Expedition Unknown

Garrett Lilley
Lent Plus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Because God calls us to go out in faith, we must rely on Him and the blessings
He provides.
Good morning church! Today we’re going to continue in this series of Lent Plus.
If you remember, last week Austin talked a bit about the motivation and
importance of this time leading up to Easter Sunday.
This period of 40 days is meant as a reminder to us of Jesus’ time in the
wilderness before he began his public ministry. He took this time to get away
from the noise and distractions of the world and to consecrate his ministry here
on earth.
We take those same 40 days to make room in our own lives to better serve Him.
Removing things that take us away from Him and replacing them with more
worshipful habits!
I did a little research on the discovery channel at Austins behest to appease him
and his theme for this series and I gotta say, I think I may have found my next
Have y’all seen the show Expedition Unknown on Discovery? If not, I want to
encourage you to go watch a couple of episodes. (Insert joke about Austin
watching naked and afraid)
The basic premise is that this cat, Josh Gates, just goes on cool adventures and
learns about ancient mysteries or hidden treasures. He travels all around to
these hidden away locations and works alongside archeologists and historians
looking to uncover secrets about these ancient peoples.
He’s digging up skeletons in Egypt and exploring tombs in Italy all the while
dressed up like Indiana Jones. Sounds incredible right? Im going to send them
my resume once this camp season is over.... Kidding of course.
Something I found very interesting while watching him explore these tombs, is
that every major dig site or burial mound belonged to someone important.
Either a ruler or pharaoh or mayor.
It didn’t matter where they were from, they all had huge tombs. They were
extremely extravagant for the time. They all seemed to have one thing in
They wanted a great name. They wanted to be remembered for generations and
Pharoah Anktifi- Inscription that said, “Beginning of Men and the end of men
and no one else like him will ever come again.”
Pretty high view of himself, huh?
Something else interesting about all these folks in their resplendent tombs.
They’re all just crumbly bones now. All dead and forgotten. Interesting how that
Well just like Mr. Gates, today I want to talk about someone who had a calling to
go on an Unknown Expedition, but very unlike some of those old brittle bodies
found in the tombs i just mentioned, he was not out to make a name for himself
but he got one anyways.
If you have your bibles, please open them to Gen. 12:1-4
“The Lord said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your
father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great
nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a
blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you
with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. So
Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was
seventy-five years old when he left Haran.”
A pretty wild command from God, right? Leave your family your home, your
comfort to a place you know nothing about. If you do this, I will bless you
beyond anything you could imagine… Before we get too much further in this
passage, let’s look at a bit of context to better understand what exactly is taking
place here.
• Flood- Ten Generations ago CH.9
• Tower of Babel- 100 years post flood CH.11
• Terah’s lineage Ch. 11
• Abram and fam had already traveled 750 miles from Ur to Haran.
Take a look at Gen 12:1 again
Christian Standard Bible (Chapter 12)
The LORD said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your
father’s house to the land that I will show you.
Now I believe its an important to note that God had not directly spoken to
anyone since he told Noah to build that boat 10 generations ago.
We look at a command like this today and it might not carry the same weight
that It did back in the day. People move their families across the country for jobs
or for better weather or a cheaper housing market all the time now-a-days but
we have to consider what this would have meant in the context.
Remember, Terah (Abrams father) had already moved the family from Ur to
Haran previously.
750 miles- Thats like walking from Ubly to Chattanooga Tn
Now God is calling him to travel an additional 750 miles-Walking from
Chattanooga to Miami Fl
Not on a well traveled road but through the wilderness, in sandals...
This was a huge ask from God! Not only because of the difficulty of the actual
journey but more-so of what Abram was leaving behind. Abram was living in the
time of the Patriarchs. What this meant was that your status, safety, and
comfort rested on wherever the Patriarch of your family was.
Terah had traveled from Ur to Haran and then passed away there making Abram
the current patriarch. With that position came comfort and safety. He had
access to all of the wealth that Terah had built. He was wanting for nothing.
With Abram sitting so comfortably, Why on earth would God call him away from
a safe secure location?
First, if we look a little closer, both Ur and Haran were centers of worship of the
Moon. In addition to the locations being centers of worship to this false god,
Terah himself was named after the deity. Its no surprise to learn that Terah was
a worshipper of the moon as well.
God knew that if Abram was to serve him fully, he was going to have to leave
those pagan cultures behind.
In addition to leaving that behind I believe this was also a test that God was
putting before Abram. Would he be faithful? Would he obey and sacrifice
everything and lean on God for his protection?
If you know anything about Abram, we know that this isn't the last time that
God tests his faith.
I wonder if we are putting our security or comfort in things the same way that
Abram might have been tempted?
