A Promise You Can Count On

May 24, 2002 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, turn in your Bibles with me to the book of Genesis chapter fifteen. Genesis chapter fifteen.

Tonight we’re going to talk about Abraham before his name was changed. We’re going to talk about Abram tonight. Amen?

In Genesis chapter fifteen... Are you there yet? Would you stand for the reading of the Word tonight? I know you been standing a lot tonight. But it’s good for us. Amen. Genesis chapter fifteen, beginning with verse one. It says,

1. After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

2. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

3. And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

4. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

5. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

6. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

7. And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

8. And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

9. And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

10. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

11. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.

12. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

We’re going to stop right there. Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for who You are and for what You do. Father, hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me tonight. And Father, as I decrease, I ask that You would increase. And let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength, My Redeemer. In Jesus’ Name.

And the people of God said amen. You may be seated in the house of God.

When we look at Genesis chapter fifteen, and we look at verse one, God gave Abram two good reasons for courage. Number one, He promised to defend Abram when He said, “I will be your shield.” Number two, He promised He would be with Abram. And He said not only would He be with Abram. He said, “I am going to be your exceeding great reward.”

When we fear what’s coming our way, we need to remember that God will stay with us through difficult times, and that He has promised us great blessings.

We look at verse two and verse three.

2. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

Eliezer was Abram’s servant. And it was a custom that if Abram didn’t have a seed of his own, that the eldest servant would become heir to whatever (glory to God) was being inherited.

Although Abram loved that servant, that servant wasn’t good enough. You don’t hear me tonight. He said, “I want my own.” He said, “I want to pass this down, this inheritance to my own.”

And in verse four he said,

4. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

5. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Abram wasn’t promised great wealth and great fame, because he already had that. But God promised him descendants like the stars of the sky, like the grains of sand on a seashore–to numerous to be counted.

God’s blessings always go far beyond our own imaginations. You see, when God begins to tell you about the promise, about the blessing, I can’t begin to try to define it with my natural mind. I have got to look into the Spirit of God and let the Spirit define my blessing.

You see, when I define my blessing, I begin to put limitations on it. Won’t I? Oh, I must be all by myself in this house tonight.

You see, too many times God has promised us things. But instead of us looking (glory to God) a little bit deeper, we begin to take it around in our natural mind. And once we look at it, we begin to stop it (glory to God) where we think it’s going to stop. But once God begins to bless you, He blesses you over and over and over and over again.

He told him that your blessing is going to be like the stars in heaven, like the sand. In other words, you don’t know nothing about this. You can’t even conceive this.

You see, when God told you what He told you, you began and I began to take it around. And I began to think on it the way I wanted to think on it. But it was too great for us. His blessings are bigger than what we could ever imagine.

Verse six. It said,

6. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

You see, although Abram had been demonstrating faith through his actions, it was his belief in the Lord, not his actions, that made him right with God.

You see, too many times we think it’s our actions that cause us to be right with God. But it’s how we believe and whom we believe in that causes us to be in right standing with God.

The Bible said (glory to God) that not only was he in right standing and believed God, but because he believed God, the Bible called him the friend of God.

When I get to that place where I have no doubt in my mind about who He is and about what He can do... You don’t understand tonight.

See, when I get an understanding and I really believe, our relationship becomes a friendship. You see, you and I are supposed to be the friends of God. But the Bible says those that love the world could never be His friend.

You see, if I continue to try to hold on to the things of this world, then I’ll never be the friend of God. I don’t know about you, but I rather let it go so I can be my Father’s friend.

You see, many of us don’t understand what a friend is. A friend is somebody that does right things to us and for us and with us. But an enemy is somebody that’s hostile against us, that hates us. And if we are friends with the world, then we’re the enemies of God. Who am I preaching to tonight?

You see, my actions are going to speak when my faith begins to speak. You see, if I walk in a place of faith like Abraham walked in a place of faith, then my actions are only going to be the by product of my faith.

You see, my deeds are going to follow my faith, not my faith following my deeds. I have got to turn that thing around and understand that when I walk in that place of faith like Abram walked in, my deeds are going to become righteous anyhow. The things that I do for God are going to automatically line up with the Word of God.

Abram had a promise. And he believed God. But see, until he got to that place of promise, there was time in between there.

