Sermon:  A Faith that Moves You (part 2)


Summary:  True biblical faith moves us to go or stay where God desires and be patient with his timing.  This means avoidance of attachment to this world and investing ourselves physically and emotionally to our promised home and being willing to give up anything on this earth God calls us to.


Know:  Faith means entrusting our whole lives to God and doing as he instructs even if it does not seem profitable or sensible at the outset


Feel:  Trust in God to do life his way


Do:  discuss the characteristics of faith as demonstrated by Abraham and his family and highlight ways he demonstrated and struggled with faith.  Pain a timeless picture of faith from this and create personal illustrations, examples or stories to illustrated a characteristic of faith to motivate and encourage. 


Text:  Heb 11:8-19


Scripture Reading:  James 2:17-20



1.  Do you have faith in God?  What is faith?

            a.  Hebrews 11 reminds us what faith is

                        - It is not wishful thinking or believing in what you know isn't so

                        - It is believing in what you know IS so

            b.  v.1 - It is substance of things hoped for, conviction of unseen

            c.  Have seen that faith is a conviction that moves us

                        - To worship God faithfully

                        - To walk with God daily

                        - To work for God honorably

2.  A.W. Tozer said - "The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin."

            a.  It is as if faith and obedience are two legs that move you, need both

            b.  Text helps us to understand it so we can grow and nurture faith

            c.  v.2 By faith we gain approval of God

3.  Today's text a centerpiece of the chapter

            a.  Gospel story is beginning of God's unfolding Gospel

            b.  God calls Abraham, makes him a promise

                        - He would bless Abraham

                        - Would multiply his descendants into a nation with their land

                        - All the families of the earth would be blessed through his seed

            c.  Abraham believed, or had faith in God

4.  (Heb 11:8-19) - Learn more about faith from Abraham

            a.  He entrusted everything to God

            b.  He did as God instructed

            c.  He was moved by faith

            d.  So, we learn more about how faith moves us


I.  Moves us to go where God says (v.8-10)

            A.  When God says go, you go.  If he says stay, you stay.

            B.  Abraham's dreams, aspirations, career goals, etc. determined by God

                        1.  He was originally from Ur

                                    a.  A modern city with amenities, including running water

                                    b.  Living it a city, probably had a trade

                                    c.  Probably had a modern home

                        2.  One day God speaks to him

                                    a.  Go to a land I will show you

                                    b.  I'll bless you and make your name great

                                    c.  All the families of the earth will be blessed by you

                                    d.  Abraham was 75 years old at this point

                        3.  Imagine the conversation between him and his family

                                    a.  Honey!  Pack up!  We're moving!

                                    b.  We're moving?  What's this all about?

                                                - Did you get a transfer?   No

                                                - Did you get a new job?   Not really

                                                - Where are we moving to?   Not really sure

                                                - WHY?   God told me to.

                                    c.  Let me get straight - uproot us because a god told you to?

                                                - Remember they worshipped other gods, Josh 24:2

                                                - Now God has told them to leave

                                    d.  So, family and he moved to another world, strange one

                                                - Different culture

                                                - Different language

                                                - Unforeseen dangers

                        4. Whey they arrived in promised land, they lived in tents & stayed

                                    a.  Canaanites owned the land, no up for grabs, homestead

                                    b.  Abraham was just a guest, a wanderer - No roots

                                    c.  Then learned centuries before descendant possess it

                                                - Gen 15:16, God - "To your descendants I give land"

                                                - Would live rest of his life in tents

                                    d.  Stayed as an alien/guest/foreigner in the land of promise

                                                - Went from city dweller to tent dweller

                                                - Stayed in wilderness rest of his life

            C.  ILL:  Faith moves us to go or stay, whatever God says to do

                        1.  Law of pendulum - Pendulum swing smaller than original arc

                        2.  Ball swing on string, always stop just short of previous distance

                        3.  You believe in law of pendulum?

                        4.  Stand right in front of ball on string, let it swing.  You believe?

            D.  If have faith, will stay if God says to stay, or go if God says to go

                        1.  Is God calling you to go or stay?

                        2.  Could be any number of things in your life

                                    a.  Friendship to break off because leading you away

                                    b.  Maybe in a bad, ungodly relationship

                                    c.  Maybe an ungodly habit, behavior, attitude

                                    d.  Maybe called literally to move to serve God's mission

                        3.  Maybe God telling you to stay put

                                    a.  World throwing ball at you, tempted to move

                                    b.  Stay put in walk with God, word of God, prayer

                                    c.  Stay put in habit of meeting with other Christians

                                    d.  Many ways God calls us to stand fast

                        4.  Brings us to our next point...


II.  Moves you to patience (v.11-12)

            A.  Faith in God means waiting for his promises in his time

            B.  God has promised Abraham descendants to inherit and fill the earth

                        1.  Initially, when receive promise, Abraham 75 years old, Sarah 65

                                    a.  10 years went by, He is now 85, she was 75!

