Abraham: A man of Faith

We come now to one of the most faithful men that have ever lived. Abraham was truly a man of faith. He has left for us an example that we should follow and has given us many principles of faith by which we should live. There are seven characteristics of a man or woman of faith that we see in the life of Abraham. May we examine our lives and test ourselves to see if we are indeed a person of faith.
First of all, A man or woman of faith takes Biblically based risks. Notice what it says in verse eight of our text, “By 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.” Imagine packing up all of your belongings and leaving the place where you grew up and just leave without any idea as to where you are going. Actually, when you think about, it could be kind of adventurous, sort of fun. But, really think about it. God told Abraham to pack up everything and leave. Talk about a leap of faith. There was a great risk involved here for Abraham. However, this risk was not an act of blind faith. It was a risk that he took in obedience to God. This was not Abraham’s idea, it was God’s command. You see, it is one thing to take a risk in our own selfish efforts; it is another thing to take risks based on God’s Word. The Bible teaches us that God’s Word is a ‘lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths.’ Now, when you walk in the woods at night and you carry a flash light to light your way, does the flash light reveal all that is before you? No, of course not, it only allows you to see one step at a time. This is what God’s Word does for us. We cannot see the entirety of our lives. We do not know what is around the next turn. But, faithful men and women, will keep on walking. They will step out and obey God even when they do not see the end result. Church, we may not see God’s blessings. We may not see what the future holds. Just because we cannot see the future, does that mean that we compromise on God’s Word and not do what it says? To live a life of faith, we must be willing to take risks based on scripture. We must step out and witness even when there is no converts, we must build a ministry even when there is no people and, we must enlarge our territory even when there is no means to do so. People of faith are people who will take Biblically based risks just as Abraham did.
Secondly, A man or woman of faith lives in light of eternity. Abraham was not focused on his earthly dwelling, he was focused on his heavenly home. Notice what verses nine and ten says, “By 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: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Abraham was a very wealthy man in his day, yet he had no permanent dwelling. He was a nomad and lived in tents. He was not concerned with the riches of this world. He had no desire to set up a permanent residence here on earth. He desired a heavenly home. His eyes were fixed on eternity. If we are going to live a life of faith we must do so in light of eternity. We must invest in treasures in heaven and not in things of this earth. Don’t tie yourself down to this life. Don’t focus on material possessions and money and houses. Live in light of eternity, invest in God’s kingdom. In order for God’s Word to be a reality in our lives, we must keep our eyes on the sky. We must live for eternity. We must invest in God’s kingdom. I love that old gospel song that says, “this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue, the angels beckon me from heaven’s golden shore, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” Child of God, we may enjoy this life and we may live in the abundant and joyous life that God gives us, but we must never get to the point where we are comfortable on this earth. There should always be something in us that desires to be with our heavenly Father in our heavenly home. To live by faith is to not feel at home in this world. We should live and strive and work in light of our eternal home.
A third characteristic of man or woman of faith that we see in the life Abraham is that A man or woman of faith relies on his or her faithful companion. In verse eleven we see the mention of Sarah. If it were not for the faithfulness of Abraham’s wife, then Abraham would not have been the man he was. Notice what verse eleven says, “Through faith also Sarah 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.” Yes, there were times in Sarah’s life that she doubted rather or not God would fulfill His promise, however, even in the midst of those doubts, her faith did not waver. She was a faithful companion to Abraham. We all need faithful companions. We need faithful friends that we can count on who will encourage us in the truth and hold us accountable to do what is right. A person of faith does not try to live the Christian life on their own. They do not take matters into their own hands. They rely upon those that they look up to and trust for wise Godly counsel. People of faith are not prideful. They do not think they can handle all of life’s issues on their own. Do you have faithful friends? Do you rely on Godly brothers and sisters in Christ to help you and come along side of you in the faith walk? Abraham was not a prideful man; he relied on those around him to help him in his walk of faith. If we are going to live a life of faith, we must rely on faithful companions.
Fourthly, A man or woman of faith is influential. Abraham influenced a lot of people in his day. God blessed him and he had a huge family, just as God promised. Verse twelve of our text reads: “Therefore sprang there even 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 seashore innumerable.” This verse explains how Abrahams family extends even to today and his descendants are as innumerable as the grains of sand on the seashore. Abraham was a man of influence. People of faith are influential. They have lasting impact on those around them. People of faith are able to influence others to live the faith life. What about you? What kind of influence do you have? Are you able to influence others to live the faith life? When you and I live a life of faith, it will cause us to be men and women of influence.
A fifth characteristic of people of faith is seen in verse thirteen where it reads, “These 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.” This verse speaks of those children of Abraham who lived before the cross. They saw the coming Messiah from afar and they placed their faith and trust in Him. Here we see that A man or women of faith trusts in a future salvation. You see, when you go to the cross and accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord you are immediately saved from the penalty of sin. In other words, you do not have to go to hell. Jesus paid the price of sin for you. However, we also have a promise, a promise of a future salvation; a day in which we will be forever free from the presence of sin. What a glorious day! Imagine that day, when we see Jesus face to face! People who live a life of faith are living for that day. They have a hope, a confident expectation in what God’s Word says concerning our future salvation, and they look forward to that day when their redemption is complete. It is because of this future salvation that people of faith can always smile when things look dark, they can always laugh in the midst of the storms, and they can have a inner joy that cannot be explained. Men and Women of faith trust in a future salvation.
Another characteristic of someone who lives the faith life is that, A man or women of faith does not return to his or her old ways. Notice what verses fourteen through sixteen says: “For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.” People of faith are focused on the prize before them. They are focused on serving God and living in obedience to His word. People of faith have no need to return to their old ways. Throughout our lives we are given many opportunities to go back to those days before we met Christ. Satan works overtime in our lives to try and get us to stumble. However, there is no stumbling for people of faith. To live the faith life, we must stop going back to our old ways. We must remember that we have been bought with a price, we are new creations in Christ, and we are to come out from among our worldly ways and separate ourselves unto Christ. Think about it. What good is it to return to our old ways? What would be the point? There is no pleasure, no eternal benefit to returning to the time before we met Christ. Child of God, we must stop flirting with sin and walking on the border of that old country; instead we must press on toward the mark, the prize of our high calling in God by Christ Jesus.
Not only do we see from the life of Abraham that men and women of faith will take Biblically based risks, live in light of eternity, rely on faithful companions, be influential, trust in a future salvation, and does not return to their old ways, but also we see that A man or women of faith has gone through the fire. Verses seventeen through nineteen of Hebrews eleven says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘that in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” A few weeks ago I was reading an article on what to look for in pastoral candidate. In that article it said that when you are considering a man to pastor your church or to serve on your staff, you should look for the scares. What has he been through? You see, people of faith have gone through the fire. Our faith is tried by fire. Our faith is made stronger by going through the difficulties of life. This does not mean that we should desire or seek out a trial of faith, but it does mean that we should embrace our trials. Think about it. Do you embrace the trials of life, knowing that those trials will make you stronger or do you complain about them? Abraham went through the fire. God told him to sacrifice his own son and that had to be the most trying thing that Abraham ever faced. But, in the midst of the trial, he was faithful and obedient. I wonder, how often do we obey God when it is hard? Do we obey God even when none else will? Do we do the right thing even though everyone else turns their back on us? When you do face the fire, and you remain faithful and obedient, you come out the other side tested and true. You will be stronger than you ever had before. Your faith will become real.
We have looked at several characteristics of someone who lives a life of faith. What about you? Are these characteristics evident in your life? Are you a man or women of faith?

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