[As we journey through the famous Bible stories found
in the Word of God we come to the story of Abram who was later renamed
Abraham by God (Genesis 17.5).
Abram means “Exalted Father.”
The Name Abraham means “Father of a multitude” expressing the
promises that God had made to Abraham for his faithful obedience toward
God. God gave Abram the new
name Abraham when he was ninety-nine (99) years old, with Ishmael as his
only child who was born to Hagar the had maid of Sarai (Sarah).
But God specifically excluded Ishmael from being the heir of
[What we discover through the life of Abraham is the
journey of faith that pours out of our spiritual walk with our Heavenly
Father. Many refer to
Abraham as the
father of faith.
Romans four (4) reveals that Abraham was strong in faith.
Throughout the Bible Abraham is our primary example for biblical
faith. But Abraham had to
grow in His faith, just as every child of God (born again Christian)
must grow in their faith as well.
Hence, as we look briefly into the life of Abraham we discover
God’s lessons concerning faith and faithfulness.]
[Now, it is important that we are clear about what
biblical faith really is.
Faith is not a feeling, it is not an emotional response.
Faith is substantive.
Faith is always a noun in the Bible.
In both the Old Testament (Hebrew – אֱמוּנָה
 - Hab 2.4) and the New Testament
(Greek - πίστις
- Matt 8.10) faith is a noun, not a verb.
Yet in our culture faith is almost always used as a verb.
God refers to faith in the Bible as something absolute and
In the Word of
God your belief (verb) always pours out of your faith (noun).
Yet, in contemporary Christianity one’s faith (verb) pours out of
their ability to believe something.
Therefore, if you are going develop the faith of Abraham, or the
faith of the Bible you need to think rightly about what faith is.]
Having A Word From God
(Romans 10.17; Gen 3.1; 1 Pet
2.2) [– The first element in having any kind of godly faith is to
have a definitive Word from God.]
17 So then faith
cometh by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God. ]
[This is why the devil has always attacked the
Word of God. The first
thing the devil said when he approached Eve in the garden was,
“. . . Yea, hath God said, . . .”
(Genesis 3.1). Or
adversaries method has never changed.
The devil knows that if he can get you to doubt the Word of God,
he will destroy your ability to have biblical faith.
For this reason God reminds us,]
2 As newborn babes, desire the
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: ]
Believing What God Has Said (Rom 4.19-21) [– Notice what made
Abraham strong in faith. Many have referred to Hebrews 11.1 as the
biblical definition of faith. I
object to this, because Hebrews 11, the hall of fame of faith, reveals
what faith does throughout its context.
Hebrews 11 tells us what godly faith, biblical faith can do.
Instead the definition of faith is found here in,]
19 And [Abraham]
being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when
he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's
womb: 20 He staggered not
promise of God
[the Word of God]
through unbelief; but was strong
in faith, giving glory to God; 21
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able
also to perform. ]
[Abraham was strong in faith because he
Took God At His Word.
Abraham believed what God had said.
So faith has belief in it, but it is not based on our ability to
believe. Our faith must be
founded in the Word God has given first, and then we can believe what
God has said.]
Acting On What God Has Said
(James 2.26) [– Adrian
Rogers once said,
response, there is no faith.”
If you have heard from God then how can you help but respond to
God. The problem with many
people in our day is that they base their faith on what they feel rather
than on what God has said, and we all know our feelings change about
every day; often numerous times in a day.
However, if you know that you have the Word of God and you know
that you have heard from the God of all creation, how could you possibly
ignore what He has told you. Therefore James was led to write,]
26 For as the body without the
spirit is dead,
so faith without
works is dead also. ]
[I am often asked by people, “Pastor, how can I
grow my faith?” The answer
is simple, spend more time in your Bible and you will grow your faith.
Because faith is
Taking God At
[In the text before us we are introduced to
Abram or Abraham and the beginning of his journey in faith.
We also discover through Abraham’s life the maturing of his
faith. Through his example
we learn what faith is and how to avoid many of the pitfalls that will
come our way as we learn to respond in faith and faithfulness to our
Heavenly Father. This
passage shows us the beginning, the faltering, and the rededication of
Response of Abraham’s Faith (vs 1-9; Matt 9.29;
) [– Our Lord Jesus Christ said,]
. . . According to your faith be
it unto you.]
[Your faith matters!
