Sermon #18†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Genesis Sermons
††††††††††††††† Title:†††††† ††††††††††††††† A Bride For Isaac - A Picture of Grace
††††††††††††††† Text:†††††††††††††††††††††† Genesis 24:11-67
††††††††††††††† Subject:† The work of the gospel preacher
††††††††††††††† Date:†††††††††††††††††††††† Tuesday Evening - October 29, 1991
††††††††††††††† Tape #
††††††††††††††† Godís promise to his church is, ďI will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understandingĒ (Jer. 3:15). And he tells us plainly what kind of men those men are who are pastors according to Godís heart. They are faithful men, men who faithfully declare the message of redemption and grace in Christ for the glory of God. Godís servants are not religious hirelings! They serve Godís people and Godís interests in this world as pastors according to Godís own heart.
††††††††††††††† In Genesis 24 the Holy Spirit gives us an allegory from the history of Abraham and Isaac. The historical facts recorded in this chapter are written to teach us spiritual truths. Abraham was an old man. Sarah was dead. And Isaac had not yet married. He had neither wife nor children. So Abraham called Eliezer, his servant, and sent him down to Mesopotamia to find a bride for his son, Isaac.
††††††††††††††† These 67 verses of Holy Scripture give us both a picture of the grace of God in the salvation of his elect and a picture of the work of every faithful gospel preacher. Abraham could have gone down to Mesopotamia himself to get a bride for his son, but he chose to send his servant, Eliezer. And, without question, the Lord God could save his elect without the use of the gospel ministry, but ďit pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believeĒ (1 Cor. 1:21). ďSo then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of GodĒ (Rom. 10:17). In this chapter God shows us how his servants are to go about the business of seeking a bride for his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
††††††††††††††† The title of my message tonight is, A BRIDE FOR ISAAC -A PICTURE OF GRACE. In this story of Abrahamís servant seeking a bride for his son, Isaac...
∑ Abraham represents God the Father, our covenant God.
∑ Isaac represents the Lord Jesus Christ.
∑ Eliezer, Abrahamís servant, represents the gospel preacher who, as an instrument in the hands of God the holy Spirit, is sent out to seek chosen sinners and bring them to Christ.
∑ Rebekah represents every true believer, converted and brought to Christ in faith by the power and grace of God through the preaching of the gospel.
Proposition: Every true gospel preacher, like Eliezer of Damascus, is sent of God to find a wife for his Son, Christ Jesus. That is our business. We have no other business in the world.
††††††††††††††† In this chapter the Holy Spirit shows us plainly what Godís servants are sent to do and how they are to do it. Throughout the chapter Eliezer, Abrahamís faithful servant, spoke and acted like a man who felt that he must do exactly what his master told him to do, go exactly where his master told him to go, and say exactly what his master told him to say. He had a work to do. And he was honor bound, by his own oath, to do it. Now, letís look at the story.
Divisions: As we go through this story, I will call your attention to seven lessons to be learned from it.
1. The servant of God is sent into the world for a specific purpose (vv. 1-4).
2. The man who is sent of God cannot accomplish his work by compromise (vv. 5-9).
3. The man who is sent of God knows that his work is too great for him (vv. 10-14).
4. Godís servant must seek, wait for and follow Godís direction (vv. 15-28).
5. The servant of God must not get side tracked (vv. 32-51).
6. The servant of God must press upon sinners the claims of Christ, calling for them to make an immediate decision (vv. 52-60).
7. The man who is sent of God always accomplishes the work God has sent him to perform (vv. 61-67).
I. THE SERVANT OF GOD IS SENT INTO THIS WORLD FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE (vv. 1-4).
††††††††††††††† Abraham said to his servant, ďGo take a wife unto my son IsaacĒ (v. 4). Abraham was a wealthy man, greatly blessed of God. And his son, Isaac, was the heir of all that Abraham possessed. Abraham sent his trusted servant, Eliezer, to find a bride for Isaac from among his own people, a bride who would share with Isaac all the riches and glory of his fatherís kingdom.
