The Kind Of Faith God’s Children Need Today
Beloved, how we need strong, Biblical faith today. In a world that is so chaotic, and unstable, and ever shifting and changing, we need a faith that will overcome. We need a faith that will endure all of life’s trials, and the deceit of false religion, and the onslaughts of this old world, and of Satan. The love of many is waxing cold today. The fervency of true Christianity has cooled down to a dying ember. It was in this context that Jesus said in Luke 18:8: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
This morning we want to see strong, Biblical faith in the person of Abraham, who was called the father of all who believe.
From this text we will notice four aspects of Abraham’s faith, that we also need today.
1. First, we want to notice- Faith that believes God can raise the dead (verses 17, 24-25).
This is an absolutely essential element of true saving faith. If we don’t believe that God can raise from the dead, then we are still lost in our sins.
We must believe that Jesus was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification (verse 25). In other words, we must believe that Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins, and that He was raised again the third day for our justification, and for the forgiveness of our sins. This is the heart of the gospel message, and the foundation of our faith.
We must also believe that Jesus has raised us up spiritually in regeneration and by faith in the gospel. We who believe in Jesus are new creatures in Christ, and have been passed from death unto life. Old things are passed away, and all things are become new.
We must also believe that Jesus shall raise our mortal bodies, and change them and fashion them like unto His glorious body. Beloved, the resurrection is our hope. This is our expectation. This is what we wait for and long for, to be clothed upon with that body that the Lord has prepared for us.
And so, we need the kind of hope that believed in the resurrection.
2. Secondly, we want to notice- Faith that believes in the sovereignty of God (verse 17).
Beloved, we need the kind of faith that believes that God is sovereign. Do we believe this morning that God is sovereign over time, and over the physical world, and even over the spirit world to do with as He pleases? Do we believe that God is absolutely sovereign over all things, including all the events of providence.
Abraham, the father of the faith, believed in the sovereignty of God. God calls those things that are not as thought they were; whether it be the creation of the universe; or the creation of the Jewish nation through the loins of Abraham; or the re-creation of His people in regeneration; or the restoration of all things at the end of the age.
Beloved, God is sovereign over all the affairs of this world. He has a plan and purpose for this world and for all men. He has revealed His plan to His children in His Word. And He is going to carry out His plan to the very “jot” and “tittle” of His Word. Not one thing shall be changed or altered, or left undone.
The kind of faith that we need today will embrace the sovereignty of God; not only in His control of the whole world, but also in our lives. Beloved, the understanding of God’s sovereignty will help us to be strong in faith, and to accept all those difficult things that come our way in life.
3. Thirdly, we want to notice- Faith that, against hope, believes in hope (verse 18).
Beloved, God’s children today need a faith that against hope, believes in hope. We face so many situations and circumstances in life, for which there is no natural earthly solution or remedy. Without this kind of faith, the burdens and trials of life could be more than we are able to bear.
What is meant by “against hope”?
This means that there is no natural or human solution that could possibly fulfill our hopes. In our text, Abraham’s body was dead in terms of fathering children. Likewise, Sarah’s womb was dead to conceiving children. By natural means, they could not possibly bring a child into the world. The only way for their hopes to be fulfilled, was for God to perform a miracle.
What does it mean to “against hope, believe in hope?”
It means to believe in the promises of God in spite of natural limitations. It also means that our only hope is in the supernatural God of Heaven, and not in the natural laws that govern the physical universe.
To believe in hope against hope, the following things must be true:
1) First, God must truly be the God described in His Word. He must be the eternal, all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful God. Most of the world doesn’t believe He is. Beloved, the world must be wrong about our God if we are to believe in hope against hope!
2) Secondly, He must have power to perform miracles at will. In the case of Abraham and Sarah, He must be able to cause the dead, barren womb to conceive. If we are to believe in hope against hope, then our God must be a miracle working God.
3) Thirdly, He must be faithful and true to His promises. He must not lie. He must be true to His Word. If we are to believe in hope against hope, then our God must to faithful and true to His promises.
4) Fourthly, we must believe these things to be true about God. We must embrace the attributes of God by faith. We must not doubt God’s Person or His power. We must not doubt His faithfulness to His promises, or His ability to keep His Word to His people. Yes beloved, if we will believe in hope against hope, then we must put our full faith and trust in Him.
May God enable us as His children to have the kind of faith that against hope believes in hope. May God help us to believe in His supernatural, miracle working power.
4. Fourthly, we want to notice- Faith that is strong (verse 20).
Beloved, we need a faith that is strong today. Sometimes we feel so weak. Sometimes we feel like our faith is so weak. But perhaps it is at these times that we are the strongest, when we realize that we are weak and feeble, and all of our dependence is in God and not ourselves. We want to notice three things about strong faith.
1) First, strong faith doesn’t stagger at the promises of God. That is, strong faith doesn’t hesitate, waiver, or falter. It isn’t double minded or wishy-washy. Strong faith is consistent and stable. Strong faith keeps on going forward. It doesn’t stop and sit down, and it certainly doesn’t go backward.
2) Strong faith gives glory to God. Weak faith, or unbelief, do not give glory to God, but rather bring a reproach upon Him. Unbelief causes doubts and fears, and fretting, and murmuring and complaining. But strong faith will praise, and worship, and glorify God throughout the good times and the hard times of our wilderness wanderings.
3) Strong faith is fully persuaded that God is able to fulfill His promises (verse 21). Strong faith doesn’t doubt God’s ability to keep His promises to His people. And strong faith doesn’t doubt God’s faithfulness to His promises. Strong faith is not a weak, Arminian faith, that believes God somehow has lost, or has forfeited His right and power to carry out His will and purpose in the affairs of men. Yes, strong faith is persuaded that God is sovereign, as is able to fulfill His promises.
May God give us a strong faith today, that we might not stagger at His promises, that we might be fully persuaded that He is able, and that we might give Him all the glory with our lives.
The kind of faith that we have been preaching about this morning, was imputed to Abraham for righteousness (verse 22). This same kind of faith is also imputed to all true believers for righteousness (verse 23).
Do we have faith that believes in the resurrection of the dead, especially the resurrection of Jesus? Do we have faith in the sovereignty of God? Do we have faith that, against hope, believes in hope?
And do we have strong faith that staggers not at His promises, that is fully persuaded that He is able to keep His promises, and that gives Him all the glory with our lives.
May God help us to have the kind of faith of our father Abraham!