                                                - Nothing happened for the last ten years

                                                - We often criticize him for impatience

                                                - Wouldn't you get impatient after ten years?

                                    b.  Sarah gave Abraham Hagar as a surrogate mother

                                                - Son would be Abraham's and Sarah's son still

                                                - So, Abraham had first son, Ishmael

                                    c.  God visited Abraham again 15 years later

                                                - Ishmael is 15, Abraham is 100, Sarah is 75

                                                - God says you and Sarah are going to have son

                                                - Abraham laughed, Sarah laughed

                        2.  Did they laugh in unbelief?  (Rom 4:17-21)

                                    a.  Abraham had strong faith

                                    b.  He considered his own 100 yr old body, good as dead

                                    c.  Considered Sarah, well past childbearing years

                        3.  Why did he laugh?  Think about it!

                                    a.  ILL:  90 year old woman went on a date with a man

                                                - Talk with a friend the following day about it

                                                - Had to slap the man three times!
                                                - Did he get fresh with you?

                                                - No, I had to keep him awake

                                    b.  90 year old people don't have children!

                                    c.  How many over 90?  80?  70?  60?  Imagine this

                        4.  Takes patience, God does things by his own timing

            C.  ILL:  Reminded of Father teaching young son to save his money

                        1.  When piggy bank full, deposit in the bank, you get interest

                        2.  Finally the day came, opened account at bank

                                    a.  Deposited all his money from the piggy bank

                                    b.  Got a receipt and passbook

                                    c.  The manager of the bank waited on him

                                    d.  Boy got the royal treatment

                        3.  Afterward, the boy wouldn't leave

                                    a.  Bank manager ask, "Is something else I can help with?"

                                    b.  Boy asked, "I would like to get my interest"

                        4.  Didn't understand, have to have patience

            D.  God promised he would keep his promises, but in his own timing

                        1.  Rom 8:22-25 The Message paraphrase:  "All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy."

                        2.  We have patience, because we are expecting that God will

                             complete our joy like a mother expecting a child

                        3.  Bring us to our next point, why we have patience...


III.  Moves us to invest in the future (v.13-16)

            A.  We are not stuck in the past, or even in the present

            B.  Abraham's family was a living example of this

                        1.  Lived in faith, and died in faith

                        2.  v.10 - Looking for city with foundations. Builder, architect is God

                                    a.  Not looking for another Ur

                                    b.  Homes of this earth will get old and will pass away

                                    c.  Go to various homes and look.  They will be gone

                                                - Arlington National Cemetery - Used to be a home

                                                - Arlington house, Robert E Lee's home

                                                - No one's lives there, now it is a graveyard

                                                - Full of dead dreams, goals, aspirations

                                    d.  Abraham & family looking for a lasting home

                        3.  They were not stuck in the past

                                    a.  Mind not fixated on life in Ur

                                    b.  Didn't say, "What did we get ourselves into"

                                    c.  Didn't say, "My heart is in Ur"  or  "No place like Ur"

