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April 19, 2021 4:00 am
Someone asked you to pack up and move without telling you your final destination. What would you do what Hebrews chapter 11 we read that Abraham did exactly that simply because God told him to today on Truth for Life. Alastair Begg explains what Abraham's obedience teaches us about God's plan and purpose for our lives. In the last week on Abraham, who is described in the book of Romans as the father of all who have faith that he is the ultimate expression in New Testament times of an Old Testament indicator of what it means to have faith that he walked with God.
He was a friend of God. He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
And when the New Testament theologians seek for that classic illustration of what it means to trust God to depend upon God and not upon works righteousness, then they turn again and again to the illustration of Abraham.
Now there are three incidents from Abraham's life, which are interspersed here in the next few verses through to the end of verse 19.
But let us begin by noticing. First of all, this statement in verse eight by faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went even though he didn't know where he was going.
Now, once again, it's helpful I think to turn back to the book of Genesis and to see the historical context to which the writer of the Hebrews is refashioning and you'll find this of course, in Genesis chapter 12 God's call to Abraham was a call. In Genesis 12 one to leave your country, leave your people and leave your father's household and go to the land I will show you and then in verse four so Abraham left as the Lord had told him I will not just to skim over this.
Think about it for a moment you are here and some of you are surrounded by everything that represents security to you. Indeed, most of us in one sense are the people that we love the situations with which we are familiar and all that is wrapped up in the experience of our lives in God comes to the individual. In that context, and he says and I like you to go I want you to leave all this behind and incidentally where you're going is not as important of the moment is that you get going and Abraham left as the Lord told why would anybody ever knew that uniting to go on, save the command of God and the accompanying promises, but that was enough for him that his faith that his faith in every day and in every generation the command of God, the accompanying promises and then this step of obedience. The callings of God's and Graham strongly in an earlier generation in Scotland and Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh seldom leave a man or a woman where the calling finds them indeed said strongly, if we failed to go forward.
When God says go. We cannot remain stationary because our refusal to move forward is a backward movement even though we never take a step God says go forward and we synonymously here. Then we kid ourselves into thinking will be staying there because our refusal to move forward is actually to take a step back and solely illustration here of Abraham in respect of faith is first of all, faith on the move. He is to make a departure and he's also to make a discovery.
What is he going to discover what he's going to discover that the only place to be is where God wants you to be indeed to turn around. There is no ideal place to serve God except the place where he sent you down. He didn't know where he was going.
It was sufficient for them that God had told him to go and he said fine I will go. He was to discover that the only place you should be is where God wants you and the only purpose that you should ever seek to fulfill is that which God has made known to you and God made known to them.
The fact that he was going to make of him a great nation was going to grant him a great name and he was going to shower him with a great blessing but one that possibly meant on the morning when he awakened and when he encountered God in this way, much of which is cloaked in silence. We can only marvel at the obedience of Abraham and obedience which were told was to transform his lifestyle. Obedience to God will always transform our lifestyle. He obeyed and went even though he didn't know where he was going, and as a result of having done so.
By faith he made his home in the promised land. And like a stranger in a foreign country he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob followed. In other words, there was this sense of impermanence about all that now was to categorize his life. I want to get intensely practical tonight and just ask your question in case some of you are finding your heart, stirred in my question to you would be a further impetus in this direction has God been speaking to you as an individual about moving has been speaking here about an individual is an individual about moving on about moving on and obedience to him about getting up and going.
It runs absolutely contrary to everything that you have been thinking about because you have so much that is represented insecurity around you. After all, you work for quite a long time. In this particular place you just mean getting to the stage where you felt that everything was really hunky-dory and now suddenly there is this strange, insistent voice in your ear and God send you I want you to move. I want to tell you better move because if you don't move. You won't stay where you are.
You will backwards very important when we have that sense that we check very carefully with those who are responsible for us with those who care for is a noise next because every so often, our own subjective instincts can get is in deep trouble. I told you before, the girl who came to me after the Bible study at our previous church in Scotland.
She announced to me that she was going to Australia either when you going.
She said I don't know I said why are you going to say because God told me to say well it's interesting how did he deluged the lightest of the feeling in my stomach.
Is that okay I said that you elect what you have for your dinner sheeting and I was very spiritual, but it was actually a very good question because we don't make dramatic moves in our life.
