By Faith: Abraham (Part 2)

By Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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As Hebrews 11 shows us what genuine faith looks like, we also see that our faith will be tested. The story of Abraham shows us why God tests us, how God tests us, and what help we can find to pass the test today.

Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”

Testing Abraham’s Faith

By Faith, Abraham, when tested, offered up his son
This is one of the hardest passages of the Bible
25 years of waiting, then Isaac was born - when he was weaned, a young man, God tested Abraham
Ge 22:2 “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
They journeyed 3 days to Moriah, then Abraham had Isaac carry the wood and the fire up the mountain, where Abraham built the altar, bound up his son, and prepared to sacrifice him.
‌To offer up - the same word is used throughout Hebrews to refer to the animal sacrifices upon the altar; even of Abel’s offering to God‌.
“Where is the lamb?” “God will provide.”
What was at stake for Abraham, what did this mean?
We are told that he was being tested, but Abraham didn’t know that at the time.
Would Abraham’s God be like the gods worshiped by the rest of the world?
Would Abraham’s God be faithful to His promise?
Would Abraham have an heir, would God provide the offering?
Hebrews 11 shows us what a genuine faith looks like. It also reminds us that God tests our faith.
A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted.
Warren W. Wiersbe; Robert J. Morgan
Why does God test us, and how does that testing come?
What can we learn from Abraham to help us pass the test?

Why God Tests Our Faith

Testing proves the genuineness of faith

This is done for our sake, that we may know our faith is real. We aren’t proving ourselves to God, but God is showing us hidden weaknesses and strengths of our faith.
1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
This is done because the Father loves us. Those whom he loves, he disciplines, he tests, that they may grow.
Testing, therefore, is a very vital and urgent matter because of this terrible possibility of self-delusion.
Life in God, 28
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Testing develops Christian character

James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Steadfastness - that endurance and stability which is constantly moving toward completion, holiness in Christ.

Testing purifies God’s people

Isaiah 48:10 ESV
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
Testing weans us off the fading things of this world, so that we would find our strength, our confidence, our hope in Heaven
Zechariah 13:9 ESV
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”

How God Tests Our Faith

God allows Satan to test faith

Job 2:7 ESV
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
Lk 22:31–32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
The Scriptures show that our physical, mental, and emotional suffering may often come from the hand of Satan
But we are to remember that what Satan devises to destroy our faith, God uses to test and strengthen it.

Persecution tests faith

The Church has always faced persecution
Ac 8:3–4 “But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”
Rev 2:10 “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
When they say, “Where is your God?” how will we respond?

Difficult circumstances test faith

Acts 14:22 ESV
strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
Practical Examples of how we are tested
Will we choose the way of the cross or the way of the world
The testing of rich young ruler - go and sell and follow me
Will we compromise on our faith, or stand firm
Will we praise him when our hopes and dreams fall apart, knowing that he has better things in store for his people

Getting Help On the Test

Abraham Believed God

Abraham held in tension God’s command and God’s promise - he knew that through Isaac his offspring would be called
To the end he trusted God’s promise, and God considered Him righteous
Abraham treasured the giver more than the gift
It’s an open book exam. In the midst of your testing, fall hard on the promises of God
God is watching us today. He is testing us. And the only place we can turn is to Him. When the foundations are taken out from under us, the righteous have God to cling to.
J. Vernon McGee

Abraham Considered God Able

He looked to the resurrection
The boy and I will go, worship and return -
He trusted God was able to raise Isaac from the dead
“‌A parable” - figuratively speaking -
Isaac was as good as dead, on the altar, under the knife, as good as dead, when a substitute was given
Abraham saw the ram caught in the thicket
The Parable
God, instead of Abraham, would give his only Son
He came as the substitute, dying in our place
What would Isaac’s sacrifice prove except for Abraham’s faith. God giving His son proved:
His love for us
His power to save
His faithfulness towards us
He was raised on the 3rd day, to justify all who look to him in faith
We must look to the one who was raised for us. Only by looking to Christ, raised from the dead, will our faith be strengthened
We have a help in the time of testing, one who has stood in our place, who is able to deliver us - If we would only look to him.
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