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Taking the Step of Faith

Turning Point / David Jeremiah
The Truth Network Radio
January 5, 2021 12:24 pm

Taking the Step of Faith

Turning Point / David Jeremiah

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January 5, 2021 12:24 pm

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Thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Your donation today means great podcasts like this remain available to help people look to God daily. Please make your donation today at vision.org.au At this point, Dr. David Jeremiah shares how it's often in those moments of doubt and second-guessing that God comes alongside with reassurance and encouragement. To introduce the conclusion of his message, Taking the Step of Faith, here's David. He is a great example of a man who is like us. He wasn't perfect, as you know. He made some serious errors in his walk, but he was a man of faith.

And the Bible tells us that when God told him to go out without telling him where he was going, that he went. I love the way Hebrews speaks of Abraham. We're going to talk about him some more from the 11th chapter of Genesis. And if you have your Bible, you may want to turn to that portion of God's Word as we study it. You'll find the truth to be pretty encouraging. And now let's get back to our discussion of the man Abraham, Taking the Step of Faith. How many of you have discovered in your life that sometimes it's easy to take the initial step of faith, but after you walk for a little bit, it gets a little tough and you start reconsidering.

If you're not careful, you settle down not too far away from where you were called. That's what happened to Abraham. He didn't really leave idolatry. And remember, God had called him not only to leave idolatry, but to leave his family. And you read in the text that he didn't leave his family. In fact, who went with him? His father, who obviously didn't understand what God had told him to do, said, well, if you're going, I'm going too. How many of you fathers know that you'd be tempted to do that if your son was going off on what you considered a pipe dream?

You're going along to protect him so he doesn't make any other stupid mistakes. So the Bible says, Terah went with him and he took Lot, his brother's son, because he had promised his brother before he died that he would take care of this boy. So he's got Lot with him, his nephew.

How many of you know, this is going to be trouble for Abraham before this story's over. He didn't leave his family. Now, he sort of obeyed. He did leave and he didn't take all of his family, but just a few. And he didn't get clear to Canaan, as I mentioned.

He stopped along the way. In fact, if you go to Acts chapter 7, you will see what happened. And the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia before he dwelt in Haran and said to him, get out of your country and from your relatives and come to a land I will show you. And he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and he dwelt in Haran. That wasn't what God told him to do. And from there, when his father was dead, he moved him to this land in which you now dwell.

You know what? Abraham didn't leave his relatives, so God started getting his relatives to leave him. That's pretty scary, isn't it? And it wasn't until his father died that he was ultimately able to get on to the place where God had called him to be. Isn't it interesting that we always think of Abraham as the great man of faith, but we never hear about this part of his journey. Friends, before we're finished with this man, we're going to see him warts and all. Abraham was not a perfect person.

And we'll talk about that some more in a few moments. Let's go on to the compliance of his faith in verses 4 and 5. These are wonderful words of obedience, for we read Abraham departed as the Lord had spoken to him. Why did he leave?

Because God told him so. And Lot went with him and Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from Haran. By the way, do you know how long he stayed in this in-between city?

For 15 years. That's a long time to not be in the perfect will of God, but that's where he was. And Abraham took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son and all the possessions that they had gathered and the people whom they had acquired in Haran and they departed to go to the land of Canaan and they came to the land of Canaan. Finally, 15 years after God spoke to him in Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham gets to the place where God called him to be. And there are two aspects of faith here reflected. First of all, there is God's statement of faith.

Abraham, go. And then there is Abraham's response to faith and Abraham went out. What is faith? Faith is primarily obedience to what God has said.

God has not asked you to put your trust in some warm and fuzzy feeling about God. God has asked you to put your trust in the revelation that he's already given you and the revelation that he will give you in the future from his holy word. And when you obey, you exercise your faith. What does it mean to walk by faith? It means to walk in obedience to Almighty God, no matter what anybody else says. That person who knows God and is walking by faith says, I have higher orders and they walk by faith and do what God tells them to do. And when they walk by faith and not by sight, they begin to stand out from among the rest.

What God wants from you and what he wants from me is he wants us to walk by faith, to be obedient to what he tells us in his word. And Abraham went out, according to Hebrews chapter 11, not knowing where he was going. And by faith, he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country. By faith, because God told him so, Abraham did it. And then his faith was confirmed. And if you read in your Bibles again, in the seventh verse, that when Abraham got to Canaan where God had told him he wanted him to go, that the Lord appeared to Abram and said to you and to your descendants, I will give this land.