Just as a result of something going on in our solar plexus. The call of God is not directly related to a glandular condition and there was that which accompanied Abraham's move which was marked by the clear delineation of the unfolding purpose of God and in the economy of the local church God has put leaders and pastors and friends and guides and relationships they are in order that the call might be tested before ever a person gets on Qantas and heads for Melbourne or for Sydney. It's interesting that in his move. He didn't simply pitch a tent but he built an altar and he looks back to God's call in the building of the altar and look forward to God city and he lived as a stranger in a foreign country. He was looking forward to the city.
Verse 10 says with foundations, whose architect and builder is God's gaze was to a different destination's perspective was on a different horizon from the run-of-the-mill of those around him. God had spoken Abram had inherent Abram decided to trust God and obey God as faith that we not only have Abraham's faith expressed on the move. But we also have his faith expressed in the waiting room and that in verse 11. By faith Abraham, even though he was past the agency herself was barren. He was unable to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. I don't know whether faith on the move is tougher than faith in the waiting room, but if you turn to Genesis 17 you'll get a flavor of what is described for us here.
When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him and said I am God Almighty walk before me and be blameless.
I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers and God said to Abram in verse 15. As for Sarah your wife you're no longer to call her samurai her name will be Serra.
I will bless her, and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations, kings of peoples will come from her and Abram fell face down. He laughed and he said to himself will his son be born to a man 100 years old and will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90.
This is in the laugh of Sarah which was a laugh of the rebellion or indifference.
This is the laugh of somebody really doesn't laugh will burst into tears, humanly speaking, you see the possibilities of childbirth are long gone. And every year that is passed makes the promise that God is made to Abram all the more less likely to be fulfilled in 524 years as I say have passed since what we looked at in the first verse of chapter 12.
But Paul tells us when he writes of the incident in Romans chapter 4, and I quote from verse 20 in following yet Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised as faith.
So Abraham to believe in this way was not some blinding leap in the dark. It was belief on the basis of the promises of God.
God said in the Lord Jesus, I'm going to prepare a place for you.
Therefore I take him at his word.
He said if I going prepare a place for you, I will come back for you.
Therefore I take him at his word.
Jesus is definitely coming back.
He is coming back personally.
He is coming back visibly and he is coming back for his own. How do we know because he said it in his word and it is as a surety, as it was that the promise made to Abraham which went for 25 years before his fulfillment would actually be his expedient, and furthermore he promised that if he came back for us that he would take us to himself and that we would be within that heaven is our home that this is only a place of passage that there's no real point in building for ourselves any lasting edifices here. If, in point of fact we are going to embrace the faith of Abraham because we will like Abraham be looking for a city whose builder is God. And then city that has foundations that is like any other city but God brought him through all of this and his wife through all these years of delay. Let's notice the simple, obvious truth. God always has a reason for his delays. God always has a reason for his delays. There is a sense in which inpatients in our lives really ought not to be there and I say that to my great shape. We saw it in the story of Joseph.
Remember Joseph says to the cupbearer. By the way, when you get out of here and be great if you could put in a special word for me because I really feel that I can be doing much better if I was out and on my way and on with business. The cupbearer leaves forgets all about him and he languishes down in the dungeon for another significant period of time. I do remember as we look back over the story we saw that God in his sovereign purpose was keeping Joseph for the exact moment, so that when he was released from that situation, the plan and pattern of his life would continue as God intended. Now, in this case, in relationship to Abraham. God wants to make it absolutely clear of the sun that was to be born to Abram was a gift from himself and was as a result of his promise and in the same way God may choose to limit our resources so that we might enjoy the abundance of all that he makes available to us, and therefore all of his delays. All of his old arms. All of the faith in the waiting room are still part and parcel of his purpose. What was it that Abraham going. It was the revelation of God made clear in his name, Al Shaddai, Genesis 17 the Lord appeared to him and said I am Al Shaddai. Walk before me now well Shaddai is a combination of three in the Hebrew Al is God's is who and die is sufficient God Al Shah, who die is sufficient. So God comes to them and he says and you can imagine what an encouragement it was when he goes back to his wife and he said God affirmed his promise to me and she said you really think it's going to happen.
He said well you know he can be for many said I am Al Shaddai I am the God who is sufficient for everything.
For I want before you do anything else. Abram I want you to know that every need that you encounter every difficulty that you face. I am sufficient for what an amazing promise, and from this one man and he is good is that Kim descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore Netherlands follows this little summary statement. All these people were still living by faith when they die. Who are these people well I think other people have just been mentioned, namely able and Enoch and Noah and Sarah and Abraham. They were all still living by faith when they die. Now you see again the context is so important. He is already said to the end of chapter 10, we don't want to be those people who shrink back and are destroyed. We want to be the kind of people who continue enter save now.
