Summary: We have observed dead faith and demonic faith, both of which are useless to us. This lesson focuses in on dynamic faith which is essential. The lesson holds up Abraham and Rahab, two people at opposite ends of the spectrum as examples of proper faith.
1. Some apparent dilemmas:
• “Look before you leap” vs. “He who hesitates is lost.”
• Proverbs 26.4-5:
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
• Saved by Grace – Ephesians 2.8-10
• Justified by works – James 2.20-26
20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
• Both are right – On the one hand; and on the other
2. Faith is crucial to our walk with God
• Steadiness – Moses raising his hands; making the letter “Shin” -- Shaddai
• “Hear” = Obey
3. We have discussed Dead Faith; Demonic Faith; Now Dynamic Faith
4. Focus on two extremes – Abraham and Rahab
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. Hebrews 11.8-9
A. Abraham Took Direction from God
1. Prototype of Faith in Action
2. Especially in sacrifice of Isaac
3. “Here I Am” – Genesis 22.1 and 11
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.
The meaning is “I am here, ready, willing, and able to carry out you wishes.”
[I am told that when Marines have special respect for their commanding officers (especially their ship’s Captain), they will acknowledge the officer with coming to attention and a salute; the officer will return the salute and walk by the Marine – that’s what the regulations say to do; HOWEVER, if the Marine respects the officer, he will turn to hear any command that the officer may give as he passes.
B. Abraham Made THE Decision for God
1. The one significant decision we will make is to surrender to God; all others hinge on this one
a. “Surrender” is an interesting concept – depends on which side you are on – Victor or Victim: VJ Day; VE Day; Appomattox Court House
b. Paradox: 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16.24-26
c. We are not losers/victims in our surrender to God – Romans 8.31-39
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.