You see, God done promised you something. And it’s that time in between there that we don’t like. Oh, my God, my God.

You see, instead of doing the things that He told us to do, to lift up our hands and praise Him and worship Him, and stay in the Word with fasting and praying... Don’t get mad with me. But we begin to murmur and complain, don’t we?

We get into a place like Abram got in for a little while, where that promise began to take too long. So he tried to make his own promise come to pass.

You see, when I start trying to make my own promises come to pass, then I’m setting myself up for failure.

He won’t do nothing before the time. Time is in His hands. Oh, somebody needs to understand that tonight. He holds time. He is time. But if He promised it, it shall happen. It may not happen according to our time clock. Hello, somebody. But it’ll happen according to His time clock.

See, just because you are a man or woman of faith, it don’t mean that you’re not going to make mistakes every now and then. Just because you believe God don’t mean that you ain’t going to... Oh.

But if we step out of that place and we don’t seek God, then it’ll bring us to a place of disgrace and shame. But yet the promise is still coming. Who am I preaching to tonight?

See, if I learn to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not to my own understanding, and in all of my ways what? Acknowledge Him. He’s going to direct my path.

But like I said, we put limitations. His mind could not conceive what God said, because of his natural circumstances. The natural circumstances said they were too old. But the supernatural said that they were just right.

See, sometimes He’ll add a little super to that natural.

I was listening to a brother. And he blessed me. He was saying how when we look in the book of Genesis... Is this alright? We think that God just spoke and there it was. There it is.

But it wasn’t like that. He said, “Earth bring forth.” When we look at the earth, the earth is what? Natural. But He spoke to the earth and commanded the earth to bring forth.

See, He doesn’t always act from the supernatural realm. Will He? He’ll act from the natural realm and pull it into the supernatural realm. Oh, who am I preaching to tonight?

He said, “Let it bring forth earth yielding seed.” Didn’t He? He didn’t just speak and say, “Tree, there you go.” There’s a process. Listen. There’s... Oh, I feel Jesus. There’s a process, isn’t there? You see, we think that the garden was, there it was. But see, God moves by time.

So when He commanded the earth to bring forth the trees and the fruit and all of these different things, there had to be a seed planted. And in the process of time it began to come up and raise... There had to be time.

See, we think that God just all the time just, you know, moves with miracles. Yes, God moves with miracles. But God moves with the natural realm too. He moved with the natural. And it took time for that garden to raise up. How long does it take a tree to come to full maturity.

The Bible says you’re a tree planted by the rivers of water. That meant that you had a maturing process going on in your life. And through all the different storms that you’re going through, you coming to a place of maturity. Oh, I... I know... My God, my God. Hallelujah. Yes, Jesus.

He told Abram, He said, “You are going to bear seed.”

“But wait a minute, Lord. How?” And it was so off key that Sarah was laughing in the background. See, when something is abnormal, it’ll make you laugh, won’t it? When you can’t understand something, we’ll laugh at it, won’t we?

Even when people begin to move in the Spirit, a lot of people say, “It ain’t God.” Well, wait until God get to speaking to you. You going to find out it really is God. Hello, somebody.

So they tried to help God out, didn’t they? She said, “Take my servant and do what you will.” And what it produced, Sarah despised it. You listen to somebody else if you want to. It’ll cause all kind of havoc and chaos in your... You don’t hear me, do you? You think you got a time. They listened to the voice of a stranger.

God done already promised you. And He’s already told you. And He’s confirmed it over and over and over again. But now somebody want to add something to it. And in your spirit you say, “Mm. Okay. Hallelujah. Sounds good.”

But Abram was still the friend of God.

See, don’t get to a place in your walk with Him where you become or I become holier than thou. Too many saints in the body of Christ are holier than thou.

See, there’s nothing wrong with wanting holiness and desiring holiness. But a righteous man fall down seven times and get back up again. I didn’t say a sinner man. I said a righteous man.

But in the midst of his mistake, God still called him His friend. I need to say that again. In the midst of his mistake, because he still believed God...

“You mean I can mess up and still believe God?” Yes, you can. Just don’t fall under the condemnation of the devil. Now don’t go out of here and say, “Pastor’s giving me a door to go out there and do what I want to do.” The devil is a lie.

