We are being conditioned out of neccesity to be sceptical people. We are always told that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. I heard this week, and maybe you did as well about an 81 year old man who was con'd out of $40,000 by a Canadian con artist. I guess us Canadians are getting quite a reputation for the art of phone scams. I am sure that most of you here have either been approached by one of these crooks, or that you know someone who has. You know the routine. They call and promise you a car, or a large sum of money and all you have to do is send $1000 (or whatever the amount may be) in order to have that car shipped to your house or money wired to your account. The outcome is inevitable, the prize is a scam and you will lose a lot of money. What a tradegedy of our society that people would stoop so low to steal from those who make themselves vulnerable. But what I believe is even more serious than the fact that some will lose money to these phone operations is that there is a wide spread loss of trust and a disbelief in the genuiness of peoples kindness. We have a hard time beleiving someone would do something nice for us without wanting something in return. Haven't you noticed that this has happened. We aren't the only people to have lived like this. For we see that Abraham had the same problem. Even though he had heard through the coventant in chapter 12 that he would be a father of a great nation and that he would be given the land of Cannaan, chapter 15 leads Abraham back to doubting what God has already promised him. He looks more like a doubting Thomas rather than a father of a great nation. Have you ever fealt like this yourself. You feel that you are unworthy of God's love even though He says that He loves you. (John 3:16). Are you doubting verses like John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the
right to become children of God -- (NIV)
It's easy to fall into doubt about these promises of God. Those moments where you wonder how God could love me after all the times I have messed up. This morning maybe you sit here and feel inadequate or you doubt the promises of God salvation and the eternal security that each person has when they accept Christ as their Saviour. I want to encourage you with Abraham's doubt. I want to show you how Abraham came through his doubt as we look at 4 assurances that Abrham could cling to in the midst
of his doubt.
ASSURANCE #1: ABRAHAM'S WORST DOUBTS WERE INTERNALIZED (V 1 AND CHAPTER 14)
The first assurance that Abraham could cling to was that his worst doubts were internalized. His worst enemy was himself. This should be a great assurance for each of us to know that most situations are worst played out in our minds. We have thoughts like, I have sinned worse than any other person in the world or I have been such a terrible Christian how could God still love me. When we live for Christ we must realize that we need to be striving after the things of God, but we must also not get caught in the trap of self-doubt and doubt God's promises of forgiveness.
i) Abraham seemed to have his life together It seems odd to me the way Genesis 15 begins to play out. After this... it begins. What was this referring to. It was referring to Abraham's great and miraculous victory over the eastern Kings. It would seem to me that Abraham had his life in order. Why would God say AFTER THIS... THE LORD SAID "DO NOT BE AFRAID, ABRAM I AM YOUR SHIELD". Why would Abraham be afraid. His doubt was based in internal assumptions. We need to realize that Abraham's problems were largely not with the physical world, but with his internal emotional misconceptions. If he would have stopped to look around him he could have seen evidenced God's hand upon his life. He however, choose to forget that God was in control.
In my first year of Bible School I had a friend who lived just across the hall from me. He had grown up in a Christian home and had gone to church all his life. He seemed to be doing well, he did his devotions, all the rest. But half way through the second semester my friend began to have doubts. He believed that God could not love him. He believed that he had sinned so severely that God could not forgive him. I remember we sat up for hours praying with him talking with him. He was counselled by proffessors and counselors on the facts that God loved him. He couldn't accept it. It was a long semester to which he dropped out. Why? Because of internal problems. On the outside he knew all the verses he had the good Chritian background, but internally he couldn't accpet the love and grace of God. You would quote verses likeTitus 3:4-5 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (NIV) These verse meant nothing to him. Now I know this is an extreme case, but maybe you sit here and wonder if God could love you. You maybe wrestle with internal doubts take rest in the assurance that these doubts are created from internal misconceptions rather than God's Word. For when you accpet Christ as your Saviour you have many promises to claim from God's word and that is a great assurance