NOTE: He is wise who seeks his bride among his own people!`
††††††††††††††† Now, get the picture. The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten, well-beloved Son of God, is the Heir of all things.
1. ...God the Father has given all things into the hands of his dear Son (John 3:5; 5:23; Col. 1:16-18).
2. ...Christ is sovereign Lord and King of all things by eternal decree, covenant design and his victorious death as our Substitute (Rom. 14:9; John 17:1-3).
3. ...There is a people in this world, chosen out of every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue to be the bride of Christ and joint heirs with him of all that he possesses (Rom. 8:14-17, 29-31; Eph. 1:3-7).
Just as Abraham sent Eliezer to find a bride for Isaac, God calls and sends his servants out into the world to find this chosen bride for his Son, by the preaching of the gospel (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Cor. 1:17-18, 26-31; 2 Cor. 5:18-20). We aresent of God to seek out his elect from among the fallen sons and daughters of Adam. The work we are sent to do is a joyful, but weighty responsibility. Like Eliezer, Godís servant gets his directions from his Master. He has a definite work he is sworn to do.
A. Like Eliezer, our work is most delightful.
††††††††††††††† What can be more joyful than the sound of wedding bells ringing? I am sent to find a bride for the Lord Jesus Chrsit, the heir of all things! Nothing could be more honorable. This is the business upon which my Masterís heart from eternity has been set. Isaac was not forty yearís old, or more. And there was none to declare his generation, none to carry on his name, none with whom he could share the riches of his inheritance. So Abraham sent Eliezer down into Mesopotamia to fetch him a bride, so that the covenant of God might be fulfiled. Nothing was more important to Abrahamís heart. Therefore, nothing was more important to Eliezerís heart. Yet, Eliezerís work was nothing compared to the work Godís servants are sent to perform. Our great Fatherís heart is set upon giving Christ a church, which shall be his beloved bride forever. The God-man must not dwell alone. Christ must have a suitable companion. The Father is determined to find a bride for the bridegroom, a recompense for the Redeemer, a satisfaction for the Savior. And he has called chosen men to do the work. Truly, ďwe have this treasure in earthen vesselsĒ (2 Cor. 4:7).
B. YET, THOUGH OURS IS THE MOST DELIGHTFUL WORK IN THE WORLD, IT IS THE MOST AWESOME.
††††††††††††††† That man who is called of God to seek a bride for his Son has an awesome weight of responsibility. As you read this chapter, you cannot help noticing that throughout the whole work Eliezer carried a great burden upon his heart.
1. Eliezer had to represent and speak for Abraham and Isaac before people who knew neither his Master nor his Master's son.
††††††††††††††† That is exactly what God's servants are called to do. Isaac was an extraordinary man. He was a man born according to promise, not after the flesh, but by the power of God. Isaac was born to fulfill the covenant promise of God.- He was the heir of the promise. And all others, for whom the covenant was made, could receive the blessings of that covenant only by virtue of their union with him. Isaac, you will remember, had been offered as a sacrifice to God upon the mount. And he was, in a figure, raised from the dead. Isaac was everything to Abraham. Now Eliezer is sent to find a bride for him!
††††††††††††††† In all these things Isaac was a type of Christ. What a weighty errand we have, who are sent of God to find a bride Son, the fulfilment of the covenant, the Heir of the covenant, the crucified Substitute, the risen King, the exalted Lord! Who shall be a bride for the Son of God?
2. That one whom Eliczer brought to Isaac must, at the very least, be exceedingly beautiful and perfectly willing to be Isaac's wife.
†This is our responsibility. I am looking for people who are willing to be married to the Lord Jesus Christ and worthy to be married to him. Where can such a bride be found among the children of Adam? The task is impossible! There are none who are willing. There are none who are worthy! With men, it is impossible. But with God all things are possible. By the power and grace of his Spirit God makes his people willing in the day of his power (Ps. 65:4; 110:3). And God makes his own elect worthy to be heirs with his Son (Col. 1:12).
