Faithlife Sermons

Giants - Abraham

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Hebrews 12:1 NLT
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Today we are pulling out of the stands… Abraham. We want to listen to those who have finished their race. Their perspective is always better.
When someone comes to you with a problem, you can fix it, but when you have a problem, you can’t even begin to think straight...
We want to hear their perspective.
Today, we will pull Abraham out of the Stands. If one word identifies Abraham, it’s the word FAITH.
Faith is the ability to trust when you don’t have a clue. Trust is not required when we get it… we have to trust when we don’t get it.
This message is for when we don’t understand God.

When you don’t understand God’s ways...

God always does the right thing.

The reason I put this in here is that we all, at some times wonder if God is doing the right thing…
We will look at three of Abraham’s stories and learn from them.
We are often accused of having Blind Faith, but it’s not blind faith. Faith is understanding that God knows more than we do.
ILL - kids going to school… they might not understand… they still go to school.
I am ok with the things I don’t understand. Maybe you have a list of things you want to ask God when you get to heaven. We need to be OK with the parts we don’t understand…
Just for fun…
ILL - Ponderables
Did Adam and Eve have a belly button
Why women can’t put on Mascara with their mouth closed?
Why abbreviated is such a long word?
Why the guy that invests your money is a broker?
Why the time of day with the slowest traffic is call rush hour?
Why don’t sheep don’t shrink when it rains
Why we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway.
Why phonetic isn’t spelled the way it sounds… hooked on phonics
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport a terminal.
We have all had times when God did not make sense. Go to the time in your mind when God did not make sense.
Someone died before you wanted them to. When God didn’t answer your prayer the way you wanted. Failed marriage… job problems… Maybe it didn’t seem like God didn’t show up like you thought…
Genesis 15:1 NLT
1 Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”
God came to Abraham because he was already discouraged. He said… don’t be afraid… some of you need to hear this.
Genesis 15:2–6 NLT
2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” 4 Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” 6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
So God took him out to show him the stars.
Abraham probably did not get it at this point.

God always does the right thing...

1. Even when it takes a long time.

Abraham thought God would have given hi a child back when his and Sarah’s bodies worked.
God is notorious for taking a long time. At least it seems to us that it’s a long time. We need to get to a place where we trust him when he does take a while.
So too often we take things into our own hands. That’s what Abraham did.
Genesis 16:1–2 NLT
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal.
Ishmael was born out of this. He is the father of the Arab nations. Abraham’s impatience has caused a long history of problems. Out timing and God’s timing is almost never the same.
You won’t be a person of faith until you realize that God is a patient God.
Joke about time and money. second like a thousand years.
2 Peter 3:9 NLT
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
God is patient and he wants his kids (you and me) to be patient as well. God is always trying to work this out in our lives.
God always does the right thing…

2. Even when it seems absurd.

From time to time, God will do things in your life that are just absurd...
Story - Abraham is 99 and Sarah is 89 and then he says, “its time. Both of the laughed. They knew it was impossible.
Genesis 18:10–14 NIV84
10 Then the Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” 13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.”
Appointed time - death…
mama - trusting God
Romans 4:19–21 NLT
19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
Growing faith is my goal for you today.

3. Even when is doesn’t seem right.

It’s not that he’s late, or it sounds crazy, but we think he is doing the wrong thing. … when he doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think he should.
If you are honest, you have felt like at some point that God was not doing the right thing.
God was going to wipe out Sodom and G. The only problem was that Abraham’s nephew Lot lived there.
Genesis 18:23 NLT
23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked?
Abraham bargained God down to cover Lot…
Questioning God is not wrong as long as you come to the right conclusion. Even Jesus questioned God in the Garden and on the cross.
Genesis 18:25 NLT
25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”
When we think God is wrong, we need to understand God always does the right thing. There are times when we are convinced that God was wrong, but you need to understand that God always does the right thing.
Proverbs 14:12 NLT
12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
We have to learn to trust God. You don’t need to trust if you agree, you have to learn to trust when we don’t agree.

4. Even when we don’t understand.

Abraham has a son now but God says to go sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah to the Lord. It was a test. God never intended Abraham to do this.
All throughout the story of Abraham, he complained and questioned God, but this time, He did not complain and bargain… he had come to a place where he trusted God.
When we look back and see where God did the right things… we begin to trust.
Hebrews 11:17–19 NLT
17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
The more you know him, the more you trust him…
Psalm 9:10 NCV
10 Those who know the Lord trust him, because he will not leave those who come to him.
God knows best and he is on our side.
It makes you glad did not answer some of my prayers… I can think back on some prayers that I am glad God did not answer.
Say - God knows best.
Give up trying to understand everything, make your goal is not to understand everything. The goal is to trust. We always try to understand and that’s why we study the Bible, but you will NEVER understand it all.

Abraham’s Words of Encouragement.

What would anyone in heaven tell you here? They see us running our race… struggling… making mistakes… striving for the wrong things… What would they say? It’s not what you think. They would share a different perspective.
Don’t put your eyes on this place as the fulfillment of everything. Earth will disappoint. If we focus on God and heaven, we won’t grieve like others do.
Abraham would say…

Don’t make earth your home.

Don’t make Earth all that. See this life as passing through . Earth will disappoint you.
Hebrews 11:9–10 NLT
9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
Abraham was looking forward to his permanent home - heaven.

Live with an eternal perspective.

Eternal perspective means living life knowing that how I spend my time, my money, makes a difference in eternity.
Hebrews 11:12 NIV
12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
The promise was fulfilled after he was gone. That’s a bummer… unless you have an eternal perspective. Then it’s a reward… a legacy.
Hebrews 11:13–16 NIV
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
God always does the right thing.
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