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Anatomy of Faith

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2020 9:00 am

Anatomy of Faith

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 27, 2020 9:00 am

One of the common questions in Christianity is, “How did people in the Old Testament get to heaven?” In this message, Pastor J.D. teaches us not only when and how the father of our faith, Abraham, was saved but also how our faith is the same as Abraham’s. Through his story, we see that the Christian life is started and sustained by faith that God will keep his promises and that he fulfilled his most important one in Jesus.

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Today on Senate life with JD Greer our sins, which also deserve death.

They were also charged to Jesus so that Jesus's life and resurrection could be credited to us. So how was Abraham saved the was saved by trusting God would keep his promise to bring salvation to the world the same way that you and I experience salvation, and that is by trusting that God has brought salvation to the world down questioning Christianity is and how did people in the Old Testament get to heaven today.

Pastor Janie Greer teaches us not only when and how the father of our faith Abraham was saved but also our faith is the same as Abraham's 30th story, we see that the Christian life is started and sustained by faith that God will keep his promises, and that he fulfilled his most written one in Jesus Pastor Janie title this message anatomy estate for as your attorney there. How many of you have if you loved high school biology class once which Randolph permitted. I think it was a rite of passage for me in either middle school biology.

Or maybe I squat which one it was for the first time that you got to do a frog dissection member.

The day was a game changer moment is also like so many things in the world.

Look different to me after that moment because prior to that, it just permits frog hopping around and now it's like this complex organism about his interworking parts. I was told this one of our pastor series that met my school got to do a fetal pig. So what kind of crazy expensive private school you went to a place in a frog.

One of her other pastors.

He was raised on the countries that we got to do a cat don't know what's going on there, but he was able to confirm to me that the cat has no soul, no heart, nothing in their material. Okay, so he was able to check that out washer sure that because Romans or is Paul's the apostle Paul's dissection of faith also laid on the table is to show you all the different parts of it look like you throughout the whole book of Romans.

You probably have noticed that faith plays this crucial role in salvation, and so Paula said things like Romans 116 what I told you was the key verse in the whole book of the gospel to power God everybody that believes that we believe is the same word in Greek for faith. Faith is the means by which the power of God comes and dies or chapter 3 verse 22 balls of the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believed all who show faith to the question is what is Faith exactly right. What is faith if you ask different kinds of Christians are likely to get three different answers. For example, if you ask a Roman Catholic if you were to ask a professor at Duke Divinity school and you would ask Billy Graham.

What is the faith that Paul is referring to when he says the righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ. You're very likely to get three different answers from those three different people while thankfully the apostle Paul tells us exactly what he means by faith and he does that in Romans four. Romans four is the apostle Paul's analysis of what the faith that saves us really is to lay it out on the table so to speak is going out. He's going to dissect it for you honestly call this might be my favorite chapter, not just in Romans. It might be. I think it is my favorite chapter in the entire Bible and that is for very personal reasons to me because it was through a in-depth study of this chapter when I was a freshman in college that I finally understood how I could know for sure that I was going to go to heaven when I die, that some of you have heard me. If you been around here. You probably heard me talk about the struggle, long struggle I had with the assurance of salvation for years. I doubted my salvation. I knew I knew that you were saved by faith.

I know that since I was a kid and a dog that but what exactly was that faith and what did it look like.

Was it a prayer that you pray and if so, when I prayed the prayer right. Was it feelings of repentance. If so, how strong did those feelings of repentance need to be had I been sorry enough for my sin. Was it commitment to Jesus was. It was commitment to Jesus how committed. Did you have to be to be regarded as having enough commitment to be accepted by God. The end result of told you is that I pray the sinners prayer over and over and over. I told you that if there is a Guinness Book of World Records for how may times a single human being to pray the sinners prayer. There is no question in my mind that I would hold that record. Some of you and I cooperated a lot to you a got game compared me amyloid A that right F hung by the time I was 19 years old. I probably pray the sinners prayer 5000 times as I even exaggeration every time I charged him an invitation I got saved during that window. I me. I single-handedly fulfilled our churches conversion goal by myself like like the printing presses late last year, 240 number JD come and save and youth camps all over the nation. And then I would follow that would baptism because you want to make sure that you're about to say so I got baptized. I mean it was like I can just feel the pastor every time the stood up and gave an invitation for baptism may be like anybody else except for JD want to get baptized today. I don't lock her in the baptismal changing area that was a joke. But what is II did a lot.