∑ Imputed Righteousness in Justification. Ė JUSTIFICATION
∑ Imparted Righteousness in Regeneration. Ė SANCTIFICATION
∑ Both are essential to that holiness without which no man can see God.
The servant of God is sent into the world for a specific purpose. It is the most delightful and the most honorable work in the world. But it is also the most demanding, awesome, weighty work in the world. We are sent of God into the world to search out and find a bride for his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! There is no place in this work for half hearted men. This work demands all the servant's heart, all his talent, all his energy, all his care and all his time. It demands the whole man!
II. THE MAN WHO IS SENT OF GOD TO SEEK A BRIDE FOR HIS SON CAN NEVER ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK BY COMPROMISE (vv. 5-9).
I am sure that Eliezer was full of questions about his work. But in these verses, he expressed a most reasonable fear and asked a most reasonable question. He said, "Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again into the land from whence thou camest?" What if the woman is not willing to leave her home, her family and her country to love, marry, and give herself to a man she does not know and has never seen? What if she does not believe my message? If the woman will not come up to your son, shall I bring your son down to the woman? Now carefully notice Abrahamís answer. It is most important.
A. GOD WILL GO WITH YOU AND PREPARE THE WAY BEFORE YOU (v. 7).
Abraham assured his servant that he was not going out alone. The Lord God, who made Isaac the heir of the covenant would go with Eliezer, reward his labors, and fulfill his covenant. Eliezer's success was a matter of certainty. Abraham said, "He shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence."
††††††††††††††† God's servants do not go forth into the world alone. It is not up to us to persuade men and women to trust Christ, love Christ and come to Christ by our own powers of logic, persuasion and eloquence. The Spirit of God goes before the messengers of God. He prepares our way before us. He quickens whom he will, gives sinners ears to hear the gospel, eyes to see Christ, and a heart to love him. God the Holy Spirit awakens the dead, reveals Christ, gives men faith and effectually brings them to Christ by the preaching of the gospel (Eph. 2:1-10). The work does, not depend upon us!
B. ABRAHAM ASSURED ELIEZER THAT HIS LABOR WOULD NOT BE IN VAIN.
†Notice those words, "thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.Ē We do not have to fret about the success of our labors. God will save his elect. Our only responsibility is to faithfully deliver the message God has given us and faithfully give ourselves to the work of seeking God's elect among the ruins of Adam's race (1 Cor. 4:1-2: 2 Cor. 4:1-7).
1. The bride has already been chosen (2 Thess. 2:13).
2. The bride will hear the voice of her Beloved through the gospel we preach (John 10:23-30).
3. And the chosen, called bride will come to Christ (John 6:)7-40; 2 Cor. 2:14-16).
4. The preacher's responsibility begins and ends with the matter of faithfulness.
NOTE: You can mark this down as a matter of fact: If a man Is called and sent of God, God will supply that man's needs, God will protect and preserve him in his work, God will order his steps, and God will crown his labor with success. And that man who knows that he is sent of God will endure and overcome all things for the salvation of God's elect (2 Tim. 1:9-10). God's servant will not allow anything to turn him aside from the pursuit of Christ's chosen bride. He must find her, wherever she is, and tell her about her beloved Savior.
C. ONCE THE SERVANT HAS DELIVERED HIS MESSAGE, HE IS CLEAR OF ALL RESPONSIBILITY.
Abraham told Eliezer, "If the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath" (v. 8). We are not responsible for the salvation of sinners. We are only responsible for the proclamation of salvation in Christ.
D. BUT ELIEZER WAS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO MAKE ANY CONCESSION OR COMPROMISE.
†Whether the woman comes or does not come, whether Isaac has a bride or does not have a bride, Isaac's honor must be maintained. "Abraham said unto him, Beware (be absolutely certain) thou that thou bring not my son thither again" (v. 6) Abraham repeated himself :forcefully. In verse 8 he said, no matter how things turn out, "bring not my son thither again!Ē I take that to mean, There is something more important to God than the salvation of sinners, and that is the honor of his name and the glory of his Son. If men will not come up to Christ, we dare not bring Christ down to men. We cannot alter our message, or even trim off its rough edges. We dare not even alter our methods to suit the world. First and foremost in this world, we are the representatives of the Lord of glory. The honor of his name must always be our paramount concern.
