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Abraham: Fact-Checking Your Future - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
December 4, 2020 2:00 am

Abraham: Fact-Checking Your Future - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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December 4, 2020 2:00 am

Age is a limitation for some, but not for God—He can use any person at any age. In the message "Abraham: Fact-Checking Your Future," Skip dives into Abraham's story to show you that salvation by faith was always God's plan.

This teaching is from the series Fact-Check.

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Abraham begins the long lineage and journey to the cross. It begins with Abraham. Fourteen chapters of the book of Genesis are devoted to this one man, Abraham. Right in the middle of the book of Genesis, the central swath of Genesis is devoted to Abraham. And great sections of the New Testament are devoted to Abraham.

God made great promises to Abraham, and Abraham lived by those promises, demonstrating what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. Today on Connect with Skip Hi-Tech, Skip shares how God works powerfully in your life when you choose to live by his promises. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that will help you experience the joys and rewards of a steadfast prayer life. Recent research has found that Google searches for the word prayer have surged worldwide alongside the spread of the novel coronavirus. In fact, Google Trends data shows that the search intensity for prayer doubles for every 8,000 COVID-19 cases. But is there a right way or a more effective way to pray?

Here's best-selling author Kay Arthur. Where the battle's raging, we're to be on the front lines, on the front lines on our knees, on the front line standing in the full armor of God. Kay's book, Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days offers simple but powerful instruction on how and what to pray and what to expect when you do. And it's our way to say thank you when you give a gift of $25 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air.

Give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, we're in Hebrews chapter 11 as we get into our study with Skip Heitzig. Somebody else in this Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, that is a guy by the name of Abraham. Father Abraham had many sons. Do you know that song?

I won't make you sing it. So, Father Abraham was 75 years old when God got ahold of him, told him to leave his pagan environment and go to a new land. That's when it all started for him, age 75. But he would be a hundred years old when he had his first born child, Trusera, his wife, a son by the name of Isaac. Now let's just have a little quick review of what we have learned so far in Hebrews 11. We've looked at Abel, we've looked at Enoch, we've looked at Noah. Abel was an example of worshiping faith. Enoch was an example of walking by faith. Noah was an example of working, let's call it working out faith because he did what God told him to do.

He obeyed instructions. Abraham, let's call him a prime example of wandering by faith. God told him to leave without any further detailed instructions just to get up and go and he was willing to go by faith. So he is next on the radar screen in Hebrews 11. Now I do want to paint a little bit of the background before we jump into these verses and there are more verses that we're going to cover so we're going to go swiftly through his life which is written about in a lot of places in the scripture. But the writer of Hebrews is trying to make a very important mega point here and that is he is showing that salvation by faith is always how God has been approached.

It's not like a new approach. It's not like a New Testament only approach. It's not like there were works in the Old Testament, a person was saved by doing things and ceremonies and then God changed his mind and now it's just salvation by faith. The writer of Hebrews is saying God has never changed. It has always been by grace through faith even in the Old Testament.

And why is he doing that? Because he's trying to show that this New Testament, this new covenant through Christ is not some aberrant antinomian against the law theology. It is the way Abel approached God by faith. It's the way Enoch approached God by faith. It's the way Noah approached God by faith. Remember he's writing to Hebrews and the Hebrews that he is writing to, the Jewish audience at that time did not have the pure form of Judaism as God intended it to be. It was by that time, the New Testament, a perverted legalistic works in the Old Testament was a works-induced form of religion. They believed that by their works or by their circumcision or by their genealogical records they would be saved.

So the writer of Hebrews is really underscoring this salvation by faith. Now when we look at the flow of history we understand that God created they had kids and you know the story. God made himself available to mankind generally at that time. To the human race he made himself available. He was available to the world but by the time of Noah only eight people believed him enough to get into a box.

Everybody else was destroyed from off the face of the earth. So though God revealed himself generally in creation made himself available to all upon the earth, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He believed God. He walked by faith and he and his family was saved. And then the flood came and then after the flood God still made himself available to people on the earth as they repopulated as they expanded on the earth as they spread out and multiplied once again.

But something monumental happened to change it all. It was called the Tower of Babel. They once again decided to rebel against God, be free of God's revelation, and make their own way to God, their own religious approach.

So they created a tower, a ziggurat. I'll explain what that is in a minute because where Abraham lived the place was full of them. So they tried to approach God that way. God confounded their language. So now people cannot communicate to one another. It's very confusing.

It's very difficult because of the language barrier, cultural barriers also. So the revelation of God became stifled, became slowed at that point after the Tower of Babel. So God begins to isolate a family, a person, gets a hold of a guy by the name of Abraham who becomes the central figure at that time in redemptive history. Now he's going to follow a genealogy through the scripture Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 12 tribes all the way down to the tribe of Judah and Jesus Christ. So Abraham becomes the central figure in redemptive history and he becomes the father of the Jewish nation. Father Abraham had many sons. Okay, so he becomes the father of the Jewish nation, what Jewish tour guides call grandpa Abraham. That's how they refer to him in Israel.

