Summary: What are you absolutely convinced of? In an ever changing world God is calling together a church that is standing firm, walking in faith. Only those who are convinced of who He is will stand.
What are you absolutely convinced of? Some people would say death and taxes; others would say love maybe family, but happens to absolutes when nothing seems to be going right? Inevitably something will come in everyone’s life that will shake him or her to the core, causing him or her to question everything. I’m sure those caught in the bushfires last year were convinced that they were safe and life was good. Things we thought were safe, things we relied upon are taken away, then what? So where do you find stability, where do you find something that is unshakable? Biblically we understand that there is someone that we know who is unchanging and unshakeable. He is not subject to our feelings or the circumstances of this world. He has plans and purposes for each of our lives that are perfect. Not only are His teachings true, but He is truth, are you absolutely convinced of that?
1. How do we go about being persuaded? (vs.18-19)
Paul is speaking about Abraham and more specifically about Abraham, an old man with no children, fathering a nation of people. Paul puts is to realistically, “even though such a promise seemed utterly impossible.” The amazing thing about Abraham, and why he is often referred to as a man of great faith is because the next statement Paul makes. In the face of utterly impossible circumstances Abraham’s faith did not weaken even though he was too old and Sarah had never been able to conceive children. Those are not things that would generally persuade someone to believe, yet Abraham knew God, that led him to strongly believe that if God promised it then it was going to happen.
We generally need lots of facts and figures to be persuaded. Before we make choices we do research, look through reports and websites and we allow that information to influence our decision-making. We will go one way or the other based on how we were persuaded by the information presented, but what happens when things aren’t going right and things seem hopeless? Knowing God gives us an anchor, a point of reference in stormy times that doesn’t change, which brings peace, no matter how difficult. Do you believe it?
2. Have you been convinced? (vs.20-21)
Paul goes further in his description of Abraham by saying this (read). Abraham did not waiver in his belief in God’s ability to fulfil His promise. Imagine you were in his position and God made that promise to you. It would be so hard to grow in your faith in God’s ability to produce a son between the ages of 75-99. It would only have gotten harder for most of us to believe; yet Abraham was absolutely convinced. The NASB says it like this, “and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” Abraham was convinced before God had completed or fulfilled the promise, before he had any sort of proof, in fact with any likelihood of it happening fading away. How was he so convinced?
Many of you have been in church for quite some time. You have probably seen or heard testimony of people being healed miraculously, a story of people in desperate need and at their moment of need God responds supernaturally. We have all heard and read stories like this in church or in the bible, proof of God’s ability to fulfil His promises, yet in our moments where things aren’t happening how we thought, the temptation is to falter in our belief. We should be convinced absolutely from what we’ve heard or seen, but doesn’t come from there, faith is birthed out of having met God. Once you have experienced God personally you will be convinced.
3. Faith comes before seeing (vs.22-24)
It was Abraham’s faith in who God is, not what he had seen God do, that caused him to grow and walk fully convinced in God’s abilities. Paul says that his faith in God was credited to him as righteousness. The Greek word used here is “dik-ah-yos-oo’-nay” meaning Righteousness: The state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God, attaining a state approved of God (integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting). Simply put, by living life absolutely convinced of God Abraham lived a life that pleased God. This comes by faith and not by sight.
Faith will always have to be a major component of the Christian life. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). We walk through life believing God for every step and every moment of our future. Only when we walk in faith can we honor God with our footsteps, in complete reliance on Him. We trust in His ability to get me what I want, this sort of faith is doomed to fail. We trust in His ability to fulfill His promises and that His plans for my life are perfect. This isn’t an easy way to walk through life in one sense because we often like to understand everything that’s going on around us. It is easy in another sense because we understand that God, the creator of everything, knows what is going on and I trust Him. Are you living a life of faith that pleases God?