Suppose, for a moment, that Eliezer were to compromise and bring Isaac down to Rebekah.
∑ That would make Rebekah more important than Isaac.
∑ That would be a virtual denial of God's covenant, his promise, and his power.
∑ Isaac would never have had Rebekah's heart If she had not been willing to forsake her family for Isaac, If she is not willing give up everything for him, he would be better off without her.
∑ And, if Isaac were willing to come down to Rebekah, she would be better off without him.
Note: Brethren, there is no need for us to make concessions world, or to compromise with the world. God will save his elect. And he will save them by the naked truth of the gospel, preached in the plainest of terms. Compromise will never save. It only ruins the souls of men. I preach to you, so far as I know it and to the best of my ability, the truth of God. I am not ashamed of its I peculiarities, or of its offense. Indeed, that which the world finds most offensive is the very thing in which I glory. I deliberately cut myself off from those who deny the truth of God, lest I be numbered among them. And I deliberately cut myself off from those who even associate with men who pervert the gospel of Christ. Faithfulness to my God, faithfulness to my calling, and faithfulness to your souls demand this kind of clear, decided, identifiable separation. God helping me, I cannot, I will not bring Christ down to men. I proclaim a gospel that brings men up to Christ I do not court the favor of men; and I do not fear the frowns of men. I labor and preach as I do, because I my eye has in view the bar of God Almighty, and. I hope, my heart seeks his glory alone.
III. THAT MAN WHO IS SENT OF GOD KNOWS THAT THE WORK HE IS CALLED TO PERFORM IS TOO GREAT FOR HIM (vv. 13-14).
††††††††††††††† Eliezer came to the place where the women came to draw water and, realizing a great weight of responsibility, knowing that humanly speaking the work was impossible, he sought the help of God by sincere prayer.
††††††††††††††† God's servant ever cries, ďWho is sufficient for these things?" And he knows full well that ďour sufficiency is of God." Therefore he earnestly seeks God's will, God's direction, and God's blessing. We preach. But only God can awaken the dead. The opening of the heart to Christ, the resurrection of those who are spiritually dead, the conviction of sin, genuine repentance toward God, and faith in Christ are things "impossible with men" (Matt. 19:24-26; I Cor. 2:9-12). We preach. But only God the Holy Spirit can reveal Christ in the hearts of men (John 16:13-15). We preach the truths of the gospel to men. But only the living God can effectually instruct the heart (John 6:44-45). All who come to Christ and receive him must be born again by God's almighty grace (John 1:10-13; 3:5-8). for true repentance and saving faith are the gifts of God alone (Rom. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:24-25: Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29).
††††††††††††††† Let no man attempt to deliver a message in God's name which he has not received from God the Holy Spirit. Let no man plead with men for God, until he has first pleaded with God for men. Having said that, let me show you...
IV. GOD'S SERVANT MUST SEEK, WAIT FOR, AND FOLLOW GODíS DIRECTION (vv. 15-28).
Perhaps the most difficult thing in the world far us to do is to simply wait on God, and to wait upon him without becoming negligent and irresponsible. Eliezer sought the Lord's direction. But while he was seeking he was yet deligent in his own responsibilities. And he said, "I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren" (v. 27).
†When Eliezer saw Rebekah his heart was filled with anxious joy. God had brought them together. And she certainly seemed to be the chosen bride. But he held his peace until God made his will known.
†In preaching the gospel to sinners, we must learn to wait for God to do his work in the hearts of men. We must deligently seek the lost and earnestly preach the gospel to perishing men and women. But we must not speak peace until God speaks peace. Eliezer held out to Rebekah the bracelets and earring of gold, tokens of Isaacls wealth, to entice her heart. But he did not bestow upon her all the riches of Isaac's house (which he had in his hand v. 10), until Rebekah had committed her heart to Isaac.
