Steve With – July 29, 2018
Our Covenant God has a Plan for Abraham. God is going to reveal Himself only He’s not going to reveal Himself in a broad sense, He’s not going to reveal Himself in a general sense, He’s going to reveal Himself in a very specific sense through one man and the people who come from that one man and that one man is Abraham. Abraham becomes the father of the people of Israel.
God’s plan is to send His Word in a specific way to this people called Israel, the children of Abraham, and they will hear His Word. They are to proclaim the Covenants of God to the World.
Abraham was the Recipient of all God’s Covenant Plans. He was called to take God’s Message to the World. Abraham is the central contact point between God and the revelation of His redemptive plan through His Covenants.
Okay, let’s do this in two parts:
– Features of Abraham’s Faith from Hebrews 11
– Facts about the Abrahamic Covenant from Genesis 17
I. Five Features of Abraham’s Faith – Hebrews 11
Let me give you five features of faith that show us the completeness of Abraham’s faith.
1. The Pilgrimage of Faith
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
- “By faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him.” When he was called, he obeyed. His obedience was immediate. The process of following the call was in motion during the call. In other words, “Abraham, while being called, was obeying.”
- “He went without knowing where he was going” No idea where he is going…a pilgrimage of faith. That is faith. You don’t know where you’re going. You’ve never seen where you’re going. You’ve never experienced where you’re going. That’s where we are, folks. We walk by faith and not by sight.
2. The Patience of Faith
“Even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents…Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” Hebrews 11:9-10
- He lived by faith, he doesn’t even own land. He’s just a nomad. He has gathered up everything he owns and all his people and did as God said.
- He’s a foreigner living alongside the people who live in the land. It is promised to him but it is never really possessed. You can read more about that in Genesis 23. And those who came after him shared that same kind of life, Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of promise.
“Looking forward to a city with eternal foundations.” Abraham looked for the city which was built by God, the heavenly dwelling.
- So how much did God disclose to him? When God came to him, God must have told him who He was and what salvation meant, that there was not only a land to which he would go that God would give him but that there was a city that God Himself would build that God would lay the foundations and be the architect and builder and this was the heaven of heavens.
- So what do we learn about the life of faith? It begins with a pilgrimage of faith which means when God calls, you drop everything, separate from the world and go. Then it moves to Patience, Abraham lived with patience for God’s plan and future, he followed not knowing where he’s going…Going not Knowing!
3. The Power of Faith
“It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.” Hebrews 11:11-12
- Abraham was waiting for a place and He is waiting for a people. Now the problem is, he and his wife are old and they’ve never had any children.
- Sarah believed that God would keep his promise. It is the power of faith that Sarah possessed. God makes promises that cannot be fulfilled on a human level and fulfills them to those who believe in Him. Without faith it is impossible to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.
- For us it’s not so much the miracle power as it is the power to be used by God in the miracle of conversion, in the miracle of serving in ministry, in the miracle of using your Spiritual Gifts, in the use of the power of the Spirit in the one-anothers of the fellowship of the body.
4. The Perseverance of Faith
“All these people died still believing.” Hebrews 11:13
What do you mean “all these?” It goes back to the three that have been mentioned in this section, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- The Covenant promise to Abraham was repeated to Isaac in Genesis 26, and it was repeated to Jacob in Genesis 28 that they would receive a land and a heavenly city, they would have an earthly inheritance and a heavenly one. They all died in faith without receiving the promises.
“All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.” Hebrews 11:39
- That’s the whole story of the chapter because God provided something better for us so that apart from us they wouldn’t be made perfect or complete or whole.
5. The Positivity of Faith
“If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:15-16
- So bright was the promise of God, so trustworthy was the Word of God that they anchored their endurance and their perseverance in the future and it gave them a positive faith to endure anything.
“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength…And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” – Apostle Paul (Philippians 4:13,19)
- “God is not ashamed to be called their God” I love that phrase. Because of this faith, this positive faith, this persistent faith, this powerful faith, this patient faith, this pilgrim faith, God has prepared a city for them.
II. Three characteristics of Covenant – Genesis 17
Concerning God’s covenant with Abraham, this morning I want you to learn three things about :
1. God’s Covenant with Abraham makes us…Children of Abraham
? All who hope in Christ and follow him in the obedience of faith are Abraham’s descendants, heirs of his Covenant Promises.
“This is my covenant with you: ‘I will make you the father of a multitude of nations!’” Genesis 17:4
? While Abraham did not father “a multitude of nations” physically, God’s promise to him was a spiritual blessing:
”All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3
The Apostle Paul wrote…”Now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” Galatians 3:29
Also…”For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” Romans 4:16–17
2. God’s Covenant with Abraham means… God will always be our God.
The second thing is that the promises that come to you as part of Abraham’s covenant are more spectacular than anything you will see or hear…
“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” Genesis 17:7
The heart of the Abrahamic covenant is that God will be God to us. He will be our God. Jeremiah tells us what it means. He quotes God:
“They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.” Jeremiah 32:38–41
It boggles the mind to try to imagine what it must mean if the God who made the planets and stars and galaxies and molecules and protons and neutrons and electrons rejoices to do you good with all his heart and with all his soul. If God is God for you, then all his omnipotence and all his omniscience are engaged all the time to do good for you in all the circumstances of your life.
- Paul says in Romans 4:13, “Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.”
- also, In 1 Corinthians 3:21–23 he says, “All things are yours whether . . . the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.”
- First, then, you who hope in Christ are the descendants of Abraham and heirs of the covenant promises. Second, the covenant promise that God will be your God is spectacular beyond imagination.
3. God’s Covenant with Abraham means… Covenant Promises are Sure
“His mighty arm has done tremendous things!…He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” – Mary (Luke 1:51,54–55)
- Mary’s beautiful song of God’s redemption and covenant promises with all of Abraham’s “children forever”. Rooted in God’s unchanging truthfulness and confirmed by Christ’s coming.
- The living God made his spectacular covenant promises to us 4,000 years ago and if we trust in him as our living God, his promises will have that power in your life.
- The only candidates for the blessing of Abraham are sinners. That’s why Jesus had to come to confirm the covenant. Not even Abraham could have enjoyed the blessing of Abraham if Jesus hadn’t come.
- Mary’s child in her womb was the remembrance of God’s mercy as he had promised in His Covenant with Abraham.
“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32
? That Spectacular Promise cannot be bought or earned. But it can be believed. And if you believe it, everything changes.