Faithful Abraham

Posted by on Sep 3, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

September 3, 2006

Sunday Morning

“Faithful Abraham”

Scripture Text: Galatians 3:6-9

Introduction:

 

A.   I want to begin this morning by asking you a question.

1. Other than our Lord Jesus Himself, who would you say is the most famous Jew (Jewish person) of all time?

2. Not just “modern day” Jews, but who would you say is the most famous Jewish person of all time?

3. If you were to ask me that question, without hesitation I would say, “Abraham!”

4. Why Abraham?

5. Because Abraham is the father of the Jews.

6. (Illus.- In fact, there’s a children’s song that I’ve heard our children sing in church many times entitled, “Father Abraham.” It goes something like this: “Father Abraham, had many sons, Many sons had Father Abraham, I am one of them, And so are you, So let’s all praise the Lord.”)

7. Abraham is the father of the Jews.

8. Do you remember the promise that God gave to Abraham when He called him to follow Him?

9. He said, “…Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:…And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great.” (Gen. 12:1-2)

10.   God told Abraham, “…I will make of thee a great nation.”

11.   Did God keep that promise?

12.   He most certainly did, because some of Abraham’s descendants became the Jewish nation.

13.   And so, for that reason, Abraham has to be the most famous Jew (Jewish person) of all time.

 

B.   The reason I call this to your attention is because this is probably why Paul chose to use Abraham as an example in his attempt to counteract the false teaching of the Judaizers who were causing so many problems in the Galatian churches.

1. Remember now, these Judaizers were telling the Gentile believers that they couldn’t be saved without being circumcised (becoming Jews).

2. By using Abraham as an example, it’s like Paul was saying, “Wait just a minute! That couldn’t true, because Abraham, who was the father of the Jews, was saved without having to be circumcised!”

 

C.   As we look more closely at Paul’s use of Abraham as an example, we will learn at least three things about Abraham. First of all, we will learn that…

 

I.       Abraham Heard The Gospel.

 

A.   Now you’ve heard me say, over and over again, that people were saved in Old Testament days in exactly the same way that people are saved today.

1. Abraham is a perfect example of this.

2. Notice again Vrs. 8 of our text, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham.”

 

B.   Now this raises a question.

1. When did Abraham hear the gospel?.

2. He heard it the first time when God called him.

3. Notice again the latter part of Vrs. 8 of our text, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”

4. When did God tell Abraham that in him “all the nations” would be blessed?

5. When He called him to leave “Haran” and to follow Him.

6. Turn with me to Gen. 12:1-3 (I quoted part of this passage a moment ago), “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:…And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:…And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

7. When Abraham heard those words, “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” he heard the gospel.

 

C.   Now someone asks, “How do those words constitute (comprise) the gospel?”

1. Well, you have to understand that those words were prophetic in nature, and that they were looking forward to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

2. It’s like God was telling Abraham this, “Abraham, I am going to bless you with a very large family, and not only that, one of your descendants is going to be a blessing to the entire human race.”

3. Who was that descendant?

4. It was Jesus Christ, who by dying on the cross for our sins, became the means of salvation for the entire human race, including Abraham himself.

5. And so, when God told Abraham, “…in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” He was preaching the gospel to him.

 

D.   But someone asks, “Did Abraham truly understand the significance of what he heard?”

1. Perhaps not at that precise moment, however, I am convinced that the time came when Abraham did understand.

2. How can I be so sure?

3. Do you remember what Abraham told his son, Isaac, as they were making their way to the top of Mt. Moriah?

4. Isaac had asked his father, “Dad, we have the fire and we have the wood, but where is the lamb that we will need for the burnt offering?” (Gen. 22:7)

5. Do you remember how Abraham answered his son?

6. He said, “Son, God will provide a lamb.” (Gen. 22:8)

7. Does that sound to you like Abraham had a good understanding of the gospel? (It does to me!)

 

E.   In John 8 we see another indication that Abraham not only heard the gospel, but understood it.

1. Jesus was having a conversation with a group of Jews, and Abraham’s name kept coming up during the course of the conversation.

