What Do You Treasure Most?

We Are Called By Faith To Sacrifice Our Treasures To God.

Dan Franklin
Mar 27, 2022    40m
What is it that you treasure the most? This message taught out of Hebrews chapter 11 teaches us that we are, by faith, to sacrifice our treasures to God. Faith is not a blind leap; it's an informed choice driven by what we know about God's goodness. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Life Bible - What Do You Treasure Most?
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Dan Franklin: [00:00:18] Sometimes we need reminders, we need reminders of the fact that God shines light into dark places. Amen? And some of you may have come in this morning and you're in a dark place, and you need that help, you need that light shined into that dark place, and God sent Jesus as a light into a dark place. And the way that we get to be invited to respond to him is through faith, not through going through a bunch of rituals, but by trusting him, by desperately putting our faith in him.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:52] And today we're in the fourth week of a five-week series that we've called The Cost of Faith, because we want to be reminded that faith is not cheap, faith is expensive, faith costs us something. But all the while, what we've been trying to keep in mind, is that the reward that God brings from our faith is always going to outpace whatever it is that we've left behind to follow him. But faith requires sacrifice, and we're going to talk about a sacrifice that's required here in this fourth week of the series.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:28] But in starting off, I want to read our passage for us. And so I invite you, if you have your Bibles, turn to Hebrews 11, because that's where we've been in this series, going through a handful of passages in Hebrews 11. Today we're going to go through verses 17 through 22 of Hebrews 11. So you can start to turn there, if you don't have a Bible, the verses are going to be up on the screen, and I'm actually going to ask you to stand as I read our passage for us, and as we read God's Word as a congregation.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:55] Hebrews chapter 11 starting in verse 17, By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. 20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. 21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones." This is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:57] Let me pray for us before we're seated. Father, we pray that you speak through your word today, we need a word from you. We need you desperately, whether we realize it or not, so we pray that you speak, I pray that you lead me that the words that I say will be true and helpful, and we pray that you speak to all of us today through your Spirit and through your word. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:21] As we are seated now, we've talked in this series so far about how faith is going to require us to sacrifice different things. One of the things that we talked about before, is we talked about the idea that faith will cost us the admiration of others a lot of times, and that's tough for us because we like it when other people approve of us, we like it when other people like us. But some of us are going to be in the same position that Noah was, and when you're building the ark, condemning the world, you don't become popular. And so sometimes faith will require us to sacrifice the admiration of others. And a couple of weeks ago, we also talked about how faith will require us to sacrifice familiarity and comfort, and is that tough for us? As creatures of comfort in Southern California in 2022, we like our comfort, we like our familiarity, and the idea of having to sacrifice that, as Abraham did when he left behind his home country is a challenge to us.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:22] And today, we get to talk about something else, another sacrifice that's required if we're really going to walk by faith, and what we're going to talk about is the idea that faith sacrifices treasures. And here's what I mean by treasures, whatever it is in your life that you consider to be off-limits, that's what we're talking about. Anything in your life that you would say, God, I want to follow you completely. I'll do this, I'll do this, I'll do this, just don't touch this. That's what we're talking about when we talk about the idea that God calls us to sacrifice treasures in following him.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:00] And we get to see this through a story of the most dramatic time somebody was called to sacrifice their greatest treasure, and that's the story of Abraham being called to sacrifice Isaac. And here's what we're going to see, I'm going to jump right into it because I want us to see this story and see how this unfolds and how this instructs us. But here's what we're going to see in this story, we're going to see really clearly what faith does in the actions of Abraham. After we see what faith does, we're going to see what faith reasons, in other words, how faith thinks it through to get there. And then finally, we're going to get to see what faith gains. What is the reward that would possibly drive us to be willing to sacrifice even what seems to be most precious to us?

