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The Patriarch’s Faith (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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March 30, 2022 6:00 am

The Patriarch’s Faith (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 30, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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He obeyed, not knowing where he was going, did not get the next step. He took the first one and many after that, before finally God said, well, this is what I'm going to do.

And that was not the whole story. This man Abraham really lived and this man Abraham really believed. Furthermore, he never took possession of that which God promised to his descendants through him. Not in his lifetime did he see the Word of God. The only thing Abraham owned in the Promised Land was a grave, a cave grave at that. And now here's Pastor Rick with a brand new study called the Patriarch's Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. In the Promised Land of promise, as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise, for he waited for the city, which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged him faithful, who had promised. Therefore, from one man and him as good as dead were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland, and truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, In Isaac your seed shall be called, concluding that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel and gave instructions concerning his bones. Quite remarkable, everything we just read happened, and there are those that, wanting to come from under the accountability of God's word, attempt to reduce this to myth or hearsay or something else, anything but the truth.

And for that, there will be accountability, believe it or not. But what we are considering in this section of Scripture, Hebrews 11 through 22, is the faith of the patriarchs. Now last session we considered those before the flood, and now this section we begin those after the flood who began what we know as the Jewish race. Now Christianity had proven difficult to these Jews who the writer is writing to, thus the name Hebrews.

They had converted to Christianity, the pressures of culture was upon them to return to Judaism, and they were falling, they were caving, crumbling to those pressures. And so the Holy Spirit moved this writer to address these very things. And to do this, he presents to them those who have had uncompromising faith, imperfect but uncompromising, and by that I mean firm. And that would describe many of the Christians throughout the ages and hopefully us today.

We have faith that is not perfect, it doesn't always show up the way we want it to show up in our lives, but we know who our Lord is, and he is the one whom we are determined to trust nonetheless. So how God works this out is not to simplify it, but he sort of says, because I said so, as a parent. You say that to a child under certain circumstances, you say because I say so. If you are a loving parent, behind those words, there is love, there is wisdom, there is justice, there is everything that is right.

It's not a smart aleck statement. The child may not fully understand the imperative laid upon them, but that because I say so has much authority. And that is one way you can look at how our salvation works. God has a grand because I say so.

But that is based on something, it has a foundation. He says this to us who oftentimes, again, our faith is imperfect, but it is firm. Let me give you a scripture view of this and several verses concerning belief in Christ, the terms that he has set.

John's Gospel, chapter 6, verse 35, Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger. He who believes in me shall never thirst. You'll not want another God when you come to Christ, you abide in Christ. You'll never thirst for another truth if you abide in Christ. Those are the terms you must come to him, believe him. And even though your faith is not all that you know it should be, because I say so from God to us, we are established. This is the case with all of these heroes of the faith that we are reading about. John's Gospel, chapter 1, as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.

These are the terms. If you want to benefit from that great I say so of God, then you must come to God on his terms. John 6, verse 47, most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in me has everlasting life. John 7, 38, he who believes in me, as the scripture has said, don't leave that part out. You cannot believe in Christ as you say, or as someone else says, unless it matches what Jesus has said through the scriptures. So again, he who believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. What else could flow from a heart if there's no scripture, if it's not according to God's word, to his revelation? I hope I don't sound angry, but I love this stuff, and I'm passionate about it as much as I can be. I don't do the greatest job at that, but I'm a lot better off than I was in those days when I made no effort at all, when I was a stranger to God, alienated from God, but I'm not that way anymore.

And neither are many of you. John 11, verse 25, Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. In John 12, 44, Jesus cried out and said, he who believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. That is the Godhead. That is the Father. But you cannot divide them, you cannot separate them in that sense.

They are distinct, but they cannot be divided. And then finally, Hebrews 11, 6, for he who comes to God must believe that he is. You see, faith, it does matter. What you say to God, what you think about God matters. It is the most important thing about any human being ever born. What do you think about Jesus Christ?

And there are many who have never even heard of him. And so, we must trust in his character. When he says, without faith it's impossible to believe God and that he is a rewarder of those who trust him, it means you have to trust his character.

You have to believe that he is who he says he is, that he is good, that he is loving in spite of the curse in this life. So now we look at verse 8, and we reread, by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance, and he went out not knowing where he was going. He wasn't wandering, but he was getting out of where he came from because God told him to.

And he knew which direction he was headed in, but he didn't know what to find. Now last session we considered Abel, that man named Abel. And he worshipped God on the basis of blood sacrifice. And then we considered Enoch, who walked with God all the way into heaven. We considered Noah, who worked for God in the midst of a corrupt and violent generation. And what we got from Noah, one thing, was that he was moved with godly fear.

