November 15 - December 26
FAITH’S HALL OF FAME
”The Faith of Abraham”
Hebrews 11: 8 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
Last time, I started a series on Faith’s Hall of Fame taken out of Hebrews 11…the faith chapter.
Verse 1 begins with a definition of faith:
“Faith is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.”
We first looked at the faith of three men from the dawn of time.
Abel APPROACHED God by faith
Enoch WALKED with God by faith
And Noah OBEYED God by faith
Now I’m going to talk about Abraham two times because its impossible to do him justice with just one message.
This time we’re going to look at how Abraham’s faith presented itself in three ways:
*By faith he forsook his hometown
*By faith he adapted his lifestyle to God’s will
*By faith his life’s focus was on the promises of God
I. By faith he left his hometown
The Bible tells us of God’s first call to Abraham:
Hebrews 12:1 “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”
NOTICE—Abraham had no idea where he was going
Or what he would experience,
how he would get there,
how long it would take,
Or what his life would be like when he arrived.
He only knew enough to take the next step.
So with nothing but the promise of God, Abraham left the comfort zone of the city he’d grown up in and stepped out in faith.
He had none of the encouraging things we do in our faith journey!
—He had no Bible; it hadn’t been written yet!
—There was no one in his family or city he could talk to about God’s call because none of them knew the true God.
Abraham’s city of Ur was steeped in idolatry—they were all worshipers of the moon!
No one knew of or worshiped the God that had called him.
—Yet by faith he left!
This is what living by faith sometimes requires!
God says, do this or that, and:
You don’t know how God is going to do it—Or how the different pieces will fall into place,
But faith says—STEP OUT of your comfort zone and see what God will do!
PETER didn’t know how he would walk on water—but by faith he left the comfort zone of the boat and took the first step.
MOSES didn’t know how God would deliver a million people from Egyptian slavery——but based on God’s word he left the comfort zone of shepherding sheep and marched into Egypt!
The DISCIPLES had no idea where following Jesus would lead them——but by faith they left their nets, boats, family, and familiar surroundings to obey the word of the Lord that said, “Follow Me!”
Now, What is a comfort zone?
Comfort zones are:
the places where we feel safe,
where things are familiar and predictable,
where we feel in control,
where conflict is minimized and peace is maximized
Our comfort zones can become very addictive.
Many Christians have squandered away their promise and potential in God by clinging to their comfort zone.
But think with me——If Jesus had been that way He’d have never left heaven!
If John Wycliffe and William Tyndale had thought that way they’d have never risked their lives to translate our Bible into English.
If the Apostle Paul had lived that way we wouldn’t have Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and his other epistles.
Because some of them were written from prison, and all were written because—he had left his own comfort zone to reach the cities those churches were birthed in.
And think about this—if the early pioneers, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, Columbus, and other explorers—had not been willing to leave their comfort zones of home and country, America would not exist!
QUESTION: Today is God calling you to take some step of faith?
And then secondly,
II. By faith Abraham adapted his lifestyle to serve God’s will
It says, “9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.”
Abraham and his family transitioned from houses to tents.
Their standard of living completely shifted to accommodate God’s will.
For instance, we know that Abraham’s city, Ur of the Chaldees, was rich and prosperous.
There were large residential districts of one and two story houses.
The city itself was bustling with up to 250,000 citizens.
Ur enjoyed a thriving trade business with other lands.
It’s economy was humming.
Abram had likely learned a trade there.
Then one day he met a girl named Sarah and married her, no doubt believing he would raise a family and live in Ur till the day he died.
But the Bible says God interrupted all of that and called him out of his comfort zone with a promise that he would become the Father of Many Nations.
And that through his descendants all the nations of the earth would be blessed (by Jesus who would come from his lineage).
So the Bible says that at 75 years old he left his own country and people and started the long journey to an unknown land—the land of Canaan.
From then on houses, and many of the creature comforts he was used to, became a thing of the past.
Living out what the Apostle Paul would one day write—he refused to be “conformed to this world…”
—He didn’t care what the Jones’s thought.
—Or how big a house his former neighbors had.
Abraham adapted his lifestyle to accommodate God’s will.
He and his family happily lived in tents, strangers in a strange land, to the day they died.
QUESTION: Have you adapted your lifestyle to accommodate God’s will?
III. By faith Abraham lived his life with a laser focus on the promises of God
And not just the promise of Canaan, but:
“…he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
This is talking about heaven and the city of the New Jerusalem:
John the Revelator saw the beautiful city every true child of God will live in!
Rev. 21: 2 “Then I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”
—His eye of faith was fixed on the promise of that prize!
Again he echoes the Apostle Paul’s focus, “18 We have sufferings now, but they are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us.”—Romans 8:18
And because of Abraham’s life of faith:
12 “…from this one man…came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”
—By faith in God, Abraham became the father of the Jewish race!
Is God calling you to step out of your comfort zone for something he wants you to do?
Have you adapted your lifestyle to accommodate God’s will?
Is your primary focus on your problems, or on the promises of God?
Here's whats going on...