Dan Franklin: [00:05:46] But we start in verses 17 through 18, we're going to see what faith does. And I just read this, but let's read verses 17 and 18 again, "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Now, a lot of you are probably familiar with this story, if you want to go back and read it at a different time, you can read it in Genesis chapter 22, but it's the famous story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:25] And just to give a little bit of background, if this is new to you, here's the basics of what happens. Abraham, we read a few weeks ago, Abraham was called away from his home country when he was an old man, God called him away to go to a place that God was going to tell him about later. And one of the promises that God made to Abraham and to his wife Sarah was You will have a child. He said Abraham, you'll have a child through Sarah, and then through that child, I'm going to multiply your descendants, they're going to be as numerous as the sand on the seashore, as numerous as the stars in the sky, and this was a big deal because they hadn't been able to have children. And some of you have been through this, some of you have been through infertility and you've been through that difficult, painful experience, and you know what it's like to long for a child and not be able to have one. And Abraham and Sarah had had all of that, they had given up, they were past the age where any of that was going to be rectified.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:19] But God said I'm going to give you a child, and then in Genesis 21, they finally had a child, and they named him Isaac. And you guys know what Isaac means? Yeah, some of you said it, it means laughter. Do you know why they named him laughter? Yeah, because when God said you're going to have a son, they both laughed, and they said that's crazy talk. Look how silly this seems, we're old, we haven't been able to have children, we're going to have a child. Well, God got the last laugh, and they named him Isaac. Not just because of a reminder of the miraculous thing that God had done, but also because of the joy, just the giddy joy that they had over finally having that child.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:00] That was Genesis 21, in Genesis 22, God speaks to Abraham and says, I want you to take your son Isaac up to a mountain and sacrifice him to me, that was a crushing thing to be asked right after the joy had come. At least from our perspective as readers, in the next chapter after the joy had come, being asked to sacrifice his son.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:24] Now, here's the deal, we're going to spend a few minutes talking about just the challenges we have with this story, although I don't want us to be derailed by it. Because we're very troubled by this story, frankly, a lot more troubled than the biblical authors are. They just sort of move on, like, yeah, this is what happened. We read this and we're like, how could God call somebody to do this? This is so horrible. What kind of trauma did Isaac go through? We have all kinds of things that just go crazy in our minds by this, and some of you might feel like, I don't know if I can believe in God if this is the kind of thing that God would do. Some people you might know kind of question their faith over this story. Here's what I want, I want us to at least pause, and if you're really troubled by the story, I at least want to speak to it a little bit.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:04] And the first thing that I want to say is this, verse 17 gives us an important insight into what this story was all about when it says, "By faith Abraham, when God tested Him." And if you read Genesis 22 before we find anything else, we find out anything else that's going on in this story, the first thing that we learn is God tested Abraham. So we've got to come to the story with the framework, a little bit from God's perspective because we get the inside track, and we find out this sacrifice was never going to happen. In fact, if you know the story, you know God stopped the sacrifice before it was going to happen. This sacrifice was never going to happen, this was a test. And so we start at the very least with this, this was a test, where God was testing Abraham to see, is there anything that you're going to hold back from me, or are you all in?

Dan Franklin: [00:09:54] So we at least can set aside and say, alright, God was never going to do this, it was a test. But part of the challenge, and I know this is something that I felt from time to time is to say, all right, God didn't just call Abraham to do something difficult here, God called Abraham to do something that, by all accounts, we would say is immoral. In fact, it's something that later on, as God's word became more and more clear, God said, none of you are ever to do this. In Deuteronomy chapter 12 verse 31, when he's speaking to the Israelites, he says, hey, these surrounding nations, they offer their children as human sacrifices, that's abhorrent to God, don't you ever do that. So we say God is not only calling Abraham to do something that's difficult, it's something that's wrong. And you might have this little thing that goes off in your mind is to say, all right, if I felt like there was a voice telling me to do something and it was against God's word, would I know for sure that it wasn't God testing me, and he wanted me to start to do it and then he was going to stop me? Or if somebody else came to me and said, God has told me to do this, and you're like, you can't do that, the Bible says this. But they can say, but God told me to do it, just like God told Abraham. Our minds can start to go crazy with this, and here's what I want us all to see, this story really is a one-off of this type. The Bible is a big book, but you will look in vain for any other story where God tested somebody in this way. This is a unique story, where Abraham is at the beginning of God revealing himself, and he set up a scenario so that thousands of years later we could have a story of how God works when he calls us to sacrifice our treasures and there doesn't seem to be any way out.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:35] Here's the big point I want you to hear, sometimes we get sidetracked from what the point of a story is because we think that it should be about what comes to our minds. If you're listening to this story and you're like, well, what I really want to talk about is why God could call Abraham to do this. What I want you to know is that the author of Genesis, and the author of Hebrews, don't think that that's what the story is about. The story is about what do we do when God asks us to sacrifice our treasures to Him? And Abraham had no greater treasure than Isaac, and so there was no greater thing that God could ask him to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:13] Do you know what faith does? Faith is willing to do what Abraham did, is willing to sacrifice the things that otherwise we would say are off-limits. And this message is only going to work if we all start right now to have in our minds what is that area that I would want to be off-limits to God? Is it my career? Say, God, take anything, but this is where I'm going career-wise. God, take anything, but this is where I'm going with college. God, take anything, but don't take my girlfriend, don't take my boyfriend away, that's my business. God, take anything, but don't take my political opinions away from me, those belong to me. What are the things that we say, these are off limits to God? Because if there was anything that Abraham would have said was off-limits to God, it would have been his son, Isaac, and yet he steps forward, and climbs the mountain to sacrifice his son. And the question we're all left with is, why? What in the world could have led Abraham to be capable, to be willing to make that kind of sacrifice?