They talk about grandpa, like we're related all the way back to Abraham. So the Jewish nation then became for a number of years the central repository of divine revelation. All that God was doing he did through the Jewish nation. The Jews became the evangel. That's what God intended them to be, the evangel, the light, the ones who would open up the darkened eyes of the Gentiles around the world. God said that throughout the Old Testament.

They failed to do it but that was God's intention. So Paul picks this up in Romans chapter 9 verse 4 and 5. He speaks about the Israelites to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, the promises of whom are the fathers and from whom according to the flesh Christ came who is overall the eternally blessed God.

Amen. So to shorten it up Abraham begins the long lineage and journey to the cross. It begins with Abraham. 14 chapters of the book of Genesis are devoted to this one man Abraham right in the middle of the book of Genesis. The central swath of Genesis is devoted to Abraham and great sections of the New Testament are devoted to Abraham. One chapter in the book of Romans is about Abraham.

Two chapters in the book of Galatians are about Abraham. He is called the father of them who believe so he becomes sort of the progenitor of of faithful living. He is called three times in the Bible the friend of God. Very unique title only given to him the friend of God. To this day Arabs will refer to Abraham as Al Khalil. Khalil is Arabic for friend all is God so the friend of God.

That's how he is affectionately referred to in many Arab places. So what I want to do in the section we're going to look at it's an expansive section it's a little bit longer section there are 12 verses all together eight of which specifically deal with Abraham and then others more generically deal with people of faith but what I'm going to do is quickly and we're going to have to kind of move rapidly and this really deserves weeks if not months if you know me but we're going to go through it in one fell swoop so I'm going to give you five faith facts five faith facts about Abraham number one he lived as a pilgrim he lived as a pilgrim Hebrews chapter 11 verse 8 by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place where he would receive as an inheritance and he went out not knowing where he was going that's a pilgrim that's a pilgrim that's a that's a that's a wanderer that's a Bedouin in in a modern sense if you go to Israel you've seen the Bedouins they're just wandering from place to place with their animals so they can have a bit of drink and something to eat Abraham was many of you know from a place called Ur you are that's how you spell his city Ur Ur of the Chaldeans or in Chaldea today would be located in southern Iraq and the spade of the archaeologist has found that Ur was not some little podunk outpost it was a a central vantage point of civilization at the time it was the capital city of Sumer S-U-M-E-R it had a population of around 300,000 at the time of Abraham it had an advanced civilization advanced musical instruments were found they specialized in the study of math and astronomy they had a university and a large ancient library but it was pagan and specifically it was polytheistic you know what polytheism is many gods the worship of many gods but the main god they worshipped interestingly the patron god of the city was the moon god by the name of Sin S-I-N I mean that's how we would transliterate it into our language so they worshipped Sin the moon god now what's fascinating you don't have time to really chase it down but many scholars believe that the moon god worshiped in Ur of the Chaldeans Chaldeans was where the Arab cultures later on worshiped the moon god called Allah before Muhammad came along and said there should be one not many gods but one but that deserves a study all to its own don't have enough time to chase it down so what I do want to do is give you a few verses out of that large swath that is found in Genesis that deals with Abraham in chapter 12 I'm going to read just three verses it says this now the Lord had said to Abram get out of your country this is where he begins the pilgrimage get out of your country from your family and from your father's house to a land that I will show you I will make you a great nation I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing I will bless those who bless you I will curse him who curses you and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed this is God's first words to Abraham it's not like his introduction isn't like hi Abram I'm God nice to meet you his first words to him are get out like our tour guide Steve and Israel I love you now get out so God says to him get out didn't even tell him where to go we hate the life of faith because it's one step at a time sometimes God just says get up and go well where I'm not telling you where just go now I don't like that I would much rather God give me two or three or better that just download the entire itinerary of my life because then I don't have to live by faith I can live by sight but God gives him one step now God gave to Stephen two steps in the New Testament he said get up and leave this area of Samaria and go to Gaza which is the desert didn't give him step three which is you're going to meet an Ethiopian eunuch he gave him just two steps leave here and go there but here Abram didn't even get that you just get up and go to the land I will show you God says you're to leave your country you're to leave your family you are to leave your father's house your country your family your father's house all those things are influences that mold a person's life now he didn't know where he was going as I mentioned he says just go to a land I will show you not I am showing you I will future tense I'll give you step two later on after you do step one so imagine the moving van pulling up in front of Abram's tent and they load up all the belongings Mrs. Sarah tells Mrs. Abraham Sarah tells him everything where to go and then the guy driving the moving truck I guess pulled by camels says where are we going where do I where do we drive and he goes I don't know you don't know I mean I'm here moving your stuff and you don't know where to go no well how will we know when we get there if you don't know where we're going and of course the answer would be I can't tell you that either but I believe God will tell me when it's time to stop that's how he had he was told to begin his life now God tells us to do the same God tells every believer to make a clean break from your past from those things that molded and influenced your life and start over Jesus said if anyone come after me let him deny himself take up his cross and follow me and to the extent that I have that we leave our old life determines how much we enjoy our new life you enjoy your new life to the extent that you leave your old one if you don't leave much of your old one you're not going to really enjoy your new one if you really leave the old one you'll really have more space and time to enjoy the new one when I came back home from San Jose California where I received Christ watching a Billy Graham crusade on television I went back down to Southern California I told my mom and dad and brothers that I had come to Christ they were not excited they tried to sort of pull me back into their religious system all my old friends tried to pull me back into their party scene system and I had all of those factors in my life trying to pull me back and I remember the battle I was facing and it was a summer afternoon end of July probably beginning of August and I was reading this this was my Bible back then it's a little New Testament here called the good news for modern man it really is today's English version of the New Testament but this was my my first Bible and the reason it was is because I could understand it a regular Bible is just like I don't know what they're saying so I'm reading through the first book I'm reading through the gospel of Matthew and in Matthew chapter five what happens in Matthew chapter five any pastor scholar sermon on the mount sermon on the mount happens so Jesus teaches the crowd on the sermon on the mount and he gives the Beatitudes here translated happy are those who know they're spiritually poor the kingdom of heaven belongs to them so I thought yeah okay good I get that I'm reading I keep reading happy are those who mourn for God will comfort them didn't quite understand what that meant happy are the meek they will receive what God has promised I think I understood that one so I'm going for the ride then this verse hit me happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires God will satisfy them fully I remember reading this and I put this down and I thought okay I haven't been doing that but now I am now Lord I am all in I'm in it to win it I'm all yours I'm gonna follow you wherever you lead me that for me was my Abraham pilgrim moment where I finally let go and I said my aim will be to please him so fact check not knowing where you're going is better than going in the wrong direction going where you have no clue where it's gonna be is a whole lot better than going in the right so if you're going in this direction and it's the wrong direction and you know where it is it'd be better to not know where you're going but go any direction but the wrong direction so not knowing where you're going is better than going in the wrong direction I did not know where my life would leave me but I surrendered fully to to the Lord's call on my life at that time, and I found out that God knows a whole lot better than I do. So, God called Abram to leave, or the Chaldees. He migrated up the Euphrates River to a place called Haran, H-A-R-A-N, before he finally made it into what we call the Promised Land, the Land of Israel. So, number one, faith fact number one, he lived as a pilgrim. Faith fact number two, he lived by a promise. Not only did he live as a pilgrim, but the only thing he had to live by was a promise that God revealed to him. Verse 9 of Hebrews 11, by faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. God made promises to Abraham about his family, about children that he would have, of what God would do with him and through him, about a land that would be his and his descendants forever. Joseph Parker, who was a great preacher, a contemporary of Charles Spurgeon said, great lives are trained by great promises. You want to hear some great promises?

