God Pleasing Faith, Abraham, the Father of Faith, Lesson 8, Hebrews 11:8-10
Hebrews 11:8-10, By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
We have learned in no uncertain terms that without faith it is impossible to please God.
God does not waiver in this command and sometimes turn his face away and change what pleases him as we do but when God speaks it is forever.
And God does not hide what it means to exercise faith for as we now turn to faithful Abraham in our study of Hebrews 11 we will learn the essential and practical details of the outworking of true faith.
So many times people will say they have faith, so many times people will call themselves believers without knowing what God expect from faith that pleases him?
For everything we do requires faith of some sort but what kind of faith is a faith that pleases God?
God does not leave us ignorant in this for he brings us to study a man of faith whom we call Father Abraham, the title coming from Romans 4:11 where Abraham is called the father of all them that believe.
The Apostle Paul describes Abraham as the prime example of justification before God by faith alone excluding any and all works.
Justification before God is in no genealogy and does not come through Abrahamís seed but only comes through faith as we are told in Romans 4:13
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
So Abraham, the father, is not father by physical genealogy but by spiritual genealogy which is only assessed by faith.
Paul wrote the Galatians of this in chapter 3, verse 7, Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
So the truth is that when you are born again you not only enter the family of God but you also become a son of Abraham, becoming a descendant and heir according to promise.
So what does Paul tell us about the faith of Abraham?
The first thing he tells us is that faith brings obedience.
For: By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed;
Now first of all in order to obey you must hear a command.
Abraham heard a command for he was called.
Abraham did not have a dream, a career path, a way that he had all planned out, a way which was directed by family or friends, or education or intelligence or even financial wellbeing.
No, the operative word is ďcalledĒ for Abraham was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance.
A separation from all that was dear was required by God and without knowing of what was to come in a land which God would show him.
For we are told the words of God to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-4, Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
You will note that this call, this command, was given to Abraham in a place called Haran.
As far as Abraham was concerned this was an ďin betweenĒ place for he had been called before when he lived in a place called Ur of the Chaldees (Kal-dees), a city in the country we now know as Iraq.
Stephen the early church martyr said in:
Acts 7:2-4, And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. 4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans (Kal-dee-ans), and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
Abraham obeyed God by leaving Ur of the Chaldeans (Kal-dee-ans), but he left with his kindred showing incomplete obedience and then again when he left Haran by bringing along Lot, his nephew who brought Abraham much heartache and trouble.
But our Hebrews passage dwells on Abrahamís faith for his faith did bring him to complete obedience which was certainly proved in following the word of God in the matter of the command of God to sacrifice his own son Isaac.
Abraham was a man who believed Godís call was the principal thing.
In this Abraham teaches those of us who walk by faith that we are no longer our own but have given our allegiance to God and therefore we are not to act apart from Godís word.
The Apostle Paul another man who walked by faith wrote in I Cor. 6:19,20:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
So therefore we are to await orders from God, we are seek his will in all we do.
Again, it is not saying ďI have a dreamĒ, it is saying What would you have me to do, where would you have me to go Dear Lord?
And of course being in the Faith Realm the immediate response is obedience to Godís call.
Now God calls all men everywhere to repent.
God calls all men, all women, all boys and girls to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
These are Godís general calls which go out to all, and we are told from scripture, few respond.
God also calls his children in a specific way for a specific duty.
This is emphasized in I Timothy 1:9, which reads; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Godís word is clear. If you walk by faith God has a purpose for you and it is your duty to seek Godís will in your life.
It is your duty to listen for Godís call and do as Abraham did knowing it is Godís orders from headquarters and must be obeyed.
By faith, Abraham was called and he obeyed.
Here is the test of faith.
Can you say you have faith and not even know the commands of God?
Can you say you have faith and choose to obey only those things of God that are convenient to you and perhaps go along with your desires?
Is it your desire to know and obey the whole counsel of God from Genesis 1 to the last Amen of Revelation 22?
Examine yourself to see if you are indeed in the faith.