2. It all started when the Jews said, “Abraham is our father.” (John 8:39)

3. Jesus told them, “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” (John 8:40)

4. Later on in this discussion Jesus said the following about Abraham, He said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)

5. How was Abraham able to see Jesus’s day?

6. This brings me to my next point.

7. Not only did Abraham hear and understand the gospel, but notice also that…

 

II.      Abraham Believed What He Heard.

 

A.   Let’s go back to Vrs. 6 of our text, it says, “Even as Abraham believed God.”

1. This is not the only place where God’s Word tells us that “Abraham believed God.”

2. Rom. 4:3 tells us that “Abraham believed God.”

3. Jam. 2:23 tells us that “Abraham believed God.”

4. In fact, in Vrs. 9 of our text Abraham is called “faithful Abraham.”

5. And so, Abraham believed what he heard.

 

B.   Turn with me to Heb. 11.

1. As you know, Heb. 11 has been called the hall of fame of faith.

2. Notice what we are told about Abraham in Vrs. 8, “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.”

3. Notice also Vrs. 9-10, “By faith he (Abraham) 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.”

4. Finally, notice Vrs. 17-19, “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.”

5. All of these verses tell us about Abraham’s faith.

 

C.   Not only was Abraham a man of faith, but his faith was strong.

1. Turn with me to Rom. 4:16-21, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,…(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were….Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be….And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:…He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;…And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”

2. And so, not only was Abraham a man of faith, but his faith was strong.

3. When God told him that he would have a son and that his son’s descendants would become a great nation, Abraham believed Him, even when he was 100 years old and still childless. That’s faith!!!

 

D.   And so, Abraham believed what he heard.

1. First of all, Abraham heard the gospel.

2. Secondly, Abraham believed what he heard.

3. Notice, finally, that…

 

III.    Abraham Was Made Righteous By His Faith.

 

A.   Let’s go back to our text, and notice again Vrs. 6, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

1. It says that after hearing the gospel, Abraham “believed God” (the gospel), “and it (his faith) was accounted to him for righteousness.”

2. In other words, in response to Abraham’s faith, God imputed to him (credited to his account) righteousness.

 

B.   Turn with me to Rom. 4:1-5, “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?…For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God….For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness….Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt….But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

 

1. And so, in response to Abraham’s faith, God imputed to him (credited to his account) righteousness.

2. Go back to Rom. 4:21 that we read just a moment ago, it says concerning Abraham, “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”

3. Now look at the very next verse, “And therefore it (his faith) was imputed to him for righteousness.”

 

C.   Now why is this important?

1. It is important because Paul is trying to point out to the Galatian believers that the most famous Jew of all, Abraham, was made righteous (saved) by faith.

2. And that’s not all, Abraham was saved long before he was circumcised.

3. Since we are still in Rom. 4, look at Vrs. 9-10, “Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness….How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.”

4. In other words, when was Abraham saved, after he was circumcised or before?

5. The answer is, he was saved long before he was circumcised.

6. In fact, Abraham was 90 years old when he was circumcised in obedience to God’s command.

7. The argument that Paul is making here to the Galatian believers is this, if circumcision was necessary for salvation, then why did God save Abraham long before he was circumcised?

8. The truth is, circumcision has never been necessary for salvation.

9. It was not necessary in Abraham’s day, and it is certainly not necessary today!

10.   What is necessary, however, is faith.

 

D.   And so, Abraham was made righteous by his faith.

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned about Abraham this morning?

1. Three things.

2. First of all, Abraham heard the gospel (he heard it the first time when he was still living in Haran).

3. Secondly, Abraham believed what he heard (not only was he a man of faith, but his faith was strong).

4. Finally, Abraham was made righteous by his faith (in response to his faith, God imputed to him righteousness).

 

B.   Does this sound familiar?

1. It should, because that is exactly how a sinner is saved today, he….

-hears the gospel (death, burial, resurrection),

-believes what he hears (puts his trust in Christ),

-is made righteous by his faith (imputed righteousness).

2. Is this how you were saved?

3. If it isn’t, then you are not really saved.

 

C.   There are people today who, rather than trusting Christ and receiving God’s righteousness, are still hoping to make it to heaven on the basis of their own righteousness.

1. Do you know what the Bible says about your righteousness?

2. It says that when God looks at it, he sees a pile of filthy rags. (In other words, our righteousness makes God sick.)

3. Do you really think you can make it to heaven on the basis of a righteousness that makes God sick?

4. I hope not.

5. Jesus’ righteousness, however, is a perfect righteous-ness, and if you will put your faith in what Jesus did for you on the cross, God will give you His righteousness.