The Faith of a Father
With this week being Father’s Day, we thought it would be a good time to conduct a baby dedication service...
as well as recognize our Graduate for 2018.
With that said, we’re going to be looking at another Father in scripture...
367 years after the Flood, God seeks out Abraham, and calls him out to use him for His purposes.
It was with Abraham that God establishes a covenant...and it was through Abraham that God would reveal His plan of redemption.
See we talked about how mankind up to that point was 0-3.
The Tower of Babel
Each one an instance where sinful man rebelled against God,
and then God stepped in to redeem.
This is the pattern we see throughout the OT:
people face the consequences....
The covenant established with Abraham brought with it numerous promises from God.
God promised Abraham:
The land that God promised Abraham and his descendants was the land of Canaan.
In order for that to happen, God would need to supply Abraham with descendants......
and so this became apart of the covenant as well...
the promise of descendants
The last promise that was apart of the covenant was that "in Abraham, all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
And so God's plan for Abraham is not that Abraham would receive all these blessings from God merely for Abraham......
BUT that Abraham would be individually blessed, for the purpose that now thru Abraham, this blessing would extend to the whole world.
Abraham was blessed...to be a blessing
And so - This week - In light of Father’s Day...
we’re going to focus in on the faith of Abraham (A Father’s Love)
What I'd like to do first is go through the historical account of Abraham's response to God’s call in his life......
and then circle back to look more closely at the implications for us.
Dad’s - Listen up…Look at this man’s life...
At 75 years of age, Abram answers the Call of God to leave his country, his kindred, and his father's house and go to a land that would be shown to him later.
He departs Haran, taking with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all his possessions, and all the people they had acquired in Haran......and they head to Canaan.
Some time later, there was a great famine in the land, and so Abram makes his way to Egypt....
..to temporarily stay there.
His wife Sarai was with him, and because he thought the Egyptians would kill him to take his wife....
..he tells her to say that she's merely his sister.
She complies...and tells this to the Egyptians.
And so they then take Sarai to the Pharaoh, thinking she's Abram's sister.
God then fills Pharaoh's house with great plagues because of the situation.
Pharaoh gives Sarai back to Abram, and they continue on.
The group continues making its way back to Canaan, and Lot and Abram realize the land won't sustain both of them....
..so they decide it best to separate.
Abram settled in the land of Canaan,
and Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.
Following this God makes his covenant with Abram...
Promising him land, descendants, and blessing.
10 years after getting to Canaan, Abram and Sarai are still without child,
...and so they take matters into their own hands.
Sarai, goes and gets Hagar, one of her female Egyptian servants, ...
and has Abram take her as a wife.
They get together, and Hagar ends up birthing Ishmael.
Abram was 86 years old at this point.
13 years later, when Abram was 99 years old, God establishes a covenant of circumcision with him...
with the circumcision being the sign of the covenant.
This is when God changes Abram's name to Abraham.
Abram = revered father
Abraham = father of a multitude
God then promises a son to be born to Abraham and his wife, Sarah......and the child was to be called "Isaac".
God promises to establish his covenant with Isaac and his descendants as well.
When Abraham was 100 Years old, Isaac was born.
Years later (and this is what we’ll focus on today) God would ask that Abraham sacrifice "his only son" Isaac.
ISAAC...The one that had fulfilled the promise of God.
God now asking for Abraham to offer him up.
WHAT DOES ABRAHAM DO?
Abraham complies, but right before he kills him, the angel of the Lord stops him.
And so looking at this story, we might be thinking - why are we talking about this Father who was about to slaughter his son - - ON FATHER’S DAY…?
I think (i hope) - that as we look at this story, we’ll see the TRUE love that Abraham had for his son ISAAC...
And so what I want to focus on today is - the FAITH of Abraham!
SLIDE: The Faith of Abraham: Based on Revelation
The Faith of Abraham
The Faith of Abraham
We can see throughout this story here that God was constantly revealing Himself to Abraham, guiding him along the way.
