Learning from Abraham

This story about Abraham really stood out to me this past week. I love Abraham and how much faith He had in God. There have been a couple of times in my walk with the Lord that I identified with Abraham in a situation I was going through. Once when I was believing God for provision for college tuition, another when I was in a tough season of knowing what God was calling me to do. I feel like I have been connecting with Abraham this past week as we wait for God to do His work here in Sioux Falls. Romans 4 talks about how we are justified by faith and not works. I want to take this passage a step further than salvation and look at how we are to walk in faith.

I. More than Salvation

Romans 4:1-3: Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

Romans is a great book to help us understand that we are sinners that will face wrath without the work of the cross. The Romans Road is an evangelism resource to help the unsaved to become saved.

We all need to be rescued from sin! There is no doubt about that, but Jesus didn’t die so that we could go to Heaven. He died that we could know Him and walk in the life that He created for us.

Let's look at this passage in The Message.

Romans 4:1-5 (The Message): So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be
right on his own.” If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

I love how it reads Abraham entered into what God was doing. So often being a Christian seems more like us trying to fit God into our lives and our plans.

Genesis 15:5-6: 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!” And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Abram had a vision from the Lord and God promised to protect him and that His reward would be great. Abram saw no value of being rewarded without any children to pass it on to. God promised him heirs as numerous as the stars. Abram believed in the Lord and he was counted as righteous. He followed the Lord and left everything behind.

II. The gift of Salvation

Romans 4:13-17: Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

Salvation comes through faith and not through obedience to God’s law. Here are questions that we truly need to understand:

What causes people to go to Hell?

Most people believe that you go to Hell because of sin. I hear this all the time. "I am going to Hell because I am a bad person." We go to Hell because of not knowing Jesus or not believing in
the work of the cross.

The other side of this is people believe good people go to Heaven and that's not true either. We cannot earn salvation from good works - we are saved by faith. We know that there is nothing in our power that can save us - only believing that Jesus died on our behalf.

John 5:37-40: And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you. “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to
receive this life.

The Bible is not a road map to heaven. It is a love letter so that we can know God. We read the Bible to know God!

III. Faith leads to obedient trust

Romans 4:18-25: Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 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. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Here are some things that stand out to me about Abraham:

  1. He kept hoping that he would be the father of many nations, even when there was no reason for hope.
  2. His faith did not weaken, even though he was 100 years old. His faith grew stronger as each year passed.
  3. He never wavered in believing God’s promise.
  4. Abraham was counted righteous because of his faith and obedience.
  5. Abraham's faith was recorded for our benefit. God will count us righteous for our faith in Him as well.

How do we know Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise? He never turned around and went back home. He kept going where God led him. This is why he is mentioned in James. His faith led to action. Faith without deeds is dead. You can’t just sit around waiting for God to fulfill His promise. You must keep seeking Him and walk in obedience to what He tells you to do.

James 2:17: So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

Abraham was fully convinced that God was able to do whatever He promised. Nothing is impossible with God! That's why Abraham was able to walk in obedience to God.

 
 

We are coming up on year five as a church. How powerful of an illustration to remind us that God is up to something right now in our church and in our city. I know we all are hoping for God to do something in our lives. We have been waiting for Him to fulfill His promises. This journey of salvation was to lead us to a place to know God in a very deep and intimate way.

As time goes by and things look bleak for God to fulfill his promises, is your faith growing stronger in the Lord? If it is not, we may want to ask ourselves, do we really have faith in
God? You may feel foolish that you keep watering your dreams and your promises and have nothing to show for it. People may be questioning you and think that you are wasting your
time.

If God has spoken promises to you then they will come to pass, no matter how impossible it may seem. He is the God of the impossible. Your faith is not just about you - it will inspires others to step out in faith and follow God just like Abraham.