Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                          Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
May 16, 2012:                                 "Back to Bethel!"

Wed PM Worship                                Our only hope is to return!

Text: Gen: 35:1-18 (King James Version)         

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                       The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"

 

ILLUS: A child climbed up into his father's lap and asked, "Daddy, is God dead?" The father answered, "Why do you ask that, my child?" The little boy said, "Well,. I don't hear you talking to Him anymore." The father dropped his head upon his chest in shame.

Do you recall how you used to pray? Have you quit praying. God is not dead but He might as well be for many people, for they never pray.

Genesis 35:1   And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

Genesis 35:2   Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

Genesis 35:3   And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

Genesis 35:4   And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

Genesis 35:5   And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

Genesis 35:6   So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

Genesis 35:7   And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Genesis 35:8   But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.

Genesis 35:9   And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.

Genesis 35:10   And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.

Genesis 35:11   And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;

Genesis 35:12   And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.

Genesis 35:13   And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.

Genesis 35:14   And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.

Genesis 35:15   And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.

Genesis 35:16   And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.

Genesis 35:17   And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.

Genesis 35:18   And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

 

Let's pray. Father,  Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.  

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

[JAY cub] (a supplanter)-one of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. The brother of Esau.

Jacob was born in answer to his father's prayer (Gen 25:21), but he became the favorite son of his mother (25:28). He was nicknamed Jacob because, at the birth of the twins, "his hand took hold of Esau's heel" (25:26). According to the accounts in Genesis, Jacob continued to "take hold of" the possessions of others-his brother's birthright (25:29-34), his father's blessing (27:1-29), and his father-in-law's flocks and herds (30:25-43; 31:1).

Near the end of his life Jacob migrated to Egypt; he died there at an advanced age (Gen 46-49).

To fully understand the message it is imperative that I take you back to Genesis 27. Esau in his moment of weakness has sold his birthright to Jacob. Jacob through deception and by the help of his mother has gone to Isaac and received that birthright. Esau finally comes to the realization of what he has done and now he is so irate that he makes the statement that he would slay his brother Jacob. Rebekah has told Jacob to go to Laban's house until Esau has calmed down. At this point I believe Jacob was a very scared man.

Jacob begins his journey to Haran but has to stop overnight at a place called Luz. He gathers some stones for a pillow and goes to sleep and it is then the Lord begins to move in his heart. There Jacob has a dream of a ladder that was set up on the earth to heaven and angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood above it and proclaimed (Genesis 28:13) I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;" Jacob is moved by this experience and took the stone he has used for a pillow and anointed it as a memorial. He called the place Bethel which means "the house of God."

 

The next morning he made his vow, saying, "This is my God and I will follow Him all the days of my life, and of that which He gives to me I will give the tenth unto Him." He went on his way; he became rich; he forgot God and the vows he made at Bethel.

The years go by and now he is coming home. He has another experience with God: he wrestles with the angel and prevails. He meets Esau and Esau forgives and forgets. But Jacob is not yet filled with peace, for his sin is still on his heart. Then it is that God calls him; "Go back to Bethel. Go back where you made your vow, back where you first felt My presence. Go back and renew your vows and start life over again."

 

Many people are like Jacob today in that they have been to the place where they met God and have made a vow to Him that if he would help them with this or that they would live for him forever. However, troubles, trials and gross sin has caused them to forget that vow.

It was 30 years later and Jacob's family was a mess and he needed God. In verse 1 of our text "God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau, thy brother."

I. BETHEL IS A PLACE OF ACQUAINTANCE
A. This is the place where Jacob met God.
B. There are a lot of people today that know less about God than they did when they got saved
1. (II Peter 1:9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins
C. The reason for this is they have forgotten their Bethel experience
D. Jacob met God during a time of trouble in his life
E. He was fearful and was basically running for his life.
F.
Many of us today need to go back to that place where we first met the Lord
G. Bethel is the place where you can go back and find power, and purity and peace
H. It is the place where you can go back and fall in love with the Lord again

 

II. BETHEL IS A PLACE OF AFFIRMATION
A. Can you recall all the times that you promised God that if he would help you, that you would do this or you would never do something ever again?
B. Remember the vow you took the night you was saved and promised the Lord that if he would save you then you would live for him
C. Jacob reminded of that vow that he made he made back in Genesis 28:22
D. (Genesis 28:20)
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread and raiment to put on,
E. (Genesis 28:21) So that I come again to my father's house in peace: then shall the Lord be my God:
F. (Genesis 28:22) And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee

 

III. BETHEL WAS A PLACE OF ALTARS
A. In verse 1 of our text God told Jacob to arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, and make there an altar unto God
B. Jacob had gotten away from Bethel and settled down amongst the heathen people and now he was reaping the dividends.
C. In Genesis 34:2 his daughter Dinah had gone out to see the daughters of the land. She was mingling with the world.
D. Shechem saw her and eventually defiled her. "Raped her"  

 

F. (Genesis 34:7-26) Hearing what had happened the sons of Jacob became absolutely livid over the incident. Hamor proposed a solution of intermarriage between the Israelites and Caananites with full rights for the Israelites.
G. The sons of Jacob had no intentions of letting Dinah marry but lied and agreed to it if the Canaanites would go through the rite of circumcision. They agreed.