Dan Franklin: [00:13:23] Well, we get insight for that in this next verse, and this is really where we're going to spend the most time, in verse 19, where we figure out what faith reasons. What does faith do? Faith offers our greatest treasures as a sacrifice, saying, God, I trust you with them. But verse 19 tells us what faith reasons, in fact, look at the first words of this. "Abraham reasoned.' Now, the Greek word there for reason, sort of means Abraham did the math, it's an accounting term.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:55] And by the way, this is important, I talked about this the first week, but faith, sometimes we get in our heads that we are sort of like, all right, over here, we've got faith, and then over here we've got reason. Over here we've got faith. and then over here we have thinking. And if you're going to exercise faith, you just need to set aside your reason, you need to stop thinking and start believing, that idea is not biblical at all, this is a passage about faith. And do you know how Abraham got to the point that he was willing to exercise faith? He reasoned. Thinking it through is not going to keep you from faith, you thinking through rightly about who God is, is going to lead you to faith. Faith is always based on evidence; faith is always based on some truth about God. Here's the deal, faith is not a blind leap, but faith is a step into uncertainty. When we practice faith, we don't set aside reason, but we do set aside our demand for certainty, and we trust God.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:01] Abraham reasoned. What did he reason? Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so, in a manner of speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Now, think about this, because I love this, because once again, what it's basically saying is Abraham did the math and came up with an answer. Some of you in here are great at math, you're going to love this. Some of you are like, I left math behind a long time ago, but just follow on this, Abraham had two things that had to add together, and he couldn't figure out what they equaled. And here are the two things that he had to add together, Isaac was the son of promise. Abraham couldn't just look at this and say, well, I guess maybe Isaac's going to die and God is going to give us another child. Because back in Chapter 21, God had very specifically said, it's through Isaac that all of these future generations will come.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:57] So element number one is, I know Isaac is the son of promise, but he was adding that together with, God says to sacrifice Isaac. And he came up with a solution, he came up at least with a hypothesis, and you see what the hypothesis was? God must be able to raise the dead. I'm going to go up and I'm going to sacrifice Isaac because God has told me to. but Isaac is the son of promise, so apparently, Isaac is going to be raised from the dead at the end of this. Now, by the way, you can see in verse 19 that it says, in a manner of speaking, which it's actually the Greek phrase that's translated as a manner of speaking, it's actually the word for parable, and what Jesus told and the parables in the gospels. Saying, kind of parabolic speaking, that's what happened, he got Isaac back from the dead. Now, if you know the story, did Isaac actually die? No, he didn't actually die. What happened is that Abraham was ready to follow through with the sacrifice, and God intervened and stopped him. He said, don't harm the boy, He basically to revealed this was a test. And that said, look, there's a ram cot in the thicket, go get that and sacrifice that in the place of your son. God provided the substitute, but what the author of Hebrews says is, for all intents and purposes, Isaac was dead, and Abraham received him back.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:18] Now, the question might come up in your mind, that you're like, is the author of Hebrews here just reading this back into the story. I mean, is he just a couple of thousand years later being like, I'm going to make up what Abraham was thinking? The answer is no. In Genesis chapter 22 verse 5, when Abraham's at the foot of the mountain, he's about to go up on the mountain with Isaac, nobody knows what he's about to do. “He turns to the servants, and he says this, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” He says we're going up, we're coming back, I'm not going to tell you what we're going to do up there, we're coming back because the best he could come up with is, I guess God raises the dead. And figuratively speaking, God did raise the dead.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:07] Now, here's the interesting thing, when we read the story, a lot of us are like, we want that verse in Genesis 22 that talks about the agony that Abraham was in, and how he was up all night and how he couldn't sleep, and he was wrestling with God and complaining to God and going through all of that. Do you know what verse all of that is in? Yeah, it's not there. Go back and read Genesis 22, and you're like, where is the verse that talks about how difficult it was for him to do this? What you read as God says, go do this, and he gets up the next morning to do it. Now, maybe that agonizing was all real, but that's not what's highlighted at all. What's highlighted is that Abraham just went and did it.