Abraham the Man of Faith - RR198P27
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
Let us worship God. Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let us pray.
Our Lord and our God we come into Thy presence again rejoicing in Thy mercies, grateful for all Thy good gifts, and ever mindful of our need of thee. We come to cast our every care upon Thee, knowing thou carest for us, for our concerns, our loved ones, our hopes, our everything. Do Thou undertake for us in all these things, give us grace to take hands of our lives, and to commit them into thine omnipotent hands. Bless us this hour by Thy word and by Thy spirit, in Christ’s name, amen.
Our Scripture is Hebrews 11:8-19, and our subject, Abraham the Man of Faith. Hebrews 11:8-19
“8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” [00:04:25]
The great example of faith now cited is Abraham, and
The great example of faith now cited is Abraham, and Abraham gave up the most and gained the least in his own lifetime. It is true that Abraham was apparently rich when he left Heron, and he did become very rich when he obeyed God. But his trials and sufferings were very great. God tested Abrahams faith severely. Abraham’s faith was God’s gift, but God tested it and refined it in the fires of affliction. In verse 8 we are told that Abraham went out at God’s command not knowing wither he went. He went in the direction indicated by God, leaving friends and family behind except for Lot.
Aliens have on the whole been none too welcome over the centuries, so that to be a foreigner anywhere has been a disadvantage. Usually people leave their homeland to escape persecution or for an opportunity to survive or advance themselves economically. Neither cause motivated Abraham. When Abraham came to the land of promise, he dwelt there in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob who were heirs with him of the same promise. All looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. They were promised more than a land for themselves, they expected a new society founded on Gods law and word, and it was this they longed for.
This new city or social order would be the reverse of the tower of babel, its purpose would be not the glory of man but the glory of God. The world around them gave evidence of a steady deterioration, their pilgrimage and that of all of the saints of the Old Testament was towards the kingdom or city of God. Sarah herself received supernatural strength to conceive and bear Isaac in her old age, because in spite of her initial skeptical laughter, she trusted in God. She judged him faithful who had promised, we are told. [00:07:51]
Out of Isaac came to Abraham a progeny in time as in
Out of Isaac came to Abraham a progeny in time as in innumerable as the stars and the sand of the seashore. These saints we are told, died in faith not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them. And embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Their confession of faith was that they sought the kingdom of God, one unlike any on earth. They could always have returned to their original country, but their quest was for one not yet in existence.
They sought the city whose builder and maker was God. And they sought it knowing that it is a future city. For their faith God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city. The question the church must ask of herself today is, is God ashamed to be called our God?
Thus faith is the gift of God, but all who received it are then tested and refined so both they and the city may truly be of God. This testing of faith can be a grim one, Abraham waited a long time for the birth of his promised son Isaac, only then to have God ask that Abraham sacrifice Isaac his son. Now in due time God gave up his only begotten son as a sacrifice of atonement for our sins, but Abraham had no knowledge of this, he obeyed on the basis first that God had promised that through Isaac he would have a great and innumerable progeny. Second Abraham believed that God would resurrect Isaac from the dead if necessary, from whence also he received him in a figure. [00:10:43]
Abraham is singled out as the great type of faith
Abraham is singled out as the great type of faith. Because in him we see a remarkable obedience with almost no complaining or ingratitude; all who are the people of faith are called the children of Abraham, which means they are not whiners, they are not complainers. Abraham as the type of faith tells us both of the greatest of God’s gift and also how it can be made in man a powerful transforming force, which can alter man and his world. (Weskit?) pointed out that in Abrahams faith, faith entered a new phase in its history, so that in the history of faith it is up to and then after Abraham, from the personal to the societal, because the vision now is of a city.
As Weskit wrote, “Faith is treated henceforth in relation to a society, a people of God through whom the divine blessings were to be extended to mankind. Under this wider aspect faith is regarded in two forms as shown by the representative founders of the ancient people; in the faith of patient obedience which is the foundation of the kingdom of God, and in the faith of sacrifice, which is the principle of its development. Obedience and sacrifice, these mark faith.”
