07 Mar 2021
God called Abraham for His own glory and for Abraham's good. This story helps us understand that when God calls, there is a: 1. Requirement. Just as God called Abraham to leave his hometown in Ur of the Chaldees, God requires us to leave our comfort zones and old lifestyles in an adventure of faith. We are called to leave our old ambitions and dreams to live and labour for the name of Christ. 2. Reward. Just as God promised amazing rewards to Abraham (a great nation, a great name and a great blessing), there are amazing rewards to those who obey God in faith. 3. Response. Abraham responded to God's call with obedience. Faith is not empty talk. It is about putting one's life in the hands of God in obedience. God calls His children out of our "Ur of the Chaldees" to the promised land. But it requires faith to believe and obey. Has God called you? Where are you today? It's time to respond to His call.
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Now, we've been going through the book of Genesis and I thought that this often-quoted statement, is something very relevant to our journey through the book of Genesis, and this statement I've used many times, "Everything will be okay in the end, if it is not okay, it is not the end".
I love this statement! It is a statement by John Lennon. He is not a Christian and he's not saying this in a Christian context, but take that away, and you will see that actually, this is a very true saying for the Christian. Because when Jesus returns, when Jesus comes back for His church, we know everything will be okay in the end. He will usher us into a glorious; beautiful eternity.
Now, if it is not okay, right now, if you're suffering right now, if you're going through sickness and trials and pains and heart aches right now, it's because it is not yet the end! All things will be okay in the end when Jesus returns.
This is also true for the book of Genesis. You see, when we read the book of Genesis, we are now at chapter 11, transiting to chapter 12, it is a rather depressing story, at least in my opinion. I, I'm looking at sin, and how it grows. How it's like cancer being entrenched in humanity, it spreads; it is worsening. It is so sad!
But I need to understand that everything will be okay in the end, and if it is not okay, it's because it is not the end, because we need to read Genesis in the context of what God said in Genesis 3:15. God said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring."
So God said to the devil, God said to the serpent, "I will have this battle between you and your offspring and Eve and her offspring. So one human being, one special Man born into this world will absolutely crush your head. One of Eve's descendants will defeat you, even though you shall bruise His heel." [Gen 3:15]
Now, we all know, that this is God's first promise of the Savior. And the rest of the Bible would tell us that the Savior is none other than Jesus Christ, Himself. God Son, born into this world as the perfect God-Man, who will go to the cross, die and rise again and thereby through His death, defeat death. He will be the One who will save you and I from our sins.
So this is the context we must read Genesis. Oh yes, sin is worsening, but God is still going to fulfill His Word, God will bring in his Savior! Now, from the time God said, what He said in Genesis 3:15, in Adam's day to the time Jesus is born, is a long period, approximately 4000 years.
Now, it is not exactly 4000 years, but for ease of understanding, it's about 4000 years. You add up the genealogy, the ages of the people throughout history, there may be some gaps here and there, but overall, about 4000 years. It's a long time. But if I were to tell you this 4000 years can be divided into two parts. It can be roughly again, not exactly, but roughly 2000 years on each side. Then, that dividing event would be Abraham himself.
And the for your information from Adam to Abraham is 2000 years, Abraham to Jesus is 2000 years, Jesus to today is about 2000 years. So it's a very easy way to remember. So this morning, we're going to look at this focus on Abraham.
Now, Abraham is a key figure. We are now transiting chapter 11, is about the background; the genealogy of Shem all the way to Abraham. So we are brought into this focus, it's as if God is putting the microscope onto Abraham. It's zooming in on this one life. And he will be a very significant figure in the Bible, in the history of humanity, and in the book of Genesis.
So let's see, for the very first time, how God introduces us to the story of Abraham. "The Lord said to Abraham, ..." that time, his name was still Abram, later it will be changed to Abraham, so, "Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you, I will curse and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." [Gen 12:1-3]
What an amazing statement - "In you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed." [Gen 12:3] So he will be a very important figure in human history, because that's what the Bible says, "In you, shall all the families of the earth be blessed." What does that mean? Why?
