This is the sermon for Sunday morning January 20th 2008.

GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 8
Abraham’s faith – a sacrificial faith
Hebrews 11:17-19.

Last time we looked at the Patriarch’s faith, which we saw was an enduring faith. This week we are going to look at the sacrificial faith of Abraham.

I remember the time that I had to sacrifice something to the Lord. I was about 19 years old, only been saved a year. I left Bible College and went to work as a residence counselor at the Teen Challenge in Amarillo Texas. Now I have always loved music. I played in music throughout school and won many awards and about 4 different scholarships. I listened to it all the time. After I got saved I got into Christian Music. Artists like Petra, Carman, Steve Camp, Phil Keaggy, Degarmo and Key, the Resurrection Band… and the list could go on and on. I had tape after tape and I really enjoyed it, and even grew in the Lord. One example, it would be through Petra’s songs that got me to really get into studying the Bible. But while I was at Teen Challenge, I felt impressed by the Lord to give up all my music as a sacrifice to Him. Boy, I didn’t want too, I mean, it was good music that I was growing with, but I felt Him telling me to give it all to Him. It was a struggle, but I finally did. I went six months or so, not listening to any songs other than church, not listening to any Christian music on the radio, no tapes, nothing. At the end of the six months, I felt the Lord tell me to pick it up again. You see, He taught me a lesson during those six months. I was not to be dependent on what some singer sings about Him, I was to be dependent upon Him, and Him alone. And once I came to that dependence during that time of testing, I passed and was able to move on.

Let me ask you a couple of questions. Have you ever been asked by the Lord to sacrifice for Him? Or does the Lord still ask us for those types of sacrifices today? Personally, from experience, I still think He does. Here is another question, does it pay to honor God by being willing to sacrifice. Well let me share with you a story that deals with that:

A poor widow, who made her living by doing washings, had two wayward sons. This poor woman heard of a mission, where souls were saved, which was about to be closed for lack of funds. The amount necessary was about $500.00. She was greatly interested and longed for that amount of money, stating she would gladly give it if she had it. Soon, strange to say, a message came from a lawyer in a distant city stating that a relative of hers had died and willed her the inclosed $500.00. She was very happy and felt the Lord had sent it in for the mission. The neighbors insisted that she could not afford to be so
liberal, but she sent the money on to the mission. Soon a letter came from the older of older wicked sons, reading about as follows: “Dear Mother: Brother and I are here in the city. We were passing down the street and heard singing in a mission. We went in, and both of us were saved. We will soon be home to take care of you.” They came and cared for their mother, and lived for the Lord.

Yes, it pays to honor God. He says, “Them that honor me I will honor,” and He always makes good on His promises especially when He ask us to sacrifice.

This is what the sermon is about this morning, a sacrificial faith.

Here, we are going to look into the story of Abraham and see His greatest test of faith. Let’s look into the text and see what God would say to us.

Hebrews 11:17-19 ISV – By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac. The man who had received the promises was about to offer his unique son, (18) about whom it had been said, “It is through Isaac that descendants will be named for you.” (19) He was certain that God could raise people from the dead, and figuratively speaking he did get him back in this way.

1. Abraham had a faith that obeyed God regardless of the cost.

Hebrews 11:17-19a ISV – By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac. The man who had received the promises was about to offer his unique son, (18) about whom it had been said, “It is through Isaac that descendants will be named for you.” (19) He was certain that God could raise people from the dead…

A. Let’s look at the story of Abraham and Isaac.

Genesis 22:1-18 CSB – 1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. 2 “Take your son,” He said, “your only [son] Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” 3 So early in the morning Abraham got up, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac. In his hand he took the fire and the sacrificial knife, and the two of them walked on together. 7 Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.” And he replied, “Here I am, my son.” Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together. 9 When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.” 12 Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 And Abraham named that place The LORD Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the LORD’s mountain.” 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD: Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, 17 I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gates of their enemies. 18 And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed My command.”

B. God’s promise was also God’s test.

Genesis 22:1-2 CSB – 1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. 2 “Take your son,” He said, “your only [son] Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Isaac was the promised son of Abraham and Sarah. He is the one the Messiah would descend from. When God gave this promise, He tested Abraham with it. The test was to give Isaac back as a sacrifice.
Sometimes God will give us a promise, but with that promise at times comes some type of test.

Look at Jesus as an example. In Matthew 3:13-17 we see Jesus being baptized, then heaven opened the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and the Father spoke this promise, “This is my Beloved Son. I take delight in Him.” Then in Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus is immediately driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to face temptation from Satan himself. A promise given – a testing taking place.

C. Look at Abraham’s obedience.

Genesis 22:3 CSB – So early in the morning Abraham got up, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about.

We don’t see any hesitation. He simply obeys the Lord.

D. Let’s look at Abraham’s faith.

Genesis 22:7-8 CSB – 7 Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.” And he replied, “Here I am, my son.” Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.

Hebrews 11:19 ISV – He was certain that God could raise people from the dead, and figuratively speaking he did get him back in this way.

We see Abraham’s faith revealed in two ways: (a) He believed God Himself would provide the sacrifice (Gen. 22:8); (b) He also believed that God would raise his son from the dead if he did sacrifice him (Heb. 11:19).

E. Jesus provides the sacrifice.

Genesis 22:11-13 CSB – 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.” 12 Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son.

Why do I say it is Jesus: (a) the Angel of the LORD in the Old Testament always refers to Deity. It is called a Theophany. (b) Notice what He (the Angel) says in verse 12, “You did not withhold your son from Me.” You see it was to God, not some angel, that the sacrifice was to be given. (c) In verse 16 the Angel swears by Himself. Only God could do that. Why? Because you always swear by the greater authority. And God is the greatest authority and can only swear by Himself.

We ultimately know the ram that was provided was representative of Jesus Christ Himself

2. Abrahams reward was he received His son back.

Hebrews 11:19 ISV – He was certain that God could raise people from the dead, and figuratively speaking he did get him back in this way.

APPLICATION

How can we apply this story of sacrifice to our lives?

• God always gives us a promise.
• With that promise comes testing.
• Be obedient to the Lord during the testing time.
• The reward will be the promise fulfilled in God’s timing.

DECISION

Not only do we have the promise of Christ, we also have the promises of: living a Spirit-filled life; Him calling us and using us, and the list goes on and on.

How many of you would love to either receive a promise or to see the promise you have received fulfilled. If you need prayer, we will pray for you and believe God with you this morning

Next time we will look at 3 types of faith.

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