Following in the Footsteps of Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:08
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Committed to a life of faith
Genesis 12.4-9
Series Intro: few men, outside of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself have has such an impact on the history of the world as did the man introduced to us in this passage of scripture. This man is revered by over one-half the world’s population. In our day, Abraham is held in high esteem by Jews, Muslims and Christians. In ancient times the Jews considered Abraham to be almost worthy of their worship.
Consider This:
1. Genesis 1-11 deals with 2000 years of history-creation, sin, flood, languages changed.
2. All the rest of Genesis 12-50 covering about 400 years deals with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
3. The rest of the OT 39 books deals with the history of the nation which sprang from Abraham, the nation of Israel.
4. All of the rest of the Bible is occupied with and centers on Abraham’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. One man’s obedience and devotion impacted all of human history, and we don’t think it is important for us to obey God!!!!
In the Bible, Abraham is presented to us as a great example of a man who lived his life by faith, Heb. 11:8-19. James 2:23 records the fact that Abraham was called the “Friend of God.” This man’s life was a special life and a great portion of the first book of the Bible is devoted to it. Now, some may ask, “Why take the time to study a man who lived 4,100 years ago?” My answer to you is that, first, the Bible takes the time to speak about him, so we should take the time to study him. The second is that the life of Abraham teaches us much about the matter of walking with God by faith. That, after all, is the goal of the Lord for all His children. God is calling every one of His children to live a life of faith. This man teaches us how.
There are times when this spiritual pilgrimage is a blessing and times when it is very difficult. Yet, regardless of there the trail of life leads, it is to be a life lived in faith in the Lord. Four times, the Bible says “the just shall live by faith”,
(Habakkuk 2:4) Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it isevident: for, The just shall live by faith.
(Hebrews 10:38) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
(Romans 1:17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
I want us to spend some time with an ancient pilgrim named Abram. This man left everything behind to walk with the Lord by faith. His path was not easy, but there were times of blessing along the way for Abram. In his pilgrimage, Abram sets the example for you and me today. He shows us how to live in absolute faith and total commitment to the Lord God Almighty.


(Ill. It took a while, but Abram finally came to the place of total obedience to the Lord. God desires to bring each of His children to that same place, Ill. 1 Sam. 15:22-23.)
A. His Obedience Involved His Separation - The call of God had been for Abram to separate from his relatives, and to follow God by faith, Gen. 12:1. Abram was called upon to separate himself from everything that would hinder the progress of the walk of faith! Ill. Abram would have become the head of the family when his father died. To leave ones land, ones family and ones responsibility was absolutely unheard of in that culture. God was calling on Abram to go against everything he knew and believed in.)
(Note: The Lord’s call is the same for His children today! Anything that prevents us from progressing as He would desire is a weight that must go, Heb. 12:1-2.)
(Hebrews 12:1) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
(Hebrews 12:2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Note: Most of the time, you will not be called upon to sever ties with your family as was Abram. However, if you decide to walk by faith, there will be times when they will not be sympathetic to what the Lord is leading you to do in your life, especially if they are lost. In times like those, the will of the Lord must be given the priority! )
B. His Obedience Involved His Substance - Verse 5 tells us that when Abram left to follow the Lord, he took “all his substance.” In other words, when the Lord got Abram, the Lord got everything he had! Abram didn’t leave anything behind for the world to use, but he took it all and went after God.
(Note: You can gauge the level of a person’s commitment to the Lord by how much of that person’s “stuff” has been dedicated to the Lord! We get hung up on the tithe. And, I believe that a person ought to tithe. But, what you do with the other 90% is just as important to the Lord as what you do with His 10%. You see, God doesn’t just want His part; He wants your part too! He gives us what He does so that we might us it for His glory and for His kingdom’s work.
That’s why some folks don’t ever have anything! They peel off a dollar for the Lord and spend the rest of the ten on themselves and the things of the world, God won’t bless that! When He has you and your checkbook, He can bless you in ways you have never imagined.
By the way, if you have a problem with your tithes and offerings, you really don’t have a problem with your tithes and offerings. You have a problem with your heart!
Of course, this thing is bigger than just God wanting our money. He wants all of our stuff to be dedicated to Him. He might want to use your house or your car. He just wants you to surrender all to Him so He can do with it what He will!)
C. His Obedience Involved His Surrender - The Bible tells us that Abram did “as the Lord had spoken to him.” Abram learned early on that the secret to pleasing God is simply doing what He says, to the letter! Even though the Lord’s call upon his life would be difficult, it was the only course of action that made sense. You see, faith builds no barriers! Faith never says, “This far and no farther”. Faith only knows how to say “Yes!” It simply does what it is told and trusts God to take care of the rest!
(Note: As we progress on our own pilgrimage, the sooner we learn that lesson the better! The only way to enjoy the Christian life to the full is to come to the place of total surrender, where your all is on the altar,
(Romans 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
(Romans 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
You might think, as you read the life of Abram, that God wanted Abram’s stuff. Friend, God didn’t need Abram’s stuff and He isn’t interested in your stuff either! All God ever wanted from Abram was Abram! That’s what it all was all about. Everything this man endured was about getting him on the altar. God asked for more and more until He had everything. That’s where the Lord wants us too!)
I. The Obedience Of The Faith Life


