. Some rabbis even ascribe circumcision to Adam, Seth, Noah, and Melchizedek. The Bible doesn't say that. They just suppose that.

And then there's the writing of the Jews called the Zohar, the most classic, mystical book in Judaism. It says, "As long as Israel observes the custom of circumcision, heaven and earth will go on their appointed courses, but if Israel neglects that covenant, heaven and earth will be disturbed." In other words, unless they do it, you know, this world's going to go wacky.

Now, that just shows you how much they made out of the symbol. They took the symbol and ascribed more to it. And here was the problem, they substituted the symbol, the ritual of circumcision, for the reality of repentance. You know, here's what God is saying, "Abraham, I'm going to make my mark in you and your descendants, and that mark speaks of a changed life. The mark that I want you to bear is a life of repentance, the cutting away of the flesh." The symbol didn't mean much to God. It was just a symbol that should speak of something that was deeper than the outward that extended to the inward. You know how I know that? Because several times in the Old Testament God gives this warning, this is out of Deuteronomy 10, "'Circumcise,' God said, 'the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.'" In other words, the symbol of circumcision was a symbol of a life of repentance.

Now, there's a word that you don't hear much of today. You will rarely hear it from a lot of pulpits. It's not popular anymore. When my wife gave her life to Christ, you know, all she did was read a "Four Spiritual Laws" tract, she bowed her head, and said, "Okay, Jesus, come inside and give me all this stuff that you promised." And one day she listened to a sermon at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, and she felt really uneasy afterward. She went into the prayer room, and she started talking to a counselor, "I prayed this prayer, but I just feel something's wrong." The counselor happened to be my friend Malcolm Wilde who was from England. He was the counselor one day. He said, "Have you repented of your sins?" And she said, "Have I what?" "Have you repented of your sins?" She goes, "Re-what? What is that word you used?" And he explained the idea of cutting off the old and turning to Jesus Christ.

I have a question. Why is it that repentance, though it was the hallmark of Jesus' ministry and John the Baptist's ministry, why isn't it preached much anymore? Well, I can give you a couple of reasons I think. Number one, because people today don't like to accept the reality of personal sin. In fact, we don't even like the word. We won't use the word. Oh, that's so outdated. We prefer hang-ups, issues, mistakes, alternate lifestyles, problems. I've read before you'll remember that little book called The Politically Correct Dictionary where they rename things. Like a shoplifter is called a nontraditional shopper. A serial killer is now a person with difficult to meet needs. Evil is renamed morally different, and a drunk is called chemically inconvenienced.

Okay. All of that aside, when you do repent something happens. Happiness happens. Joy happens. Comfort happens. Jesus said, "Blessed, oh how happy, are those who mourn. They shall be comforted." It's an unpopular message because people don't want to accept the reality of sin, and it's a threatening and uncomfortable message. Some people say, "Well, people may not come back to your church if you preach that." But if they do end up repenting, they will be really happy and really comforted.

By the way, something else, lest you think, "Well, that's really cool, Skip, but you don't have to tell me that. I'm a Christian." Did you know that Jesus told the church at Ephesus as well as others to repent? It wasn't just unbelievers. He told them, "Bear my mark in you as a lifestyle."

And here's the point: When you and I find something out that isn't pleasing to God, God wants you to cut that off. God wants you to remove that from your life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in World War II was the one that coined the phrase "Cheap Grace." He wrote a book, The Cost of Discipleship. He wrote these words, "Cheap Grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance. It's the preaching of baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross. It is grace without Jesus Christ."

Now listen. Are you clinging tonight to some ritual you performed as a child? "I was baptized, and confirmed, and had my first holy communion." Well, that's wonderful, but has there been an inward transformation? First question.

Second question, Can that inward transformation be visibly seen by an outward demonstration? And so, this is what God tells Abraham, "You want to make your mark? I want you to do it; but first permit me to speak into your life." And he does, and he obeys. "And portray my mark upon your life." That mark meant repentance.

And there's a third, and we'll finish with this. Prepare for God to expand your life. Prepare for God to expand your life.

Look down at verse 15. I know we read ahead last week and covered a couple of these verses. "Then God said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife, you will not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name; and I will bless her and give you a son by her; and I will bless her, and she will be the mother of nations. Kings of people shall be from her.' And Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart, 'Shall a child be born to a man who's 100 years old? Shall Sarah who is 90 years old bear a child?' Abraham said to God, 'Oh, that Ishmael might live before you.' And God said, 'No. No. Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Laughter.'" Why? Well, because Abram cracked up. He laughed, and he would always be reminded of this incident, wouldn't he? "Come here, Laughter." "Why do you call him that?" "Oh, ask me later."