Is there any more important venture than to know for sure that you are in good standing with God and your faith pleases him.
Eternity is at stake and so many are so casual about this believing they have faith simply because they say so.
But genuine faith always obeys God.
A person may say I believe in God but what does that mean?
Doesnít ďbelieveĒ as used in the Bible really mean that you will obey?
Faith in God means believing that God knows best and what he says is for our benefit regardless of what we think.
We may read Godís word and in comparing it to the worldís ideas think that Godís word simply does not fit this modern world.
So we go the way of the world and do not obey Godís word.
By this you have examined yourself and found yourself to not be in the faith.
You are faithless when you choose to not obey Godís word.
Jesus Christ spoke the hard saying of Matthew 7:21 to those that easily said words of faith but without obedience to follow.
Matthew 7:21, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
This is not a works salvation message for Christ clearly portrays here persons who claim faith but do their own will.
Remember the Pharisees and scribes claiming Abraham as their father but they were the same Pharisees and scribes who sought to kill Jesus.
Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Jesus is telling these evil men who are pretenders of faith to examine themselves and ask how they could seek to kill him: a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Abraham, in being called the father of faith, is to be the example of all his sons who dwell in the faith realm.
Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Abraham believed God and we know this because he obeyed God.
Obedience is what proves the genuineness of faith.
And by faith Abraham, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
One thing we learn about Godís calling by the example of Abraham is that the faith life operates on trust.
Faith convinces that God is always trustworthy.
God did not provide Abraham with knowledge of what was to come.
We are told that he went out from Ur of the Chaldees (Kal-dees) not knowing whither he went.
God painted no rosy picture of Abrahamís life in the new land if he answered the call.
Yes God told Abraham that obedience to his call would result in a great nation, a great name, and blessings upon all families of the earth.
But these things were things of the future and to realize them would require believing in God to bring them about.
Abraham was promised nothing of a physical nature but we are told that Abrahamís faith was such that he looked for a city whose builder and maker was God.
And looking required Abraham to forsake his people, his family, his earthly inheritance, and go, not going whither he went, guided only by Godís hand.
Faith gives eyes to see what those of this earth cannot see.
Faith gives sight to what God sees for Godís eyes see all things.
And faith sees that which has eternal value and brings one to forsake all that has temporal value.
Jesus Christ saw a publican named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom and he said unto him, Follow me.
What did it next say in Luke 5:28?
Next comes a step of obedience by Levi the publican for he left all, rose up and followed him.
Levi left all for he knew by faith if any man will come after Jesus he is to deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow him.
By faith Levi, left all and followed Jesus, for he looked at his tax collectorís table, he looked at his tax collectorís books, and his life of corruption but when he saw Jesus he was able to see eternity and life everlasting.
True faith, faith that brings obedience will leave all things to follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ provides by faith the ability to decide for him and in deciding there will come times when father, and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters and even a manís own life must be despised.
Remember it was our Lord who told us in Luke 14:26, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Jesus Christ says in this passage that there must be an allegiance to Him higher than any other allegiance in order for a man to be His disciple.
In other words, Jesus Christ requires the undivided attention and loyalty of those who desire to learn from and of Him.
Therefore, all other allegiances that place Jesus Christ in a subservient position will cause learning to be hindered or even come to an end completely.
He is saying that there are earthly relationships that must be subordinate to the relationship with Him in order for successful discipleship to take place.
This requirement has a certain militant quality to it.
Even the word ďdiscipleĒ has a militant quality as it involves combat, for being a disciple engages one in warfare with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
There is a hardness to the command to place oneís family in a subservient position.
The Apostle Paul made this clear to Timothy in II Timothy 2:3-4, Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
So this is what a disciple is about!
He is at war, and being at war he is not allowed to entangle himself in the affairs of this life as other men who are at peace.
He is about the pleasing of the Master, who desires that he engage in warfare for this is an act of faith.
He is to be about obeying and doing whatever pleases Christ.
And Christ is pleased when He is first and His will is first.