Introduction

In our last post , we discussed 2 characters which are examples given by Jesus for Christian to follow

1. The Good Samaritan
2. Mary And Her Alabaster Flask Of Ointment

 
Let us consider other Characters that Jesus used as examples for us to follow.

The Complete Submission Of Abraham

“If you were Abraham’s children,
  you would do the works of Abraham.” Jesus (Jn 8:39)

Abraham is the forefathers of the Jews, and why is it important for us Christens?

Even though we are not Jews by descent, but we have all became part of the spiritual descendants of Abraham. Paul told us in Galatians.

For as many of you as were baptized 
  into Christ have put on Christ
  …… ……
  And if you are Christ’s, then you are
  Abraham’s seed, and heirs according
  to the promise” – Paul (Gal 3:27, 29)

Those who are joined to Christ through baptism had become the descendent of Abraham. Therefore we too must do the works of Abraham. In simple words, whatever works that Abraham did, we are told to go and do likewise.

Throughout the life of Abraham, he did 3 things that are special in the eyes of God. They are pleasing to the Lord. As the result he was blessed by God. Today if we want to receive the blessing of God we must do them as well.

Indeed there are any instructions from God we ought to follow, some of them are easy while some are hard. Many Christians today choose to keep it partially. For they know that those other instructions are difficult. But Abraham choose to do all that God instructed even if it is difficult to do .

That is true submission to God, for it is often easy for us to do simple instructions from God. But true submission requires us to submit even if the instruction are difficult. Abraham continued to obey all of Gods command.

There are 3 things that Abraham did that were extremely difficult. Let us consider these 3 for this blog post.

Pt 1: Abraham Undergo The Pain Of Circumcision

“As for you, you shall keep My covenant,
  you and your descendants after you
  throughout their generations.  
  
This is My covenant which you shall keep,
  between Me and you and your descendants
  after you: Every male child among you
  shall be circumcised; and you shall be
  circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins,
  and it shall be a sign of the covenant
  between Me and you.” – YHWH (Gen 17:9-11)

God made a covenant with Abraham, and it is a good covenant. But the sign of the covenant is one that bring physical pain. It is easy to perform circumcision on a baby, for even if he feels pain, he will not be able to run away. But what about doing it to an adult?

Those who underwent circumcision as adult knows the pain, and how it affect our work, our lives. If we need to do it in order to sign a covenant with God, will we be willing to do it?

Why Did God Choose Circumcision As the Sign Of The Covenant?

Why did God choose circumcision as a sign? Surely there are many other signs that could be chosen. Why must God make it so hard so that we will feel the pain? While many would love to make a covenant with God, they will find circumcision a difficult task.

Indeed Abraham had to go through pain , but yet he obeyed and submit to God. Even though he knew that circumcision will bring about suffering to him physically. Today if we are in Abraham shoes, will we regard the blessing of God and the covenant so important that it is worth all the pain we need to undergo?

Today many Christians have a to struggle with doubts and question over there faith. But we all know it is best to submit to the words of God.

Naaman Obedience

2 Kings 5  talks about Naaman who was trying to seek healing for his leprosy. He came humbly to Israel to seek Prophet Elisha for healing. But the method of Elisha angered him.

“Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely
  come out to me, and stand and call on
  the name of the Lord his God, and wave
  his hand over the place, and heal the
  leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the
  Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better
  than all the waters of Israel? Could I not
  wash in them and be clean?” – Naaman (2 King 5:11-12)

Elisha did not meet him personally, he was expecting Elisha to meet him, wave his hand before him. But Elisha sent his servant to tell him to go to river Jordan and to wash himself 7 times and he will be healed..

Naaman thought that the prophet was being difficult, why did he need to do this? All he needs to do is to pray and he will be healed. why did Elisha made him go to the river Jordan for a bath?

That is why he decided to turn his chariot and return home. But his servant girl reminded him.

“My father, if the prophet had told you to
  do
something great, would you not have
  done it? How much more then, when he
  says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”  – Servant Girl (2 King 5:13)

The fact is that it is not too hard to wash in river Jordan 7 times. It is just a minor inconvenience. For he need to bath in it 7 times . But since no one else could help, why not just follow the instruction and do it?

Man often accuse God of being difficult. That is why we find it hard to follow his instruction. But have we considered if there is a need for God to make life difficult for us? We who know God knew that God is not like that.

God made his instructions like this to see if we could submit to him. For if you truly believe, you will follow his words and obey.

The Case For Baptism

In the post entry,  “ “The Way” Misunderstood”. I shared that the apostolic church emphasise on Baptism in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38, Mk 16:16). Once we had a professor in Greek who came to our church to teach the Greek language. We asked him if Acts 2:38 indicates that Baptism forgive sins textually. The professor answered yes, but he, being a theologian said he did not believe it. That is because it is hard to understand how dipping oneself into living water cleanses away sin.

Indeed it is far for us to have our questions out of curiosity. But if we indeed believe in Go, why are we unable to submit to his words?

We know by faith that God will not make a mistake, nor will he give the wrong order. That is why we are all willing to submit to him even if it meant suffering. So if the instruction to baptise ourselves is simple. Why are we unable to follow them?

Today, Christians are suppose to sign our covenant with Christ through Baptism. There is no longer a need for us to circumcise ourselves. We know that Baptism must be conducted in the name of Jesus (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 2:38). It is done in rivers and in full immersion or in Oasis where the flow of water is natural (John 3:22-26). Even though we are unable to understand how is sin forgiven this way. But we do so because we believe in the instructions of Jesus. We perform baptism out of faith and complete obedience to the word of god.

