Man, I want relief! God wants dependence.
OCTOBER 6, 2020
Zach Van Dyke:
Man. I want relief. God wants dependence. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
You’re listening to Key Life. We believe that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Zach Van Dyke is teaching us this week. Zach serves as the teaching pastor at Summit Church right here in Orlando, Florida. If you’ve been trying to earn God’s approval, we invite you to hangout with us.
Zach Van Dyke:
Thanks Matthew. And thank you all for tuning in this week. I’m Zach and I’m filling in for Steve Brown. He will be back with Pete Alwinson on Friday for Q & A, but while I’ve got ya, I thought we’d talk a little bit about purpose. Like, why are we here? What will we put here to do? How do we know what we were put here to do? And yesterday I started by saying I’ve been spending a lot of time in Genesis. It seems like this year so much has changed, so much has been disrupted. We’ve had to reopen things that we had to close for a while. And so in a way it felt like a little bit of a new beginning. And so it seemed fitting to go back and look at Genesis the beginning of the story and allow that to kind of shape how we move into this new normal. And one of the things that has become so clear to me as I’ve read Genesis is that we were designed a certain way, right? And then we rebelled and the rest of the Bible is a story about God coming after us in our rebellion and inviting us to believe what he had in mind when he thought us up. Inviting us to I believe no matter what our circumstances are, no matter how far we’ve run away, no matter how bleak it seems, things aren’t really as they seem, that you and I we’ve been invited to believe in things that will one day be. And so yesterday I talked a little bit about how our starting place with purpose has to be that. I talked a little bit about Man of La Mancha that story and how, you know, this crazy man saw things so differently than how other people saw them, because he looked at life not as it is, but as it should be, and that you and I as Christians, that’s what we’ve been invited into. We’ve been invited into, not only, you know, facing reality, but facing reality in light of eternity, in light of redemption, in light of the fact that we have a God who says at the end of all this, I’m going to make everything right. At the end, all this I’m going to wipe every tear from every eye. At the end of all this, I’m going to build a new city and a new heaven where there will be love and unity and peace. I have a buddy who planted a church, his name’s Mike and he planted a church purposely diverse, purposely multiethnic. And what he says about that is he says every church doesn’t have to be like ours, but we want to rehearse now, what will one day be. I just love that, he has such a vision for that final picture, that final picture we’re given in the Bible where every nation bows before Jesus, where every tribe and tongue, every color is there all brought together under the unity of our beautiful savior. And so you and I, as we begin to wrestle with, all right, what am I here to do? We have to remember that there’s that ultimate picture that the Bible paints. There’s a picture of how we were created, but then there’s a picture of how we will be recreated and that has to shape our thinking. But for the rest of the week, I want to really zero in on God’s relationship with Abraham and how you and I can can see through Abraham’s life, how to take next steps towards living into our purpose. So the text that we’re going to focus on, we’re going to talk a little bit about lots of different parts of Abraham’s life, but I want to focus on Genesis 17:1-8, so let me read that. And then we’re going to get down and talk about it. So Genesis 17, starting in verse one.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old
So y’all, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how old you are, like it’s never too late, right?
When Abram was ninety-nine years old and the Lord appeared to Abram and he said to him,” I am God almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be called Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be your God.”
