Friday, 5 July 2013

Abraham - Hero of the Bible

God wants you to worship Him, follow Him and thank Him!

James 2:22-23  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Our church is starting a sermon series titled "Heroes of the Bible". We started with Abraham. Later on in this post I will share the sermon notes from my home church. But I must admit that the sermon really didn't answer the question I have about Abraham. The question I have is why is Abraham a hero? What character trait is it that God is looking for in us that He would call us "friend" as He did with Abraham?  Jesus says in John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. So we see that obedience is part of it.

 I found the following article written by Jeff Strite. I think he makes a good point. You can read the entire article at  Abraham - Hero of the Faith   Mr Strite writes the following.

He was so significant, that in Genesis 12:2-3 we find that God sought Abraham out and gave him some very impressive promises. God said to Abraham:
"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

God promised he was going to make Abraham the father of a great nation and make his name would become great. Abraham would receive a special protection of God and not only was he to be blessed by God, but everybody on earth who would ever be blessed by God, was to blessed because of Abraham.

How did Abraham rate such an honor?
Because the eyes of the Lord had run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those who were loyal to Him.

God set Abraham up to be one of the major heroes in Scripture. And God made him a hero because God saw in him a special trait – Faith.

Romans 4:9 tells us that “… Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.”
So much so that Romans 4:12 tells us “he is the father of (those) who walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”

Faith is a highly valued commodity to God.
Heb 11:6 “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.”

And Hebrews 10:38 says “… my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”

God calls His people to LIVE by faith. That implies that not just any old faith is going to do. God wants a faith that changes how we live.

 So we can see that it is when we put our faith in God that He becomes pleased with us. A faith that changes how we live, a faith that produces obedience to the Word of God - The Bible.

Hebrews 11: 8-12
 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.
 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:
 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

It's pretty clear from the passage from Hebrews 11 that Abraham is a hero of the Bible because of the faith that he demonstrated as he lived his day to day life in faith - faith that influenced his decisions and choices every day.

Now to our sermon notes. 

The text is Genesis 12: 1-9 
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:
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:
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.
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.
And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto theLord, who appeared unto him.
And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.
And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

 Our speaker was Pastor Ben. Here is some of what he said:

Abraham is huge in the Bible. The Bible keeps referring back to Abraham.
God makes massive promises to Abraham in verses 2-3.
* I will make you a great nation 
* I will bless you and make your name great
* I will bless them that bless you and curse those who curse you
God promises to make Abraham a blessing to the entire world.
This seemed impossible to  Abraham - he was living in a tent in the middle east, doesn't even know that America exists. Abraham was about 75 years old when God called him. He is not a young man. Yet the promise of a great nation??

This shows us that you are never too old for God to work in your life. Abraham has no children, no power and no influence.

The question for us is "Is God Faithful and Can we trust Him?"
Can God be trusted to keep His Word?
God's promises are for abundant life to those who follow Him - Can He keep His Word?

Abraham demonstrates great faith when he packs up his family, his goods and possessions and goes as God commands him to do.
Abraham waits years and no child is born. Sarah and Abraham decide to "help" God with this so Hagar the slave is given to Abraham as wife in order to bear a child. Ishmael is born, but we soon learn that he is not the son that God has promised to Abraham and Sarah.
God reaffirms his promise to Abraham.

God is faithful and does keep His promises - Isaac is born.

It is our choice whether we want to keep walking with God or if we want to turn our back to God and walk away from Him. We can reject God's promises, but God does not give up on us nor does He forget His promises to us. God is faithful to His Word.

Abraham's name has become great.
Abraham has become a great nation - the nation of Israel.
God's promises have come to pass.
God is faithful to every one of His promises!!

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