And there he built an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him. The confirmation of Abraham's faith was twofold. First of all, Almighty God confirmed to Abraham that what he had told him to do was the right thing. Remember now, to get this picture, Abraham had been called in Ur of the Chaldees 15 years earlier. And a long period of time when Abraham had wavered in his faith in Haran had gone on. And finally, Abraham gets to Canaan and when he finally gets to the place God sent him, God once again speaks to him and says to him, Abram, you're in the right place. You're obedient.

You're doing what I've asked you to do. And he affirmed him and confirmed him in his faith. How many of you know that when we take steps of faith that are sometimes out on the edge, God is so good to come along somewhere in the process and confirm that in our hearts so that we're not wondering have we done the right thing. So often God has done that in my life.

When I've taken a step of faith or I've led a congregation in steps of faith and we've gotten out on the edge, and sometimes I've wondered have we overstepped the boundary and God will come along and affirm what we have done. But not only did God confirm his faith in Abraham, Abraham confirmed his faith in God. Notice what the scripture says. He built an altar unto the Lord God. In verses 7 and 8 of the book of Genesis chapter 12, we find Abraham building two altars. Someone has said that for Abraham the symbol of his life was a tent, but the secret of his life was an altar.

And I remember when I first started reading the life of Abraham, and I challenge you to do this, reading through the 12 chapters that record his story here in the book of Genesis, every time I found an altar mentioned in the text, I drew a little altar out in the margin of my Bible. And I noticed that, listen to this, every time you turn around, Abraham's worshiping God. Whenever Abraham's in fellowship with God, he's always worshiping God. When Abraham's in the land of Canaan, he worships God. When he gets out of Canaan and goes down to Egypt and other places where God had not told him to go, you don't find him building an altar down there, that would be a mockery to Almighty God. But when he's walking in faith, he's walking in fellowship.

How many of you know that's a wonderful principle? When you walk in faith, you walk in fellowship, and part of your fellowship is worshiping Almighty God. How many of you know that when God has told you to do something and you do it, there's this wonderful communication that goes on between you, but when God tells you to do something and you waver or you don't do it, it's almost like the ceiling is as high as your prayers go.

And sometimes you even feel just so foolish praying because you know down deep in your heart, how can I pray because the Bible says if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. So Abraham is now in Canaan. It's taken him a little while to get there, but he's taken the step of faith. And God is going to honor this step of faith, and we're going to see this step of faith take him to some very interesting places. Walking with God is an adventure. When you walk by faith, it won't be something you can predict every day. It will be an exciting journey. Well, I've written down some lessons that I want to leave with you about faith.

Perhaps these are the most important applications to our own lives, and hopefully you'll write them down and meditate upon them in your own heart. First thing I wrote down was that faltering faith is not always failing faith. Isn't it a good thing, friends, that when we falter in our obedience to God, we don't get all the way there? God doesn't just give up on us. You know what God could have said when Abraham got to Haran and he didn't go all the way to Canaan? God could have just said, Abraham, that's it. I told you to go to Canaan. I am finished with you.

But you know what I've discovered? When God tells you to do something, he will either let you do it voluntarily, or he will get you to the place he wants you to be in his own way. And God had to work extra hard on Abraham.

He had to take his father out. He had to show him the misery of being disobedient, but Abraham finally got to Canaan. What does that say to us, friends? If God tells us to do something, let's just do it, and let's not make him work so hard, and let's not go through the misery ourselves. Amen? And the encouraging thing to me is that faltering faith is not failing faith. How many of you have started out to do something God told you to do, and you've kind of lost your way, and you've faltered a little bit?

Oh, I'm so glad that God is willing to hang in there with us, and stay with us, and get us where we need to go, even if it takes 15 years. The second principle I've written down in my journal is that faith is not about perfection. Faith is about direction.