This is God’s word. So, how do you and I, how do we know what we were specifically called to do? Well, first it comes from just being with God. And there’s no shortcuts to this, we will only come to discover who we are through a deeper commitment and relationship with God. In verse one of chapter 17 of Genesis, God tells Abram to walk before me. Now, this is a very rich metaphor in the Bible. It’s been used several times in Genesis before we even get to this point, it was used to describe Adam and Eve’s relationship with God and the garden of Eden. It was used to describe God’s relationship to Enoch. Do you remember who Enoch was? He lived 365 years and then he didn’t die. He just got taken away. And in case you’re ever in jeopardy, Enoch and Elijah are the only two people we know that did not die. And it was also used in reference to Noah. And so this metaphor kind of paints a picture of treading the same path as someone else. Therefore it means to walk before me, it means to do as God does. To live in righteousness, holiness, faithfulness, and so on. So how God says life works best, live that way. That’s what it means. Walk before me, live the way I tell you, it works best. So it means to obey. If you want to know your purpose and you aren’t placing yourself under the authority of God’s word, if you aren’t striving to live in accordance with God’s design, you aren’t trying to obey him. I gotta tell ya, it’s going to be hard to know your purpose and not just because like God doesn’t want you to know your purpose. No, your purpose comes from obeying him, because part of your purpose is to live as he designed you to live. If you’re sleeping with someone who’s not your spouse, if you’re stealing from work, if you’re holding on to bitterness against someone who’s wronged you, you are going against your design. You’re going against your purpose. So the first thing, if you and I want to understand what we’ve been put here to do, it means just being with God, walk, walk with him, walk, go in the way that he tells you to go. It also means relationship, to walk before means to be in God’s presence, to be near him, where you can converse with him and relate to him. If you aren’t praying. If you aren’t opening yourself up to hear from God through prayer, you probably are not going to hear from him. I don’t know about you, God, I mean, he’s never, he’s never just in an audible voice, said Zach, turn and repent. Like that’s never been the case. I’ve never actually heard audibly from God. It’s only through being in prayer that I begin to understand, I begin to change my heart towards the things that God’s calling me to. I meet with a lot of people who want to talk about feeling no direction or purpose in their life. And most of the time, they are knowingly living counter to what God says is best, part of your purpose is to live as God designed you. So, just being obedient, there’s already a greater sense of purpose. And most of the time they’re not spending much time in prayer or in God’s word, even though that’s the primary way God communicates to us. He reveals to us what he wants from us and what he had in mind when he thought us up. And so, listen, it’s not a check box. It’s just, if you want to know your purpose, just read a little bit, read your Bible, go before God in prayer. And I promise you, I promise you will begin to see something. It might not come right away. You might open your Bible, and the first time that you do that, you get a passage that says kill the Philistines. And you’re like, well, I don’t know what to do with that. But if you read your Bible, I promise over time, you will begin to see things more clearly. But this idea of walking before, also implies a process. It evokes the idea of a pilgrimage and a journey. Abraham, if you look at his life, he was not called just to obey God or just to relate to God, but to grow in God. And this can be a very frustrating truth for us because we just want answers. We’re constantly seeking relief, and yet God is constantly inviting us into dependence. Man, seeks relief, but God seeks dependence. We want the answer. We want the solution to our hopelessness or purposelessness. But God wants us. He wants to hang with us, for us to daily depend on him. I really believe the reason God put that tree in the garden, it wasn’t to tempt us. It wasn’t to tempt Adam and Eve, in fact, James 1:13 says,
Let no one say when he is tempted,” I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
So if God didn’t put the tree there as a temptation, why is it there? I believe it’s to keep us dependent on him. So you want to know your purpose. There’s no shortcut walk before him and it also says be blameless. Well, that’s impossible, but the root of the word in Hebrew is whole or completely integrated, so to be blameless is not so much perfection or performance, but to be wholehearted, to be fully devoted to a God who loves us and is all about grace.
And that was Pastor Zach Van Dyke, continuing to teach us from Genesis about purpose. This is always an important subject, but perhaps even more urgent right now during these trying and confusing days. More good stuff tomorrow. Please join us then. Well, here’s a question. Do you ever feel guilt? That’s a dumb question, because of course you do. We all do. Guilt about big things, little things, things in the way past, things that just happened. But the great news is Jesus’ death paid the debt for all our sins. That means guilt can actually lead us back to Christ, to find true and lasting forgiveness. Steve wrote about this in a mini-book called Feeling Guilty? Grace for Your Mistakes. And you can get that mini-book for free right now just by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an email to Steve@keylife.org and ask for that mini-book. By mail, send your request to
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