"I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant with his descendants after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and I will make him fruitful. I will multiply him exceedingly, and he will beget 12 princes, and I will make him a great nation; but my covenant I will establish with Isaac who Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year." Why did Abraham say that? Why was he so adamant, "Oh, let Ishmael live before you." Well, because he's done. That's why. He's done, man. "I'm 99. I've had this kid, and I love him. I've had him for 13 years. I've gotten used to him. Fulfill your promise through this child. All of those covenant promises right here. Let Ishmael be the one. I don't want to do this again." He had settled in, and God wanted him to go further. Certainly this is just the love of a parent that's talking. I'm satisfied with Ishmael. Why waste 13 years with this human? Just do it through him.

Here's the lesson: When God is preparing a future for you, don't cling to the past. Did you hear that? When God is preparing a future for you, don't cling to the past. Ishmael represented the past. Isaac represented the future. Ishmael was a symbol of the flesh. Isaac a symbol of the spirit. Ishmael brought dissension into that house. At least Isaac brought laughter.

Now, you may have an Ishmael in your life, and it is so hard for you to let go of that thing, that thing of your past. And instead of praying, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before you," you probably need to pray, "Oh that Ishmael might die within me." Let it go. If God wants to expand you life, then let the past go. By the way, you notice something. Ishmael didn't get a new name, did he? Abram did. Abraham. Sarai did. Sarah. But not Ishmael and here's why. Ishmael represented the flesh. You can't change the flesh. Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." And he stayed the same, though God promised to bless even this son of Abraham.

So, examine your life in these closing moments. For just a few seconds examine your life, and ask yourself, "How is my life? Is it pretty mediocre? Am I just living just to get by? Am I just marking time?" And that might not describe you. Maybe that naval ensign describes you. You're charging through life. You've made plans. At breakneck speed you're traveling. The only problem is God's not aboard, and that's a mistake. You need a captain. You need The Captain to speak into your life truth so that you can respond to it. You need The Captain to mark your life with this change, and you need this Captain to expand your life to new horizons.

Speaking of ships, let me tell you about another one much smaller. Sam was the captain of this ship. He was a fisherman. The game warden noticed that Sam when he came in from fishing everyday brought in way more fish than all the other guys. They brought in three or four, maybe five or six, but rarely more than that. Sam had an entire boat filled with fish. So the warden moseyed over to the boat in the afternoon. "Sam, what's your secret? How do you catch so many?" "Well, Warden, come with me tomorrow morning. I'd love to show you how I do it." Out they went, middle of the lake, early morning, and the warden watched as Sam took a stick of dynamite, lit it, tossed it up in the air. And that loud explosion shook the lake with such force that all these dead fish surfaced, and the warden, can you see it, came unglued, "Sam, I'm going to put you in jail and throw every fine in the book at you." And off that warden went just angry at Sam. Well, Sam watched him for a minute, grabbed another stick of dynamite, lit it, tossed it in the wardens lap, and said, "Warden, are you going to sit there all day complaining or are you going to fish?" Now you think about that for a moment. The warden at that very moment had to make a decision, didn't he? He instantly moved from observer to participant in just a couple seconds.

And friend, that's what I'm telling you tonight. You need to make a decision about your life. Oh, you can complain about your life. "Oh, it's mediocre. Oh, it's going nowhere." or you can decide with God's help that things are going to change. Things are going to change. And the first step is to invite Christ into your boat, your life. And you may not decide to do that. You might decide, "Been baptized." "Been dedicated." "Been confirmed." "Been this." "Been that." And you might erect that wall as God's trying to bring you to his son Jesus Christ. I just got to tell you. If you do that, you've made a decision. Your decision is "No, God. I don't want you in control," and that's your decision. You'll have to live with it, and die with it. But make the best decision. Are you going to complain all night or you going to fish?

Heavenly Father, at this moment we thank you for your word. And so often when we read it we come across such great words of comfort and joy that speak to our hearts and encourage us. Then there are other times where, like a knife in the juggler vein, you pierce deep your truth and you call for change. A cutting away of the old. A cutting away of the past. May we be those who permit you to speak into our lives regularly, and may we portray your mark in our lives. That of change, repentance. And then, Lord, we want to get prepared for you to do whatever you want in our lives as you expand them in Jesus' name. And Father, we would pray also for those who are sitting here tonight who were maybe brought by family or friends and they have a wonderful background. Some are well educated. Some have great taste, great style, wonderful personalities. Some are very religious, deeply religious. They have kept so many rituals and regulations. They are good, fine, people, but all of that is short of turning to you and giving permission for you to be the Lord of their lives in a personal way. Because we know we're not saved by what we do, or who we are, or our education, but solely by faith in Christ, the willingness to repent of our sins and turn to you. And I pray that some tonight who have come would do that. That your word would penetrate to that level where that decision would be made.

