Summary: A sermon that helps us to understand the true meaning of a biblical faith in God.
One day, a little girl is sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly notices that her mother has several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?" she asks. Her mother replies, "Well, every time you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white." The little girl thinks about this awhile, then asks, "So how come ALL of Grandma's hairs are white?"
"Lessons for Life Pt 2"
Learning to Lean
Hebrews 11:8 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.
Introduction: Let me ask you a question. How would you define real biblical faith? I mean if the average person on the street asked you to explain what faith is, what would you say? Many of us would probably quote from Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Or we could read from a different version like the English Standard Version, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." But to many folks, especially those we are seeking to reach for Christ, a quote from the Bible would most likely go right over their heads or "in one ear and out the other." For many faith is an intangible thing, difficult to understand and fraught with misinformation and misunderstanding. There are several reasons I would think for this. One would be that the culture in which we live is ignorant of what real faith is. They talk about "the man upstairs" or "the big guy in the sky" and use other types of terms that indicate a total lack of understanding what faith is. I have found that many in the Christian community have a non-biblical or extra biblical understanding of faith. The "name it and claim" and the "believe it and receive it" crowd have done much to confuse and confound this important subject. Our text teaches us how important biblical faith is. Some teaching on faith is like a story I read:
ILL - An English preacher in India was preaching through an interpreter once began his sermon on 'faith' with the sentence: "Now faith is both abstract and concrete," and he paused for the interpreter. The interpreter translating what had been said replied, "So far the preacher hasn't said anything, but when he does I will let you know."
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Biblical faith is real and we need it to experience it and know what it is. I may not be able to define to some folks satisfaction but it is real. Sometimes I'm like:
FEELING A TUG
ILL - A small boy was flying a kite one April afternoon when a low drifting cloud encircled the kite and hid it from view. A man passing by asked the little boy what he was doing with that string in his hand.
"I'm flying my kite," the child responded.
The man, looking up and seeing only the cloud said, "I don't see a kite up there anywhere."
The little boy replied, "I don't see it either, but I know it's up there because every once in a while there's a tug on my string."
Though often appearing foolish to a sophisticated world, I still cling to God and keep looking up... and every once in a while... I feel a tug!
(From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, The Altar of Sacrifice, 4/28/2011)
But the truth is that most of us learn from reading or learning about faith in the lives of others whether they are people we know personally or characters from the Bible. This morning I want us to look at the lives of Abraham and Sarah to see what we can learn from their journey of faith.
ILL - First, we see Abraham:
I. Walking in Faith
Hebrews 11:8 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. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
a. His was an acquiesced faith
Notice that Abraham was "called" by God. We probably don't appreciate this call unless we understand that up until this call he and his family were polytheists and pagans, that is they worshipped many gods and their gods were idols of their own making. When Abraham obeyed he was separating himself from idols to worship the one true and living God and he ultimately would separate himself from his family as well. Abraham had to make a decision to trust Jehovah and His word or remain where he was. He chooses to trust God and that is the substance of faith!