Text: Hebrews 11:8-11; 17-19
Introduction: Someone has said, “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.”
The greatest triumphs of faith have come through the greatest testings of our faith. We study a man today. We study a couple who had their faith many times stretched so that it might be stronger.
There will be times when your faith will be tried and tested, and it will be those moments that reveal the true strength of your faith in God. In other words, a faith that costs you nothing accomplishes nothing.
But those moments will come and they will cost you something. There is no step of faith without sacrifice involved at some level.
Illustration: I think back to when God called me to preach. I didn’t realize what all it would cost me but I knew one thing - that the calling was worth the cost. I never dreamed how my faith would take me farther than I ever fathomed. I can’t believe where God has brought me from and where He has brought me to.
Proposition: Abraham’s Faith in His Heavenly Father took him farther than his human mind could ever fathom!
Key Sentence: 3 Steps of a living faith that takes you farther than you could ever fathom!
Abraham’s journey of Faith led to things that he never dreamed were possible. Abraham’s faith took him farther and farther in a journey of true dependence upon God. Even depending upon God for the very life of His son Isaac.
Faith even if it is Uncomfortable. (vs. 8-10)
“...he was called...he obeyed...he sojourned...”
Abraham’s faith was first a step into that which was not known and was not comfortable to him. It required that He do something he was not used to doing.
God “Called” - Genesis 12:1 - God calls you leave your comfort zone.
- This call led Abraham to a totally foreign place away from his country (language), kinsmen (leisure), connection to family (love).
Abraham “Answered” (Obeyed) - Genesis 12:4-5
Abraham “Continued” - (vs. 9) - “sojourned” (παροικέω)
- The idea from this word that we get is that Abraham continued to live a transient life because his home was not here on this earth. (Heb. 11:10) His home was in heaven. His life on this earth was his opportunity to prepare to meet God.
Faith even if it is Inconceivable. (vs. 11)
“...conceive seed...when she was past age...”
- Abraham’s second step of faith was into that which was not conceivable. God was taking Abraham’s faith from the obeying that which was uncomfortable to accepting that which was inconceivable.
Genesis 18:14 - Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Isaiah 55:8-9 -- For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God exceeds our Time Table. (Gen. 18:10-11)
Abraham was 100. Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born.
Issac = yitschâq = laughter - the idea of laughing at something that seems inconceivable.
Gal. 4:4-5 -- But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Lessons Learned in This:
You are never too old or incapable of doing something for God if He has commanded you to do it!
You are never too old or incapable of doing something for God if He has promised to enable you to do it!
What might seem out of reach in human means might be within your grasp with heaven’s reach!
What might God be asking you to do that would be “inconceivable” to your thinking? (serving, giving, going, plowing?)
Psalm 90:9-12 -- For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
God exceeds our Talent and Treasure. (Gen. 18:14)
1 Thess. 5:24 - Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Sometimes we limit God because we assume He is bound to our times; our talents; or our treasure. God is limitless and what seems inconceivable to man to accomplish can be done easily when God is in it.
Abraham could be assured that anything could be done as long as God was with Him. Abraham was called “the friend of God.” What is a part of any true friendship but TRUST! (Faith)
Faith EVEN if it is Impossible. (vs. 17-19)
“Accounting (λογίζομαι) that God was able (δυνατός) to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure (παραβολή).” (vs. 19)
At this point in Abraham’s life, his faith had led him from that which was uncomfortable to the inconceivable. Now Abraham’s faith led him to believe in that which was impossible. All because of the promise which God had made to him regarding his son Isaac! (Genesis 17:15-21)
Abraham had NEVER seen a resurrection? But yet he believed so strongly in the promises of God (vs. 17b) that he knew God’s Word could not fail! So his faith led him to believe something he had never seen or even been taught about.
Folks...we might not have ever seen God do something a certain way, but who are we to say that God cannot do something impossible?? He is the author of time, space, and matter!
Illustration: “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends.”—George Muller
Your faith is only limited by your willingness to obey the promises of God.
These steps of Faith are challenges because we can either backslide in fear or become foolish and impatient and sin going where God is not guiding!
As great of an example of faith as Abraham was/is; he and Sarah still faltered in their faith at times. They let fear control them. They let hasty decisions guide them. (Genesis 12:10-20; Genesis 16:1-5; Genesis 20)
What caused Abraham and Sarah to falter in the faith? They failed in their faith whenever they got their eyes and dependence off of the person of God, promises of God, and power of their God! Failure is inevitable when we focus on the fear rather than the faith!
Mark 9:24 - And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.