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:47] And in a commentary I read this last week, F.F. Bruce who is a commentator, you guys all know him, we all love F.F. You guys know, I don't need to explain anything to you, you know, F.F. Bruce, he's the best. Anyway, you guys are like, what's he talking about? Anyway, favorite commentator, he says this about Abraham in this story, I thought it was really insightful. He said, "Indeed the impression we get from the biblical narrative, is that Abraham treated this as God's problem. It was for God and not for Abraham to reconcile his promise and his command. So when the command was given, Abraham promptly set about obeying it, his own duty was clear, and God could safely be trusted to discharge his responsibility in the matter." In other words, Abraham said this, I don't get this, this doesn't seem right to me. Isaac is the son of promise, Isaac is supposed to be sacrificed, I don't get it. But putting all that together, it's not my job, that's God's job. My job is to obey by faith, God's job is to make it all right.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:50] And the fact is, sometimes we are faced with things that God is calling us to sacrifice, and what we end up thinking in our minds is, I can't possibly see how if I sacrifice this, I can ever be happy in my life again. I don't see how, if I ever sacrifice this, my life can really be full of the abundant joy that's talked about in the Bible. I don't see how this works, but you know what we're called to say? That's God's problem to solve.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:23] Let me share with you a time that I experienced this in my own life. I didn't grow up thinking that I was going to be a pastor, that wasn't something I even seriously considered at all until I was in college. But by the time I graduated and was going into college, my relationship with God had really grown and was really important to me. And so I did, what I had in my mind is alright, I'm always going to be somebody that's a part of the church, I'm going to pursue God in my life. I want, if God gives me a family, I want a family where Jesus is at the center of it. And my dad was an elder, maybe one day I'll be an elder, all of that was in my mind. But it wasn't until between my freshman and sophomore year of college that I felt like God put it into my heart, are you willing to be a pastor if I call you to be one? And when I felt like God was impressing that question upon me, I knew that the answer was, God, if you ask me to be a pastor, my answer will be, no. And really, for two reasons, there were two main obstacles in the way for me, and neither of these are going to make me look good at all, by the way. The first was money, I was just like, I don't need to be rich, but I want to be comfortable, and I felt like that's a threat to me being comfortable, entrusting my career to God in that way. That was a big one, but not as big as the second one. The second one was this, it was, God, if I become a pastor, it's going to be harder to find a girl who's going to be willing to marry me. It's okay that you're laughing, but let me just tell you, that was crushingly terrifying to me.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:59] I grew up with friends who were sort of like, maybe I'll get married, maybe I won't. I always wanted to get married, I always wanted a family, that was always something that was really important to me. And I looked at this, and my head kind of went like this, I was like, okay, if I'm making a pitch to a girl and I'm saying, here's my pitch, my pitch is I'm devoted to Jesus, I want somebody else who's devoted to Jesus, I want to raise our kids that way. I might even end up volunteering in some significant ways that our church, we'll give generously, we'll always be involved in a church. I felt like, all right, that's a pitch where there's a pretty wide pool of young Christian women that might go for that. I'm like, All right, I can sell that. But the pool shrank significantly when I thought of the idea of saying, I'm going to be a pastor. And I was like, I'm not exactly killing it with the ladies anyway, so this really hurts my prospects. And again, I want to say it's fine that you're all laughing, I laugh about it now, but man, at the time that was the single biggest treasure that I was like, I don't know if I can give that up. I don't know if I can be a pastor because I don't know if I can really place that so strongly in God's hands where it'll no longer be something that I have any level of control over, it was terrifying, the thought of that.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:20] Now, most of you know by now that God gave me the wonderful gift of Karina, we've been married for 21 years. God gave us three sons who I love, who I can't look at right now because I'll get emotional, I'm so thankful for my family. And actually, here's one of the cool things that happened. I didn't realize this until I was in the aftermath, but when I really decided, when I really said, all right, God, I'm all in, I'll do whatever you say. Which was not this triumphant thing, it was more like, I give up, you win. When I decided that, I was actually overseas, I was spending a semester overseas, and as soon as I got back before the next semester even started was when I first met Karina. We didn't get together for another two years, but in retrospect, I was like right away, God was sort of like, Haha, you think this is a problem for me. There she is.