I went to this a lot because that's just wanted to know, like how do you know for sure that you have the faith that saves what is saving faith and how can you know that you have it, that's the question Paula can answer in Romans 40 is gonna try to answer them a look at the life of one of the most important figures that we have in the Bible that is Abraham Paul's choice of Abraham to demonstrate what saving faith looks like is intentional because Jewish people considered Abraham to be the father of their faith Reitman. We still think that today right meaning of the song right refilled by father Abraham may see many signs that say I'm one of them so use little praise Lord like we did yoga, calisthenics and worship altogether wants to possibly demonstrate that Abraham father Abraham was justified by faith in the idea here is if Abraham was the father of our faith. Father specifically Jewish faith that he was justified by faith. Well, you should expect that you will be justified. Also remember part of Paul's audience here. Jewish people who are struggling with what Paul is teaching about the gospel in there for like he's teaching something new. Subaltern is a note father Abraham believed this as well. By the way, a lot of times I get asked the question there like pastor. How did people in the Old Testament get to heaven like I don't see me altar calls. I will see sinners prayer to be watching Jesus seminar get baptized if you ever asked the question how do people.

The Old Testament get say Romans four is your answer. Paul's to frame this whole chapter around three very important questions are, they are questionable one. He's going to ask how is Abraham saved.

Question number two very important you think it's not but it is when was Abraham saved. Question number three is what were the elements of Abraham saving faith. Okay I let's dive right in Romans chapter 4 what then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according the flesh is found because if Abraham was justified by works. He's got something to boast about, but not before God. No, not before God. For what does the Scripture say unison quotation marks because he is quoting Genesis 15 six Genesis 15 six. As Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. So how was Abraham saved. Genesis 15 six tells us it was by faith Abraham believed God's promise that he would bring salvation to the world through one of his sons and that was credited to Abraham as righteousness when he believed that God would make of him a great nation like you promised and from his descendents. One of them would come that would bring salvation to all the different nations of the world when he believed that it was credited to Abraham for righteousness.

Verses four and five show us the inner logic of faith. Verse four now to the one who works pay is not credited as a gift pay is given is something that is owed.

That is the premise behind every single job that you have you perform a certain task and the you are paid for that task. When the boss write you that paycheck. You don't go up to him or her and say wow this is so generous you are so awesome thank you for thinking of me. You are so thoughtful. Know your pay is what you are owed for working you do the work you get the payment that is how many people Paul says approached God they do good things and they think, therefore God will pay me, he will reward me with acceptance and avid most religion I've told you works off of this premise, I obey I obey. Therefore, unaccepted if I would be well enough if I obey often enough that I'm good enough, then God will reward me with acceptance.

He gives me acceptance as a payment for my obedience.

The problem with that Paul says is that when you do good works to earn salvation from God. What are not really motivated by a love for God. If anything are motivated out of a love for yourself Reitman to make sense then it if I am nice to you as a way of making God or try to get God let me to have. It is not really you.

I care about me right it's it's it's a dilemma you have when you're at the coffee shop in the got a little tip jar.

The coffee shop tips welcome. Thanks a lot.

They review something like that in and that you already put your tip in right when you redo the priest turns around right you have this happen and you like will it be if I put in the middle seat on your credit report right so you're like what I do here because it was that you photographed in your like my wait for them to turn around and put another one.

And that's a double to that's kind of excessive but you know if I guess reach and pull out your thought that pulled out and went to the turnaround and drop it in a smiled image that you get one fight they turn out right. When I reach my hand and look like I'm stealing outside our galaxy. This is the real dilemma and I) I write a great but the point is in that moment you're not really caring about being generous to the barista or the barrister what you care about is you care about them thinking good about you. It's not really love them and motivate you with love for yourself and Paul says when you're working and doing good works to earn acceptance by God is not really God care about.

It is yourself. So the gospel he says works according to a different premise and that premise is this verse five, but to the one who does not work, but instead believes on him who declares the ungodly to be righteous will that person's faith like Abrahams is going to be credited for righteousness. Now what does that phrase does not work me. I mean it can't mean that Christians don't do good works right because the whole New Testament is filled with stories of followers of Jesus doing good works, no what it means is that you no longer do good works as a means of obtaining salvation when it comes to establishing your rightness before God. Instead of trying to work for that and experiencing that as a reward instead of that you believe on him, declares the ungodly to be unrighteous. In other words, you believe that God accomplished what God said he accomplished when he sent Jesus to die in your sins in your place.

You believe that he was paying your sin debt in full. When you believe that and you claim it as your own.

His righteousness is credited to you is pictured in that Jewish father I've told you about who brings the lamb for sacrifice once a year the Jewish temple lays it on the altar as the priest cuts the third of the land. The father lays his hand on the head of the lamp and confesses his family since what is happening is symbolically the guilt of that family since is being transferred to the land and symbolically that limbs innocence is being credited back to the family in the same way Paul says when you believe that Jesus did what he said he nearly died on the cross, and you claim that is yours credit for his life and death gets put into your account and credit for your sin gets put into his account. By the way, that were credited our credited is the most important word in Romans chapter 4 rooms and four in Greek.