In Ur of the Chaldees:
2 And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’
At Haran of Mesopotamia:
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
The Lord helped guide Abraham at Shechem in Canaan:
6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
The Lord helped guide Abraham after Lot moved to Sodom...
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
Many more times God revealed Himself to Abraham in guiding him.
Genesis chapters 15, 17, 18, and 22.
And so by God revealing Himself to Abraham, He provided Abraham with ample evidence for him to put his faith and trust in God.
And so this speaks to us today.
Our Faith Must be Based on Revelation
Our Faith Must be Based on Revelation
NOW - We know that God doesn't reveal Himself in the same exact ways He did with Abraham......BUT He DOES reveal Himself....through His word.
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
So the Word of God produces spiritual hearing, and spiritual hearing produces faith.
We MUST be in this Word.
We MUST breathe in this Word.
**I love to ask myself questions when it comes to this.
Think back to the last time you opened up His Word.
Now, if someone told you that they'd give you $5 million to read the entire book of Romans tonight, would you do it?
Would you adjust your schedule to make it happen?
Would you cancel plans to make it happen?
Let's answer that question......
and then let's think back again to the last time we opened the Word.
Is there a disconnect there?
Has it been ages since we last opened up His Word on our own....
..but now at the possibility of $5 million would we drop everything to make it happen?
Saving Faith is a faith that breathes in the Word..
...and communes with God.
Saving Faith can't live without the Word.
The more we read and pray over the Word, the more God reveals Himself to us through the person of Jesus Christ.
Our faith must be based upon revelation
SLIDE: The Faith of Abraham: An Obedient Faith
The Faith of Abraham
The Faith of Abraham
Throughout this story God called on Abraham to do many things......some being seemingly ridiculous.
God called Abraham to leave his country, his kindred, and his father's house, to go to a land that would be shown to him later.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
**Ok - Experiment: How about this: the next time you get pulled over by the cops, and the cop asks you where you're headed - say "I don't know"......see how that pans out for ya!
Verse 9 tells us that Abraham obeyed God by sojourning in a foreign land:
9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
Dad’s - What do we see here - we see faith obeying...
AND THEN - - we come to what seems to be the biggest test of all.
God calls for Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, the very one promised to him, the one promised to be used by God to carry on the Covenant...
And Hebrews 11:17 tells us how Abraham's faith responded:
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
Through all of this we see that Saving Faith obeys...regardless of the request.
The kind of faith that receives the righteousness of God...obeys God...
Therefore...by faith, we must obey God.
The Gospel itself calls for obedience.
4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
So...saved BY grace, THRU faith, FOR good works
Saving Faith Obeys...
Faith alone saves...but faith leads to joyful obedience.
True Christian obedience is not merely outward moral accomplishments.
If we learned anything from the apostle Paul, it was that his satisfaction in life was rooted in the person of and proclamation of Jesus Christ...
...and so his obedience to Christ was driven by his Joy in Christ.
How do you leave your country, your kindred, your father's house, and everything that you've known, WITHOUT knowing where you're going?
Satisfaction in God - Joy in God
How do you raise up the knife to slaughter your son as a sacrifice to the Lord?
Satisfaction in God - Joy in God
This is what it is to "Obey God"
The result of Joy in God...is obedience!
So Dad’s (CHURCH) - Do we leave here today pursuing righteous deeds, and doing our best to ignore unrighteous deeds?
OR do we leave here pursuing Joy in God......because when there's Joy in God, obedience happens?
We are to obey God with the heart..this is where obedience starts.
SLIDE: The Faith of Abraham: A Growing Faith
The Faith of Abraham
The Faith of Abraham
To say that Abraham's faith was a growing faith, is to say that he didn't have it all together.
There were times when his faith was weak.
He had told his wife Sarah (who was his half-sister),
...to tell the Egyptians that she was his sister and not mention that they were married,
...so that they wouldn't kill Abraham.