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:10] Now, here's the deal, God didn't owe me a wife, God doesn't owe any of us a spouse, God doesn't promise that that's what he's going to do in every case. Here's why I'm telling you this story, I was in a situation where I said being a pastor, and also not going through life with crippling loneliness, I don't know how this adds up. Whose job is it to make those add up? That is God's job to make that add up. And you might be going through something right now where you're like, there is some area of your life where you're like, I don't want to yield that to God, I don't want that to be up for grabs, I don't want that to be something that God could take because it's too scary to think about the impact of it.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:52] It could be career-related, you could say, all right, I want to do anything for God, but my career, that's mine. It might be that you're looking at a certain relationship right now and, you know God is calling you, hey, you've got to break up with her, you've got to break up with him. And you're like, I can't do that, that relationship is mine. I already mentioned this, it might be political opinions. It might be this is a church where we say, hey, you can be a Democrat and you can be a Republican, and we think that that is something that we can find unity in the table of Jesus in. That the table of Jesus, where we eat the bread that was broken for us, and when we drink the cup of the shed blood for us, we believe that table is big enough to include Democrats and Republicans. By the way, if you are ever treated by anybody at this church as if someone says, you voted for Trump, how could you be a real Christian? You voted for Biden, how could you be a real Christian? First of all, that's never going to happen from any of the leadership here, and if it does happen from a church member here, they are out of sync with the leadership, and you're allowed to tell them they're out of sync with the leadership.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:51] With that said, some of you right now are thinking like, fine, Jesus, I'll do anything for you, don't call me to change my politics. And here's the deal, I'm not saying that I know for sure Jesus is going to call you to change your politics. What I do know for sure is it's up for grabs, it's not off limits. And you might not even change your political party, but it might be something where you're like, I've got to actually speak up for what truly matters. And so you might be a Democrat and you might say, all right, but I do want to speak up about abortion, I know that God's word is pretty clear on abortion. But if I speak up about abortion, all my Democrat friends are going to look at me sideways, like whose team are you on? You might be a Republican, and that's fine to be a Republican, and you might have even thought that President Trump did some good things in his presidency. But you realize if I were just to speak the plain truth, that there are things that President Trump did and said that were clearly immoral and didn't represent Christ at all, your Republican friends would look at you like what's your deal? Whose team are you on? Are you willing to lay that down on the altar? You may be a Republican, you may be a Democrat, don't you dare let that party own you. Jesus Christ bought you at a price, and if you're saying, I'm sorry, my politics, that's off-limits, you will never experience God bringing beauty out of you laying that down on the altar of sacrifice.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:15] For some of you right now, this is deeply real, you're dealing with gender and sexual identity issues, and you're like, God, anything but that, that I need. How can I be a whole person, God, if I yield that to you? This is where we really get into the deep question, and the deep question is this, that the biggest question of faith is not what you believe, the biggest question of faith is who you believe. It's not what we believe, it's the one that we believe in.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:44] Because, by the way, the story of Abraham and Isaac, it also was a pointer to something that was going to happen in the future. Let me show you why, here's what God said to Abraham after he was willing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Genesis 22:12 God says, "Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” In other words, he said, Abraham, if you were willing to give up your greatest treasure, your son, now I know there's nothing that you won't do for me. Over 2000 years later, the apostle Paul wrote this, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?". Paul looked at God and he said, God, if you didn't even hold back your own son, if you didn't say my beloved son is off-limits, then God, we know that there's nothing you won't do for us. The question is not what you believe, the question is who you believe, and Abraham knew who he believed. Who do you believe in? Do you believe in a God who is able to bring beauty when you lay down your greatest treasures at his altar?

