Summary: Abraham’s faith is an excellent example that must be imitated by Christians.
LIVING BY FAITH
ILLUSTRATION Two boys were playing in the snow one day, when one said to the other, "Let us see who can make the straightest path in the snow." His companion readily accepted the proposition, and they started. One boy fixed his eyes on a tree, and walked along without taking his eyes off the object selected.
The other boy set his eyes on the tree also, and, when he had gone a short distance, he turned, and looked back to see how true his course was. He went a little distance farther, and again turned to look over his steps. When they arrived at their stopping place, each halted and looked back. One path was true as an arrow, while the other ran in a zigzag course.
"How did you get your path so straight?" asked the boy who had made the crooked steps. The other boy said, "I just set my eyes on the tree, and kept them there until I got to the end; while you stopped and looked back and wandered out of your course."
This is a perfect picture of the Christian life. If we fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perferter of our faith then we would able to walk a straight path in life. Many have followed this admonition in the past and they were able to live a life of faith, one of them is Abraham. Why should we examine the life of Abraham?
• He was God’s instrument in pioneering the nation Israel.
• He was called the friend of God. (Isaiah 41:8)
What can we learn from the life of Abraham? Read Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.
1. He Promptly Obeyed God’s Calling. (vv. 8-10)
ILLUSTRATION Someone once wrote and asked Emily Post, the etiquette expert of another generation, "What is the correct procedure when one is invited to the White House but has a previous engagement?" Replied Post, "An invitation to dine at the White House is a command, and it automatically cancels any other engagement." THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ABRAHAM WHEN INVITED BY GOD.
Read verse 8. This verse in its original language indicates a very prompt obedience. It means that he obeyed the call while it was still sounding in his ears. What was the calling? Read Genesis 12:1-5. Abraham’s response was significant due to the nature God’s calling.
• The calling requires leaving his familiar environment. (Genesis 12:1) “Your country, your people, and your father’s household,” these are expressions of security and familiarity of environment that Abraham needs to abandon.
Application Living by faith demands obedience which may requires leaving our familiar and secure environment. This may not necessarily be our country, people and household but perhaps our former way of life, our peer groups, our worldly habits and vices, the places we hang out and associate our selves. I know it is not easy but that is the way to live by faith. (Read Ephesians 4:17-24)
• The calling requires embracing a great responsibility. (Genesis 12:2-3) God’s concept of greatness is not just a position of authority and prosperity. Greatness in the mind of God is a position of humility and service. (Read Matthew 20:25-28)
Application Living by faith requires obedience which leads to embracing a great responsibility. God promises reigning with Him in glory but also serving him in the interest of His kingdom – worship, nurture, evangelism, mission, and service.
• The calling requires accepting huge sacrifices. (Genesis 12:4-5) Abraham was not in an ideal situation when he said yes to God. He was 75 years old, married, and with a nephew. He traveled with his properties and servants.
Our sacrifices can be in the form of persecution, sufferings, temptations, and giving up of old habits. (Read Hebrews 13:15-16)
What can we learn from the life of Abraham about faith? Living by faith demands prompt obedience to God’s calling. Prompt obedience that requires leaving your familiar environment, embracing great responsibility, and accepting huge sacrifices.
2. He Fervently Believed God’s Plan. (vv. 11-12)
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born and when it was revealed he was going to have his own son Sarah was 89 years. Because of Abraham’s faith, they were enabled to become father and mother of many nations. Prior to this event, Abraham had another plan. (Read Genesis 15:1-6) However, God said that his heir would be his own flesh and blood. Sarah too had a different plan. (Read Genesis 16:1-5)
Living by faith demands adopting God’s plan in place of our own personal plans. At times, God’s plan looks inconceivable but as always we are reminded of the fact that nothing is impossible with God. Perhaps before you came to know God through His son Jesus Christ you have already laid out the plan for your life. But now that you have followed the Lord Jesus Christ, be ready to make some changes and adjustment.