- Sermon Notes
An Undivided Heart
August 30, 2020
ILLUS – Is it God’s will for you to be married?
1. A divided heart is an unstable heart.
2. A divided heart is a vulnerable heart.
3. A divided heart is a miserable heart.
4. What is the cure for the divided heart?
5. Tonight, we will uncover valuable principles from God’s Word about God’s heart for us and His remedy for the divided heart.
1. Chapter 11 is a major transition point in Genesis.
2. Genesis 1-11 focuses on Four Major Events:
b. The Fall
c. The Flood
d. The Tower of Babel
3. Genesis 12-50, shifts the focus to Four Main Characters:
4. We are going to study the first of four characters, Abraham.
a. Almost one-fourth of Genesis focuses on Abraham.
b. And there are seventy-five references to Abraham in the New Testament.
5. Abraham has been rightly called the “Father of our faith.”
6. But it is important to note that Abraham did not possess a mature faith overnight.
7. In fact, there were times when his heart was divided.
Transition – As we will see with Abraham, the cure for a divided heart begins with a right understanding of God and His heart for us.
I. God Has an Undivided Heart for Us
A. God loves us when we are unlovable
1. Abraham lived in a land filled with idolatry.
a. Ur of the Chaldeans was an ancient city of the early Sumerian kingdom.
b. It was located 125 miles from the present mouth of the Euphrates River, 100 miles southeast of Babylon.
c. It was the capital city of Sumer.
2. In Abraham’s day it was a thriving commercial city.
a. Unusually high cultural standards
b. Skilled craftsmanship
c. Advanced technology and science
3. Ur was also the center of idolatry.
a. They worshipped the moon god, Sin.
b. Their temples were very ornate.
c. Abraham’s wife, Sarai’s name means princess which may have been associated with Ur’s moon goddess.
4. Even Abraham’s father, Terah, was immersed in idolatry.
Joshua 24:2, And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.’”
5. To make matters worse, Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was barren.
6. Barren women were considered cursed of God in that day because it was believed a person lived on through their children after their death.
a. If a couple was childless, then they were destined for extinction.
b. Rumors would spread, and people would mock.
7. Despite this, God reached out to Abraham.
a. When Sarah was 65 and Abraham was 75, God reached out to them.
b. Even though they lived in a land filled with idolatry.
c. Even though they were considered cursed with barrenness.
APPL – But God reached out to this despised couple. And God still does.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29, For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God.
APPL – If God has a divided heart towards us, we are hopeless.
• If God only loves the lovable, we are helpless.
• But God’s heart is not divided towards us.
• God loves us even though we are unworthy of His love.
ILLUS – John Newton, former slave trader turned abolitionist and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, wrote the most famous hymn of all-time, Amazing Grace.
B. God calls us to a better home (12:1)
1. God commanded Abraham to leave three things behind:
a. His country
b. His relatives, and
c. His father’s house. Why?
2. Because that place and those people would hold him back from following God with an undivided heart.
3. Years later, God gave Israel a similar command, to be set apart for the Lord.
Leviticus 20:24, 26, Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples. . . Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.”
APPL – As it was for Abraham and Israel, the challenge for us is to remain set apart to God.
• We live in an idolatrous world, but we must never let idolatry hold us back.
• We must leave “Ur of the Chaldeans” and be set apart for the Lord.
1 John 5:21, Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
4. God commands Abraham to go to the land that He will show him.
a. God did not tell Abraham where he was going.
b. God told him to go and gave him promises to stand on.
Warren Wiersbe, “Living by faith means living by promises and not by explanations.”
Transition – But a strange thing happened on the way to the Promised Land. Though it is not immediately apparent from a quick reading of Genesis 11-12. When we dig deeper, we discover. . .
II. God Will Finish What He Starts in Us
A. God revealed His glory to Abraham in Ur
1. God’s self-revelation changed Abraham forever.
2. He witnessed the glory of the living God, not some lifeless, useless idol of the Chaldeans.
3. But to rightly understand Genesis 11 and 12, we must read the words of Stephen in Acts 7:2-4.
Acts 7:2-4, And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Depart from your country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans, and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God removed him into this country in which you are now living.”
a. Contrary to God’s first command, Abraham took his father, Terah, along.
b. Then, to make matters worse, Abraham listened to the voice of his father and stopped in Haran. Why?
c. Because Haran was very similar to Ur.
o Haran was a commercial center.
o They worshipped the moon god.
4. KEY: Haran was located half-way between Ur and the Promised Land.
5. Abraham’s delay cost him valuable time and all the blessings that come from following God with an undivided heart.
APPL – Living with a divided heart is a miserable way to live. I know. . .
ILLUS – My dad confronting me about my divided heart.
APPL – We must purpose in our hearts to never let someone or something divide our devotion to God.
• We are the Lord’s servants.
• We must leave Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of idolatry.
• And do not hesitate in Haran, the land of half-hearted devotion to God.
Philippians 3:13-14, Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
B. God called Abraham again in Haran
1. Genesis 12:1, “Now the Lord had said to Abram.”
2. God did not give up on Abraham.
3. What God started in Abraham; He was going to finish.
Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Transition – But as Abraham discovered in Haran, God’s promises are not realized until you walk by faith and obey God’s command.
III. You Will Not Know Unless You Go
A. God blesses an undivided heart
1. God gave Abraham 3 promises:
a. Land, though he was homeless,
b. Nation, though he had no children,
c. Great Name, though he was an unknown foreigner.
2. God also gave Abraham two commands:
b. Be a blessing. (2-3)
3. Abraham’s obedience set off a chain reaction of blessings.
B. We are blessed through Abraham’s seed
1. Jesus Christ is Abraham’s seed.
Galatians 3:16, Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seed,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.
2. We enter that blessing through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
Galatians 3:7-9, Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
APPL – God’s heart is undivided towards us.
• Through faith in Jesus Christ, we become children of God.
• Through faith in Jesus Christ, we inherit God’s blessings, the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life.
APPL – Where do you find yourself tonight?
• In Ur, the land of idolatry?
• In Haran, the land of half-hearted devotion?
Psalm 86:11, Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Genesis 11:27 – 12:4 NASB
27 Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Sarai was barren; she had no child.