Abraham Began the Witness 6-7-15
?Abraham Began the Witness?? Gen.? 14:17-24; Heb. 11:8-12;? 6/7/15; Rom. 4:16-22; Isa. 51:1-3 This summer we will begin a series on people of witness.? I want to begin by saying that the person who is the father of our faith was an unusual, steady, and gracious witness for God.?? Abraham is called ?The father of our faith.?? He is also given a complimentary title ?Friend of God.? ?? When you want to do something, then you want to learn from the ones who did it before you, and if you really want to be creative in how you do things- look at the origins.? So an aeronautical engineer who wants to be creative may want to study the Wright Brothers. A president studies George Washington.? ?Abraham was the father of our faith.? That is one of the titles given to him in Romans 4? He is also called in? 2 Chr. 20; James 2; ?(in our call to worship) ?God?s friend.?? In some way being someone of faith in God and someone who is a friend of God go hand in hand.? Prayer is after- talking to God- believing that God cares for you as a father or a friend.? Abraham knew? God not as an enemy ? but as a friend.? Remember that great passage in John 15- Jesus said, ?Greater love has no one than this- he lays down his life for his friends.? You are my friends if you do what I command.? I no longer call you servants- but friends. If you put your faith in God, and show that by listening and heeding Him- He becomes your friend.? The goal is not to know about God or guess about God- or make God the way we want Him to be made- but to be friends with Him.?? Abraham as the father of faith- is called a friend of God- Jesus tells his disciples if they listen to Him and He lays down His life for them- they are His friends.? Therefore, we are all called to be friends of God by the father of faith. I. ABRAHAM THE FATHER OF FAITH- Romans 4 describes Abraham as the father of the faith- all who believe can claim him as father.? He believed God though he didn?t see where he was going he left.? He believed God- though he didn?t see how he could have a child.? He believed God- though he didn?t see how he would ever receive the land (he was a nomad- the only land he bought was for Sarah?s burial).? He believed God because God was God.? Many times we don?t believe God because we portray onto God our human attributes.? We make God like us- weak, helpless, pushed around by circumstances and us.? The Creator of the Universe is not surprised and is not blown by every wind of culture or rebellion. ?? I have always found it quite interesting that Abraham, the father of our faith, clearly gave into doubt.? Sarah told him that she was too old to have children- he believed her and had a child by Hagar- Ishmael the father of the present day Arabs.? His doubt led to interesting consequences- but God used his doubt too. ??So if you have some doubts don?t panic.? But also remember that faith is a better choice than doubt.? In our world people value doubt as if it is an end in itself.? Doubt gets you to a choice of many closed doors at once and you are paralyzed by which one you should go through.? Faith allows you to move forward in life with assurance, hope, and meaning.? The good news is that Abraham was not condemned for his doubt- there was grace for the father of faith. ???? I have known Christians who feel like it is great thing to doubt and it is somehow an evil thing to have faith.? They have really been twisted up.? They brag on their doubt and they doubt the little faith they have.? On the other hand, there are those who have faith. .? Isaiah says these great words- ?Look to the rock from which you were cut and the quarry from which you were hewn.? Look to Abraham your father and Sarah who gave you birth.? When I called him he was but one but I blessed Him and made Him many.?? The Father of our faith bore fruit- physically- he had a son.? But the descendants as numerous as the stars or as many as the grain of sand are his spiritual descendants.?? When God blesses us- the faith grows.? God blesses us when we listen to Him by His Spirit speaking through the Word. We are a chip off the old block.? Our faith looks at its core- like his. Abraham is the Father of our faith- but God shows that just as He multiplied Abraham- He can multiply us.? That is the context of Isa. 51.Your witnessing to your faith is not up to you.? As you are faithful and obedient and not embarrassed- God multiplies. II. ABRAHAM THE FATHER OF WITNESSING- If Abraham did not pass the faith on, we would not have faith today.? He is the singular original point that God chose to bring belief and hope to the world.? It is through Abraham?s physical line and spiritual line that Jesus has come into the world.? Jesus by both his existence, teaching, and practice is a witness to God?s love, grace, and to our hope.? How did Abraham witness? 1) He kept the faith.? Abraham had some doubts but he didn?t drift off into space or wallow in his doubt. He kept the faith that God would show him where to go when he left home.?? He kept the faith that God would provide descendants for him- even when Isaac?s life was threatened.? God promised Abraham descendants- Abraham had only 1;? God promised Abraham the land- He only owned a burial plot. God says I?m going to send you out.? Abraham says ?where?? God says, ?I?ll tell you later- now just go.?? I will give you a land.? Abraham says, ?Where??? I?ll tell you later just wander. I?ll give you a child.? ?How??? I?ll tell you later just wait.? God says, ?Sacrifice your child? Abe says, ?Why?? I?ll tell you later- just go up the mountain- and he did each time.? I am always trying to figure things out before I do them.? But we believe in order to understand. 2) He lived the faith. ?Tim Keller said, Abraham lived a big life.? He mastered life and did not let life push him around. ?Abraham was a man who focused on God and not on himself.? He was willing to walk by faith and not by sight.? He was generous to Melchizedek.? He was not so caught up with things that he couldn?t give to the Lord or to others.? Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.? It is not that Abraham believed in God- but He trusted God ? as His friend. Can you say God is your friend? 3) He passed the faith on.? He taught Isaac so that later God was called ?the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? (1 Kgs. 18:36; 2 Chr. 30:6; ??Mk. 12:26).?? He passed the covenant and the promises on so that every generation knew that God swore to give the land to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob (Dt. 28:13, 20:30); Isaac was circumcised as a sign of his faith- much like we baptize children today as a sign that we pass the faith on. He taught Isaac about worship and sacrifice. ?He taught the people who worked with him and traveled with him.? Basically, he was not embarrassed to tell anyone about his faith. ????? I heard a minister say the other day that he had a parishioner (I?ll call Joe) who had trouble with his faith.? He said he was taught growing up that he had to witness, and he said he just couldn?t.? He was shy and didn?t know how to begin and was honestly too scared to try.? His minister growing up had told him that if he didn?t witness he was in a state of disobedience to God.? So for him it was like a spiral downward.? He didn?t witness and then he felt guilty that he didn?t witness and then that made him more afraid to witness.? But years later the man came to another minister and asked, ?What happened to Joe.? He is witnessing to everyone and people are responding.? The minister said, ?All I told him was that he didn?t have to.?? It is interesting to see that there is not a lot in Genesis about God saying to Abraham, ?You must tell everyone about me.? Abraham?s way was simply being faithful, and then not shrinking back from speaking about his faith in his friend.?? It was an attitude like: I am going to be who I am going to be, and I will tell everyone why I am this way- because of my faith.? He served others and glorified God by what he did.? So today- heed the advice of Isaiah- ?Look to the rock from which you were cut- look to Abraham your father- when I called him- he was but one but I blessed him and made him many. ?