Isn't that a good thought? Isn't it important to us to understand, well, I'm going to take my step of faith, and from now on, I'm just going to be perfect. We set that standard up with people like Abraham and other folks, and before we know it, the standard is up here, and we discover we can't meet that standard, and we're falling on our face, and we're so defeated and discouraged. When Abraham said yes to God in Ur of the Chaldees, he took a step toward God. He started out, and he got to Haran, and he started a whole new direction for his life, away from polytheism, away from idolatry, away from materialism. He started in a new direction, but friends, he didn't get to perfection at the beginning, did he? One writer said it's like this, with many a stumble and many a fall, with moments of triumph and moments of defeat, with mountaintop experiences and dark times in the valley, with stops and starts, one moment filled with confidence and the next covered with confusion, but Abraham set out in a new direction, no longer by sight, now living by faith. That pretty much describes our lives, doesn't it? Been on the mountaintop, and the next thing you know, how did I get from there down here? Did you ever find yourself in introspection before God, saying, Lord God, you've done so much for me, how could I be so sorry?

How could I be so sorry in my response to you? I'll tell you, I've been there. Faith is not about perfection. Faith is about direction. And when God speaks to you and he calls you out of your life, wherever it might be, and some of you today listening to me, you're living in a life that's not honoring to God. God wants you to step out of that by faith. He's not going to make you automatically perfect the next day. He's going to start you in a new direction, in a journey toward God and away from sin. But you won't get there in a day, and you probably won't get there in 15 years.

You're living every day of your life growing more and more like Christ. And then I wrote down this. Disobeyed instructions delay additional instructions.

This is a very important principle. Abraham goes to Haran, not obedient completely to the Lord, and he stays there for 15 years. And there is no record of God speaking to him during that whole period of time. I wonder sometimes, well, why didn't God tell him what to do? Well, God had already told him what to do, and he wasn't doing it. Some of you say, well, why doesn't God tell me what to do?

Let me ask you a question. Are you doing what God's told you to do already? If you're waiting for further instructions, the Bible says, we're not going to get more light till we walk in the light we already have. And the interesting thing about Abraham is that God did not appear to him again until he was obedient and went to Canaan.

Then God came down and appeared to him, and they had this intimate conversation. So just mark it down in your notebook about faith that when you delay your obedience, you also delay further instruction so you don't know what to do. God isn't going to tell you what to do a week from now if you aren't going to do what he told you to do today.

Amen. Some of you are stalled in your faith walk. You're looking around thinking, well, I've been at this place all this time.

Why am I stalled? Well, maybe it's because God's told you to do something, and you aren't going to do it. And until you do what God's told you to do, he's not going to tell you anything more. And then number four, the power of our faith is found in the patience of our faith. That's one of the things you learn from Abraham.

These long periods of time go by, and you think, how does this man stand this? And now watch this. All of these things God promised him were going to be his. He was going to have a seed. He was going to have a son.

Remember? And he was going to be a great nation. Abraham was 75 when he left Haran to go to Canaan, and it wasn't for another 25 years that he got the promise of Isaac. Abraham was almost 100.

He was an octogenarian and going beyond the stage of being able to birth a son with his wife. And God had promised this to him way back in Ur of the Chaldees when he was 60. 15 years in Haran, and then another 25 years, and finally God fulfilled his promise. You say, well, why does God make us wait? Why doesn't God fulfill his promises to us now? Because the power of our faith is the patience of our faith. What does the Scripture say about faith? Faith is the evidence of things that we don't see. If Abraham got all of his promises immediately, would he be walking by faith? No, he'd be walking by sight.

He would have everything God told him to do. God wants to do some great things for you, and they haven't happened yet, so you're walking by faith, right? You're waiting on the promises. How many of you know that some of the things that God has promised to you and to your family may not be fulfilled in your lifetime? Some of you are praying for children who aren't saved, and you're walking by faith every day.

You know what? God may not let you see their salvation while you're alive on this earth. He may save them after you're gone. The power of our faith is the patience of it.

True faith always involves waiting. How hard it must have been for Abraham to look around in Canaan after he got there and realize this was the land God had promised him. He had no seed, even though God had promised one to him. He had no permanent house to live in. He was still living in tents, although God had promised him one. He could not possess the land because the Canaanites were in the land.

It wasn't until Joshua that the land was occupied by God's people. He didn't see great blessings that we see. He could not have seen down the road and have known that out of his lineage from his children's children's children's children would come the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who would be the Savior of the whole world.

He didn't get to see that. He died not having seen the promises, but he lived by faith because God had spoken, and he saw enough of the promises fulfilled to believe that God would ultimately fulfill them all. Amen? So if you're going to walk by faith, I want to tell you something.