It is the word load did so my dear Greek nerd want to write things down little kids or not. It is a banking term, a banking term that means something is put into your account. Bankers in those days use that term. Hi, my son has a bank account with 100 and's about nine-year-old son has Megan held $106 and that's his savings account okay if I would find out that you liked next week. Next week I was gonna die or something and I want to transfer my assets. My son started out a banking on my cable to take all my checking all my savings on what you take everything I own, and I want you to put it into my son's account. That banker, that banker would take all my assets and would transfer it to my sons. Here she would load did so my his account with all of my assets and suddenly my son's bank account would go from $106 to like 350 not just all in one moment okay that is legitimize a banking term that means credit note here, by the way that faith is the instrument that that contains that credit faith is not just believing in God is not just believing in Jesus. In general, believing is Albert having warm and fuzzy feelings toward him specifically you are believing that he accomplished something for you that he said he accomplished for you paying your sin debt and then leaning your weight on that I I've heard it called a trust transfer you no longer depend on what you've done your work to get you to heaven. You start opinion on him on what he's done is that you stop working, is that you stop trusting and that is your means of earning your way before God. I have compared before to sitting down in a chair, you know, it's like we have a chair up until the point you sit in the chair you are depending on your legs to hold you up right but at the moment you choose to sit down you transfer your trust off of your legs onto the chair and now the weight of your body is sitting on the chair.

It's not like your legs or stop working, it's unlikely disappear issues that you transferred your trust of what is going to keep you off the ground you transferred it from your legs to your chair in the same way when you become a Christian you transfer trust of what is going to get you acceptance for God you transfer that off of your own goodness you transferred onto Jesus's finish work when I ask people that infamous question. If you died tonight right. We were battling the swimming when you when you get asked that question that infamous question of Chris's audacity died tonight and God were to say why should I let you into heaven, what would your response be if you understand what Paul is saying here you will answer with anything about you at all. Your answer entirely because of what Jesus is done because that's what you're trusting in now I will tell you that when I asked people at question here, especially in the Bible Belt in the South. I usually hear one of three answers of the windows given to you because I imagine some of you visor you might say the same thing social skeletons talk about right now. You don't know that well watch.

Why should I limit heaven because I try to be a good Christian. I try my best super sincere or they'll say I believe in God, not try to do his will I or they'll say I believe in God or maybe believe in Jesus with all my heart. Well three reason answers over Iraq. They're all essentially salvation by works watch.

I tried my best to be a good Christian message purity salvation by works. I'm hoping that in the scale. I did more good things about things Goggin will be in heaven as I was. B. Here is like a mixture of salvation by faith and works.

I believe in God but also try to do his will and hope, and that's enough that it looks at me C watch is salvation by faith as a work this looks correct. The people but what they're saying is because I believed in God that kinda makes me a good person and I look to me as I thank you for believing in me. That really help them and thank you for having warm feelings for me. And because you believe in me. Therefore, I'm going to reward you in it with have it in every single one of those cases you got a person who is religious but is not somebody who is not a trust transfer were not talking about somebody who no longer works for their salvation. The correct answer. The only answer to the question of why God should let you into heaven is because of what Jesus has done. Somebody asked Billy Graham right before he died.

They said Billy Graham. Why do you think God is going to let you and Evan. It was the last interview he ever day before he died and he said and I quote I will be in heaven because our priest to large crowds or because I've tried to live a good life. I will be in heaven for one reason many years ago I put my faith, my confidence, I transferred my trust to Jesus Christ who died on the cross to make our forgiveness possible and rose again from the dead to give us eternal life. Billy Graham is a lot of good works. Billy Graham the many ways of lives we would call a good life.

But he is not trusting in those things to be his entry into heaven is trusting on the finished work of Christ to the one who does not work, but instead believes on him who justifies the ungodly, who declares the ungodly righteous that person's faith is credited is located. So my as righteousness. Then Paul turns and he quotes King David in support of this now. This is very strategic. Also write on. Abraham wanted in David beloved King David Mrs. King David agreed with us to look at it. Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works right. Then he quotes from Psalm 32, when David songs. Blessed are those whose lawless acts are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the person whom the Lord will never charged with sin. By the way, that were charge there is the same word in Greek did to my Lord will never credit with sin. Paul's use of David here is not just strategic because David was a beloved figure to Jews is also strategic because David was like the pinnacle of the forgiven sinner in the Old Testament. David had not done little small Pedley Sands is a varsity level sins is when David had done Nathan the prophet comes and he confronts David when David finally confesses Nathan looks at David and says, God told me to tell you that you will not be charged with this sin you will be forgiven. That's awesome.

