Romans Series # 7
Faith Against All Hope
I. Walking in Abraham's Shoes
A. Against All Hope
B. As Good As Dead
1. Abraham and Sarah might as well have been dead because there was no way physically that they could pull off what God was promising
2. Producing a child at 100 for Abe and 90 for Sarah, NO WAY physically possible.
3. Not only that, but when God's promise first came they were closer to 80 and 70 respectively, so God let them wait another 20 years until the last shred of hope was gone
4. Hope had flown the coup
5. There was NOTHING for Abraham to hold on to
6. There was nothing for him to place his hope in, Not one TANGIBLE shred of HOPE
a. He was a wealthy man
b. He was a powerful man
c. He was a resourceful man
d. And It all meant nothing
C. Have You Been There?
1. Maybe you are there now.
2. You have been praying for something or perhaps God has promised you something and it seems that all hope is gone.
3. You find your back against the wall.
4. You are playing against the odds
Everything and everyone says you have no chance
Well … let's see about …
II. Abraham's Response
A. He Did Not Waver -
1. He didn't let his circumstances cause him to follow the wrong path
2. One translation says "he didn't stagger at the promise of God"
B. Without Weakening in Faith - He Grew Strong in Faith
1. He had his moments of weakness - even then though he didn't doubt the vision of God, he just doubted the path
b. His servant Eliezer
2. But he proved himself "strong in faith"
a. You see when Abraham had to make a choice between his understanding and the promises of God, he chose the promises of God.
b. This phrase "strong in the faith" is used in Jewish writings only in select instances. It generally is used in referring to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
c. The phrase "strong in the faith" is NOT used in referring to each of the tribes of Israel.
d. Only the tribe of Levi was referred to by this Hebrew Phrase in Exodus 32:26 "Who is on the Lord's side, let him come to me." And only the men of Levi came to him.
3. To be strong in the Faith is the same phrase "Whoever is on the Lord's side"; and there were none in the nation of Israel but Levi, who were 'strong in faith'. And On the Lord's side."
4. To be "strong in faith" is to hear the voice of God, … to have all of the choices available, … to view current reality, … and even be told there is NO WAY, … and yet to believe God and choose to change sides from your way to his way.
a. From the side of your own gods, your own truth, to choose to follow The Way, The Truth and Experience The Life
C. How Do you Respond?
Well … let's look at how to respond in a way that is acceptable and pleasing to God
III. How To Have Faith Against All Hope
A. Know What / Whom you Believe
1. You can believe in "him who raised Jesus … from the dead" - do you know anyone else who has raised one from the dead?
2. Do you realize what he has done for you?
3. Abraham and Sarah were "dead" and God raised them to LIFE to complete his promises. Jesus was dead but God raised him to give us LIFE
"Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
4. This is the same God who Abraham knew
5. This is the God that the widow knew in 1 Kings 17, who only had enough food for one meal, but she fed the prophet first and God continued to meet her needs day by day, meal by meal, until the famine was gone.
6. This was the same God that Mary and Martha knew who raised their brother Lazarus from the dead though he had been in the grave 4 days
7. PRAISE HIM - praise builds your resolve - v20 - praise increases your faith - praise reminds you what he has done and instigates you to deeper faith
B. Dig In
1. put on the "spiked shoes" of the Gospel of Peace - Eph 6
2. Know the promises of God and dig in
3. If you don't know the promises of God you will make decisions based on faulty information
4. Before he was King, David was being attacked and chased by King Saul.
a. Did he fear? Did he waver? Did he lose heart? NO.
b. Why? Because God had anointed him KING! He KNEW the Promises of God!
5. Let me offer an alternative in Judas Iscariot - He was a zealot. He wanted to see Rome overthrown. I believe that he thought Jesus was to overthrow the Roman government as Messiah. So he made a decision to betray him in an attempt to "force the situation." But he didn't know the promises of God. He didn't understand that the Messiah would be a Suffering Servant, a Lamb for Sacrifice first! His faith wavered because he didn't understand the promises of God.
C. Make a Decision to Stand Firm
"Without wavering" i.e. "without being divided in heart"
Matthew 21:22 "all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive"
It's NOT just that you believe God can/will do it, but you believe that it is what God wants
"Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.
"But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin."
"But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind."
1. Faith and Hope -
a. Faith is believing in what God has SAID
b. Hope is holding on to what he has Promised
2. The more you know the more you will be convinced, and the more you will be strengthened
4. The More you seek the face and the mind and the heart of God you will not waver, or be divided in heart but …
5. … will stand fully persuaded that God has power and desire to do what he has promised
> One of the darkest days in Hebrew History, happened at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God had set them free from bondage in Israel and was leading them to the promised land, yet while God was leading and giving the promise to his people, they had committed the darkest of sins in creating and worshipping their man-made god. Moses stood and asked "who is on the Lord's side?" i.e. who is "strong in faith" who believes that God is a God of his word. Who will dig in when it seems most dark, most unbelievable?
Don't go by what you can see or only what you can understand. Jesus told Thomas "blessed is he who has NOT seen and YET Believes
Stand before a world that sways with the latest wind and wave say with the writer of
"… Hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."
It's Not about You!
It's Not about What you are praying for
It's About GOD!
It's about TRUST
Do you know him today?