Summary: Four truths about Abraham’s faith and how they relate to our commitment to giving our offering to God.
OPEN: Several years back a woman wrote this letter to Ann Landers
“Dear Ann Landers:
The letter from the woman married to the tightwad …reminded me of my wonderful aunt. Aunt "Emma" was married to a tightwad who was also a little strange. He made a good salary, but they lived frugally because he insisted on putting 20 % of his paycheck under the mattress (he didn’t trust banks.)
The money, he said, was going to come in handy in their old age. But when "Uncle Ollie" was 60, he was stricken with cancer. Toward the end, he made Aunt Em promise, in the presence of his brothers that she would put the money he had stashed away in his coffin so he could buy his way into heaven if he had to.
They ALL knew he was a little odd, and this was clearly a crazy request. Aunt Em did promise, however, and assured Uncle Ollie’s brothers that she was a woman of her word and would do as he asked.
The following morning she took the money (about $26,000) to the bank and deposited it. When he died 4 days later… she wrote a check and put it in the casket.”
APPLY: Uncle Ollie had made a decision: to trust his money for the promise of security. He had decided that putting money under his mattress would protect him in his old age. But he was wrong… his “old age never came - He died!
And Uncle Ollie had decided that his money could buy him the security of heaven. But he was wrong… money couldn’t buy him so much as a postage stamp area within the halls of heaven.
I. There are many people who are not quite as brazen about trusting their money as “Ollie” was. But there are a lot are of people who put their faith in their finances.
If they have money… they feel they have the promise of safety and security. Money serves as a buffer against tragedy and failures and difficulties of life.
Now… the Bible DOES say that we should be good stewards of what God’s given us.
“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4)
“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” (Proverbs 12:24)
And in the New Testament we’re told the same thing. Paul noticed that some Christians were getting so “heavenly minded” they were becoming freeloaders: “… even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)
BUT Paul warned Timothy to “Command those who are rich in this present world not… to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17)
In other words: God’s people need to make a decision NOT to trust money for their promise of security. We need to put our hope in God, not in our the contents of billfold or checking account… because only God can give us what we really want.
The writer of Hebrews 6:12 tells us “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
(REPEAT) We must imitate those who thru faith and patience… inherited what has been promised. (pause) The Bible tells me that Abraham was a man of promise.
In fact, the Bible tells me that Abraham was one of the greatest men of the whole Bible.
Romans 4:3 “…Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
Romans 4:16 “…the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring…. He is the father of us all.”
Abraham was a great man and what made Abraham great was his faith.
When God made a promise… Abraham believed God. And because of his faith, Abraham received what God had promised him.
So… Abraham was a great man and he was a great man because he was a man of faith.
II. Now, Genesis 22 tells us some very intriguing things about Abraham’s faith
1st it tells us that Abraham faith required him to make a decision.
This was not a casual commitment Abraham was being asked to make. It was a hard decision. He was being asked to sacrifice his son. To give his son totally to God. To surrender the one thing in the world that he loved the most, next to God Himself. This was not a CASUAL commitment God was asking of Abraham.