So let's look at the call of Abraham today. God calls Abraham so that through Him, he will be the source of blessing for many, many in humanity. What a contrast, right? Remember the Tower of Babel, the Tower of Babel is about people trying to make a name for themselves. And God said, "No!" And then God, out of thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, maybe, hundreds of thousands of people maybe, chose one man. And said to him, "I will make your name great and through you, blessings upon many."
So today, I want to maybe just very quickly look at this theme of - what happens when God calls. What happens when God calls, we, we're gonna see how God calls Abraham and learn principles of how God calls you and I to Himself. This is a story of how God calls Abraham on an adventure of faith, a wonderful adventure of faith. And you and I today, I think God is also calling you to an adventure of faith.
(1) The Requirement of God's Call
So number one, let's look at - the requirement of God's call. The Bible says, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house." So God calls Abraham to do something, a requirement. What is it that you want me to do? What is it that God wants Abraham to do? "Leave, go away, leave your country and your kindred and your father's house. Leave your country. Leave your nation. Leave your family. Leave your kindred. Leave."
Now, the family that Abraham was in, was an idolatrous family. They worship other gods, we know that later on, in Joshua Chapter 24:2-3. "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "Long ago, your father's lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham, and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham."
So God is saying that, "The family of Abraham; the father and so on, they were idolatrous, they worshipped other gods." So now that God is calling Abraham to Himself, God is saying, "Get away from all that, leave Ur of the Chaldees to follow Me."
Now, it's not an easy thing to do because Abraham at this stage is about 75 years old. He's very ... he's very used to life there. I'm sure many of us having lived in Singapore for 20, 30 years, asking you to move away to another place would not that ... be that easy.
Moreover, that place that he was staying the Ur of the Chaldees, it's the Ethiopian river, or the Euphrates River Valley, it's a very rich area. It's highly commercialized, it's a progressive society in those days. So it's not like he's leaving a countryside, he's called to leave a bustling place. To leave this for where? God says, "To the land that I will show you."
"Abraham, I just want you to get out of Ur of the Chaldees." "Where, Lord?" "Don't worry, I will tell you!" In other words, Abraham is called to leave when he does not know where he is going. That's what God said to him. We know this is not just our conjecture, because Hebrews 11:8-9 tells us, "And he went out, not knowing where he was going." He didn't know, but that's what God calls him to do! "Trust Me. Just follow Me. Obey Me. Leave, even if you do not know exactly where."
Wow! In fact, we are told that after he left Ur of the Chaldees, he never had a settled home. He had to live in tents. Tents are temporary dwellings, you don't stay in a tent for too long. But that's the call of God to Abraham, "Go from your country."
You know, I think you could hear; you could sense, this is where I'm going at, or getting at, isn't it? That when God calls us to Himself, He calls us to leave the old life we have. See, the Christian faith is not one where you say, "Oh, I want to sign up to be a Christian, and I just go to church on Sunday, but everything is business as usual."
No! When God calls, He calls you to leave your old life - your old goals and ambitions. Life can never really be the same, if you have heard God's call, and if you are willing to follow Him! You can't add God to be part of your old life, it's a reorientation of everything. That's what it means, when we hear God calls.
Now, I'm not saying, please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that, "When God calls you, you have to leave Singapore and go Israel." COVID now, also very difficult to go. I'm not saying that, "When you become a Christian, when God calls you and when you hear Him from His Word, that you immediately quit your job, and you sit in a church building." I'm not saying that!
The Bible does tell us that, "We, wherever we are, whatever station we are called to, whether you're slave or whatever, you stay where you are, but the difference is not what you do, but why you do what you do. Your goals; your ambitions, it's got to change!"
When I came to faith in Jesus Christ, when I was 18 years old, that's 27 years ago. That's a long time ago! I had a reorientation of life. Before I came to Christ, my goal in life is very simple - I just want to be happy; I just want to be successful; I want to be comfortable. I mean, that's every young person, I suppose who does not know God, you probably want that - you want fame and fortune; success; wealth. Everything! That's what I wanted to do, and well, basically, I didn't know what I really wanted to become. But I knew I want to have an easy life; comfortable life; selfish life.
But when I came to Christ, everything changed. A simple paradigm in my mind is this - if God is an imaginary construct, if God is just some imagined theory in people's minds, then who cares about God, I do whatever I want! But if God is real, if God is God, then it makes no sense that I do anything else than to serve Him and follow Him.