He was moved. I hope we do not become those who hear truths over and over again, who read them, and are no longer moved by them. We become critical of them, or lethargic in our faith. Dull-hearted, the Scripture says, preaching no longer stirs us, reading no longer excites us. The Holy Spirit no longer works through us. I hope we never become that way, but are always those who are moved by the Holy Spirit. But now we come to Abraham. And whereas we emphasize the worship, the walk, and the work of the other three before him, what is emphasized here this morning in Abraham is he obeyed.

Ooh! How many Christians are afraid of that word? You mean I have to obey? You mean I have to do something?

You mean Christ doesn't just die and suffer and I just get the benefit? We have to obey, and we can obey. This Abraham, he had no promise when he stepped out in faith of receiving a promised land. That did not come until he reached Shechem, deep into his journey. Genesis 12 verses 1 and 2, Now the Lord said to Abram, that's before he changed his name from Abram to Abraham, Get out of your country from your family and from your father's house to a land that I will show you, and I will make you a great nation.

I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. And then verse 4, So Abraham departed as the Lord had spoken to him. Then verses 6 and 7 of Genesis 12, Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem. Verse 7, Then Yahweh appeared to Abram and said, To your descendants I will give this land. And there he built an altar to Yahweh, who appeared to him. The point I'm emphasizing is God said get out, and he obeyed, not knowing where he was going.

He did not get the next step. He took the first one, and many after that, before finally God said well this is what I'm going to do, and that was not the whole story. This man Abraham really lived, and this man Abraham really believed. Furthermore, he never took possession of that which God promised to his descendants through him. Not in his lifetime did he see the word of God fulfilled. The only thing Abraham owned in the promised land was a grave, a cave grave at that.

And that's it. He was a foreigner. These Jews that the writer is addressing in Hebrews is saying to them, You're now foreigners. Your own people have ostracized you, have alienated you, have attacked you and persecute you, are persecuting you.

You now are strangers. But Abraham was such, don't feel alone, don't think that there's some strange thing happening to you. And Christ was with Abraham, and he will be with you too, because we know that Jesus Christ was alive and well and in control long before the manger.

He is the eternal son. In verse 9 he continues strengthening this group of Hebrews. He says, By faith he dwelt in the land of promise, as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, and heirs with him of the same promise. Nineteen times in Hebrews we hear that, by faith, by faith. It matches what we were reading earlier when Jesus said, He who believes in me.

I read it repeatedly, different verses. He who believes in me. It's by faith. It's trusting based on the evidence. Many don't even want to look at the evidence.

They're afraid they might trust. How insane that is. Sin makes fools of human beings all the time. And we who believe the Lord are supposed to live like we know this. This is the case. He says, dwelling in tents. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise, as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents.

Now he emphasizes this. These are, they're not permanent structures. They're temporary. They're mobile.

You can pack up and leave very easily and take your house with you when you're dwelling in a tent. And the symbolism is all over this. As the writer will say, if you were to read through the section verses 8 through 22, you would find his emphasis on the tents that they were pilgrims passing through, but their trust was on God because this was not their homeland and that comes through. And so he's doing, in this section, verse by verse teaching from the Old Testament. Abraham was not at home here. He kept his distance and that's how he kept his testimony. And when he compromised that just a little bit in Egypt, he paid Lot, the man named Lot, his nephew. He did not live this way. In contrast, Lot settled down in Sodom, bought himself a house and lost his family in the process, and what was not lost of his family was twisted in their thinking. You never hear the God of Lot, the God of Lot's children.

Abraham remained mobile, unable to find a permanent spot. He just could not get comfortable in this world. This is to preach to us. It says to you, don't love this place. First off, you can't stay here. Secondly, I got a better place for you.

And on and on, you can develop that. So he was a stranger who never felt at home here. His tent living said to the world, I'm not staying here.

I'm passing through. His altars declared a citizenship in heaven. I worship up. And he'd leave his altar behind. Whereas the pagans of those days didn't understand that. You have to take your altar with you.

Make it pretty. Make it elaborate. He was making the statement, I'm not the same. The God that I worship is not the God who you worship. This was the case with the Jews through history. All the way down to their diet was to say, we are not like everybody else because of our God.

Not because there's something special about me. There's something special about God. And therefore, I share in that, and that is to be the case with Christians.

We fail so much there. Tents and altars, passing through and praising. John 17, 16. They are not of the world, Jesus said concerning his followers, just as I am not of the world. Well, Abraham got that.

He had gotten to his head. Do we get it? I think all of us get it who believe at one point or another. But Satan just wears on us. The enemy wears on us. In Daniel it speaks of the antichrist in the last days that he will wear out the saints. And that's what he tries to do. Just wear us out.

