Summary: To help better understand the importance of faith and obedience
FAITH WITHOUT OBEDIENCE IS DEAD
INTRODUCTION: Turn first to Genesis 12:1, and we will read verses 1-4 in this chapter of God’s Word in conjunction with what we have already read. The world would have never heard about Abraham had he not obeyed the command of God given in Gen. 12:1-4.
This was Abraham’s first experience with God. He had been born and raised in the land of the Ur of the Chaldees, Gen. 11:28. This would be the present Iraq, and at the time of Abraham, it was a land of idol worship. It is not likely that Abraham had heard of or from the God of heaven before this time. I see in this event the overwhelming of the presence of God. Abraham completely concedes his will and position to God. When a person comes in contact with God in the manner Abraham did, he will follow Him.
I. ABRAHAM’S OBEDIENCE WAS A COMPLIMENT OF HIS FAITH
A. There Were No Questions Asked.
Gen. 12:4, “...so Abraham departed...”.
I believe this is the same principle that James wrote about (James 2:20 KJV) "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
(James 2:26 KJV) "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
Obedience is the name tag for faith. No obedience - no faith. You will not live in obedience without faith, and neither will you live in faith and be disobedient. Jesus instructed His disciples, “If ye love me keep my commandments.”
Abraham was given a promise that was out of this world. It would seem too good to be true. A promise that would seem impossible to really happen; some voice out of the sky saying, “I will make a great nation”; I will bless all the families of the earth”. How would you feel to know that you were a blessing to all of the earth?
There were no questions asked.
B. There Were No Conditions Demanded.
Abraham didn’t bargain with God. He didn’t require any special benefits before he agreed to follow.
Let’s see the hands of those of you that would do what Abraham did. Would you leave your home, your family, and the land you loved and were secure in, for a place somewhere in the wild blue yonder? Abraham did. The destination was to be God’s choice. Perhaps everyday, Abraham would ask God, “Is this it”? Or, “Are we almost there yet?” God would reply, “No, keep on going.” Abraham would turn around to the camel train, and say, “Camels, Ho!”
His obedience was a compliment of his faith.
II. ABRAHAM’S OBEDIENCE WAS A COMMITMENT HE FOLLOWED.
A. Total Expectation Was Of God. Abraham fully expected God to provide any and everything that would be needed for the journey that he was beginning. How do we know that? By the fact that, “….Abraham departed…”. The journey would never have started if Abraham had not been expectant of God to fulfil His promise.
Gen. 15:6 says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Faith brought righteousness. Obedience brought faith.
If we are ever to be in a position to see what Abraham saw we must be committed in obedience. Do right no matter the situation.
B. Obedience Must Come Before Experience.
This was a new relationship for Abraham. There had not been years of experience in this matter of faith, and knowing the faithfulness of God. Abraham must act in obedience before he will see the working hand of God.
The principle is the same for everyone here today. Most will never see what Abraham did because of the lack of “obedience”.
God says to you – “Step out further in Christian service.”
“Involve yourself more in soulwinning.”
“Lead your family closer to the Lord.” Yet most of you never “depart” the present life style. Therefore you will never be in a position to experience what Abraham did.
Abraham took his wife Sari, and his nephew Lot to Canaan with him Those who travel to Canaan, or maybe we should say, “following God in obedience”, will take others with them. Abraham left all and followed God. Sari left all and followed her husband. Ladies, you are not a good Christian unless you follow your husband’s faith. What if his faith is small? Follow him anyway.
(Matthew Henry) Abram believed that the blessing of the Almighty would make up for all he could lose or leave behind, supply all his wants, and answer and exceed all his desires; and he knew that nothing but misery would follow disobedience. Such believers, being justified by faith in Christ, have peace with God. They hold on their way to Canaan. They are not discouraged by the difficulties in their way, nor drawn aside by the delights they meet with. Those who set out for heaven must persevere to the end. What we undertake, in obedience to God’s command, and in humble attendance on his providence, will certainly succeed and end with comfort at last. Canaan was not, as other lands, a mere outward possession, but a type of heaven, and in this respect the patriarchs so earnestly prized it.