H. While all of the men were recovering the sons of Jacob slew them and took Dinah from their house.
I. Finally, in Genesis 35:2 Jacob had to tell his household to put away their strange Gods.
J. Coming back to your spiritual Bethel requires two things:
A. Repentance ("Putting away their strange God" ) Genesis 35:4
B. Rededication Be clean and change your garments

More than 20 years later, Jacob returned to this spot, built an altar, called the place El Bethel (literally, God of the house of God), and received the divine blessing (35:6-15).

At the ford of the Jabbok, "Jacob was left alone" (32:24). It was night, and he found himself suddenly engaged in a wrestling match in the darkness. This match lasted until the breaking of the dawn. The socket of Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he struggled with this mysterious stranger, but he refused to release his grip until he was given a blessing. For the first time in the narrative of Genesis, Jacob had been unable to defeat an opponent. When asked to identify himself in the darkness, he confessed he was Jacob-the heel-grabber.

But Jacob's struggling earned him a new name. For his struggle "with God and with men" in which he had prevailed, his name was changed to Israel (literally, Prince with God). In return, he gave a name to the spot that marked the change; it would be called Peniel-"For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (32:30).

God in the same way calls us to return. Return to our place of dedication, the place and time that we made a commitment to Him.

Lets take a look at Jacob at Bethel the first time. Read (Gen. 28:10-22)

1) Here we can see that Jacob had stopped to rest. 2) He heard God speak to him here. 3) God promised to be with him and bring him back to this place (v.15). 4) Jacob experiences God's awesomeness. (Vv.16-17). 5) Jacob makes a vow to God. (Vv.18-22).

Bethel for us is that place of rest, letting God speak to us, revealing his promises to us. Bethel is the place where we experienced God's awesomeness and said for the first time yes Lord. Yes You are my God and I will serve you.

We can also look at Bethel, as the place where God started working on the character of Jacob, and it is the place God started working on ours also. But, be confident, as the Apostle Paul writes in Phil. 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".

There comes a time when God commands us to go back to Bethel. Read (Gen.35:1)
Why? Because we need to go back to our Bethel, and let God reveal these things to us again. To put us back on track with His will for our lives.

Returning to Bethel also meant a time of cleansing. Read (Gen. 35:2)
To make progress in our Christian walk we must make a complete break with the old life that hinders our faithfulness to God.

Before Jacob and his family could move forward, they had to clean house first. They had to rid themselves of idols, which represent anything which we trust, desire, or prioritize over God. Then they had to purify themselves, which was an outward washing, which represented the inward cleaning the Christian''s experiences as they confess, repent, and renounce sin in their lives. They had to change their clothes, which was symbolic of leaving the old sin tainted clothes behind and putting on garments of righteousness. They even got rid of all their ear rings (verse 4), which apparently had some association with paganism or cultism. In summary, they had to completely renounce and rid themselves of those things which offended a holy God and hindered their spiritual walk.

What does this mean for us? It means that we cannot make progress until we willingly lay aside anything in our lives that the Bible or Holy Spirit has shown us is offensive to God. For each one of us It may be something different than someone else's, but the point is that we cannot move forward in our spiritual life without leaving something behind! For example some of these things could be our plans, ungodly attitudes, goals other than God's.

Returning to Bethel is a time of consecration. This is the consecration of Jacob's heart as he return's to the Lord. Read (Gen.35:3).

Consecration is the act of setting apart, or dedicating yourself to God. Let's do as Jacob said to his people, "let us arise and go". Lets go back to Bethel. Setting ourselves apart will allow us to do as Jacob did, worship the Lord, become faithful to Him (God).

We will remember how God had answered his promises and our prayers. And we will look back over the years and see how God has been so faithful to us. Read 2 Peter 1:2-11

Closing:
God is calling each of us back to our Bethel. In doing so it will impact us and others for God and His kingdom.

ILLUS: A young man was led to the electric chair and with his last words he said, "If I had had the right kind of father and mother, this would never have happened." A gambler in the penitentiary said, "My father was to blame. When I was a child he taught me to drink and curse."
Oh, if our parents are people of prayer, these things will not happen! But you know how it is. Parents go on and on and forget God and never pray, and then in their hours of trouble, they cry out to Him.

ILLUS: An eccentric country preacher, going along a country road, stopped at a beautiful home. He wondered if the people there were Christians. He knocked on the door and when the woman came to the door he asked, "Madam, does Jesus live here?" She was so shocked she could not reply. He repeated the question and still she could say nothing.

The old preacher went on down the road. That night the woman told her husband. "Didn't you tell him we belonged to the church?" he asked. "No," she replied, "he didn't ask that." "Didn't you tell him that we gave our money to the church?" "No," she said, "he didn't want to know about these things. He wanted to know if Jesus lived here, and that is differe
nt."