Summary: Why was Abraham called the Father of all who believe, and what can that mean to us?
There’s a children song I’d like you to sing with me this morning. It’s a fairly long drawn-out action song with quite a few body motions, so I’m only going to ask you to do a couple of the hand motions with me this morning. It’s called “Father Abraham” and it only has one verse. Sing it with me:
“Father Abraham had many sons, Many sons had Father Abraham. And I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord. Right arm (the audience should start pumping their arm in the air until the verse has been resung, at which point, I’d say “Right arm, left arm” and they’d pump both arms in the air)
The song ends each verse with another motion. There’s Right Arm”; then “Left Arm”; then “Right Leg”; then “Left Leg”; then “Turn Around;” and finally “Sit Down.”
Little kids really love that song because it’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s a chance to act really goofy. But it’s more than that! It’s also a song that teaches a deep Biblical truth. And that truth is this: Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is a child of Abraham. If you belong to Jesus Christ, you are son/daughter of Abraham.
That’s what Paul tells us in Romans: “(Abraham) received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had BY FAITH while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe… 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, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations.” Romans 4:11, 16-17
What Paul was saying was Abraham was the father of those who all those have had faith in God. First for the Israelites under the Old Testament, and for all those who believed in Christ in the New Testament. And it was through Jesus that the promise to Abraham was fulfilled that he would be The Father Of Many Nations.
The focus is on FAITH. God wants us to be a people of faith, and he chose Abraham to be an example of what faith looks like because he was going to be the Father of all those who believe.
So what is it about Abraham’s faith that we need to copy? Well 1st it’s important to realize that it wasn’t what Abraham DID - it was WHY he did what he did that made him our example.
You see, just like with Abel and Enoch who we preached about a couple weeks back, Abraham didn’t really DO all that much. He didn’t build any massive mansions or temples or great cities. He didn’t even own any property except a cave at Machpelah that he bought from the Hittites so he could bury his wife Sarah. Hebrews 11:9 tells us that “By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents.” He lived in a tent!!!!… That’s all he had to live in because he was literally living in a “foreign land.”
But IF he didn’t HAVE all that much and didn’t DO all that much, why does God think he was all that impressive? Hebrews 11:8 says it this way “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.”
He believed and THEN he obeyed. And he obeyed EVEN THOUGH he didn’t know where he was going.
Now, here’s the thing…. II Chronicles 16:9 says “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him….” God was looking for a man like Abraham. He was looking for someone who’d be “loyal to Him.”
What does it mean to be loyal? Well, a loyal friend is someone who will BE THERE when I need them. I can count on them. If I ask for help they’re the people I know who will SHOW UP.
Abraham was the kind of guy who would “show up.” Who would “be there” for God. If God said “I want something done” Abraham was the kind of guy who’d ask WHERE? and WHEN?. So when God told him “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1) that’s exactly what Abraham did!
But let me repeat - Abraham obeyed God even when he didn’t know where he was going. God called Abraham to leave his comfort zone and do something for Him.