He says let me remind you, let me think about able for a moment and Enoch and Noah. And what about Abram and Sarah, what about when he was called to go out. Remember when he did that. What about when God promise to my son and all the descendents and he said think about their devotion.
It stayed the course. All the way to the end still living by faith when they die be a dreadful tragedy to blow it out on the last quarter of a mile when no in these heroes of faith is not so much the importance of getting a flyer in the beginning is just steady consistency in the middle years and is staying the course right to the end goal in your life run all the way to the tape.
That's what I want to do.
I just want to run all the way to the tape. I want to make a hash of you want to be known as a person with a great beginning. The average middle and the lousy finish better.
Nobody here dollars and we were there at the end than that everybody talked about us. We lay down in the grass before the whole event was over all these people were devoted right to the end they gave indication of their devotion because they were living as aliens and strangers on the earth. They were quite prepared to admit that they were weird.
They recognize that where they were going was not where everybody else was going in the same way as we see in the words of the song in recognition of what Peter says concerning the scattered believers of his day in first Peter 117 and then in chapter 2, and in verse 11.
This world is not our home, or just passing through our treasure is laid up somewhere beyond the blue and the angels beckon me from heaven's open door and I can be at home in this world anymore because I'm an alien, their devotion is seen in that they continue to the end seen in the fact that they were prepared to admit before anybody that they were aliens that they were strangers or direction is absolutely clear they were looking for a country of their own and fight. Have they been thinking about the country they left.
They could've gone back. You see, again, he saying I don't want you boys to be go back don't you be like those who began well and Alloway. So all of this is purposeful. There were longing for a better country, a heavenly country and the distinction that he had lies in this, that God is not ashamed to be called their God because he has prepared a city for the and when we feel ourselves to be part of a small, when we feel ourselves to be beleaguered and buffeted and really making very little impact at all. Let us take a walk through the portrait Gallery and C. This man able who discovered that faith means giving your very best to God. Let us look at this chat Enoch who considered walking with God. The most important thing in his life. Let's hang for a moment and look up at this chapter Noah, who despite all the people that said he was crazy was so passionately concerned for the welfare of his family that he built an ark even when it wasn't raining, with no prospect of a flood was swept to safety and let's think about Abram leaving behind all that represented security to them. His home, his country, his father's house and going to a place he didn't know waiting all these years for the fulfillment of a promise which from every human physiological die mention was categorically out of the question and think about them as a group and think about the group that is fall and ask yourself the question. Will my portrait me in the gallery if you've gone and Edinburgh Castle. You find there. These great books, which I'm sure they have in military monuments here in the United States. Although I've never seen.
It's a sobering thing is just a long list of names read the names out. Nobody knows who they are there precious their blood secure the freedom that we enjoy into a far greater degree. There is a book it's kept in heaven and is full and names many of them.
We don't know but they're all precious. Their all significant in their all Abram's children in the books and Edinburgh Castle that are some pictures every so often there's a big one, but most of the time their tiny we pictures that you need a magnifying glass to actually pick out who's there that's the cane a picture I'll get in the book of faith, but I'll be fine.
I'll be glad just to have my picture in the book young people with all your life before you and all your hopes and all your dreams. Believe me, on the authority of God's work. There's only one list, you better make sure your and is called the Lamb's book of life. God will write your name if you will come to him in repentance and childlike faith no matter what other places you get your name written and no matter that anybody says you great no matter, you become a hero. Are you become a bar to be a man or a woman of faith is the great issue. May God grant that there won't be a person in the room tonight who will walk out the wrong door. Examining the faithful examples of those who relied on God's grace to run life's race. That's from today's message on Truth for Life with Alastair brick. Sometimes it's hard to believe that these Old Testament heroes were just ordinary men and women like us their stories inspire us to serve God more diligently, but sometimes despite her best intentions life's circumstances get in the way we feel defeated before we've even begun that your experience if it is you want to read a book called God does his best work with emptying this book explores something all of us struggle with loneliness, loss, unfulfilled dreams. These difficulties can make us feel as though we have nothing to offer in service for God author Nancy Guthrie points out, however, that the opposite is true. God often uses are low points to fulfill his purposes in the book she gives us plenty of examples of people who in their weakness were used by God to accomplish great things.
Again, the book is called God does his best work with empty you can request your copy today when you donate to support the Bible teaching you hear on this program.
Give through our mobile app or a Truth for Life.org/donate Bob Lapine. Thanks for listening today.
Ever been overwhelmed by your circumstances listen tomorrow and gain encouragement from our study the book of Hebrews the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life for the Learning is for Living