Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why Failure is never an option

Genesis 24:5 The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?”

Yesterday we began looking at a blessed mission in Genesis 24 to understand The Blessed Mission that every Christian is called to in evangelizing the world for Jesus Christ.  We dealt with the actual concept of blessing - defining it as God's guarantee of success by virtue of His presence with His people.  Today we want to offer you a defense against the common discouragement that hinders many Christians from becoming involved in The Blessed Mission.

Why failure will never be an option in God's Blessed Mission
Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, raises a legitimate question in Genesis 24:5 about the possibility of not coming back with a bride for Isaac.  If the outcome had taken place, not only would Isaac not have a bride, but the whole plan of God in bring forth Christ in His humanity would had been jeopardized.  This godly servant knew the implications - failure was not an option.   As you go down through the text of Genesis 24, we discover how we can be encouraged as we fulfill God's desire to use us in His effort to call forth sinners to salvation.

1. God's word states that the blessed mission will not fail
Abraham's response to Eliezer's concern is recorded in Genesis 24:8The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there."  Abraham is firm - Eliezer will succeed - a bride will be found, a particular bride, from the family of Abraham's realtives.

Jesus says these words concerning the certainty of His Great Commission in Matthew 24:14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come".  Christ connects the certainty of His second coming to the certainty of the fulfillment of the Great Commission.  As God the Holy Spirit calls and convicts sinners to saving faith, He through Christians are compelling people to be reconciled to God. (please compare 2 Corinthians 5:15-21).  Thus God's word tells me that when I am telling others about Jesus Christ, I cannot fail.

2. God's Law, when accompanying the Gospel message, always points to the Bridegroom
As Eliezer set out on his long journey of some 300 miles, the Bible states in Genesis 24:10 - "Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master's in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor."  Camels in Bible times were the status symbols of Abraham's day.  They always pointed to the wealth and power of the owner.  Commonly too, whenever a bride was being sought for a son, the father would always send gifts to be given as a way of communicating to the bride and her family the intentions of the marriage proposal.  Unless Eliezer would had brought those ten camels, Rebecca's family most likely would had ignored his claims.  However when he came with all those camels, suddenly the intrest level increased. 

When God the Holy Spirit begins His work, He does so through the Ten commandments, the law of God.  Psalm 19:7 reminds us that "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the heart" (KJV).   The goal of the law of God is to show sinful man the awfulness of his sin, and that he falls short of the glory of God. (please compare Romans 3:13-21)  The fact that God would even do that is remarkable, since mankind is bent towards only one thing - being at war with God. 

The ten commandments also function to point the sinner to Christ.  When the Holy Spirit convinces the sinner of the Awesomeness of the Son, the sinner sees that He is more desireable than his sin, and thus chooses Christ.  That's true conversion.  God the Holy Spirit's convicting work through the law of God (both written and on the human heart) is required if the sinner is to be convinced to choose Christ. 

3. Remember, the person's response hinges upon God's work, you just have to go and tell
When Eliezer finally arrives at Laban's (Rebecca's brother's home), a big meal is placed before him.  It has been over 70 years since Abraham has had contact with his extended family.  To hear that his chief servant has come with a wedding proposal is big news.  However the servant of Abraham is so eager to tell them what his master has to say, he refuses to eat until he has given them the good news - Isaac, the son, is seeking the hand of your daughter in marriage.  The servant brought gifts to Rebecca, the would-be bride's family - paid for by the Father on behalf of the son.  The gifts and the message do their work.  Rebecca is given the choice - go with the servant, or stay with mom and dad, fetching water for the rest of her life.  Which would you choose?

4. The Blessed Mission is all about the Master's Message about His Son 
In our evangelism, we present as it were the message of our master.  We tell people that salvation has already been bought and paid for.  We tell them that Christ, the bridegroom, would desire them to leave their reliance upon themselves and take their place at his side.  All we do is tell the message.  If God is so working in that person's heart at that time, and if the Holy Spirit has so chosen to affect our message, that person, like Rebecca, will come.  If that person does not come, it is not our fault, and it is not God's fault - rather it is that person's fault.  When Jesus did miracles, the Bible says in John 12:37 - "But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him".

Thus we have nothing to fear.  In doing the Lord's bidding of going into all the world andmaking disciples, we are succeeding.  In the realm of God's will, failure is never an option.