Summary: The life of faith as demonstrated by Abraham
Text: Hebrews 11:8-19 Title: The Life of Faith
Last Sunday we looked at the verse “And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (v6)
Faith is 1. Coming to God. 2. Believing that he exists. 3. Earnestly seeking him so that he can rewards us.
We will look today at one man who more than any other person lived the life of faith. This man is considered the father of faith. Over 30% of Hebrews chapter 11 is devoted to him. He is mentioned by name in 16 of the 39 OT books and in 11 of the 27 NT books of the bible. His name is Abraham. He was not a perfect person. He messed up a few times but he is someone who can help us understand more than any other person about this life of faith. The verses we will look at are only a summary. You can find more of the details by reading Gen 12-25.
When does this life of faith begin? How does this life of faith work? What can you expect to see happen in this life of faith? What should you look out for in this life of faith?
The life of faith always begins with the call to faith.
1. The call to faith. (v8)
“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.”
You sense God calling you and you obey by responding in faith. Sometimes calls people to faith in a supernatural and spectacular way but more times it is something you sense inside you.
In Abraham’s case we are told in Genesis 12v1 “The Lord had said to Abram (his old name) leave…” and Abraham obeyed…(Heb 11:8) “Even though he did not know where he was going.”
This call to faith is all new to Abraham. He did not grow up in a family which served God. He had never gone to church. He had never met a single believer. He had lots of questions. The biggest one being “Where am I going?
For those of us who are first generation Christians this call to faith was and is still new to us. Many of us had…
1.Lots of questions and very few answers
2.learning it all as we go along
I have never seen Christian tv/radio/ music. I didn’t even know such things existed. I had seen a Bible but never owned one. Never knew a Bible verse. I just knew God was calling me to faith in Jesus Christ and in 1988 I obeyed. “Not knowing where I was going.”And I trust that all of us here have heard that call to faith in Christ and have obeyed.
But there is more to the life of faith that needs to be addressed.
2. The conformity to faith (v9-10; 13-16)
“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. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God…
“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. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left they would have had opportunity top return. 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.”
God’s hope is that we are all still living by faith when we die. That we not only start well but also finish well. This is only possible if the believer is conformed by God to living out the life of faith. How many times do we see people start well but then end up falling away from the faith? They take advantage of the opportunity to go back to where they came from. They give up the life of faith and settle for business as usual.
Other things choke out the life of faith. It could be their possessions. It could be their priorities. It could be a change in passion. They have become too worldly.
Abraham did not put his faith in things. Things did not control his life. He did not allow himself to be tied down by things. The bible tells us he “lived in tents.” The bible tells us he considered himself a stranger in the world. Now God is not against us owning nice things. What he is against is nice things owning us. To be conformed by faith is to see and think differently than the world sees and thinks. The world only sees and thinks about this life. The person who is being conformed by faith sees and thinks more about the life to come.