Your heart and my heart, our hearts have got to be right.

He believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness. And then it went on to say... Abram said, he said, “Lord, how will I know?”

Because not only did He promise him descendants. But then right after that He promised him land. He said, “I ain’t just going to give you no kids and not give you nothing for them to live on.”

See, God ain’t just going to give you no children, and not provide for them to be taken care of. The Bible says that children are the what? Heritage of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is His reward, right? They are a reward. So God is going... You may have to struggle every now and then. But you are going to get through that thing.

He said, “I’m going to give you land.” He said, “Your children are going to go through hell. But then they’ll still come into that place that I have promised.”

But Abram said, “Lord, how am I going to know that these things are true?” So the Bible said that Abram feel into a deep sleep.

You see, when you can sleep deep, the Lord can show you something. When you can go to sleep... And I’m talking about that sleep where you have come into a place where you have entered into His rest. I’m not talking about having to take sleeping pills to go to sleep. I’m talking about you have entered into His rest.

God showed him something when the sun went down.

God wants to show you something. You say God won’t give you a sign just to make sure you’re doing it right. Yes, He will.

Benny Hinn is a man of God. But what he does is he says that God has got to tell him. He’s got to have a confirmation. And then they’ve got to fly to him face to face before he’s going to go. Oh, you all don’t hear me tonight.

And do you see how the Spirit of God moves in the midst of that multitude of people? Wheelchairs everywhere. Don’t tell me God won’t give you a sign, a confirmation, so that you can make sure that you’re right.

Somebody said, “That ain’t faith.” Yes, it is. It’s wisdom. And wisdom and faith flow together.

He said, “Lord.” He said, “Give me a sign, so that I will be able to know.” Because the land that God was calling him to possess was inhabited by the Amorites. But the Lord was speaking to his heart.

He was saying that, “They’re in sin right now. But they haven’t got to the point where I need to judge them yet. But by the time this promise get ready to come to pass, they would have come to the place where my judgment is going to fall on them.

Look at your neighbor and say, “Time is in His hands.” You see, He’s promised you something. But it look like somebody else done possessed it. Look at your neighbor again and say, “Time is in His hands.”

He gave them ample time to repent, didn’t He? Because of His mercy. But He already knew they weren’t going to repent. So He knew in His infinite wisdom and knowledge that they would come in and possess the land.

But he said, “Give me a sign of all of these things.” And when you look at your Bibles in verse seventeen, it said,

17. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

18. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

He gave a sign. A smoking fire pot and a blazing torch.

Now listen at this. The fire and the smoke suggest God’s holiness. And not only His holiness but His judgment. God took the initiative and gave the confirmation and follow through on His promises.

When we look at the Scripture, when God was passing through the pieces, this was a visual for him to see that that promise would surely come to pass.

Something has happened. And you’re wondering if God is still going to fulfill His promise. Yes, God will. He’s going to do everything that He promised He was going to do. If He said He was going to save your family, He’s going to save your family. Do you hear what I’m saying?

Let God be true. Let every man be a liar. If He said you’d be prosperous, you’re going to be prosperous. Let God be true. Let your circumstance be a liar.

If God said it, then believe it. Don’t worry tonight about the way it looks. Because you can’t go by that. Tomorrow’s a brand new day. The Bible says His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

See, what happens to us, even though we say that we’re believing God, what happens is our faith is really a head faith, but it’s not a heart faith. Do you hear what I’m saying tonight?

You see, we begin to get our Christian teachings and we read our teachings. But they stay here. But they don’t get right here. See, but once I allow the Scripture to get right here, there’s nothing impossible.

True faith transforms. It begins to change things. In the presence of faith nothing can remain the same.

That’s why when Jesus went to a certain place, the Bible said He could only do a few miracles, because of their what? Unbelief.

But when we all get together on one accord... Do you hear what I’m saying tonight? When our faith begins to hook up together, the Father wants to get into the midst of us. In the midst of your praise and in the midst of your worship. He wants to get in the midst of you. That’s what He wants to do. He wants to get in between us, right in the midst.

What has God told you? Give it time. Keep on living right and doing right. Don’t get off course because of the way it looks. Stay on course. And that promise will surely come to pass.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise.

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