Dan Franklin: [00:29:04] Now, here's the deal, I used a lot of time, but we're still going to talk, there's something else I don't want us to miss in this passage because it's really important. It goes on in verses 23=22, and it’s sort of this rapid-fire, it's about what faith gains. In other words, it gives us just a glimpse of the impact of what happens when we walk by faith, because we get a rapid-fire verse about Isaac, about Jacob, and about Joseph, about the next three generations that came after Abraham had this amazing act of faith, and we get to find out how that act of faith impacted each of them.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:37] Verse 20, "By faith Isaac..." By the way, we already talked about this, some of us are like, I don't know if I can trust God after what Abraham did to Isaac. Do you know who still trusted God? Isaac did, this did not ruin Isaac's faith. Isaac didn't say, well, if that's the kind of God my father serves, I'm out. He was all in, to the point that he blessed his twin sons, Jacob and Esau, with the family blessing. It's a much more complicated story, in fact, my sons Jack and David could act it out for you sometime, because they used to do this all the time, it was their favorite scene. You can read about it in Genesis 27, but the basic idea is this, Isaac, when he was looking to the future, was still trusting in the promises and in the blessing that had been given to his father, Abraham, and he passed it along.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:24] Jacob got that blessing, and so verse 21 says this, "By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons..." Joseph, one of his final sons, had two sons while he was in Egypt, "... and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff." And the end of this is kind of cryptic. sometimes it's translated staff, and sometimes it's translated bed. But the idea here seems to be, that he's at the end and he still is looking ahead by faith. And he's blessing Joseph's sons because he believes that the promise given to Abraham, and passed along to Isaac, and given to him, is going to keep going, that God will be true to his promises.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:03] Joseph gets a verse, and by the way, if you know the Joseph story, you'd be like, all right, I know what this is going to be. By faith Joseph turned down Potiphar’s wife, even when she tried to seduce him. Or by faith Joseph, when he was deep in prison for a crime that he didn't commit, he was still taken out of that. Or by faith, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh and saved all of Egypt. It doesn't say any of that, all Joseph gets is this, "By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.". If you want to read this, the last chapter of Genesis, Genesis 50. In Genesis 50, as Joseph is getting ready to die and he's in Egypt and all the Israelites and all the generations in Egypt, he gives a prophecy and says, we're going to be here, and eventually we're going to be enslaved, then God's going to send to deliver, to take us out of Egypt. By the way, that's Moses, that's next week, be here next week for Moses. And then what he says is something about what should happen to his bones after he dies, and what he says is this, I don't want my final resting place to be in Egypt because God promised us a land. So when all the Israelites left Egypt and they brought all of their people with them, do you know what they also brought along with them? The bones of Joseph to go and bury in the promised land. At the end, Joseph was looking ahead and he was still trusting in that promise.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:40] Here's what I want is to get, Jeff did such a beautiful job of this two weeks ago when he had all of you who are under 18 stand, and just gave us all this picture of the idea that what we're doing right now, what all of us are doing right now, impacts future generations and how they'll see God as trustworthy. Abraham did the unthinkable and trusted God with his greatest treasure, and three generations later, they were still trusting in the promise. The stakes are big, brothers and sisters, if you choose to walk by faith, to the degree to which you walk by faith, it will impact the degree to which you have access to the blessings and the joy that God wants to pour out on your life. And the degree to which you walk by faith is also going to be the degree to which you impact future generations that God is trustworthy. Abraham not only saw God deliver his son, he got to know that three generations later, the Israelites were still looking ahead to the promise, and he did that because God calls us to sacrifice our treasures.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:57] So let's just talk for a couple of minutes, what does that mean? What do we do with this? Because probably none of us has had a dream where God asked us to sacrifice our child, so what's the application point here? Three things.