“Go West, young man,” are words that were coined by John Soule, an Indiana journalist, in 1851. However, most people falsely credit Horace Greely, an American author and newspaper editor. Mr. Greely did, though, in 1841 in the New York Tribune write, “Do not lounge in the cities! There is room and health in the country, away from the crowds of idlers and imbeciles, Go west, before you are fitted for no life but that of the factory.” Indeed, following the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, hundreds of thousands of individuals headed west in search of gold!
History is filled with individuals who are remembered as pioneers. Individuals who had a pioneering spirit. A pioneering spirit is defined as “a willingness to endure hardship in order to explore new places or try out new things.”
Our country was discovered and settled by individuals who were pioneers – individuals who left their own country and came to live in a place that had never been lived in before.
The Bible is also filled with individuals – men and women – who were pioneers. This morning we have read about one such pioneer – a man by the name of Abram. Abram was called by God to leave the land of his birth and to go to a place that he had never been before so that God might use him to be a blessing to “all families of the earth.” (Genesis 13:1-9)
Now, as we look at Genesis chapter 13, we can see the formation of a pioneer – a pioneer for God! These “ingredients” are necessary if we are to be a pioneer for God!
Abram was blessed and was used to be a blessing to “all families of the earth.”“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
Simply put, it would be through Abram and his family that God would bring forth the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
“THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1
Abram was blessed in that he was used by God to be a blessing to others. Again, it was through Abram that the Savior of the world was born into this world.
However, did God need Abram? No. God could have chosen another means by which to bring Christ into the world. But God chose to use Abram; God desired to use Abram.
If you have received Christ as your Savior than God desires to use you to be a blessing to others by being the channel through which others learn of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does God need you and me? No. But God desires to use us! In fact, I believe that God has a greater desire to use us than our desire to be used by God!
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:13-15
So what was it that allowed Abram to be blessed and to be a blessing to others? What ingredients did he possess that led him to be a pioneer for the Gospel?
Abraham had to listen. (Gen. 12:1, 4)
When God spoke, Abram listened.
Christians, are you listening? Are you eagerly listening to the voice of God?
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15
Christians, God is speaking; He is speaking through His Word. Are you listening?
Unfortunately, we are too often like the Israelites of old when God, through His prophets, said…
“But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.” Jeremiah 17:23
If we desire to be a pioneer, we must listen to the voice of God; to the Word of God!
Abram had to follow. (Gen. 12:1)
If we are going to be a pioneer, we must follow God – anywhere!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus! Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus! Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!
Unfortunately, we too often are only willing to follow God if we can determine where! Are we willing to follow God regardless of where He leads are the path that He chooses to lead us in?
Abram had to be obedient. (Gen. 12:4)
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. If you are going to follow God you’re going to have to be obedient. If you are obedient than you are going to follow God. Unfortunately, it could be, that some have no intention of following God because you have no intention of obeying God.
Understand this – The blessings of God can only be found through obedience to God.
We must also keep in mind that there are others who are depending upon us to be obedient to God! (Example: Jonah and the city of Nineveh)
Abram had to be yielded. (Gen. 12:3)
Have you ever opened a container of play-dough only to find that it is as hard as a rock? If play-dough has hardened what is it good for? Nothing. The only thing to do with it is to through it away.
God said to Abram, “I will make of thee…” Abram had to be yielded to God for that to happen.
To be a pioneer for God, you must remain yielded to His working in your life.
Abram had to be dependent.
He was completely dependent upon God.
- “I will shew you…” He was dependent upon God to show him the way.
- “I will make you a great nation…” He was dependent upon God’s work in him and through him to make of him a great nation.
- “I will bless you…” He was dependent upon God for His blessings.
- “I will make your name great…” He was dependent upon God for God to exalt him and make his name great.
- “I will make you a blessing…” He was dependent upon God to use him to be a blessing to others.
As Abram set off in obedience to God’s command, he was completely dependent upon God for everything.
To be a pioneer for God we must come to the place of complete dependence upon God for everything.
NASA – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was founded on October 1, 1958. NASA, and everyone who has been associated with the organization, has always been a pioneer. Although President Dwight Eisenhower established NASA, it was President John Kennedy who focused NASA on sending an astronaut to the moon by the end of the 1960’s. In that endeavor, on March 3, 1959, The Pioneer mission, as it was called, achieved something that the United States had never done before. The Pioneer 4 probe became the first American spacecraft to escape Earth’s gravity! Then, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the surface of the moon! NASA’s vision was and is to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.
Our vision should be to reach new heights for the glory of God and to reveal to a blind and dying world the benefits that can only be found in Jesus Christ! Do you have what it takes to be a pioneer for your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Message preached on Sunday morning, August 20, 2017. Click here to listen to audio of message.