That was what I decided, when I came to faith in Jesus Christ, I knew my life cannot be the same anymore. It cannot be about pursuing the same things that I wanted to pursue when I was younger. Now, at that point of time, I got to read about the biography of Hudson Taylor. He was a Englishman who learned some medical skills and knowledge and went to China to be a missionary, and he was very successful as a missionary.
I thought to myself, "Hey, maybe that's what I should do! That's what I should be involved in!" I do not know what course to study, I was not very interested to study actually, but have to find something to study and I read about Hudson Taylor. So I said, "Alright, this is what I'll do, I'll serve God by picking up medical skills and go to another country like Hudson Taylor to preach God's Word! Maybe start some church; teach the Bible. That's what I will do in my life."
So, when I decided that, I registered for medicine. Now, before that, I've already registered for other courses; scholarships as well. And I still went for those scholarship interviews, chiefly because I want to get out of Army. During those days, we are all soldiering, right? We are in an army camp and if I could book out, I'll book out any time. Ah, book out, buy some curry puff, eat, go back also shiok!
So I'll still book out because I'll still go for the interviews, and so on, because it's what I've arranged beforehand and I could book out. But there was one interview I remember very, very vividly. It was an interview with the SAF, it was for a scholarship in the SAF. I got into the room, it was all some stars [referring to the ranks of generals in the military]. Now, I don't know whether got stars or not but a lot of crabs [referring to the rank of majors in the military] lah, I know.
There's just a whole panel of people there. I sat down. They asked me, "What do I want to do?" I say, "I want to be a doctor." "Doctor? The SAF or this interview panel does not offer scholarship for medicine. Why do you want to be a doctor?" "Well, I want to serve God." "Do you want this inter... do you want this scholarship from the SAF?" I say, "No." "Are you sure?" "Yes." "That's all we have to ask you. Thank you."
The interview lasted for maybe just one minute, but I was very clear, I will do medicine because if I were to take on other scholarships, I think it will be very tempting, I, I don't think I can take it. It will be too tempting for me and I will maybe pursue my old ambitions and desires to be successful; famous and rich.
Now you say, "Doctor, also very famous; successful; rich, what?" Yah, but my goal was to just finish medicine, serve my bond and straightaway go overseas. And start a church; teach the Bible and that's it! So some of you must be asking, "Then, why are you here, you say want to go overseas?" Well, because I heard the call of God, but I also heard the call of my pastor.
That time when I was about to finish my bond, Pastor Paul, and he's a very persuasive man, as you would know. He called me up and said, "Jason, you stay in Singapore, I go overseas." Well, I thought about it, I said, "Well, that would not be too off, I still can serve God and maybe the location is not the key, the goal is the key."
I think that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you must have heard God's call. God is not calling all of us to be pastors, by the way. But please, there is this satanic lie, that causes people to think, "Oh, only pastors serve God, but I am a just an ordinary Christian! I'm just an ordinary member of the church, I don't have to serve God, and I will never be able to serve God."
But do you know, that's a lie, because whether you are a pastor or not, we are all called to serve God. Actually, I don't see there's anything special in being a pastor, in terms of serving God. Our roles may be different, but our goal is the same. My role is to teach and to equip you, but do you know what's your role? Your role is to do the work of the ministry.
Please, if you're not already clear, in Gospel Light, we are very clear that the pastor is not the one who does the work of the ministry. He does everything? No! We are very clear that ministry is for the saints; is for the people of God. The pastor is just the person who hopefully can train you; teach you; equip you to do so.
But we all have the glorious privilege to serve God, we all are called of God, out of this world, out of the love of the things of this world, to serve the living King. That is what makes life worth the living, not because you can build your little financial empire here in Singapore, but we can live for eternal things above. That is God's call for you.
Where are you today? Are you still living in Ur of the Chaldees? "It's time to get out! Follow Me on an adventure," God says.
 The Reward of The Call
Well, that's the requirement, but in this text, secondly, I want to share with you - the reward. "Follow Me. Go. Come out from your country, from your kindred, from your family, to a land that I will show you. And I will show you the reward if you follow Me, when you follow Me."