(Ill. Life was not going to be “smooth sailing” for old Abram. There would be difficulties in his pilgrimage, just as there will be in ours. Let’s notice a few obstacles that Abram faced as he journeyed.)
A. v. 4 The Days Opposed Him - Verse 4says that Abram was 75 years old when he left on his pilgrimage. That’s about the age when some people begin to seriously think about slowing down. Not this man! He set out at that age to follow the Lord. I’ll guarantee you some of his kinfolks thought he had lost his mind. I can almost hear them as they try to talk some sense into old Abram, but, he is determined to follow the Lord in spite if his age.
(Note: May I just remind you that there will never come a day when you can turn in your traveling shoes and your walking staff for a rocking chair?
q There may come a day when you can’t teach anymore.
q There may come a time when you can’t preach anymore.
q There may come a day when you won’t even be able to attend church anymore.
But, until we go home to glory, there will never be a day when we will have the liberty to sit down on the Lord and quit! Don’t let your age, whether you are young are old, stop you from serving the Lord, Titus 2:2-3; 1 Tim. 4:12.)
(Titus 2:2) That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
(Titus 2:3) The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
(1 Timothy 4:12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
B. V. 6 The Darkness Opposed Him - This verse says, “And the Canaanite was then in the land.” That statement reveals much about the country that Abram was moving into. The Canaanites were a godless people, trapped in a system of religion that involved the worship of many gods. They practiced human sacrifice, various fertility rites, and had no regard for morality and decency. Abram was headed into hostile territory, where no one would be sympathetic to his lifestyle or to his God. Yet, he was determined to follow God regardless of the opposition from darkness that he faced!
(Note: Nothing has changed since Abram’s day! Those who determine that they will live a life of total dedication to the Lord soon discover that “the Canaanite is still in the land.” The world, the flesh and the devil have no sympathy whatsoever with our desire to live for the Lord. If you choose to live a life of total dedication, you might as well know up front that there will be opposition.
(2 Timothy 3:12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
(2 Timothy 3:13) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
(2 Timothy 3:14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
A life of total commitment demands that we stand faithfully in the face of all opposition,
(1 Corinthians 15:58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
(Ephesians 6:13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
C. V. 5-6 The Distance Opposed Him - From Haran to Beersheba, in the south of Canaan was about 500 miles. That isn’t too great a distance today, but then with flocks, herds, servants, household goods and all the other things they had with them, this was quite a journey. It surely would have been tempting for Abram to stop short of going all the way. But these verses tell us that he didn’t stop. In fact, he just kept on going until he had seen everything there was to see in Canaan land, v. 9. God had promised it to him and he wanted to see it all!)
(Note: What a lesson for the child of God today. How often are we tempted to unhook and drop out of the race? How often do the loads of life get heavy and the ways of life get rough? Isn’t there a tendency for us to get weary and want to quit?
D. V. 5 The Duties Opposed Him- Abram was a man with many responsibilities. He had his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot to look after. He had servants, flocks, herds and all that came along with that to look after. If he was like most men, then he would have believed that it was his responsibility to feed that whole crowd and to provide for the needs that arose.
It took great faith for him to place the unseen ahead of the seen and trust God to take care of all the needs of life. It took faith to leave it all in the hand of God! Yet, that is just what he did!
(Note: That is the place God wants us to reach as well. He wants us to arrive at that place where we willingly abandon the seen for the unseen at the command of the Lord. He wants us to come to the place where we know that we have what He has promised us, even when we cannot see it.
(Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
I. The Obedience Of The Faith Life
II. The Opposition Of The Faith Life


