Title: The Meaning of Faith #2
Purpose: To move Christian to Total Faithfulness

  1. How do you determine Godís will for you?
    1. Lady who wanted to see holy land & got tickets. Not sure if it was Godís will. On the night before departure, she re-read the brochure & noticed the plane was a Boeing 747. She woke up at 7:47, she knew it was Godís will to go!
    2. Not very reliable way to express your faith
    3. Faith is based on Godís promises and his instructions in the BIBLE
  2. Last time saw examples of those who were approved by faith (preflood)
  3. In Heb 11 in the faith chapter (context in Heb 10:35-36) (last time
  4. This morning will see example of the patriarchs (Text: Heb 11:8-22)

I. Faith moves you to move (v.8-10)

  1. Abram by faith packed up his U-haul and left his home behind
  2. Explanation
    1. From Gen 12:1-3
      1. God didnít describe land, send local paper or chamber of commerce info
      2. Just said ďgo to a land which I will show youĒ
      3. Came home and told Sarai - ďweíre movingĒ
        • Did get a transfer at job? No. New job? no. Where going? I dunno
        • How would you react? My husband needs therapy (heís 75 yrs old)
    2. Even though Abraham didnít know what ahead, he followed
    3. Wasnít just a move across town or even across the state. Was drastic
      1. Went to foreign place and lived in tents
      2. Imagine the trip (are we there yet? When will get there? I dunno)
    4. Was looking for city with foundations (permanent and built by God)
  3. ILL: Our move to Searcy (never had visited there) But we felt the call, and God provided for us. Some said we were crazy!
  4. Faith has caused every single one of us to move
    1. May live in same house, might have same job
    2. But you have realized it is all temporary (Godís perspective)
    3. You have recognized that this is a tent. (Word became flesh and tented among )
    4. We are camping and looking for and living for the permanent city
    5. May not have moved physically (some have), but we all have moved spiritually

II. Faith moves you to trust in Godís ability, not your own (v.11-12)

  1. Many have the impression that Sarah (& Abraham) did not believe God
  2. Explanation
    1. Gen 12:2 - I will make of you great nation (75 yrs old)
    2. Gen 15:2-6 & 16:2-3 - (10 yrs later)
      1. Descendants would be as stars of heaven. Abram believed
      2. Sarah gave Hagar to here husband as a wife (God said Abraam would have descendants. Didn't specifically say it had to be Sarai!)
      3. Things seem to be going just as planned
    3. Gen 17:5 - Reaffirm promise (name change - ďfather of multitudeĒ)
      1. Gen 17:15-19 - Abraham laughs (this is 25 years later!)
      2. The Lord even came in the form of 3 men to tell the news of the baby
        • Gen 17:10-15
        • Judging from Sarahís reaction, Abraham didnít do or say anything yet to Sarai about it?
        • If Abram had been trying, Sarai might have instead said, ďOh, thatís whatís gotten into that old manĒ
      3. Did they mock in disbelief? (Most people old enough to have great great grand kids usually don't have kids)
  3. Sarahís perspective something like this? (a letter-)
            I have become a little older since I saw you last, and a few changes have come into my life since then. Frankly, I have become quite a frivilous old gal. I am seeing five gentlemen everyday. As soon as I wake up, Mr. Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go to see John. Then Mr. Charlie Horse comes along, and when he is here, he takes up a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves, Mr. Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesnít like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy day Iím really tired and glad to go to bed with Mr. Ben Gay. What a life!
            p.s. - I talked to the preacher the other day and he told me that at my age I really need to think of the hereafter. I told him ďOh, I do all the time. No matter where I am - in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement - I ask myself, ďwhat am I here after?Ē -And now Iím told Iím going to have a baby! -- *Laugh* not mocking
    1. Based on this and other texts, their laughter was not mockiing disbelief
    2. They believed in Godís ability, not their own
      1. They took a good look at themselves and laughed
      2. Rom 4:18-22 - Abraham was not Tarzan & Sarah was not Jane
      3. Nothing is to difficult for God
  4. Rest assured God can and will do what he says (regardless of your "ability")
    1. When you ignore Godís way and try to do it your way, you will have problems
    2. For us today, it begins with letting go of sins. You canít "work" your way to Heaven even though God expect you to work for him.
    3. Continues with choosing Godís way, not yours
      1. All logic may make it seem ridiculous, but if they could have a child -Thatís childís play to God
      2. Donít be anxious about tommorrow (Birdís & lillies donít)
      3. God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God
      4. I can do all things through Christ (dependence on God)
    4. Ends in victory

