Summary: Abraham had faith to see the Invisible, choose the Imperishable and attempt the Impossible.
THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM
In the year 1870 the Methodists were having their annual conference in Indiana. At one point, the president of the college where they were meeting said, "I think we live in a very exciting age." The presiding bishop said, "What do you mean?" The college president responded, "I believe we are coming into a time of great inventions. I believe, for example, that men will fly through the air like birds." The Bishop said, "This is heresy! The Bible says that flight is reserved for the angels. We will have no such talk here." After the conference, the president, whose name was Milton Wright, went home to his two small sons, Wilbur and Orville. And you know what they did to their father's vision. The first Wright Biplane took to the air and made the first powered flight on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk.
Heb 11: 8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God 11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
1. He Saw the Invisible – vs. 8-14
By faith Abraham went where he was told to go. Even though it did not make sense to him, he went. As he traveled through Caanan he lived in a tent – a temporary structure - but he was looked forward to a "city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God".
Abraham did not live to see the fulfillment of that promise. Still, he believed God and went. The promises of God he "saw them and welcomed them from a distance". That is vision.
Webster's defines VISION as 1. The faculty of sight, 2. Unusual foresight, 3. A mental image produced by the imagination, 4. The experience of the supernatural as if with the eyes.
Vision is a mental picture of a desired future. It is a picture that can be seen of what is not yet, but of what can be. It is seeing God's heart for your future.
Vision . . . is a clear mental image of a preferable future, imparted by God to His chosen servants and is based upon an accurate understanding of God, self, and circumstance. - George Barna
How is your vision this morning? I don't mean your physical vision but your spiritual vision. What is your vision concerning your own life and ministry? Where has God said he is leading you? What is your vision for this church? Where is Lord taking us and what image or picture do you see of this church in the future?
Unfortunately too often we have very limited vision. Consider these famous predictions that underestimated the incredible power of vision. In 1943, the chairman of IBM Thomas Watson said, "I think there is a market for maybe five computers in the world." In 1977 the president and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation Ken Olson said, "There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home." In 1876 Western Union sent out a memo saying "The Telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication." In 1962 the Decca Recording company, turned down signing the Beatles: "We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out." In 1899 Charles Duell the commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents said, "Everything that can be invented has been invented."