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SESSION No. 6

ABRAHAM: THE CALL OF FAITH

Genesis 12/1-9 Hebrews 11/8-19

INTRODUCTION:

Despite his lapses of faith (or perhaps because of them?) Abraham is presented as a great example of faith. In fact more space is given to him than to any other. He is mentioned some 53 times in the New Testament. In Hebrews 11 there are 3 episodes of his faith life that are presented. We will focus on each them just briefly.

We put the question in front of us again, “How does the life of Abraham demonstrate the nature of faith and speak into the circumstances of his readers or, for that matter, our circumstances?”  

[1] THE CALL TO OBEDIENCE  (Heb. 11/8-19)

 As we noted in the case of Noah, faith and obedience are inseperable. Faith is always active, not passive.

Abraham is given a command to be obeyed and a promise to be believed. What are they? Notice that God’s promise (His part) is more extensive than Abraham’s obedience. How do you respond to vs. 8 and 9 – especially the fact that Abraham went “without knowing where he was going”? Have you ever found yourself in a situation like that? It’s like knowing that God is calling you to respond but there are no further instructions until you begin to move.  And it’s hard for us to take an initial step when we want the whole plan set out before we take that step. It’s hard to steer a ship that’s becalmed.

[2]  THE CALL TO PATIENCE  (Vs.11,12)

The writer of Hebrews has already identified that his readers have a great need for patience (10/36) so it’s not hard to see why he would pick Abraham as an example of patient endurance = faith. In this case Sarah is called as a witness also. “She belived that God would keep His promise” (v.11).

Again, like Abraham, her faith was not perfect. In fact Genesis 18 records her laughing in unbelief when she was told she would have a child at age 90! The story of Abraham and Sarah tells us that there may be a long time between the promise made and the promise fulfilled. Are you living in such a “time warp” now? You believe that God has made a promise to you but there is no evidence of Him enabling it to be fulfilled…and the clock is ticking.

[3]  THE CALL TO SACRIFICE  (11/17-19

If we thought the “patient” part of faith was tough, “sacrifice” is the hardest of all. It becomes confusing when God requires something from us that seems to be contrary to the promise. Can you see the contradiction in these verses?  Abraham must have thought that he got the promise wrong OR he was not hearing God correctly about the sacrifice of Isaac.

What was his solution to that clash? If he got both right, there was only one way that this could end if God’s promise and Abraham’s obedience were to be fulfilled.

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