V. Now, this fifth point is so very important, and I can only mention it briefly, but I hope you will hear it well. THE SERVANT OF OOD MUST NOT GET SIDE TRACKED (vV. 29--51)∑
†Eliezer was welcomed into Rebekah's home. "And there was meat set before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat until I have told mine errand' (v. 33!.
†How many men I have seen, men of ability and promise, whose ministries were ruined, because they got side tracked! ...Some get side tracked by money (E S ... Some get side tracked by j~itics (K c ...Some get side tracked with trivial issues (J w ...Some get side tracked by personal ambition (J.
†B ...Some get side tracked by the cares of this world.
The servants of God are men on a mission, who care not for the world's comforts, honors, riches, or cares (acts 20:33). They are "Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:26). THEIR SINGULAR PURPOSE IN LIFE IS TO MAKE CHRIST KNOWN.
†And those that have not been turned aside by the cares and comforts of the world are yet in danger of being side tracked. Satan, with his subtlety, will turn them aside from the message they are sent to declare. When Eliezer spoke to Rebekah and her kindred, he spoke of nothing but Isaac, the excellence, riches and glory of Isaac (vv. 34-41) THE SERVANTS OF CHRIST, LIKE ELIEZER, HAVE BUT ONE MESSAGE. WE PREACH JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED Ti-Sor.
†E~azei did not cour~ fricndsn~, or approval. He did not seek to attract ner to himself in any way. He was sent to win her heart for Isaac. The bride must be attracted to the bridegroom, not to the bridegroom's friend. Let us ever be careful here. THE BRIDE MUST NOT BE ATTRACTED TO THE SERVANT IN ANY WAY, OR TO ANYTHING HE HAS TO OFFER, BUT ONLY TO CHRIST.
34-41) THE SERVANTS OF CHRIST,
YI. THE SERVANT OF GOD MUST PRESS UPON SINNERS THE CLAIMS 3F CHRIST, CALLING FOR THEM TO MAKE AN IMMEDIATE DECISION (vv. 52-60).
†After Elierer had plainly stated his errand, the question was put directly to Rebekah herself,'Wilt thou go?" And Rebekah answered, "I will go" (v. 59).
†Faith in Christ, salvation in Christ, and a true saving interest in Christ is an individual, personal and total
† Children cannot be sprinkled into the covenant of grace. They cannot be educated into the kingdom of God. And young people are not saved because they have been raised by godly parents. Salvation is not a family affair. "Remember Lot's wife!" Salvation is a heart knowledge of the living God and of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And that saving knowledge comes by personal experience, as God is pleased to reveal himself to individuals (Gal. II Tim. 1:12; Fs. 23:1-6). Now,
commitment to him as Lord. into the covenant of grace.
I put this question to you. I am calling for you to make a decision right now. Will you, or will you not come to Christ? Yes, or know? I want an answer to carry back to my Master.
VII. THE MAN WHO IS SENT OF GOD ALWAYS ACCOMPLISHES THE WORK GOD HAS SENT HIM TO PERFORM (vv. 61-67).
†Here comes EJiezer back to Abraham. And Rebckah is with him! Before Abraham, REbekah covered her face. But when she saw Isaac, she leaped into his arms. It was love at first sight! There is a picture in this too. Before an absolute, holy, pure, just and sovereign God, we dare not show our faces. But before Christ, the God-man, the sinner's Substitute, we are perfectly free. As soon as you lift up your eyes and look to Christ, you will leap into his arms, like Rebekah leaped into the arms of Isaac. God help you now to see him and come to him. If you could but see the excellence, beauty, glory and saving power of our Savior, you would never cease to love him and trust him.
w~_ f~x~~e om-- ~dn~~ ~G CUd JloY L LIJ2/ ~j/L∑ I~dCjBIC
†It all comes fo this: Wil you trust the Son of God? He demands that you forsake all and follow him. will you, or will you not? It is just that simple, and just that serious. If you trust the Son of God, you shall have everlasting life. If you will not trust Christ, you must be forever lost. And your blood shall be upon your own head. May God graciously give you faith in his dear Son. Amen.