Summary: By faith Abraham obeyed the call of God; by faith Abraham patiently waited for the promise of God.
THE LIFE OF FAITH IS THE ONLY LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD.
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT).
Abraham OBEYED a GOD he had never seen.
Abraham PATIENTLY WAITED for a CITY he had never seen.
He walked by FAITH, not by SIGHT.
Scripture calls Abraham “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:12).
As Abraham’s spiritual descendants, we are expected to walk as he did: “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
I have never witnessed the glory of God as Moses did. I have never seen the nails wounds in Jesus’ hands like Thomas did. I have never seen the Spirit descending like a dove as the disciples did. I have never received a vision of heaven like John did. Yet I live in the conviction of all these things by faith. I have banked my earthly life and my earthly destiny on these things which I have never seen.
THE PEOPLE OF GOD HAVE ALWAYS LIVED BY FAITH.
I. BY FAITH ABRAHAM OBEYED THE CALL OF GOD (v. 8).
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”
Genesis 12:1—“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”
The land that God would show Abraham was the land of Canaan: “a place which he should after receive for an inheritance.”
God told Abraham to leave everything and Abraham obeyed. He obeyed an invisible God’s command to go to an unknown place.
FAITH AND OBEDIENCE CAN NEVER BE SEVERED. OBEDIENCE IS FAITH’S DAUGHTER.
Others in the Bible received a similar call:
• Matthew—“. . . [Jesus] went forth and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him” (Luke 5:27-28).
• Zacchaeus—“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully” (Luke 19:5-6).
• Saul of Tarsus—“And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. . . . And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus” (Acts 9:6, 8).
Abraham, Matthew, Zacchaeus, and Saul all had one thing in common: they left their old way of life to embrace a new one with God.
Joshua proclaimed to the children of Israel that before God called Abraham, he “served other gods” (Joshua 24:2).
John MacArthur writes, “When anyone comes to Jesus Christ, God demands of him a pilgrimage from his old pattern of living into a new kind of life, just as Abraham’s faith separated him from paganism and unbelief and started him toward a new land and a new kind of life” [The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Hebrews, p. 328].
John 10:27—“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Vance Havner once said, “You have not really learned a commandment until you have obeyed it. . . . The church suffers today from Christians who know volumes more than they practice” [Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes, p. 588].
The opposite of obedience is REBELLION. Rebellion is wanting to do what I want to do. This really is the essence of sin.
Sin is doing what I want to do even though it offends God, even though it may hurt others, and even though it may hurt myself in the end.
We were all born into this world as rebels. No one has to teach a child how to be selfish.
2 Corinthians 5:17—“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Romans 12:2—“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
God has called His people to be holy. The root meaning of holiness is separation, being set apart for God.
Jesus once said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). What did Lot’s wife do? She looked back.