Wear us down. Through persecution or through temptation, through luxury. If you have it really good, you need to be asking God, what do I do with your goods because it's all yours? Verse 11, for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Now the writer, of course, has more light, more knowledge of God through Jesus Christ than Abraham had. Though Abraham knew God.

No question about that. But as far as revelation from God about where he's going with Messiah and how he's going to save mankind, the writer has more information than Abraham had. And yet he is also saying, but Abraham, who can live like that man?

He waited for the city which has foundations. This is new Jerusalem. That's the New Testament knows that. Abraham just knew God had a better city for him without knowing the details. There are situations in this life where we find ourselves incapable of doing anything with our faith or in our faith. Both. And so where he says in verse 10, for he waited.

That word stands out. He waited. Who wants to wait? Who wants to just leave church and go bumper to bumper traffic somewhere? You know, you go to the beach, you have a good time on the way home.

What do you have? If you're not careful, if you don't know some other routes, you're going to have bumper to bumper traffic and no one likes it. Waiting is not easy for us, but spiritually speaking, we must learn how to do it. Like it or not, you will be cast into positions where you do have to do it or you will get into your flesh and cause more problems.

The story of Hagar and the life of Abraham. And so when we are forced to be passive, when we are forced to endure, when we are forced to suffer what may appear to be defeat, but we've not sinned, what may appear to be shame, but we've not sinned. When we are frustrated, but we've not sinned to bring these things on us. That is God saying you have to wait. You must wait for things to develop. God works while we wait.

He works in us. Of course, James will have more to say on being patient when we get there. You'll just have to wait until we get to James. But it's much easier to be a busy body for God than to wait for God. This, unfortunately, is carried out all over the place. Who needs the Holy Spirit? I can do it in my own energy.

I can muster up enough support, resources, or whatever I want through my business savvy, through preaching sermons to pull on people's hearts to get them to do what I would like them to do. Who needs the Holy Spirit for that? What about when God says just wait? The reason why Ishmael was born and all the problems that came from not only Ishmael, but the descendants of Ishmael was because Abraham and Sarah did not wait.

They learned to, but they did not get it right away. One can become a Christian in an instant, but you cannot become a man of faith or a woman of faith in an instant. Not in the faith, but saving faith, yes. Serving faith, no. That is worked in.

That is called maturity. That comes from hanging on the vine, abiding in Christ in all weather. John's Gospel, chapter 14, Jesus said, In my Father's house are many dwellings. Now I know some say, no, that word is mansions.

No, it's not. The Greek is not mansions. But the prosperity teachers love that.

They all think they're going to get a mansion. We'll maybe deal with that another time. But right now, in my Father's house are many dwellings.

If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may also be.

But you have to wait. Every one of all those disciples had to wait. All of them suffered for Christ while they were waiting. They suffered violence. They suffered life. They suffered the loss of loved ones. They suffered what comes with ministry in Christ amongst those who claim Christ.

They suffered it all, just like we do. They had to wait. So while Abraham waited, one thing he did not do, and that is depart from the faith. And so he's telling these Hebrews, Look at Abraham.

He knew how to wait. You have to wait. Yes, you're going through some tough times, but you know who Jesus is. And the sufferings that come your way, all of them have been told, foretold. Don't grow frustrated and start believing in less. How easy it is to do that.

How easy it is to set standards high to have this great vision after coming to the Word of God and saying, Yes, I love this. I'm going to do this. I'm going to be that man of faith.

I'm going to be a Daniel. And then you set out on your journey and you find out you don't have it. And what are you going to do now?

You wait and you work. You see what else? We've been covering this in the life of David. David could not build a temple. And David said, Well, what else can I do? So he stockpiled for the temple. So when the Jews came, when the temple was finally dedicated to God, they could say, God used David to do this. In fact, he used David more than Solomon.

He says the city, as I mentioned here in verse 10, that is the New Jerusalem that is spoken of in Revelation 21. In verse 11, by faith, Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed and she bore a child when she was past the age because she judged him faithful who had promised. Oh, wait, wait, wait. Sarah was faithful? Yeah, man, she was, but before she got there, before she got to that faithful moment, when she overheard the strangers show up and tell Abraham that you will have a child this time next year, she laughed.

She said, Yeah, right. And God called her out on it. He asked Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh?

Now, you can imagine Abraham's faith. Don't ask me. I didn't even hear her laugh because the Scripture says she laughed in her heart. Well, Sarah said, I did not laugh. Oh, but you did.

No passes given here. Didn't let her off the hook. She never forgot it. And she adjusted her course.

Otherwise, she never would have received the child. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply log on to That's We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Hebrews right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 04:30:39 / 2023-05-14 04:40:01 / 9

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