God says to Abraham, "I will make you, of you a great nation." What a ... what a promise! "I'll make you a great nation." Now, of course, when Abraham heard this, he didn't know exactly what that would look like. But today you and I know, right? He's the father of a great nation. What nation?
We all know that he's called the father of the ... Oh, before I do that, I,I just want to highlight that in chapter 11, the author took great pains, I think to include this, "Now Sarai was barren, she had no child." [Gen 11:30] It's almost like saying, "You know, Abraham had no child, Sarai had no child." This is perhaps a sore point, a disappointing aspect of their life. And God is saying, "Hey, don't you worry! Follow Me and I'll make you a great nation!" This is the amazing promise.
Now, as I said, "Abraham would be the father of the nation of Israel." But actually, when you look at the Bible, and you look at the genealogies, he's not just the father of Israel, but also the father of the Ishmaelites, the Edomites, the Amalekites, the Kenizzites, the Medianites, the Assyrians. He's ... he's the father of many nations; great nations, we read off in the Bible.
But of course, above all, it will be the chosen people, the people of Israel. And perhaps even another consideration, not just the physical racial nation but a spiritual nation; a spiritual people who belong to God by faith. "So I will make of you a great nation, Abraham, Trust Me! I will do that! And I will bless you and make your name great. I'll make your name real great."
Think about it, there are three, there are many religions in this world, but three major religions in this world, major ones revere Abraham as the father of faith - the Muslims, the Jews, Christians. Right? His name is great.
I'm told that Abraham in the Koran is second only to Muhammad as a name. And that there are 188 references to Abraham in the Koran. That's a lot in the Muslim faith! What about the Bible, is his name great in the Bible, in God's Word? Absolutely! Abraham in the Bible is mentioned big time. His ... his life covers about a quarter of the book of Genesis. That's a lot!
If you think for the first 11 chapters, 2,000 years elapsed for that, and ... and a quarter of that is about the same, it's all about Abraham. We read that he's about mentioned 312 times, in 272 verses in the Bible. That's a lot! He's called, 'the friend of God'[Jas 2:23;2Chro 20:7; Isa 41:8] in the Bible. He's called, 'the father of faith' [Rom 4; Gal 3:7-9,29; Heb 11] in the Bible.
Well, you could say, "Abraham, he had a great nation; he had a great name." But this is perhaps the most impactful, "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Now, this is a loaded statement. This is not something you should take superficially. Let me try to bring it home for you.
Genesis 12:3, the verse that we just saw, "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Later on, God clarified it even more in Genesis 22, verse 18, "And in your offspring, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." The reason why Abraham ... let's get this clear, the reason why Abraham will be the source of blessing for all nations, is because he will have a Descendant; an Offspring, who will really be the One who directly blesses all the nations of the earth.
So it's not what Abraham did that blesses, but through Abraham, there'll be One who can do that! And that Offspring is the same Offspring, that God said, "Will come into this world, to the devil." [Gen 3:15]
Now, I don't think this is my hypothesis or theory, because the Bible in the New Testament makes this crystal clear. This same Offspring, mentioned in Genesis 3:15, from Eve's line is going to be focused from Abraham's line. Same, one and the same person - the Lord Jesus Christ.
So Paul, the inspired author in Galatians 3:14 tells us, "So that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles." So the blessing for all nations is through Christ Jesus. That's the Offspring! That's why I'm saying to you, "It's all about Jesus! It's about him!" And then later on, '"And to your Offspring," who is Christ."' [Gal 3:16] So it's very, very clear that the promise is through the Lord Jesus.
And now you may ask, "Why does Paul say, "That this blessing is to the Gentiles."' So that it's clear for you, this blessing is not to a racial people. It's not because you're born a Jew, that's why you are blessed. Now, a Jew is blessed because they have access to the Word of God for many, many years. But apart from that, no one is born into this blessing, just because he's born. He receives this blessing and that's open therefore to the Gentiles, he receives this blessing because of faith. [Gal 3:26]
You are blessed and you can be blessed, even though you're Chinese; Indian; Filipino. Doesn't matter! We, who are non-Jews can be blessed, if we "Become the sons of God through faith." [Gal 3:26] Because of what Jesus Christ has done, He died on the cross to save us from our sins and whosoever believes in Him, will be adopted into God's family through faith.