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:12] Number one is this, some of you know, right now, the treasure that God is calling you to sacrifice. You don't need me to explain it to you, you've known the whole time that I've been talking. As soon as this story started, you were like, I know it's this, God has already made it clear. You know it because what you are doing is something that's sinful, and so God has already revealed, yeah, you need to give this up. Or, you know it just because God has been speaking to you through His Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:40] I can't say right now with every person, yeah, God's calling you to leave your career and he's calling you to be a missionary. He's calling you to leave your career, and he's calling you to train to be a pastor. But I don't believe for a second that there aren't people in this room that God is doing that with. We've been praying for about five years for God to raise up long-term missionaries in our church. And that's not because we think that souls in Kenya are more valuable than souls in the United States. It's not because we're looking to ignore our community, we're doing all kinds of things here to reach people with the Gospel. But it's because we believe the Gospel breaks down barriers, and God gets glory in a special way when people from different cultures worship Him together. Before we sent out the Bauman’s last year, it had been 15 years since we'd sent out long-term missionaries. I don't believe for a second that there aren't people in this room that are going to be a part of that future at this church. There are pastors, there are elders, there are Sunday school teachers, and there are long term Christian workers in this room, and some of you know it. And so the first thing that we need to say is, when God calls you to lay it down on the altar, we respond.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:50] Number two, though, is this, number two is that all of us start working now to be the kinds of people that could actually say yes to Jesus when he calls us to do that. You might say, all right, I think I'd be willing to give up my job, but I don't know. I think I'd be willing to change careers, but I think I'd be willing to go to Thailand, but I don't know. Then here's what you do now, you start living in a way that's forcing yourself to hold loosely to God's good gifts so that you're training yourself to be ready.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:24] Now here's the deal, we're in the season of Lent right now, I know some of you aren't observing Lent, you don't like that we're observing Lent. You don't have to observe Lent, it's not in the Bible, it's not something that you have to do. If you object to Lent, here's what I want to say, Jesus did say that his people would fast. So whether you fast during Lent, that's your choice, we all should fast. In other words, we should give things up, specifically food, but we should be willing to give things up to say I want Jesus more and I want to train myself to hold loosely to His gifts. And one of the beautiful things that a lot of us are experiencing during this season of Lent, is we're getting just a little bit of a picture of how attached we are to the things we decided to give up. Some of you got two days into Lent and you're like, this was a mistake, I didn't realize how hard this was going to be. And that's good because now you're saying I got work to do, I thought it would be no problem giving this up for 40 days, but I've got work to do to make sure I hold more loosely to this. And some of you have had the joy of saying this isn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be, and praise God that you already are in the process of holding more loosely to His gifts. Practice Lent don't practice Lent, here's what you should practice, practice ways of temporarily giving up the good gifts that God has given you so that they don't become the main thing in your life.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:46] And then number three is this, build your confidence in the one you've placed your faith in. And there's a reason why we need to gather every Sunday, and we need to sing. There is a reason why we need to be in the Bible regularly, we've got a new Bible reading plan starting on Friday because a new month is coming. There's a reason why we need to keep leaning in, keep praying, keep fasting, keep longing, keep gathering in small groups, and keep lifting our voices in worship because we need to build our trust in God. Because if the moment comes when God says, lay it down on the altar, you won't be ready if your faith is not strongly confident that God will pay it back 100-fold. Start building your trust that the kind of God that we serve, is the kind of God that says, you're worried about it, it's my problem. You're worried about it, it's my job. And even though Isaac didn't come back from the dead, Jesus Christ did come back from the dead, so giving you joy when you've laid down something on the altar is child's play to the God of the universe.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:54] Let's build our trust in him, and let's pray right now. Father, I pray, just in this room, I believe that there are people who, Father, they know, your spirit has been working on them, they know that there's something in their life that you are calling, some treasure that you're calling them to walk away from, and they may be sad, and they may be grieving and troubled, they may be terrified. Father, I pray that you'd embolden them through your Spirit to take that step of faith. I pray that you surround them with brothers and sisters in Christ who will walk with them and hold their hand as they take this step of faith. Father, I pray for all of us, shape us into being women and men who are ready when you call us because we're so confident in your ability to bring good when we lay down our treasures. Father, may our sacrifices be a sacrifice of joy, because we know that there's no greater reward than what you bring through faith. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:00] Hey, folks, let me ask you to stand as I read a benediction for us. And as I do, just a reminder, we've got folks on either side of the stage ready to pray with you. If you're like, I'm one of the ones you were talking about, I need to lay down a treasure and I'm terrified, get prayer. But let me read again, another verse earlier on, from Hebrews chapter 11 that gives us that hope in God. Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Amen? Amen.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848