III. Faith moves you look forward and not back (v.13-16)

  1. If they had though about where they came from, might have decided to go back
  2. Explanation
    1. They welcomed Godís promise at a distance (what faith!)
      1. Much of Godís promise did not come in Abrahamís lifetime
      2. Four generations later and they would return to the land
    2. Think about what he left
      1. Archaeology shows UR to be cutting edge (had running water in homes)
      2. Now Abraham is living in tents. They never complained
    3. They were looking for city with foundations
      1. Their ďownĒ country, a ďbetterĒ country, a ďheavenlyĒ country
      2. God has prepared a city
      3. So they never looked back
  3. A friend I had thought it was Godís will to come to Harding School of Biblical Studies.
    1. He got angry with himself even before first semester was up
    2. Went back home and tried to make everything just as it was
    3. Many of you have left things behind to follow Christ, donít look back
      1. ILL: Remember tests you used to take with little "Oís" to fill in? They said do not change answer, but go with the first response
      2. When you look back, you will change things and mess it all up
  4. Phil 3:13-14 - God didnít design us with eyes in the back of our head!!
    1. Take a lesson from Lotís wife
    2. Take a lesson from children of Israel
    3. Take a lesson Jesus illustration of man who put hand to plow
    4. And then take a lesson from Abraham & Sarah - Never looked back & blessed
    5. Keep your eyes on the road!

IV. Moves you to be 100% devoted to God (v.17-19)

  1. The hardest test of the Faith of Abraham came at Moriah
  2. Explanation
    1. Gen. 22:1-14 - Take your son, your only son whom you love to Moriah, offer him as a burnt offering
    2. Can you imagine? Your ONLY son whom you love
      1. But I thought you didnít do human sacrifice?
      2. But Isaac is the promised heir (what about the stars?)
      3. Abraham did not question God, he did not look for a way out
  3. Ponce de-leon burned his ships after coming to the "new world"
    1. No going back just because it gets too difficult
    2. Need full devotion and commitment
    3. When Abraham left UR & followed God, he burned his ships & was fully devoted
  4. Have you given God your whole self? Have you withheld anything from God?
    1. Ask self - When decision, what comes to mind first? What you want or God want
    2. When thing complicated, do you Rely on own reasoning, or Godís word
    3. Maybe itís time to burn those ships


  1. It takes faith to burn those ships and totally rely on God
  2. Faith is the assurance and conviction
  3. Without faith itís impossible to please him, approval by faith, shall live by faith
  4. Donít have to practice open window method. God is spelling out what faith is and how he wants us to live it in these examples
  5. This faith moves us
    1. To move away from the world, and move to God
    2. To trust completely in Godís ability, not ours
    3. To look forward and not back
    4. To be completely devoted to God in all things (withhold nothing)
  6. IF youíve misunderstood Godís will, donít beat yourself up
    1. Read Phil 3:15 - ďLet us therefore as many as are complete have this attitude, and if you do have a different attitude, God will reveal that to you also
    2. If you have misunderstood, God will show you
      • Gen 15:6 - Abe believed and it was credited YET he took Hagar
      • Heb 11:9 - Considered God able to raise dead, YET God wasnít going to do it
      • You can be sincerely mistaken, and yet still receive approval by faith
        • As Phil 3:15 - GOD WILL SHOW YOU (just as he did Abraham)
        • WHEN Abraham was wrong, he changed course
        • Course corrections are part of what helps us to grow
  7. Exhortation about faith is clear
    1. Itís not about knowing all the answers (Abraham didnít have them)
    2. Itís about trust and obedience. stepping out even when not sure what is coming next
    3. Itís about burning your boats, and being totally committed to Godís care
  8. When we have this kind of faith
    1. It will lead us home from these tents and a permanent home
    2. Will move from this KOA to a permanent home with God (& bank wont own it)