Last week we began our study of Abram, the man God chose to begin the great nation of Israel. We examined the call of God in the sense that God’s call on our life is not about us, God’s call requires us to make sacrifices, God’s call comes with promises, and it requires us to step out on blind faith.
Let’s refresh ourselves on the biblical definition of faith: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
When Abram “went forth as the Lord had spoken to him…” he did so on faith. He did not know where he was going, he went because God said so. This began his journey with God. This began the process of Abram becoming a great man of God, known through the ages as a man of great faith. How did this come to pass?
We all, like Abram, begin our walk with God by faith. “By grace you have been saved through faith.” What I want us to see, through the life of Abram, are the various stages of faith. We go through stages in our faith. Today we are going to examine a growing faith.
Having a growing faith means:
I. We Go Deeper.
A. Deeper in what?
B. Abram moved deeper into the land God wanted to show him. Deeper into what God had called him to.
1. Abram did not just go to the border, cross over it and say “I’ve made it.” Pour the slab, get the bricks, build the house, we are here. No, he went deeper.
2. Vs. 6 “And Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh.”
C. I don’t believe we are meant to stay on the fringe of faith. I don’t think God desires us to stay on the outskirts of the abundant life. We need to be willing to go deeper into our walk with Christ. Deeper into what He has called us.
1. Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity…”
2. Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 3:1-2 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you mild to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not able,…”
D. We don’t want to go deeper in our walk, deeper into the Word, because it is going to make us aware of how unpopular it can make us. Try it. You’ll see.
1. The more we know, the more we are accountable for.
2. The deeper we dig into God’s word, the more we see His desire for holiness, we must pursue holiness more.
3. The deeper we go in our relationship with the Lord, the more we realize we are surrounded by the devil’s attacks.
4. The deeper we get with Christ, the more waves we are likely to cause.
E. Abram went as far down into Canaan as Shechem. This was about ¾ of the way down.
F. What did he begin to realize? The Canaanites were still in the land. He was in the thick of em.
G. WE find comfort in the name of Shechem. It means shoulder.
H. I got an email saying this is the most important part of the body. It is the shoulder where people lay their head when they need compassion. It is the shoulder that is cried on when people are hurting.
It is in those times of frustration, anxiety, unpopularity, when we have gone deeper in our calling, deeper into the fullness of knowing Christ, that we come to the shoulder of God for encouragement and compassion. It is when we come to the shoulder that we realize God’s presence.
II. Realize God’s Presence With Us. Vs. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram.
A. The fact that the Canaanite was in the land may be a problem for Abram. The comfort lies in the fact that God was also very present in Canaan.
B. Don’t forget for one minute that when God calls you somewhere, He is already there. He goes on before you preparing your way to arrive. He is walking with you along the way.
C. Jesus said in the great commission “…and make disciples of all nations…..and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
1. If we are going to make disciples, we gotta go deeper.
2. It means we have to be able to be surrounded by the things of this world, but not in fear of them.
3. When we go deeper and experience the things around us that make us uncomfortable, we can truly feel the presence of God with us.
D. When God is present with us, it is for a reason. He is doing a work around us. Even in the midst of wicked Canaanites, God was working, making promises to Abram.
1. “To your descendants I will give this land.”
2. How, Abram is not told how, but he has gone deeper into the calling of God, he is in the presence of God, so how is not important to Abram.
E. How is God going to bring the promises for your life to pass? I don’t know. You don’t either. We are not supposed to know all of the how’s with God. We are to continue growing in our faith, going deeper with God, realizing His presence in our life and then do what Abram did.
III. Worshipped God
A. “So, he built an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him.”
B. Part of growing in our faith means that we have genuine worship.
C. Abraham provides a good example of what worship is.
1. Praising God for who He is: God called Abram out of idolatry.
2. Praising God for what He has done: brought him safe thus far, showing him the land He said He would, His faithfulness.
3. Praising God for what He is going to do: “to your descendants I will give this land.”
D. How many of us truly worshipped the Lord today?
E. Too many times we try and alter the worship, instead of building altars and worshipping.
F. The altar is a memorial to God for His faithfulness. Your life should be the altar you build, a living memorial to God for His faithfulness.
1. Our attitudes
2. Our actions
3. Our songs
4. Our prayers
5. Our testimonies
6. Our meditation upon the Word
G. All of these should be reflective of God’s faithfulness, reflective of Who He is and what He has done and will do in our lives.
H. It is when we take time to worship God that we are able to continue to go deeper into His calling. We’ve been in His presence, reassured He is fulfilling His promises to us, and reassured of His faithfulness to continue fulfilling those promise.
I. Abram does this: vs. 8-9. Moved on, worshipped, moved on.
J. When we are growing in our faith, we find ourselves going deeper with God. Following His lead into depths we used to only imagine. Then we begin to realize how God’s presence is abiding with us, He reveals Himself to us in new and fresh ways, and as a result of all that, we begin to genuinely worship the Lord. This should be a continuous cycle in the life of the believer who is growing in their faith.
K. Is this evident in our lives today? A growing faith?