                                    d.  If mind was fixated on it, would have returned

                        4.  This is why they lived in tents the rest of their lives

                                    a.  They were looking to the future, God's future

                                    b.  They learned it would not come in their lifetime

                                    c.  They were okay with that, they were patient

                                    d.  Orientation was always to the future

            C.  ILL:  Once knew family who survived house fire, almost nothing left

                        1.  Friends went to help them sift through the remains to salvage

                        2.  People said, "How devastating this must be.  Lost everything"

                        3.  Response:  We didn't lose everything

                                    a.  Everything that burned up destined to be burned anyway

                                    b.  All this was just stuff

                                    c.  Real home is in Heaven, and it is fireproof

                        4.  Attitude and response had big impact on neighbors - Faith

            D.  True faith is emotionally invested in God's future for us

                        1.  This is why we as Christians are not attached to things in world

                        2.  This is why we handle disasters the way we do

                        3.  This is why we look to future, not stuck in the past


IV.  Moves us to give it all to God (v.17-19)

            A.  We entrust everything to God

                        1.  If God wants something we give it to him

                        2.  If God trust God and we do as he instructs us

            B.  Abraham is an example of this (Gen 22:1-18)

                        1.  Imagine what it must have been like

                                    a.  The way God describes Isaac a reminder

                                                - Reminder of how precious Isaac is to Abraham

                                                - Almost as if God invites Abraham to object as he did

                                                  with Sodom and Gomorrah

                                                - Abraham does not object this time

                                    b.  Imagine the long walk to Moriah

                                                -  Not much conversation between him and Isaac

                                                -  Ominous silence as they walked on

                                    c.  Would Abraham go through with it?

                                    d.  Builds altar, binds Isaac, places him on altar, raises knife

                        2.  What would you have done?

                                    a.  Would you object?

                                                - What about the promise of a son?

                                                - Since when are you into human sacrifice?

                                                - I'll give anything else, just not my son

                                    b.  Maybe you might question God

                                    c.  Or would you obey without question?

                        3.  What did Abraham do?

                                    a.  Said he and the lad would go worship AND return!

                                    b.  How would they return if Isaac a burnt offering?

                                    c.  Heb 11:19 - Knew God able to raise him from dead

                                    d.  Knife about to come down, God stops him

                        4.  v.12 - Look at what God says

                                    a.  Now I know you fear God since you did not withhold your

                                         only son, the son you love, from me

                                    b.  It was a TEST

                                    c.  Abraham passed the test, and his faith was strengthened

            C.  Jews call this passage the Akedah, the "binding"

                        1.  Since Genesis a book of firsts, some see this as a paradigm for

                             sacrifice to God

                                    a.  Sacrifices must be something valuable

                                    b.  Sacrifice of righteous man demonstrates faith

                                    c.  Our faith moves God to action

                        2.  ILL:  Jim Eliot demonstrated meaningful sacrifice

                                    a.  A missionary to Aucas of Equador and a martyr

                                    b.  Did movie about his group in "End of the Spear"

                                    c.  Came across quotation, "He is no fool who gives what he

                                         cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

                                    d.  He and several other gave ultimate sacrifice

            D.  Faith moves us to give to God anything he desires

                        1.  Throughout history, many gave up houses, property, social

                              standing, jobs, earthly security, limbs, and even life for God

                        2.  Many of us today have given up various things for God

                                    a.  Time to serve, help, support those in need

                                    b.  Financial resources to go on a mission to bring Gospel

                                    c.  Emotional resources to support those who hurt

                                    d.  And the list goes on

                        3.  Due to our faith, we don't mind extending ourselves

                                    a.  2 Cor 12:15 - I will gladly spend and be expended for you

                                    b.  Even if no one seems to notice, God notices

                                    c.  Even if not immediate return, God will reward us



1.  Faith is not just something to define, but something to live out

            a.  Moves us to go or stay

            b.  Moves us to patience

            c.  Moves us to live in the future

            d.  Moves us to give it all for God

2.  When we say, "I have faith," this is what we mean

3.  Have you made the first step of faith (inv)

4.  If you have made the first step, then remember faith is a lifestyle for life

            a.  We are emotionally invested not in the world, but in God

            b.  v.2 - By faith, we gain the approval of God

            c.  Question:  Do I really have faith?  What evidence is there in my life?


Small Group Notes:  A Faith that Moves You (part 2)


Summary:  True biblical faith moves us to go or stay where God desires and be patient with his timing.  This means avoidance of attachment to this world and investing ourselves physically and emotionally to our promised home and being willing to give up anything on this earth God calls us to.




- What was the most unusual or difficult trip you have ever made?





1.  Identify and discuss each of the various characteristics of faith demonstrated by Abraham and his family in this text. 

            a.  What characteristic of faith is described?

            b.  What was it demonstrated?

            c.  What was the result?

            d.  What is your reaction to this?


2.  From what you know about Abraham, what challenges did he face in his faith during his lifetime?


3.  How does Abraham exemplify the definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1?


4.  Discuss:  Is struggling faith a bad thing?  Is it a weakness to be avoided? 





5.  Brainstorm:  Using what you learn from this lesson, give a timeless definition of true faith


6.  Formulate and share your own personal story, experience, illustration, or analogy that describes or demonstrates a characteristic of faith.


7.  How has this lesson helped to clarify or affirm faith for you?  How might this be useful for yourself or in your ministry?