This is the sermon that I will be preaching this coming Sunday morning. I’m doing a verse by verse series on Sunday mornings from Hebrews 11:1 – 12:2 entitled, “Gotta have faith.”
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 5
Abraham’s Faith – An obedient hopeful faith
As I was preparing this sermon, I started thinking about the title. Just setting at my computer, blank page, only the title, focusing on the two words: obedient and hopeful. I started thinking, “What part does obedience play in hope.” I also thought this question, “Can you have hope apart from obedience.” I’ve come to a conclusion, that hope and obedience go hand in hand.
How many of you ever say something like this, “If God will just give me some hope to hold on too, then I will obey.” Honestly, I think that this is the wrong attitude to have. If you want hope, I’m of the belief that it is produced in obedience. It comes as you obey God’s Word, and live out your faith in a hopeless world.
Martha Thatcher wrote in her book, “The freedom of obedience”: “Whenever I take the opportunity to actively love God in personal obedience, I end up sensing a new tenderness in my heart toward Him and a stronger resolve to obey again next time. Obedience is not an end, but a means – a means to express our love to God, and a means to increase our love for God. It is a catalyst in the process of loving God and becoming more like Jesus.”
And let me add, that as the Lord works on our heart through obedience to Him, He provides hope.
In this message this morning we are going to look at Abraham’s faith. We are going to see that it was an obedient faith that produced hope for him.
Let’s look at our Scripture text this morning and see what God would say to us.
Hebrews 11:8-10 ISV – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (9) By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. (10) For he was waiting for the city with permanent foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
1. Abraham was called by God.
Hebrews 11:8a ISV – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance…
A. The important thing about Abraham is to first realize that he received the call and promise from God.
Genesis 12:1-3 HCSB – 1 The LORD said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
As we see, this call comes directly from God. He was calling Abraham to become a follower of His. Abraham’s calling and promise is not given to him yet in detail, but Abraham simply obeys.
B. When God calls us, it is rarely with a lot of detail.
When He calls us to be His disciples, it is just the way it has always been, “Come follow me.” When He calls us to specific ministries, it is usually not in clear detail, just the call and a promise to be with us and bless us.
2. Abraham was obedient to the call.
Hebrews 11:8b ISV – Abraham…obeyed and went…
A. He didn’t wait until God revealed more too him, he obeyed with the initial call and promise.
Genesis 12:4a HCSB – So Abram went, as the LORD had told him.
He was decisive in his obedience. We don’t find him looking back on his former life.
B. I think where we have to be careful is this looking back.
It is easy to look back and see what we may be missing, or wishing we had again. But to be obedient means to forsake the past or even present pleasures that would prevent us from obeying God.
3. Abraham lived in the Promised Land without possessing the Promised Land.
Hebrews 11:9 ISV – By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
A. Though Abraham never owned the Promised Land in his earthly life, he traveled all through it and set up his tents.
Though he didn’t possess it physically, he did possess it by faith.
B. What a principle here. It is more than confessing to possess.
We have a couple of promises from the Lord as well:
• “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
• Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
We need to live in the reality of these two promises, even though circumstances may dictate to us that we are not experiencing them.
4. Abraham’s faith wasn’t looking for a earthly reward, but a heavenly one.
Hebrews 11:10 ISV – For he was waiting for the city with permanent foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
A. Abraham wasn’t looking to continuing living in tents, but to live in a city made by God for him.
B. We live in tents today as well – they are called our flesh.
Our hope is not in this life, but in the life to come. When we will become incorruptible, immortal, and living in the presence of God our redeemer, Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 ISV – Let me tell you a secret. Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed- (52) in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will be raised never to decay, and we will be changed. (53) For what is decaying must put on what cannot decay, and what is dying must put on what cannot die. (54) Now, when what is decaying puts on what cannot decay, and what is dying puts on what cannot die, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory!” (55) “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
Revelation 19:11-16 ISV – Then I saw heaven standing open, and there was a white horse! Its rider is named Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and wages war. (12) His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many royal crowns. He has a name written on him that nobody knows except himself. (13) He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. (14) The armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, follow him on white horses. (15) A sharp sword comes out of his mouth to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod and tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (16) On his robe and his thigh he has a name written: “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Revelation 21:1-4 ISV – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and the sea was gone. (2) I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. (3) I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See, the tabernacle of God is among humans! He will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. (4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be death anymore. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.”
Revelation 21:22-23 ISV – I saw no temple in it, because the Lord God Almighty and the lamb are its temple. (23) The city doesn’t need any sun or moon to give it light, because the glory of God gave it light, and the lamb was its lamp.
Revelation 22:1-5 ISV – Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal. It was flowing from the throne of God and the lamb. (2) Between the street of the city and the river there was the tree of life visible from both sides. It produced twelve kinds of fruit, each month having its own fruit. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (3) There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him (4) and see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (5) There will be no more night, and they will not need any light from lamps or the sun because the Lord God will shine on them. They will rule forever and ever.
What can we learn from Abraham’s obedient, hopeful faith this morning?
• God is no respecter of persons. I believe each of us receive two callings: (1) the call to follow Jesus (2) the call to work or minister for Him in this life.
• We must be obedient to God when He does call us.
• Don’t let outside circumstances, problems, or nay-sayers keep you from being obedient to God’s call.
• When we start being obedient to His calling, it will produce hope in our lives.
• This hope will strengthen us and help us continue on in being obedient to the Lord.
God may be asking some of us to do what He asked Abraham. He may ask us to give up our secure, comfortable, familiar surroundings in order to carry out His will. He may ask us to do some difficult tasks. But we can be sure of some things: God is in control. He loves us. With His help, we will not fail to fulfill His calling as we humble ourselves before Him in obedience.
Is God calling you to something specific? Or do you maybe want to be used by Him, but you just don’t know how to get started? The front is open for you to come and have the prayer of agreement prayed over you.
Next time we will look at Sarah’s faith – an impossible faith.