Have you ever wanted something that you considered impossible? Sometimes we can look at ourselves and rule out many things that we might want to achieve. Spare a thought for Abram and Sarai. They were promised that all nations would be ‘blessed’ through their offspring. God promised this, not to someone who had many children. No, God nearly always chooses to make His promises over the unlikely so that He receives the glory.
Readings and reflections
1. Abraham and Sarai were not the natural choice for those whose offspring would bless all nations. We read about them,
‘Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.’ (Romans 4:18-21)
What natural disqualifications did Abraham and Sarai have to overcome?
What promise did Abraham believe for?
What, like Abraham, are we to be build our faith on regarding the gospel going to all nations?
2. God promised to bless all nations through Abraham and Sarah’s offspring,
‘I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:17-18)
‘If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’ (Galatians 3:29)
What does Genesis imply about the amount of people who will, throughout history, respond to the gospel?
God was promising Abraham the birth of Isaac, however, who is the true ‘offspring’ through whom all nations are blessed?
How is your faith that God will fulfil His promises to reach all nations?
Are you disqualifying yourself and the church are you, like Abraham and Sarah, ‘being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised.’?
To memorise this week
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
To consider this week
How will you expand your awareness, heart and involvement in reaching the nations?
Downloading the ‘Operation World’ App. is a good place to start.
Here is the vlog that Jem mentioned on Sunday by Sam Hēnare (New Zealand) as he speaks about contextualising the gospel to reach the Māori community.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - GO TO THE NATIONS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Where would you most like to visit in the world and why?
Introduction - please share in your group
On Sunday, we continued in our series on discipleship.
We saw how Jesus, in His Great Commission, commanded all Christians to be involved in reaching all the people groups of the world.
Let's remind ourselves of Jesus' words,
‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Of course, we will be involved in differing ways; for some, it will involve actually going to a different nation, for others, it will mean giving, prayer, support...
We all have a part to play and it's important that we take the time to prayerfully seek God's guidance in this regard.
Jesus made the promise,
‘He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”’ (Acts 1:7-8)