Here they are. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you. Notice, God doesn't say, Abraham, you will be awesome. You will be cool. You will be influential. You will do great things. He says, let me tell you, Abraham, what I'm going to do for you. Here's the promise I'm making to you. Essentially, he promises what he'll do for him. I'll make you a great nation. What he'll do in him, I'll bless you and what God will do through him.

In you, all the nations of the world, of the earth will be blessed. Now, what is Abraham doing as God is telling him all this? Is he in the background working it out, how he is going to work hard for God with his new plan, a new vision to reach his community for God? No, all he's doing is listening. He's taking notes. He's going, okay, you're making the promises, not me. He's not doing anything.

Now, why am I hammering this? Because too often we make the emphasis about what we should do for God when really the Bible makes the emphasis about what God does for us. You couldn't do anything for God unless God did something for you. I remember as a kid, I was six years old and I remember the president of the United States on television, 35th president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. That's how old I am, Tam.

That's really old. So, on his inauguration day, he stood up on that plaza in Washington D.C. and his probably most famous speech, he said, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country and immortalize kind of his whole platform. Too many Christians say, you know, it's not what God can do for you, it's what you should be doing for God. The Bible says we love him because he first loved us.

You couldn't even love God unless God loved you. You certainly couldn't work for God unless he energized you and gave you the ability to do so and makes it happen by his work. This is God's work that God has called him to do. So, he's a pilgrim, but he's living by a promise.

That's Skip Heising with a message from the series Fact Check. Now, here's Skip to tell you how you can help keep these teachings coming your way as you help connect others to Scripture. The Bible is full of God's promises, but if you want to know them, you have to study Scripture. Well, our goal is to connect friends like you with truths found in God's Word.

That's why we share these Bible teachings on air and online. And through your gift today, you can help keep these messages that you love coming to you and connect more people around the world to the Bible. Here's how you can give right now. Call 800-922-1888 to give.

That's 800-922-1888. You can also give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate.

As always, thank you for your partnership. Did you know there's an exciting biblical resource available right at your fingertips through your mobile device? Skip has several Bible reading plans available in the YouVersion Bible app. Simply download the app and search Skip Heitzig. And just a reminder, you can watch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4.30 p.m. Mountain or catch it on TBN on Sundays at 5.30 a.m. Eastern.

Check your local listings. Join us next week as Skip Heitzig shares how you can experience more of God's power in your life when you live for eternity. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-19 09:13:26 / 2024-01-19 09:23:01 / 10

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