Your faith is the difference between the infinite and the finite.
Faith believes God and in order to believe and trust God you must first
hear from God.]
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:
[Genesis 12:4 4
departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; . . . ]
[Notice that God spoke and Abraham responded, that is
faith. Therefore faith is
the proper response to the revelation of God.
It is important to remember,]
[There is no faith without the Word of
[There is no faith without a response to
to know about your faith,
Not Rooted In Human Motivation (Gen 11.4; 12.4) [- Positive
thinking is not faith.
There is nothing wrong with positive thinking; as a matter of fact
thinking positively is a positive thing.
But positive thinking is not faith.
Last week we looked into the Tower of Babel and its confusion.
let us build
us a city and a tower, whose top
may reach unto heaven;
let us make us
be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.]
inhabitants of Babel were motivated and
positive in their thinking, but notice that they thought in themselves
time and again in this text.
Time after time they made specific and determined statements
based upon their motivation.
In the end their motivation gained them nothing but confusion.]
compare that to what God said to Abram,]
1 Now the
LORD had said
out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house,
unto a land that
I will shew thee:
[God focused Abram on all the things of God and
away from all the things that give security and comfort to people.
God told Abram to leave his country, his kindred (family),
father’s house (future, inheritance), and his land.
God removed Abram from everything that most people find
motivating to them.]
Not Rooted In Human Merit (Rom 4.3-5) [– When God finished
commanding Abram, Abram had nothing left to offer God. The truth is that
none of us have anything to offer God.
We must come to God knowing that nothing of this mortal life is
of any value to God. The
3 For what saith the scripture?
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Now to him that
worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh
not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is
counted for righteousness. ]
Not Rooted In Human Mentality (vs 4) [– . . .
was seventy and five
years old when he departed out of
Faith does not
always make sense.
Faith is not seeing your way clear.
For many of us, if we think we hear from God we first look at our
circumstances and consider whether that is practical for us or not.
We consider our finances, we consider our circumstances, we
consider our physical well being and count the cost.
But faith hears God and responds.]
[Abram was seventy-five when God called him and
he faithfully responded to God.
For most of us, seventy-five is deemed beyond our usefulness in
this world and life. Yet,
in the Bible people are called out and used by God at a time and phase
in life when everyone seems to think nothing of importance can happen.]
[Therefore, we must be reminded that Faith is
hearing your way clear, not seeing your way clear. In faith one hears a
promise or Word from God and responds.]
Relax of Abraham’s Faith (vs 8-10; Isa 31.1) [–
And there was a famine in the
land: and Abram went down into Egypt
to sojourn there; for the famine
was grievous in the
land. - Abraham was doing what God asked.]
8 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.]
[Abram was where God wanted him to be and he was
worshipping God. But then a
famine came and Abram faltered.
Because of the famine, because of his difficulties Abram went
down to Egypt.]
[Egypt in the Bible is always a type
of the world, a type of temptation, and potentially a type of sin.]
1 Woe to them that go down to
Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because
they are many; and in
horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy
One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!]
[Watch out for
the temptation of turning to our world for help when things get tough.
Notice what led to Abram’s faltering faith.]
Abraham’s Incomplete Obedience (12.1) [-
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: - Two things to notice in
Abram’s initial obedience,]
[Abram went half way, he first went to
Haran. Abram was originally from
Ur and initially went to dwell in
But God wanted him to go into Canaan. There
are many half way Christians in our Churches today.
Half way christians are weak and faltering in their faith because
they refuse to fully obey God.
There are those who are,]
in their Church Attendance – Many will go to work with a cold but
won’t come to church with a sniffle.]
in their Giving – They will buy Ice Cream and a Latte but struggle
to give a full tithe.]
in their God and I Time – They watch all kinds of sorted programs
and sporting events but have rarely read their Bible all the way
in their service – They have time for camping, golfing, and
motorcycle rides but rarely have time to sacrificially serve God.]
took some with him (hangover sin) – Notice what God’s command was,]
1 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: ]
[Notice what Abram did,]
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.
5 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
[Without any doubt we will see as we study the
passages that follow this one that Lot
and many others were distractions, thorns, and problems for Abram and
his family. Friends when
you hang on to the hangovers of your unredeemed life and its sins you
will have problems in your spiritual walk.]