We are plainly told in verse 8 that Abraham did not know when he began his pilgrimage where God intended him to go, nor are we ever told of his reaction to Palestine. He didn’t go there and say: “This is a primitive place, compared to the city from whence I came.” All of Palestine was then still a wooded land with year around streams, very unlike what it is today. It was still primitive compared to the area Abraham left. But apparently it did not occur to Abraham to question Gods wisdom. His faith was one of unequivocal trust; moreover verse 10 tells us, he looked not at the Palestine of his day, but to God and the future promised by God. [00:14:25]
Abraham knew how much the world had changed from Noah
Abraham knew how much the world had changed from Noah’s youth to his own day, and he knew that nothing was impossible for God. The kingdom of God would be far more glorious than anything the builders of the tower of Babel ever imagined. Like Abraham, we too are pilgrims, but God’s realm is far closer than in Abraham’s day. As our day draws near the battle intensifies, the hostilities increase. But the Lord is no less able to deal with His enemies then at the tower of Babel, and at Calvary.
What is at issue is this. How do we use the gift of faith? Ours is a great gift, one we dare not despise, nor abuse. Let us pray.
Our Father, we thank Thee for the gift of faith. And we pray that we may use it to glorify Thee, to be faithful unto thee, in the face of all things, to trust in Thee, knowing that Thy wisdom and Thy foresight are total, far greater than our feeble vision. Give us grace to cease from our complaining and from our reluctance to trust in Thee. Teach us, to believe as Abraham believed. In Christ’s name we pray, amen. [00:17:01]
Are there any questions now on our lesson? Yes?...
Are there any questions now on our lesson? Yes?
[Audience Member] Wasn’t one of Abraham’s major steps in faith also the fact that he accepted his name change?
[Rushdoony] Yes, Abraham had his name changed not by men but by God, and God changed it to indicate that Abraham was a man who could grow. His original name, we don’t know, it was Abram and then Abraham. And he is called the father of the faithful, because in his person he exemplifies what all of us should be as people of faith.
We have to remember that it’s not an easy thing to give up luxury. You can be wealthy in a place like Palestine in Abraham’s day, and yet the wealth doesn’t give you as great an advantage as it would in an urban developed and civilized context. So it was a step down for Abraham, he did become richer, but in a sense he was also poorer. He was separated from a civilized context, and from his own people.
[Audience Member] In the case of Abraham’s (?) faith seems to be a verb as opposed to a noun.
[Rushdoony] Yes, it was an active, ongoing thing, a developing thing. Abraham truly was a remarkable man, and God really tested in the fire to make a man of strong faith. And we have to have a faith like Abraham as we work for that city to be the city from pole to pole, God’s kingdom, and then an eternal order. Too often we tend to think things change only in one direction, downhill. We can look at the evidences that the Sahara for example was once a rich, productive area with lakes and streams, water animals, all kinds of animals; and it became slowly over the generations a desert. [00:20:35]
And our feeling is that it can only continue deterioration
And our feeling is that it can only continue deterioration. One of the fallacies of environmentalism is that it can only see deterioration, and not much more unless it gets in there and somehow tries to preserve the status quo, prevent things from going downhill further. Well, the kingdom of God for which we are to be citizens, to look for it and to look to build it says that there will be a reversal, and the whole earth shall be like a garden. Yes?
[Audience Member] yes, I’d like to add the Abraham left a society, but he was chosen by God to begin the true society.
[Rushdoony] Yes, Abraham left the best of his time, because God said the future is going to make the best of your time, Abraham, look like nothing in comparison. And you have to break with this to lay the foundations for the other.
Well, if there are no further questions, let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father, we thank Thee that by Thy sovereign grace we are the people of Abraham. Thou hast called us, made us thine in Christ Jesus, for a glorious and an eternal future. Teach us trust and obedience.
And Now go in peace, God the Father God the Son and God the holy Ghost bless you and keep you guide an protect you this day and always, Amen. [00:23:06]