Intro (Isaiah 51:1,2)
"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
And to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your Father, and to Sarah
Who gave birth to you in pain;
When he was one I called him,
Then I blessed him and multiplied him."
We do ourselves a real dis-service by failing to look all the way back to Abraham, the father of our faith.
Paul speaks of Abraham for three reasons:
1. The Jews regarded Abraham as the great founder of the race and the pattern of all that a man should be.
2. This is not heretical novelty, this is the very basis of jewish religion.
3. Faith is an abstract concept that needs to be made concrete.
Abraham was the founder of the nation.
Abraham was the man to whom God had frist spoken.
Abraham was the man who had in a unique way been chosen by god and who had heard and obeyed God.
-A. was the first man chosen by God for a role in the plan of redemption.
The steps of faith that God led A. through are the steps which every son of A. (spiritually) will go through in the development of faith.
* Of Abraham; the "shot heard round the world" rang out (God's Righteousness to man as the sole means of salvation.)
* Gen 15:6- "Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him
We must understand the spiritual significance of Abraham’s life and example -
* Matt 1:1 traces genealogy of Christ back to A.
* * Luke 1:72,73 - birth of Christ is fulfillment of promises to A.
Great sections given to explain the spiritual significance Of A.
* Gal. 3,4 - salvation apart from works
* Heb. 11:8-19 life of faith
* James - friend of God
* Rom. 4 - justified by grace through faith
(turn to Romans 4: 1-12)
very easy to be free with terms like faith, love, glory, grace but to be precise in defining them is difficult
* time to improve our understanding of the concept of just. by faith
* this "Father of our faith (vss 1-12)
Faith of our Father” (vss 13-25)
ill.) there was a teaching prevalent among some of the Rabbis of Judaism that undoubtedly Paul had encountered
* the physical descendants of Abraham were saved by the excess of merits piled up by Abraham.
* One day John the Baptist was baptizing
Pharisees and Sadducees came to get in on the action
(not impressed) You generation of snakes and vipers ...
don't suppose you can say "We have Abraham as our father; God is able to raise up sons of Abraham from these stones." (Missed the spiritual significance of Abraham's spiritual children)
Gal. 3:7 "Be sure, it is those who are of faith that are sons of Abraham." (paraphrase)
v1. Paul says, "What is this precious thing, Abraham has found
(basis of assurance, eternal life, self-worth, standing with God, etc.)
v.2. If Abraham learned how to do certain works - salvation;
he's got a story to tell, he's got something to brag about
* better than the fountain of youth-
bottle it and sell it-
* but not before God
* v.3 (w/ a tear in the eye)
So clear, yet all the religions of the world; (many under the guise of Christianity) are based on systems of works - righteousness
they are saved by what they can do rather than by faith in Christ and what he's done.
(there is an excellent distinction made in Abraham.)
this is seen so very clearly in Abraham - that's why Paul uses him as an example.
Turn to Gen 12
Paul tells us that we are to be following in the steps of the faith of Abraham (Rom. 4:12)
Step #1 - Coming to believe
God's righteousness is still not given to A (in the first 3 appearances)
* Appearance #1 Genesis 12:1-3
* Appearance #2 Genesis 12:7,8
* Appearance #3 Genesis 13:14-17
* Appearance # 4 Genesis 15:1-6
necessary to fill in the blanks- Gal 3:16- refers to seed not seeds that is, Christ.
James implies that God had made it clear to Abraham that there was One coming who will
fulfill the promise.
He believed; (James adds) "became the friend of God"
* One time the Pharisees said to Jesus, "Abraham is our father."
Jesus said (John 8:56) "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
Abraham believed in a coming seed as deliverer from his sins - righteous man
Another ill. - life of David
David also gained this wonderful gift of righteousness. Not by works but by faith.
Abraham had found that Righteousness comes by believing in a coming One. Now also 1000 yrs. Later David is to follow.
He finds that being king of Israel does not make one righteous.
David, tortured by a troubled conscience, hands red from the blood of Uriah, heart filled with lusts that had overpowered him - finally after 1 year of agony he could have kept running to the anesthetizers but he repented and believed that God required the broken spirit that trusted in what God had to say about the sacrifice yet to come.David was called "A man after God's own heart."
Friend of God, man after God's own heart - not on merit
Applic. Have you received the righteousness of God, freely as a gift?
That's the first step of faith of Abraham - coming to believe
(Next week) further steps of faith
2. to believe God can do the impossible
3. to believe God in personal suffering
1.He believed God. (4:3)
2. He believed against hope. (4:18)
3. He believed in spite of circumstances. (4:19)
4. He believed without wavering (4:20)
“to divide” - in two minds Os Guinness
5. He believed God could perform (4:21)
...whatever He promised
look at doubt - same as unbelief?
My Hiding Place