We love it unless you're Uriah's mother and then your sit in the courtroom. What you save. If Uriah was your son and David just had him murdered in cold blood and stole his wife what you say to that know it's not that easy. It's not that easy.

David knew that David knew that he had done something that was worthy of death, and he said I will be charged with death, I will be look into my wood death because somebody else is going to look at them I would death Jesus is going to be will get some I would death because he's will get to my because he's charged with death.

I'm going to be credited with his righteousness. Paul says will just like with David our sins, which also deserve death. They were also charged to Jesus. They were legit.

The mind and Jesus said that Jesus is life and resurrection could be will get to my credited to us. So how was Abraham saved. He was saved by trusting God would keep his promise to bring salvation to the world the same way that you and I experience salvation, and that is by trusting that God has brought salvation to the world. Question number two. When was Abraham saved. When Jackie was Abraham saved you think this is a detailed note. It's very important to show you. Paul says when was it credited when was Abraham saved while he was circumcised or uncircumcised. Not only a super deep in the circumcision here just for right now let it represent basically let it symbolizes all of the law. All the Mosaic law and so what Paul is saying is, when was Abraham declared righteous was it was it when he got circumcised after he received the first part of the wall was when he was still uncircumcised. Well, he was declared righteous in Genesis 15, six circumcision was not even introduced until Genesis 17 to Paul says see it was not while he was circumcised. It was while he was still uncircumcised and this was to make him the father of all who believe but are not circumcised who have never been under the Jewish law so that righteousness might be credited to them. Also, you see the logic here goes like this.

If God declared Abraham to be righteous before he was circumcised before there was a wall in the wall. Circumcision cannot be essential to salvation since Abraham was declared righteous before he ever even heard about it. Thus, the law cannot be a means of salvation, the law was not given as a means of salvation below.

Paul explains in those verses was given for another reason for these men say now for 34 chapters in Romans. The wall was not given to bring salvation to make it closer to God, the law was given to reveal the holiness of God to us.

It was to reveal to us how sinful we work so that we would go to God for his grace it was to show us God's glory so that we can say it would give us a pathway for understanding how to become like the God that we love so how was Abraham saved.

He was saved by faith. When was Abraham say he will say before the law was introduced. Question number three. What were the elements of Abraham saving faith. And this is where Paul really begin set the dissect faith meet before I get into this me take a minute. Just make sure you understand the story of Abraham is not you might be a little lost in what's going on here. Sort Abraham occurs in Genesis 12.

Right before this in Genesis 11 is after the flood. The wickedness of man is come to a crescendo with the building of the Tower of Babel, the Tower of Babel is a gigantic tower that all of humankind, built as kind of the symbol of their independence from God, right there in the middle of the Arabian desert is a big old middle finger sticking up a got and it's a brazenly defiant act. And God says, okay, scatter all the different people into different language groups and scatter them all around the globe, then God shows one family, one person, that person was Abram, the one called Abraham yet features one person, Abram, and said I'm going to make of you a great nation and you're going to be my nation and then from you is going to come a descendent who is going to bring salvation and blessing to all the world and all of the people were going to be blessed in you. The problem was when Abram got that promise and he and his wife the problems enabled on that promise. But even his wife are in their 70s and they were childless and there it remained that way until they're in their late 90s. Still, Paul says, verse 18. Romans four. Still, Abraham believed, hoping against hope. I love that phrase, hoping against hope, because when you're 90 and you hadn't had kids yet you give up hope, so that he became the father of many nations. Watch this, according to what it is spoken I would've been spoken so will your descendents be. That's a shorthand for your descendents are to be numerous, like the stars in one of them bring salvation to the world. He believed that promise. That was the object of his faith to be taken notes. A face object is God's promise again.

Abraham wouldn't just believe in God. In general, wonderful evening. I was out there he believed the specific thing that God had set a promise he had made and then Abraham adjusted his life around them from your here describing me in the name Raymond's challenging are being like encourage you to get our new Bible study where you can go deeper into the theology and issues discussed in the book of Romans. This brand-new statement will come as a three-part box throughout the year.

You can get the first line including the box to hold the mall today as you read this book and work for the study questions will be reminded that the gospel has always been countercultural, that hasn't stopped us, yet and will send you that the first study, but in the case to hold in this plan as an expression of thanks when you donate today to support this ministry centerline is spending by listeners like you say your gift truly makes a difference asked for the first Roman statement when you get by calling 866-335-5220 866-335-5220 or you can give it's easier to mail your donation right to JD Greer ministry, PO Box 12293, Durham, NC 27709. If you haven't checked out castigating's newest podcast can't ask me anything you wanted today is quick answers to tricky questions can find or through your favorite dress inviting you to join us tomorrow when we can lose our message on the anatomy Tuesday descendent light JD Greer

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