Right now we're praying, and as you're continuing to pray for those who are around you, if you're here tonight and you are ready to make that radical change, and it is radical. Jesus promises to take the old and throw it away, and make all things new. And if you want that, you can have it, but you must receive it. Are you willing? If you are I want to pray for you, but I got to know who you are. I want you to raise your hand up. As we're praying, our heads are bowed, just raise your hand up wherever it is. Raise it high, and you're saying, Skip, pray for me. Pray for me. I'm going to do that tonight.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
7/20/2003
completed
resume  
The Past: Guidepost Or Hitching Post?
Genesis 11:27-32
Skip Heitzig
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Today we embark on a new journey, studying the life of Abraham. I'm calling it, Making Your Mark. Abraham made his mark deep within the fabric of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. More than that, Scripture exonerates him as being an example of faith. But what about his past? How did he begin his journey of faith? You may find striking parallels to your own spiritual experience as we see five experiences that shaped Abraham's earlier life. Let’s learn the first steps in how to leave our mark of influence in our own culture.
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7/27/2003
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Buckle Up! You're Going on an Adventure!
Genesis 12:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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Have you ever thought of life as an adventure? Most people don't. Daily life becomes the daily grind as many just survive: eking out a tasteless and meaningless existence hoping something better comes along in the future. There's one factor that can make all the difference—it's called God's will! To live life according to God's promises and commands, even though difficult at times, will be the most exciting way to make your journey through this life. In this second study on Abraham, Making Your Mark, let's see three principles that brought this sense of adventure.
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8/3/2003
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Warning: Doubt Can Be Hazardous To Your Health!
Genesis 12:10-20
Skip Heitzig
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Doubting God's promises is often the foundational reason we don't experience His blessing. The children of Israel wandered for forty years before entering the Land. Why? "They were not allowed to enter his rest because of their unbelief" (Hebrews 11:19). Their legacy was often to doubt, for the Psalmist says that they, "limited the Holy One of Israel" (Ps. 78:41). Now, even Abraham, the father of faith, struggles with trusting the most trustworthy Being that ever was!
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8/8/2003
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Two Men Under One Microscope
Genesis 13
Skip Heitzig
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8/17/2003
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The Glimmer of the Godly in a Cauldron of Crisis
Genesis 14
Skip Heitzig
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8/24/2003
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The Journey from Fear to Faith
Genesis 15:1-6
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8/31/2003
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A Dark Night; A Bright Future
Genesis 15:7-21
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9/14/2003
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Taking the Long Way Around
Genesis 16
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9/21/2003
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A New Start for an Old Soldier
Genesis 17:1-8
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10/5/2003
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How To Be God's Friend
Genesis 18:1-15
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10/12/2003
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Have I Got Plans For You!
Genesis 18:16-33
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10/19/2003
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Shock and Awe!
Genesis 19:23-29
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10/26/2003
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Re-run of a Star's Worst Episode
Genesis 20
Skip Heitzig
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The basic idea: Even after years have gone by, years of growth for Abraham, he relapsed into old behavior patterns. The sin principle is always a problem, even for the Christian. If the "old ways" are not sufficiently dealt with, they will grow and threaten to undo us. We look at four scenes in this rerun episode of Abraham, revealing how seriously this battle between the flesh and the spirit really is.
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11/9/2003
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The Gift of Laughter for Senior Citizens
Genesis 21:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Abraham is old here (age 100—a centenarian). His wife Sarah delivers the child promised by God (Isaac) and the result is joy and laughter. We learn five things about the nature of God in this passage.
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11/16/2003
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Faith... For Better or For Worse
Genesis 22:1-19
Skip Heitzig
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Skip speaks about the greatest test of Abraham's life and how he responded to it.
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11/23/2003
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Funeral for a Princess
Genesis 23
Skip Heitzig
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This message highlights the death of Sarah and her husband's response.
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12/7/2003
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Passing the Baton
Genesis 24
Skip Heitzig
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Abraham was the recipient of God's promises and blessing for many years. Now it's time to make sure that his son Isaac will also make his mark and inherit the promises of God. Abraham wants to pass the mantle of patriarch and the baton of blessing to his son by ensuring he marries the right person and continues the family line so that "all the nations of the earth will be blessed," as God had promised. What are the key principles for such an endeavor?
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12/14/2003
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A Senior Saint's Sunset Years
Genesis 25:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Skip looks at Abraham's obituary as given in Genesis 25. After following his life from his call to leave his homeland, we now come to his last breath and subsequent burial. Encouragement and instruction for facing our own mortality will be considered.
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There are 18 additional messages in this series.
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