Besides the fact that it’s God’s character to first love us… and to initiate a relationship with us… we still should ask: Did Abraham have a particular responsibility or obligation from being in this relationship with God? Our text says that God chose him for this relationship…
…so that he [Abraham] will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just…
God was calling Abraham to begin a genealogy of faith where following God would be passed down from one generation to the next. As Pastor Bruce preached on several weeks ago, though we’re in the world we’re not to be like the world around us. We’re called to be different. The ways of God are different than the ways of the world.
Abraham was being called by God to teach, to shepherd, to direct, to nurture his children and his children’s children in the ways of God – ways that are just and right – ways that are different from the world. In the same way, God wants Christian parents to direct their children in the knowledge and ways of God.
Last year I preached on our call to pass our faith on from generation to generation. Well, this covenant with Abraham is where that idea really gets started. Abraham would pass his faith on to Isaac. Isaac would pass it on to Jacob. Jacob would pass it on to Joseph and all of Joseph’s brothers. And on and on and on.
In fact, the class that I’m teaching on Sunday nights is about this very thing. It’s called “Passing the Baton.” And one of the points of the study is that, like a relay race in the Olympics, the race is successful only if the baton is passed from one runner to the next. If it’s dropped, the race is over for that relay team. That’s true for our faith as well. If we don’t pass on our faith to the coming generations, they won’t be able to take it and run with it. They won’t be able to live it out. They won’t be able to share it with others. And they won’t be salt and light to a world in desperate need of God’s grace.
Last week at the 11:00 worship service we celebrated the baptism of a precious baby. I want to remind you all of what the parents, as well as the whole congregation commits to every time we baptize a child…
We are asked:
Will you nurture one another in the Christian faith and life and include this child now before you in your
With God’s help we will proclaim the good news and live according to the example of Christ. We will surround this child with a community of love and forgiveness, that he/she may grow in his/her service to others. We will pray for him/her, that he/she may be a true disciple who walks in the way that leads to life.
This is a commitment to pass the baton of faith to the next generation. And if we would successfully pass the baton of faith to the next generation, as Abraham did, then we must be faithful to God’s call in our lives.
Well, our verse this morning ends with a promise. God says that Abraham is to direct his children in the way of the Lord…
…so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.
I believe this describes for us that God works through means. And usually, we are the means by and through which God works. For example, God knows all things, and yet still invites us to pray… and he tells us that our prayers are effective. Or think about this: God could write the four spiritual laws in the clouds to bring people to faith in Christ, and yet he calls on us to share our faith with others.
I think our text is another example of this kind of thing. God called Abraham to direct his children in the ways of God – ways that are just and right. And if Abraham followed through and was obedient to God’s call, then God would work through Abraham’s children to achieve what God had promised Abraham – to make him a father of many nations.
Humanly speaking, the Church of Jesus Christ is always (theoretically) one generation from extinction. Now let me say that I don’t for a second think that God would ever let that happen. In fact, Jesus has already promised us that he is building his Church.
And yet, we have the same call as Abraham. Here’s the incredible thing: God’s promise to Abraham is actually fulfilled through our faithfulness in passing the baton of faith from generation to generation. God actually dares to make us the means by which he keeps his promise to Abraham. Amazing!
Therefore, on this Father’s Day, let us all commit to pursuing the faith and faithfulness of Father Abraham by passing the baton of faith to our children and our children’s children.
Grace and Truth,