HKBP Jogja Special Sermon, Juli 5, 2020.
‘Blessed To be a Blessing’
Brothers and sisters, I would like to greet all of you - where ever you are and - loyal with the weekly devotional; may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. For your information, a once a month English Service at HKBP Yogyakarta at the beginning of every month has been held for six years since Februari 2014. May it be a blessing for us all. And in this era of perturbation of corona virus desease (covid-19) pandemic which has not yet come to the end, may we remain hopeful and believe in God's help, inclusion and mercy in ‘this new normal life era’. Let us continue to learn to thank God that we believe continues to bring the goodness for us, for the believers, in the difficult times. We are currently receiving clarity in boon and awareness which longs us to be more faithful, humble, empathy, care of, and concerned about our health and the environment.
Brothers and sisters, the biblical text of this special sermon is taken from the Book of Genesis 12: 1-9. God's Word to Abram (Abraham): “Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household to the land that I will show you. Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” Because of his faith and obedience, Abram did what God asked him to do.
Brothers and sisters, the Bible reveals that the Lord God took the initiative to offer "blessings and salvation" to the people through the call and obedience of Abraham as a prototype of the faithful. The Bible recorded the 'holy story' about Abraham who 'passed the test' after going through a three-stage process of testing his faith: (a) When he left his hometown (Genesis 12-25, Hebrews 11:8), (b) When he received a promise regarding his offspring in his old age; and (c) When he sacrificed Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19, Hebrews 11:8-19). Three stages of the test of faith made it possible for Abraham to get a blessing from the LORD and be a blessing to the people of the faithful (the believers) by leaving examples:
- By faith, Abraham obeyed God's command and left Ur in the Chaldean (North Mesopotamia), the modern city at that time, because he was promised a far more beautiful city, which only could be seen by Abraham's "eyes of faith" (Genesis 12:1-4). Because of this, Abram was willing to live camping, at diaspora (maisolat) while waiting to live in the promised beautiful city. In the beginning of his call, Abraham did not apply the motto vox populi vox Dei (the voice of the people is the voice of the God). For Abram, the voice of the people is not always the same as the voice of God. To get a blessing and be a blessing, there needs a “separation" from things that hinder the realization of God's blessing.
- By faith, Abraham was eagerly waiting God's promise regarding his offspring when Abraham was almost 100 years old and Sarai, his wife, was almost 90 years old. When Abraham and Sarai felt doubts and uncertainties, the LORD faithfully fulfilled His promises. Because for God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). After the time came, Isaac was born as the fulfillment of the Lord's promise. The name “Isaac” means "laugh" (Gen. 21). The birth of Isaac resembles the resurrection from the dead. Wasn't Isaac present when his parents' natural abilities were "dead"? Through Isaac, great descendants emerge like stars in the sky and sand by the sea (Gen. 15: 5; 12: 1-3; Heb. 11: 8-12). Because of Abraham's faith and obedience, then believers who are be called "the seed of Abraham" will be blessed.
- By faith, Abraham obeyed and feared God and did not hesitate to offer Isaac, his son, to God (Gen. 22: 8-12). Then God's heart was touched, and then God provided (Jehovah Jireh) a ram as the substitute sacrifice for Isaac (Ge 22: 8- 12). In the New Testament proclaims the fulness of this ‘Jehovah jireh’ when God sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ on the cross as a sacrifice for atonement to atone for the sins of humankind.
Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Tthrough his way of life, Abraham was called the "friend of God" (2 Chron. 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23) as ‘Father of believers' and 'father of all nations' (Matthew. 3:9; John 8:33-39; Rome 3:27-4:25; Galatians 3:6-29; Hebrews 11:8- 19). Abraham later became an example for believers in the environment of three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Moslem.
Therefore, by exampling Abraham, let us become more faithful and obedient to the Word of God when we feel doubt and uncertain in our life struggles in Indonesia and this world, especially in this era of perturbation and doubt because of the impact of the corona virus pandemic (covid-19) which the vaccine has not been found. In the name of Jesus Christ, all the sacred promises of finding His ‘Yes’. Because Jesus Christ is "Yes" to all of God's promises. That is why, by Him we say "Amen" to glorify God (2 Corinthians 1:20; Revelation 3:14).
Therefore, let us not be afraid - as Jesus Christ has been said many times. And ‘for God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ (2 Tim 1:7). Jesus has promised to be faithful to be with us always until the end of all times. Thus, let us obey God's Word and His sacred promises that give us blessings so that later we will become a blessing to the world. We are blessed to be blessing. And this is also the vision of the Batak Christian Protestan Church: HKBP to be a blessing to the World (HKBP Gabe Pasupasu tu Portibi on) through our word and deed as far as we can, because of Christ Jesus. God guarantees. God bless and keep. Amen. Regards. *AAZS*.