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                         "THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM"

                              Genesis 15:6

INTRODUCTION

1. One of the greatest men in history has to be the patriarch Abraham...
   a. Three religions look to him as their spiritual progenitor
      (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
   b. Christians view him as "the father of all them that believe" - Ro
      4:11

2. What is most noteworthy about Abraham was his faith...
   a. Paul made reference to his faith time and again - Ro 4:3,9,11,
      16-22; Ga 3:7-9
   b. James used his example to illustrate saving faith - Jm 2:21-23

3. Both Paul and James make reference to the following OT statement
   about Abraham's faith:

   "And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for
   righteousness." (Gen 15:6; cf. Ro 4:3; Jm 2:23)

[What was it about Abraham's faith that so pleased God?  Do we have the
same kind of faith?  Let's take a closer look at "The Faith Of
Abraham"...]

I. ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS BASED ON REVELATION

   A. GOD REVEALED HIMSELF TO ABRAHAM...
      1. In Ur of the Chaldees - Ac 7:2-4; Gen 15:7
      2. At Haran of Mesopotamia - Gen 12:1-4
      3. At Shechem in Canann - Gen 12:6-7
      4. After Lot moved to Sodom - Gen 13:14-17
      5. And many times more - cf. Gen 15:1-17; 17:1-27; 18:1-33;
         22:1-19
      -- By revealing Himself to Abraham, God provided Abraham ample
         evidence for him to place his faith and trust in God

   B. OUR FAITH MUST BE BASED UPON REVELATION...
      1. Not that God reveals Himself to us as He did to Abraham
      2. But faith comes through the Word of God - cf. Ro 10:17
         a. It contains evidence that we might believe - Jn 20:30-31
         b. The more we read, the more God is revealed to us, especially
            in the person of His Son Jesus Christ!
      -- If we desire to have "The Faith Of Abraham", we must be
         receptive to God's revelation of Himself through His Word!

[Next, it important to note that...]

II. ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS AN OBEDIENT FAITH

   A. BY FAITH, ABRAHAM OBEYED GOD...
      1. He left his country - He 11:8
      2. He sojourned in a foreign land - He 11:9-10
      3. He offered his son Isaac - He 11:17; cf. Jm 2:21-24
      -- Abraham's faith was not a dead faith (cf. Jm 2:20,26), but a
         dynamic faith expressing itself in obedience!

   B. BY FAITH, WE MUST OBEY GOD...
      1. For the gospel calls for "obedience to the faith" - cf. Ro 1:5;
         16:25-26
      2. We must "obey from the heart" the doctrine of Christ - cf. Ro
         6:17
      3. Woe to those who do not "obey the gospel" - cf. 2Th 1:7-9; 
         1Pe 4:17
      -- If we desire to have "The Faith Of Abraham", we must have a
         faith that "works through love" (cf. Ga 5:6)

[While works are an essential element of a saving faith, it is crucial
to note that it is the faith behind the works that pleases God (and not
the works per se)!  Therefore we point out that...]

III. ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS A TRUSTING FAITH

   A. ABRAHAM TRUSTED IN GOD, NOT HIS WORKS...
      1. Return to our text, and note what is said - cf. Gen 15:6
         a. Abraham believed in the Lord
         b. "It" (his faith) was reckoned or considered for
            righteousness
         c. It was Abraham's faith in God that greatly pleased God
      2. Paul stresses this point in his epistle to the Romans - cf. Ro
         4:1-3
         a. Abraham was not justified because of his works
         b. Abraham was justified (declared blameless) because of his
            faith!
      -- Though he had a faith that works, he did not trust in his
         works; rather in God who justifies the ungodly (cf. Ro 4:5-8)

   B. WE MUST TRUST IN JESUS, NOT OUR WORKS...
      1. As noted before, we must obey God which involves certain
         "works"
         a. Such as faith, which is a "work" - cf. Jn 6:28,29
         b. Even baptism, which is more a work of God than a work of man
            - Col 2:12-13
      2. But when all is done, we must not put our trust in our
         obedience
         a. As though we somehow earned our salvation
         b. For Christ taught us to realize we are still unworthy - cf.
            Lk 17:10
      -- It is the faith or trust in Jesus prompting us to obey that
         pleases God, not some meritorious value of the work done to
         receive God's grace!

[So "The Faith Of Abraham" was an obedient faith that placed its trust
in God who justifies the ungodly.  To be "the sons of Abraham", we must
have the same kind of faith.  Finally, observe that...]

IV. ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS A GROWING FAITH

   A. ABRAHAM GREW IN FAITH...
      1. There were times when his faith was weak
         a. He had Sarah his wife tell a half-truth to save his life 
            - Gen 12:11-20; 20:1-18
         b. He questioned God when he and Sarah did not have children 
            - Gen 15:2-3
         c. He showed weak faith in the case of Hagar - Gen 16:1-4
         d. He offered an alternative to God when he thought it would be
            impossible for he and Sarah to have children - Gen 17:17-18
      2. But God was patient with Abraham, and his faith grew
         a. He had faith, even against hope, and was able to conceive 
            - Ro 4:18-22
         b. He had faith that God could raise Isaac from the dead, and
            so was willing to offer him as commanded - He 11:17-19
      -- "The Faith Of Abraham" was not a static faith, but an
         ever-growing faith that came through being "a friend of God"
         (cf. Jm 2:23)

   B. WE MUST GROW IN FAITH...
      1. Just as the apostles of Christ did...
         a. From men with little faith and easily afraid - Mt 8:25-26;
            14:31
         b. To men of great boldness - Ac 4:13
      2. Like the Thessalonians - 2Th 1:3
         a. Their faith was growing exceedingly
         b. Our faith needs to grow likewise
      -- Our faith will grow, if we are willing to "walk in the steps of
         the faith which our father Abraham had" (cf. Ro 4:12)

CONCLUSION

1. We have seen that "The Faith Of Abraham" was...
   a. Based upon revelation
   b. An obedient faith
   c. A trusting faith
   d. A growing faith

2. Why do we need this same kind of faith...?
   a. Because "those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham" - Ga 3:7
   b. Because "those who are of faith are blessed with believing
      Abraham" - Ga 3:9

Indeed, those who have "The Faith Of Abraham" are truly the recipients
of the promise made to Abraham:

   "In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, 
   because you have obeyed My voice." (Gen 18:18)

Are we walking in the steps of the faith of Abraham, obeying the Word of
God given today through the gospel of Christ, even as he obeyed the
word given to him?
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