Summary: Abraham was known as the Father of Faith and is a pattern for fathers even today. How do we activate our faith so that we can become strong in faith before our families? This scripture gives us some clues.
Being Fully Persuaded
INTRODUCTION: Today is Father’s Day. You can probably look back and remember some of the “words of wisdom” your father said to you over the years. You probably have at one time or another passed these same sayings along to your children and grandchildren. See if any of them sound familiar to you:
1. Don’t ask me; ask your mother.
2. Close the door; Were you raised in a barn?
3. Don’t worry; it’s only blood.
4. A little dirt never hurt anyone; just wipe it off.
5. Keep your eye on the ball.
6. This will hurt me a lot more than it will hurt you.
7. Do I look like I’m made of money?
8. No, we’re not lost!
9. No, we’re not there yet.
10. As long as you live under my roof, you’ll live by my rules.
11. I’ll tell you why; because I SAID SO, that’s why.
12, You throw like a girl.
13. I’m not sleeping; I was watching that show.
14. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
15. What did I just get finished telling you?
16. Don’t make me stop this car.
17. Men are like buses; just wait on the corner and another one will come along.
18. What part of “no” don’t you understand?
19. If you’re gonna be dumb, you’ve gotta be tough.
Did you recognize any of these? Are you beginning to sound like your father?
Story: A little boy and his father were talking about what boys know and what their fathers know. The boy asked, “Do fathers always know more than their sons?”
“Yes,” answered the father.
“Who invented the telephone?” the boy asked.
“Alexander Graham Bell,” replied the father.
“Well, then, if fathers always know more than their sons, why didn’t Alexander Graham Bell’s father invent the telephone?”
In today’s scripture Abraham was called the “father of us all.” In what way? He was the father of faith to all who believed--the Jews, the Gentiles--to us today. Abraham became a pretty important pattern or example of faith to his family as well as families down through history. He was brought into right standing or right relationship with God simply by faith rather than by working hard to keep the law as people tried to do later on in history. In fact, Abraham’s right standing was independent of the Mosaic law. He was justified by faith over 400 years before the law was given.
1. Accessing Faith for Salvation: We can call Abraham the father of faith not because he got God’s attention by living “like a saint” but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody while he was still on the “outs” with God.
Many people say, “I’ve got to get my life straightened out first before I come to God or come to church. I’ve got to quit this habit or that habit first. I’ve got to quit first and then I will come.” No, you do it the other way around. When you come to God by faith, then he will begin to take care of the problem. Sometimes we try to “help God out” too much.
Abraham shows us that we are brought into right standing with God not by our works or by anything we try so hard to live up to but by faith. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own. This is hard for us to grasp because we always think we have to DO something or LIVE UP TO something. From his example, we can start the process in the same way today. Verse 23 says, “the words, ‘it was credited to him” were written not to him alone but also for us to whom God will credit righteousness (right standing) for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
What would it matter to you whether a right relationship with God is a GIFT to be received or a PRIZE to be earned? For one thing we would never know if we had done enough to earn it.
Ephesians 2:8 tells us that our salvation is a GIFT rather than a prize to be earned. “For it is by grace [unmerited favor] you have been saved through faith and this is not of yourselves. It is the GIFT of God not by works so that no one could boast.” Paul wrote these words years later, but they were the same thing that Abraham had learned years earlier.
The starting point for Abraham was faith + nothing. Same for us today. We are saved through faith in Jesus + nothing else. Anything we receive from God is accessed by faith--Abraham our “father of faith” ENTERED INTO what God was doing for him and that was the turning point of his life. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.