He questioned God when he and Sarah didn't have any children.
He showed a lack of faith when he had a child with Hagar....
..and he ended up offering an alternative to God, in Ishmael, when he thought it would be impossible for he and Sarah to have children.
How many of us can relate?
How many of us have "given up on God" in a situation....
..Decided that God just doesn't hear me......He doesn't know I'm here.
He is there!
And over time Abraham's faith grew...
In regards to conceiving a child, Paul tells us in Romans 4:
18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
This reminds me of a story I heard pastor Francis Chan once tell....
..where he was talking about faith and belief,
and he pulled out a Bebe gun up on stage,
and with a balloon on the other side of the long stage, he asked - "who in here believes I could shoot that balloon from over here?"
Quite a few people raised their hands...And then he asked - "how many of you who believed I could hit the balloon,
would be willing to come up here and hold the balloon in your outstretched hand...for me to shoot at it?"
Quite a few people now lowered their hands.He then asked -
"ok, of those who believe I could hit the balloon while you hold it in your outstretched hand, how many would be willing to put the balloon in your teeth and hold it there for me to shoot it?"
One guy left his hand up.
Francis called the guy up on stage...
Gave him the balloon, and told him to put it in his teeth,
and go stand in the right spot.
Francis lifts the gun and aims (not really planning on firing)...BUT, as he's aiming, he says to himself...."i got this!"...and pulled the trigger.
He hit the ballon.
As dumb as that was to do...he hit the balloon and made a great point.
How many in that room truly believed that he could hit the balloon??...
...regardless of where the balloon was?
How many truly believed he could hit the balloon?
One guy truly believed, and it was evidenced by his willingness to be used.
See, the others in that sanctuary SAID they believed, until something was required of THEM.
So they said - "I believe he can...BUT their actions revealed what? --
- I'M not willing to SEE IF he can.
"What does that mean?
It means - they didn't truly believe.
This then plays right into Abraham truly believing the promises of God,
to the extent that he was willing to sacrifice Isaac, his son.
So God made a promise to Abraham that hinged on a descendant, and then asks Abraham that he kill the only descendant that God had given him.
The only way that Abraham follows through with that is if he "truly believes".
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Abraham's faith was a growing faith, and so our faith must be a growing faith.
And it's hard because so many things try to prevent us from growing.
This world will do whatever it can to draw you to itself...so that it can destroy you.
All the things this world offers:
Blah, blah, blah
This is WHY we need the Word daily...to put to death what is earthly in us..
.So that we can go from men and women of little faith:
Men and women of little faith....to men and women of GREAT boldness!
See, we're called to grow in our faith.
So are we?
Are you "doing things" today for Christ that you would have never done 5 years ago...3 years ago...a year ago?
Based on revelation
An obedient faith
A growing faith
Dad’s - Does this describe you?
In the past couple of years, we’ve added some new little ones to our flock.
and each little one - an opportunity for the rest of us to be used by God!
When we think about Baby Dedications, we think that we’re dedicating a baby to the Lord...
In reality, it’s really us ADULTS either dedicating OURSELVES or NOT dedicating ourselves to:
Because here’s the thing - all of us / each one of us WILL impact the lives of the kids at this church...
....some for the good!
....and some for the bad!
And so regarding our Dedication today, I’m not going to ask you to make ANY PROMISES to God…
…saying that “you promise to help raise the kids in this church”....
WHY NOT do that?
Because I know that we’re really bad at making promises to God.
Our service today LAID out for us how we as Father’s should be LOVING our kids!
We should be basing our lives on God’s Word...
Obeying what His word says...
And growing in our faith as we live that out....and HELP others to do the same!
I’d like to call up Doug, Amy, Josh, Caleb, Nathan, and Levi....
Pray for Levi (Doug & Amy) (Church)
…And Rachel and Tenley… (Rachel and I) (Church)
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
Dad’s - this is our call
Church - this is our call!