So, "And if you are Christ's ...", if you belong to Jesus, if you repent and believe in Jesus, then "... you are Abraham's offspring." [Gal 3:29] You're part of the family, and you're heirs, according to promise. In other words, whilst the book of Genesis so far is about the curse of God, upon a sinful humanity, you will not be cursed, you will be blessed because of Jesus Christ.
So, this is the reward that God promises to Abraham, "Abraham, I want you to leave Ur of the Chaldees, follow Me to a land that I will show you, and I will make of you a great nation. I'll make your name great and I'll give an offspring, through you who will be a blessing for all nations." That's a lot!
 The Response of The Call
But what would be the response? What would Abraham do? If I was Abraham, maybe I'll say, "Zhun Bo." [how accurate is that in Hokkien dialect] "Are you sure? This on 'bao jiak' [in certainty in Hokkien dialect] or not?" Maybe that will be the thinking in my mind. Is this entirely trustworthy?
Let me tell you this, "Abraham might have done some mental calculations, but he decided that God is worthy of his trust."
So we read in verse 4, "So Abraham went ..." I love that! When God calls, and He furnishes you with the amazing grand promises of Scripture, we may struggle for a while in our minds, but at the end of the day, the child of faith says, "God is worthy, He is reliable, He is trustworthy, so I will go!"
And that's what Abraham did, "So Abraham, went as the Lord had told him." The book of Genesis tells us that he went on a journey. He was like a pilgrim. "He went to the land of Canaan, passed through the land, to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh." [Gen 12:5-6] And then we see of him from there, "He moved ..." [Gen 12:7-8] and ... and for the rest of the account of his life, we see him just a migratory person, a nomad; a pilgrim.
But everywhere he went, almost in many parts, "... he would also build an altar to worship God." You know, Abraham is an example of faith, right? Because he believed God and left the Ur of the Chaldees, but he is a man of faith, who is also displaying that through his pilgrim life and through his worship life.
He never really had deep roots here on this earth. And everywhere he went, he acknowledged and praised and thanked God. That's Abraham - a man of faith! So the Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:8-9, "Abraham obeyed and Abraham went, and it's all because faith. "He believed God, he counted that God exists, and that God rewards those who seek Him." [Heb 11:6]
Faith is not mere talk. There are many people say, "Oh, I believe God, I believe Jesus, I believe the Bible." But faith is not mere talk! Faith results in a response in obedience. Let me give you a definition, I ... I think might ... I hope is helpful for you.
What is faith? Many people struggle with faith. People say, "Faith is belief." Actually, that's not an explanation at all. There's just using the same word or a different word to explain the same things.
What is faith? Faith is confidence in God and His Word. In essence, faith is confidence. Do you have faith in a doctor? I actually am asking you, "Do you have confidence in your doctor, for you to lie there and for him to cut your tummy apart?" That's confidence, you know? To lie there, let him cut you, that's faith, that's confidence.
Faith, Biblical faith is confidence in God and His Word, regardless of circumstances and consequences. Doesn't matter if things don't quite look right, or it doesn't matter if it seems like Ur of the Chaldees, actually look more attractive. Doesn't matter, even if I follow God and I may suffer for a while. It doesn't matter all these things, I still am confident in God and His Word, and that results in obedience.
Now, you can't take away any of these in the definition of faith, I think. But my point is this, if you say, "You believe in God," there must be obedience in your life. There's got to be! Real faith is not mere talk. That's the point that James was trying to make, "What good is it my brothers if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can that kind of faith, save him?" [Jas 2:14-16]
"If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?"' [Jas 2:14-16] You see, real faith is not mere talk, real faith results in obedience.
So let me ask you today, "Does your life demonstrate faith? Do you obey God? Do you obey God? Do you obey God in forgiving someone today that you have not forgiven for a long time?" You know what obedience is? Obedience is doing what God tells you to do, because you believe that it is right, and it will be worth your while. He exists and He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, you say, "It is worth the while even if I have to suffer that emotional pain and debt of being wrong, I'll still forgive, because God is worthy."
