Summary: Belief is not based on the information, but on the giver of the information!
WHAT DO I BELIEVE: ABRAM’S EXAMPLE
GENESIS 15: 1-21
JULY 25, 2004
INTRODUCTION: The content of belief is important: Jonathan Whitfield was preaching to coal miners in England. He asked one man, "What do you believe?" "Well, I believe the same as the church." "And what does the church believe?" "Well, they believe the same as me." Seeing he was getting nowhere, Whitfield said, "And what is it that you both believe?" "Well, I suppose the same thing."
SEEING IS BELIEVEING, OR IS BELIEVEING SEEING? (TOM HANKS CHRISTMAS MOVIE)
TRANSITION THOUGHT: This morning, I want us to start on a journey together of discerning just what we believe. This is a journey of faith. BUT, what is faith? What is real faith? What does it mean to believe? Today we embark on a journey and Abram will be our tour guide. The text Tony read places us a few years down the road in the life and times of Abraham. To this point he has not experienced a name change, but he has experience the name changer. And in so doing, has believed the promiser of the promise!
THESIS SENTENCE: Belief is not based on the information, but on the giver of the information!
I. FAITH IS A GOD ENCOUNTER VV. 1, 4, 9, 17, & 18
A. A GOD ENCOUNTER IS HIS WORD! VV. 1 &4
B. A GOD ENCOUNTER IS THE MESSAGE! V. 1
C. A GOD ENOUNTER IS HIS PRESENCE! V. 17
D. A GOD ENCOUNTER IS MEETING WITH GOD! V. 18
ILLUSTRATION: Gene Mims in Kingdom Principles for Church Growth said, “The purpose of worship is to come before the Lord in obedience to praise Him, to hear from Him, to confess to Him, and to commit our lives to Him. Every worship service is to be an encounter with the Lord, transcending our feelings, desires, and even our abilities to perform.” Contributed by: Dan Cormie
TRUTH: FAITH IS WRAPPED UP IN MEETING WITH GOD!
QUESTION: ARE YOU READY TO RENDEZVOUS WITH GOD?
II. FAITH IS A QUESTION ASKED VV. 2-3, 8
A. A QUESTION ASKED IS FRUSTRATION?
B. A QUESTION ASKED IS CLARITY?
C. A QUESTION ASKED IS REALITY!
D. A QUESTION ASKED IS MORE THAN AN HEIR!
ILLUSTRATION: JUST LISTENING
Dan Rather, CBS anchor, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, "I listen."
So Rather turned the question and asked, "Well then, what does God say?" To that Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, "He listens".
SOURCE: As quoted in Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado, p. 71.
Contributed by: Darren Ethier
Stanford Research Institute was studying the differences in vocational perceptions. They devised a short but succinct test. The first to be tested was an engineer. The researchers asked him: “What does two plus two make?” The engineer simply said, “In absolute terms: four.” After making their notes and dismissing him, they called an architect. To the same question, he responded, “Well, there are several possibilities: two and two make four, but so does three and one -- or two point five and one point five -- they also make four. So, it is all a matter of choosing the right option.” The researchers thanked him and made their notes. Finally, they called an attorney. When he heard the question, he looked around slyly, asked if he could close the door for privacy, and then came over close, leaned toward them and said, “Well, tell me, what would you like it to be?” Contributed by: Greg Yount
TRUTH: GOD ALLOWS US TO SEEK UNDERSTANDING THROUGH QUESTIONS!
QUESTIONS: ARE YOU AFRAID TO ASK GOD? DO WE LISTEN? DO WE ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?
III. FAITH IS A PROMISE VV. 4-5, 7, & 18-20
A. A PROMISE IS AN ANSWERED QUESTION V. 4
B. A PROMISE IS “YOUR OWN BODY” HEIR V. 5
C. A PROMISE IS A REMINDER OF THE START V. 7
D. A PROMISE IS A COVENANT WITH GOD VV. 18-21
ILLUSTRATION: Writer and speaker Lewis Smedes says:
Yes, somewhere people still make and keep promises. They choose not to quit when the going gets rough because they promised once to see it through. They stick to lost causes. They hold on to a love grown cold. They stay with people who have become pains in the neck. They still dare to make promises and care enough to keep the promises they make. I want to say to you that if you have a ship you will not desert, if you have people you will not forsake, if you have causes you will not abandon, then you are like God. What a marvelous thing a promise is! When a person makes a promise, she reaches out into an unpredictable future and makes one thing predictable: she will be there even when being there costs her more than she wants to pay. When a person makes a promise, he stretches himself out into circumstances that no one can control and controls at least one thing: he will be there no matter what the circumstances turn out to be. With one simple word of promise, a person creates an island of certainty in a sea of uncertainty. When a person makes a promise, she stakes a claim on her personal freedom and power.