(Note: While this man was called on to walk by faith; to journey an unseen place, he was given opportunities that others knew nothing about.)
A. v. 7 To Experience God’s Promises - This man could travel as a pilgrim in Canaan knowing in his heart that every square inch of ground was his and his children’s forever! They are fighting over that patch of ground today, but I’ve got news for you, that ground belongs to the Jew! As he traveled, Abram enjoyed the future, though it still remained unseen!
B. V. 7-8 To Enjoy God’s Presence - As he journeyed, Abram had a companion that excelled all others. God walked with him every step of the way! Notice the three ways Abram enjoyed the presence of God.
1. In His Worship - It seems that whenever Abram pitched his tent he also built an altar. He took the time to worship as he journeyed. His altars give loud testimony to the condition of this man’s heart. The fact that he built them in the center of Canaan, where all around the people were enveloped in the gross darkness of idolatry, says much about his love for the Lord. He knew he was in the presence of the Lord and he lived it by his worship.
(Note: The life of faith is always marked by its altars! God’s people should be known for their altars! Not just in church, but everywhere our path takes us. We should mark our days with prayer and with time spent in His presence.)
2. In His Wanderings - Notice that as he journeyed, Abram and God enjoyed sweet communion and fellowship. God spoke to him and he worshiped the Lord. It seems that Abram was determined to include God in his pilgrimage.
(Note: Far too many people attempt to leave God out of their journey. That is a recipe for disaster! Whether you acknowledge Him or not, God is always there with you as you travel, Heb. 13:5. If you include Him in your life by listening to Him when He speaks and by worshiping Him as you travel, it makes the miles shorter and the trials easier to bear.)
3. In His Ways - Verse 8 tells us that Abram pitched his tent between Bethel and Hai. The word “Bethel” means “House of God.” It was at Bethel that the patriarch Jacob would later meet God one lonely night, Gen. 28. The name “Hai” or “Ai” means “A Heap of Ruins”. It was here that Israel would later learn a valuable lesson about faith, obedience and the destructive power of sin.
I find it interesting that as Abram journeyed, he seems to be moving away from “A Heap of Ruins” toward the “House of God”. This symbolizes the fact that Abram was moving away from what he used to be, toward that which God desired for him to be! That’s what happens when a person sets out to walk with the Lord!
(Note: When we determine that we will walk in the paths of the Lord, He will begin the process of transforming this “Heap of Ruins” that is our life before Him, and He will transform us into a “House of God” for His glory, 1 Cor. 6:19. That’s why He says, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”, 2 Cor. 4:7. He moves us from where we are to where we ought to be! He takes us like He finds us and He changes us into His image, 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Cor. 15:49!)
C. To Enter God’s Place - This passage closes with Abram journeying on with the Lord. He was headed somewhere. He may have pitched his tent at many addresses in Canaan, but in his heart, Abram was already living in a far away country.
(Note: May the Lord help us to get our eyes and our hands off this world! When we begin to live on a higher plane, we will see the things of this world become less and less important. When we determine that we will be heavenly minded, it will transform our walk down here, Col. 3:1-3. It will take us away from thinking that we have this or that. We will be satisfied with Jesus! When that happens, we are on the path to certain victory in our spiritual journey.)
I. The Obedience Of The Faith Life
II. The Opposition Of The Faith Life
III. The Opportunities Of The Faith Life
Abram sets the example of a man who was totally committed to a life of faith. Can you say the same thing about your journey?
In which country would you say that are you more firmly planted today, earth or Heaven?
God is still looking for those He can call to a life of faith; for those who will follow Him faithfully.

Are you willing to commit to a life of faith?

Are you that one God can use at this time to touch the world for His glory?
Are you having difficulty with the obedience of the life of faith?
Are you having difficulty with the opposition of the life of faith?
Are you ready to experience the opportunities for one that is living a life of faith?
Have you ever stepped out in faith and trusted Christ as your Saviour?
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