Summary: Did you hear about the 90 year old man who married a 90-year-old women? The couple immediately began looking for house next to an elementary school. That is faith, wouldn’t you agree?
Hi, I am Scott Maze and have the privilege of serving as pastor. Since we have opened our new building here in North Fort Worth, we have had so many new guests. We are so glad you are here and we invite you to complete the guest card in your worship guide, if you will.
Today, we continue our series on1of the most important men in all of the Bible as well as all of history: Abraham, the father of the faith (Romans 4:11b). Abraham is the pattern and the paragon of faith for all believers of all time. If you have your Bibles, would you turn to Romans 4 with me. If you didn’t bring a Bible, then you’ll find one under your seat in front of you. We’ll return to Genesis next week, but I thought we’d pause for a moment to see how the New Testament speaks of the importance of Abraham.
Did you know that your New Testaments mention Abraham more than seventy times? Your New Testament wants to teach you this simple truth: Abraham believed God and God calculated Abraham’s belief as if Abraham had never sinned. Abraham’s experience can be yours. Abraham gazed at his problems but remained glued to God’s promises. And you can be a child of Abraham.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…”
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:1–6; 16-25).
If you grew up inside a church, then you may have sung “Father Abraham.” Anyone sing this? It goes like this, “Father Abraham had many sons. Many sons had Father Abraham. And I am one of them and so are you.” I remember us singing it a version with our kids years ago. Essentially, who is Abraham and why would I want to be his son? How does being a son of Abraham benefit me?
I want you to remember five things this morning. Look with me at …
1. The Person
Verse 1 begins by asking what Abraham discovered. The question is answered in verses 2 through 5.
1.1 Who Was Abraham?
“What’s the big deal about Abraham?” you might ask. If you were a Jew, then you would know who Abraham was. Abraham is to our Jewish friends what George Washington is to Americans. Abraham is the father of the Jewish nation. Abraham is the first person who is chosen by God and Abraham is the founder of the nation, Israel. Abraham married Sarah and the two were really old but didn’t have any children. Abraham’s real claim to fame is this: God chose him and made some very special promises to him.
1.2 Abraham and the Gold Jacket
I’ve been telling you just how important Abraham was for Jews, Christians, and even Muslims. But did you know that many Jews felt Abraham was so good, he essentially saved himself? Yes, if morality were a sport, then Abraham would wear a Hall of Fame gold jacket because of his good deeds. He would be in Cooperstown for his life and banquets would be thrown in his honor. Let me show you have the average Jew thought about Father Abraham when your New Testament was written. The third division of the Jewish Mishnah make this statement about Abraham: “we find that Abraham our father had performed the whole Law before it was given” (The Talmud of Babylonia) And then another Jewish book written around one hundred years before Jesus, called the Jubilees, says this about Abraham: “Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with the Lord and was pleasing through righteousness all of the days of his life” (Jubilees 23:10). But your Bible gives an altogether different opinion on Abraham: “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God” (Romans 4:2).