You better learn how to wait. You say, I'm walking by faith that he's going to give me a husband. Well, he might. He might do it, if that's what you believe him for, if he's spoken a word to you through his scripture.

Or you might get married in wheelchairs. I don't know what his time schedule is, but I know that the power of faith is the patience of faith waiting on Almighty God. Now let me give you the last thought, and we're finished. While the building of our faith takes a lifetime, the birth of our faith takes just a moment. You say, well, am I in the faith? Well, have you been born in the faith? The interesting thing is that while the whole deal with Abraham took all these years, and he was 60 when God called him, and we see the rest of his life all the way up until the birth of Isaac and beyond, the beginning of his faith was a moment of time when God said to Abraham, go out of Ur of the Chaldees, and the Bible says, and Abram went out. The day he took the first step, his faith was born.

And that's the way it works for all of us. Some of you say, well, I'd like to be a mature Christian. You can't be a mature Christian. You've got to take the first step. You've got to say, Almighty God, I believe your word about my sin, and your word about salvation, and your word about forgiveness, and I believe what you've said in the Bible, that if I put my trust in you, you will be my Savior.

And what do you do when you hear that? If you're going to be a child of faith, you've got to take the first step. You've got to say, okay, God, I believe that I'll take step number one. And where's that going to lead you? It's going to lead you on a journey more adventuresome than you've ever dreamed through many ups and downs and experiences where God is going to be faithful to you, but where does it start?

Listen to me. The building of your faith takes a lifetime, but the birth of your faith is just a moment when you say yes to God. How many of you can say, Pastor Jeremiah, I have had the birth of my faith?

It was just a moment of time in a service someplace when you said yes to God, when a preacher preached boldly the salvation message and you came forward, when, as we hear so often in the baptismal service, your parents prayed with you. In that moment, you were born into the faith. Now you're going to just build your faith over the whole length of your life. But you see, sometimes people think that you grow into faith.

I always am amused by this. I ask people, are you a Christian? Well, I've always been a Christian. Well, when did you become a Christian? Well, there never was a time when I was not a Christian. My parents were Christians and my parents and their parents before them were Christians.

I've always been a Christian. So when were you born? Well, I've always been born. Well, what do you mean you've always been born? Well, my parents before me were born and my grandparents were born and everybody that I know of in my whole family. So I've always been born.

Doesn't make any sense, does it? Just as you had a moment in time when you came out of your mother's womb and that was your birth moment, so there is a time when you are born into the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ. It is just a moment in time when in your heart you say, yes, God, I will receive Jesus Christ as my Savior. It's my impression that all of us are in one of the three places where Abraham was.

We're either in Ur where all of the polytheism was going on in the idolatry, living in idolatry and sin ourselves, or maybe we've taken a partial step of obedience and we've walked to Haran, but we haven't gone all the way and then some of you are already in Canaan. You've trusted the Lord, you're walking with Him, you're trusting Him and you're walking the life of faith. If you have never been born into God's family, if you've never taken that step of faith, I want you to take that step today. It will be the beginning of a lifetime of walking with God, but you can't walk with God until you take the first step. And Almighty God has made it so simple.

He simply said that if we'll pray to Him and ask Him to forgive our sin, He will come into our lives and give us forgiveness so that we can be His child forever. Amen. Thank you for listening today and thank you for joining us in our journey of faith. During these early broadcasts in 2021, we're studying a series called The Life God Blesses.

We'll see you tomorrow. Our message today originated from Shadow Mountain Community Church and Dr David Jeremiah, the Senior Pastor. Would you like to tell us how Turning Point ministers to you? Please write to us. Turning Point Post Office Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163 or visit our website at davidjeremiah.org.au Ask for your copy of Jack Countryman's new book, God's Blessings, Just for You. It features 100 inspirational readings and reflections and it's yours for a gift of any amount. You can also download the free Turning Point mobile app for your smart device or search in your app store for the keywords, Turning Point Ministries. That's for instant access to our programs and resources. Visit our website at turningpointministries.com for more information on our programs and resources. Visit davidjeremiah.org forward slash radio for details. I'm Gary Hoogfleet. Join us tomorrow as we continue the series The Life God Blesses. Thank you for joining us today on Turning Point with Dr David Jeremiah.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-07 16:44:38 / 2024-01-07 16:54:51 / 10

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