But yet today Churchtianity tells us that this is no longer necessary. One merely needs to believe and profess with their mouth that Jesus is their saviour. While receiving the sacrament of Baptism without faith is mere dipping in water, believing in the words of Jesus and not doing it is also failure to show complete faith.

The fact of the matter is that the instruction of God is absolute and crystal clear. It is men who in their wisdom added their thoughts into the word of God. We read in acts that the apostolic church  performed baptism and they do so in the same manner as Jesus had shown them.

Let us be like Naaman, to trust in the simple words of God. Let us not consider it a inconvenience, let us be willing to do it even if it is something that we cannot understand logically.

For true faith require full obedience. Abraham was willing to undergo pain for the sake of receiving Gods blessing. Today Christians do not need to undergo pain to complete the sacrament of Baptism. Let us receive the blessing of God by obeying his command. Let us not use our own thinking to twist and change the command of God. Let us be willing to follow it even if it bring about minor difficulty. Let us learn to do the works of Abraham.

Pt 2: Abraham Left The Land As Instructed

“Get out of your country,
  From your family
  And from your father’s house,
  To a land that I will show you.
   I will make you a great nation;
  I will bless you
  And make your name great;
  And you shall be a blessing.
  I will bless those who bless you,
  And I will curse him who curses you;
  And in you all the families of the
  earth shall be blessed.”- YHWH (Gen 12:1-4)

God told Abraham to leave his land and his kindred. Genesis 12 records the second time where God called him. This time God wanted Abraham to leave Haran. He was 75 years old when he left. The bible did not record his age when he departed from Ur Of the Chaldeans.

Stephen talks about this in Acts 7:2-4. It appears as if God told Abraham to leave Ur. It appear as if Abraham left Haran after Terah died. But I did a post tabling out the lives of Abraham and Terah and we know that Terah was still alive when Isaac is born. From here we know that Terah remained in Haran.

Some how Terah his father did not continue the journey. Initially they all believed in the promise of God to go to the land that God is giving them. But when they arrived at Haran, Terah stopped and did not go on. His action created a difficulty in Abraham. It appear as if Terah his father had stop believing.

Abraham Dilemma

Abraham must have thought hard for a win win situation. Perhaps he wanted to wait for his father to pass away before continuing. But if he did so, he would have waited 60 years. At that point of time, Abraham was restrained by his kinship and was unable to move on with his faith.

That is why God appeared to him and tell him to leave Haran and continue. For God will not want his children to be stagnant in faith. In the same way, we will encounter problems in our walk of faith, we need to rely on God to overcome them. If we do not our faith will remain stagnant.

Many a time it is relationship that hinders faith. Many were unable to overcome this problem and they choose to let go of faith. There are many Christians who choose this path when their family / partner did not believe in Christ. There are also some who let go of faith when their family object to their faith.

Often we will choose to leave the church because someone offends us. That is why relationship is a big obstacle to faith. That is also the reason why God wanted Abraham to leave it, so that it will no longer ensnare his faith.

In the same way, this instruction comes with a lot of problem and difficulty. It is something difficult to do, but Abraham left as God instructed. Was Abraham being cruel?  Did he abandoned his family?

At the beginning of the journey, his father left Ur together with him. They walked together in the journey of faith. But when they reached Haran, his father stopped believing and he did not continue. How can they continue to walk on the same path anymore?

The Case For Loving God

“For I have come to ‘set a man
  against his father, a daughter
  against her mother, and a
  daughter-in-law against her
   mother-in-law’; 
   and ‘a man’s enemies will be
  those of his own household.’
 
 He who loves father or mother
  more than Me is not worthy of
  Me. And he who loves son or
  daughter more than Me is not
  worthy of Me.” – Jesus (Matt 10:35-37)

These are hard words that modern church goers will not hear their pastors reading that anymore. It is something that is hard to do, and it goes against many things that we have heard and learn.

This is also the verse that stumbled many. For they regard the Gospel as a gospel of peace that teaches humility. We know as a fact from the Law of God that we must honour and love our parents.

But yet why is such a verse found in the bible? How can we understand this? Is this a contradiction?

Jesus is not telling us to go against our family, our parents and our relatives. He is not telling us not to love them anymore. But Jesus is referring to the matter of faith. Indeed we must keep the commandments of God and honour and respect our parents.

Sometimes in order to create peace at home, we choose to be on the losing end and give way to our family. For we know that if we fight on there will be no peace at home. That is why we choose to love and that is a Christian virtue.

But such love must not compel us to compromise our faith. We need to stand in our faith even if it makes us an enemy to our own family.  If someone compels us to give up our faith for the sake of relationship we must never give in.

We need to do what we can to please our family and make them happy. But we will never allow our faith to be compromise, nor will we do things that are against the words of God in order to please others. For our love for our family must not supersede our love for God.

We can respect the faith of others , but others must learn to respect our faith. There are certain things that we have to persist and not compromise. Let us not learn to give up our faith for the sake of peace.

That is the reason why Jesus said that he will set a man against his family. For there are times where we need to go against our household for the sake of faith. This is something unavoidable. Even though we try our best to live peacefully with others, there will be occasions where there will be strained relationship.

These occasions are also the time of trial to see if we are willing to submit to God and not give up on our faith. That is why Jesus reminds us that when we encounter situations where we must choose between our faith and relationships. We need to hold on to faith. For it is faith that will determine if we are saved ultimately.

Conclusion

We need to be faithful to our belief and hold fast to faith. Let us not allow it to change. Let us do the works of Abraham. How he willingly obey the words of God even if it meant pain and going against his family.

May we all have the strength to choose to follow Gods instruction. May God help us so that we can do all that is according to his will.

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