Antony Spencer 9.15am 24th February 2013

St John’s Small Group Study Notes

From Antony’s sermon on 24th February 2013

Passage: Genesis 18:16-33

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Knowing God

It’s now 24 years on from when Abraham first established altars and called on the name of the Lord.  In that time Abraham has a growing understanding of the Lord’s heart and character.  Progressively the Lord has revealed more of Himself … and most recently when the covenant was confirmed God revealed himself as ‘El-Shaddai’ – God Almighty.  Genesis 17:1

Abraham’s importance and closeness to the Lord is shown in verse 17-21 as God lays out His plan to investigate the outcry that has come to His ears about Sodom and Gomorrah’s grievous sin.

Q:  What does God affirm about Abraham’s destiny and purpose in verses 18 and 19?

So God lays out his plan to investigate what is really going on in Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham gets the message that if the bad reports are proved then there will be consequences.  However, in his appeal to Almighty God for Sodom, Abraham does not cite his personal concern for his nephew Lot who has settled there but rather he appeals to what he knows of God’s own character …

Q: What aspects of God’s character does Abraham appeal? 

This is an understanding and ‘knowing’ that is not based on being told – this comes from a progressive revelation over the years where Abraham has met God’s heart and has begun to know and embody God’s characteristics.

Instant and Progressive Revelation

It strikes me that there is no short cut for us in that same journey of getting to know God’s heart and embodying it.

  • God trusted Abraham with details of what he was about to do. Q : Share any occasions when you feel God has told you ahead of time what is to come or has trusted you with privileged information.

 

  • Important though that is, there is no substitute for the progressive revelation of God’s heart and character which comes over time as we walk with God and spend time with Him in the secret place through the various seasons of life.  Q: What is you experience of giving time and space to God where your heart is progressively aligned and attuned with His?   How would you measure or record your growth in understanding?  Describe any particular periods when your relationship with the Lord has developed significantly. 

 

A Greater Privilege

There is a greater privilege though that comes from this place of intimacy with Father God.  The creator of the universe involves humanity – you and me – in His plans and He responds to our pleas.

Q: Read verses 24-33 and discuss the boldness of Abraham’s negotiating technique!

Q: Look up other scriptural references which suggest this interaction between God and humanity:

  • Adam naming the animals Genesis 2:19-20
  • Moses following the Golden Calf incident Exodus 32-33
  • Jesus with Syro-Phoenician woman (demonised daughter (Luke 7:24-30)
  • Parable of persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8)

 

In the talk I mentioned the experience of a friend of mine who had reached a crossroad and was seeking the lord in prayer about future plans and ministry.  In the prayer picture he saw he and the Lord viewing some parkland and deciding between them what features they would incorporate.  The sense was that there was not just one possible outcome but several possibilities – the shape of things to be was to be determined by God and this persona acting together.

Q:  How do you respond to this?

Our response – Standing in the gap 

It’s an amazing thought that the creator of the universe invites you and me into an intimate friendship and encourages us to reason with Him.  What a privilege and what a trust is placed in us as we stand in the gap between earth and heaven.  We are called a royal priesthood who bring God before the world and bring the world before God.

Q:  What individuals, cities or countries are you bringing before God and appealing to His mercy and righteousness for?

26th Feb 2013 Posted in: News, Sermon Notes by Fran Varley 0

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