Obedience; Faith is loving your wife, even when you think she does not deserve it, because you know that God is worth it. It's submitting to your husband, even when he is a no-gooder in your mind. God is worth it! So often we hear people say, "Oh pastor, you do not know this!" "Oh, Pastor, you do not know ...!" I know I do not know a lot of things, but I do know that God is worthy of your obedience."
I'm not asking you, "Whether your spouse is worthy or not?" That's not the question. The question is this: is God worthy? When he said, "Husbands, love your wives. Wives, submit your own husbands," do you think he's worthy of your obedience? Do you believe that He exists and that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? That's the question you have to answer.
Don't tell me, "Oh, I'm a Christian, I believe God," but you will not obey God. That doesn't gel! That's not believe! That's not faith! Walking by faith is having confidence in God and His Word, regardless of circumstances and consequences that results in obedience.
Real faith gives. There is someone who's struggling; someone who is poor, a, a fellow church member today is struggling in life and you say, "Nah, I don't dare to give because if I give, I may not have enough! So God, you got to give me more first then I give." That's not faith!
Faith is confidence in God, regardless! You give before He shows you anything, that's the point! "Abraham, I'm not going to show you everything first, you step out first." "Alright, then I'll bless your name, make of you a great nation." It's almost like Israel at the River Jordan, God did not part the river first, then they stepped in. It is when their feet stepped on the riverbed that the waters parted.
It is the same with the widow of Zarephath. She has only enough for her and her son to eat the last meal and die. But God through Elijah is testing her faith, "Make a cake for Elijah first." She did it and then her ... her oil and her flour was provided endlessly, RedMart delivery every day. "But you obey first, you trust Me first, and then I'll show you."
"Abraham, he obeyed God not knowing where ..." [Heb 11:8-9] he didn't have all the answers, but God is enough, God's Word is enough. You know the problem with us Singaporeans, we laugh about it. We say, "We are kiasi [afraid of dying in Hokkien dialect], kiasu [afraid to be defeated in Hokkien dialect], kiabo." [afraid of wife in Hokkien dialect]
We, very kiasu, you know! Everything must be very ... very well accounted for, then I take a step. Well, I'm not saying, "Be rash and careless, but at the end of the day, living by faith is about taking risks." It is!
Taking steps out of our comfort zones, out of the Ur of the Chaldees, out of things that we are very familiar with, out of things that we actually may love, and say, "God, I hear Your voice and I'll follow You, even though I may not know exactly what's ahead of me, even though I may suffer in this life, I know ultimately it will be worth it," because you believe that God exists, and that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Now, God's timeline for blessing may not be in this life. That's ... that's something you have to be mindful of, alright? Doesn't mean that if you serve God today, when you retire, you'll be a rich man, enjoy life. No! No! No! No! No! You may suffer until the very day you die. I don't want to be dishonest, I don't think the Bible promises that! But I know that after you die, or when Jesus returns, it will be very worth your while. You will be able to say, "Wow, following God; sacrificing my whole life is the best decision I've ever made, because He's a great Rewarder!"
Abraham understood that! Abraham live his entire life henceforth, as a pilgrim. Did he mind it? Was he bothered by it? Was he upset? "God, You say You give me this but I never had." No, he never complained! You know why? He had a right perspective to God's reward. "He was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose Designer and Builder is God." [Heb 11:10] He's looking forward to the heavenly city. It doesn't matter, if he lived an entire life of pilgrimage. That's fine! "One day, I'll be alright with Him."
Let me close, God calls you today to follow Jesus. Let me say this, "Following Jesus is not coming to church on Sunday morning." Some of you, not turning on the YouTube and Facebook on Sunday morning, "I'm a Christian, you see. Pastor, every Sunday, I watched your video leh! I'm a Christian, man." Is that Christianity?
If I were to, if this is two way, you can see me, and I can see you, I think you 'jialat' [in dire situation in Hokkien dialect] ah! Some of you in your ... wah, don't know what position, eating this and that lah! I do not know lah! You think that's following Jesus? What does it mean to follow Jesus?
[Matthew 19:29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.]
