Faithlife Sermons

Of the Faith of Abraham

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Romans 4:16–18 NKJV
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
The promise given to Abraham was, as Paul puts it, “that he would be the heir of the world” Was not given to him and his seed through the law of works but through the righteousness which is by faith.
This is the promise to Abraham and his seed, thats you and me (see vs 16). It is very helpful in our walk through this life to understand the promise which is being fulfilled in us.
2 Peter 1:2–4 NKJV
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
John 17:11 NKJV
11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
John 17:20–21 NKJV
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Jesus’ prayer for us and the Father’s purpose for us is that we be one with the Holy Trinity. That we be partakers of the divine nature, that we be heirs of the world. That’s big! This is the promise which is to us and to our children and is is not through the law but through the righteousness of faith, and it is for all, all, all those who are of the faith of Abraham.
So this morning we are going to look at just what sort or faith is the faith of Abraham.
In looking at Abraham’s faith we will work through this passage backwards this morning.
The first thing to note is that Abraham’s faith is not some blind, irrational superstition. No, Abraham’s faith is...

1. Rational Faith

The faith spoken of in the New Testament is rational faith based on sound evidence.
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Romans 4:18 NKJV
18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
It seems like a contradiction, that it was against all hope and yet it was in hope that he believed.
The thing that Abraham hope for was against all hope. As we later read his body being as good as dead for having children because he was about a hundred years old. And Sarah’ womb also dead as she was barren and about 90 years old. Yet Abrahams faith was that they would conceive and give birth to a son. This in and of itself is irrational faith. Hope against all hope, blind faith. And this is the kind of faith that most of the world believes that we have. They believe that our faith is blind, irrational, superstition which is contrary to all knowledge and understanding.
But what made Abraham’s faith different? What makes our faith different? Why was his faith against all hope and yet firmly planted in hope? It was because of the promise, and the one who gave it.
Without the promise of God Abraham’s faith would have been foolishness. Just as it would be foolish to think or believe that a camel could pass through the eye of a needle because with man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.
There are two things that Abraham knew about God which made his faith rational. And these provide the evidence that we need to have the rational faith of Abraham.

2. God is Able

Romans 4:17 NKJV
17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
He gives life to the dead. We know this to be true through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In history there is nothing more certain than the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Nothing in history has been better documented with as much evidence and proof than the fact that on the third day after His death on the cross and his burial Jesus raised from the dead. It was witnessed by the apostle and documented and He was seen by over 500 others who also witnessed this fact.
If you doubted a persons testimony and saw them undergo every interrogation tactic that had ever been dreamed up by man an even to the point of death they would not recant. Particularly if they have nothing to gain in there deceit then you would surely say “well I guess they were telling the truth.” Not one but all 11 of the disciples held to the fact of the resurrection for the rest of their lives despite being rejected by their own people, persecution and afflicted, and ultimately killed for their unwillingness to recant. That in itself is all the rational evidence one would need to believe wholeheartedly in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Secondly He calls those things which do not exist as though they did. In other words, He speaks and by the power of His word alone nothing becomes something. God says let there be light and there is light. the molecules obey His voice.
We have the Genesis account as evidence recorded by Moses. But before that record Abraham knew the creation story as passed down from generation to generation. Abraham was a great x7 grandson of Shem and a contemporary with Shem who was a first hand witness of the flood and would have heard the creation story from Lamech his grandfather who was a contemporary with Adam. So Abraham had the creation story on very good authority. We have the records of Moses and every biblical writer after Moses to confirm that God speaks and that which does not exist comes into existence. Christ Himself demonstrated His command over creation by calming the sea healing the sick raising the dead, turning water into wine.
So have ample evidence of the power of the creator. Based on that evidence it in rational to believe that God can do all that he promises.
He is able.
Next we see that...

3. God is Faithful

to know that God can do what he promises is only one side of the coin if we are to have faith, the other must be that we trust that he will do as He promises.
Romans 4:17 NKJV
17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
This seems a strange wording that Paul uses here. God said “I have made you a father of many nations” in God’s presence.
Paul was not simply stating the obvious that God was there when He spoke. He is making the point that the witness of this promise is God himself. Which in itself would be strange if it were talking of you or I. A contract that requires a witness usually cannot be witnessed by the one signing the contract. In fact it often has to be someone who is not related or who does not live at the same address. So why is it significant that God witnessed this promise? Because there is simply no greater witness in heaven or on earth to witness anything.
Hebrews 6:13–18 NKJV
13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
The faith of Abraham was a rational faith based on the factual evidence of God’s ability and God’s faithfulness so that he was able to believe that that which would otherwise be impossible. Against all hope, yet in hope he believed and was made righteous.
Faith is Jesus Christ is the most rational and sure thing for anyone to believe in and we can have full confidence in the promises of God through that faith.
Hebrews 6:19–20 NKJV
19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
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