Where is it that we find our security? Is it: Ourselves- We are a self-obsessed people, or at least, I am. Throughout the day,
I filter everything through the lens of how it affects me, and in social settings my
focus usually lands squarely on myself. Though I know I exist to glorify Christ
and reveal His love to a hurting world, so often, I easily slip into self-elevation
Approval-We were created as social beings, to live in interdependent
community with one another. Therefore, it’s normal to want to belong. God
placed this longing within the human heart in order to draw us closer to Him
and one another—to help us experience the same oneness God the Father, God
the Son, and God the Holy Spirit enjoy with one another.
The problem arises when we place our desire to be liked above our relationship
with God. Whenever we fail to obey when prompted, whether that means
speaking truth or reaching out to the marginalized, for fear of what others might
think, we’ve fallen into the trap of idolatry. In valuing man’s approval more than
God’s, we demonstrate where our true loyalties lie. But “No one can serve two
masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted
to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24, NIV).
Wealth-Scripture tells a story of a rich ruler who had everything one might want
yet felt incomplete. Upon seeing Jesus, the ache within drew him to the Savior
with such urgency, he broke out into a run and fell to his knees before Him.
“Good Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17,
See, I think Abram had to think through all the things that he had access to in
this life. He thought through every option and vice he could lean into and in the
end, he realized that none of them hold up. They will all let him down
If we can come to that same realization. The understanding that Garrett is going
to let Garrett down eventually or finances will dry up, where instead can we
I’m so glad that the passage doesn't end here, Lets look at the next couple of
verses: Gen 12:2-3
“I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name
great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will
curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
Listen to this wealth of promises that God is giving to Abram!
Theres 7 promises that God gives to Abram and I want to go through them
1. He will make Abram into a great nation
a. How? Sarai was barren so if this was going to happen, it was only because
God made it happen.
b. Something Ironic, Abrams name means “Great Father”
2. Abram will be blessed
3. And his name will be made great
a. God promises prosperity and honor but not for Abrams own glory. See #4
b. Remember just a chapter before this when the builders sought to make a
name for themselves? We see how that went.
4. So that He will be a blessing
a. God pours these blessings our on Abram so that he can be a conduit of
blessings to others
b. Ironically, Abram ended up with more wealth than he left behind in
5. Bless those who bless him
6. Curse those who curse him
a. Imagine God as a best friend on a playground
7. In you, all families of the earth will be blessed 13:3b
a. This one is a promise that Abram didn’t even experience in his life time.
b. This was the promise that through Abram, Gods son would be born into
the world and would be a blessing to all nations.
These promises only bring God glory. He says “I will” 5 times.
And what was the stipulation for all of these blessings? Did God tell Abram that
he needed to have scripture memorized or be a tithing member of a church or
attend seminary first? No! The only prerequisite that God had for him was that
he Go.
A simple command that required obedience and all of these blessings would be
But the coolest part of all of these blessings is that they didn't end with him!
This list of promises that God gave to Abram can be seen paralleled in promises
given to us as well!
Because of that last promise God gave to Abram “In you, all families of the earth
will be blessed”, we get to take part in these as well!
john 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through me.”
Romans 3:24-26 “they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus. God presented him as the mercy seat by his blood,
through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God
passed over the sins previously committed. God presented him to demonstrate
his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and justify the
one who has faith in Jesus.”
Col 2:13-14 “And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of
your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He
erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and
opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.”
John 10:10b “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
I peter 5:10 “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have
suffered a little while.”
These promises are ours! They belong to us! And the wildest part is, just like
Abram, we can take absolutely 0 credit in the transaction. Jesus is the one
paying our debt and giving us this incredible abundant life!
So what do we do with these blessings? We’ve left the comfort of the world
behind, we’ve claimed these promises for our own.
The only thing left is to share this incredible gift with the world!
Gen 12:4 says this:
“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram
was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.”
Abram just....goes.
Like my toddler listening to instruction from me the first time I ask!
I wonder if God was surprised.
He leaves his family, his security, and comfort and obeys.
He knew something was missing in his life. The things that others were placing
their hope and trust in, wasn't enough for him. He trusted God to fulfill his
promises and obeyed.
Because Abram obeyed, God granted these promises to him, and because
granted these promises to him, we now have a job to do. Just as Abram was
blessed to be a blessing, so are are we.
If God has given you talents or abilities, Use them
If God has blessed you with relationships or status in a group, use it.
If God has blessed you financially, bless others!
We have the same calling that Abram had. Go. Its as simple as that.
We all have areas in our world that might be uncomfortable or unknown and
those are the exact places that God wants us to use our blessings in .
Illustration: Noel and his Barber
Remember, we’re not going in alone. The creator of the universe promises to be
on our side! Stop relying on yourself and the comfort that “You” have built and
step out in faith.
And if you are still relying on wealth or affirmations of others or the safety that
you feel you have in this world, remember:
God required nothing of Abram except an act of obedience. To step out in faith.
To trust in something bigger than himself to save him and he was blessed
beyond anything he could dream of.
If thats you today, I ask that you set down your pride and talk to someone.
Austin, the elders here, Me, and take that first step into obedience in Christ.
Let’s Pray.
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