"Wah, Pastor you're too 'siow' [crazy in Hokkien dialect] lah! This is only for the extreme kind of people, for the 'siow-on' one. I'm not too 'siow-on', I'm very moderate." No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! This is not 'siow-on'. This is normal. This is normal Christianity, okay? Following Jesus, according to Jesus, is not going to church service. Following Jesus is daily dying to yourself and taking up the cross. That according to Jesus is normal Christianity!
What we have today, what many people think today, is abnormal Christianity, and we brand it as normal Christianity. Get back to the Bible! Don't live the Christian life according to our own constructs. Live the Christian life based on God's revealed Word. It is as clear as daylight! It is to put God as the number one in our lives, that we will be willing to even leave.
Now, this is not a verse that teaches you not to have filial piety, this is not a verse that teaches you to abandon your family. No, not at all! But this is the verse that teaches you about the supremacy of God; the priority of God in our lives. That we will forsake our old dreams and ambitions and put away even our father's dreams for us.
Follow Jesus. That's the requirement! That's what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ! Not that this following earns you salvation, but that's because you realize, He is the pearl of great price. And you're willing to forsake all to know Him. And this is the amazing reward, right? [Matthew 19:29]
Now, we're not all going to be Abraham, but this is the amazing thing right, "For My namesake, if you're willing to do all that for My namesake, the reward is that you will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life." [Matt 19:29] Now, that may look very different for different people, but I know that God will reward. That's for sure!
 What is your response?
So the last thing my question for you is this - what is your response? This could be another sermon you hear and say, "Huh alright! Interesting, Abraham, great guy! Who cares!" Or maybe you think about it yourself, "What is my life all about?
Serving God; living for the Great Commission; being a missional person is not just for my pastors, or for the full timers, it's for me!" God did not leave me in this world so that I can be a rich man, so that I can build a property portfolio, so that I can be seen as successful. God calls me to a journey of faith to magnify His Name. Will you be willing to follow?
You know, Abraham, he must look back at this day with great joy. Can you imagine if on that day God spoke to Abraham and Abraham said, "No, I won't follow!" I think it's unthinkable, isn't it? Thank God he responded in faith. I hope you will follow Abraham. I hope in my life, I will keep following Abraham, He is the father of faith. I hope our lives will be that lived by faith.
Let's bow for word of prayer together.
Jesus once said to His disciples, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." Perhaps too many of us are still fishing for fish. The harvest is plenteous, the laborers are few. Maybe God today, through His Word is calling men and women to be in the harvest work. I'm not saying, I don't think the Bible is saying that, "Every single Christian needs to quit their jobs," but I'm saying, and I think, the Bible is saying, "Every Christian needs to re-prioritize life and to understand even why they are in their jobs."
Have you ever heard God called you? I'm not talking about that mystical voice, or that dream or that vision, but have you heard God's Word, powerfully reaching out to you? My friends, if today is another day, I hope today you will respond to Him in a worthy way. If God is an imaginary construct, then continue living life you used to lived, because it doesn't matter - eat, drink, be merry and die. But if God is real, would your life look the same? It's a question for you to answer.
And I pray Gospelighters, we wouldn't play the Christianity game of just wanting to look Christian, but we are not following Christ. We don't need to have a huge church, with many, many people who pretend to be Christians. God is calling men and women who have counted the cost; who're willing to pay the price to be gathered as a community. So that together, we might encourage; strengthen one another, so that then we might go out into our world to make an impact; to preach the Gospel; to live missional lives.
Abraham listened to that call years ago, and I'm sure he never regretted a single second of it. In a small and tiny way, I responded to God's call 27 years ago and I've not regretted a single second of it. I'm looking forward to that heavenly city. I pray God will help me to be a better pilgrim; a better worshiper in this life; a better servant for Him. And I pray you'll join me, you'll join Abraham, you will join the family of faith who are willing to leave it all to follow Jesus.
If you're here today and you do not know Jesus, I want to encourage you that God has a blessing for you. This world is cursed because of sin, but there is a blessing for those who would believe, those who belong to Jesus. And I pray today, God will open your eyes that you'll turn from sin and believe in Christ to be saved.
Father, thank You for this day, thank You that You are a God who wants to lead us, who wants to bring us on an adventure of faith with You. I pray that Your children would hear Your voice, Your sheep will hear the voice of our Shepherd, and follow You well. Thank You, we pray all this in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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