Abraham’s Incomplete Observance (vs 10) [–
And there was a famine
in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt
to sojourn there; for the famine
was grievous in the
land. – Abram fell into some difficulty and he took matters into his
own hands and he went down into Egypt.
Now Egypt is a type of the world and it
is indicative of us turning to this corrupt world in our times of need
rather than turning to God.]
did Abram turn to the world?
Because Abram doubted what God had said.
God promised to take care of Abram, but when difficulties came
Abram, like us, doubted God.]
Rogers said, “Don’t doubt in the
dark what God has said in the light.”]
Abraham’s Incomplete Honesty (vs 11-13, 17-20; 13.2; 16.1) [-
And it came to pass, when he was
come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold
now, I know that thou art
a fair woman to look upon: 12
Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see
thee, that they shall say, This
is his wife: and they
will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13 Say, I pray thee, thou
art my sister: that it
may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of
– Abram didn’t completely
lie when he told this half truth, because Sarai was his half sister.
But Abram knew that he was being deceptive when he told this half
truth. Notice what happened
because of Abram’s half lie,]
17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh
and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.
18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and
said, What is this
that thou hast done
unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she
was thy wife?
19 Why saidst thou, She
is my sister? so I
might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take
her, and go thy way.
20 And Pharaoh commanded
his men concerning him:
and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had. ]
Christian out of fellowship with God is sickening to God and man.
When Abram went into Egypt he could
have been a great testimony for God but instead Abram was sent away in
shame and God was disgraced.
Christian, when you are faltering in your faith and purity you
become a hindrance to God’s kingdom and work.]
[Consider for a moment The Cost of Abraham’s faltering faith,]
[Time – While Abram was walking among the worldly Egyptians he lost
time in fellowship with God.
Christian when your faith falters you are wasting precious time
walking with and serving your Heavenly Father.]
[Testimony – As already mentioned Abram’s testimony and reputation
was adversely affected by his downward spiral into worldliness.]
(Gen 13.2) Cattle – And Abram
went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot
with him, into the south. 2
And Abram was
very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. – Before Abram went
down into Egypt
he had only sheep. While he
was in Egypt he gained
cattle. Cattles are very
different than sheep. It
takes more pasture to feed cattle than it does sheep.
These Cattle became a thorn to Abram.
It caused a range war between Abram and Lot and became the fall
[Be sure that when you falter in your faith
and obedience to God and turn to the world that the world will give you
things that will hinder your godliness and your relationships.]
(Gen 16.1) Hagar –
Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an
Egyptian, whose name was
Hagar. - Resulting in the Arab nations through Ishmael.]
Return of Abraham’s Faith (13.1-4) [-
And Abram went up out of Egypt,
he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
2 And Abram
was very rich in
cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3
And he went on his journeys from the south even to
unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel
and Hai; 4 Unto the place
of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram
called on the name of the LORD. - Bethel means the house of
God. Abram came up out of Egypt or the
land of sin. After Abram
faltered in his faith for a while he came back up to the house of God
and reestablished his relationship with his Heavenly Father.
Christian, have you faltered in your faith, you too can repent
and return to your Heavenly Father.
Abram did three things in rededicating himself to God.]
( 13.1; Matt 6.24; 2 Cor 6.17-18) [–
And Abram went up out of Egypt, . . . – Abraham returned
to the Lord. He came up out
of Egypt or up out
of the world. Jesus said,]
24 No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will
hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.]
17 Wherefore come out from among
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean
thing; and I will
receive you, 18 And will be
a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
[The world will pull you
away from God and way from the things of God.
You must separate yourself from the things of this world if you
will be strong in your faith and in your walk with God.]
Abraham’s Sanctification (Gen 13.3; John 14.15) [-
he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place
where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; -
Abram went back to where God wanted him to be in the first place.
This deals with what you do and the will of God for you.
Do you do what you do
because it is what you want to do or what God wants you to do?
15 If ye love me, keep my
seems that for many in our day obedience is a matter of convenience and
desire. If God’s commands
are in keeping with what they want and what they feel they have time for
then they will obey.
Sanctification deals with getting yourself in alignment with God
regardless of its personal cost.]
Abraham’s Sacrifice (Gen 13.4) [–
Unto the place of the altar,
which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name
of the LORD. – Notice the Altar.
Abraham worshipped God again, and he worshipped God God’s way.]
Church, August 30, 2009,